Sunday, September 13, 2015

War on Drugs and a War for Drugs


Our planet produces some drugs of plant and synthetic chemical origin that have simultaneous medicinal and recreational use. For brevity we shall just call these drugs in this note as in common parlance but as different from other substances that have exclusive medicinal use only such as antibiotics that are not included in this note.

Because of their recreational use, there is possibility of misuse of drugs. Some are highly addictive and some that can kill in excess dose as indeed even alcohol can but much sooner. It is because of such dangers that laws have been instituted around the world to control production, consumption and distribution of drugs. But demand for these drugs continues. As a result, a world wide illegal trade has developed around drug sales involving crime syndicates, drug mafia, corruption of state actors and gang wars leading to huge numbers of deaths and crime. So fearful has been the ensuing violence in some countries that thousands of minors have been compelled to flee their homes in Central America and seek refuge in other countries they can find their way to.

At times and places in the world when alcohol was made illegal, it too sponsored crime and most countries now permit production, sale and consumption of alcohol with some controls. A time has come for the world to consider legalizing many drugs too and replace existing criminal laws that surround them with other forms of controls so as to end crime, corruption and violence that surrounds existing laws on drugs.

The most worrisome aspect of making drugs illegal is that it then becomes a highly profitable albeit illegal business. As in any business that is profitable, use of these drugs is then promoted by business, again through illegal means, such as agents providing free samples to potential victims until they become addicts

While a huge lobby of common folk, scientists and intellectuals has emerged in the world that is calling out for legalization of drugs, there is also another powerful one that wishes to continue with existing practices, some because they profit from it. According to UN, more than half of illegal drug trade is in cannabis and if it was made legal as it used to be in prior centuries, the illegal business and crime surrounding it would collapse. Then there is the legal drug industry that provides some medicinal compounds at obscene profits which would have no use once cannabis becomes legally and freely available. It is a weed that cannot be patented for profit. These profitable industries feed law makers and government agencies that make laws and even persist with lies in official documents despite much scientific evidence such as cannabis has no medicinal value.

However, lies have a limited life and as truth begins to asserts once again, the world can hope to see a legalization of many drugs now considered illegal. Such moves have already begun in countries such as Uruguay, Portugal and in parts of US and Europe to different degrees and in time will spread to the rest of the world.


 A Useful Classification

While the world considers legalizing drugs, it is worth debating what kind of new controls would be necessary. For this purpose it is highly useful to divide all drugs in three categories A, B and C as follow

  1. Drugs of plant origin with minimal processing such as cleaning, drying etc.
  2. Refined extracts from plant origin that may be isolated compounds or a highly concentrated group of compounds
  3. Drugs of purely chemical origin discovered in a lab

As regards drugs of category A, the permitted ones could be sold through existing alcohol stores in branded small packages with similar controls and taxation as alcoholic drinks. However, drugs like cannabis that are not addictive could be sold elsewhere too as indeed it was for centuries without causing any serious problem.

Drugs of Category B, because they are far more potent, may be sold on prescription through chemists and pharmacies with similar controls as with other medicine

Drugs of Category C needs to be completely banned as ones with great potential harm, hopefully when drugs from other two categories are available there would be little use for these.

Cocaine Plant

Financial Benefit

Countries that legalize drugs would derive two kind of financial benefits. First they would save money of unnecessary law enforcement; secondly they would collect tax revenues as they do with alcohol and tobacco at present. Some of these revenues may then be used for education programs about potential harm and some for addiction treatment centers. The profits that now go to crime syndicates and corrupt state actors would then be go towards public good. The greatest benefit for mankind would however be in getting rid of crimes and availability of medicines for conditions that cannot be treated with existing medicines such as epilepsy in children and a host of  other conditions for adults that cannot be dealt with in this brief note presently but are widely known,

FIRST STEP:    While various countries debate the legalization of drugs, a first step is essential, the decriminalization of possession and consumption of drugs, at the most fines may be considered as civil offenses similar to traffic offenses. Similarly the production of natural herbal drugs too must be decriminalized and treated at the most with fines. In any case cannabis comes up as wild weed and everyone grows poppy for the flower garden. Criminal offenses must however be retained for production of drugs of synthetic chemical origin.

UPDATE October 20, 2015:
Good News is that Justin Trudeau has just become the new PM of Canada and he has thoughts similar to those expressed in this note. The world should now see legalization of cannabis in Canada and with that example in many more countries of the world soon.

UPDATE: Nov 7, 2015

While efforts to legalize Marijuana/Cannabis are being debated in many different parts of the world presently, the following new note adds useful information for that debate is a simple and comprehensive manner:

Image sources in order of appearance


Unknown said...

Hi, I'm a cancer patient and have lately been reading up a lot on the medicinal value of Cannaboil extract of the Cannabis plant. Although I have never had a problem earlier with the use of Cannabis as a recreational drug (it's safer than alcohol) it is only now that my mind has opened up to the potential of the plant being used medicinally. If you go through Rick Simpson's website
you are sure to learn much more on this magical plant which is now being spoken of as a cure for Cancer.

Ashok said...

Yes I am aware that Cannabis has many benefits for mind, body and soul. It was regarded as a divine plant in the Himalayas where it seems to have originated but in recent decades it has been maligned much because of commercial interests it seems. There are more articles on cannabis specifically in this blog that you can get to by using cannabis as the search term in the search tool on left.