I understand your need to focus on the "seemingly impossible task" as noted by the Commissioner. Undoubtly, it fuels your agenda to promote the legalization of drugs in the fashion of "Can't beat them, why not join them". Fact is, that's the easy way out, and I'd bet you probably don't have any children to worry about.Having no valid argument to make, the commenter has resorted to Helen Lovejoy's tactic "Won't somebody please think of the children"
I'm on the front lines everyday, drugs destroy people and drain our society. If my entire career results in just one kid avoiding drug addiction whether it be from prevention/education or from me locking up some scum bag distributing the poison, then I've done my job.
I shudder at the thought of a world you imagine.
I've wanted to respond to this for some time because it is such an intellectually dishonest argument.
The commenter first assumes that people who advocate for drug legalization must not have children. While I have no children that I know about, many drug people who have advocated for drug legalization have children. William F. Buckley, former Governor Gary Johnson, Milton Friedman, and countless others have or had children. Ron Paul, the Texas Congressman who advocates for drug legalization, has children, grandchildren, and great-grandchildren. I could go on and on. Whether or not one has children should not really have any place in this debate. It is bizarre that the anonymous writer even made this remark.
It is also worth questioning whether or not this fellow changed his views on drug laws after having children. I would be willing to bet that he held his views before having his first child. But since he is anonymous and didn't respond to my remarks I have no way of knowing.
But let us consider his argument - that we should continue prohibition for the children. We must ask how prohibition really benefits the children.
1. Marijuana usage rates among children are higher in the United States than they are in Holland, where you can smoke a joint without going to jail. This is because business owners who run coffee shops are responsible people who don't want to violate the law by serving minors. At the local tobacco shop in Annapolis the owner cards anyone who looks young. If tobacco were sold on the streets by scumbag dealers they would sell to anyone. And this is why it is easier in the United States for children to obtain marijuana than it is for them to get alcohol or tobacco. If you don't want kids to use drugs it makes more sense to legalize them and to set age limits. Responsible businessmen won't sell to children. The very few irresponsible businessmen who do can be fined out of business. [I can still remember being at the house of one of my friends from high school. His mom was cheering at the Democratic Convention where Chris Dodd was railing against tobacco companies. Meanwhile a year before he was smoking pot outside and complaining about how the local 7-11 owner wouldn't sell him cigars because he wasn't 18 yet.]
2. The forbidden fruit aspect should be considered. Because it is illegal it has a certain lure to it. The fact of the matter is that you can get high or screwed up off of damn near anything - alcohol, benadryl, glue, paint, etc. Most normal people don't do this because they have their own self-interest at heart. Many children try marijuana and other illegal drugs because they are illegal.
3. If we are concerned about all children, we should think of the impact that the drug war has on black children. In big cities every day children are caught in the cross-fire between criminal gangs that would not exist but for prohibition. And what about the children of Mexico, Central America, and South America who are killed by the drug trade? This all would be ended overnight if we legalized illegal drugs. Alcohol and tobacco producers and dealers produce no such carnage.
4. The drug war was racist in its origins and continues to be so. It was started in the early 20th century by newspaper reporters and politicians who started stories about 'cocaine-crazed negros raping white women.' It was nothing but an excuse to arrest and persecute blacks, Chinese, and Mexicans. Even today blacks make up a disproportionate amount of prison populations. You can draw two conclusions - blacks are disproportionately more likely to be criminals or there is institutional racism in the drug war. The latter is obvious. It is the unspoken truth that everyone in law enforcement knows. Think of the poor black children who are deprived of their parents because they are serving prison sentences for so-called drug crimes.
5. Not directly related to children, but think of how drug policy has destroyed our foreign policy. Almost every South and Central American country is now in the hands of anti-American leftists who openly reject American drug policy. The Taliban in Afghanistan is funded in good part by the illegal drug trade. If we could legalize the production of poppies we could end this and save lives.
6. Think about the children of law enforcement officers who have lost their lives in this vicious and pointless wars. Was it really worth it . . . to protect a small percentage of the population that was self-destructive to begin with?
7. It has been my experience that most people addicted to drugs came from broken or abusive homes. A better argument could be made for banning divorce and for more vigorous enforcement of laws against child abuse. Other people become addicted due to untreated physical pain. The DEA persecutes doctors who are aggressive in treating pain. And, of course, this leads to more business for them and for more justification for their existence.
I think the bottom line is this - before 1914 we had no national drug laws. You could buy heroin from the drug store. Back then less than 2% of the population could be considered addicted to drugs, despite all of our efforts, that number is the same, if not higher. The drug war has been a complete and total failure. It hasn't protected children. It has killed children. It has destroyed lives. And now it is time for us to think again.
Within a few years, if not sooner, marijuana will be legal. A majority of the American population wants to legalize marijuana now. And children will have less access to it. Other drugs may be put on prescription. Hopefully they will all be legal a few years after that. We will see the results, and if history, logic, and reason have anything to do with it (and they usually do) drug use, especially among children, will be lower.
So please, think of the children. Think of the children who are buying drugs on the streets from dealers. Think of the children who are killed in battles over drug turf. Think of the children in Mexico who are being murdered. Think of the children who have parents in prison. Think of the children who die in terrorist attacks. Think of the children and legalize drugs!