In the last few days we’ve all been hearing about the largest drug bust ever in Amsterdam. They arrested adults, took children, seized property, guns and drugs. Now I am not going to debate whether or not drugs are “bad” or if children should be raised in this dangerous environment. The more important and fundamental question to ask is “why is this environment so dangerous?”
The police chief says with decriminalizing marijuana people are becoming more relaxed about drugs and they are becoming less significant in the people’s eyes. I believe he is right, but he is saying it as if this is a bad thing.
I propose that our “strict” drug laws and the war on drugs make the situation much more dangerous. Prohibition did not stop people from drinking alcohol in the 30’s. Instead, it caused more alcohol related deaths because all production was forced into secrecy and the black market. Prohibition also causes prices to increase, as there are dangers to the manufacturer and the seller. More risk equals more profit. Limiting the supply through prohibition (of anything) automatically increases the price as well. Drug prohibition creates a potential for massive profits for drug suppliers and dealers.
The black market also lacks a stable system of contracts and obviously lawful enforcement of said contracts. Due to the profit potential and lack of peaceful contracts, a hostile working environment is created. Suppliers and dealers are forced to operate with the cloak of secrecy with the promises of large amounts of cash, but nothing outside their own violent force to protect themselves. When another dealer or supplier comes into their target market, violence ensues. Violence is all that works to keep drug dealers in power and making profit, no different than the violence during alcohol prohibition. Violence, guns and knives become the problem solvers, as a dealer can not file a lawsuit for someone selling on “his corner.”
Now if a Price Chopper salesman goes into a Walmart super center and starts selling his own produce what happens? Well, the police are called and there are legal ramifications. After all Walmart built the building, advertised its location and created hype about visiting their produce department. These legal protections are not available to the drug dealer. The government has forced him to sell on the streets as they cannot have a commercial space advertising drugs. The street corner is where the government forces him to do business, then he spends time developing a market, advertising the product and creating hype about his corner. So when a new dealer comes in it is similar to Price Chopper selling its products in the middle of Walmart, the biggest difference is the only means to defend his business is through violence.
Prohibition makes drugs have their own type of sex appeal, and sex sells! Education about the poor effects, injuries and long lasting damage to oneself would curb drug appeal as opposed to enhancing it with prohibition. Just look at what all the educational down your throat marketing about the bad effects of cigarettes have down to the smoking rate in our country. (Sure we could argue that the marketing demonizes the person and not the smoke but that’s a whole different topic.) Ending the drug prohibition would cause violence to decrease dramatically, immediately. No longer would it be something you could only sell with the drug cartels approval and permission. It would open up the markets and allow disputes to be settled through legal actions rather than violence and take away the vast amounts of power that drug cartels currently have.
End of story Prohibition doesn’t work, and that’s just a MATTer of Fact.