That Damn Drug War

I was listening to NPR this morning and the topic happened to be women in prison. One of the little human interest features was about a woman who clearly was stopped Driving While Black and got caught with a couple of baggies of marijuana in her possession. She was arrested and convicted of trafficking (the fact it was individual bags was enough for a charge greater than simple possession). She was pregnant at the time of her arrest and now she and her infant are in prison. Her husband is in prison for marijuana possession. Her two older children are living with relatives.

This is a story of traumatized children and two ruined families all to “protect” us against a harmless drug.

Yes, marijuana is utterly harmless. If you smoke it a lot, you’ll have the same hacking cough a cigarette smoker will have. You’ll probably gain weight. That’s it. There is no known toxic dose.

We already have lots of laws in place to deal with people who abuse alcohol and cause harm to others in the process. There is no reason the same laws and institutions cannot be applied to marijuana and other harmless drugs. If you drive under the influence you should get a DUI. If you commit a crime under the influence you should be charged with a crime and public intoxication.

If a civil liberty is defined as a behavior or action that causes no harm to anyone (including yourself), then criminalizing harmless drugs is a violation of civil liberties.

Here is a list of criminalized drugs and their relative harmfulness. You will notice that there is no known lethal dose for marijuana.

http://andrewsullivan.theatlantic.com/the_daily_dish/2007/03/drugs_and_toxic.html

So a woman and her baby–her entire family–have been harmed by the Drug War, not the drugs.

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