What If All Drugs Were Legal? 

What If All Drugs Were Legal? 
Posted by FoM on June 07, 2001 at 07:45:44 PT
By Harry Browne
Source: WorldNetDaily
The Drug Warriors' biggest argument against medical marijuana is that it's only the opening wedge in a movement toward total legalization of drugs. So, supposedly, we have to "nip it in the bud" – in the words of Deputy Barney Fife, the nation's first Drug Czar. What if the Drug Warriors are right? What if legalizing medical marijuana turned out to be the first step on a journey that ended in the outright repeal of every drug law? What would America be like? 
Understandably, many Americans fear that with no drug laws, we would have hundreds of thousands of addicts, crack babies, children trying drugs, and other evils. But that's what we have now. Let's assume the worst: If all drugs were legal, addicts would no longer pay black-market prices to criminals for drugs of questionable and dangerous origin. They would get drugs produced by legitimate pharmaceutical companies and pay market prices. They would no longer die from buying toxic drugs, and they would no longer have to mug innocent people to support their habits. If all drugs were legal, addicts could seek help by going to doctors – no longer afraid of being prosecuted for their medical problems. If all drugs were legal, criminal drug dealers would no longer be on our streets. They couldn't compete with the low, free-market prices for drugs sold at pharmacies. If all drugs were legal, criminal drug dealers would no longer prey upon our children – any more than distilleries and breweries try to infiltrate schools to hook kids on alcohol. When I grew up in Los Angeles in the 1940s, the worst schools were safer than L.A.'s best schools are today. If all drugs were legal, our government would no longer be dispensing propaganda that makes children want to try the forbidden fruit. Reducing street violence: If all drugs were legal, our prisons would be emptied of hundreds of thousands of non-violent people who have never done harm to anyone else. No longer would over-crowded prisons cause truly violent criminals to be free on early release and plea bargains to terrorize the rest of us. If all drugs were legal, law-enforcement resources would be available to fight violent crime, instead of being used to chase people who may harm themselves but are no threat to us. If all drugs were legal, much of the street violence would end – as it did when Alcohol Prohibition ended – because gangs of thugs would no longer be fighting over drug territories. If all drugs were legal, police corruption would diminish, because criminals could no longer use black-market drug money to gain immunity by subverting weak policemen. If all drugs were legal, the government could no longer use the Drug War as an excuse to tear up the Bill of Rights and pry into your bank account, strip-search you at an airport, tear your car apart, monitor your e-mail, or seize your property without even charging you with a crime. Why do we know this? Why do I think America would be like this if all drugs were legal? Because that's the way it was before the drug laws were passed. Yes, there were people whose lives were destroyed by drugs then – just as some people today destroy their lives with drugs, alcohol, financial mistakes, or various character weaknesses – but far fewer people lost their lives to drugs when they were legal. And America's streets were peaceful. Has America changed since then? Of course it has. But cause-and-effect relationships don't change. Force still begets force. Government programs still lead to unintended and destructive consequences. Re-legalizing drugs would put a stop to those destructive consequences – end the criminal black market, end the violence, end the incentive to hook children, and end the production of toxic drugs that kill people. We have to quit being afraid of the unknown, and instead recognize what we do know – that the Drug War is doing enormous harm to society. If we care about our children, if we care about our cities, if we care about our country, we have to end the insane War on Drugs.Harry Browne was the 2000 Libertarian presidential candidate. More of his articles can be read at -- -- and his books are available at Complete Title: What If All Drugs Were Legal? (Gasp!)Source: WorldNetDaily (US Web)Author: Harry BrownePublished: June 7, 2001Copyright: 2001,, Inc.Contact: letters worldnetdaily.comWebsite: Articles:Drugs, Downey, Strawberry, Junkies and Hypocrites Makes Harry--and Others--Run Articles - Harry Browne
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Comment #15 posted by Robbie on June 10, 2001 at 22:51:38 PT
Just reading something and D'OH!
FedRegs said:Of course, the argument that legal drugs would be subject to regulation and taxation presumes that they could not be easily made or grown at home...which, at least with respect to marijuana, is not true.Realized that you were saying that cannabis IS easily grown. My mistake. Gotta stop smoking so much :-D j/k
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Comment #14 posted by ken on June 07, 2001 at 22:04:27 PT:
Has anyone said it yet?
Likely, if all drugs were legal, fewer people would be doing them. Wierd, huh?
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Comment #13 posted by Imprint on June 07, 2001 at 19:37:51 PT
Just thinking out loud-don’t get mad at me, Please
I think what is being overlooked is the American entrepreneurial sprit. In a legalized drug environment many folks will come out of the woodwork and start specialized companies to manufacture and distribute drugs such as cocaine and heroin. Let’s faces it, these are not mysterious drugs and how to manufacture them is well know.  The entire South American continent is poised to manufacture this stuff using low wage-workers. Admittedly, marijuana is easy to grow but once again in a legalized environment enterprising people will grow high-grade pot with marketing gimmicks like color or flavor to mark their brand. In my opinion, I think the drug companies are shaking in their boots. In a legalized environment they may not control the market thus they wouldn’t control the price.  This is why they are racing to produce a synthetic version of marijuana without the high. If they succeed before we stop the war, legalization will become more difficult.Now, as for drugs to treat AID’s patients, with all due respect this is a small market. In the US the number of people that need drug therapies for AID's are small in comparison to heart disease or cancer. I’m not saying this is right or ethical; this is the way of business. Drugs to treat AID’s are mysterious, patent protected and can be difficult to produce; couple this with a small market and price will be high. Coming from the medical device field I see therapy’s live and die based on market share and not based on efficacy. I’m not trying to piss anyone off nor am I trying to give the drug companies an excuse. But, we do live in a market driven society and the size of the market is the single most important factor. In a legalized drug environment marijuana would be a massive market and AID’s would remain a small market.  
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Comment #12 posted by Robbie on June 07, 2001 at 16:51:47 PT
Hey FedRegs, LTNS
Even if the Controlled Substances Act (and related treaties) were repealed or abrogated, I cannot imagine that a pharmaceutical company would mass-produce and market recreational drugs given the current state of products liability and other tort law.I personally favor that legalization be tied to a not-for-profit status for marijuana production and sales. That would clear up a lot of issues that you antis have concerning the open distribution of the drug. ...just as it does with counterfeit and stolen prescription drugs today.The drugs you refer to are highly sought and extremely difficult to produce, which is the reason behind the high market-value. But... Of course, the argument that legal drugs would be subject to regulation and taxation presumes that they could not be easily made or grown at home...which, at least with respect to marijuana, is not true.BZZZT! Incorrect. Marijuana, while one has to tend to his gardening to get desirable buds, still grows rather easily. If I spread seeds all over the fields and woods, I'd still get some relatively potent stuff from these plantings. Not to mention that potency doesn't matter when it comes to baking needs, because you can extract what you need out of low potency stuff then still get more because it's so plentiful.And so it goes...Yes, from your side, it certainly does.
Good cannabis growing info
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on June 07, 2001 at 16:24:12 PT
Harry Browne Rules!!!
 Harry Browne has more brains than Gush or Bore combined. Has anyone ever seen him speak? This guy could talk forever without looking at his notes(If he even has notes). Gush and Bore can't even write their own stuff!!! The libertarian party is the only true conservative party in the U.S.A. because they are for keeping the size of the Federal Government as minimal as possible. As long as you don't directly harm the person or property of another then the government should mind it's own damn business. God bless Harry Browne - Defender of the Truth
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Comment #10 posted by Rambler on June 07, 2001 at 15:26:38 PT
You are right,on concerning drug companies. but thefact that Marijuana is the only "drug",that comes fromthe good earth,ready to use,makes it unique amongst thefamily of "illegals".(mushrooms too of course).The fact that Marijuana is directly herbal medicine,iswhat makes it such an OUTRAGE,for the gov to have theunconstitutional BALLS to try and prohibit it,and keep itin schedule 1.
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Comment #9 posted by Pontifex on June 07, 2001 at 13:12:40 PT:
Right on dddd
As usual you put your finger dead on it. By the way, I really like your style of using commas as ellipses,,,,it's a unique reading experience!The logical debate is long since over. The only people still arguing for the WoSD are people with massive conflicts of interest, like John Walters, Bill Bennett and the other govt. imps. And the best arguments they produce fall apart at the slightest poke, as we've seen.Harry Browne talks a good game. Too bad the election-cycle media won't touch him. Remember, in the next presidential race -- just like the two races previous -- a vote for Harry Browne is an unequivocal demand for an end to the Drug War.And AOCP -- you're going to bring down the house with your presentation, I'm sure! You have the easiest position ever to argue. Use the opportunity to polish your rhetoric. I hope you'll let us know how it goes...
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Comment #8 posted by FoM on June 07, 2001 at 12:51:56 PT
Aocp Good Luck with your speech! 
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Comment #7 posted by aocp on June 07, 2001 at 12:44:44 PT
Yea, whatever...
dddd: beyond the financial pig trough, you're left with the "don't mess up my JIHAD with your facts" crowd. Talk about the rock vs. the hard place, huh?I'm going to try and give an 8-minute persuasive speech on bringing regulation to at least MJ on monday or tuesday in my speech class. Since these are mostly young college students, we'll see how it goes over. I'm excited and terrified at the same time.
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Comment #6 posted by dddd on June 07, 2001 at 11:09:53 PT
Harry Browne,,once again speaks with the voice ofreason,and reality.....You dont even need to be smartto realize that Harry is right.It's not really that complicated......But the drug war will drag on, and on,,,,it's no longer a matter ofreality,or truth,it is now more of a financially driven beast..........why dont they make some real,and important laws,,,like combattingthe suicide problem!..Anyone who tries to commit suicide,should getthe death penalty.....dddd
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Comment #5 posted by R.earing on June 07, 2001 at 10:42:15 PT:
fascinating mind exercise!
Apparently this writer took John Lennon to heart."you may say that he's a dreamer,but he's not the only one."
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Comment #4 posted by observer on June 07, 2001 at 10:09:33 PT
Plant Examples
Look at AIDS, weight loss, and cholesterol drugs, for example. . . .Look at depression, St. John's Wort, ginko. Look at weight loss and the ephedera plant. Or hunger and potatoes. Perhaps these are better examples. Isn't it still legal to grow your own tobacco, also? the drug companies can simply profit from cannabis in a similar way that companies do now profit from St. John's Wort? Or ginko? Was the government [including careerist FDA bureaucrats] to prescribe to us our medicine and diet [which, with totalitarian zeal they do attempt], our bodies would be in such keeping as our souls are now. Thus in France the emetic was once forbidden as a medicine, and the potato as an article of food. [now we may freely grow and use this plant] ... Reason and experiment have been dulged, and error has fled before them. It is error alone which needs the support of government. Truth can stand by itself.-- Thomas Jefferson, "Notes on the State of Virginia," 1787 
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Comment #3 posted by Sudaca on June 07, 2001 at 09:32:19 PT
If not pharmaceutical companies
Then the recreational substance companies; Philip Morris,Budweiser America, or just plain 'coffeeshop home grown'.Actually look at companies like Riverside Organics, orInternational Oddities which have squarely positionedthemselves as distributors of recreational (legal andineffective for the most part) substances. Their claims areso peppered with warnings, disclaimers and information aboutthere not taking responsibility for what you do withyourself that I see this as a hard case for suing by thepart of the customer. Just like you don't see Barnes&Noble providing an extremehardcore porn section , yet extreme hardcore porn is stillpublished by legitimate business presses (albeitreproachable if you want).If the prices are too high surely there'll be contraband ,but how can that compare to the current situation in whichall the market forces push towards contraband, given thecurrent situation. The contraband in a legal drug market situation would belimited to people who could not afford the 'real' thing andwere willing to take risks in using a possibly doctoredsubstance.How many of you enjoy contraband Johnny Walker Red?Adulterated whisky may be cheaper than the legitimateproduct but it tastes like crap and gives you a headache. Soare the whisky adulterators rolling in dough? not really.But they do exist. And the situation in the alcohol marketis much much better than it was during the 'Prohibition'
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Comment #2 posted by Fed Regs on June 07, 2001 at 08:47:43 PT
Drug Companies
Even if the Controlled Substances Act (and related treaties) were repealed or abrogated, I cannot imagine that a pharmaceutical company would mass-produce and market recreational drugs given the current state of products liability and other tort law. The litigation exposure alone would be enough to keep businesses from producing the drugs. Not, mind you, that the suits would necessarily have merit, but we all know they'd happen. People would sue because they were injured while intoxicated by the drug or injured by someone else who was intoxicated or harmed by the drug itself. They would sue the drug company for making an inherently dangerous product and the pharmacy for selling the product to someone who was obviously impaired or addicted. No amount of fine print on assumption of the risk would prevent such suits. And even assuming the companies made the drugs, why would they necessarily charge low prices? Look at AIDS, weight loss, and cholesterol drugs, for example. Companies are charging far more than cost plus reasonable profit--because they can. People want these drugs. And if controlled substances were legalized, demand would keep the prices high as well...and then illegal trafficking would occur, just as it does with counterfeit and stolen prescription drugs today. Of course, the argument that legal drugs would be subject to regulation and taxation presumes that they could not be easily made or grown at home...which, at least with respect to marijuana, is not true. And so it goes...
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Comment #1 posted by Doug on June 07, 2001 at 08:44:48 PT:
Life After Prohibition
We can look to the changes in alcohol use after Alcohol Prohibition ended to get an idea of what it would be like once the current prohibition ends.One argument critics always use is after Prohibition ended, alcohol use increased greatly, and so likewise after prohibition ends drug use will greatly increase. This ignores one big difference between Prohibition and prohibition. Alcohol use was legal before Prohibition, and most people after repeal remembered that, and so usage patterns simply returned -- with the exception indicated below -- to normal. On the other hand, very few people are still alive who remember a time before drug prohibition, and so there is no pre-prohibiton usage patterns to return to.But prohibion did cause a change in the ways people drank. Since before the Civil War the use of hard liquor had been declining. But during Prohibition, it made sense to use the most powerful forms of alcohol possible, so wine and beer fell out of favor.  Once Prohibition ended, these drinking patterns remained -- just look at the alcohol use in movies of the Fifties, such as 'Some Came Running' with Dean Martin, whose supposed drinking behavior reflected these post-Prohibition habits. The use of wine and beer didn't increase for several decades after the end of Prohibition; wine use increased in the Sixties, ironically fueled by the use of marijuana.So when prohibion ends, drug use will still be distored by the effect of prohibition, which always makes things worse.
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