In the wake of Colorado and Washington (partially) decriminalizing marijuana, four more states will make a run to nullify the Fed’s war on property.
And from “5 Greatest Threats to Your Liberty Today,” which I wrote for the Tenth Amendment Center earlier this year, see why the war on drugs is so destructive and must be ended.
All forms of prohibition are wars against property. When the state decides to prohibit the consumption of certain goods, property rights are abridged. This process is also inherently arbitrary; itself a contradiction to the principle of liberty, since it usurps decision making authority from individuals and places it with a third party. How could anyone truly be considered free if someone else assumes the power to determine what they may or may not own? Furthermore, those who accept prohibition must necessarily accept all other forms of social engineering and surrender control of their persons. The great Austrian economist, Ludwig von Mises, explained this concept thusly:
[O]nce the principle is admitted that it is the duty of government to protect the individual against his own foolishness, no serious objections can be advanced against further encroachments. A good case could be made out in favor of the prohibition of alcohol and nicotine. And why limit the government’s benevolent providence to the protection of the individual’s body only? Is not the harm a man can inflict on his mind and soul even more disastrous than any bodily evils? Why not prevent him from reading bad books and seeing bad plays, from looking at bad paintings and statues and from hearing bad music?
The destruction of our freedom is not however limited to the direct effects of the drug war. Some of the more egregious assaults on freedom are visited upon bystanders and others not engaged in the drug industry. Innocent people are routinely caught in the crossfire between rival gangs, falsely arrested, or otherwise have their homes, vehicles, and persons violated by the police.
Civil asset forfeiture has become a widely-used tool in the war on drugs; so much so that rival police agencies often compete – almost to the point of violent confrontation – with one another to be the first to seize property. These laws don’t even require criminal charges, let alone a conviction, to allow cash or other assets to be taken by law enforcement. So it isn’t just non-violent individuals involved in the drug trade who suffer, which is bad enough, but outside parties also lose their property and even their lives.