The Human Right to Get High on Drugs

Here's drug policy guru Eric Sterling masterfully articulating the madness of drug prohibition.

This honestly sent a tingle down my spine, maybe because I so often find myself steering clear of the personal freedom argument for drug policy reform. It's not what I'd lead with in most cases, and yet it is in so many ways the simplest and most profound truth that defines my opposition to the war on drugs. Any attempt to restrict access to parts of our own minds in despicably evil and intolerable. Prohibition's numerous toxic consequences all owe their origin to the monumental injustice of trying to designate the boundaries of human experience.

For this reason alone, we can be beyond certain that the measures necessary to repair our broken system of so-called drug control are quite grand in scale. Thus, the discussion of "reprioritizing the budget" that you sometimes hear from the President or the Drug Czar is nothing but a pitifully inconsequential distraction from the enormous challenge before us.

Drug prohibition is morally and scientifically corrupt to its core, and although we have no choice but to break it down into smaller parts and repair them incrementally, it's also important to appreciate the staggering depth of the fraud that's been thrust upon us.

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That "personal freedom" argument

is always my first argument. My body, my choice. It is that incredibly simple. If my body is not my own, freedom is a myth.

Right.  It's the best

Right.  It's the best argument there is.  It's time-tested, unlike prohibitionist arguments and we don't have to say, "Oh well, it's safer than X."

 

Bottom line is either you believe your body is yours or the governments.

 

I find that liberals stay away from this argument and go with stuff like mentioned above while libertarians go straight with this one.  It's harder for people to swallow, but once they do swallow it, it's hard to defeat it.

Eric nailed it! Drug use is

Eric nailed it! Drug use is radioactive. That is why the personal freedom/human right argument, whilst fundamentally being the most compelling argument against prohibition, is also the hardest to convince people of.

Government have done an impressive job or perpetuating the 'fear' that drug use causes, so much so that we are at the level where it is hard to even talk rationally about the subject. Just try mention Human rights and you are bombarded with anecdote about how bad Heroin and Meth is, how 'uncontrollable' addiction is - as the same people disregard Alcohol and Tobacco addiction, or gambling addictions etc.

The Human rights argument should always be in the reform arsenal, it just unfortunately seems that its not the strongest argument to currently pursue. Always keep it burning though, as when the house of cards starts to rapidly crumble, it will be an immensely powerful argument, one all those prohibs will have a very difficult time defending against...

"Just try mention Human

"Just try mention Human rights and you are bombarded with anecdote about how bad Heroin and Meth is, how 'uncontrollable' addiction is" I don't think it's any anecdote that heroin and meth are really bad, and anyone who knows an addict would probably argue that addicts do indeed lose control over their lives. One response I've found useful is that addicts suffer worse human rights abuses at the hands of prohibition that anyone else. The U.S. government has opposed funding harm reduction domestically and internationally, despite evidence showing it saves lives and drastically improves the health and well-being of addicts. If addiction is a disease where users lose control, then how can we condone forcing them to risk their lives buying drugs on the street, where they risk overdosing on impure drugs or contracting HIV from a dirty needle? Can we imagine treating any other type of sick person that way? I see where your coming from that exaggerated scare tactics have stripped us of the right to use other drugs recreationally. But a great way to drain their credibility is showing how their policies fail the worst those they claim to help.

I agree, but...

Exactly, prohibition makes things worse for people who are addicted. Although, you say: "I don't think it's any anecdote that heroin and meth are really bad, and anyone who knows an addict would argue that addicts do indeed lose control of their own lives." This is ambiguous language, and although generally true, I don't think we should use such ambiguous language. Heroin and meth are not 'bad', their use often leads to significant problems, and "addicts lose control of their lives" is a very ambiguous thing to say. There are many people who have used meth and heroin many times and have never become addicted to it, or who have become addicted to it, but have held their jobs, remained relatively functional, etc. Meth and heroin are both medicines, too, btw. (In england, heroin is used as medicine for pain, and in america meth is used for Attention deficit disorder, and for weight loss). It is even safe to give either of the two to children, if done properly. 

Oh, and, I don't mean to be a stickler, but people aren't addicts, they have addictions. (although i use the word addict too, but it's really not the best word to use).

Thanks for your input, I

Thanks for your input, I appreciate it especially because I fully agree that speaking about addiction ambiguously is a bad habit. Addiction is a really tough thing to define, which is one of the reasons it's so difficult to determine appropriate social policies and treatment procedures for addictions. I suppose a better way for me to express my understanding of addiction is "those who credit drug use with loss of control over their lives have addictions." I disagree that there are people who "have become addicted to it, but have held their jobs, remained relatively functional, etc." I do not believe those people have addictions in the proper sense of the word, or at least the sense that social policy should recognize as qualifying for an addiction. They might have physical yearnings for a drug, but if they can support themselves, they have demonstrated that their drug use is ultimately under their control. It would be inconsistent to group their drug use under the common label of "addiction" with people who have lost their jobs, stolen from family members, and/or express to family and friends acknowledgement that they don't have control over their drug use. Those are the people whose chances for survival depend on our drug policies reflecting treatment and harm reduction.

You have a very narrow view

You have a very narrow view of reality.  Your addiction with "addiction" proves that you know little about addictions.  There are physical and then there are psychological addictions.  Physical addictions, like heroine or nicotine, the drug is mostly responsible.  But psychological addiction is simply an individual not taking responsibility for himself or herself.  Psychological addictions, unlike physical addictions, are much, much more common and can include far more than "drugs;" in fact just about everything in life can be abused and open to addiction, like food and sex.  Most Americans suffer from some sort psychological addiction, even you.

Stop discriminating against all drug users by blanketing the term "addiction."  Marijuana smokers are no more addicted than ice cream eaters.

I definitely did not mean to

I definitely did not mean to discriminate against drug users by giving them the blanket term "addiction". I don't think I did that. If anything, I'm trying to limit the way we throw around the term "addiction." It's used to describe anything and everything people like doing now, and I think that's a truly dangerous way to use a term that medical professionals use to describe a "brain disease." How we define addiction is up to us. We have two options if we don't want to discriminate against drug users by saying people can only have addictions to drugs. We can advocate more of the general population is labeled "addicts" whether they are addicted to ice cream, sex, tv, whatever they do that someone might consider "excessive". That's how you want to use "addiction". I'm saying we should seriously reduce how liberally we use the term addiction. Recreational drug users who have their lives and jobs generally in order are not addicts, as I said above. I think the best way to use the term addiction is for people whose lives are out of control because of a drug, sex, stealing, food, whatever. The heroin addict who steals pills from grandma and is living on the street has an addiction. The occasional user of ecstasy does not. The girl who can't get out of bed because she hasn't eaten in a week has an addiction to not eating. Someone who buys a dieting book does not. It's a slippery slope if we start using the term addiction in an incredibly general way as you suggest. There are better, clearer distinctions that can be made. Even those distinctions are troublesome and I feel hesitant to say people ever truly lose their free will over a drug or sex or anything else. 

Functioning Addicts Do Exist

Your disagreement aside, there most certainly are functioning addicts to cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine -- just as there are functioning alcoholics.  In fact, alcohol is extremely instructive here.  For one thing, its rates of addiction, overdose, disease, psychological problems, etc roughly track those observed among "hard" drug users.

And since when is destitution and an inability to function in society the defining characteristic of drug addiction?  We don't impose those same requirements on alcoholics -- we quite often discuss alcoholism in contexts that don't involve living on the street and committing crimes to feed one's habit.  For one thing, without prohibition, "drug problems" are never as bad as they are in a prohibition regime.  The insane price inflation in the criminal market can, by itself, explain the phenomena of theft and other crime undertaken to support a drug habit.  Also, by making a drug illicit, we make invisible all but the most problematic users.  So there's a perception issue; society "sees" a pre-selected group of users of any illicit drug.

I know you're not sitting here advocating drug war tactics, but logical consistency demands that you grant illicit drug users the exact same level of individual autonomy and group variation that you attribute to users of alcohol.

I should have specified that

I should have specified that my understanding of addiction extends to alcohol, sex, food, whatever. People lose their jobs and end up hospitalized for those things too. Inability to function in society is not generally considered a characteristic of addiction, I'm saying that it should be. I don't like the term "functioning addict." If someone is functioning, they are not addicted in my book. We can agree to disagree on that. 

I also suggest you look into the rise in overdose and "drug problems" we are seeing with legal, regulated pain killers. As much as I would love to buy into the argument that our drug problems will be solved if prohibition goes away, I am incredibly suspicious of this logic. Surely without prohibition we will have more latitude to try different things, but the fact that more people overdose on drugs they obtain legally than on illicit drugs precludes us from saying that "without prohibition, "drug problems" are never as bad as they are in a prohibition regime."

Drug Prohibition and addiction

There's more to even than that. First, prohibition criminalizes human nature - mammal nature, actually, and other creatures. Every mammal on the planet gets high on something! Elephants like fermented fruit, along with many other creatures. Birds eat berries that make them fly weird; they even knock themselves out against windows or other objects and become prey for slower hunters than usually catch them. Slcohol does just as mch damage as any other drug, but it's legal. That's a ridiculous discrepancy right there too. 

Most "addicts" DON'T  "lose control of their lives," as it turns out. Those who do are usually very young and uninformed, and they are also a small minority compared to users to use on weekends, do their jobs, pay their taxes and live their lives. Those who do lose control opf their addictions shuold be a medical problem, not law enforcement. The damage the Drug War does is incalculable compared to relatively minor damage of the drugs themselves. This "war" is not against a substance - it's against our own citizens, and it's also depriving a great many people of desperately needed medication: chronic pain patients who, as the Baby Boomer generation grows old, are growing in numbers. There are 116 MILLION estimated CPPs - Chronic Pain Patients - who are untreated or undertreated, and CP is a very real, devastating disease in and of itself. Our savage war against people who use drugs, even legitimately, is insanely destructive, cruel, and it's warping our law and our society beyond recognition. Why not? It's another tool being used to take over the law and the government of America. It MUST be stopped!

 

Ian 

I'll drink to that

 

Eric argues the human rights angle quite eloquently. His vast experience in drug policy makes him an extremely creditable opponent against  any drug warrior in a debate setting. I would like to hear Eric's POV on one of the nation's most powerful supporters of the drug war, the alcohol industry and the role they play in maintaining the status quo. We are a culture that is encouraged to drink on every occasion. While it's refreshing to see groups like SAFER point out the harm caused by alcohol and how marijuana is a comparatively a safer drug, there needs to be more scrutiny and awareness of the association of the alcohol industry's hypocritical and corrupt relationship with the Partnership for a Drug Free America.

Back in the 90s, Cynthia Cotts wrote an excellent investigative report for The Nation on the funding the PDFA receives from the Alcohol and Prescription drug lobbies.  However, this corrupting relationship continues to this day. This story appears to have flown under the radar of many drug reformers who regularly write about the subject. Both of these industries stand to lose a significant share of their market when marijuana becomes legal and they are well aware of this fact. But with the billion they spend on advertising, they have the ear of the powers that be. They are doing an excellent job of influencing our elected leaders to continue the drug war, keeping reformers off the air while getting a pass on the harm caused by their products. With Eric's skill as a public speaker and his background in crafting drug legislation, he  should include exposing the relationships between the politicians, the broadcasters, the PDFA and the influence of alcohol in his talking points.

An educated public is essential in changing laws and perception.

Sullum's "Voodoo Pharmacology"

The comparison to Kryptonite is a fantastic one, and it reminds me of the term "Voodoo Pharmacology" used by Jacob Sullum at Reason.  Generally, the term describes the supernatural power people ascribe to illicit drugs -- the perception that individuals are powerless puppets in the face of the dominating power of the drug experience (excepting, as always, alcohol and other legal drugs).  This is a fallacy that has been swallowed up with equal vigor by both "law and order" conservatives and "public health" liberals, which has certainly helped lead to the devastating mainstream political consensus surrounding our hopeless and fundamentally immoral drug war.

For those interested in positive defenses of drug use and drug users similar to the wonderful speech above, I highly recommend Sullum's Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use.

Free the people

Honest debate,about the truth. How much longer are the people supposed to suffer. How much pain will we be expected to bear. The WAR on the peaceful people has got to end. I believe it is time for another political party  to take a stand for things that are important and productive, not destructive and counter productive. I'm a Love child from the sixties, a believer in truth and justice, oh those were the good ol' days.

That political party already exists

It's been around since 1971, the name of that political party is the Libertarian Party and if all drug war opponents/reformers would vote for them, they'd be a powerful force for change.  Perhaps even unbeatable, since the Democrats and Republicans have long ago reached the saturation point of corruption.

Re: "It doesn't just affect you, you know?"

That is one of the most common arguments against the decriminalization of drug possession for personal use. A response to that argument is the following:

There are two aspects to their argument:

1. the drug hurts you, and that makes the people who care about you suffer to see you that way.

2. because of the effect it has on you, you end up hurting other people whether you like it or not. This can happen in (a) a way that is illegal, in (b) a way that is not illegal. 

In response to 1, I say, "hey, it's my body, and it's my mind. I appreciate your concern and if you care so much do indeed keep trying to persuade me to stop, but don't criminalize me in order to help me. It's my body and you have no right." Plus, when it comes to this point specifically, most people would probably not want to send their loved ones to jail just because they're sad that they're doing drugs. So why threaten them with jail in the first place? To deter them? How are you going to feel when the shit goes down? Are you really going to put your loved one in jail just to send her/him a message that she/he should not use drugs?

In response to 2a: There are already laws that deal with that (like for example, it is illegal to steal). Plus, you cannot criminalize me because you think I'm going to steal. I am innocent until proven guilty. Furthermore, most drug users don't commit other crimes.

In response to 2b: There are literally zero things drug users can be accused of that non drug users cannot be accused of. People affect other people's lives, for the better or for the worse. That's just the way life is. If you would not criminalize a person for being manipulative, then don't criminalize drug users because you think all drug users are manipulative. If you would not criminalize somebody for being inconsiderate, then don't criminalize drug users because you think all drug users are inconsiderate. If you would not criminalize somebody for being lazy or unproductive, then don't criminalize drug users because you think all drug users are lazy or unproductive. If you would not criminalize somebody for being aggressive, loud, mean, passive aggressive, etc, then don't criminalize drug users because you think they're all like that. They're not, but even if they were, so are a lot of other people. If you would not criminalize somebody for making the wrong decisions in her/his life, thus developing psychological problems which then affect other people, then don't criminalize drug users for being psychologically messed up. That's just the way life is; we all affect each other all the time, both psychologically and situationally (but especially psychologically). Is there anybody in the world who has never hurt their family or other people psychologically? No, that doesn't mean everyone is a criminal. It only means everyone is human, and families have to work together for the good of each individual and for the good of the family. The law does not have to be involved, and criminalizing an individual usually does a lot more damage to a family than good. 

Now, in the case of parenting, I do think there should be stipulations on whether someone qualifies to have custody of their kids. Just like some alcoholics are not allowed to raise their kids unless they get some help, neither should, for example, a crack addict. But that doesn't mean that they're criminals (unless there has been some kind of actual abuse that can be proven in court, but we would try to prevent that in the first place by not allowing people custody if it can be proven that they are not fit to be parents). It's not an easy situation, but if it can be done with alcoholics without criminalizing them, it can be done with those who are addicted to other drugs. Plus, criminalizing a kids' parent most likely doesn't help the kid anyway. And if telling somebody "get clean first before you can raise your kid on your own again" is not enough of a motivation for them to get clean, then criminalizing them won't be either. 

This, btw, has all been in relation to drug possession for personal use. I think drugs should be legal to sell, too (with a lot of regulations depending on each drug, etc), but this post has not been about that.

Oh, and I forgot to include something

If you think I deserve punishment for using drugs, then you're going to get what you want. If it is true that drugs are harmful, then I will suffer. The more harmful they are the more guilty you think I am? Well, you're in luck; the more harmful they are the more I will suffer. Plus, there is no law that says you cannot express your anger to me for doing drugs, or that I should not suffer any social consequences for doing drugs. If nobody likes me I will suffer. Not even parents have to be nice to their kids after they turn 18 if they don't want to. 

This is not to say that drug users don't want love, but you are in your right not to give it to them if you don't want to. And by the way, don't think drug users are not responsive to the people around them, because they are. Drug users love the people around them too, you know, and they do care about them and want to have good relationships with them. You are not powerless in influencing a drug user. We are all susceptible to other people (except maybe psychopaths, but that's another story). You will not lose anything by losing your ability to criminalize drug users. 

Help help, I'm being repressed over here!

As much as I love living in Alabama, there is a major drawback: I can't legally smoke weed. And this pisses me off. Most days I read Google Marijuana News and there are almost always stories of the cops confiscating marijuana right here in Alabama.

That means that:
1. I must be very careful out there. The cops want to bust marijuana users.
2. There is less weed on the street, making prices higher.
3. It's harder to trust other smokers; who is a narc, is this guy trying to buy from or sell to me cool?
and finally, and this is the most important part:
4. The founding fathers acknowledged in the United States Declaration of Independence that all men have certain "Unalienable Rights", including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness.
I'm being repressed over here! Can I get some help?

America has been sold a bill of goods on Marijuana. Alcohol is continually being pushed in our culture, see the dumbass Miller Lite commercials for example (if I don't drink Miller Lite, I must be a stupid (White Male) that is completely clueless). Marijuana users by contrast are portrayed as stupid, inarticulate morons and America believes this! This is bullshit -- we must fight back!

Your suggestions and thoughts are welcome.

http://partyseeking.blogspot.com/2011/03/help-help-im-being-repressed-ov...

"1. I must be very careful

"1. I must be very careful out there. The cops want to bust marijuana users."

Move the fuck out of states like Alabama; this is your best defense.  Marijuana consumers can now vote with their pocketbooks by moving and supporting medical marijuana states like CO and CA.

"2. There is less weed on the street, making prices higher."

Again, move to a free state.  The medical marijuana industry has saturated product and prices are coming way down.  It is easy to acquire medicine all day long for $10/gram or less in states like CO and CA.

"3. It's harder to trust other smokers; who is a narc, is this guy trying to buy from or sell to me cool?
and finally, and this is the most important part:"

Is it starting to make sense to you to move away from this madness, especially when you can have relative freedom in other places?  Move to a state that has a good dispensary system in place. 

"4. The founding fathers acknowledged in the United States Declaration of Independence that all men have certain "Unalienable Rights", including Life, Liberty and the Pursuit of Happiness."

Imagine if the majority of marijuana consumers just said NO to oppressive states with Draconian marijuana laws and simply pulled their economic force out of these places?  There are tens of millions of marijuana consumers in the US, this group collectively has the ability to change the economies of both free states and 'slave' states.

I'm being repressed over here! Can I get some help?

Yeah, just say NO to Alabama!

Chill

I'm sure you realize it's not always easy or even feasible to move to another state.  People have jobs, families, that sort of stuff.

More importantly, the existence of states with better cannabis policies doesn't get Alabama or any other state off the hook.  Prohibition is a problem worth addressing, wherever it is practiced.  Heck, before 1996, any Californian objecting to prohibition could have been flippantly told to move to Amsterdam.  Of course, if that's what had happened, Prop 215 would never had been passed in the first place.

You're right -- people are free to move, and sometimes that is the best option.  But why so casually dismiss the concerns of people living every day with marijuana prohibition?  It's an immoral and harmful policy, no matter what jurisdiction one might be in.

"But why so casually dismiss

"But why so casually dismiss the concerns of people living every day with marijuana prohibition?"

If you have to ask this you did not understand my post.  I am advocating freedom from this oppression.  People finally have the power to change marijuana laws through economics.  The economies in many medical marijuana states are far better (more job opportunities) than Alabama's.  Alabama can sink or swim by her marijuana policies, in a country that is carving out sanctuaries and opportunities for marijuana consumers.  And offering the people living in these states a medical luxury that does not exist in all places in the USA.  So medical marijuana states have an economic value to their marijuana freedoms.  And we are not talking about people moving to a foreign country but rather relocating to a friendlier state in the good USA.  This will be a slow migration, yes because people can be bogged down today.  But think of it this way, in the future young people will aspire to go to college or move to, for example, a marijuana free state; and these same people are likely stay in these economies rather than move to a police state.  Medical marijuana is about to outsell Viagra, and this is only the beginning to legal cannabis.  Why would anybody in the future live in a marijuana police state when you have a marijuana Renaissance going on next door?  

Yeah I Understand

I agree, and if it weren't for connections I have on the east coast I'd probably be on my way to California or Colorado as we speak.  Believe me, I have absolutely no problem with the idea of "voting with one's feet" that you've laid out here.  States that are forward-thinking enough to strike a blow to the war on pot should be rewarded with the attendant economic benefits.

Still, I'm not sure moving to Amsterdam was all that different a concept.  That city is full of expats, and the same theory applies -- they get the tourism and immigration boost to the economy that countries obsessed with prohibition miss out on.

Also, I still say there is something to be said for fighting the good fight in places where there isn't medical marijuana right now.  For one thing, the people who actually are in dire medical need of marijuana often cannot move, and those people deserve compassion.  Besides, like I said, it's a bad policy no matter where it's practiced, and the more free states we have, the better off everyone will be.

We want to change US

We want to change US marijuana laws; so no, Amsterdam is far from being the same concept.

People that have serious diseases already make moves to places with better care.  As more and more people accept medical marijuana as a serious treatment, you will also see many more of these same sick people moving to free states as people today move closer to premiere cancer centers for example.

The bottom line:  Increasing from today, states (and of course other places around the world) that protect medical marijuana patients and allow cannabusiness, will become the leaders of the future in these emerging markets and, more importantly, will also experience a definite overall boost in their local economies because of steady population migration; and the states with the harshest marijuana laws will lose increasing support as better models of cannabis legalization occur in places around the USA.  And eventually states like Alabama will have to "get real" about marijuana and her benefits and make reforms.  But until then I would recommend that patients move out of states like Alabama.

Huh?

What do you mean, "we" want to change US law only?  Who is "we"?  Prohibition is exactly as wrong in Britain or Canada or China as it is here.  It makes no sense to restrict the fight against prohibition to one state or one country.  It's a question, ultimately, of human rights (which is the entire point of the original post).  Not the efficacy of domestic American policy.  People deserve basic freedoms no matter where they live.

And even if we were only concerned with US policy, voting with one's feet by moving to a country with better cannabis policy would work for the exact same reasons that moving from state to state works on individual state policies.  The difference is one of scale only; the basic strategy is exactly the same.  You'll have to explain what the fundamental difference is.

Overall, what you're saying isn't wrong, but you're being oddly argumentative and narrow-focused, which prompted me to reply to you in the first place.  There are a million different reasons to fight against this war, and a million different places in which to do so, and a million different tactics with which to do so.  There's no wrong way -- outside of violence or fraud -- to chip away at the wall.

Dude, I can see it is

Dude, I can see it is pointless trying to have a discussion with you.  Weather you realize it or not, you are the "oddly argumentative and narrow-focused" person in this conversation.  I am just passionate.  And I have also laid out a very reasonable and logical argument.

IIMHO, it is up to Americans to change US law and it is up to people in the Netherlands to change their own laws.  "WE" means American reformers, you dope!

One bar

One way I've always thought one can put things in perspective for prohibitionists is to remind them of the fact that pregnant women are allowed to drink. I think it should remain that way, and so do most prohibitionists. All we have to do is keep reminding them that they shouldn't drink. If we can treat pregnant women who drink with such understanding why can't we treat non-parent crystal meth, crack, or heroin users with the same understanding?

I have a question for every American

Why do we even bother having (and paying for) a congress? They’ve given away all their duties and powers to the Fed and the Prez, so why are we taxpayers paying members of congress to go sit in DC doing only things that are harmful to the Constitution and our freedom?  It was congress which created the idea of prohibition and it is congress which must end it; but they ignore the whole thing as if it doesn't even register in their minds.  We should either abolish congress completely or demand they do the work the Constitution requires (and no more than the Constitution requires).

Integration

......I know i've left a bunch of posts, but anyway......

 

I re-watched the video and it was better than i remembered it. Sterling takes the conversation to a level that we haven't seen much of so far. I really like what he says about integration because it's a perfect way of looking at the big picture of prohibition vs legalization. It's not easy to find something that synthesizes all the aspects of the issue, but that does. Prohibition means division and legalization means integration: racial integration, economic integration, integration of the rich and the poor, integration of drug cultures and the general culture, integration of old people and young people, integration of producing countries and consumer countries. Prohibition has been dividing people for far too long. Legalization would bring about integration.

Great Job by Eric Sterling

It’s fantastic to hear Eric Sterling expose drug prohibition for what it is, symbolic oppression in a culture and class war.

Analysts will study the data on drug war madness for centuries to come.  How is it that people could get away with claiming to protect citizens from a harmless if not beneficial weed by poking guns in their faces and hauling them off to prison?  Makes you just feel proud to be human, doesn’t it?

There’s a word for the role marijuana plays in this staged act of oppression.  It’s Biblical in origin, from Wiki: “A shibboleth is any distinguishing practice that is indicative of one's social or regional origin. It usually refers to features of language, and particularly to a word whose pronunciation identifies its speaker as being a member or not a member of a particular group.”  Shibboleth has expanded its meaning to include symbols other than words.  Marijuana is a shibboleth that identifies its user as a member of a particular culture, usually consisting of a particular politics, race, religion, and so forth; and one that is considered fair game for oppression if it can be done in a sneaky enough way. 

Witch hunters and inquisitors had a different word for shibboleth.  Indicia, or indicium (singular), meaning indicator, was a symbol that identified the witch or heretic.  A witch’s indicia might include a birth mark, or a spot on the skin that was insensitive to a pin prick, as all the evidence needed to justify burning at the stake.  A heretic might be singled out by how often a person washed their clothes.

Today, people are shot dead over a harmless weed.  Welcome to the 21st century.

Giordano

I agree with the personally

I agree with the personally choice argument. But i really don't like to use that as my main argument. Most people will say that your insane and not even listen to what else you have to say. So i start with how the war on drugs is a waste and a failure on all levels. Then after I explain other aspects i usually am like well the government should not really be telling you what you can and cant do with your body. Its not the government's job to nerf the world. As for what about the kids argument, that's easy since drug dealers will sell a kid any drug as long has they have the money they can be 5. Can you say the same about alcohol or cigarettes. NOPE. We need all drugs legal so at least we can control them better and instead of jailing peopled addicted we should have safe injection sites so they can manage their lives and eventually get treatment. Same with hallucinogens if you can go to a safe place you wont have to worry about people jumping out of windows thinking they can fly or stabbing them self because they think they have spiders crawling on them. Really the reality is we are never going to get rid of drugs so the best we can do is make them as safe as possible and treat addiction when the people are ready. 

OMG,

This is such shit. Naturally this guy is willing to pay to support my kids when they are just sitting around and want to do nothing but "stimulate" their minds...  I have never heard such total bullshit.  When people can't function, due to the PERSONAL choice they made, all of a sudden that choice is not just personal... but it affects me, the rest of my family, and all the other people that have kids or family members on drugs.  Kids that are totally wasting their lives away doing nothing but getting high, that can't even hold a job, or finish high school.  Wow, I can't even believe he is serious, this is so not a personal choice.

Why Can't People Make their own decisions?

Honestly, even if drugs do carry negative side effects, why the hell can't grown adults make a decision about what to put into their own body. Isn't the whole "my body" argument the foundation of the pro-choice supporters? If someone can decide what to take out of their body, why can't they decided what to put in it? We're saying people can't make good choices, yet we trust them to vote, drive, enlist in the military, consume alcohol, smoke cigarettes, etc. The argument doesn't hold up.

http://usnewsandyou.siterubix.com/do-you-have-a-right-to-get-high/

human right to use drugs

The main problem with the argument is that it isn't a human right to use drugs, you would have to argue that it should be. 

And it should be, in my opinion, a human right to use drugs. 

Most harms of drugs are greatly exaggerated. Drug use is a personal choice, any harms are therefore taken caution against by the user. Furthermore, exaggerated harms and false information is a harm in and of itself against the health of the user, and prison is far more dangerous than any health problem a drug might cause. 

In society, drugs are used as recreation, medicine, and sometimes in religious ritual. So they have a role in bonding friendships and giving hope to the ill and connecting people to the divine. This is their role in society.

To say that they are a criminal, vile, dangerous act is simply untrue. Most anti-drug propaganda has a very racist history, in 1937 marijuana was banned and other drug laws federalized as a result of Harry Anslinger saying that "the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races". I could go on, history does not support the UN's assertion that racist side effects of the drug war are unintended. There is no evidence that drug laws were well intentioned, there's far more evidence that drug laws were made because drugs made non whites insane, this argument is racist, based on the supremacy of the white race, and no longer valid today.  

However the UN supports and is responsible for global drug prohibition through the use of global drug treaties. 

And the US government refuses to take full responsibility for the racism of the drug laws even though they support civil rights. 

To say what is right, is the best thing to do, when everyone is against you, sometimes there isn't an easy way. But at least you'll have believed in what is right. 

After all, it's your body, and they're treating drug users inhumanely. 

human right to use drugs

The main problem with the argument is that it isn't a human right to use drugs, you would have to argue that it should be. 

And it should be, in my opinion, a human right to use drugs. 

Most harms of drugs are greatly exaggerated. Drug use is a personal choice, any harms are therefore taken caution against by the user. Furthermore, exaggerated harms and false information is a harm in and of itself against the health of the user, and prison is far more dangerous than any health problem a drug might cause. 

In society, drugs are used as recreation, medicine, and sometimes in religious ritual. So they have a role in bonding friendships and giving hope to the ill and connecting people to the divine. This is their role in society.

To say that they are a criminal, vile, dangerous act is simply untrue. Most anti-drug propaganda has a very racist history, in 1937 marijuana was banned and other drug laws federalized as a result of Harry Anslinger saying that "the primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races". I could go on, history does not support the UN's assertion that racist side effects of the drug war are unintended. There is no evidence that drug laws were well intentioned, there's far more evidence that drug laws were made because drugs made non whites insane, this argument is racist, based on the supremacy of the white race, and no longer valid today.  

However the UN supports and is responsible for global drug prohibition through the use of global drug treaties. 

And the US government refuses to take full responsibility for the racism of the drug laws even though they support civil rights. 

To say what is right, is the best thing to do, when everyone is against you, sometimes there isn't an easy way. But at least you'll have believed in what is right. 

After all, it's your body, and they're treating drug users inhumanely. 

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