War on Drugs

The Manhattan Libertarian Party calls for an end to the War on Drugs. It has proven to be a disaster for the community and a failure in tackling the distribution and use of drugs in New York and beyond. Drug usage will continue whether it is legal or not. The issue is how it is viewed by the community and treated by the law and by government. The current “Drug War” causes far more problems than it solves, and the heavy price we have all paid through the loss of our liberties and freedoms is a direct violation of the constitution.

Drugs in and of themselves are not what causes the violence and crime associated with drugs, the high price does.Because it is very costly and dangerous to supply drugs in the face of immense drug regulation, the supply has decreased.Any good economist will tell you that when supply is cut while demand stays the same, the price will increase.Because the price is so high, addicts must resort to crime to get the money needed to finance their habit.If drugs were deregulated and prices were allowed to again approach the market equilibrium point, users, even addicts, could be normal, functioning members of society. People who use alcohol are able to constantly take a mind altering drug, yet because of alcohol’s low costs, they do not need to resort to crime to pay for their habit.

Drug laws affect not only users on the demand side, by providers on the supply side.The drug market is an illegal, or black, market.Therefore, drug dealers cannot get restitution should someone breach an agreement through the United States justice system.This causes drug dealers to take matters into their own hands and solve their problems with violence.Because the threat of being arrested and having their business shut down is ever looming, drug suppliers cannot afford to create long term strategies.Therefore, in order to maximize their short term profit, they have a perverse incentive to make their drugs as addicting as possible.Because their business can be shut down at a moment’s notice, they can’t afford to care about the long term well being of their customers.This incentive trickles down to producers, who supply drug dealers with more addictive forms of the drugs.If legal corporations which make long term plans were allowed to enter the drug market, they would have an incentive to maximize the euphoric feelings while minimizing the health effects for their users.

The government’s failed drug war has now ruined tens of thousands of lives in New York City. Over the past decade, marijuana arrests alone have skyrocketed from about 600 each year to over 60,000 in 2000. Many of those arrested are our city’s youth, who as a result may be shut out of financial aid for college and denied employment opportunities, in addition to facing stiff fines, probation and even incarceration. We are harming their future for no foreseeable gain. Not to mention the enormous waste of our already stretched police and court resources. Instead of focusing on treatment for people who may have serious drug problems, our political leaders cynically emphasize prosecution and persecution of our fellow citizens, who by using drugs are in most cases hurting no one but themselves.

Manhattan LP Drug war pamphlet