By R Carter
I chose a photo for this post that best represents utter stupidity, narrow-mindedness and obtuseness. Mr. Kolodny is my new poster boy for all things idiotic. He represents all those who operate on fear and greed, unwilling to step outside conventional thinking and risk an approach which just might turn everything around.
Following a trip to Canada to get a firsthand look at legalized marijuana, a group of British MP’s have declared that the UK should legalize recreational cannabis within five years.
“I want the market legalized, regulated and taken away from crime gangs,” said Lammy, the MP for Tottenham in north London. “I want to see the strength of the stuff reduced, labelled and properly organized in this country.”
This is a very progressive view for a conservative and made me immediately wonder what’s wrong with the picture in US. Why can’t US conservatives see the advantages to such an approach one which could help solve the opioid crisis as well? Don’t misunderstand me, I’m not advocating for making powerfully addictive drugs like opioids legal, to be bought retail from your corner store, but substance which are not so addictive need to be taken out of the control of the criminal element and placed back in the hands of a regulatory process which can oversee their use in a responsible way.
Consider this. Opioid overdoses have continued to climb despite efforts at restricting access to legitimate medical patients and why, because the criminal element continues to supply demand, now mixing Fentanyl into every substance they sell. Law enforcement officials in Ohio and addicts coming out of treatment are reporting that everything sold on the street now has Fentanyl in it, not just heroin. This includes marijuana, on the street they call it dusting the product, cocaine, methamphetamine, hallucinogens, benzodiazepines, you name it. They all have some amount of Fentanyl in them. This makes sense if you’re trying to get your buyers hooked on your products and lower the cost of those products because Fentanyl is considerably cheaper to make than heroin.
The criminal element is also unregulated naturally, so it’s the Wild, Wild West out there and anything you can get away with, you do. The criminal element is driving the opioid crisis far more than the medical profession and always has. In fact, the DEA has publicly admitted it believes it can no longer arrest its way out of the criminal drug enterprises in this country. If the DEA is going to throw its hands up and admit defeat, maybe it’s time to legalize some of these Class I substances and get them under state and federal control so they can be regulated, putting the criminal element out of business.
Once the criminal element has been eliminated, government will then have the control they want in managing the abuse issues in this country. On top of all this, they would generate tax revenues which could then be used to treat those who become addicted. This make more sense than you know, consider alcohol, which has been legal for decades, yet the addiction rate to alcohol has remained stable at around 6% of the population, compared to opioids which is at 0.62% and is already highly regulated. The government has yet to prove its claim that prescription opioids were the gateway drug to the opioid crisis, its a theory but that’s all it is, it is not fact by any stretch of imagination. The charges in the Oklahoma vs Johnson and Johnson trial were reduced to a public nuisance complaint and while the verdict is still pending, most believe Oklahoma will lose as they failed to make their case, unable once again to connect the dots between Johnson and Johnson and opioid overdoses.
Prohibition didn’t work the last time this country tried it back in the 1920’s – 30’s so why do our elected officials believe it will work now? While other countries find the courage and wherewithal to take progressive steps at eliminating the criminal element, the US continues to subsidize the criminal enterprise with its archaic and failed policies.