Ours is a website, not a citizen, not even an American one. We can't vote in the midterm elections to be held on Tuesday, 2nd of November. But if we could, we would cast our vote enthusiastically for Yes on Proposition 19 in California, to end the absurd drug prohibition, and to tax and control cannabis
We need to start by stating the obvious: the war on drugs is an utter failure. Drug prohibition, same as alcohol prohibition in the 1920s, is a complete waste of time, effort and money. This is not a winnable war, full stop.
The consequences of the criminalisation of drugs, namely drug barons, cartels, gang clashes and shootings, let alone the bloodshed in countries such as Mexico and Colombia, are suffered by millions of individuals who aren't stoners. Why? Because some stupid daft decided that drugs are evil and apparently, since we aren't capable of making a rational decision by ourselves, the decision was made for us by some legislator, so drug consumption ended up criminalised. If you smoke a joint you're a criminal. I am flabbergasted.
Some people argue that drug consumption is harmful. This is far-fetched and not quite convincing. It is widely believed that the psychedelic effects of all the drugs used in the 60s, for which California was famous, led to mind stimulation which resulted in all the computer innovation and high-tech start-ups in Sillicon Valley, for which California today is renowned the world over. Most people have used drugs and seem OK. For example, David Cameron (UK Prime Minister) and, famously, Barack Obama. Alright, so did George W Bush and the brain damage is evident, but my point still holds: smoking weed doesn't necessarily turns you into an addict. Why is it banned then?
Some argue that prohibition is good to send a signal to the wider society that drugs are bad. But then again, look at the money wasted fighting drug cartels. It's a lot cheaper to deal with drug addicts, than with drug barons. And more importantly, if you choose to get high, it's your own issue, nobody else should suffer the consequences of your personal choice. Prohibition means that streets aren't safe for many, the rule of law is eroded, judges are corrupted by drug cartels and police resources are squandered.
Let's deal with drug use (and abuse) as if it was a health problem, not a crime. Take the Portuguese approach: let people possess drugs. If they become addicts, send them off to therapy, not to jail. The result has been a success. Most people only smoke the odd joint for recreational purposes, and hardly ever this leads to addiction, we all know this. So why insist on that piece of puritanical foolishness called drug prohibition? It's sheer folly.
By liberalising the possession, production and sale of cannabis, you can control who buys it. By taxing it, you can raise millions to educate on how to enjoy drugs safely, or even to discourage them. You strengthen the rule of law since it will be much easier to police people if they are not breaking the law. All this will be possible if the 'Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010' prevails on Tuesday. Chile Liberal encourage Californians to vote yes on it. Incidentally, because cannabis will be taxed, it's possible to raise an estimated $1.4bn in tax revenue. Furthermore, think of the massive savings in the police budget since no longer police resources will be needed to chase and lock up stoners. You will weaken the drug cartels south of the border as more people will grow their own weed and won't buy Mexican drugs, and the business will be conducted safely and legally in America.
We only see pros, no cons. We endorse Proposition 19 hoping that a new era of less hypocrisy and more peace and worldwide tolerance will begin. As ever, California should be at the forefront.