Wherefore, honest men and wise men should be sought for diligently, and good men and wise men ye should observe to uphold; (D&C 98:10)

Saturday, September 19, 2015

To Persuade Ourselves Against Recreational Drugs

What is the best way to persuade ourselves, our family and friends and the rest of our communities to not use recreational drugs?

This is the question I would love to know. J. Max Wilson wrote, Reasons to Oppose the Legalization of Recreational Drugs. Following are some comments from a FB post he made that resonate with me.

One of the dangers of implied consent in regards to recreational use of drugs is that there are always those on the margin who will experiment and become addicts who might otherwise not have done so had the implied consent not been given.
I support reformation of punishments for drug abuse, but not necessarily legalization.
A danger of pushing drug legalization in the name of "freedom" is the failure to recognize that drug addiction inherently means a loss of personal freedom as well as collateral damage to loved ones and neighbors. (Brent Douglas Aaron, link)
To me, this issue presents like the two lovers or the vase, or the young woman or the old hag, or any other illusion — I can see strong, reasonable arguments on both sides. I lean towards decriminalization primarily to mitigate the police state and other enforcement overreaches, but have never strongly advocated for decriminalization as the solution, because I would be just as happy with laws that bind the police state (but which do not lead to decriminalization altogether). 
My suspicion is that our present legal system is simply not equipped to assuage the concerns of all interested parties. Perhaps a common law system might be able to address the concerns of both sides: (1) specific wrongs brought about by drug use can be redressed (brought against the defendant by the persons harmed, or the state acting on behalf of named victims), (2) a person could still smoke weed alone in a cabin in the woods on his two-month vacation without fearing police action.  
The idea being that recreational drug use could still trigger legal action, but does not *have* to — a common law system can take relevant contexts into account in a way that our present legal system cannot. (Jeffrey Thayne, link)
Richard, there are two main differences between drug prohibition and alcohol prohibition that make them not parallel: 
1. As Dalrymple explains in the article I linked, alcohol prohibition attempted to prohibit something that a vast majority of Americans consumed regularly or even daily, and had been culturally acceptable and widespread for millennia. Other recreational drugs have never been similarly acceptable or widely used.
2. Alcohol Prohibition only criminalized the manufacture and sale of alcohol, not possession or consumption. So it curtailed supply but not demand. Drug prohibition makes both illegal. So the dynamics are not the same. 
Attempts to make them parallel conveniently ignore these important differences. (Jonathan Max Wilson, link)

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