Before I get started, let me say this: A LOT OF DRUGS OUT THERE (including legally prescribed pharmaceuticals) ARE A BAD, BAD, BAD IDEA AND YOU SHOULDN’T USE THEM, TRY THEM, OR OTHERWISE GET INVOLVED WITH THEM. (See: Heroin, Cocaine, Crack). Many drugs are bad, mmmmmkay, kids?
That aside, I’ll go on…
Yesterday I had lunch with one of my colleagues. He’s a younger, very logical, well reasoned guy. His father is a State Trooper. That is to say, he’s probably grown up with the idea that the state (that is, a general term for Government) and maybe even the drug war are good things. Along the way, we got talking about crimes and how I believe the only true crimes are crimes that involve a victim (crimes against person or property). This lead into a talk about the drug trade.
One argument he brought up in support of Federal and State prohibition policies was: well, the drug trade is inherently violent and that’s why we need to keep prohibition. Then I asked him: Why is the drug trade violent?
Let me ask you, the reader, the same question: Why is the drug trade violent?
Some might say because drugs makes people violent or people with an addiction need to do violent things to maintain their habit. My counters:
- If the free market was allowed to regulate the price of drugs, they would be much, much, much less expensive. It’s prohibition and the black market that make the cost so high. People who want to use them could more readily afford them and might be less likely to turn to stealing to pay for their supply.
- I carry a gun, if I encounter a person on the street or someone who breaks into my home who is violent towards me or someone I love, I have a solution for that problem.
Going on, I’ll provide you the answer I gave my colleague:
It’s violent because it’s illegal. Let’s say I am a distributor of oats. You (the reader) are one of my retailers. As many distributors do for their clients/retailers, I front you some oats on an credit (AKA an account receivable). We agree you will pay me in 45 days, which is when you expect to have the product sold (or at least enough of it sold that you can pay me back). 45 days come and go and no money shows up. What do I (the distributor) do? I file an action in court for breach of contract or begin other lawful dunning/collection procedures against you. Eventually, I get my money (even if not all of it). Likewise, If I am a consumer and you are a retailer that doesn’t deliver my product after I have made payment for it, I can sue you.
Now, let’s pretend we’re not talking about oats anymore. We’re talking about cocaine. How does the above paragraph change? Let’s see…I can’t sue you because:
- We’ll both get investigated by the state for drug trafficking.
- Even if we don’t get criminally investigated, my case will get thrown out because the subject matter is illegal (Remember the 4 parts of a contract? Mutual Assent, Capacity, Consideration, and Legality?)
So what’s an otherwise perhaps reputable drug businessman to do to get his money back? He’s gonna bust some caps!
If I’m a drug consumer and I take delivery face to face, what am I to do if the seller presents a gun instead of the product? Call the cops? Yeah right…see #1 above.
After listening to this explanation, my colleague agreed that it is quite probable the drug trade is violent solely (or at least mostly) because it is an illegal/black market. Want an example of a drug trade/black market operation that involved zero violence (well, at least until the Government stepped in)? I’ll tell you about it, but let’s talk about the Silk Road another day…
What does this have to do with Michigan? How much money would the State save if it wasn’t one of the Federal Government’s partners in the drug war? How many people that are presently “guests” of the Department of Corrections are there solely because of drug crimes or violence related to the drug trade? Maybe I’ll answer those questions another day…