How many lives have the drug war claimed?
Posted by Marijuana Doctors on 11/25/2014 in Marijuana Politics
Since Nixon declared a “war on drugs,” thousands of people have had to pay the price, many times with their freedom or lives. While the US involvement in Columbia had largely to do with the “stop of communism” the drug war was weaved into the rhetoric to sustain the war over time.
How many heads and counting?
The Columbian conflict to date, according Columbia’s National Center for Historical Memory claims that between 1958 and 2013 roughly 220,000 people have died, mostly civilians. While the guise of the war was to stifle communism, it transformed into stopping cocaine from reaching the noses of Americans. The US maintains their hand in the conflict and while their support has dropped significantly, we can attribute a portion of these deaths to the War on Drugs.
In Mexico, the state of warfare is simply getting worse since the US-Mexico Merida Initiative where Calderon began using the army to weave out drug cartels. This destabilized the “unspoken agreement” between cartels and unleashed a trail of bloodshed. Currently the head count stands well over 100,000 people dead and many more “missing”.
Yet losing your life isn’t the only way you can be victimized by the atrocious hands of the drug war. Since 1971, there has been more than 40 million drug related arrests and with a racial disproportion targeting people of color at a much higher rate.
When we talk about racial disparities, there are more African Americans in some kind of correctional control today than were enslaved in 1850 before the Civil War. While we have seen a more relaxed public perception on the use of Cannabis, drug arrests are still rampant all over the country, save in places that recently legalized.
How many more?
The Drug War had its chance to show whether it was effective or not. All we have seen throughout this period was bloodshed and incarcerations. We have seen a general destabilizing effect of the drug war not only in countries such as Columbia and Mexico, but due to the inflated prison population, the US housing 25% of the world’s prison population, the effects trickle down in society.
The US prison industry is one of the fastest growing sectors in society with staggering numbers of “private prisons” being built.
One must ask how many more people must die or be jailed for merely getting high and more importantly, why is altering your own state of consciousness considered “illegal”?
If there is no victim, there should be no crime. However, judging the Drug War we have a long trail of victims, whether they are serving 25 years for “distribution and trafficking” and even mere possession or simply rotting in a mass grave somewhere in the Mexican outlands.
The bottom line is that society has continually paid the costs associated with the Drug War while certain industries profit from the destruction. It is no surprise that “these” prohibition based organizations try to stonewall legalization at every corner, it is their meal ticket.
Yet the free people of earth should no longer tolerate this. This failed policy has only managed to increase the availability of drugs, decrease social wellbeing and left a murderous trail of carcasses along the way.
There is no good reason to keep on sustaining a war that cannot be won. It’s time to end the drug war once and for all, and it starts with legalizing cannabis!