Ask most people , where in the Constitution of our great and free nation does the Constitution allow the Federal Government to prohibit the use of drugs and they can’t answer. As free individuals we should be able to decide for ourselves what or what not to put in our bodies, so where does the Federal Government get it’s authority to prohibit certain drugs and allow others?
Strangely enough the authority actually comes from our Constitutional requirement to abide and enforce the international treaties we are signatories to. The United Nations Convention on Drugs, in force since 1990, requires it’s signatories to enforce and promote a policy of total prohibition when handling their drug problems. Harry Anslinger, the first Drug Czar, realized his dream of a world wide policy on drugs and the United Nations signed on to the American example of total prohibition thus achieving Constitutional support for a policy that otherwise would be, by any measure, unconstitutional. This dubious achievement has caused world wide misery, suffering and death over these last 99 years and currently results in the arrest of 750,000 American citizens every year for marijuana possession alone. It costs over 51 billion dollars a year and untold billions in lost productivity and as a result what have we accomplished? The reform group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition says that when prohibition as policy became law in 1914 with the Harrison Act roughly 1.3% of the population was addicted to drugs. In 1937 with the enactment of the Marijuana Tax Stamp Act, declared unconstitutional in 1969, the percentage was 1.3%. The enactment of the Controlled Substances Act in 1970 again found the rate at 1.3%. Now in 2013 the estimate is still at 1.3%. Ninety-nine years and no positive change in the numbers.
Finally, and none too late, science and reason is starting to break through the shell of denial hiding the reality of the failure of our current policies. United Nations members like Uruguay, Peru, Columbia, and Portugal are ignoring the UN Conventions and creating policies that recognize the need for reform based on harm reduction and not punishment. With South American leaders at the forefront there are calls for reform of the entire UN Convention on Drugs itself. Reform is in the air among UN member nations as science and logic undermine the ideological attachment to prohibition. The entire UN Convention could be completely reworked as a result. This could very well remove any constitutional support for our current prohibition laws rendering them unconstitutional!
Geeze! Ya think allowing people the freedom to decide for themselves would be any worse than it already is? It could be so bad we might revert to the percentage of the population using drugs going back to what it was before the Harrison Act when prohibition started. Certainly we don’t want that percentage being any higher than it currently is at 1.3%. What would we do then?