Forget about “medical marijuana.” Isn’t it time to legalize heroin in the United States? Recreational cocaine? Ecstasy? LSD? How about the whole nefarious basketful of so-called ‘harder’ drugs?
Yes, it is, says Dr. Ron Paul, a fourteen-term libertarian congressman and obstetrician from the state of Texas. It’s a view shared by virtually none of his Republican colleagues, nor, for that matter, very many Democrats. Nor really anyone in the “mainstream” of American politics. But in this post, I’ll argue that he’s right.
Paul—who is currently making his third bid for President of the United States, and polling third among Republican contenders—offered his perspective to comedian and Daily Show host Jon Stewart in an interview earlier this week:
“I think drugs [like heroin] are horrible. I think they’re dangerous—prescription drugs as well as illegal drugs. I think they’re very, very dangerous. But the war on drugs, which violates civil liberties—getting people busted in their houses—that is the danger … [So] I fear the war on drugs more than I fear the drugs themselves.”
The “war on drugs” is dangerous indeed; it has failed, and failed dramatically. A new report by the Global Commission on Drug Policy concludes that that “political leaders and public figures should have the courage to articulate publicly what many of them acknowledge privately: that the evidence overwhelmingly demonstrates that repressive strategies will not solve the drug problem, and that the war on drugs has not, and cannot, be won.”
The commission consisted of such figures as former U.N. Secretary-General Kofi Annan, former U.S. Federal Reserve chairman Paul Volcker, and the former presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia.