The harms of prohibition

This is a list of the many harms of prohibition. If you think I missed any then please comment below!

When confronting a prohibitionist, it is helpful to remind them of the many real and concrete problems that prohibition has caused, such as:

• Increased deaths of countless people involved on all sides of the “war”, including law enforcement and bystanders;
• The spending of 100’s of billions of our dollars seeking out, arresting, prosecuting, and incarcerating otherwise law-abiding citizens;
• The loss of billions in tax revenue from production, distribution, and sales, which can be used for all substance abuse treatment;
• The redirection of valuable police time and resources from solving and preventing true crime;
• The filling of our jails with non-violent offenders, exposing them to true criminals and forcing the early release of dangerous criminals;
• The empowerment and expansion of underground markets as a very popular substance is placed within them;
• Increased crime as dealers and buyers have no legal recourse to resolve disputes;
• Increased exposure to hard drugs as many cannabis consumers buy from suppliers who have access to them, even push them;
• Unregulated sales–over 20 million pounds per year left in the hands of criminals who never check ID;
• Increased likelihood of contamination with anything from pesticides and molds to other drugs;
• The prevention of some adults from choosing a recreational substance less harmful than alcohol;
• Increased corruption within the legal system;
• The invasion of our civil liberties, which in America we hold in especially high regard;
• The prevention of people from receiving effective medicine;
• The prevention of people from receiving decent employment, scholarship money, and student aid due to their “criminal” record, which affects not just them but their family as well and which poses an opportunity cost on society as a whole which will never benefit from this people’s full potential;
• Increased support of tremendous multinational criminal networks;
• Increased public mistrust, disrespect, and disdain for our legal system, police, and government, which is devastating to our country;
• The destruction of natural resources as illegal growers attempt to take advantage of inflated black market prices by planting cannabis on public lands and other peoples’ private property, often at great cost to local flora, fauna, and water supplies;
• The spread of terror on US soil as Americans are increasingly subjected to no-knock warrants, SWAT-style tactics, the militarization of our police, search-and-frisk policies, racial profiling, and other increasingly heavy-handed tactics as police agencies desperately try to fight the unwinnable war on drugs;
• Increased access to and use of cannabis by minors due to the unregulated black market, which has resulted in cannabis being used today by teenagers at levels far in excess of levels from the days when prohibition was first implemented;
• Deliberate stifling of academic inquiries into the benefits of cannabis use and the politically motivated funding of studies attempting (mostly in vain) to identify justifications for continuing the war on cannabis, which has resulted in distorted and incomplete understanding of this amazing plant;
• A breakdown in law in order and senseless slaughter in neighboring countries such as Mexico, where our policies are responsible for levels of violence that are incomprehensible to most Americans;
• An entire economy founded upon Big Prohibition which forces drug cartels, law enforcement agencies, for-profit prisons and rehab centers (and the people who staff them), some lawyers, some politicians (DA’s in particular), anti-drug crusaders, and street gangs into an unhealthy relationship of mutual dependence, mostly to our detriment;
• An end to the use of industrial hemp, which could otherwise be an alternative environmentally friendly source of fiber for cloth, paper, bioplastics (green plastic substitutes), food, energy, and building materials, (to name just a few of the thousands of uses for industrial hemp).

[Much of this list was contributed by Stel-1776.]

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  1. Pingback: Do Americans need one more bad habit? - Dusty Relic

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