As the War on Drugs continues to spend taxpayers dollars in what seems like a never ending battle, the advocates against cannabis prohibition have grown dramatically over the last few years. Sixteen states have already voted to allow medical marijuana dispensaries to operate under strict regulations while another seventeen states have pending legislation related to medicinal cannabis. Various polls have shown a growing majority of people are for some sort of marijuana legalization or at the very least a national decriminalization effort. The Federal government has been unwavering in it’s stand on the issue, while our debt continues to pile up and the end to the so called war no where in site. So where is the debate? and if not now, then when?
The War on Drugs is exactly what is says it is, a war. Wars cost money and during a period when our country’s debt is beginning to overwhelm us, it is time to take a serious look into our government spending, especially wars we cannot win. Are we not declaring a war on our own people? On those who are seeking medicinal help? The money we give to our government is being used against us. We have more people in prison then any other country in the world, most are non-violent drug offenders. At the very least, if our government did not want to completely give in to the “morality” of making cannabis and other drugs legal, can’t we use our money to help instead of punish? Whenever current politicians including our President and Vice President are pushed on this subject, they either completely ignore it or answer non-nonchalantly and make it seem like a non issue.
President Obama has been famous for using his Youtube interviews as a way to connect with the public on issues they feel are important, but the other month some of the top questions presented to him were about drug reform. When it came time for the President’s response, the public got none. These question were voted on by the people and were completely ignored by the President. Vice President Joe Biden has been recently pushed on the subject as well while visiting South America and maintains a firm stance against legalization. Although, there has been a growing support from former presidents of Brazil, Mexico and Colombia and current presidents Santos of Colombia and Pérez Molina of Guatemala. Biden had this to say, “It’s worth discussing, but their is no possibility the Obama/Biden administration will change its policy on legalization.” This statement from our second in command seems to sum up our governments view on the issue; you (anti-prohibitionist), may have a valid argument(s) but that is not going to change our stance.
So where is the debate? The answer is pretty obvious. Our government does not want to admit to failure. They have even gone as far to say they are not even interested in a debate. Why? Are they afraid to be proven wrong? This year alone the War on Drugs has spent $7.7 billion dollars with that cost rising daily, and access to drugs is no more limited then buying a pair of shoes. If you can’t get them that day at a local store, you can order some online and get your shoes by the end of the week. We even have organizations such as LEAP (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) who have been on the front lines of this war saying that it has failed and it is time to move towards legalization and regulation. LEAP argues that history has shown that drug prohibition reduces neither use or abuse. Here is a group of people receiving part of the money associated with this failed policy, saying the money is going down the drain, and yet this waste continues.
In the end, it seems there are plenty of people on the anti-prohibition side ready and willing for a debate while those favoring the prohibition keep leaning on our government’s misconstrued ideology while pushing the issue to the side and never giving it the full attention it deserves. It is time for our government to defend its reckless spending if it feels so passionately about it continuing. If a growing majority of the American people feel they are being cheated out of our tax dollars on a wasteful cause, then it is time for our elected officials to come to the table and assume responsibility for their actions. As more and more people become tired of being misled and irrational government spending, one can only hope that a forum for this debate can finally be opened and quite possibly be resolved some day in the near future.