Opinion: The ethical aftermath of the ‘War on Drugs’

Bruce Walton is the Opinion Editor. Contact him at bwalton4@kent.edu.

Bruce Walton is the Opinion Editor. Contact him at [email protected]

Bruce Walton

The legalization of weed has been a topic widely discussed but never entertained in the mainstream media of America until recently. Until then, it was an idea that was conversed with people who smoke weed and by like-minded progressivists.

Only a decade ago, the idea that marijuana should be legal wouldn’t move someone to respond as if it were going to be an inevitability as something that would come true (much like a black president).

But now after Colorado and Washington have passed legislation on marijuana, we are seeing that the wars and laws against the distribution, growing and consumption of marijuana are beginning to crumble. It does not matter about the opinions of anyone against it. Just like gay marriage, this is going to be an achievement we will witness in our lifetimes very soon now that we have seen it cross the borders of states and be a great contender on ballots during election years.

So if and when this comes to pass, what will happen to all of the people who have years of sentences for selling or having possession of marijuana?

There are thousands, if not millions who have been incarcerated for involving themselves with marijuana trades or possession. In fact, the FBI did a report that police in America arrest 43 percent of suspects with drug possessions with marijuana. However, if it is harmless from the start should there be a change in what has happened before?

Some would argue that citizens should not be considered for shortened sentences or be pardoned because they had knowingly broken the law and did not wait for weed to be legal.

But these individuals were victims of their society now that we see that marijuana was not even a danger or harm if it is being legalized. Being a good citizen does not mean being a law-abiding citizen. A good citizen is one who does what is right regardless if the law permits or allows you to do.

In the past centuries, LSD, heroin and cocaine were legal medical drugs used to cure ailments. There are even tests going on which support the use of LSD as being medically beneficial, and there are also the amazing benefits of medical cannabis. Former President Ronald Reagan made a mistake making the “War on Drugs” include marijuana. While throwing the baby out with the bathwater, many lives could have been saved if we spent more time understanding to the effects of some of these drugs. Because of that, this war started a chain reaction that lined the pockets of drug cartels in Latin America so they could fund more weapons and corrupt politicians within their countries to make life even more unsustainable for their citizens. This then increased immigration to America as the Central and South American nations began to be fueled in turmoil and domestically targeting minorities for drug possession under racial bias.

We were right in stopping the distribution production of opium/heroin, crack-cocaine and meth, which I agree with. But marijuana is the one that does not fit, as we know it will be inevitably legal. The “War on Drugs” was supposed to be a shield, but it’s only being used as a sword to stab the innocent. When the day comes and marijuana is legal, I want us all to take a good look and see what this war has done to America and the innocent bystanders.

Contact Bruce Walton at [email protected]