Monday, December 8, 2008

Repeal Day

Ladies and gentlemen, did I really suggest that we make December 5 the International Brooklyn Bagel Day? Well, I'm really really sorry, I must have been drunk out of my mind. We will have to look for another day for the Brooklyn Bagel -- and no, I have not been intimidated by violent ninjas, it's just that December 5, 2008 happens to mark the 75th anniversary of the end of America's failed experiment with alcohol prohibition.

Wall Street Journal had
an article by Ethan A. Nadelmann on Dec 5 that used this opportunity to ask the question of why, in light of such an evident failure of the alcohol prohibition experiment, is America still so resistant to reconsidering the immeasurable ill effects of the failed war on drugs that has by now become so ingrained into the legislative culture of the country.
It's not because alcohol is any less dangerous than the drugs that are banned today. Marijuana, by comparison, is relatively harmless: little association with violent behavior, no chance of dying from an overdose, and not nearly as dangerous as alcohol if one misuses it or becomes addicted. Most of heroin's dangers are more a consequence of its prohibition than the drug's distinctive properties. That's why 70% of Swiss voters approved a referendum this past weekend endorsing the government's provision of pharmaceutical heroin to addicts who could not quit their addictions by other means. It is also why a growing number of other countries, including Canada, are doing likewise.
Yes, the speedy drugs -- cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit stimulants -- present more of a problem. But not to the extent that their prohibition is justifiable while alcohol's is not. The real difference is that alcohol is the devil we know, while these others are the devils we don't. 
He goes on to suggest moreover that the contrasting behavior of UK and other countries during the time when US chose to try the prohibition has produced results that bode very well for a potential universal decriminalization of drugs.

Well, one day, perhaps, common utilitarian sense will prevail the backwards puritanical attitudes both in the States and up here. Until then, I guess I can blog about it.

No comments:

Post a Comment