Drug Legalization

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Long before libertarians advocated legalizing drugs, liberals advocated legalizing drugs. The difference is how they would be legalized: libertarians want unregulated drugs, and liberals want drugs regulated from a Public Health Approach by organizations such as the FDA.

Libertarians have no answer for the simple problem of selling unlabelled narcotic candy to your children in any store. While they may tut-tut, they have no way of justifying a regulation against it. They may claim they will teach their children not to take those drugs, but they will have all the success that parents have always had with tobacco, alcohol and other drugs. If they are able to determine which soda has cocaine, which sports drinks have speed, which candy has opiates, etc. Remember, no required labels.

Decades of experience with public health approaches to regulating alcohol and tobacco show that consumption and disease due to consumption can be greatly reduced.

And for all their talk, libertarians do very little to promote drug legalization. The major player in drug legalization is the Drug Policy Alliance, an alliance of mostly liberal groups which prefer a public health viewpoint. And some drugs (especially marijuana) are being legalized without electing libertarians. Libertarians are not needed.


Public Health Approach (22 links)
The public health approach treats problems (such as infectious diseases, addictive drugs, gambling, crime, extramarital sex, pollution and other environmental problems) with harm reduction, rather than simple moral judgements or prohibition. Libertarians still oppose it because it is a successful government social program and an alternative to their radicalism.
Alternative Medicine Fraud (10 links)
Libertarians want untrammeled freedom to buy and practice "alternative medicine". Yet they claim to oppose fraud and the vast majority of the multi-billion dollar "alternative medicine" industry is fraudulent and wasteful if not harmful.
America Loves Its Unregulated Wellness Chemicals [More...]
"... currently, it’s impossible for most consumers to know whether what they’re buying has any CBD in it at all, let alone evaluate its quality." Modern-day snake oil is a poor substitute for making proper health care available to everybody.
Count The Costs [More...]
"Count the Costs is a collaborative project between a range of organisations that, while representing a diverse range of expertise and viewpoints, share a desire to reduce the unintended costs of the war on drugs." At least 70 supporting organizations.
Food and Drug Administration (10 links)
The FDA plays a very important part in moving food and health care from "buyer beware" to the informed consumers that market advocates think are necessary for optimum results. Labeling and evidence-based claims only infringe freedom to mislead the gullible for a buck. Libertarians uniformly hate the FDA because it bans their favorite illicit substances.
Former World Leaders Call For Legal, Regulated Drugs [More...]
"An international commission that includes 8 former heads of state and other world leaders is declaring this week that even decriminalization isn’t enough."
How to stop the drug wars [More...]
Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution according to The Economist. They propose to "transform drugs from a law-and-order problem into a public-health problem".
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition -- Partner Organizations [More...]
LEAP lists 40 partner organizations, most of them mainstream and not libertarian, that ally with it in the goal of legalization and regulation of drugs.
Repeal Prohibition, Again [More...]
The editorial board of the New York Times says: "The federal government should repeal the ban on marijuana."
The Alcohol Industry (4 links)
The alcohol industry is responsible for roughly 6 times more deaths than are due to violence. In addition, there are high secondhand harms. Taxation to raise the price and bans on advertising are very effective at reducing sales and demand. Worldwide, public health measures are reducing consumption.
The Consumers Union Report on Licit and Illicit Drugs, Chapter 69, Policy issues and recommendations [More...]
Consumer Reports (1972) identifies many drug problems as side effects of prohibition, and calls for legalization with states experimenting in regulation. Also calls for banning of advertising for some drugs, such as nicotine-containing cigarettes.
The Drug Industry (10 links)
Legal and illegal, medical and alternative, the drug industry is responsible for enormous numbers of deaths and addictions, extortionate prices, not to mention enormous amounts of fraud in alternative medicines. Its harms far exceed those of wars. The drug industry absolutely requires regulation, but it is also one of the worst practitioners of regulatory capture.
The New Model for a Health-First Approach to Legalizing Weed [More...]
In Canada, "There will be “strict limits” on advertising, and marijuana will “likely be sold in uniform packages that carry health warnings as their only decoration,” and candies and other edibles will be banned... the critical balance of effective marijuana policy is to incentivize producers to make enough to meet demand, but not to substantially grow the market.
The Overwhelming Evidence in Favor of Harm Reduction [More...]
"The evidence for harm reduction services is overwhelming. They keep people alive, are cost-effective, and foster healthier, safer communities."
The Tobacco Industry (9 links)
The tobacco industry is notorious for its enormous public relations battle to preserve its ability to addict new generations of children. Science denialism, suppressed and secret research, legislative blockages, avoiding FDA oversight, and other tactics result in an industry that is still responsible for 300,000 US deaths per year and 5 million worldwide (growing rapidly.)


Austin Petersen said that it shouldn’t be possible for someone to sell a 5-year-old heroin. He got booed. [2016 Libertarian Party USA Convention]
Grant Thompson, "Drugs, wizards, and trolls: The Libertarian Party"