Controlled Substances Plan
1.) Equate any restrictions for the more harmless mind-altering chemicals. This promotes society’s respect of government legitimacy.
2.) Laws concerning private drug use can a.) respect autonomous choices b.) clearly guide responsible behavior in the community especially near others who are learning or have decided drugs like these don’t fit them – some prefer nutrition from other stuffs.
3.) If we can’t make laws concerning like substances logically consistent, tier sanctions for these offenses more moderately. If we do, all demographics (including celebrities) can receive more consistent treatment under the law. Rule of law doesn’t work when punishments are so harsh that they are very unevenly enforced.
4.) Allow people privacy within their own homes. Don’t fill jails with users.
5.) Get sneaky with the awareness promotion. Young people are looking to rebel, so quit trying so hard to ‘say no’. Respect their desire to come to that decision independently. Consider finding celebrities and others they admire for a soft-sell of more substance-free lives. Use personal story to demonstrate examples of success. Infotainment done well and empathy cinema can work wonders, but most current drug education efforts lack any interesting or complex narrative. Young people deserve more than graphics and catchy phrasing.
Controlled substances enforcement can transition to policies that grow more user-directed market regulations and further the success of harm reduction techniques to more responsibly rescue users who lose control of their use and repeatedly fail rehabilitation from addiction.
The War on Drugs focused on drug supplies has not only failed, but also incites other dangers in society from the illicit markets that inevitably thrive. Mitigating the harms users who have lost control face will help manage the problems on a the more personal level required. I hope populations using these substances will take the lead in helping to optimize harm reduction practices.
This plan fits with my overall governing ideas by laying responsibility directly beside freedom. Problems are best solved through community self-governance by those wishing to exercise a liberty. It should go without saying, but any experiment of allowing recreational use of addictive substances creates the opportunity for those communities to work out the regulations for the markets created. I expect they will be hyper-vigilant for fear of losing the liberty. Markets should not expose young people or the general commonwealth to the dangers of these products.
All models of self-governance in these experiments don’t have to be private. User groups might even ask for taxes to fund government partnerships to help in smart market enforcements – local governments would naturally be best. Cultural norms vary across our nation, so my ideas here are to reflect my trust in markets of free and responsible people to work out ways that manage distribution of goods in creative ways so that the longest term solutions can be found.
Along the way, monitoring of the greater market trends and danger reductions by the federal government might continue until society is sure that solid practices through private regulation are worked out.
Pat Robertson, an evangelical religious leader who also doesn’t partake of anything more than occasional alcohol, suggested recently that marijuana carry the same restrictions as alcohol. I decided I must be brave and address this controversial issue as well. It doesn’t effect me much, I’ve only looked into marijuana from a business point of view. A sober bartender in a good for business, but I realized taste discrimination was more important to the newest medical marijuana dispensaries. I’m willing to have a beer occasionally, but I haven’t been into inhaling – even campfire smoke. I got a mad rush of a headache from my first cigarette experience in France and got another when I once tried my dad’s nicotine patch just for kicks.
I agree with Pat Robertson on this issue. I don’t think possession of small personal amounts warrant harsh penalties.
It doesn’t mean we have to change the laws, but doing so would help. Augmenting enforcement, our current strategy, leaves discretion up to the police. Sometimes this flexibility is good, but often it is not. It leads both to discrimination and the opportunity to enforce one issue as punishment for another.
It’s best if we just have the fewest laws we’re willing to enforce. We could have tiers of consistently enforced laws. Single sanctions come to mind as easy to activate in a consistent manner. The honor system at the University of Virginia has survived for many reasons, but the unambiguous expulsion (‘single sanction’) for lie, cheat, and steal is one that the students have long supported in this cherished student-administered system. Single sanction for honor offenses matters so much that other student self-governance of bad behavior at the school is administered by an entirely separate judiciary system from the honor system.
Whether we change the rules or not, the fact remains that there are plenty of laws in most domains of our lives that serve primarily to guide behavior, but are very loosely enforced. I never bother going to the intersection to cross the street on my jogs as I feel I breathe less exhaust and waste less time by crossing in a diagonal, skipping manner (remember Frogger?) in the middle of the street. I know the risks to my safety, but I choose to be my own careful guide over riding any local law. The more laws there are, the less likely a strict rule of law will survive. No authority assumes my jaywalking behavior endangers my life enough to sit on the corner and cart rare offenders like me to prison. Need another ridiculous example? Everyone knows you can generally drive ten miles over a posted speed limit. In some places you can still eat on public transit, but rules stated on the sign reminds us not to be such slobs about it. (“guides” and “rules” might be terms for governments to use in a tiered enforcement system, reserve “laws” for limited use.
I hope we can minimize prison use in the future. Prison rehabilitation is possible, but rare as they are currently administered. Today, prisons more often ruin lives or, if not, grow adversarial attitudes. If the convicted is not a great harm to society, communities would likely be better off if they can get creative through other modes of case work. Skipping these grand jail time gestures the non-dangerous will help us focus on what to do with those who really need a prison to contain their threat to society.
I hope we can arrange that law breakers serve out sentences in any prison, jail, or obligatory reform plan in the community while doing productive things. Most everyone strengthens character and confidence when they are constructive. Those who think there is no value in sentencing ‘work’ that benefits the convicted person’s ability to reflect on circumstances while they also maintain interest in skill-building and create value to society must forget that there are many compelling assignments that could inspire more positive change than what is currently most routine – an exercise, grub, meditation, and library schedule. Have you seen the stories of more people committing crimes so they can have the shelter and food in prison? Tough times we’re in.
On the specific drug debate between alcohol and marijuana, there is a significant difference between the practice of the two behaviors – smoke of marijuana travels and harms the liberties of people nearby. Drunk driving is terrible, but a separately enforced matter. In short, if people just ate brownies or drank their THC I’d be happier.
The ‘legalize it’ crowd forgets that more open smoking will have to be managed. Many people don’t want to smell it all over the place and their families. That’s our right to autonomy entering the discussion again.
Across the hall in my building the concentration coming through the walls most afternoons is rather ripe. I haven’t knocked yet, as I imagine the door opening would require I be in better breath-holding shape, but I am trying to remember to buy that rope ladder for escapes off my balcony.
Will the little headache I get when I arrive to my apartment’s home in the afternoon be all over my town’s block if the drug is legalized? Does the lackadaisical mood the substance promotes likely to harm any substantive self-governance the community that uses marijuana will enact to keep others from being annoyed? That’s my issue.
However another issue trumps. Equating restrictions for the more harmless mind-altering chemicals simply goes with my philosophy of clear and consistent logic in the practice of any government authority.
My suggestion for getting around the political chaos and increasing liberty on this issue is for those in favor of treating THC just like alcohol to rally their neighbors to boycott consumption of alcohol to draw mainstream (and corporate) interest in the issue until these two mild mood altering drugs are more comparably regarded. I don’t care to consume marijuana, but I want to find better ways to increase individual autonomy. So I’ll participate to support the boycott. I’m already boycotting all cereals with more than 4 grams of sugar per a serving, but communicating a boycott of that harmful, addictive substance might be more difficult. Cigarettes is an option, but I think the alcohol boycott would most effective. I don’t expect giving up my theophylline, theobromine, and caffeine use would help much. But, these mild (if I watch my doses) substances from nature help me empathize with your THC fight.