The illegality of cannabis is outrageous, an impediment to full utilization of a drug which helps produce the serenity and insight, sensitivity, and fellowship so desperately needed in this increasingly mad and dangerous world. – Carl Sagan
As a result of tabling all week for our “End the Drug War” event, YAL at Auburn University collected 66 new sign-ups and had a total meeting attendance of 58 on Thursday, February 12. We hosted Dr. Mark Thornton to speak about the “War on Drugs.” Dr. Thornton is a Senior Fellow at the Mises Institute, a retired economics professor, the Book Review Editor of the Quarterly Journal of Austrian Economics, and a published author. After Dr. Thornton’s lecture, “End the Drug War” materials were given as prizes for a jeopardy game.
According to the Pew Research Center, 54% of people believe that the use of marijuana should be legalized. Colorado, Alaska, Oregon, and Washington State have all legalized recreational use of the drug, while 23 states and Washington, D.C., have legalized medical use. Yet 1.5 million individuals were arrested in 2013 on non-violent drug charges.
How will this change? Dr. Thornton wishes to create a truly legal, free market that would promote the eventual rise of competitive large industries to improve product quality and create standardization.
In a free market, product attributes would develop (i.e. a method of production, filtration, and packaging) and the potency would become consistent. There is no standard in the black market; the potency of marijuana has increased from .4 of 1% in the 1970s to over 10% today. Some samples are sold at 60%, and some are even close to 100% potency of THC. A free market would promote a standard potency to insure consistency of doses.
Individual rights are key in the libertarian philosophy. We do not believe that the government’s role is to protect us from ourselves. If we are not free to decide for ourselves what to put in our bodies, we are not really free. (Anyway, no one has ever died from marijuana consumption.)