Ron Paul: End the War on Drugs!

In his latest column Ron Paul points out that the War on Drugs is unconstitutional, can’t be won, and only makes things worse for almost everyone involved. The only beneficiaries are the drug barons, smugglers and dealers who enjoy exorbitant profits, and those dark forces in government who try to further suppress our freedoms under the excuse of fighting the war against drugs.

Download the column as an MP3 file here (3:30 minutes).

End the War on Drugs

by Ron Paul

We have recently heard many shocking stories of brutal killings and ruthless violence related to drug cartels warring with Mexican and US officials. It is approaching the fever pitch of a full blown crisis. Unfortunately, the administration is not likely to waste this opportunity to further expand government. Hopefully, we can take a deep breath and look at history for the optimal way to deal with this dangerous situation, which is not unprecedented.

Alcohol prohibition in the 1920s brought similar violence, gangs, lawlessness, corruption and brutality. The reason for the violence was not that making and selling alcohol was inherently dangerous. The violence came about because of the creation of a brutal black market which also drove profits through the roof. These profits enabled criminals like Al Capone to become incredibly wealthy, and militantly defensive of that wealth. Al Capone saw the repeal of Prohibition as a great threat, and indeed smuggling operations and gangland violence fell apart after repeal. Today, picking up a bottle of wine for dinner is a relatively benign transaction, and beer trucks travel openly and peacefully along their distribution routes.

Similarly today, the best way to fight violent drug cartels would be to pull the rug out from under their profits by bringing these transactions out into the sunlight. People who, unwisely, buy drugs would hardly opt for the back alley criminal dealer as a source, if a coffeehouse-style dispensary was an option. Moreover, a law-abiding dispensary is likely to check IDs and refuse sale to minors, as bars and ABC stores tend to do very diligently. Think of all the time and resources law enforcement could save if they could instead focus on violent crimes, instead of this impossible nanny-state mandate of saving people from themselves!

If these reasons don’t convince the drug warriors, I would urge them to go back to the Constitution and consider where there is any authority to prohibit private personal choices like this. All of our freedoms – the freedom of religion and assembly, the freedom of speech, the right to bear arms, the right to be free from unnecessary government searches and seizures – stem from the precept that you own yourself and are responsible for your own choices. Prohibition laws negate self-ownership and are an absolute affront to the principles of freedom. I disagree vehemently with the recreational use of drugs, but at the same time, if people are only free to make good decisions, they are not truly free. In any case, states should decide for themselves how to handle these issues and the federal government should respect their choices.

My great concern is that instead of dealing deliberatively with the actual problems, Congress will be pressed again to act quickly without much thought or debate. I can’t think of a single problem we haven’t made worse that way. The panic generated by the looming crisis in Mexico should not be redirected into curtailing more rights, especially our second amendment rights, as seems to be in the works. Certainly, more gun laws in response to this violence will only serve to disarm lawful citizens. This is something to watch out for and stand up against. We have escalated the drug war enough to see it only escalates the violence and profits associated with drugs. It is time to try freedom instead.


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  • SamFox

    Ron Paul & Gary Johnson are the only 2 candidates who would RE-legalize liberty. Both would end the drug war. Doing so would save a lot of lives & stop the waste of a lot of taxpayer $$.

    RE-legalizing prohibited substances & having state run dispensaries would take control from the violent black market under ground. Heck, just RE-legalizing cannabis would take away LOT of cartel profits.

    State dispensaries could have people trained to handle addiction & should have HONEST, [as apposed to Reefer Madness type propaganda] Consequences Of Use education programs. Also many who want to end their use of addictive drugs could have medical help. Many addicts don’t go for help under the current regime because they fear arrest & persecution for just being stupid.

    If people are not hurting any one but themselves, there is nothing to justify locking them up rather than having a place they could go to receive help. Prohibited drugs are not the bane of the USA. Big govt is. Big govt has given rise to powerful, dangerous, very rich & murderous cartels. Drug use is just an excuse for govt control.

    Consider at the Rx industry. They get away with 1,000s of deaths every year. If you have an Rx script they don’t put ya in jail if you become addicted. Rx drug addiction is a far larger problem than illegal substance use but no one calls for jailing Rx users or prohibiting Rx drugs.

    Don’t forget, ‘legal’ does NOT default to ‘safe’. Nor does ‘illegal’, in the case of cannabis at least, default to ‘dangerous’.

    How many of you need big controlling govt & a stack of laws to tell you to stay away from heroin, crack ect. I don’t need them either.

    Taking the profits, power & control of substances from the cartels would result in of a lot of militarized police budget reductions. Bribes & kickbacks would be severely cut. Plus eliminating the easy, soft targets that most cannabis users are for cops, would mean they would have to concentrate on real crime.

    Go to the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition [LEAP] website. A great education awaits those who are new to the subject of ending the drug war & why ending US drug prohibition has become a dire necessity. Drug prohibition has become far more dangerous than drug use. Work to get the govt off all our backs, not just with drugs, but with every thing they do to nullify freedom, liberty & personal choice.


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  • BrianEarp

    Here’s the latest pro-Paul analysis of the war on drugs from Practical Ethics, a blog of the University of Oxford philosophy faculty:

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  • The reversal of the onus of proof in drug-possession cases is incompatible with the rule of law and is therefore unconstitutional in all jurisdictions.

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  • Vocal Citizen


    Can you not suggest to your fellow lawmakers that our country is ready for a YES or NO vote on whether to legalize, regulate, and tax cannabis and its derivatives?
    President Obama will never do it alone, because he’s afraid of the political backlash. Please, Sir, get with Rep. Barney Frank and introduce a motion that we have a special election. Allow We the People to vote ONCE AND FOR ALL.
    Then, we’ll see how the numbers come out…
    You get this accomplished, Ron Paul, you may well be elected President in 2012!

  • Cheryl A.

    Let them tax it and it will become legal. Who will monopolize it when it becomes legal?

    Fix the money controlling powers first. Then work on fixing the monopolizers of industries. After these two things are done you might have a chance at avg. Joe becoming a competitor in the hemp biz.

    The growing of hemp will bring about new industries!

    • Nate Y

      And how do we fix these monopolies?

      I am of the view that as long as there is free entry into the marketplace, there can be no monopolies.

  • It’s time for drastic changes on our failed War on Drugs.

    Time to regain control of our streets and our sanity.

  • Melanie Martin

    We have a penal system in this county that has to be filled, therefore legalizing drugs would take that away, what would the police do it they didn’t have someone or something to hassle. There would be less gangs, less murders, how would they be able to keep the prison system filled if they didn’t have petty dealers out there to keep them in business. If it was left up to me if you want to deal in drugs, you would have to carry a license which states what kind of drug you can sell and in what area. If you are outside of your area or dealing in drug you are not licensed to sell then you can be fined on a first offense. They should have to pay taxes as well and provided for the neighborhood in which they sell. They must purchase a building to sell out of where they must display a state license just as any other business. If they want to be the main supplier, that license should also be posted in the house of the dealer in which they supply their drugs. And just like liquor stores, you have to be of legal age to buy.

  • Rev. Justin Caleb Higdon

    Ok people…Dr. Paul DID draft a bill…with Barney Frank, just last year. It failed. He is doing more than any of you cynical bloggers. He is on TV almost weekly, speaking out against the war on drugs…spreading common sense to the masses. He ALWAYS votes with common sense and NEVER flip-flops on any issue. Show some respect for the ONLY politician in congress that is not only brilliant, dedicated, and honest…but unafraid of ridicule from either side of the political aisle.

    • SamFox

      Rev. Justin, Ron Paul is not alone. Another candidate, Gary Johnson, has pretty much the same views as Ron. Your post is very good. I ‘liked’ it.

      Ron Paul, POTUS. Gary Johnson VP.

      Best back to the Constitution, freedom & liberty ticket we could have ATM.



    The govt only know how to make new laws,not repeal bad-very bad laws. take from us– never giving back freedom

  • Eileen Hackebill

    I absolutely agree we need to legalize all drugs the money saved would be much better spent on helping people rehabilitate, without the drug money the crime rate would go way down. Criminals wouldn’t have the money to purchase guns. i believe we all need to stop talking about this and all the issues at hand and start marching on Washington. Most law abiding hard working citizens are not being heard because they’re too busy working to fight. It’s time to stand up take the time and be heard we need to come together. Our country is being run by a few who disregard the voices of the many.

    • Kathy

      Yes. This government doesn’t care about the people. They only operate with power by installing fear to keep control over the masses. The reason the weapons of mass destruction can not be found is because it is not guns,bombs, etc…is is FEAR and mind control.
      It is time for everyone to WAKE UP, take back our power and our lives. WE THE PEOPLE, remember!? If you haven’t read the Declaration of Independence lately and you have forgotten what is says, do youself and everyone else a favor…read it. It specially says, “governments are instituted among men,deriving their just powers from the consent of the governed,-That whenever any government becomes destructive of these ends, it is the right of the people to alter or to abolish it, and to institute new government,”
      Please read the entire thing. Let’s get together and take back our rights and our country! The laws and law makers are out of control. Are you tired of being treated like you have no ability to think for yourself?
      Time for Revolution!!

  • Jesse

    Don’t preach to the choir, draft a bill!!

    • Sean

      obama isn’t going to legalize marijuana. He already stopped funding the the federal government for overiding state laws on marijuana, but he’s not going to straight up legalize it. How would that look? The first black president ever legalizing weeed.. It is now and should be up to the state.. That means that the fed isn’t going to bust medical patients anymo

    • Lou

      Jesse and RyanT, to draft a bill is not that easy. Do you think the people behind the scene would allow that? It’s up to us to change America. Read what Eileen Hackebill, below me, says.

  • RyanT

    Ok, you’ve restated the same arguments that have been made for the last 30+ years. Dr. Paul, you’re in congress, you’re in a position to actually create some of that change we were promised; can’t you do better than parroting back the sound logic we’ve already heard and come to agree with? The rhetoric is fine, but right now the anti-prohibition movement is flush with rhetoric and mostly void of action. Surely, a United States congressman is in a better position than Joe Blogger to change that.

    • SamFox

      Ryan T, what would you have Ron do? He has already gotten together with Barney Frank & done a bill. The rest of Congress seems to be listening to the Rx industry lobbyists as they failed to pass the bill.

      Ron speaks often about the attack on personal liberty being waged by the fed govt on many issues, not just drugs. He writes & sponsors legislation that is ignored by most of Congress. Too much lobby $$.

      If you want progress the way Ron outlines, we need to contact our own DC reps. Ron, as usual, is mostly alone up in DC when it comes to RE-legalizing the Constitution. Been that way for over 30 years. We need the other Congress peeps to stand with him. He can’t do much of anything by himself.