So today it’s time for a lesson in seeing the big picture. Drugs and Violence (specifically gang violence in BC, Canada).
Drugs are a DEMAND-side problem; ie. if you removed all of the supply of them (War on Drugs, *ahem*) the demand will still be there 100%. Like the “War on Terrorism,” you can kill a whole bunch of terrorists, but you can’t kill the fact that people hate the US, and in this case you can’t have a big enough War on Drugs to kill the fact that people like drugs.
So to say the so-called “War on Drugs” will ever work is a joke. Even, if I managed to invent a button, and that button single-handedly made all drugs in America disappear at the same time, then the first thing people will do after the button is pushed is… TRY TO FIND MORE DRUGS
Do you see how this would work?
I hear you, I hear you already… treatment, you are grumbling that now is the time. Well, yes technically treatment would be the way to go. As I previously mentioned, this is a demand-sided problem; fix ourselves, fix the problem.
Problem with that, is it costs too much money, and people just don’t want help. So we are stuck in the middle of a battle between trying to cut off the immense supply of drugs coming to the even larger demand for them. If you have studied economics you will realize we are in equilibrium. People who want to buy drugs are buying them at a price they feel equals the amount of benefit they get from them and drug dealers are making enough money that they feel it is worth the potential criminal charges/danger/death to keep selling.
Gangs are business, make no bones about it. Leases, mortgages, ties to legal revenue streams, employees, supply chains. But they happen to have one thing in common… they do things you shouldn’t do for $$$.
So I ask you, if I was running through my profit and loss statement as a drug dealing gang in BC and all of a sudden 50%, or even say 75% or 100% of my profits were being chipped away at by the fact that the government was starting to grow marijuana, what would I do?
Well my friends, time is now to diversify into other less savory activities to pay the bills. This may mean more violent crimes, it may mean importing more dangerous substances than marijuana. Maybe it means still growing the same damn marijuana to ship OUTSIDE the country. It is a well documented fact that a majority of the weed grown is done so for export. Moreso, if you are familiar with the “Ship the bad apples out” studies of economics you would realize that the highest quality marijuana is usually cultivated for export because of the higher prices Californians (or others) are willing to pay.
So, we have potentially no change, maybe a shakeout of lower level dealers who start selling more dangerous products (meth, coke and heroin), an increase in supply of higher order drugs by those dealers who have access to purchase these narcotics from Columbia, Afghanistan or the Golden Triangle causing them to be cheaper and easier to get which would cause more people to be addicted to them and more overdoses. AND, you would have just as much violence as the larger gangs tighten their grip on the more lucrative export markets being created.
Now the argument also can be made that ‘moral’ businesses will still prohibit the use of drugs by their employees, so even as marijuana is ‘legal’ it most likely will still be tracked as a purchase for tax revenue purposes and as a matter of public record those databases will be available to law enforcement and employers everywhere. SO, your only choice might still be to get it from a small local dealer with whom you’ve trusted and may or may not have anything to do with the big gangs here.
I think the biggest argument against the legalization process causing more or less violence would be that even if you say, “hey man, don’t just legalize weed, legalize ALL drugs” you would see an even BIGGER problem. And that problem is the demand… just as I highlighted the demand-side of drugs previously, think about the amounts that need to be produced and then ask yourself, if these drugs are so destructive to a person’s life, why would the government want to grow and produce them? Or can they even produce enough for the demand? So now you have a scenario where governments would need to buy straight from Cartels in Latin America, or the Taliban in Afghanistan. Is that something they are willing to do to provide legal drugs to citizens who should not be messing themsevles up in that way anyways?
So you say the world should legalize drugs… well that won’t work either because in a place like Columbia, the government is barely hanging on in an all out war with powerful militias fueled by drug money. They don’t care if it is legalized in their country and even if it was, they would still want to blow up the government, the police and the military so they could ship more drugs out to make more money.
So maybe now you can see A) legaization won’t decrease violence and B) legalization doesn’t solve any more problems than it brings up.
Legalization is not the answer.
Government tracking and business dedicated to being “drug-free” would track you.
Purchasing of the more intensely illegal drugs would still need to be illegal, otherwise the gov’t would need to manufacture it themselves and it would most likely be more expensive due to the fact that around the world coca and poppies are grown on an immense scale, google Afghanistan and poppies to find out.