Daniel Halliday
May 11 · Last update 8 days ago.
Could Colorado be leading international drug reform?
Following the referendum to decriminalise psilocybin “magic” mushrooms in Denver, Colorado this week, are we seeing the beginning of a revolution of international drug reform? tinyurl.com/y3jobagm
Stats of Viewpoints
Yes, changing views on addiction call for a change in policy and strategy
1 agrees
0 disagrees
The failure of the War on Drugs
1 agrees
0 disagrees
No, this will only complicate the State’s social issues
1 agrees
0 disagrees
Yes, but this is part of long term ongoing reform
1 agrees
0 disagrees
No, this may just lead to state legal issues
1 agrees
0 disagrees
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Yes, changing views on addiction call for a change in policy and strategy

A change of thinking on addiction, not just drugs, has arisen in recent years, with addiction being viewed as not really being caused by drugs at all, but by pain, trauma and various social issues. Professor Bruce K. Alexander a Canadian psychologist ran a series of experiments known as Rat Park in the 1970s, where rats were studied while being given the option to self administer drugs. Alexander found that rats in isolation would quickly develop drug addiction behaviours, but when the animals were given things to do, meaning in life in the form of a “rat park”, none of them showed these signs of addiction, and merely self administered the drugs casually on occasion. Alexander found that “today’s flood of addiction is occurring because our hyperindividualistic, hypercompetitive, frantic, crisis-ridden society makes most people feel social[ly] and culturally isolated” [1], and his work has changed modern thinking on addiction altogether with prominent figures in the such fields advocating for medical treatment rather than punishment.

[1] brucekalexander.com/articles-speeches/rat-park/148-addiction-the-view-from-rat-park

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The failure of the War on Drugs

America currently faces a multitude of social and political problems that are often interconnected. Drugs, mental health problems, unaffordable private healthcare, exploitative working conditions, immigration issues, racism issues, gun violence, all of which help feed into an atmosphere of terror and trauma in society, reinforcing drugs as a viable escape, while a booming prison system reinforces many of these issues also instead of rehabilitating them. That is not even to mention the exploitative industries that have grown around the supply of such drugs, illegal and legal alike, in Central American Drug Cartels and “Big Pharma” respectively; complicating and exacerbating the some of the above issues massively. Treating America’s relationship to drugs as an invading enemy that needs to be destroyed through “warfare” is neither realistic nor helpful, the amount of deep social corruptions in America is a sign of that, and decriminalisation of any substance is a tiny step away from this terrible societal catastrophe.

theguardian.com/global-development-professionals-network/2016/apr/18/the-war-on-drugs-has-failed-time-to-stop-fighting-and-start-thinking

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No, this will only complicate the State’s social issues

Colorado already has problems, amongst them a recent shooting, and things like this will only make such mental health issues much more complicated and wide spread. Furthermore America already has an opium epidemic; taking away more control over drug use will just leave police and government powerless to stop issues related to the abuse of drugs getting worse in time. Decriminalisation may lead to legalisation worsening these issues, decriminalisation will lead to the proliferation of the drugs use possibly worsening the issue, and treatment resources are currently not at a level to deal with millions more drug victims.

nypost.com/2019/05/10/colorado-school-shooting-suspect-cracked-jokes-about-killing-classmates/amp

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Yes, but this is part of long term ongoing reform

States like Colorado may be leading drug policy reform but reform has a long history. Starting with the decriminalisation in the States of Oregon, Texas, Alaska, Maine, Colorado, California and Ohio throughout the 1970’s, through legalised medical use in 90’s and then the legalisation of cannabis in 2012 starting in Washington and Colorado spreading through many other states since. However along the same timeline the US has federally been leading the international War on Drugs, “since 1961, the global war on drugs has been defined by the U.N.’s Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, which focused on the duty to “prevent and combat” the evil of drug addiction” [1]. Due to America’s leading role in forming, enforcing and endorsing international conventions on international drug enforcement, the dramatic legal change of three states and the District of Columbia, may force a change of US outlook on its support for harsh punishment based conventions. Many countries are now moving to more harm-reduction strategies and the US is falling into a position of being a major world power to go one step beyond that even, which may prove to be increasingly influential.

[1] ibtimes.com/marijuana-legalization-un-prepares-tackle-world-drug-problem-again-will-cannabis-laws-2334526

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No, this may just lead to state legal issues

Denver’s referendum on Initiative 301 to decriminalise psychoactive mushrooms passed by a very narrow margin of 0.6% and was arguably overshadowed by the more pressing mayoral elections in the city. However, due to the wording of Initiative 301 this law may be unenforceable as it bans state officials from using any state money to seek to prosecute cases surrounding psilocybin mushrooms. As decriminalisation is not legalisation the possession still remains an offence but is not enforced in the same manner a criminal offence would be, which means this passage doesn’t make sense as it would stop anyone upholding any law surrounding this substance. Therefore this law may still be blocked before it can come into use, as it remains paradoxical; how can you pass a law that says you cannot enforce a law?

youtu.be/ftNI7v0gMs4?t=263

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