Winning the Drug War - Boa Constrictor Style

Joan Richardson
Although conservatives tend to react negatively to the proposition that currently illegal drugs be decriminalized or legalized, this may actually provide a viable path to victory in the Drug War. Why not combine the strategies used against Big Pharma and Big Tobacco to dismantle Big Drug? We could legalize, regulate and litigate the makers out of existence.

First, legalization would reduce crime for a number of reasons. Substances would be much more affordable. This affordability would diminish the numbers of addicts who would need to turn to secondary criminality like pushing drugs, prostitution and crime to acquire the funds to feed their habit. Competition in the marketplace would bring the profit margin down to a point where the violent drug cartels/mafia would not be interested in acting. Or, if they wish to maintain a presence, they would have to transform into law-abiding, tax-paying businessmen.

Second, legalization would reduce the number of users. Marketing would be heavily regulated (like alcohol and tobacco) would alert users to safer sources of drugs which, disconnect the current crime-based channels of distribution. Addicts on the street would not have to recruit new users to finance their habit. Because the need to recruit new users as profitable customers diminishes, the number of new users entrapped by free samples would be reduced. The initial barrier to use is actually RAISED by legalizing drugs. Right now, the first few hits are free to the newbie in the attempt to get him/her hooked. Such marketing tactics would be prohibited under legalization.

Third, government regulation has a huge depressive effect on production. The producers would have to navigate the minefields of onerous government regulators like OSHA, the EPA, HHS, ATF, ICE, Homeland Security and, of course, the IRS. The slow grind of government oppression may do more to discourage substance production than the occasional sting operation by the DEA does at present.

Fourth, like every other business, government would tax the substances at exorbitant rates--not enough to create a black market, but just enough to heavily burden the producers. These funds could be earmarked for drug rehab programs, of course.

Lastly, through a long series of interminable class-action lawsuits, the substance producers could be forced to fund their own demise with massive awards for damages, funding for rehabilitation programs, and media campaigns warning about the dangers of substances.

Like the prey of a boa-constrictor, the drug producers would first be embraced, then squeezed and finally suffocated into submission. I mean, why should the drug cartels not have to endure the same governmental pressures as the rest of us?


Although conservatives tend to react negatively to the proposition that currently illegal drugs be decriminalized or legalized, this may actually provide a viable path to victory in the Drug War. Why not combine the strategies used against Big Pharma and Big Tobacco to dismantle Big Drug? We could legalize, regulate and litigate the makers out of existence.

First, legalization would reduce crime for a number of reasons. Substances would be much more affordable. This affordability would diminish the numbers of addicts who would need to turn to secondary criminality like pushing drugs, prostitution and crime to acquire the funds to feed their habit. Competition in the marketplace would bring the profit margin down to a point where the violent drug cartels/mafia would not be interested in acting. Or, if they wish to maintain a presence, they would have to transform into law-abiding, tax-paying businessmen.

Second, legalization would reduce the number of users. Marketing would be heavily regulated (like alcohol and tobacco) would alert users to safer sources of drugs which, disconnect the current crime-based channels of distribution. Addicts on the street would not have to recruit new users to finance their habit. Because the need to recruit new users as profitable customers diminishes, the number of new users entrapped by free samples would be reduced. The initial barrier to use is actually RAISED by legalizing drugs. Right now, the first few hits are free to the newbie in the attempt to get him/her hooked. Such marketing tactics would be prohibited under legalization.

Third, government regulation has a huge depressive effect on production. The producers would have to navigate the minefields of onerous government regulators like OSHA, the EPA, HHS, ATF, ICE, Homeland Security and, of course, the IRS. The slow grind of government oppression may do more to discourage substance production than the occasional sting operation by the DEA does at present.

Fourth, like every other business, government would tax the substances at exorbitant rates--not enough to create a black market, but just enough to heavily burden the producers. These funds could be earmarked for drug rehab programs, of course.

Lastly, through a long series of interminable class-action lawsuits, the substance producers could be forced to fund their own demise with massive awards for damages, funding for rehabilitation programs, and media campaigns warning about the dangers of substances.

Like the prey of a boa-constrictor, the drug producers would first be embraced, then squeezed and finally suffocated into submission. I mean, why should the drug cartels not have to endure the same governmental pressures as the rest of us?