Center for a Stateless Society
A Left Market Anarchist Think Tank & Media Center
The Absurdity of Criminalizing Drug Use

Statists put forth some fairly ridiculous arguments regarding why the state must exist in the first place, from regulating simple business transactions to policing what we do in our personal lives. Out of all the regulations state-supporters say are “necessary,” the criminalization of drug use is the most detestable. People partake in many sordid vices, but drug use is without a doubt one of the most heavily-prosecuted.

There are laws against using or selling certain drugs because, according to those who would protect us from them, they are considered harmful. Many people support these laws because they do not want these substances out on the streets or – heaven forbid! – the children will start using them.

It is a given that the usage, or overuse, of drugs can be harmful; so then why are only certain drugs illegal? Alcohol, a legal substance, can be incredibly dangerous; it was even criminalized in the early 20th century, only to be re-legalized by Franklin Delano Roosevelt in a desperate bid for the tax dollars free-flowing booze would bring.

What if alcohol were to become illegal once again?

It’s likely we would have to deal with some sort of criminal organization taking control of that substance to sell it at outrageous prices through the black market – which already happens with just about any substance that has been deemed illegal today.

What if the state were to go even further? What if caffeine, a drug, were to be outlawed? Caffeine seems to make people restless and jittery; sorry, tea-sippers and java-lovers, you will just have to find different, more harmless alternatives for your daily pick-me-up.

How about prescribed medication from the pharmacy? Clearly they are drugs and if not taken in controlled amounts could be dangerous. But the state would never think about taking away Nana’s blood pressure medicine; at least not as long as they are able to hand over the reins to Big Pharma with their government-granted patents.

The state’s only reason for being is to empower those who would not be able to have what they want without the use of force. Certain things are allowed to exist only if it benefits the elites. Without this drive, the state would have no reason to exist. Drugs such as cocaine or heroin are outlawed because it is of no benefit to them (unless they allow opium to be grown in Afghanistan to create wealth for “allied” war-lords who, may or may no be, fighting the Taliban). The U.S. government has been so adamant on fighting drug cartels because they are of no benefit to the existing order and pose a threat due to their increasing power, wanting to let everyone know who is in charge.

Every now and then I go by a stopped car with police rifling through it, the driver and passengers hanging their heads in shame on the side of the freeway; some might see this and say, “Good, they should be arrested,” while I say, “Leave them the hell alone.” No matter how much the state regulates or criminalizes drug-use, such substances will ALWAYS be around, especially for addicts who direly need their fix. I am not advocating that people just go out and use dangerous substances.  If you are a loved-one who is concerned about a drug-addicted family member, pressure them to get help, go to rehab, and stay clean. If you want to warn people about the dangers of drug-abuse, spread the word, educate them. Whether someone starts using a substance is up to them; they likely know the consequences. The only authority that holds the right to regulate what someone decides to put or not put into their body is that very person; no other person or institution has that privilege.

Citations to this article:

Markets Not Capitalism
Organization Theory
Conscience of an Anarchist