This is the fourth part of the series ‘Logic of Legal or Illegal’; please read the previous parts to understand basic premises.
Before I may start to put up my arguments, let us imagine a hypothetical case where you are being strapped to a chair and someone is forcing you to eat a candy while you don’t want to eat it. Now consider this, if the person who strapped you is forcibly injecting cocaine in your veins, how will you react? Will the extent of opposition offered by you be the same in both cases?
It is true that there is a difference between a candy and a pint of cocaine; however, your reaction against cocaine will be largely affected by the constant indoctrination against drugs that you experienced throughout your life. Millions of dollars are spent every year to fight against drugs and thousands of people are jailed every year for doing acts that harmed no one.
Let me make this very clear, I am not a drug addict, I have never used contraband ever nor I have seen marijuana leaves ever. However, just like any other individual, I am deeply affected by the unnecessary war of government against drugs. A big amount of the taxes paid by me is consumed by this irrational and unnecessary act of government. Furthermore, the anti-narcotics department of police of our own government is then found to be involved in circulation and distribution of drugs1 . So, it all seems like an unnecessary drama which is no better than a high class drama of a rave party.
Again, criminalization of drug usage is not based on reason or logic, rather it is another such law which is actually irrational yet supported by emotions and hence a huge amount of money is wasted by government for its inaction. Governments which are deeply burdened with debt and fiscal deficits and which keep robbing citizens through high tax rates and inflation never think of reducing their expenditure in such unnecessary operations involving criminalization of drugs and drug users.
Why Drugs should not be Illegal?
People in support of criminalization of drugs often claim that drug use shortens your life. The truth is, Prohibition kills more than usage of drugs like heroine cocaine or marijuana. A lot many things potentially shorten your life. Joining army potentially shortens your life, road travels are potentially dangerous for your life and according to a report road accidents could kill more than one million by 20202 . Trains are not safe; living in Mumbai is not safe3 . Having sex without condoms may shorten your life; going to governmental medical hospitals for routine medical checkup may shorten your life. Consuming GM seeds and BT vegetables shortens your life, yet government promoters GM seeds, working potentially shortens life as working men live shorter than housewives.
Now everything that potentially shortens your life can be announced illegal. Road travel cannot be banned, trains cannot be prohibited, Mumbai or other terrorism hit cities can’t be deserted, sex cannot be made illegal, joining army or police force which potentially shortens life cannot be criminalized. You can’t criminalize working, or business in stock market, you can’t criminalize using GM seeds and BT vegetables. The point is, a lot many activities potentially shortens your life yet, you and other people get involve in these activities and they are not banned, they can’t be criminalized.
Another frivolous argument in support of drugs being illegal is that people who use drugs are financially incapable and they cannot fulfill their responsibilities. A man may become incapable because of many other reasons. Unemployed person is financially incapable, a person suffering from medical disease and physical incapability is more incapable to fulfill his responsibilities. Can we ban unemployment or physical disabilities and imprison or punish anyone who is unemployed or incapacitated because of illness or physical accidents?
Another similarly frivolous argument for banning drugs is that it creates problem in married life. We must understand that marriage is not slavery, rather it is a contract made with free-will. It doesn’t prevent and it should not prevent either husband or woman from doing things which are not liked by the other member. Married people may suffer brain damage, heart attack, severe injuries and even death while playing sports and field games like cricket or hockey. Does that criminalize playing sports and field games? Can we imprison Sachin Tendulkar or Mahendra Singh Dhoni because both are married and cricket players too? Cricket players and Bollywood actors often remain away from their home on sports tours or film projects and can’t provide time for their families and children. Should we ban cricket and Bollywood and announce sports and acting as illegal?
Why Drugs should be Legal?
Another frivolous argument in support of drugs being illegal is that people tend to commit crime to get money so that they may buy another dose of marijuana, heroine or cocaine. However, these crimes are not because of drugs, rather these crimes are committed because drugs are banned and illegal. Drugs are extremely expensive and this is because of the prohibition laws. They are not easily available and in some cases police and drug dealers conspire to make much higher profits. As a result, drug addicts just can’t get their dose easily and they need to do something extra-ordinary to get it. They can’t get enough money to pay for banned drugs through traditional jobs and hence they get involved in theft, robbery or prostitution.
Let’s believe that even if drugs are legal, drug addicts will fail to work normally. Yet, it will certainly lessen the rate of crime because drugs will be easily available at much cheaper rates and they can be administered under doctor’s prescription.
This can further be explained by comparing the effect of alcohol in India and in USA. Alcohol is considered as a social evil in India while in USA, it is a common social drink. As a result, alcohol damages much more lives in India than it does in US. Ignorant claim that Indians are more affected by alcohol because they are less educated than people in US. However, it is false. The reality is, in US, alcohol is freely available and hence it is cheap. Thus, nobody needs to produce illegal bootleg liquor that may get adulterated and poisoned. In India, more people are killed due to poisonous alcohol which is produced through bootlegging because government controls alcohol production and distribution through licenses which raises the price of alcohol. Hence to gain cheaper alcohol, people drink bootleg liquor and suffer risks of poisoned alcohol. Since alcohol is considered as social evil in India and in many states, it is banned, alcohol addicts are often ostracized from communities and they do not get enough support and help and hence they often get killed.
Legalizing drugs and alcohol will improve situations and will reduce damages and deaths. Furthermore, most of drugs can be used medically. Medical marijuana can prove to be helpful in cure of various cancers and AIDS situations. It also helps in reducing or bearing pain.
Furthermore, irrespective of being illegal, many people still use drugs and lead a common life and you never come to know about it because it is illegal. It is the indoctrination that makes you believe that drugs are evil and crime. Almost every Indian use Bhang during the season and festival of Holi (festival of colors) while it is a contraband, a drug. You might have enjoyed a glass of Bhang mixed thandai or might have consumed Bhang ke pakode or bhang ke laddu. Bhang is nothing but weed, a banned and illegal drug. You might have consumed it, congrats! Did it ruin your life?