Nolan Finley takes on the drug war:
You want to know why kids are being killed in Detroit? Because drug dealing is a $100 billion enterprise in the United States. All of that money moves through the criminal underground, where it is untaxed, unregulated and untraceable.
The only way to stop the drug trade from consuming our children and our communities is to take the profit out of selling dope.
For more than 30 years, we’ve tried to do that by kicking in doors, rounding up street corner dealers, cutting off international supply lines and filling our prisons. And it hasn’t worked.
It will never work. Those determined to destroy themselves with drugs will find a way to do so, just as those who prefer to ruin their lives with alcohol or gambling, vices the government decided that, if we can’t beat ’em, we might as well tax ’em.
So let’s get the drugs off the street and into the pharmacies where they belong. Pick a variety of narcotics, from marijuana to heroin, and sell them in measured doses over-the-counter, like packaged liquor.
Move the drug money from the alleys to Wall Street. Let the pharmaceutical companies produce, sell and pay taxes on narcotics.
Perhaps we’ll have more users when drugs are no longer illegal. But legalizing drugs will allow rehabilitation resources to be focused on those who truly have a problem, and create more funding for anti-drug education.
A drug-free America is an impossible dream. Our stubborn determination to press this lost cause is killing people.
If it were just the dope dealers who were dying, I’d say have at it. That’s addition by subtraction.
But in Detroit we’ve seen the collateral damage of this misguided war.
When babies die in their beds, we have to start challenging the premises of the drug war, and asking whether the fight is worth the cost.
I’ve addressed these arguments before. (Imagine the power of the pharmaceutical, tobacco and alcohol industries being invested in legal opiates, cocaine and marijuana. Imagine what new drugs and methods of administration could be developed in corporate R & D departments.)
Why does this have to be a choice between the war on drugs and legalization? It doesn’t.