Dear Drug Policy Reformers,
I have a request. Please stop using terms like “liberalize,” “loosen,” and “relax” with regard to fixing our drug laws.
We are trying to create fact-based drugs laws. We are trying to create effective, practical, and workable drug laws.
I suggest the word “focus.” Us reformers are trying to focus our drug laws.
Currently our drug laws are totally unfocused, like a shotgun, uzi, or atomic bomb. They kill pets. They kill humans. They terrorize and harm innocent people due to screwing up street addresses. They imprison sick people using drugs to improve their health. They imprison people who need medical assistance, not a complete loss of freedom. Prohibition has ensured there is no such thing as age limits. And on and on.
“Liberalizing” has a political sound to it. “Loosen” and “relax” are wrong as well because they imply prohibition works!
So I propose the use of “focus,” but would love to hear other suggestions. My aim is to find a single word, a verb, which can be used. We are trying to focus marijuana laws, not relax them.
This is what we see happening in Portugal and the Netherlands. Instead of wasting time and resources, they have focused their laws. As part of that they realized that not all drugs are the same, voilà, the first aspect of bringing things into focus. Treating marijuana and heroin as the same is ridiculous; that is the blurry bloodthirsty haze the Drug Warriors live in: cannabis = heroin.
With regard to heroin, our European friends focused on the so-called harm reduction strategies.
The main group reformers have to contend with as we bring our drug laws into focus are the Men (and Women) of Lawlessness. This is mindset (consciously or not) that works to create lawlessness through: 1) too many 2) too complex and/or 3) too strict laws.
* Another option is to say we are bringing the drug market in to the light.
First published 2010-07-06.