The Long Road to Dismantling Prohibition


they look for cash cows

Marijuana decriminalization and legalization may start to be feeling like a fait accompli, a matter of when not if (you can check out the status of legalization efforts in all 50 states here).

Yet the "business" (mostly government) built around the war on drugs involves a lot of people (again, mostly government employees or those involved with government in some way) profiting from the status quo. Even as public opinion continues to move rapidly toward the mainstreaming of marijuana use, desperate drug warriors try to claim their often all-too-real war on drugs is actually a "public health" issue. Drug courts have popped up around the country to permit an end run around decriminalization. When the human cost of the drug war finally starts to make prohibition unpalatable, drug courts and the treatment of the consensual activity of drug use as a "public health" issue sanitizes it while keeping those who use drugs and get caught in the net of the drug warriors as profit centers.

Fearmongering about drugs helps fuel this kind of set-up. Even in Colorado, where voters approved marijuana legalization in 2012, the governor, Democrat John Hickenlooper, continues to insist it may not have been a good idea. He still wouldn't have supported it, he says, even as tax revenue exceeds projections. Counties, meanwhile, are fighting over the tax revenue even when they prohibit marijuana within their own jurisdictions. Agents with the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) insist "every parent" opposes marijuana legalization and get choked up telling the Senate thaat legalization "scares" them.

And anti-drug propaganda is peddled nationwide on a daily basis, especially under the guise of protecting children. Here are a couple of items just from today. In Washington, New Jersey:

Former Mount Olive Police Officer Joseph Abrusci is not good at being "retired."

As a certified expert in the area of drug impairment, Abrusci continues to offer his knowledge to parents and organizations that combat substance abuse with education and experience.

"I'm still having fun and enjoying it to help my community and its kids to stay on the right track, or get back on it," Abrusci said, "and I love every minute of it."

Abrusci offers eight hour classes under a program called "Drug Identification Training for Education Professionals." Dollars to donuts that's a paid gig.

Meanwhile in Montana:

Alliance for Youth is looking for students and parents to join separate advisory boards to help promote and sustain an anti-drug media campaign targeting teens.

The Above the Influence campaign will look at how parents and teenagers can reach out to students and encourage positive behavior and change attitudes about drugs and alcohol use and abuse.

For more than 20 years, Alliance for Youth has provided resources to families, children and teens to advance healthy youth development. They champion prevention and reduction of underage drinking and illegal drug use and dependency, which often leads to other problems including crime, violence, early sexual activity and dropping out of school.

The Alliance for Youth also adminsters the local court's drug court program. The drug war is a jobs program all the way down. Those can be the hardest to dismantle, tied to the power of government and to political pressure as they are.