Saturday, January 31, 2009

America's Drug Policy: Just Another Religion

The arrest of President Obama's half-brother in Kenya for possession of a single joint of marijuana made national headlines. Why is this newsworthy?

Because America's drug policy and attitudes are like a religion: Incomprehensible, without any basis in science or fact, and most of all, justified by unsupportable black-and-white claims about right and wrong, morality and immorality.

How many people do you think die each year from marijuana, cocaine and heroin combined? If you're like most Americans, you probably think it's a lot – hundreds of thousands, some even think it's close to a million. The real truth? The total is well under 10,000 per year. Moreover, most of those are a direct result of the laws against drugs. If these drugs could be obtained legally, the death rate would be close to zero.

Why do I claim our drug policy is religious in nature? If we were concerned with the truth, we'd stamp out the real culprits:
  • Alcohol: 20,000 deaths per year
  • Tobacco: 350,000 - 400,000 deaths per year
Or, if we came to our senses and realized that prohibition is a phenomenally bad idea, we would at least have a sensible drug policy that regulated drugs according to the actual dangers. How about one more statistic:
  • Marijuana: 0 deaths
That's right – although there are occasionally one or two deaths attributed to marijuana, the numbers are so far down into the statistical noise that they're meaningless.

America's irrational drug policies are rooted in America's religions. We are a raised with hard-and-fast moral rules, handed down from God, which are absolute and unchallengeable. You aren't allowed to think for yourself. So when church leaders and politicians proclaim that marijuana is sinful and evil, right alongside robbery, assault and vandalism, who questions it? Not only do Americans go along with this idiocy, they defend it vigorously. While quaffing their beers and puffing their tobacco.

What else can explain a nonsensical drug policy that has cost America trillions of dollars over the decades, and produce nothing but crime and, more importantly, a widespread disrespect for the law?

America's drug policy is nothing more than another religion. It's based on unsupportable facts, contradicts well-known and widely available scientific facts, and yet a large number of Americans still believe it.

(For a GREAT resource on the real facts, check out Truth: The Anti-Drugwar.)

1 comment:

  1. good blog, seems like these laws have characteristics similar to beliefs & organizations, they perpetuate themselves without review.


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