I had my first speaking gig for LEAP today. I’ve been a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition for a few years now and I was excited at the opportunity to present some our ideas to the Richardson Rotary Club.
First, I’d like to thank the Rotarians for the opportunity. Really nice people and very receptive to the discussion. I should join the Rotary club someday. The Rotarians mission of service and promoting peace and goodwill actually lines up quite well with the LEAP message.
On a technical note, I used Keynote on the Ipad for the first time. Better to test it out with a non jury audience before taking it to court. It worked fine, but the Ipad doesn’t have a remote control for Keynote- FAIL. You can use your Iphone as a remote if you have a wifi connection. But the Ipad needs a bluetooth remote post haste. I had to stand next to my Ipad and touch the screen to change slides. Not horrible, but it really cuts down on my ability to work the room.
As for the substantive discussion, I first detailed why the status quo must end. Skip ahead if you’ve heard this before.
1. The War on Drugs is over, drugs won. Drug use has not plummeted and denabd remains largely unaffected despite spending over a $1T and arresting over 39M.
2. Prohibition gives the market over to cartels. At least $20B in monopoly profits. Cartels use these profits to wage war in Mexico (over 20,000 deaths in the last 3 years) and bribe our cops.
2a. Opportunity costs are real; the time we waste busting pot smokers (at the alarming rate of 100 per hour) could be better spent improving the clearance rate of real crime (rape, murder etc).
3. We can win the drug war in 3 easy steps.
Step 1, legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis for medical/recreational use. Pot is 60-80% of cartel profits. That move alone would save thousands of lives in Mexico.
Step 2, take back the addict market. Given away free heroin to addicts under a doctor’s supervision. We reduce disease and death, and put more drug dealers out of business.
Step 3. Create a legal market for recreational drugs. People wouldn’t smoke meth if we had some legal form of Aderrall available. People wouldn’t smoke crack as much if we had the Original Coca Cola back.
That’s it. You’ve put every cartel out of the drug business, and you’ve given back millions of law enforcement hours and billions of law enforcement dollars to solving crime, not busting addicts and college kids with joints.
The reaction was largely positive. I was asked how we can end the WOD when our politicians lack the will to even discuss the issue. I explained that Rotarians are leaders, not fringe anarchists or economic eggheads (we’ve got those supporters in spades). Start by talking with your friends, and then emailing your reps in Congress. Tell them we want a new approach, something that works. The subject is still taboo in many circles and we need to change the stigma associated with advocating for regulating, controlling, and legalizing drugs.
One thing I learned is that most people don’t spend any time researching this issue. They are busy, and operate on the assumption that the government wouldn’t spend so much time and money on the WOD if it wasn’t a good idea.
I assume, because I read libertarian/defense blogs frequently, that everyone knows what I know about the WOD and cannabis prohibition. Not so much. The audience are shocked by the fact that over 20,000 Mexicans have been killed in cartel warfare in the last 3 years, that 100 pot smokers are arrested every hour, that the clearance rate for rape is 40% (largely because of the resources wasted on drug cases). Presented with the evidence most will admit the WOD is FUBAR and we need a fresh approach.
To that end, I’m looking for more speaking gigs. Want me to speak at your next event re: ending the failed drug war? Email me directly, or contact LEAP (leap.cc).