shlomi-fish-homepage / lib / docbook / 4 / xml / case-for-drug-legalisation.xml

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<?xml version='1.0' encoding="utf-8"?>
<?xml-stylesheet href="docbook-css/driver.css" type="text/css"?>

<!DOCTYPE article PUBLIC "-//OASIS//DTD DocBook XML V4.1.2//EN"
"/usr/share/sgml/docbook/xml-dtd-4.1.2/docbookx.dtd"[
]>

<article id="index">
    <articleinfo>
        <title>The Case for Drug Legalisation</title>
        <authorgroup>
            <author>
                <firstname>Shlomi</firstname>
                <surname>Fish</surname>
                <affiliation>
                    <address>
                        <email>shlomif@shlomifish.org</email>
                    </address>
                </affiliation>
            </author>
         </authorgroup>
         <copyright>
             <year>2006</year>
            <holder>Shlomi Fish</holder>
        </copyright>
      <legalnotice id="main_legal_notice">
            <para>
<!--Creative Commons License-->
This work is licensed under the <ulink url="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/">Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Licence</ulink> (or at your option a greater version of it).
		<!--/Creative Commons License--><!-- <rdf:RDF xmlns="http://web.resource.org/cc/" xmlns:dc="http://purl.org/dc/elements/1.1/" xmlns:rdf="http://www.w3.org/1999/02/22-rdf-syntax-ns#">
		<Work rdf:about="">
			<license rdf:resource="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/" />
	<dc:title>The Case for File Swapping</dc:title>
	<dc:date>2005</dc:date>
	<dc:description>An essay that explains why Internet File Swapping (using Peer-to-Peer networks, etc.) is not only moral and ethical, but also should be legal, and cannot be banned. Discusses other issues.</dc:description>
	<dc:creator><Agent><dc:title>Shlomi Fish</dc:title></Agent></dc:creator>
	<dc:rights><Agent><dc:title>Shlomi Fish</dc:title></Agent></dc:rights>
	<dc:type rdf:resource="http://purl.org/dc/dcmitype/Text" />
		</Work>
		<License rdf:about="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/"><permits rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Reproduction"/><permits rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Distribution"/><requires rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Notice"/><requires rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/Attribution"/><permits rdf:resource="http://web.resource.org/cc/DerivativeWorks"/></License></rdf:RDF> -->
            </para>
        </legalnotice>

        <revhistory>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1801</revnumber>
                <date>29 February 2008</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Fixed some typos, added the "What you can do about it?"
                    section and added the "Links" section.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1548</revnumber>
                <date>28 July 2006</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Finished the first published version.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
            <revision>
                <revnumber>1518</revnumber>
                <date>14 October 2005</date>
                <authorinitials>shlomif</authorinitials>
                <revremark>
                    Forked the text from a previous document, and starting to
                    adapt it.
                </revremark>
            </revision>
        </revhistory>
    </articleinfo>

<section id="introduction">
    <title>Introduction</title>
    <para>
        Many people take the prohibition on the currently illegal narcotics
        (e.g: Marijuana, Cocaine, Heroine) for granted. They believe that
        just because the drugs are physically harmful, they should be banned.
        Yet, this is very far from the fact. While drugs can be harmful, there
        is no good reason to make them illegal. In fact, the prohibition on
        drugs causes so many undesirable side-effects, that they
        <emphasis role="bold">must</emphasis> be made legal.
    </para>
    <para>
        If this sounds fantastic to you - read on, I'm sure you'll find out
        that I know what I'm saying.
    </para>
    <para>
        The war on drugs has been supported by both the left and right political
        camps, and has only been rejected by Libertarians and various other
        minority groups who hold this view. As a result, most people who
        believe they should choose between left, right or middle, think drug
        prohibition is acceptable on everybody. But this is not the case. The
        prohibition on drugs is very harmful to the public and individual
        well-being and must be eradicated as soon as possible.
    </para>
</section>


<section id="morality">
    <title>The Morality of Drug Abuse</title>
    <para>
        A person has a basic right to harm himself, as long as he does not harm
        others in the process. That's because everyone of us is the owner of
        his mind, body and property, and is solely responsible for their use
        and abuse.
    </para>
    <para>
        All arguments that do not favour that, like that a person thus
        contributes less to society, and becomes a burden on it are pretty
        silly. That's because a person is never obliged to contribute to
        society ("First, do not harm"), and the society at large is not
        obliged to support its members. (It would be Socialistic to claim
        otherwise.)
    </para>
    <para>
        Thus, a person must be allowed by law to consume drugs. I'm not saying
        it is desirable if a person exercises this right. I'm just saying that
        a person should be allowed to do so, just as he is allowed to smoke,
        drink alcoholic beverages, deteriorate in personal hygiene, give away
        money for no good reason, act stupidly, etc. These are all harmful
        activities, yet perfectly legitimate.
    </para>
</section>

<section id="biology">
    <title>The Biology of Drug Use</title>
    <para>
        Drugs are not as harmful as many people think. Most drug users
        are perfectly healthy people who just happen to have a drug problem,
        just like people who smoke, or are alcoholics, or are
        addicted to caffeine have a drug problem. Otherwise, they are able
        to function properly and be good citizens. There are no recorded
        deaths from Marijuana in the U.S. The amount of deaths for Cocaine
        is 20 per 100,000 (4 if we take into account such factors as its
        reduced quality), and the deaths from Heroin are 400 per 100,000 (or
        80 if we take these factors into account). This is compared to 150
        deaths per 100,000 from Alcohol and 650 from Tobacco. Taking the
        numbers into account, in the U.S. there used to be 390,000 deaths
        per year from Tobacco, 150,000 from Alcohol and only 400 from Heroin
        and 200 from Cocaine (and none from Marijuana).
        (<ulink url="http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa121.html">Source</ulink>.)
    </para>
    <para>
        Thus, legalising drugs, which would potentially make them more
        common, will not be a hazard to the global health status of the
        population.
    </para>
</section>

<section id="bio_psychology">
    <title>The Bio-Psychology of Drug Use</title>
    <para>
        The mere act of consuming illegal narcotics, usually does not cause
        one to commits crimes. While drugs affect the mind, a large
        increase in drug consumption by itself will not cause a large
        increase in the number of crimes committed.
    </para>
    <para>
        Note that criminal activity is often related to drug use due to its
        present illegal nature and the fact drug users steal in order to
        acquire drugs. (or other drug related crimes.) However, this is not
        a direct result of the bio-psychological effects of the drugs
        themselves.
    </para>
</section>

<section id="arguments_for">
    <title>Arguments for Drug Legalisation</title>
    <section id="arguments_for__inflation_of_crime">
        <title>The Prohibition on Drugs Causes an Inflation of Crime</title>
        <para>
            As drugs are illegal, they are being marketed by outlaws, who
            charge an inflated price for them. Much more inflated that the
            amount it requires to grow, manufacture and distribute them.
            As a result, there is a growing black market for the distribution
            of drugs and drug users eventually need to commit crimes like
            theft and robbery to support their habits.
        </para>
        <para>
            The average crime rate in the U.S increased twice fold due to the
            prohibition on Alcohol. Once the prohibition was lifted, it
            decreased back to its original state. It is expected that
            drug-induced crimes cause a similar increase, due to the similar
            nature of this prohibition.
        </para>
        <para>
            In this analysis one should also include the very "crimes" of drug
            use, trafficking, and sale, as well as crimes caused due to the
            criminal nature of some drug dealers. Drug trafficking is also a
            huge source of income for Organised crime.
        </para>
        <para>
            All of this crime can be eliminated in a swift blow by legalising
            drugs. When drugs will become legal, they will be produced,
            distributed and sold by local legitimate entities, who will be
            subject to Capitalistic market constraints. Their prices will
            drop to a minimum, allowing everybody to buy them at the
            needed quantities. Criminals will no longer be able to make a
            decent living from selling them in the black market (as there will
            be none.).
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__not_helping">
        <title>The War on Drugs does not Help to Fight them</title>
        <para>
            Law enforcement organisations attempt to stop drug trade by
            catching drug shipments, and drug dealers. However, any shipment
            or dealer that is caught, has only one effect: a temporary increase
            in the price of drugs at the location to which they were intended.
            Most drug shipments and transactions are never stopped, and it is
            a pointless struggle to try to stop them.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__quality_decrease">
        <title>The Prohibition on Drugs Lowers the
            Quality of Drugs</title>
        <para>
            Illegal drugs are not sold in the free market and as a result the
            sold good is subject to the whims of the local outlaw manufacturer
            or distributor. As a result, they often have reduced quality, which
            can cause a lot of unnecessary health side-effects on their users,
            including many deaths.
        </para>
        <para>
            During the prohibition on alcohol it was observed that the quality
            of alcoholic beverages has heavily decreased, and the same thing
            happens now with the currently illegal drugs.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__causes_proliferation">
        <title>The Prohibition on Drugs Causes Proliferation of
        Drugs' Use</title>
        <para>
            People who become heavy drug users often need to find a way to
            finance their habit. As a result, they often become drug dealers
            themselves, and try to push drugs onto other people,
            including children.
        </para>
        <para>
            Making drugs legal will stop this vicious cycle. The price of
            drugs will drop to free market levels, and people will not need
            to become drug dealers themselves to finance their habit.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__lower_sectors_progress">
        <title>Slowdown of the Progress of Lower Sectors</title>
        <para>
            Drug dealing in a society where drugs are criminalised is
            a way to make a lot of money. As a result, young people among
            the poor find selling drugs an easy way to earn their living
            and escape the more demanding path of working in an honest job.
        </para>
        <para>
            This causes a bad effect on the societies in poor neighbourhoods,
            who turn to drug dealing instead of advancing their rank in the
            honest world. Making drugs legal will kill this easy way out, and
            force the young people of the poor to struggle for a honest living
            and gradually advance their personal and collective financial
            status.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__unholy_enemy">
        <title>Drug Users Serve as the "Unholy Enemy" of Society</title>
        <para>
            There is a common pattern in history of "unholy enemies" -
            groups of people who are presented by leaders to be of such
            evil nature that the general populace should be willing to
            sacrifice their lives, freedom or well-being to fight them.
            These have been the Jews in Nazi Germany, and the Kafirs in
            Islam. In modern society, drug users now serve as an unholy
            enemy for which the government can undermine
            <ulink url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Liberalism">Liberalism</ulink>
            and gradually repress the people.
        </para>
        <para>
            Yet, drug users are no such enemy - they do not pose a threat
            to society. Plus, they are people in need of help, not in need of
            being hunted and prosecuted.
        </para>
        <para>
            The legalisation of drugs will put a stop to the irrational
            trend to make drug users an unholy enemy and for the
            government to undermine the individual rights of the citizens.
            There is no good reason to undermine individual rights, much less
            one that is useless and pointless as trying to "win" the war on
            drugs.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__abusive_behaviour">
        <title>The Prohibition Causes an Abusive Behaviour among
        the Users</title>
        <para>
            Since drugs are illegal and using them can jail a person,
            drug users usually exhibit abusive behaviours: they lie, steal,
            and become dishonest and suspicious. This is not an effect of the
            drug itself - it's a result of the psychological and legal
            situation in which they are present. By legalising drugs, one can
            be sure that drug users will be able to openly admit their
            problems, and seek help.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__legit_uses">
        <title>Prevention of Legitimate Uses</title>
        <para>
            The prohibition of illegal drugs prevents some legitimate uses
            of the plants from which they are made. The most prominent examples
            are paper that can be made out of Hemp, but is now made out of
            cut-down trees instead (which is certainly not good for the
            environment), and the various medical uses of Marijuana.
        </para>
    </section>
    <section id="arguments_for__jailing_people">
        <title>Strain on Society due to People in Jail</title>
        <para>
            The prohibition on drugs puts many people in Jail - there
            are over 1 million prisoners for drug offences in the United
            States. There are even more if we consider drug-induced offences
            such as drug-induced theft.
        </para>
        <para>
            These prisoners are a large strain on society which needs to
            support them. They also prevent more serious criminals from
            being jailed, which undermines the punishment and
            rehabilitation system of the government.
        </para>
        <para>
            The legalisation of drugs will free the prisons from false
            criminals, and restore justice. And the lawful people will no
            longer need to support hundreds of thousands of jailed drug users
            and dealers.
        </para>
    </section>
</section>
<section id="summary">
    <title>Summary</title>
    <para>
        The prohibition against Drugs is the real drug problem. It is a war
        against the people, that consumes lives, money, and property. It has
        no good reason. History tells us that all the past prohibitions on
        narcotics failed miserably. The current prohibition on drugs is no
        different.
    </para>
</section>
<section id="what_you_can_do_about_it">
    <title>What You can do about it?</title>
    <para>
        Here is a list of things you can do to help the cause of fighting
        for drug legalisation:
    </para>
    <orderedlist>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <emphasis role="bold">Educate people about it</emphasis>:
                write something pro drug legalisation online, in blogs,
                mailing lists, newsgroups, web forums; write your school
                report about it; publish articles about it in newspapers,
                tell about it to your friends, etc.
            </para>
            <para>
                Note that you should feel free to link to this article, or
                even quote its text, as long as you give attribution. (See
                <ulink url="http://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.5/">its
                    open-content, Creative Commons, licence for more
                    information.</ulink>
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <emphasis role="bold">Contact Your Government</emphasis> -
                write to your representatives and government, and tell them
                why the prohibition on drugs is harmful and not justified. If
                possible, vote for representatives that support the
                legalisation of drugs.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <emphasis role="bold">Don't work against the cause</emphasis>
                - if you're a drug-enforcing policeman, then switch to a
                different department, or quit. If you're an agent of the
                <ulink url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Drug_Enforcement_Administration">Drug
                    Enforcement Administration (DEA)</ulink> or a similar
                organisation - then quit.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                Last, but not least - <emphasis role="bold">don't use illegal
                    narcotics</emphasis>. They
                have numerous bad medical effects, and using them reduces
                your credibility as someone who can speak against their
                prohibition.
            </para>
        </listitem>
    </orderedlist>

    <para>
        By acting and propagating the understanding that drugs should
        be legalised, we can eventually create a strong, vibrant
        movement against the prohibition on drugs, that can eventually
        abolish it completely.
    </para>
</section>

<section id="links">
    <title>Links</title>
    <itemizedlist>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <ulink url="http://www.cato.org/pubs/pas/pa121.html">James
                    Ostrowski's "Thinking about Drug Legalization"</ulink> is an
                excellent and detailed article about the problems of drug
                prohibition.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                The Wikipedia has an
                <ulink url="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Prohibition_(drugs)">article

                    written on the Prohibition on drugs</ulink> from a hopefully
                Neutral Point of View.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                The web site
                <ulink url="http://www.drugwarfacts.org/">"Drug
                    War Facts"</ulink> was recommended to me by a
                libertarian correspondent. I didn't fully read it yet.
            </para>
        </listitem>
        <listitem>
            <para>
                <ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/">The Schaffer
                    Library of Drug Policy</ulink> is a comprehensive site for
                support of the legalisation of drugs. It contains a
                <ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/dea/">copy of
                    the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) site, with
                    comments</ulink> and especially a step-by-step
                <ulink url="http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/dea/pubs/legaliz/claims.htm">rebuttal of their "Speaking Out against Drug Legalisation"
                    document</ulink>.
            </para>
        </listitem>
    </itemizedlist>
</section>
</article>    <!-- End of the article -->
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