Free Advertising for Drug Dealers

Stupid drug war ideas are a usually a dime a dozen, but I’d pay a quarter for this one.

Officials in Maine are discussing the creation of an online registry of convicted drug dealers. Apparently this is the latest in a series of hysterical legislative responses to the epidemic of meth-related media coverage:

From the Bangor Daily News:

Tennessee was the first state to create a public Web site registry for convicted methamphetamine makers. It now has more than 400 convicted offenders on the list. Illinois created a similar registry earlier this year, and a half-dozen other states have pending legislation to create meth maker registries.

But if meth is so bad, why would you create a public database of local people that might have some for sale?

Somehow these well-meaning legislators forgot that drug transactions, unlike molestations, are consensual acts. Drug dealers don’t have victims, they have customers, and putting their names online is like advertising their services. For example, if I were looking for meth in Anderson County, Tennessee, I’d begin by looking here. See how easy that was?

Before you can say "counterproductive", they’ll be combating underage drinking by creating a public registry of liquor stores that sell to minors.

But if these lists weren’t such a horrible violation of privacy, I might support them, because this ill-conceived effort to shame and stigmatize the victims of America’s war on drugs may soon become a vast and ever-expanding memorial to the countless lives our drug laws have destroyed.

Location: 
United States
Permission to Reprint: This article is licensed under a modified Creative Commons Attribution license.
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