War on Drugs

issues-end-the-drug-war-legalize-marijuana

Libertarians want to end the failed “War on Drugs” and legalize marijuana

What right could be more basic, more inherent in human nature, than the right to choose what substances to put in one’s own body? Whether we’re talking about alcohol, tobacco, herbal cures, saturated fat, or marijuana, this is a decision that should be made by the individual, not the government.

Drug-related crime (which is over 85% of all crime) is caused not by drugs but by drug laws that make it expensive and a monopoly of criminals. This stance isn’t “approving” of drugs; it’s just realism, prohibition doesn’t work. In addition to the significant financial strain, the worst hazard of the drug war may be the expansion of police powers through asset forfeiture laws, “no-knock” warrants and other “anti-drug” measures. These tactics can’t stop the drug trade, but they are making a mockery of our supposed Constitutional freedoms.

Libertarians would leave in place laws against actions which directly endanger the physical safety of others, like driving under the influence of drugs, or carrying a firearm under the influence.

Make Marijuana Legal

Over a million and a half Americans were arrested last year on drug charges, and nearly 40% of those arrests were for marijuana possession alone. Does this make sense?

A recent Gallup poll reports that 58% of Americans now agree that marijuana should be legalized, a dramatic increase in support that reflects Americans’ increased knowledge and understanding of the issue. Proposals to regulate marijuana similarly to alcohol have been considered in several states, and the Libertarian Party has supported those efforts; Libertarians believes the federal government should end its prohibition mandate and allow each state to pursue its own desired policy.

Before we can get serious about reducing the harms associated with drugs, we have to accept that there will never be a drug-free society. The 2012 Libertarian Presidential Candidate, Governor Gary Johnson said “it will never be legal for a person to smoke marijuana, become impaired, and get behind the wheel of a car or otherwise do harm to others, and it will never be legal for kids to smoke marijuana. But we have to understand that marijuana is our nation’s #1 cash crop despite the prohibition; it will always be available to those who really wish to use it.”

When polled, high school kids say marijuana is easier to get than alcohol. Is this perhaps because they buy from black market dealers who do not ask for ID? Legalization of marijuana would instantly and dramatically improve conditions on our southern border. Marijuana is Mexico’s #1 illegal export; legalizing it would result in dramatically reducing the power and wealth of the drug lords, and instantly helping to restore stability in a nation whose stability and sustainability is truly vital to our economic and national security interests. If we truly wish to reduce border violence, take the profit out of it.

To create a drug-free society, we’d have to build a police apparatus so intrusive that all Americans would have to be under surveillance 24 hours a day… presumably for their own good. Should citizens of the “land of the free” ever stand for that? Abuse of hard drugs is a health problem that should be dealt with by health experts, not a problem that should be clogging up our courts, jails, and prisons with addicts. Instead of continuing to arrest and incarcerate drug users, we should seriously consider the examples of countries such as Portugal, the Netherlands, and Uganda, and we should ultimately choose to adopt policies which aim to reduce death, disease, violence, and crime associated with dangerous drugs. Honest, effective education will be key to succeeding with this transition. America has cut teen cigarette use in half, not by criminalizing possession and use, but through a combination of honest education and sensible regulation. We can never totally eliminate drug addiction and drug abuse. We can, however, minimize these harms and reduce the negative effects they have on society by making sure drug abusers are able to access effective treatment options (jail is not an effective treatment option).

Lastly, Libertarians believe the government should not be able to tell us what we can and cannot put into our body.

What You Should Know About Drug Prohibition

Why Are So Many Violent Criminals Walking Free?

Racial Inequality in the Criminal Justice System

1 Comment


  1. To Whom It May Concern,
    RE: “Right of Florida Voters to decide themselves whether or not to
    approve Legal Cannabis in the statewide 2018 election.”

    My name is Chris Kennard, and I belong to the non-profit, non-partisan citizen’s movement, Floridians For Freedom as a Volunteer Coordinator in North Central Florida, engaged in an ongoing state ballot initiative drive to collect RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS petitions.

    On behalf of the Floridians For Freedom, (FFF) I respectfully ask the Libertarian Party of Florida to consider adopting a resolution or motion at your 2017 State Convention this year, reflecting the position that:

    “The Libertarian Party of Florida supports the right of Florida voters to decide for themselves in the 2018 election whether to approve legal cannabis or not in Florida.”

    As a part of this request, or as a second motion or resolution, Floridians For Freedom, asks:

    “The Libertarian Party of Florida support the citizen based Floridians For Freedom and other citizen sponsored ballot initiative groups to place legal cannabis on the ballot for voters to have a choice in 2018. We encourage our interested Florida Libertarian Party organizations, Libertarian candidates for elected public office and our membership to distribute and collect RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS petitions, signed by registered Florida voters, to help place this issue on the 2018 ballot for Florida voters to vote upon.

    We particularly hope to work with those Libertarian Party County Chapters and members who are seeking an issue in which to make a visible contribution toward positive change in Florida.

    The thrust of the above certifies once again a long held belief reflected within the platform and position of the national Libertarian Party to end the “War on Drugs;” in this case, for the “End the Prohibition Against Cannabis,” which alone creates havoc on the national and state scene.

    The significance and immediacy of this vote we believe is applicable, regarding the right of Florida voters to choose our path for cannabis use. Citizens have the right and power, but we often do not use it wisely. This time, countless American voters in Florida may open their eyes even further, those who are disappointed, disillusioned, divided, demoralized, and disgusted.
    There are several compelling reasons we listed on separate pages underlying why we make these requests for the Libertarian Party of Florida to consider. The “timing” of now is critical.

    In light of elected politicians’ recent obstructions regarding the Medical Marijuana Amendment II, we share an opportunity, and for us, an obligation. Floridians For Freedom knows legal cannabis touches upon a working person’s life in many, many ways. We can no longer ignore the costly travesty the prohibition of cannabis causes our country; it is now time to end it.

    We wish to present our reasons why this proposed state constitutional amendment law is beneficial to pursue now, for both the Libertarian Party and for Florida citizens on the whole, and to request their assistance to distribute and collect our Florida voter signed petitions.

    71% of Florida voters approved the MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT II. that we, the people, bypassed the politicians in order to vote to approve in 2016. Consequently, many politicians do not like, agree with, or respect our state law. They do not seem to respect voters, either. The State Legislature just made improper changes to portions of this new law. Anger and determination to find another avenue for legal cannabis and medicinal cannabis is growing.

    If forced to go to lengthy court proceedings to enforce our new law, as the League of Women and Common Cause had to do to protect the Fair Districts Act in 2012, Florida residents could be waiting quite a while for most patients’ needs to be met.

    Many volunteers for full cannabis legalization and/or to pass a Medical Marijuana law felt this situation might arise. It is faster, more efficient and effective for all concerned to just make cannabis legal once more. The Florida Cannabis Action Network (FL CAN) has pled for 20 years with the Florida Legislature to recognize the value of medicinal cannabis. Subsequently, FFF was formed to pursue the state ballot initiative path to collect voter signed RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS petitions. We can wait no longer. People in prison, people dying.

    If Florida voters approve our RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS law, adults in Florida over the age of twenty one will have access to and be able to possess, use and grow their own cannabis plants, both for medicinal purposes and personal use; to relax and enjoy at home, in privacy. This number likely includes a large number of Libertarian households; fully spread across the State of Florida, as is true with many statewide organizations.

    Two months after voting to approve this proposed law, on January 8, 2019, you can go and plant a cannabis seed in your home garden to grow. This section is a self activating law; effective on this date after our 2018 election. The State of Florida has no legal recourse or right to interfere with your personal right anymore
    Provided our law passes, you can grow cannabis on private property for your personal use. You can give it to other adults, but to sell cannabis, you must secure whatever permit or pay a fee applicable to selling tomatoes or other garden commodities to the public.

    The Florida Legislature will have an opportunity to review and consider proposals we are formulating regarding this second section of our RIGHT OF ADULTS TO CANNABIS law. Cannabis transactional business matters and other commerce-related matters of public policy and law is the State Legislature’s job. Once Cannabis is legal, it won’t be hard to do.

    Once the people vote, it is the law; unlike what we are see happening to the 2016 MEDICAL MARIJUANA AMENDMENT II ballot initiative which required action to be taken by the Florida State Legislature to put this law into effect. Cannabis was not made legal under the Medical Marijuana Amendment II in 2016, so the prohibition against cannabis remains in effect, while personal rights to use cannabis are largely absent or greatly restricted.

    59% of Florida voters have consistently stated they support and would vote to pass legal cannabis. The most recent polls continue to reflect the number of voters supporting legal cannabis is still increasing, now at 61%. Each and every month that goes by, the number of legal cannabis supporters grows as people learn more about cannabis.

    FFF therefore reaches out to other organization’s members as well, such as the Florida AFL-CIO, the Sierra Club, the AARP, the NAACP, the Florida Green Party and independent voters who are adrift from other political parties; in order to form a broad consensus, a wave of support across an otherwise very divisive political board. This issue has many voters support.

    This is a unifying issue in today’s world, as people discover more about how and why our economic, legal and political systems have been working against our best interests for a number of decades. It is something the Libertarian Party knows too much about. This is a time and way we can do something about it, affecting our environment, our jobs, our state and national economy, our medical rights as patients to heal ourselves, and most important, our right to freedom and the right to privacy, on our own private property.

    The pinching vice-grip of control is felt by the union movement, as I well know from nearly nine years as a Florida AFL-CIO voting delegate, and President of the ATU Local 1579, representing RTS public transit employees, Gainesville, Florida. Libertarians who are union members, harassed by provisions of law, like illegal cannabis giving rise to lost employment as well as possible arrest, court and conviction, know of what I speak. Unions cannot help you, until cannabis is legal once again, as it was many years ago.

    One of my proudest moments, that I share with you here, was the honor of Florida AFL-CIO Resolution # 8 being unanimously approved at the September 1991 Florida AFL-CIO Biennial Convention in Miami Beach, Florida.

    The resolution was in honor of the ATU Local 1579 membership’s activities to end the pervasive race and sex based employment policies and practices of the City of Gainesville and Alachua County. Moreover, the effort we made was recognized, to cleanse city hall of the corrupt government officials, by ending the million dollar theft of mass transit funds, allegedly going to public office candidates selected by the good ole’ boy network of North Central Florida. Though on a far larger scale, the prohibition of cannabis is a similar tale of corruption.

    Corrupt corporate funds now flow to influence and throw the validity of our elections into doubt. Campaign cash and slush fund monies go to politicians from health insurance and pharmaceutical industries sources that couple with the international alcohol, timber, petroleum, and private prison firms, as well as other elements of the 1% mega-wealthy who meddle in public affairs for obscene profits. It is this money and these people who oppose legal cannabis.

    Your collective voice as Libertarian Party members in Florida carries far and can be influential on issues such as this one. It matters to each and everyone of us, and our families.

    I will come to each Libertarian Party County Chapter established in Florida over the next year to participate in petition collection activities, before we vote on this issue in 2018, provided I have the opportunity to do so, if welcomed by your members, and circumstances permit.

    My wife, Nancy, and I, in our mid-60’s, tend to her parents needs as best we can. They are in their early 90’s, and in very good health, until recently, as Alzheimer’s has made it‘s presence known. For now, I stay a little closer to home. I have old motorcycle accident injuries from being hit by an errant driver 20 years ago that are kicking in; and we have some prudent steps our family must take together as time has gone on.

    Betty Jo, who is 91, and Carlton Earl Hauser who is 92, grew up during the Great Depression. Carl was both a union member at RCA as well as a 30 year manager who received awards for working well with his former union, the UE. Later on, Carl was a Martin Marietta manager in Ocala, Florida, and received a briefcase and plaque from the UAW Local 1821, reflecting their high esteem. This plaque bearing his name hangs yet in one of the hallways of this now Martin – Lockheed plant, thirty years later, I have been told. Carl also appreciates my appeal to you.

    Both of Nancy’s parents use cannabis for their Alzheimer’s, and support Nancy’s use to cure her liver, once nearly destroyed by the Hepatitis C virus, now healing. We seek legal cannabis.

    Our constitutionally protected right of free speech and our right to vote is how we, as Florida citizens, can change this situation around to better represent and best implement our collective hopes, dreams and interests we share as a people; who now comprise a majority of Florida’s registered voters to approve legal cannabis. It is our personal freedom and privacy rights at stake. It is our right and ability to secure these rights once more. The time is now to move!

    Please feel free to contact me regarding the above matters, and I hope to see all of you at the Libertarian Convention in Coco, Florida this coming May 5, 2017.

    Sincerely,

    _____________________________________________________
    Christopher M. Kennard North Central Florida Volunteer Coordinator.
    4315 SE 10th Place Ocala, Florida 34471 [North Central Florida Regional Office]
    Cell Phone: (352) 375-0375 peacecmk@gmail.com FloridiansForFreedom.com

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