Somatose

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More talk and more talk. I guess it’s progress, though.

More and more public figures – Left and Right – are registering their disillusionment with the war on drugs.

The New York Times quotes former federal prosecutor and republican governor of New Jersey, Chris Christie, calling the WOD “a failure” – imprisoning people who need treatment: http://www.nytimes.com/2012/07/17/world/americas/us-priority-on-illegal-drugs-debated-as-abuse-rises.html?pagewanted=all

A majority of Canadians favour decriminalization of marijuana – and that holds true in every province, as well, I believe.

But officially the ban continues, and Stephen Harper has doubled down: increasing the criminal stakes for those caught with drugs (http://news.nationalpost.com/2012/02/22/u-s-law-panel-urges-harper-to-avoid-costly-failure-of-mandatory-minimum-pot-punishments/)

Here’s an idea: When we know how a story is going to end, why don’t we expedite that ending?

Does anyone really think the war on drugs will exist a hundred years from now? Twenty years from now? So what are we waiting for?

Liberals have always had a more lenient attitude towards drugs. It was the Liberal-mandated LeDain Commission in the early 70s that first advocated decriminalizing pot (not that subsequent Liberals acted on it).

But now conservatives are starting to question the philosophical and practical wisdom of bans. For starters, it’s less than clear that the WOD has any net effect at diminishing harm from drug abuse. Secondly, fiscal conservatives have to question the financial wisdom of incarcerating people just for their recreational pastimes. And plenty of conservatives have a libertarian streak that balks at the idea of a government telling private individuals what substances they can ingest, inject or smoke.

All of which brings me to Eric’s zany idea number 1,486: In addition to legalizing pot, and decriminalizing the harder stuff, why don’t we let pharmaceutical companies research designer recreational drugs?

We need to stop having a moral problem with people wanting to get high. Wanting to get high is no more morally reprehensible than wanting to get drunk. Neither is a good thing to indulge all the time, but when done in appropriate circumstances, an altered state of mind is morally neutral.

What isn’t morally neutral is all the bad stuff attached to illegal drugs, from organized crime to addiction, overdoses to impaired driving.

If people want to be stoned – and clearly many do – why not find or develop drugs that people can take to get stoned that don’t cause any harm? Drug manufacturers would make money, taxpayers would make (and save) money, users would be protected from the dangers of ODing or addiction, while also having a safe, secure supply of product, and organized crime would lose its most lucrative source of income.

Developing such a drug or drugs would be a monumentally difficult task – as hard or harder than any psychotropic drug currently legally manufactured. But why not take the first steps, and give ‘Big Pharma’ license to do preliminary research?

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