UNDERSTANDING THE INTERNATIONAL DRUG LEGALIZATION STRATEGY
I. THE GOAL:
The final goal of the drug reform, harm reduction, or drug
legalization movement is to make mind altering drugs legal to use
and sell, and to make drug use acceptable - in other words to
normalize drug use.
Drug reform is a
three step process that begins with the faulty premise that drug
use is inevitable, moves to a position that drug use should be
acceptable, and ends in a fantasy that drug use is desirable.
There are four main motives behind the legalization movement and
many of those involved in the movement have mixed, or multiple
motives. These motives primarily apply to the legalization
movement and do not apply to well-intentioned individuals who
currently support legalization as a result of that movements
Justifying and enabling one's own drug use;
Many (but not all)
of the leaders of the legalization movement readily proclaim that
they enjoy (or enjoyed) using illegal drugs. The attachment
that drug users have for their favorite chemicals is intense and a
driving motivation for some to dedicate their whole life work to
the legalization quest. Without this powerful attachment of
users to their drugs of choice, the movement would never have been
able to sustain or generate any support beyond a few obscure
It is a simple
step for those who like and use drugs to further justify their
behavior by extending the rationale As
it is alright for me to use drugs, to it is alright for others to
use drugs, to everybody must get stoned.
Imposing ones personal moral views on society;
legalization movement speaks in terms of right and wrong, and good
and bad, far more often than those opposed to legalization do.
They clearly state that it is wrong to prohibit consenting adults
from using drugs. They believe that they hold the moral high
ground and that their view of right and wrong is superior to that
of most straight citizens and theological leaders
of their moral high ground is to swiftly denounce any who dare to
imply that drug use is wrong or immoral on the basis that
moralizing of this kind is itself wrong and immoral.
C. Making money - greed;
Greed is a
powerful incentive and there are definite profits to be reaped
from a legal drug market. One of the co-operators of a store
selling marijuana to AIDs sufferers as so-called medical use
stated that they reaped $500,000 per week in sales, and undercover
agents found that they could buy marijuana far cheaper on the
streets than at the clubs where the weed was sold out of
compassion for the sick.
movement itself has provided jobs and opportunity, receiving
millions in foundation grants and funding. Publications like
that reap millions from alcohol and tobacco industry marketing
funds would have large new advertising accounts. Billions in
narcoterrorism and trafficker funds that currently cannot easily
be laundered would become available providing opportunity for
investment groups, especially those who deal in currency.
Imposing one=s policy and ideological views on society.
motive or purpose the pro-drug reform/harm reduction/legalization
movement nearly always claims that objective policy and economic
analysis is the foundation of their position. There is a
strange pro-drug imbalance in the studies, reviews and analysis
offered by these groups. The goal of keeping children off of
drugs is never the baseline to determine policy and the problem
statement being researched is pregnant with ideological
determinations. Should economic or foreign policy concerns
take precedence over risk to children and non-drug users?
The drug problem
is very much perceived by ones experience. Those who attend
ivory league colleges and debate the issue at the economic club,
or who work in wealthy think tanks on abstract intellectual
issues, see a very different problem than those who work with
abused children, or those who live near a crack house, or those
who have a child or parent addicted to marijuana. One of the
first million dollar donors to the legalization movement perceived
the drug laws as about
sort of repealing the sixties.
movement has diverse elements and although it is not all one
united conspiracy, its leaders do conspire to achieve its ends.
The movement has existed since the 1960's, but a major change came
when huge multi-million dollar donations were made in the late
1980's and early 1990's. A steady flow of cash has been
maintained since that time.
organizations seldom agree on detailed strategy or positions, but
the common bond of wanting drugs legalized, and the fact that the
main funding is held in the hands of a few elites, helps to quell
unrest. Since the money began to flow into the movement,
decision-making power has shifted from the less affluent and more
radical grass roots user advocates, to the affluent, more
educated, white male establishment types. The new power
elite have a strong drive to be accepted and respected by society,
the old guard used drugs in part to rebel against such acceptance.
pro-drug organizations are now modeled after public relations
firms and political think tanks and lobby groups. Most of
the major pro-drug legalization and counter culture publications
have fully commercialized operations, with magazines like Rolling
Stone dependent upon advertising revenues from large tobacco
companies, the alcohol industry, and even the U.S. Army!
breakdown of the organizations includes the following components:
Foundation - Open Society Fund Giving
relations and media
tanks and policy institutes
Other donors and foundations
and Political Groups
CJPF, MAPS, etc.
Jurisprudence (court advocacy)
Lindesmith, NORML, et all
party events (Boston, Michigan)
Political Lobby Groups
Drug defense lawyers
Bogus Professional Groups
Special Interest Groups
Conservatives (CATO, Buckley)
Policy Groups and Think Tanks
studies, and statistics
advocates know that they must change current opinions,
perceptions, beliefs, policies and laws that hinder drug
acceptance and legalization. Early on, legalization
proponents recognized that truth, facts, and science were not
their allies. The carefully planned strategy that evolved
replaces truth with propaganda, conceals facts with emotions, and
counter acts medical science with aggressive marketing.
The three core
objectives of the drug legalization strategy are as follows:
OBJECTIVE 1: To
create an urgency for change by fostering dissatisfaction and
despair with current anti-drug efforts.
To alter the
status quo and change existing anti-drug attitudes drug
legalization proponents must highlight fears and misperceptions to
develop an openness to change. By fostering frustration and
hopelessness, societal resolve against drug use is undermined.
The underlying presupposition of the legalization movement is that
anti-drug efforts (especially in the United States) have failed,
and are doomed to failure. The continued existence of drug
problems, and propagandistic references to prohibition and
Vietnam, are marshaled as evidence to support the call for
OBJECTIVE 2: To
redefine the drug problem from a focus on the risks, damages, and
costs of drug use and drug chemistry (especially for
children) onto the alleged costs of anti-drug efforts and laws (on
adults), and onto so-called drug misuse instead of the costs of
1. Shift the
focus away from the risks and costs that drug use and drug users
impose on non-users;
anti-drug policy and laws by fostering division and forcing false
3. Create myths of
positive effects of drugs and lost opportunities from existing
OBJECTIVE 3: To
establish accepting and living with drug use@ as the societal goal
for drug policy.
and downplay the dangers and risks associated with drug use;
Distinguish drug use from so-called drug misuse;
3. Shift the
discussion and goal to safer ways to allow drug use and
responsible drug use;
myths of positive uses of drugs.
An array of
tactics are employed to achieve pro-drug legalization objectives.
A key to the pro-legalization argument is not to get pinned down
with factual details and to move swiftly from one point to
another. Continually changing and mixing the topics helps to
avoid clear analysis from transpiring and covers up logical
weaknesses and fallacies. Tactics overlap among objectives
and include the following:
: We need change, the drug war has failed.
Apply a faulty and biased benefit-cost analysis to current drug efforts.
a. Drugs are
still available, crime and addiction still exist
Prohibition did not work, drug policy is hypocrisy
government is against the people
Attack what works
a. No drug
use programs such as DARE
Eradication and interdiction
2: The real drug problems are the problems associated with drug
polices and laws, not the problems caused by drug use and effects.
Create and exaggerate the costs and benefits of existing drug
policy and laws and make the exception, the norm:
Political hot buttons
Appeal to self-interest
Bias studies and research
Faulty economic theory
Addiction (opportunity cost invented)
Sickness (opportunity cost invented)
Cause division among treatment, prevention, and enforcement, and
force artificial choices and false extremes.
enforcement OR treatment?
enforcement OR prevention?
c. Health OR
Abstinence OR truth?
f. Use or
Punishment or compassion?
h. Reform or
lock up forever?
Create myths that a positive opportunity is being lost due to drug
laws and policy
loss for health and education
Treatments not developed
relief and Arecreation@
jobs, redirected funding
3: We can successfully accept and live better with drug use.
TACTIC 1: Minimize and downplay the dangers and
risks associated with drug use
a. Give marijuana
a good name
1. Deny and
discredit science and scientists
drug harms with alcohol damages
harm as overdose deaths or short term toxicity
a. No one died
from an overdose of pot
culture icon - drugs are cool
comparison of drugs and alcohol
all drug harm to misuse and avoid the concept of risk to non-users
TACTIC 2: Shift
the focus from non-drug use, to accepting drug use and safer ways
to use drugs
drug use by rewriting history
God, and human culture
the experience of other nations
for Harm Reduction or Harm Minimization
2. Prevention and education
a. Teach responsible drug use
EMPLOYED TO LEGALIZE DRUGS
relations, lobbying, and propaganda technique available is used in
the drug legalization movement. The massive funds expended
are primarily directed to marketing and media campaigns.
Objective research and science is not generally supported, nor is
treatment designed to get people off of drugs. The
commitment to the ill and poor appears peripheral and is limited
to causes that promote the pro-drug legalization agenda.
methods and techniques used include:
1. Internet - The Internet is dominated by pro-drug
legalization forces and is the main method used to advance
legalization causes. Internet uses include:
Misinformation -especially for the young
(monitor and influence)
(monitor and influence)
Media Events, talks shows and news influence
Recruit and reward
Advertising (all media)
and other funding
statistics, and polls
Different groups are targeted and different techniques employed to
gain influence as the following table demonstrates.
$ funding of
conferences, groups and activities; Internet linkage;
traveling experts; committees; media; entertainment;
Treaty; change laws and policies; foster division; export
entertainment industry; Internet; publications; popular
culture; user rallies, raves, parties, concerts; fashion,
perception and increase use; threat to parents; make freedom
the issue; keep future of movement strong.
(TV, radio); talk shows; debates; letters; conferences;
death, and suffering fears; keep older users active; medical
letters, visits, protests, conference invitations; media,
columns; awards; Aexpert@ witnesses; stack hearings; plant
legislation, get inside information and advance notice;
impact funding; attack opponents; leaks
letters, press conferences, information source, talk shows,
appearances, news events, recruit and award, debates
influence media coverage; bias reporting in pro-drug favor
to influence public
publications; defense bar; music and entertainment; rallies,
parties, concerts; sellers; head shops, growers
workers and volunteers; recruit crowd; disrupt and
intimidate opponents; cheerleader squad
cases and causes; ACLU; defense lawyers; jury awareness;
via judiciary; get public sympathy; raise $ from defense bar
associations; Internet; support funding vs. Enforcement;
grant funding; publications; debates
reduction; Divide health and enforcement; obtain compromise
for political support; foster maintenance programs;
Same as for
youth plus college course material and organizations;
political activist work; tie in to environment
workers and influence
elites, think tanks, and professionals
conferences; publications; Internet, stacking staff and
abstract pro-drug policies; influence media and lawmakers
All of the
above; especially news, advertising, and talk shows; plus
mainstream magazines and targeting opinion leaders
opinion, educe perception of drug use harm; wear out
resolve; discredit enforcement
legalization strategy is multi-faceted and continually evolving.
The many twists and turns taken help evade careful analysis and
make it harder to pin down constantly shifting positions.
Opinion takes precedence over facts, and emotional feelings
overrule logical reasoning. Facts and logic are not the
primary means of persuasion utilized.
propaganda techniques employed at times include sensationalism,
disinformation, character assassination, lies, polarization, fear
mongering, misdirection, cliches, appeals to self-interest, bias
and prejudices, drama, and staging events and audiences.
As long as the
focus is kept away from the harms and risks of drugs and drug
users, especially children and non-users, the legalization
movement is bound to gain ground. The strategy employed
misdirects discussion to side issues and avoids responding to the
question, Ahow will
their proposal keep children off of drugs and protect those who do
not use drugs? The battle is. in essence, one for the
hearts, minds, and souls of our children and our future. If
this point is surrendered, then all else is moot.