Pubdate: Wed, 01 Mar 2000
Date: 03/01/2000
Source: Harper's Magazine (US)
Author: Peter Webster
Authors: Peter Webster
Note: Headline by hawk

The fundamental failure of our government's policy on drugs is that
prohibition has made criminals of a conscientiously dissenting
minority. It has not merely restricted members of that minority to
practicing their whim only at certain times, places, and frequencies
(which might be justified in the public interest) but criminalized
them outright, with penalties often more severe than those levied for
major crimes against complaining victims, such as manslaughter, rape,
arson, and armed robbery.

In a free society, the rights of individual autonomy are inevitably
dependent on the principle that members of minorities must be
protected from the tyranny of the majority. The greatest failing of
drug prohibition is not, as the authors suggest, the abuses relating
to its enforcement but that large numbers of citizens - a sizable
minority - are being punished for activities that they honestly
believe are their own business and within their rights.

Peter Webster, International Journal of Drug Policy,

Related: The Harper's article "This Is Your Bill of Rights, On Drugs" is at: