What if there were no Drug War? An essay by Joe Kennelly
The year is 2015. One year ago, all 50 states and the federal government ended the Modern Prohibition of what most Americans once referred to as the “War on Drugs.” Today, special stores offer regulated, taxed and formerly illegal drugs in every state. The ‘drug dealer’ now works a $15.00 an hour job and does not care if the customer buys a candy bar or cocaine. Yes, he checks for ID for under-aged kids. What problems remain in the country and around the world?
After the first seven interviews with my brother Police Officer and Detective Howard Wooldridge of Lansing, Michigan (retired) concerning the “War on Drugs”, we skip ahead seven years to see what happened when Congress legalized drugs across the United States of America.
“In 2014 the U.S. Coast Guard blasted out of the water a record number of terrorist speedboats attempting to land on US beaches,” Officer Howard Wooldridge said. “CG guns sunk seven boats and sent approximately 50 ‘would-be-terrorists’ to Davy Jone’s Locker.
“Though the terrorists may be enjoying their 70 virgins in Martyr Heaven, they will have no chance to harm America,” Coast Guard Admiral Jackson reported. The Homeland Security chief believes the US is safer, now that law enforcement and the military are focusing on terrorists and not on boatloads of cocaine or flying around looking for marijuana gardens.
“Al Qaeda’s operating budget to buy guns, bullets and to fund new attacks on the Western world has been severely impacted by the loss of drug revenues. NATO forces in Afghanistan have the Taliban on the run and its commander believes that by 2016 the country will be free of these terrorists. Al Qaeda simply ran out of money to buy bullets.
“Afghan farmers are now growing high quality hemp for a growing bio-fuel industry and quality cloth is being made into soft, durable shirts for the US and European markets. As a bonus, the hemp seeds are providing much-needed nutrition to the country.
“The state prisons still hold over two million men and women, costing taxpayers some 50 billion. All state governors and their legislatures are struggling to decide who should be let out first and under what criteria Pressure drives the process forward, as to the educational needs of students. Education suffered due to so many prisons built. Now state officials use those monies to build new junior colleges and pay qualified instructors. Most states have already released those citizens that simply possessed the now legal drugs. That was easy.
“State and federal treasury officials report that tax revenues on marijuana and Ecstasy have exceeded their projections. Nearly 10 billion dollars flowed into state and federal coffers in 2014. This revenue stream, combined with not spending over 100 billion last year to enforce prohibition laws, has allowed states to finance a host of new bridges, roads, much needed sewer projects and other infrastructure projects.
“Prison guards and their unions are lobbying the state houses to slow down the release of drug prisoners. Every state has already stopped the building of new prisons and many have already closed a couple, laying off the guards. Fortunately, the states are providing free training for the guards to become long distance truck drivers. Experts predict that by 2018 half the prisons in the country will close. Those that remain will hold only rapists, child molesters, bank robbers, etc.
“County jails across the country are already over half empty, freeing up money for local schools. County hospitals have noticed a sharp decline in costs associated with the old Drug War. Since gunfights between street dealers have disappeared and overdoses have become rare, the emergency rooms are better able and have more money to take care of heart attacks and accident victims. Emergency room doctors and nurses have noticed a sharp decline in car accidents caused by the drunk driver. The police doubled their arrests of DUIs in 2014 to nearly three million, after they stopped chasing folks like Willie Nelson and Rush Limbaugh.
“Child predators are now running scared all across the US. Wisely, the 70,000 narcotics officers were re-trained to go after the Internet based, child porn and child rape video crowd. In 2013 the police only arrested some 2,000 adults who had down-loaded porn on their personal computers. This year my colleagues are on track to execute a search warrant on each of the over 600,000 computers with child porn. Since 40 percent of searches also find the child featured in the porn, tens of thousands of little boys and girls have been taken from these abusive homes. Their lives improved overnight. Sadly, late this year, the police have noticed that ever more child porn perpetuates overseas, out of reach of US law enforcement. Better but not a perfect world!
“Shortly after prohibition ended, tens of thousands of citizens who were addicted to the illegal drugs came out of the shadows and asked for treatment. Without the stigma of being illegal, cocaine and heroin addicts felt free to ask for the help they needed. Though this created a huge demand, treatment slots opened up as ‘drug’ courts disappeared. The old system treated anyone caught with a little pot or cocaine as addicted and needing treatment. Now comedians make jokes about such silliness.
“Whatever happened to the roughly two million who formerly sold drugs on the sidewalks? Most found regular jobs and some went on welfare. Gangs have already shrunk dramatically, as kids could no longer make easy money without breaking a sweat. A small number of dealers still look for the easy money and have started robbing banks. Like Bonnie and Clyde 100 years earlier, the police are either killing them in gunfights or they are arrested and put in prison.
“Columbia now is gaining the upper hand in its 50 year struggle with the Marxist guerrillas of FARC. Without the drug money, FARC like Al Qaeda, is struggling to buy bullets and pay its soldiers. Violence dropped dramatically in 2014. Columbia is still the source for most of the cocaine consumed by the rest of world. However, it is loaded onto ships legally and the price has dropped from 80 dollars per gram retail to one dollar. Once again Columbia makes more money exporting coffee than drugs.
“Hollywood struggles to produce movies, absent the easy format of cops versis drug dealers. In recent years many of the action movies tied themselves to the drug trade.
“In the Canadian province of British Columbia unemployment has soared, as the famous BC Bud is now being grown south of the border legally. Former cannabis gardeners are being re-trained to become fish farmers.
“The US courts have become unclogged of drug cases but a new wave of civil lawsuits has been filed. Because civil cases took five or more years during prohibition to come to trial, many never even bothered. Now that justice is swift, civil claims have skyrocketed. Better not perfect.
“Allstate Insurance recently announced a drop in rates for both car and home. Since property crime dropped by over 50 percent in 2014 and far fewer crashes caused by the drinking driver, claims were way down. Other companies are expected to match or exceed the rate cuts announced by Allstate.
“Drug use and abuse plummeted in 2014, much to the chagrin of those who screamed that legalization would cause the destruction of America. “Smoking weed used to be cool when it was illegal but now, why bother?” quipped a Dallas high school senior.
“Another said, “I used to smoke weed to impress my friends but since legalization, I stopped smoking. Now I mostly drink.” Different, maybe better, certainly not perfect.
“High school graduation rates increased in 2014 in the inner cities. Teens now realize they will never be able to work in the drug trade, like their parents did. Social workers said that the absence of the negative role model provided by the rich, successful, teen drug dealer was the single factor tied to higher graduation rates.
“America now realizes that the Chicken Littles were wrong. The sky did not fall in and very few people in 2014 began using cocaine, heroin, etc. Murder rates and property crime rates dropped back to 1960s levels, improving the quality of life, especially in the inner cities. Some problems linger and must be dealt with. However, like the experience of 1933, 2014 marked a turning point in America’s crime problem.”
Today, Officer Howard Wooldridge heads up a task force in Washington, DC to educate and enlighten congressmen at the highest levels. He works for a better future for all Americans. He can be reached at: Education Specialist, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, www.leap.cc , Washington, DC. He speaks at colleges, political clubs, Rotary, Kiwanis and Lions Clubs across America. LEAP speakers in 36 states address this issue to citizens around the country to bring an end to the Drug War.
The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending drug prohibition.
“Envision a world where crime is cut in half, terrorists don’t make money selling drugs and kids are not employed in the drug trade,” Wooldridge said. “Envision a world where the police focus on DUI, child predators and terrorists. Imagine a world where if you have a drug problem, you see a doctor not a judge. All are possible, when we find the courage to end our Prohibition.”
Author: Joe Kennelly
Joe Kennelly is an Examiner from Seattle. You can see Joe’s articles on Joe’s Home Page.