REPLY #8c TO
are parts of the original essay (or a subsequent reply) to which the respondent has directed his comments.
prefaced by (R) are those of the respondent and are presented unedited.
My replies appear under the respondent's comments in blue text
and are prefaced by my initials (MB)
This is the third of a three-part reply.
(R) I submit that while cocaine, heroin, crack, crank etc., "the hard drugs", are incredibly dangerous substances that are obviously stupid to screw around with, the costs of illegality are so amazingly high here (the creation and glamorization of the entire gang culture and the gangs' subsequent despoiling of our inner cities, and the cost to us of supporting ineffective law enforcement with our tax dollars) that I think legalization of all drugs is justified.
(MB) I couldn't disagree more strongly. Gangs (or other groups of criminals and other anti-social types) have existed throughout human history and don't require any trade in drugs to maintain themselves. Legalizing drugs won't make them disappear, nor will it make them lose any of their swagger or appeal to disaffected young people.
(R) A very tough decision to make, as we will indeed see the downsides of legalizing drugs like cocaine and heroin; many new addicts will appear, who will have miserable lives or even die as a result of their addictions. And the forces of the black market, misrepresented by movies and media and distant from many folks' lives (though not as distant as they think), will not make a great noise upon their leaving.
(MB) The decision isn't tough at all. Drugs should not be legalized -- especially if the reason for doing so is the mistaken notion that it will cause gangs to disappear.
(R) Many will see only the all-too-visible negatives, relatives and friends messing up on coke and such, while failing to understand the positives for the society as a whole, and cry that the decision was an atrocity, a holocaust that should never be repeated.
(MB) They'll certainly see the negatives and I can't imagine what positives will be produced. Further, I can't imagine how the net effect of total legalization could conceivably be positive.
(R) We've been told for years and years now that drug use is not just illegal, it is morally wrong; legalizing drugs would cause immense cognitive dissonance in many people. Too bad.
(MB) Of course, this is a reflection of most people misunderstanding that legality and morality aren't necessarily concurrent attributes of any given behavior. The morality of any given action is judged by the consequences of that action -- religious dogma to the contrary. Suddenly legalizing something doesn't change it from immoral to moral. It just means that people will no longer suffer the penalties of the law if they engage in that behavior.
(R) Just because many of our citizens are not swift enough to realize that legality and morality are two entirely different concepts is no reason to ease their minds by continuing an error that is hurting all of us.
(MB) What error? I see no error in the continued criminalization of the drugs that are already illegal. I think it would be a far greater mistake to legalize them.
(R) The cost will be great, the benefit even greater...the decision would be cataclysmic, to say the least. It is, however, the morally courageous decision, and what I believe we must do.
(MB) This shouldn't be a moral decision. It should be an intelligent one. Sometimes, the courageous decision is to keep things as they are despite the loud voices of protest.
(R) In time, people will learn that abusing harsh substances leads to misery and death, no matter what the law says about the matter, or they will suffer until they do.
(MB) That's the thing -- people *don't* learn! Drugs have been used for long enough for everybody to have learned the effects of their use and abuse. But, that doesn't seem to matter. Obviously, logic alone is not sufficient.
(R) (When we make a decision such as this one to truly charge people with 100 percent of the responsibility for their practices, we also must agree to allow no bail-outs or excuses emanating from the failure to act responsibly - no more temporary insanity, no more "it's a disease, he can't help it", no more "it was just the drug talking" (hey, it was your mouth and your brain, buddy!), no more Twinkie defenses, no more soft jail sentences for violent criminals, and no more welfare for crack mothers. Tough you-know-what.)
(MB) In a perfect world, that would be the ultimate solution. However, since I think we've already established that calls for responsibility are not sufficient to ensure the disappearance of substance abuse, we must reinforce those calls with appropriate legislation and enforcement. I do agree with your "no bailouts" comments, though.
(R) I suspect that the use of hard drugs would drop precipitously by fifty years' time from now, were we to legalize them now, once people stopped being artificially and ineffectively protected from themselves, as they are now, and had to pay the full retail price for being stupid and irresponsible about drugs. End of campaign speech...
(MB) On what do you base that prediction? Certainly, there's no basis for it if we can judge from how many other stupid things people still do despite thousands of years of experience. It also totally discounts the reasons people use or abuse drugs in the first place and assumes that legalization will suddenly open their eyes.
My argument on this issue assumes that legitimate business would be very hesistant to get into the production of drugs due to the massive adverse public opinion such a thing would generate. It also assumes that the current bosses of the drug production and distribution system would not easily relinquish their huge profits to corporate competitors. Finally, the laws of supply and demand would still apply. I see little reason for drug prices to drop much since the current market has already established the going rates and the fact that users are willing to pay whatever it takes for their supply.
(R) Adverse public opinion stops some businessmen, but certainly not all. Hey, when there's money to made, whether in canning strawberry preserves or producing hardcore porn videos, some entrepreneurs looking at a vast and lucrative new market will step up to the plate.
(MB) Agreed. However, the power of the "Q rating" can also not be denied. In addition, this country will still be largely a primarily Christian and anal-retentive lot who love to organize protests and boycotts against unpopular products or those who accept the advertising of the makers of such products.
Sure, there's a goodly market for porno, but when's the last time you saw a porn distributor advertising on network TV or saw a mainstream corporation distributing or producing hard-core pornography?
(R) The drug market is not a small niche market; the number of drug users in this country number in the millions (and would be even higher in the period immediately following legalization). The customers are waving probably billions of dollars, and someone isn't going to step up and grab the cash because of adverse publicity?
(MB) Some will -- just like there are companies that produce porno and people who buy it. All I'm saying is that large, mainstream companies will be rather unlikely to engage in the trade of an unpopular commodity and the current infrastructure will likely continue to supply the drugs.
(R) The current bosses support the status quo as it is; the fact that drugs are illegal allows them to dominate the market without corporate competition. They'd have two choices: become a legitimate drug vendor (and be subject to the same regulations that the corporate sellers would be subject to), or get out.
(MB) Considering that there's a ready market for their product already in place, it's safe to assume that the current illegal suppliers would become the backbone of legal supply if drugs were legalized. These folks likely could care less what the general public thought of them anyway since they already operate in an environment of strong disapproval.
(R) People aren't going to buy illegally what can be had easily and legally (and cheaper). If there's a legal, regulated brothel down the street, why would I pick up a streetwalker on the corner and risk being busted for illegally soliciting prostitution (not to mention an increased risk for STD's, considering that a regulated brothel would mandate STD testing for all employees.)
(MB) Correct, but somewhat obvious.
(R) The laws of supply and demand would work thusly: there is no shortage of these drugs and not much problem continuing to manufacture them in huge quantities. Pot is very easy and cheap to grow, cocaine is not nearly as expensive to make as its current black market value...the same holds true for all of our common drugs. As the convoluted black market structure of endless middlemen and security costs will be no more, the total cost of bringing the product to market will be far, far below what the product currently retails for. Indeed, the market will bear much higher prices than this, you're correct there.
(MB) A basic law of economics says that you sell your product for whatever the market is willing to pay. Since the current established market is already willing to pay exorbitant prices, I can't see how those prices would drop very much. Sure, some of the costs might drop, but this would mean that profits would get even higher and defeats the argument that the current suppliers would abandon the business if their product was legalized.
(R) However, the vendors (and there would be a bunch of them; it's a big pie that's being carved up here) would have no reason not to start a price war (benefiting the consumer), as they can make great profit selling a bag of pot for $10 that now goes for $35 although it costs maybe $2 to produce and market.
(MB) True, but if they can still all get $35 and dealers have little problem selling their available inventories, why would the price drop by any appreciable amount?
(R) The government would inevitably tax this heavily, probably all the way up to $20 or even higher. Okay, then that means that the government has a huge sin-tax windfall and can ease the burden on the rest of us; that's fine by me.
(MB) Heavy government tax burdens would seem to signal the return of the black market in which the full price for the product can be obtained and retained without giving the government its cut. Since the suppliers already don't fear the consequences of illegality, why should they fear the consequences of tax evasion?
(R) So the supply is very plentiful, and the demand is high; as long as monopolistic conditions (or oligopolistic conditions) did not exist (and the government can and does regulate that), the prices should be somewhat lower than they are now, perhaps a lot lower depending on how cutthroat the pricing situation gets.
(MB) Where do you think the point of market saturation would be? That's the point where the number of available purchasers is exhausted and prices would be forced down to move customers from one vendor to another. If it's not much higher than the current number of users, there's little reason to think that the current supply infrastructure would be substantially increased. If it's a lot higher, then we have the problems that should be expected from a high percentage of the population being drug users. We consider the current number of users to be a substantial problem. What if that number doubles?
(R) The price war will eventually yield winners; the thinning of the number of vendors will cause the prices to rise once again, but the customers will then be used to paying lower figures and won't tolerate excessive price inflation. (If the Big Four automakers all of a sudden started charging $37,000 for their entry-level sedans, people would rather quickly look for other vendors.)
(MB) We may get there sooner than you think. It was barely two decades ago that standard automobiles cost around $2,000. It's up to 10 times that price now and people are still buying. If a product is a necessity (or a perceived necessity), people will pay the price.
(R) "The fact that users are willing to pay whatever it takes for their supply" is only a fact in the case of addicts, and not always even then. Do you honestly think that if we raised the price of a pack of cigarettes to $15, no one would seriously consider quitting? Most smokers would try very hard to do so, and many would succeed.
(MB) Some certainly would, but others would still pay whatever was required. I know many people who constantly complain about the increasing price of cigarettes, but have neither quit nor decreased their smoking. Cigarettes are relatively cheap in this country compared to the European countries in which I've been stationed, but that doesn't stop people from smoking in those countries. BTW, the same goes for gasoline -- which costs upwards of $5.00/gallon in many places in Europe. We complain about a proposed nickel increase in the gas tax, but we'll all still pay it.
(R) And remember, while cigarettes are not as immediately destructive or expensive (or illegal) like heroin or cocaine, they are every bit as addictive according to every study I've ever seen regarding recidivism rates for attempts to quit various substances.
(MB) I agree. Of course, nobody ever got high from one use of a cigarette, either. Like a previous statement I made about alcohol, if cigarettes were a new thing, I'm sure they would also be banned.
(R) In fact, one of the possible selling points a vendor might have might go like this: "In the old days, the black market dealer charged you $100 for a gram of coke that only cost $3 to produce. You were paying him, and his man, his man's man...all down the line, everyone was making stone cold cash off you, friend, laughing at you all the way to the bank. We're not like that, we price the stuff fair so you don't have to go postal and steal a bunch of TV's and jewelry to get what you need. $15, $10 for Uncle Sam and a couple for bucks for us, and the gram of coke is yours."
(MB) I'm afraid I'd have to consider that to be an extremely cynical and disingenuous approach for an advertiser to take. Not that advertising and honesty are exactly bedfellows...*grin*
It doesn't work to compare the effects of similar laws in different countries whose general societal attitudes are almost in direct opposition. There are too many other factors which contribute to levels of drug use.
(R) Sure enough. However, we'd have to wonder why something like that would happen. I don't know all that much about societal attitudes in Amsterdam, but isn't it certainly surprising that they've achieved that lower use rate - a result our drug czar would gladly have - despite the lack of the stigma of illegality? How do they do it? Of the differences our cultures have, which ones make it so much harder for us to do that?
(MB) Primarily, it's because the Netherlands have always been a rather liberal society while the United States is considerably more conservative. There is less need or cause for youth rebellion in the Netherlands and there is less general stress and pressure in daily life. It should also be noted that legalized drug use is not exactly a Utopian situation in the Netherlands -- especially in the cities near the border with Germany. Of course, the pro-drug lobby won't bring that up...*grin*
(R) To say that the two societies differ markedly and are thus not a basis for direct, unadjusted comparison is one thing, but you'd have to acknowledge that, on the limited issue of teen marijuana use, they've had more success.
(MB) That depends on what you would call "success". They may have a lower use rate than we do, but did their own rate of use increase or decrease after legalization? Also, the societal differences are of prime importance since they are a reflection of the reasons why teenagers would begin smoking pot.
(R) At very least, we should explore what they are doing and how much of it we could apply here. If even one thing we learn from those folks helps us reduce teenage drug use, I would think that to be a good thing.
(MB) I agree, but the reasons behind it certainly go much deeper than the mere legalization of use. All factors must be studied and considered. It's similar to lessons learned from studies of economics. What works for one business or one country can be a dismal flop for another.
However, one must consider that many states have different levels of punishment for possession of larger amounts of marijuana. Where possession of 1-2 ounces might be a misdemeanor, possession of amounts larger than that may be grounds for serious felony charges. Knowing that, why would anybody purchase more than "personal use" quantities?
(R) Because they want to make some money selling pot, and are willing to accept the risks associated with doing illegal business. Pot isn't huge money, like cocaine, but it is some money; you can certainly make more selling pot than you can working at Taco Bell.
(MB) So, there's more involved here than mere "personal freedom" or "seeking relaxation", eh? Making a little money for doing something illegal outweighs the legal risks involved? Then, it would seem that the penalties should be *increased* instead of eliminated.
(R) The laws vary widely from state to state and year to year; 20 years ago there were cases of people getting thrown in jail for a few years for possessing three joints (that particular injustice doesn't happen much anymore),
(MB) "Injustice"? Why is enforcing the law an "injustice"? One may well agree or disagree with the law, but disagreement doesn't give one the right to break that law at will, nor does it mean that you should escape its consequences. In an organized society, the laws at least need to be respected.
(R) ...whereas in a few states now, possession of up to a quarter-pound is a misdemeanor. If you're carrying around more than a half-ounce or so and don't know the rules of the state you're in, you'd best learn them the easy way, though...you don't want to learn the hard way.
(MB) Sure. Ignorance of the law is no excuse. However, one certainly knows that marijuana is not completely legal anywhere in the US. If you choose to be in possession anyway, you're still voluntarily deciding to take your chances. Like any game, if you choose to play, you can either win or lose. If you lose, it's too late to complain about the rules.
(R) These laws, like most drug laws, are selectively enforced to some degree (that doesn't in itself make the laws bad, but the enforcement procedures could stand some serious review in many locales.)
(MB) Could you describe what you mean by "selective enforcement" and how you would change things?
(R) I don't carry large amounts of pot around with me, so I have almost nothing to worry about.
(MB) Except, of course, if you go somewhere where possession of *any* amount carries stiff penalties. "Hey, officer, I've only got one joint!" won't go very far in a locale where the legal limit is zero joints.
The same logic applies to your example of speeding tickets. If you know that there's little to fear from driving less than 10 mph over the posted limit, but much to fear from driving faster than that, why drive any faster? In addition, I think it's safe to say that a significant number of drivers would drive at much higher speeds if all speed limit laws were revoked.
(R) Most people don't drive any faster; some do, and they get the tickets. Yes, a significant number of drivers would go faster, but there's a top end to that. Most people have a speed beyond which they would not drive in any case, due to safety concerns. People might indeed go 130 if they had the car and the space to do it, but only the most psychotic drivers - a small group indeed - would try to go that fast in a crowd.
(MB) That depends on the crowd. Have you ever been to Germany and driven on the Autobahn? Certainly, our 65-70 mph Interstate speed limits are laughable to the typical German motorist.
(R) There is a strong natural drive for self-preservation at work here; driving way too fast for conditions and traffic contravenes that, so most people don't do it, and wouldn't even if all speed limits were revoked.
(MB) The Interstates are designed to be safe at 110 mph. Obviously, one wouldn't drive that fast in inclement conditions or in backed-up traffic, but those are the exception rather than the rule.
(R) I see no need for speed limit signs on the main road going north and south through Eastern Nevada, say, on which it is over 100 miles of nothing between two small towns. There's never enough traffic to worry about having to react quickly to avoid a crash.
(MB) Montana didn't use to have any speed limits during daylight hours before the 55 mph limit was imposed in the mid-70s. Even after the imposition of speed limits, a speeding ticket was only a $5 fine and you wouldn't get issued more than one per day.
It basically comes down to valuing "personal freedom" more than the larger issue of the safety and welfare of the general public.
(R) Personal freedom and safety/welfare are not mutually exclusive.
(MB) No, but they can conflict with each other. In those cases, public welfare must be the prime consideration.
(R) The best answer to this issue would be one that preserves and promotes both.
(MB) Naturally, but that's not always possible.
(R) I have explained that the current state of drug prohibition severely curtails personal freedom...
(MB) I think that's a bit of an extreme assessment of the situation. Criminalization of drug use no more "seriously curtails" personal freedom than does the prohibition of any other singular personal act and certainly does not represent any sort of repression of the freedoms of the majority of the public.
(R) ...while not realizing a net gain in the general public's safety or welfare...
(MB) You can only make that claim if you can show that society is better off with drug use than without it. That will be rather difficult.
(R) ...(violent criminals still commit crimes with or without drugs, and the black market gang and cartel culture (comprised mostly of the worst elements of our society) is allowed a monopoly, with all its attendant honors and privileges thereunto, in a billion-dollar industry),...
(MB) These are things that are not directly dependent upon the criminalization of drug use and which would not disappear if drugs were legalized.
(R) ...while a state of drug legality and free choice would maximize personal freedom without realizing a net loss in the general public's safety or welfare...
(MB) Again, this will be very difficult to support.
(R) ...(a short-term increase in use and negative consequences is more than offset by the greater good done to all future Americans by the de-throning of the drug lords and the dismantling of gangs and other elements of black market drug culture, and by the forced acceptance of ALL personal responsibility for tort crimes, performed in whatever state of awareness).
(MB) It has already been shown that gang activity, black markets, and so on will not disappear simply because drugs are made legal. It has also been shown that people are already responsible for their actions and that intoxication makes them less capable of acting responsibly with a concurrent increase in the level of risk to the general public.
Hey, we'd *all* be in jail for most of our lives if enforcement and prosecution were 100% effective...*grin* As an example, oral sex -- even between consenting adults (married or not) -- is illegal in some states and falls under laws against sodomy. I submit that 100% enforcement of those laws would put almost everybody in those states in jail.
(R) Yep. The sodomy laws are even more of a joke than any drug law is. They're allowed to remain entrenched, I understand, as a symbol to appease the hardcore Christaholic gay-haters among the constituency (yes, I realize the laws apply to heterosexuals too). Like racism, anti-homosexual bias will lessen as our culture morally evolves...don't know how long it will take in either case though. The drug laws, with 100% enforcement, would make criminals out of probably half our population, and "repeat offenders" or "career criminals" out of maybe a tenth.
(MB) I agree on all counts. However, we must remember why laws are enacted and we must also accept that each law must be argued on its own merits and not in comparison with others. Legalizing sodomy, for example, would be no justification for legalizing drug use (or vice-versa). Each must be considered separately.
Most people don't realize that it was not illegal to consume alcohol under Prohibition. The 18th Amendment says:
"After one year from the ratification of this article the manufacture, sale, or transportation of intoxicating liquors within, the importation thereof into, or the exportation thereof from the United States and all territory subject to the jurisdiction thereof for beverage purposes is hereby prohibited."
In other words, the amendment criminalized selling, production, and transport of alcoholic beverages. If you had a wine cellar or other private stocks of such beverages on hand, you could drink it and even serve it at parties. Just don't sell or make any.
(R) Thanks for enlightening me. You are right, of course; there is nothing in there that says you can't consume alcohol. Essentially, what we have here is a "grandfather clause" (kinda like the one in the 1921 decision banning spitballs, but continuing to allow establish spitball artists like Burleigh Grimes and others the right to continue doctoring up the ball).
(MB) The rule change banning spitballs was a part of a general effort to "clean up" baseball in the aftermath of the Black Sox scandal. The rules specifically named the pitchers who were allowed to continue throwing the pitch that earned them their living and no others were permitted to do it.
(R) In this example, they gave worried drinkers a year to load up the cellar before cutting them off at least...clearly, the spirit of the rule was to eventually eliminate the consumption of alcohol in the land (as the spirit of the spitball ruling was to eventually eliminate spitballs entirely).
(MB) Prohibition was essentially a piece of morality legislation. The temperance movement was very strong at the time and politicians were just as vulnerable to special-interest pressure groups then as they are now. The wording of the Amendment seems to have been a compromise as it didn't specifically forbid consumption, but may have wanted to achieve that goal. Of course, it was a spectacular failure. There was no chance of overturning a entrenched social behavior that had been legal and generally accepted for thousands of years.
(R) To drink during the rule of Prohibition, one had to associate at least occasionally if not regularly with the criminal element (the only ones selling the liquor). This is not something an upstanding Christian was supposed to be doing, surely. The intent was to create a large social stigma on drinking (a partial success at best) and to give the government power to eliminate alcohol production (which backfired tremendously).
(MB) I guess it showed that the Bible thumpers weren't quite as powerful as they would like to have believed.
(R) The largest effect of Prohibition, really, was that of handing Al Capone etc. million dollar checks. The G-Men fought valiantly to be sure (as most DEA men in the field surely do today, with even less success), but they were fighting against insurmountable odds.
(MB) There was no chance that Prohibition could have succeeded. You might as well have attempted to outlaw picnics or necking.
(R) The fight was abandoned, Prohibition repealed, and society benefited from the fight's cessation (as it would again with the repeal of drug prohibition).
(MB) That's an invalid comparison since the use of alcohol had thousands of years of acceptance and legality behind it while the use of drugs has been traditionally unacceptable and illegal.
That depends on what one considers to be "fun" and what effect his "fun" might have on others.
(R) True, of course, I should have been more specific. Fun options that don't hurt other people, fine. We've debated the injuriousness of drug use elsewhere, no need to reiterate it here.
Unfortunately, there will always be cases where completely responsible individuals will end up being limited or restricted by the need to take action against the majority. Since there's no way to know ahead of time whether any particular individual will be responsible or that he will be responsible 100% of the time, and since the consequences of irresponsibility can be very detrimental to others, it is in the government's interest (again, acting on behalf of the general public) to restrict or criminalize certain actions and behaviors. To get such laws overturned, the proponents of a given action or behavior will have to demonstrate that its positive aspects clearly outweigh any negative ones.
(R) Two things:
1) Yes, there will always be such cases, where the innocent are punished along with the guilty. This is remarkably unfair whenever it happens, of course, but life isn't always fair. There is indeed an interest in seeing our government treat people as justly as possible; the current drug laws and enforcement of same, if nothing else, need to treat people more evenhandedly. (I believe the most even-handed thing to do would be to give everyone (okay, adults with capacity) the equal right to decide the issue of drug use for themselves. Clearly, not everyone agrees with me.)
(MB) The reason for that disagreement is that you approach your support of drug use solely from the perspective of personal freedom and haven't given full and proper consideration to the larger issue of the general welfare of the public. You may well be responsible, but responsibility has clearly not been the norm for the majority of users and the consequences of their irresponsibility has been inflicted upon others to a degree that is generally considered to be very unacceptable. Placing the onus of responsibility on the user has been tried and has failed. That's when the laws must take over.
(R) 2) Ah, the burden of proof again. Just because the government has exercised its (properly) self-arrogated legislative rights does not mean that it has proven its case. Governments can and do make bad laws, and they do reverse themselves fairly often.
(MB) True, but opponents of a standing law must prove their case before such a reversal can be made. Obviously, the pro-drug lobby has not proven their case. If they ever do, I will support them. Until then, the weight of evidence continues to be against them.
(R) Again, I state that the presumption in our constitution is one of individual rights; the legislature is allowed to make laws, but, if any of those laws are found by the Supreme Court to unjustly violate our constitutionally guaranteed liberties, they will be declared unconstitutional, and overturned. A law must survive that challenge, or it is not a law anymore.
(MB) Quite true and drug laws have faced and survived numerous challenges already. The Court must consider all factors -- not just personal freedom to do anything one wants.
(R) I'm not saying that the Supreme Court is infallible...they mess up too. America the Real is not America the Ideal, but we should always strive to move toward America the Ideal. (Don't see how anyone could really quibble much with that.)
(MB) I wouldn't think of quibbling with that. It's just that everybody has their own conception of what "ideal" means. In the absence of complete consensus, the evidence on both/all sides of an issue must be analyzed in an objective manner in order to make decisions.
(R) The concept of America is innocent until proven guilty, free until proven that that freedom infringes on anyone else's rights. The burden of proof, then, I repeat, is on the people who wish to make a new law restricting freedom. Their assertion that the law is needed is a positive claim. Congress doesn't make anything legal. Congress either makes things illegal, or places qualifications that reduce the legality of an act to something less than total. Total legality until proven otherwise is the presumption.
(MB) Correct again. But, it should be obvious that the burden of proof was met when the laws restricting drug use were enacted. Now, the burden shifts to those who wish to overturn those laws. This is a basic principle of logic and is independent of whether or not the standing law is "right" or "wrong". The status quo rules until it is clearly demonstrated that it needs to change.
(R) My assertion is that the acceptance some decades ago of the initial positive claim (that we should ban drugs) is based on faulty reasoning, and that the available evidence, combined with the effects we've observed of the law on society since its passage, does not produce the level of proof necessary for such a law's existence. Accordingly, we ought never to have made these laws; since it is in Congress's power to repeal laws, Congress should repeal the current laws prohibiting use of certain drugs.
(MB) Gather your evidence, write your Congressmen, and join the forces who are seeking to overturn the laws. That's the way our system works. If you succeed, more power to you and I'll salute your efforts.