Ravaged by Drug Prohibition
Chicago aldermen poise at the drug-war precipice ready to ban synthetic marijuana like banning something makes it go away, ignoring 40 years of bipartisan experience that demonstrates that banning drugs only accelerates the harm posed by drugs.
Kids and adults are using synthetic marijuana, because these same political leaders banned nature’s comparatively benign marijuana. Ban booze and you get killer-blinding bathtub gin. Ban marijuana and you get potpourri, fake marijuana, a man-made lab-made poison. Ban marijuana and you create a world overrun with marijuana.
The sad death of an Aurora young man caused by potpourri should have aldermen everywhere scrambling to reconsider the prohibition of pot that has served to introduce other substances much worse. But the easy political course is to outlaw the horrible substance that arrived on the scene in consequence of the last bad prohibition law, instead of righting the first mistaken legislative action.
A few Chicago city council stalwarts still refuse to recognize the first and most important rule that governs all illicit-substance drug policy. The rule: If it seems to be a good, common sense, intuitive solution – don’t do it.
Peculiar and counter-intuitive as it seems, all drug policy works in reverse.
Banning a drug is a boon to sales. Increasing penalties raises the price of the drug and increases its availability. Advertising against the use of a drug is advertising that increases drug use. Just saying “no” invites a “yes” to drug use. Burning tons of government-seized drugs has government doing for the drug cartels just what the cartels would have government do with seized drugs, destroy them so the only source of supply is again the illicit market controlled by the bad guys.
Is there still anyone out there who does not have a drug-dead relative, or an addicted relative, a bullet-riddled relative, an innocent crossfire-victim relative, an accidental-overdose relative, a drug-marginalized relative, a drug-convicted relative, a drug-war prohibition-endangered relative? The well-intended drug-war ban best serves Chicago gangs and international drug cartels, law-enforcement budgets and coffers, prison-builder wallets, and drug-testers, drug-counselors, drug-free workplace providers, and the armies of other good folk who placidly ride the drug-war gravy train at devastating cost to the public health, safety and welfare and government solvency.
Here is a simply test for good drug policy legislative action: Would Al Capone support this legislative measure? If so, the pols and public should line up solidly against it.
James E. Gierach
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (www.leap.cc ) Board Member