|There was consensus among the participants at the
Anti-Legalization Forum, too, on the need to ask a number of questions of those proposing
legalization. Too often, the specifics of how to implement a system for distribution and
sale of legalized drugs are never discussed. Instead, simplistic rhetoric is used to
deflect serious consideration of the many questions that must be thought through before
one can evaluate the ramifications of their proposals. This is the great weakness of the
pro-legalization position. Participants in the Forum suggested that the following
questions be asked consistently in order to illustrate the shallowness of the legalization
||It is obvious from this statement that the people who
prepared this booklet have never read the most basic research on the subject. If they are
really interested in the actual proposals for reform they should refer to the Major Studies of Drugs and Drug Policy.
These studies each proposed their own set of reforms which are amazingly consistent over
the last 100 years. What is most amazing is that the DEA tries to ignore the fact that
they exist and these questions have been answered in detail many times before.
|Should all drugs be legalized?
||The more appropriate question is: For which drugs is it
beneficial to throw hordes of people in prison? Answer: none
|Who will determine which segments of the
population will have access to legalized drugs?
||Who determines this now? At the current time, the only
restrictions on the sale of drugs are those imposed by organized crime.
|Will they be limited only to people over
||Nearly everyone agrees that the restrictions on these drugs
should be at least as tight as the restrictions on the sales of alcohol.
|Will cocaine, heroin, LSD and PCP be made
available if people request them?
||Are they available now? The DEA itself admits that it has
never had any significant impact on the flow of drugs.
|Who will sell drugs? The government?
||Who sells them now?
We have only three options for those
who will regulate the drug market:
- Government, with proper regulations and taxes to address the social problems;
- Private Industry, with proper regulations and taxes to address the social problems;
- Organized Crime, with no regulations or taxes to address the social problems.
The DEA believes that Organized Crime is the best group to control the commerce in
drugs. It seems obvious that either one of the other two choices would be preferred.
|And who is liable for damages caused by
drug use and the activities of those taking drugs?
||Who is liable for the much greater damage caused by alcohol?
The rules should be the same as for alcohol.
|Who will collect the revenues generated by
the drug sales?
||Who collects them now? The DEA seems to think that these
revenues are best sent to the drug lords, rather than being collected in taxes where they
might be used to address social problems.
|How will a black market for cheaper drugs
||How is it controlled now for illegal drugs? How is it
controlled now for alcohol? At this point, the black market for illegal drugs is out of
control. The major point of "legalization" is to bring these drugs under better
|Who will bear the costs to society of
increased drug use?
||Who bears the cost now? At this point, the entire cost is
borne by the taxpayer, with no recompense from taxes.
|How will absenteeism and loss of
productivity be addressed by business?
||The same way it is addressed for the problems of alcohol and
tobacco. By comparison with the problems of alcohol and tobacco, the problems of illegal
drugs are relatively minor.
|Will the local drug situation in a
community dictate which drugs are sold where?
||Who determines where drugs are sold now? Criminals currently
control the location of the outlets. This is in contrast to the regulation of alcohol,
where the location of the outlets is controlled by local government.
|How will society care for and pay for the
attendant social costs of increased drug use, including family disintegration and child
||These costs would be paid through tax revenues on the sale of
drugs. This is as opposed to the current situation where there are no tax revenues. What
would be tax revenues currently goes to the drug lords as profits.
|Will people still need prescriptions for
currently controlled medications, such as antibiotics, if drugs are legalized?
||Yes. Antibiotics are an entirely different class of drugs
with an entirely different set of problems and, therefore, would justify an entirely
different set of regulations.
|Will legal drugs require prescriptions?
||That depends on what you mean by "legal". For
example, both alcohol and penicillin are "legal" but have different requirements
for purchasing them.
|Can anyone, regardless of physical or
medical conditions purchase drugs?
||Can anyone purchase these drugs now? Can anyone purchase
alcohol or tobacco now? The rules should be the same as for alcohol or tobacco.
|How will we deal with the influx of people
to the United States who will seek legal drugs?
||We won't have to. Once the United States adopts more sensible
drug policies and stops pressuring the world to support prohibition, this will cease to be
|Can we begin a legalization pilot program
in your neighborhood for one year?
||Yes. As the New York City Bar Association
recommended, we should allow states and communities to determine their own approach to
the problem, as they do for alcohol, so that we might have a number of different programs
from which to draw ideas and information. The one thing we should not do is to stay locked
in to a single national policy which -- by definition -- cannot work.
|Should the distribution outlets be located
in the already overburdened inner city?
||Where are they located now? Matters affecting the inner city
should be decided by the people of the inner city.