Tag Archives: libertarian

A Libertarian View of Cannabis and Drugs

by Keith PrestonPolice State/Civil Liberties, Therapeutic State, Uncategorized • Tags: war on drugs

By Sean Gabb

Libertarian Alliance

(Written early in the 21st century for a Roger Scruton publication)

The libertarian position on drugs is simply stated. People should have the right to do with themselves as they please. This necessarily includes the right to take any drugs they please – for recreation or for medication. No one else automatically has the right to interfere with such choices, unless they can be shown to involve force or fraud or some attack on the whole community that threatens its dissolution.

Taking drugs in consenting company is not an act of the first kind – it causes no one else the sort of harm against which they can legitimately demand protection. Nor is it an act of the second kind. We are told endlessly that drugs are a danger to social stability – that they lead to crime and degradation and so forth. There is no evidence for this claim.

The British past provides a compelling example. Until 1920, drug use was uncontrolled. Between 1827 and 1859, British opium consumption rose from 17,000lb to 61,000lb. Workmen mixed it in their beer. Gladstone took it in his coffee before speaking. Scott wrote The Bride of Lammermoor under its influence. Dickens and Wilkie Collins were both heavy users. Cannabis and heroin were openly on sale. There was no social collapse. There were few deaths from taking drugs. Most deaths involving opium were individual accidents, and even these were negligible – excluding suicides, 104 in 1868 and thereafter to 1901 an annual average of 95. Hardly anyone even recognised that a problem might exist.

The claim that drugs are bad for a society falls. The opposite is true. Criminalisation is bad. All the ills now blamed on drugs are more truly blamed on the illegality of drugs.

When drugs are illegal, only criminals will supply them. And when criminals are allowed to dominate an entire market, they will be able – indeed required – to form extended, permanent structures of criminality that could never otherwise exist. They will then make drugs both expensive and dirty.

Drugs will be expensive because bribes, transport inefficiencies, rewards of special risk, and so forth, all raise the costs of bringing drugs to market. Therefore much of the begging, prostitution and street crime that inconvenience Western cities.

Drugs will be dirty because illegal markets lack the usual safeguards of quality. When a can of beer is stamped “8 per cent alcohol by volume”, this does not mean anything between 0.5 and 30 per cent. Nor will caustic soda be used to make it fizzy. Brewers have too much to lose by poisoning or defrauding customers. Drug dealers can afford to be less particular.

Therefore frequent overdosing. Therefore poisonous additives. Therefore, the frequent transmission of aids even today by the sharing of dirty needles.

Moving from the costs of the crime resulting from illegality, we come to the costs of enforcement. These also are massive.

In the first place, the Police need to become a virtual Gestapo if they are to try enforcing laws that create no victim willing to complain and help in any investigation. They need powers to stop and search people and to search private homes that would never be necessary to stop things like burglary and murder. They need to get involved in entrapment schemes. They are exposed to offers of bribes frequently too large to be turned away. In one way or another, the War on Drugs leads to the corruption of every enforcement agency sent into battle.

And that War cannot be won. The British Customs and Excise have no land border to worry about. They can track every boat and aeroplane that enters British territory. They have far wider powers of investigation than the regular Police. Even so, they themselves estimate that they stop fewer than three per cent of the drugs smuggled into the United Kingdom every year.

In the second place, we have the war on money laundering. Since it is impossible to stop the import and sale of the drugs, attention has switched in recent years to stopping the profits of the trade from being enjoyed. The idea now is to confiscate these profits and use them for further investigations. However, before the money can be taken, it must be found. This requires surveillance and control over all financial transactions. Because any one of us might be a drug dealer trying to launder dirty money, we must all provide endless documentation when we open bank accounts. We are not allowed to pay in large amounts of cash without facing an inquisition from the bank clerks. Our banking details are open to official inspection virtually on demand.

Just as with drugs, the war on money laundering is also a war on freedom. In this case, it frees the authorities from the requirements of due process. The confiscations of alleged drug money are increasingly made without any pretence of a trial. In America, civil asset forfeiture, has become legalised theft of the plainest kind. In Britain, we are moving towards a similar breach of Common Law rights.

Moreover, the fact that our financial transactions can now be monitored gives the authorities an entirely new power over us. Its means of exercise are not yet in place. But we are moving fast into a world where all our purchases can be stored in a database. We can try to avoid this surveillance by using cash. But there are experiments in both Britain and America to see how anonymous cash can be replaced by cards that leave a record of every transaction.

Therefore, on the grounds both of individual freedom and of social utility, there is no argument whatever for continuing with the present War on Drugs. It is a War that benefits only criminals and a few drug enforcement agencies, and that harms every one of the rest of us, whether or not we take drugs.

CONTINUE READING…

“We’re on the ballot in all 50 states,” he noted. “This is for real.”

 

Gary Johnson, the former Republican governor of New Mexico turned Libertarian Party nominee for president, has no qualms about possibly costing either of the major parties the White House this fall.

“I will lose no sleep if that is the label given to me,” Johnson assured those gathered at the National Press Club on Thursday when asked about potentially inheriting the “spoiler” mantle from previous third-party challengers Ross Perot and Ralph Nader.

[ Don’t Count Out Third-Party Candidates ]

If anything, Johnson sees the polarizing 2016 campaign as the perfect opportunity to disrupt the status quo.

“I just think that people are hungry to vote for someone rather than the lesser of two evils,” he said, adding, “This is a party that needs crashing.”

[ GOP Delegate Would Rather Be Arrested Than Vote for Trump ]

Johnson’s running mate, former Massachusetts Gov. William Weld, also addressed the dozens of supporters and press gathered to hear how the pair’s bid for the Oval Office was progressing.

Although just a few miles from the Capitol, the mood at the Johnson-Weld luncheon — optimistic as it was — felt miles away from the rancor and cynicism on full display in a House Oversight and Government Reform Committee hearing focused on the administrative shortcomings of likely Democratic candidate Hillary Clinton.

[ House Republicans Want FBI Documents in Clinton Email Probe ]

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Rather than shying away from their respective standard-bearers, as some Republicans did Thursday by coyly meeting with or outright avoiding the presumptive GOP nominee Donald Trump, those on hand at the press club luncheon were excited about getting up close and personal with the guest speakers.

[ Senate Republicans Leave Trump Meeting With Little to Say ]

“Do you think I could take a picture with them?” one suit-clad admirer asked club staff, his smartphone already in hand.

Johnson, who collected over a million votes during his 2012 presidential run, firmly believes the Libertarian Party is gaining traction.

“We’re on the ballot in all 50 states,” he noted. “This is for real.”

Johnson attempted to brush aside any notions that he or Weld would be satisfied with merely gaining entry into the upcoming presidential debates — a milestone predicated upon their earning 15 percent support in national polls.

“We would not be doing this is there were not the opportunity to actually win,” Johnson said of his career ambitions.

Rather than ambush individuals — “No insults. No threats. No bluffs,” is how Johnson characterized their presidential platform — the duo indicted the current political system in general.

Libertarian vice presidential nominee Gov. William Weld answered questions about his latest campaign during an appearance at the National Press Club. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Libertarian vice presidential nominee Gov. William Weld answered questions about his latest campaign during an appearance at the National Press Club. (Warren Rojas/CQ Roll Call)

Weld, also a onetime Republican like Johnson, accused establishment politicians of being interested in the same thing: maintaining their duopoly.

Johnson slammed those on both sides of the aisle for betraying the public trust. “They’re all about spending and nothing about results,” he argued.

If elected, Johnson promised to take the fight directly to Congress, mapping out plans to hold the GOP’s feet to the fire on federal budgeting and expanded government while challenging Democrats on civil liberties and entitlements.

“This is a huge opportunity. Don’t you see it?” Johnson posed to the crowd.

Contact Rojas at warrenrojas@rollcall.com and follow him on Twitter at @WARojas.

– See more at: http://www.rollcall.com/news/politics/libertarian-ticket-fine-playing-spoiler-envisions#sthash.jA2oSOR6.dpuf

Libertarian Johnson: Drug war ‘root cause’ of police shootings

Poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, Gary Johnson said.

By Burgess Everett

07/08/16 11:55 AM EDT

Gary Johnson believes the tensions between police and minorities that led to two high-profile police shootings and the deaths of five Dallas police officers has a root cause: The long-running war on drugs.

The libertarian nominee for president did not directly tie the drug war to the shooting deaths in Minnesota and Louisiana by police or the sniper killings of five officers in Texas this week. But poor relations between police and African-Americans stems from the criminalization of drug use, he said.

“The root is the war on drugs, I believe. Police knocking down doors, shooting first,” Johnson said in an interview Friday in Washington. “If you are (black and) arrested in a drug-related crime, there is four times more likelihood of going to prison than if you are white. And shooting is part of the same phenomenon.”

“That’s the common thread. Shootings are occurring with black people, black people are dying,” he added. “This is an escalation.”

The former Republican governor of New Mexico is pitching a complete rewrite of the nation’s drug policy as part of his underdog run for the presidency alongside his running mate, former Massachusetts GOP Gov. Bill Weld. Johnson wants to legalize marijuana and find other ways to deal with harder drugs than long periods of incarceration.

He said that will soon happen, predicting that California will vote this fall to legalize marijuana and President Barack Obama will remove cannabis from its listing as a Class 1 drug. “I think Obama’s going to do that going out the door,” Johnson said.

“The focus on drugs needs to be as a health issue, not a criminal justice issue. It can be illegal but does it need to be criminal? Do you need to go to jail for drugs?” Johnson said. “I do believe that the root of the militarization, knocking on doors, is a drug war phenomenon.”

The laid-back libertarian, dressed in jeans and an open-collared button-down in a hotel dining room, declined to join Republicans in criticizing Obama for pointing to “powerful weapons” this week as a cause of violence between police officers and minorities. But Johnson said the focus on assault rifles is misguided.

“That is a category of rifle that contains 30 million rifles. If you ban those rifles tomorrow and said hand ‘em in,” only half of the weapons would actually be turned over, Johnson said. “And we’re going to have a whole new criminal class of people.”

Johnson said that as president he’d be open to proposals designed to keep guns out of the hands of terrorists and the mentally ill. But he said he’d seen no such workable proposals in Congress, despite unsuccessful attempts by both Democrats and Republicans.

Read more: http://www.politico.com/story/2016/07/gary-johnson-dallas-shooting-225294#ixzz4Dqx744G2
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On Good Friday, Presidential Election 2016 Commentaries are open for discussion in the USMJPARTY GROUP…

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March 24, 2016

 

The U.S. Marijuana Party has a Public Group on Facebook which will host a COMMENT SESSION concerning the 2016 PRESIDENTIAL ELECTION on GOOD FRIDAY, March 25th.

 

Beginning at 8:00 AM CST tomorrow, March 25th, 2016, the FACEBOOK GROUP of the USMjParty will host a Comment Session on the upcoming Presidential Race for the Whitehouse.

It is FREE and OPEN TO THE PUBLIC, however you must approved as a MEMBER in the GROUP in order to SUBMIT a POST or WRITE a COMMENT.

IF YOU would like to join us in this very important discussion tomorrow, you still have time to join Our 17,000+ Members at the GROUP LINK below.

We look forward to seeing all of our MEMBERS ideas and commentaries on this most very important ELECTION of the 21st Century!

HISTORY is about to be made this year in the United States!

YOU have a voice in the outcome of this ELECTION!

Above all else PLEASE make sure that you are REGISTERED TO VOTE and UTILIZE that Vote in this ELECTION!

We are looking forward to seeing you all there!

 

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MAKE A DONATION HERE TO SUPPORT THE COSTS OF WEBSITES AND OTHER EXPENSES ASSOCIATED WITH THE USMJPARTY.  PLEASE NOTE THAT THIS DONATION IS NOT TAX DEDUCTIBLE AND DOES NOT GO TO SUPPORT ANY CANDIDATE FOR OFFICE.

 

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May     Bill 9

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Libertarian Party Nominates Vice-Presidential Candidate Jim Gray

May 22, 2012

 

The following information was released by the campaign of Jim Gray for vice president.

Fresh from winning the Vice Presidential nomination at the Libertarian Party annual convention last weekend in Las Vegas, Newport Beach Judge Jim Gray returns home to begin his campaign for office with Presidential nominee Gov. Gary Johnson.

The Judge Gray Homecoming will be held on Saturday at 10 a.m. on the lawn of the historic Bowers Museum in Santa Ana, CA. For more information on the event, call 619.916-1249. A Question and Answer session will be held immediately following Gray’s address.

“I am proud. I am invigorated. I am excited. With Gov. Gary Johnson, I am determined to bring back prosperity and liberty to the United States of America.” Judge Gray said. “And, I am so grateful to all my friends, family and colleagues who have had a hand in this effort. And this was truly a team effort. It’s great to be home, but it probably won’t be for long,” he said smiling.

Judge Gray was declared the party’s Vice Presidential nominee after he won 59 percent of the vote, receiving 357 votes from the 600 delegates of the convention held at the Red Rock Resort in Las Vegas, NV.

A successful jurist who lives in Newport Beach, Calif. and presided over the Superior Court of Orange County, Judge Gray has been active in the Libertarian Party for several decades.

He was the 2004 Libertarian Party candidate for the U.S. Senate in California challenging incumbent U.S. Senator Barbara Boxer. He is also the chief proponent of a California ballot initiative called “Regulate Marijuana Like Wine” that, if passed, would decriminalize cannabis consumption and production.

As the Libertarian nominees, the Johnson/Gray ticket is expected to be on the ballot in all 50 states.

Accepting the nomination, Johnson said, “Millions of Americans want and deserve the opportunity to vote for a candidate in November who will get us out of the war in Afghanistan immediately, truly cut federal spending, end the failed war on drugs, repeal the Patriot Act, and support marriage equality. I am excited to offer that option: A proven fiscal conservative, a proven defender of civil liberties, and an advocate for social tolerance.”

Orange County Breeze