War on drugs

In the 2000 campaign for president, George W. Bush said that the federal government should not interfere with the medical marijuana policies of the several states. Like so many other promises, he went back on his word and has closed down medical marijuana facilities permitted by state governments.

This is an outrage. The federal government has no constitutional authority to interfere with state drug policies. When the federal government outlawed alcohol, it required a constitutional amendment to do so. Nonetheless it has assumed the legal authority to wage its "War on Drugs."
According to nearly every scientific study on the subject, including ones conducted by the government, medical marijuana provides unique relief to patients suffering from cancer, AIDS, glaucoma and other illnesses, and the drug does not have the same addictive properties as alcohol.

The federally approved Marinol contains the psychoactive THC but lacks other cannabinoids crucial to marijuana as an effective medicine. This is one of the many insanities of federal drug policy, which categorizes a plant that has never been shown to kill anyone as more illegal than cocaine, and certainly more illegal than alcohol.
Though smoking marijuana just as smoking tobacco can cause harm to the lungs and respiratory system, the drug can also be ingested and vaporized so as to prevent such unwanted side effects.

On a fundamental level, Libertarians believe that it is the unalienable and constitutional right of individuals to medicate themselves and choose for themselves what to put into their bodies, as long as they live up to the consequences of their actions. The federal government has no proper say in the matter, and state governments violate the rights of the people in their own attempts to enforce morality. The decision to ingest, smoke or consume any drug should be up to the individual, under the advice of his or her physician, when appropriate. Locking people up for trying to relieve their pain is cruel and unusual punishment for an act that hurts no one.
The Drug War has led to some of the worst violations of the constitutional liberties of Americans, as well as to the worst wave of violent crime in American history since Alcohol Prohibition. It has been used to rationalize unlawful searches and seizures, corruption of the court system, no-knock raids, racial profiling, and "civil asset forfeiture" a policy whereby government officials can confiscate private property without even charging anyone with a crime. The War on Drugs, more than anything else, has served as a means of destroying the Bill of Rights. It has also led to excessive taxes and spending, costing more than 40 billion dollars a year to arrest, prosecute and imprison non-violent drug offenders.

Drug Prohibition has caused gang warfare and other violent crime by raising the prices of drugs so much that vicious criminals enter the market to make astronomical profits, and addicts rob and steal to get money to pay the inflated prices for their drugs. On average, drug prisoners spend more time in federal prison than rapists, who often get out on early release because of the over-crowding in prison caused by the Drug War. While violent criminals can usually have their sentences reduced, drug offenders are subject to "mandatory minimums," which strip away judicial discretion and force judges to put users and dealers in prison for decades. This has to stop.

The Drug War also has funded terrorists; providing them with opportunities for enormous profits, and even by giving foreign aid to such regimes as the Taliban as long as they promised to have "tough drug" policies.

The Drug War does not curb demand, it barely reduces supply, however it makes America much more dangerous and much less free.

A Libertarian president would order federal officials to cease and desist in harassing medical marijuana patients and would block federal spending on the War on Drugs. Nonviolent drug offenders would be released from federal prison, and each state would choose its own drug policy, just as each chose its own alcohol policy when alcohol Prohibition was repealed. Libertarians would hope and expect most states to come around and severely reform their policies to make them more humane and less at odds with the Constitution and the American way of life.


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