Editorial Opinion: We can generally say that addictive behaviors are detrimental to human development and achievement. We can even see that many addictions are deadly.
But does it therefore follow that the wisest course of action is to empower our government to outlaw addictions and exact punishments, fines, and other retributions; as a strategy to successfully end the scourge of addictive behavior in our society? And do we really want a society when police actions are so draconian?
Or is it possible that our 'war on drugs' has added to the problem of addiction by sending it into desperate hiding? And has the government created a bigger economic problem by incubating a business environment where black market cartels can come in and set up shop? And the inevitable organized crime from black market cartels has therefore led to skyrocketing crime, harming people who had nothing to do with the cartel or the addictive behavior.
A New Path... (Okay, not really new. We did this with liquor, in 1959)
We'll avoid the debate over statutory inconsistencies regarding different 'controlled substances' and the relative dangers of alcohol vs hemp. But we can look at what an economy would look like if the 'War On Drugs' was adjusted so as to carefully begin implementing some of the Colorado reforms, just as we did in 1959 when Oklahoma slowly began to allow liquor marketing in the state.
The end of Oklahoma's prohibition brought about 4 big positive changes to our state.
When we make the shortsighted choice to let government remain our parental authority, we will never really be a free society. We need to have the liberty to perhaps suffer the consequences of our behavior. When government externally controls people, they never really grow up and become who they were created to be. We have let legislators enact shortsighted fixes which have resulted in long term problems. It eventually leads to a socialist society much like the former Soviet Union became. And when that economy collapsed of it's own weight, the people who were then left to provide for themselves, were terribly unprepared and ill-equipped to compete in a free market. Hence, the black market mafia cartels that now rule the new Russia.
Conclusion: I'm a teetotaler. That's an old term for folks who don't drink liquor. I have been for more than 3 decades. I don't plan to change any of that. But I do believe the government is punishing me every time they arrest another person for possessing a controlled substance. I and my fellow taxpayers get assessed a $20k annual fee to incarcerate each one of them. And that's aside from the cost of displaced families, courts, cops, and other damages to society. I want children protected from exploitation and public safety to be emphasized. But if my neighbor gets relief from his PTSD symptoms via an evening dose of cannabis, I don't have a problem with that.
We need to start somewhere, and I think the cannabis laws are the best place to start studying a new policy. We need measurable data to analyze. I believe Colorado would help us out by letting us study their data. Once we find positive results from a reset of our policy, we can look at places to implement similar reforms. We're going broke as a result of our current policy.
I urge the legislature to create a joint interim study on this matter so the next legislature can be ready to submit a state question on the ballot. Let the people of the state add their voice to this matter.
Opinion of the Editor
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David Van Risseghem is the Director of Sooner Politics.org. The resource is committed to informing & mobilizing conservative Oklahomans for civic reform. This endeavor seeks to utilize the efforts of all cooperative facets of the Conservative movement...