Pubdate: Thu, 21 Jul 2011
Source: Marietta Times, The (OH)
Copyright: Anthony Hennen
Author: Anthony Hennen


A story in Monday's Times headlined "'Bath salts' shop owner is due 
in court today'" reported on a local businessman's unenviable 
position of experiencing the legal system after police arrested him 
on drug-related charges. A more accurate title would have been 
"Police arrest non-violent individual doing stupid, voluntary actions."

The arrest of non-violent offenders is completely illegitimate with 
few positive consequences, even recognizing the harmful and 
non-beneficial effects of drug use. To combat drug use and violence 
within society, one fact must be acknowledged: the war on drugs has 
exacerbated the drug problem and prevents positive solutions from developing.

Before the avalanche of letters accusing me of promoting drug use, 
let me counter such foolish arguments. I do not advocate drug use, 
but I do advocate protecting individual liberty of consenting and 
non-violent adults to act in ways they desire, even if they harm their health.

The war on drugs has been an abject failure: drugs are more prevalent 
and much more harmful. Instead of providing a legal system to address 
conflict in a non-violent way, the prohibition of drugs ensures 
violence for dispute resolution. Whereas legalizing drugs limits the 
availability and holds individuals accountable for harm, theft and 
deceit, prohibition encourages violent action, destroys any possible 
accountability, and treats sick individuals as criminals rather than patients.

Rather than listen to individuals pontificate on their moral 
superiority whilst defending the war on drugs, an analysis of its 
actual effects should determine public policy. Good intentions do not 
vindicate terrible effects. Prohibition of alcohol benefited 
ruthlessly evil gangs, corrupt police and politicians, harmed 
consumers, and caused the deaths of many innocent bystanders. The 
same is true of drug prohibition. Visit to 
examine the unintended consequences of botched police raids that 
resulted in the death of innocent and non-violent individuals and 
police officers.

If our goal as a community is to provide a safe and prosperous 
environment for individuals and our children, drugs must be in the 
hands of accountable businesses, not violent criminals.

Many individuals in this community recognized that alcohol 
prohibition was a disaster, and restricting the sale and ownership of 
guns only benefits criminals. The war on drugs is no different.

Drug abuse, just as alcohol abuse and crime, will continue to be an 
issue. When we abolish the war on drugs, however, we will be able to 
intelligently address the issue and have a safer community.

If we refuse to admit past mistakes and continue a failed policy, 
we'll perpetuate the arrest of non-violent and productive business 
owners and intensify the drug problem, wondering why it fails as we 
waste increasingly large amounts of money.

Anthony Hennen

Little Hocking
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