Prohibition Party: Relaxing the rules against use of recreational drugs

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ATPR: The following article, titled “Drug Legalization: Relaxing the rules against use of recreational drugs”, appeared in the April/May/June 2016 edition of the National Prohibitionist, the official newsletter of the Prohibition Party, America’s oldest continually existing third party since 1869. The full text of the article is below:

Legalization is often presented as a way to cut the cost of prisons, and it is an unfortunate fact that the “prison industry” has grown fat on the persecution of marijuana users. America, which calls itself “the land of the free,” has 5 percent of the world’s population but 25 percent of the world’s prisoners.

Other times, the argument in favor of legalization is based on allowing doctors to make medical decisions about appropriate treatment without government interference; a stock joke in the Prohibition Era was “Our town used to have one drug store and five saloons, but now it has six drug stores.

Still another oft-heard viewpoint is that limiting access to recreational drugs is somehow “un-American;” this is the tack taken by George Soros and his arrogantly named “People for the American Way.”

And then there are the tax advocates, people who have deceived themselves into believing that the tax receipts from alcohol, tobacco, and in the future possibly other recreational drugs are larger than the social costs of drug use.

Implicit in all this is the assumption that, one way or another, government would retain control over sales and use.

That last statement is the easiest to refute: It is true that alcohol causes slightly fewer problems in “control” states than it does in “free enterprise” states, but dramshop laws are rarely enforced, minors obtain alcohol from parents or from older friends, advertising is ubiquitous, and hospitals and jails are full of victims; over time, “control” becomes weaker and then is abandoned entirely.

The tax argument is a non-starter: The most recent study showed that the cost to the community is 17 times as large as tax income; estimates vary, but every study
has shown a tax loss.

There is no “American way” of victimizing other people by selling them recreational
drugs. No ethical way, no moral way, no religious way.

It is noteworthy that the recent development of pharmaceutical grade cannabidiol,
the therapeutically active ingredient in marijuana, has panicked the “medical marijuana” lobby. They don’t really care about medicine, they want unrefined weed includingthe tetrahydrocannabinol which makes them high.

The jail problem is real, however. Today’s drug policy should be informed by the way in which National Prohibition was conducted: The 18th Amendment said nothing at all about possession of alcohol; it criminalized only the traffic in alcohol, the manufacture, distribution, and sale of alcoholic beverages. Prohibition didn’t care if you had some on your person. It was invoked only if you provided alcohol to someone else. By making alcohol harder to get, it reduced percapita consumption by two-thirds.

Today’s “War on Drugs” has been carried out by criminalizing the victims. That
approach has distorted law enforcement, destroyed careers and families, and handicapped hundreds of thousands of otherwise productive citizens by tagging them
with criminal records.

There needs to be strong resistance to recreational drugs, but it should seek to
disrupt the traffic in drugs, not to persecute drug users individually.

Read the entire April/May/June 2016 edition of The National Prohibitionist here. The newsletter is a four page pdf file that includes statements from the Prohibition Party on , various issues such as gambling and single payer health care, the Prohibition Party presidential candidate James Hedges’ opinion on immigration, an update from the party’s chairman Rick Knox that touches on ballot access and a section on Prohibitionist history. –ATPR

(Via American Third Party Report)

10 thoughts on “Prohibition Party: Relaxing the rules against use of recreational drugs

  1. Matt Cholko

    That’s about the biggest load of bullshit I’ve ever heard. Drug prohibition kills people. Lots, and lots of people. It also destroys lives, tears apart families, costs taxpayers tons of money, and empowers piece of shit street gangsters here at home, and warlords around the world. Prohibitionists are damn near guilty of manslaughter, countless times per day.

    I lost my younger brother just this week to a heroin overdose. I lay 50% of the responsibility on my brother for using dangerous drugs, and 50% on prohibition for increasing the danger of those drugs, and decreasing the liklihood of him receiving prompt medical treatment.

    I have a lot to say about this personal experience. I’ll probably put it out there in the near future. For now, I’ll just note that prohibitionists work to bring about death and despair. That’s disgusting.

  2. Jonathan Makeley

    Drug Prohibition does not kill people, Drugs kill people. Drug prohibition combats the predatory suppliers who profit off poisoning people. Prohibitionists work to help reduce and eliminate the presence of these harmful substances and to help people to move away from them.

  3. langa

    Matt, I’m very sorry about the loss of your brother.

    Thankfully, the Prohibition Party has become an irrelevant historical footnote. Hopefully, their ideas will soon be as obsolete as their party is.

  4. Darcy G Richardson

    My deepest — and heartfelt — condolences, Matt. I nearly lost my youngest nephew a couple of years ago to a heroin overdose, but luckily an alert and quick-thinking police officer, recognizing his dire predicament while sitting unconscious in his parked car, literally saved his life.

    It was a wake-up call for my nephew, a second chance that many people never get.

    The heroin epidemic sweeping the country — and it’s an increasingly dangerous and serious problem — has taken entirely too many young lives.

    My thoughts and prayers are with you.

  5. Michigan Voter

    Am I mistaken here, or is the Prohibition Party saying they are AGAINST drug prohibition? That seems to be the point of the article.

  6. Jonathan Makeley

    Michigan Voter, It is not saying that they are against Drug Prohibition. It is saying that Drug Prohibition should focus on targeting those who manufacture, sell, and distribute drugs. There is a common misperception that prohibition is about punishing those who use intoxicants. Prohibition is about prohibiting the substance, and using the state to combat the prevalence of it. Sometimes this may involve the use of legal forces toward users in order to neutralize the treat which users may pose to themselves and others. But the level of this can very based on a discernment of how much of this is useful. But it also includes things such as intervention, education, treatment, and other things involved in prevention and aiding people toward sobriety.
    There is a difference between not giving prison sentences to mere users, and the legalization. Legalization gives a government legitimization to the intoxicant, its use, and those supply it. Legalization would allow those who produce and supply drugs to do so with little to no government interference. It allows them to openly sell and promote their substances. This allows these substances, which harm and at times kill people, to be sold legally. And thus allows those who supply it to do so without repercussion. It allows for these substances to be used openly, in a manner that creates image of cultural legitimacy, and helps to create an atmosphere open for the supporters of these substances to try to push them on others. Thus endangering the young and endangering the ability of those who do want to use these substances to live an environment safe from having drugs forced on them. Legalization creates the opening for the drug problem to expand.

  7. Matt Cholko

    The problem is that prohibition pushes the drugs into the black market. The users don’t know what they’re getting, and they’re extra scared to get help for themselves, or other users.

    As with everything, if there is demand, there will be supply. Attempts to prohibit intoxicants have shown us over and over again that this is the case. The only question is who the supplier will be. I’d prefer if be legitimate business people.

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