The government shutdown continues today and has led to the closure of national parks and more than 800,000 federal employees are furloughed across the country, but the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) remains 'essential' enough to carry on the failed War on Drugs. Ironically, yesterday the U.S. Government celebrated 10 years of owning a patent on cannabis for its health benefits.
In the last 40 years, tens of millions of Americans have been arrested for marijuana and other drugs. In 2012 alone, roughly 660,000 arrests were made for nothing more than possession of small amounts of marijuana. Doors were kicked in. Children were put into foster care. Cars, houses and bank accounts were seized without trial. Those arrested were separated from their loved ones and branded criminals for life. And yet at the same time, it is hard to find a presidential candidate, member of Congress, or other major public figure that has not used marijuana or other illegal drugs.
Voters in Colorado and Washington State voted to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol last November. 20 states have legalized marijuana for medical use. The war on drugs is clearly coming to an end, just like alcohol Prohibition came to an end. The only question is how much more money are you and other members of Congress going to waste on it before you realize millions of voters like me want change?
Neither the DEA nor the drug war should be classified as 'essential' when there is voluntary exchange between consenting Americans. If there is no victim, then there is no crime according to a growing number of Americans who are waking up to the reality that the War on Drugs is a major failure of U.S. domestic policy.