May 29, 2014
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(ANTIMEDIA) With the United States struggling to barely overcome the war against marijuana, some countries across the world are actually considering putting an end to drug prohibition altogether.
Legislation was recently introduced in Ecuador, which would make it the second country in the world and the first in the western hemisphere to legalize all drugs, from marijuana to cocaine and even heroin.
In 2001, Portugal became the first country in the world to end the drug war within its borders, and in the short time since, the country has seen a radical improvement in their society. In regards to drugs, they actually now have less of a negative impact on society in Portugal than they did prior to the end of prohibition. There are now fewer drug-related deaths, fewer children getting ahold of drugs, and fewer people doing drugs in general.
There are also many other factors that people many times overlook, including the fact that infectious diseases spread through needles and dirty drug practices have declined rapidly in Portugal since the end of drug prohibition. The police state is also not nearly as much of a problem for residents as it once was. Many prisons have even shut down because there is not enough crime.
In Ecuador, this new bill would threaten the stranglehold that the drug war has on the Americas. It would set a new example for what a country without prohibition looks like, as Portugal has done in Europe.
Carlos Velasco, the head of Ecuador’s congressional Commission of the Right to Health, made strong statements against the drug war while speaking in support of the bill:
“Addressing the drug phenomenon in a repressive way, as it did in the 80s and 90s, where prison was the only place for a drug consumer, is absurd. The traditional way of regulating and fighting drugs, emphasizing criminalization … can’t be sustained in Ecuador,”
Below are some graphs showing the effect that ending prohibition has had in Portugal:
The drug war is one of the most misunderstood subjects in the mainstream political dialogue, even among people who are sympathetic to the plight of responsible drug users. It is rare for someone to come out and say that all drugs should be legal, but in all honesty, this is the only logically consistent stance on the issue. To say that some drugs should be legal while others should not is still giving credence to the punishment paradigm and overlooking the external consequences of drug prohibition—or prohibition of any object, for that matter.
As I explained in an earlier article, there are many external factors that are affected by the drug war that many people don’t take into account. That is because when you carry out acts of violence, even in the form of punishment, you then create a ripple effect which extends far beyond the bounds of the original circumstance to affect many innocent people down the line. The list in my previous article delves into those external factors to illustrate how drug users and non-users alike would be a lot better off if prohibition ended immediately. The list includes the following advantages of full legalization:
(1) Reduce violent crime
(2) Improve seller accountability and drug safety
(3) Reduce drug availability to children
(4) Reduce nonviolent prisoner population
(5) Real crime can be dealt with
(6) Encourage genuine treatment for addicts
(7) Prevent drug overdoses
(8) Protect individual rights
This article (Ecuador May Become First Country In Western Hemisphere To Legalize All Drugs) is free and open source. You have permission to republish this article under a Creative Commons license with attribution to the author and TheAntiMedia.org. Tune in! The Anti-Media radio show airs Monday through Friday @ 11pm Eastern/8pm Pacific. Image credit: Byung Kyu Park. Help us fix our typos: firstname.lastname@example.org.
John Vibes is an author, researcher and investigative journalist who takes a special interest in the counter culture and the drug war. In addition to his writing and activist work he organizes a number of large events including the Free Your Mind Conference, which features top caliber speakers and whistle-blowers from all over the world. You can contact him and stay connected to his work at his Facebook page. You can find his 65 chapter Book entitled “Alchemy of the Timeless Renaissance” at bookpatch.com.