The election has passed, which was followed by a huge sigh of relief by this writer. I can say with absolute certainty that I have never been more proud of this democracy. Not because of who was elected, but because of the social and drug issues that were taken to the people. Issues like the legality of same-sex marriage and marijuana were taken to the ballots, and historic changes ensued. Maryland and Maine have now allowed for same-sex marriage, and as this article was written, Washington is projected to approve the same measures.

But what happened in Colorado and Washington regarding the legalization of marijuana pushed me to think about drug laws and their future. Many members of the social-media world displayed there elation with generic young adult quips (“Looks like I’m packing for Colorado”), but I on the other hand reflected on the implications.

Let me tell you what you already know: marijuana does not kill, so to legalize it seems perfectly normal. But what about the other drugs? Allow me to challenge everything you thought you ever knew about the war on drugs.

A lot of people would scoff at the claim that all drugs should be legalized. On first hearing such unspeakable words, our brains tell us to stop listening to the idiot talking to us. I was like that once, too. But I had the privilege to listen to a guest speaker a few weeks back in one of my classes and his career history was not one you would think an advocate of ending prohibition on all drugs would have.

He served our country as a member of the military, was a police officer for some time, and a warden of a prison. This is the last guy you would expect that would want to end drug laws. But his argument was a hard one to deny. When a rapist or a murderer is apprehended, the crimes they commit cease. But when a drug dealer is arrested, a job opportunity is created. His spot is filled by someone else.

With the drugs in the hands of criminals, there are no regulations and crime associated with those drugs continues. Al Capone was dismantled after the prohibition on alcohol ended.

Our speaker argued that if the government distributed drugs instead of leaving it to the drug dealers, then overdoses would be eliminated because unlike drug dealers, harmful and potent substitute substances would not be mixed in with the drug to expand the product. There would be regulations.

In Switzerland, since heroin has been legalized, there have been no overdoses and lower rates of HIV. The crime with drugs would stop because no one would go to a man on the corner of the street for low-grade heroin that is more expensive than the cheaper government issued, sterile heroin.

Kidnappings, shootings and robberies motivated by drugs would end. Officers would be able to focus on other crimes.

Our speaker challenged us to look at the war on drugs. So many people are locked up in jail because of drugs. Their incarceration is being paid for by us. We have spent a trillion dollars and worked for 40 years to end the war on drugs.

Let me ask you, do you think we are any closer to a drug-free society? Where has it gotten us? The war on drugs will never end. There are more drugs in the streets now than when the war on drugs even started.

Our current solution towards drugs is not working. If drugs were legalized tomorrow, would you go out and shoot up? People think if drugs were readily available, then everyone would do it and there would be a breakdown in society. Well drugs are already readily available. Anyone at this school could score any drug they want if they were willing to put in a morsel of effort, let’s not kid ourselves.

Our speaker was a member of LEAP—Law Enforcement Against Prohibition. I implore you to read more into this matter, because who knows? Maybe 30 years down the road, the legality of heroin will be taken to the people, and we will want to be informed.


Ben Horowitz can be contacted at


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