I hear increasing numbers of people saying ‘It’s a failed policy.. PROHIBITION’ & the extreme version: ‘ZERO-Tolerance’, BUT it is still at the forefront of many Govt. agendas; specifically here in Aotearoa/NZ. The tax-payers in this country, apparently spend over $100million/year on it.. BUT the country still has amongst the highest levels of ‘illegal drug use’ (mostly cannabis, but also Methamphetamines etc.) The ‘Prohibition industry’ is at the front of calling for ‘more of the same’ (status quo) in many political debates. BUT this FAILED policy is responsible for :
1) Creating a ‘forbidden fruit’ mystique around these ‘illegal drugs’ that actually attracts young people to try them.. rebel against authority
2) Branding many otherwise law-abiding citizen as CRIMINALS, often for little more than possession of a small quantity of cannabis for personal use. This conviction never goes away & can impact on: Job opportunities, Travel to other countries & Alienation by many who just see the word ‘Criminal’
3) A huge Black-market, that creates an atmosphere of criminality & negative stereotyping. Aotearoa/NZ has a large number of ‘criminal gangs’ that often come from the rebellious ‘Indigenous people’ (Maori & Pacifica). These groups are targeted by ‘LAW ENFORCEMENT’
4) Drug addicts need treatment.. BUT usually just end up being criminalised & often incarcerated.
5) Overcrowded prisons.. Aotearoa/NZ has just opened its first fully ‘Private Prison’ that will profit from turning inmates into a ‘tradable commodity’. I’m guessing many will be ‘drug offenders’.
As I’ve mentioned before.. IF Prohibition was working, we would see lower drug use & less arrests & incarceration. Other countries (Holland, Portugal, Uruguay & now USA etc.) are moving to a regulated market model. They ARE seeing criminal activity & overall use dropping. BUT as long as Law makers, continue to wear the ‘blinkers’ that keep them looking only, in the same direction.. nothing will change here.
The final point : in 1920s USA, Alcohol was prohibited. In 1933 this prohibition was repealed as a FAILURE & cause of all the same issues that have arisen around the currently ‘Illegal DRUGS’ (BUT specifically Cannabis) !
Someone once said ‘If we don’t learn from the mistakes of the past.. we are doomed to repeat them’.. never was a truer word spoken says I&I