When I am out protesting and speaking out against the war on drugs, People often ask "what the hell is a matter with you, how can you condone legalized drug use? My answer, wake up drugs are everywhere, in your bars, pharmacies, and supermarkets. The fact is that I do not condone drug use of any sort, including those toxic poisons that doctors prescribe, which are responsible for a 100,000 deaths a year. I'm not suggesting we make heroin, cocaine or amphetamines available the way we do alcohol and cigarettes.
What am I recommending?
Drop the "zero tolerance" baloney and the unrealistic goal of a drug free society. Accept that drug use is here to stay, and accept that marijuana is an herb, no different than saffron or st John's wort.
More specifically, I'm recommending:
My Minimum Acceptable Marijuana Policy
The Minimum Acceptable Marijuana Policy would have to meet ALL of the following criteria:
Makes it legal for any person any age to possess and use Marijuana with permission and / or prescription of their personal physician.
Specifically prohibits the use of marijuana before or while driving, in public areas, restaurants, clubs, offices and workplaces.
Makes it legal for any person 18 years or older to smoke marijuana for medicinal or recreational use in the confines of their own home.
Makes it legal to smoke outdoors only with permission or by policy of the property owners, out of sight of those who would / could object.
Makes it legal for persons 18 years of age or older to possess up to one ounce of marijuana anywhere anytime period.
Allows for not more than a 10% tax and or users fee for State and not more than 10% for the federal Government.
Makes it legal to grow Marijuana for any and all industrial uses from rope to biomass and for any person 18 years of age or more to grow up to 24 plants per person on private property for personal and or family / household use.
* that doctors be allowed and encouraged to prescribe whatever drugs or herbs that work best, notwithstanding the demonized status of some drugs in the eyes of the law, because Doctors and their patients are best qualified to decide what is medicine not lawyers in Washington D.C..
* that people not be incarcerated for possessing small amounts of any drug for personal use. But also that people who put their fellow citizens at risk by driving while impaired be treated strictly and punished accordingly;
* that employers reject drug testing because they reveal nothing about whether people are impaired in the workplace, but what they have done on their own time over the weekend;
* We step up our efforts to provide honest and effective drug education rather than propaganda programs like DARE.
This is a call for a fundamentally different drug policy. It's not legalization, it's a matter of spending more on treatment and prevention and less on interdiction and enforcement.
Some call it "harm reduction" an approach that aims to reduce the negative consequences of both drug use and drug prohibition.
The truth is most anti-drug war activists aren't really drug legalizers at all. A legalizer, is someone who believes that heroin, cocaine and most or all other drugs should be available over the counter, like alcohol or cigarettes.
This is not to say there is no such thing as a "legalizer." Milton Friedman, and Thomas Szasz, have both argued that total drug legalization is the only rational and ethical way to deal with drugs in our society. Most libertarians and many others agree with them.
U.S. drug prohibition, like alcohol Prohibition decades ago, is responsible for creating vast underground markets, criminalizing millions of otherwise law abiding citizens, corrupting government at every level, infringing on personal freedoms, and legitimizing public policies that are contrary to the very foundations of our country.
I will never be an advocate for over the counter sale of all drugs, and not just because it's not a politically popular argument. I do not believe that total legalization is the right answer.
The fact is, there is no drug legalization movement in America. What there is is a political and social movement for drug policy reform. It consists of the growing number of citizens who have been victimized, in one way or another, by the drug war, and who now believe that our current drug policies are doing more harm than good.
What I am talking about is an approach grounded not in the fear, ignorance, and prejudice , but rather one grounded in common sense, compromise and basic human rights. That's true drug policy reform.
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