Wednesday, August 26, 2009

Argentina's Supreme Court Rules Punishing Use Of Marijuana Is Unconstitutional

I have posted this issue twice on here. First when a top economist brought the issue forward as a way of reducing violence. Secondly last week in the Mexico decision. I find it enlightening that Argentina's court concluded the state cannot legislate morality as long as private behavior does not constitute clear danger. Given the U.S. Supreme Court's many precedents on negative liberties, how could it draw any other conclusion than that of Argentina's Supreme Court? In fact it likely would not were the issue challenged today. And given the courts often use court decisions in other countries to support rulings, I suspect it is only a matter of time until this issue is resolved in the U.S. as it has been in countless South American countries.

This is a big hot button for me. Not because I am a drug user. I am not. But because the United States has become a prison state. We have seven times the number of people incarcerated than any other democratic country. We had more people in prison than the communist Soviet Union if the statistics are accurate. Obviously per capita. The countless arbitrary laws are choking the life blood out of our society and passing personal control to the state.

If we have one million people in prison at any given time on drug-related charges, that adds about $40 billion in costs to running our governments. We have entire government bureaucracies set up to do nothing other than fight a war on drugs. We have wars on drugs, wars on poverty, wars on terrorism. These are politically-coined terms used to justify the expansion of the state without any measurable results. The government burden, the business burden and the burden on American citizens is likely measured in the hundreds of billions of dollars annually for drugs alone. We are subsidizing the production and distribution of drugs by heinous drug cartels and for what?

It's time to decriminalize personal drug use. It's an arbitrary law of the state not founded in any type of rational interpretation of personal freedoms.
posted by TimingLogic at 8:16 AM