Legalization and Freedom

3 minute read

Legalization and Freedom

I just overheard some people at a restaurant talking about “drugs” and the older man goes, “what about alcohol?” Alcohol IS a mind-altering drug. So is caffeine and tobacco. Just because it’s a legal drug doesn’t mean we shouldn’t treat it like other drugs.

People think that alcohol is perfectly fine to consume just because the all-knowing government has told us it is OK (legal) to use. But if you look at the research about harm to self and others, alcohol tops the list of drugs… it’s worse than heroin and meth! I hate being around large groups of drunk people - just last night, I removed myself from a party where there were lots of inebriated people. It wasn’t fun at all.

To be clear, I don’t think people should use drugs.

As a Libertarian, I support the legalization of ALL drugs and completely ending the “war on drugs” started by President Nixon in 1971. People who want to use drugs will do so whether its legal or not. To be clear, I don’t think people should use drugs. But let’s not infringe on the freedoms of others by imposing our own ideas of what is “right” or “moral” on everyone else and making it the law of the land.

Even just decriminalization will take money away from cartels (and into the hands of local entrepreneurs), end mass incarceration (and its inherent racism), help with ending the militarization of local police forces, and stop peoples lives from being completely destroyed for simple personal use possession.

We say that America stands for “freedom” and that we’re the “most free” country in the world. But we only pay lip service to freedom. When it comes to the rights of what we do with our own bodies, the government apparently knows best. Why do we not have the freedom to alter our own consciousnesses or make our own decisions about what we put in our bodies?

America is in an opiate epidemic right now. Why? Because people went to a doctor and got a prescription for something stronger than they could even find on the street for their pain management. Now they’re hooked and when they can’t get their legal meds anymore, they switch to heroin or morphine use - drugs readily available on the street. This epidemic has been created by pharmaceutical companies, doctors, and the heavy hand of the U.S. government.

Like it or not, Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and drug use went DOWN! Overdoses went DOWN! They were able to take the police enforcement and prison money and put it towards social causes and mental health counseling. They are actually helping people who want help instead of locking them up (you can still get drugs in jail, if you didn’t know) and causing that individual to be a ward of the state. Free needle exchanges have dramatically decreased the disease rates among injection drug users.

My philosophy here is simple:

  • Let people decide what is best for themselves and their lives.
  • Get the government out of people’s personal lives.
  • End the “war on drugs” - it has failed miserably.
  • Focus on helping people who want help through social programs and needle exchanges.
  • Increase harm reduction awareness and education. People have the right to know what they are putting in their bodies and how it will affect them.

“If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on.” ― Terence McKenna

Our models of addiction need to change, and it is changing slowly over time. Drugs don’t cause addiction. Check out this short video for more info:

Are you interested in supporting drug policy reform? Sign up for The Drug Policy Alliance newsletter and consider donating time or money to the cause (I do).

Interested in learning more about harm reduction strategies? Check out DanceSafe or purchase a testing kit and learn how to use it. You might save someone’s life who thinks they’re taking MDMA but it’s really MDA or ketamine. Knowledge, consent, and awareness is the answer—not prohibition.

Mark Rickert is a skydiver, wingsuit flyer, BASE jumper, and world traveler


Leave a Comment