One-fifth of our states have passed ballot initiatives that are chipping away at the nation’s drug laws. Some 24 states permit voters to participate in the initiative process and this is where the drug legalization battle is being waged.
The initiative process was originally designed to give ordinary citizens a voice in proposing legislation but the people who are bankrolling these initiatives are far from ordinary. George Soros, Peter Lewis and John Sperling are three of the wealthiest – perhaps misguided, but certainly most devious men on earth.
They no longer want to legalize marijuana and other drugs. They want to legalize marijuana as medicine, repeal unfair mandatory minimum prison sentences and end, what they claim, is our failed war on drugs, in order to reduce crime and minimize the harm drugs do. In other words, they want to push the public in a direction that carefully crafted opinion polls and focus groups have shown the 80 percent of Americans, who oppose drug legalization, may be willing to go.
Those fighting on the frontlines of this battle are patient and content to focus on wedge issues. When these wedge issues are won, they will drive the wedge a little deeper until their dream of a society, which not only accepts and freely uses drugs, but also maintains drug addicts at taxpayer expense, is realized.
These promoters will tell you that we’ve lost the war on drugs but the same argument could be made about the war on poverty or racism. Is that any reason to throw in the towel? These are not wars society can expect to win outright. However, we are making progress and there are important reasons this progress should be continued, about 450,000 reasons to be specific. That’s how many people in the United States died last year from causes related to alcohol and tobacco, two other addictive but legal substances.
The National Household Survey on Drug Abuse, reports that 104 million people in this country have used alcohol in the past month and 66 million have used tobacco. Compare that to the relatively small number of people, 14 million, who have used drugs. Last year there were 16,000 drug related deaths, tragic to be sure, but nothing compared to the large number of people who are dying from causes related to the drinking of alcohol and the smoking of cigarettes.
With only six percent of the overall population over the age of 12 currently using drugs, it is difficult to say that drug-reduction efforts have failed. Furthermore, it took 30 years of campaigning for smoking to decline as much as illegal drug use did in just 10 years.
Drug proponents cite polls that show only 15 percent of the population say they likely would use drugs if they were legal. That is about triple what it is today. However, proponents are discounting the fact that, once these substances become legal, the stigma will be gone. Also, those who market drugs will begin to glamorize these substances, thereby increasing the demand.
Although only one quarter to one half of the population believe they easily could get illegal drugs, only 11 percent of people report seeing drugs available in areas where they live. If drugs are legalized, they will be available everywhere.
Drug proponents will argue that marijuana is not as addictive as alcohol, therefore it is a lot safer and deserves to be legalized. Marijuana is not safe. Scientists have found that a marijuana cigarette contains 50 percent more carcinogens than a tobacco cigarette and involves twice or triple the tar and carbon monoxide. Presently, 50 percent of all regular smokers will die or become disabled as a result of smoking. Do we really want to compound the health problems in this country by legalizing marijuana?
Marijuana smoking raises the blood pressure and increases the heart rate. Many people do have adverse reactions. In 1999, over 87,000 patients were treated in our hospital emergency rooms because of marijuana. Chemicals in marijuana are fat-soluble and do not pass through the body like the components of food or alcohol. The psychological and physiological effects are cumulative and the withdrawal symptoms do not appear suddenly but gradually increase with time.
Given these facts, those who are promoting drug legalization appear to be, at best, shortsighted – or worse, extremely selfish, willing to accept another half-million drug-related deaths a year in order to validate this lifestyle.