Eric Holder recently announced that the Obama Administration will support efforts to reduce mandatory minimum sentences. In other words, if an individual gets caught with just a small amount of pot, he may no longer have to go to prison for decades. This seems so reasonable that it’s sort of baffling how it took so long for this to become an official position of the Administration.
Fortunately, currently proposed legislation in both the House and the Senate would reduce these mandatory minimums. With what appears to be the support of the president, this (very small) step towards a more logical drug policy seems to be an approaching reality.
While libertarians should be supportive of this, it is important to remember that this is hardly the reform necessary to fix the drug problem in this country. I’ve written at length about repealing drug prohibition before, but a short recap is sufficient to deliver the only argument that should be needed.
To argue against prohibition from a logical standpoint is as simple as pointing out that the economics of it empowers drug cartels and causes massive amounts of unnecessary black market related violence. Not only this, the drug laws crowd United States prisons with hordes of nonviolent criminals who caused no harm to any other individual.
However, the moral argument for repeal of drug prohibition should be the only one necessary. As humans, we all have a right to self ownership. We own ourselves, therefore nobody has the right to enslave us, force us to do things, or limit us from doing things against our will. A logical extension of this is that humans have the right to consume whatever substance they want. Thus, for the government to deny humans the ability to consume drugs, it is partially denying individuals their full right to self ownership. Drug laws as they exist today are a blatant violation of natural rights.
So, while Holder’s decision to support a reduction in mandatory minimums may be movement in the right direction, without a full repeal of drug prohibition the government is still wholly in the wrong.
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