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(Some of) The Fallacies of Drug “Legalization”

Allow me to take a minute to review my background.

I am a man in long-term recovery from substance use disorder, which means I’ve been drug free since January 7th, 1993. I have been an alcohol/drug counselor for the last 19 years, working in every aspect of the continuum of care we call treatment in America today. And I have gone past recovery and treatment studies into Holistic Medicine in the search for health and wellness.

My whole life I felt driven to study history, including my field of work, because to make informed decisions you must place issues within the broader historical context. This seems to be lacking in all the media blather that has spewed out for years on “legalization”.

All of this noise brings to mind the philosophical treatise from Hegel: Thesis opposed by Anti-thesis = Synthesis. The theory being that by proposing the original thesis and then the anti-thesis you can control the outcome or create synthesis. It might be shocking to realize but there is so much mis-information it is hard not to wonder if this manipulation is at work. Starting with the thesis:

1) There has NOT been a War on Drugs:

So how could it have failed? What there has been is a war on people of color, a war on youth, particularly of color and a war on the citizenry in general. But a War on Drugs would need to start with the banks, western and otherwise that have been laundering hundreds of billions, for decades. Imagine everything it takes to have a global industry, a perpetual motion machine. Raw material gathering, manufacturing, wholesale warehousing, marketing, distribution and retail distribution to name a few of the components to maintain a day-to-day global operation. You cannot begin to set this up and maintain it without the full participation of some segment of the banking industry. Let’s be clear people, hundreds of billions of dollars are not sitting in some hippy’s suitcase somewhere. Which means that a segment of what we laud as part our most cultured institutions are pivotal to the death and destruction of whole cities and peoples.

If you search you can find actual (rare) convictions of banking institutions by a hard-working segment of the Justice Dept. but you never actually see bank executives go to prison. Which is a double crime considering the makeup of who is in prison in this country. Meaning mostly poor people of color.

Elizabeth Warren weighs in, strongly, on the subject of bank drug money laundries:

2) The prisons are NOT full of recreational weed smokers:

We could fill up much more space than this about our profoundly unjust and problematic legal system but that will be for another time. Meanwhile, though no one in my field wants drug addicts locked-up, let alone those with simple marijuana possession, that is not what’s filling our prisons. In fact, the drug of choice that was ingested during the commission of a crime for those in prison, far more than all other drugs combined, is alcohol. And before you label us bleeding hearts, I have no problem with consequences, for crimes. But in the shift needed for a more effective system, treatment will become the more operant choice. Because ultimately a Recovery Oriented System of Care saves money.

3) You don’t have to legalize it to stop locking people up:

People, it’s not legal in Amsterdam! Smaller amounts/usage may be decriminalized but really they just decided to put their resources toward other areas. My impression is they allowed cafes and controlled amounts sold to move it indoors, away from the parks.

4) For God’s sake, yes, we should give medical marijuana to those suffering:

But that is not what’s going on in places like southern California. Any fool can stumble in to an office and get a prescription there. Of course, those who would truly benefit from the medicinal properties should get easy access. But the question is…

5) As a country, is it really in our best interest to be more stoned? Because you might think that people are going to smoke weed no matter what and those with a problem would have a problem no matter what but really what we know is that legalization will;

6) Increase youth pot smoking. Really. The science is clear that this significantly lowers the bar and access for youth thereby increasing the numbers of youth smoking and lowering the age of first contact which clearly increases the percentage of those with a problem later. The earlier the exposure in adolescence the greater the risk of substance use disorders in adulthood. 90% of all addiction begins in adolescence. End of story.

There’s more, much more (let’s not get started on American intelligence agency involvement with drug dealing) but let me just stop here by asking; are we just giving up? Are we feeling so overwhelmed by rapid changing world issues that we are constantly told we cannot get a handle on? Are we admitting defeat and handing our lives and the lives of the next generations over to vastly concentrated ever larger corporate interests that do not have our common human interests at heart?

Because we’ll regret that later. And there are solutions because the Universe is designed to work.

For some sanity, check out:


Jimmy Cioe, LADAC, CPSS