Read the Constitution. End Prohibition. Defund the war on drugs.

The US Constitution is being read by the new House of Representatives. This is probably a good idea. I just hope they are listening carefully, especially when they get to the first 10 amendments, the Bill of Rights. Most of the new crop of conservatives are nearly (even actually) religiously respectful of the 2nd Amendment. Tragically, though, the same group usually proves curiously disinterested in the other Bill of Rights amendments, most of which have been severely frittered away by the war on drugs.

US Representatives, please listen carefully to Amendment 10 – Powers of the States and People. Ratified 12/15/1791.

  • The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Remember, a constitutional amendment was necessary to federally outlaw alcohol. Another amendment rescinded this prohibition and removed federal criminal control over possession and use of alcohol. In the case of other drugs, however, the federal government has been able, with no constitutional amendment, to exert iron control over what substances the entire American citizenry can possess.  One result of this war on drugs had bloated American prisons with the world’s highest number and proportion of prisoners. So much for land of the free. The unconstitutional war on drugs supports tens of billions of dollars yearly of federal expenditure in a totally non-productive, actually hugely counterproductive, enterprise. What the war on drugs has not done is make a hint of difference in the drug taking behavior of the American citizenry.

The war on drugs is constitutionally insupportable. Prohibition of the rights of citizens in the American states to drink alcohol or use other drugs as they see fit is not the business of the federal government. If the new house of representatives truly means to use the Constitution as a guide, the newly conservative congress could achieve its goals of:

  • smaller government,
  • expanding individual freedoms and
  • saving tens of billions of dollars a year.

Congress, end these misguided and illegal federal prohibitions and then defund the bloated agencies that enforce them, such as the DEA.

As the 112th House of Representatives reads the Constitution, let them also read a little quotation by a truly great American president, Abraham Lincoln:

  • Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.
    – Speech in the Illinois House of Representatives, Dec 18, 1840.

3 thoughts on “Read the Constitution. End Prohibition. Defund the war on drugs.

  1. Hello Don,

    Just discovered your site and thought I leave a note to say keep up the good work. I’ve added you to my rss subscriptions and to our site’s blogroll. Not sure if you’ve come across it yet but I am hoping that you approve. It’s called yourbrainondrugs.net

    We are an independent non-profit, run by psychologists and sociologists. Basically we’re in middle of writing an android app that can perform memory, coordination and reaction time tests on smartphone users. it will also collect simple data about drug and alcohol consumption and emotional state. We crunch the numbers and provide personal and networked performance data. Basically, we hope to measure alcohol & drug consumption and effects by harnessing the addictiveness of online games and worldwide high score league tables.

    http://yourbrainondrugs.net/faq

    We running a blog to promote the project and discuss the development process and the wider issues that it addresses. We aim to do everything in an open laboratories philosophy. Our code will be open source, our data with be open format and downloadable/remixable. Our research will be published in open access journals. And above all else we will try to our minds open too. So all advice and offers of assistance are very welcome.

    All the best,
    Caspar

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