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Reason on Drug Decriminalisation

Decriminalisation is legalisation. If something is not treated as a crime, and no sanctions are imposed, then it is legal.

I enjoy Reason Magazine – I am a Kindle subscriber. But I do find Reason’s constant nagging about the pointlessness of the ‘War on Drugs’ frustrating.

A free society always has to tolerate some behaviours which are harmful to the individual and to others. Drunkenness, excessive gambling, the use of pornography, for example.

Legislators attempt to balance the general good of freedom against the harm occasioned by particular behaviours. Sometimes they get the balance wrong.

My belief is that there should be a bias in favour of allowing people to act as they choose, and that behaviour should not be legally sanctioned unless there are compelling reasons to do so. But I am not at all convinced by Reason’s nagging, or by other discussions I have seen, that the balance, the overall good of society, will best be served by legalising all forms of drug use.

Writing in the UK’s Daily Mail, Melanie Phillips looks at actual facts. The ‘actual’ in that sentence is a weasel word, I know, but I don’t care. Forget about the theory, what really happens when drugs are legalised?

She concludes:

The bottom line is that legalisation would mean more people on drugs, more addiction, more disease and death and more violence, antisocial behaviour and harm to the rest of society. The campaign to undermine the UN drug laws is being promoted by some very bad people indeed and a large number of useful idiots. We need drug legalisation like… well, like a hole in the head.