I’ve been thinking about the drug “war” a lot lately. I have a lot of questions and would be open to suggestions and thoughts. How can we end at least the grossest stupidities of the drug “war” and restore our lost civil liberties?
One of the worst things is the illegal seizure of people’s money, euphemistically called “forfeiture.” If you are caught with any amount of cash much over $100 the police can seize it without even suspicion of wrongdoing. No warrant necessary. If the money tests positive for drugs–and most American money will–then you can be charged. You’ll never see that money again, the police can have it. Most often it goes into the police department bank account, though it varies from place to place. Furthermore they can and will keep it even if you are found innocent.
Check this out. It’s the 4th Amendment to the US Constitution.
“The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.”
Politicians are extremely reluctant to restore anyone’s rights once they have been removed–especially if the the rights have to do with anything that gives people pleasure (sex, drugs, rock n roll, whatever). Pleasure is something you get from sitting in church listening to someone else read excerpts from Deuteronomy. It’s not something you get from stimulating your body in various ways. That’s just pure evil and should be illegal in all cases without exception.
Ok, maybe I exaggerate just a tad.
Nevertheless, the illegal seizure laws can be softened through clever political manipulation until someone gets the balls the challenge the forfeiture laws all the way to the Supreme Court where I am 95% certain it will be declared unconstitutional. The reason I’m not 100% certain is because Scalia will probably assert that “seizure” meant something different 200 years ago, and therefore it’s constitutional now. He’s an originalist, don’t you know.
What I am proposing for the time being is a limit on what can be seized. I’m thinking anything under $100,000 in cash is off limits. There are too many stories of someone being suspected of some petty crime who happens to have $500 in cash in their wallet. It gets seized and becomes $500 that poor person will never see again. In fact, if they decide to test it for drugs, that poor person may never see the light of day again.
The forfeiture laws constitute unreasonable seizure and are blatantly unconstitutional. Politicians don’t care about that but putting a limit on seizure might be politically viable. Find out who your congress people are and write to them. I am. Meanwhile I’ll be extra careful not to have more than $20 cash in my purse at any given time.