The war against drugs should be approached differently

This is the second letter in a series of three illustrating how we, the Libertarian Party, are different and will hopefully be another option for voters next election. This second issue is that of marijuana legalization, and on a wider scope, an end to the war on drugs.

Let me first state that I do not use marijuana personally, nor would I if it were legal.

But, part of being a Libertarian is recognizing neither an individual nor the government should have any right to force others to behave in a certain way, unless they are harming another.

Medical studies have shown time and time again that marijuana is far safer than the already legal drugs of alcohol and tobacco, and in some instances can actually be used medicinally.

The drug war has failed; it’s as simple as that. In a perfect world one could wish away all drugs, but in reality we have to look towards what has actually worked. Portugal’s model towards drug use has worked over the last decade to the point that they now have an overdose rate 10 times lower than in the United States. Their approach of treating drug addiction as a public health issue rather than a criminal one has also resulted in the benefit of lowered government spending. They treat addicts instead of simply imprisoning them, and in total spend only 10 dollars per citizen per year on drug programs, compared to the trillions of dollars that our country has wasted over the last four decades on the “War on Drugs.”

Democrats often trot out this issue in order to pursue the “naive” youth vote.

Instead, their actions tell a different story.

New York was one of the last states in the northeast to legalize medical marijuana and even now it is severely restricted. Gov. Andrew Cuomo, himself, has stated that he would veto a bill to legalize recreational marijuana, and still refers to it with the outdated term “gateway drug.” As a result, people are still sent to jail (costing hundreds of thousands of dollars per day) simply because their drug of choice was marijuana rather than alcohol or tobacco, and every day hundreds more die from preventable overdoses.

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Our December meeting will be held on Dec. 14, from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at the Johnstown Public Library