Drug Law Alternative A Rational Alternative to Current Drug Laws

(July 2007)

It should be pretty clear to everyone by now that anti-recreational drug laws are ineffective and actually cause more harm than good. So how can society deal with the problems of overdose, abuse and addiction? Here's the plan: Possession and use of drugs by adults would be legalized. Current laws concerning providing drugs to minors would not be significantly changed, except that providing marijuana would be treated the same as if alcohol was provided.

Marijuana should be available in a labeled package and regulated in a manner similar to alcohol, except there should be no restrictions on privately growing or making products such as hash.

Certified, trained, insured people should be authorized to sell and administer hallucinogens such as LSD, psylocibin and mescaline with the expectation that they would monitor the user while using and under the condition that they would be responsible for the persons well being when they use the drug. The drugs would be tested and accurate doses available as with other prescription drugs. There would be laws and inspections to insure that certified drug administrators act ethically.

Sale of drugs that have not been tested and without dosage levels indicated would be legal if the seller has a signed statement from each adult buyer stating that they understand that the drug has not been tested, the dosage may be inaccurate and that they understand that they are assuming a risk of brain damage, addiction or overdose. The drugs must also be packaged with a prominent warning similar to the signed statement.

All professional drug sellers would be subject to the same zoning laws and other business regulations as any other equivelent sized business. (This would address the issue of drug dealers selling on the streets or disrupting neighborhoods.)

Criminal defenses that claim that the defendant is not reponsible for the crime because he/she was under the influence would not be allowed. Where it can be shown that the defendant took a risk by using a drug before engaging in an activity with the potential to harm others (i.e. operating heavy machinery), the defendant would also be charged with criminal negligence. They would also be subject to additional penalties in civil suits.

Drug treatment would be free and readily available.

The victims of the behavior of addicts and serial abusers (for example those who act disruptively when using, those who do not take care of themselves sufficiently or those that require frequent medical attention due to their use) can petition for a hearing on the person's behavior. The victims/witnesses can include medical personnel, family, neighbors, local merchants etc. At the hearing anyone who has witnessed or experienced harm due to the users' bad behavior can testify. The main purpose of the hearing is to make sure that the user understands that his/her actions are harming others. In addition, the jury can impose a sentence for drug treatment, impose a requirement that the defendant purchase insurance to cover potential damage in the future, and require reimbursement and/or restitution for the victims. Imprisonment would only be imposed if the defendant repeatedly refused or failed to comply with previous sanctions and continued to engage in harmful behavior.

Education on the risks assocated with the use of recreational drugs will be extensive, detailed and fact-based.

This plan would not be more expensive than our current system because the products and revenues will be taxed. Abusive users will be required to reimburse the victims of the harm they cause. Millions will be saved and available to fund treatment programs by ending the practice of arresting, trying and imprisoning drug users.

We encourage you to visit the sites below to learn about the work of organizations committed to drug law reform.