FACT: Everyone is a potential victim of a drug-related crime. Drug use and the crime that surrounds it are affecting entire communities. In 1996, an estimated 1,506,200 individuals were arrested for drug offenses -- including sale, manufacture, and possession. Drug tests confirmed recent use of illicit substances in the majority of those arrested.
Response:What are the stats on the other drugs (Alcohol, Nicotine)? Are they implying that people who sell, possess or make/grow drugs use drugs? Shocking! If we arrested people for the sale, possession, and manufacture of tobacco products, a majority would probably test positive for it's use.
FACT: Fewer youths report a clear understanding of the risks associated with drug use, and even fewer view drug use as a negative behavior.
Response:Why is this, when we have spent $150 Billion on the drug war since 1981 (According to the Drug Policy Foundation, http://www.dpf.org). Certainly the advertising budget for the Sony Playstation was less than that, and look at it's market penetration. Why is all that money not getting the message across?
FACT: Rates of homicides committed by youths ages 18 and younger have more than doubled since 1985. Drug-involved youths are arming themselves and killing one another over drug money and drug turf. The ruthlessness and guns that are part of the drug trade have infected entire neighborhoods. Children not involved in the drug trade are carrying guns and resolving disputes through violence over seemingly trivial matters, such as an imagined insult or disagreement regarding the color of a jacket.
Response:Why have we used our money to create an environment where it is worth killing someone to protect and expand market share?
The enormous profits in the drug trade makes killing a competitor worth the risk. The profit is there because not everyone is willing and able to sell drugs. There are barriers to entry into that market. These barriers to entry include the risk of jail time, and that keeps number of suppliers down, and profits high.
Prohibition made it worth the risk to kill off your competitors in the liquor business, legalization brought this violence to a halt. You don't see Budweiser truck drivers shooting at Miller trucks, do ya?
FACT: Marijuana is increasingly available, potent, and cheap, enticing a new generation of drug users, often the children and grandchildren of working families.
Response:"increasingly available, potent, and cheap..." On one level, this is a victory of Capitalism, of the entrepreneurial spirit. Despite the odds, people go into this business. Here is an entire industry, guided by immediate consumer feedback. There is continual product refinement, and virtually no price inflation. All of this occurs without a central body setting standards or quotas, without a permanent distribution system, just a group of buyers and sellers agreeing to a fair price. It is as close as you can come to a perfect market system in the U.S. today.
On the other side, this shows that the consumers of the product demand better products. Why else would potency and availability go up, while price dropped? Why has the war on drugs not caused the price to skyrocket? If it were effective, wouldn't the seizure rate effect the street price?
FACT: Drugs are readily available to anyone who wants to buy them. By historical standards, cocaine and heroin street prices are at their lowest point and purity at its highest, making use of these drugs more feasible and more affordable than ever before.
Response:This is nothing more than an admission of the failure of the current drug policy.
FACT: Drug use is weakening the fiscal health of the public sector. Federal, State, and local governments spend roughly $25 billion on drug control efforts, or $0.50 for every dollar spent by drug consumers in the illicit drug trade. Approximately 60 percent of the Federal drug control budget is directed to law enforcement programs, and the balance is directed to treatment and prevention programs. Most State and local government spending (79 percent) is directed to the criminal justice system. The balance is directed to education and rehabilitation (21 percent).
Response:The drug war is weakening the fiscal health of the public sector. Money well spent? The statistics for teenage drug use show that throwing money at the problem does not work. How about dumping $25 billion into a school voucher system? Not to mention that this type of money was used to buy 20 B-2 Stealth Bombers that the Air Force didn't even want.
FACT: Drug use is straining the Nation's health care system. The costs of treating drug users are passed on to Americans through increased insurance premiums. In 1995, almost 532,000 drug-related emergencies occurred nationwide.
Response:How many of those "drug-related emergencies" were caused by drugs? In other words, how many had illegal drug use as a primary factor?
FACT: The illicit drug trade is a drain on the U.S. economy. In 1995 the retail value of the illicit drug business totaled $49 billion.
Response:Drug prohibition ensured that this $49 billion was not taxed (@ 6% sales tax, that's $2,940,000,000 in lost revenue alone). Plus we are spending $25,000,000,000 to stop it. The drug war costs every American $107 per year. It seems like prohibition is a drain on the economy.
America's past shows us the proper course. George Washington was guilty of cultivating the hemp plant, and would be thrown in jail for it were he alive today.
Alcohol prohibition did not work, and dramatically increased violent crime. The repeal of alcohol prohibition laws decreased violent crime.
The majority of the people in prison today are there for non-violent drug offences. The United States locks up more of it's population that any other industrialized nation. Between 1977 and today, the U.S. prison population has more than tripled.
According to U.S. government estimates, 8.6 million Americans smoke pot, and each person averages .256 ounces of pot per month. That's 1 out of every 30 Americans.