Anyone with half a brain that doesn’t subscribe to FOX News and perpetuate anti-drug propaganda knows that the “War On Drugs” is an utter farce. It’s common sense at this point, and the days of cannabis’ prohibition (at least in the US) are slowly–but without a doubt–drawing to a close.
Still, when some of the biggest names in entertainment speak out firmly against the most ill-advised war since Vietnam, it’s a win for the cause. And it’s worth sharing. Here’s Brad Pitt’s (who no longer smokes weed) opinion on the “War on Drugs”:
Today, with very little effort, anyone can land in virtually any city in this country, and within a day or two, procure their drug of choice. Since declaring a war on drugs 40 years ago, the United States has spent more than a trillion dollars, arrested more than 45 million people, and racked up the highest incarceration rate in the world. Yet it remains laughably easy to obtain illegal drugs. So why do we continue down this same path? Why do we talk about the drug war as if it’s a success? It’s a charade.
The drug war continues because it is a system that perpetuates itself. On a local level, any time a bust is made, scarcity drives up prices and, of course, the profit potential. History has taught us that there is no shortage of opportunists willing to fill the void and so the cycle continues and rates of drug use and dealing remain unchanged while incarceration skyrockets.
As long as we concentrate on staunching the supply, we create an artificially inflated market that is appealing enough to outweigh the risks of punishment. But if we focus our efforts on the flipside of the coin, and ask why there seems to be such an insatiable demand for recreational drugs, while investing in education, treatment and harm reduction, we might be able to break that cycle. The United States needs to fix the structures in our society that leave people desperate enough that addiction or drug dealing seems like a viable alternative.
The practical failure of the war on drugs is just part of the problem. The same policies that have had so little effect on the country’s drug use have deeply and disparately impacted poor and minority communities in the United States. The burdens of over-incarceration and targeted policing have been borne overwhelmingly by the country’s marginalised, making it harder than ever for large swathes of the population to enjoy the American dream. This is not because those communities use narcotics at a greater rate than the rest of us. In fact they don’t. They are just more vulnerable to the war on drugs. It has to stop. It’s one thing to abide by policies that don’t make things better; it’s another to continue with those that actually make things worse.
As always: true that.