I heard a story, years ago that said that William Randolph Hearst, the man who Citizen Kane was based on, was instrumental in having cannabis made illegal. Hearst was a newspaper magnate who owned millions of acres of forests which supplied the paper for his newspapers. He discovered that the cannabis weed makes better paper than wood, that it grows more quickly and more cheaply. He didn’t want to jeopardise his large investment in forests and knew that they would be worthless anyway once it got out that the cannabis plant was more efficient so he began a campaign against cannabis, demonising the drug as a legal and moral issue and consequently cannabis was made illegal. The war on drugs had begun.
Tonight if you are mugged or burgled or shot or stabbed, the chances are it will be drug related. Addicts need money to buy drugs. Drugs are expensive, they are bought from dealers illegally who make them to their own recipes and sometimes with materials that are more poisonous that the drug itself. Most of the gun crime in Britain and the USA is drug related; gang wars, reprisals, turf wars and the like.
In January 1920 in the USA, the Volstead Act was passed. This was the beginning of prohibition in America. Alcohol was made illegal and this lasted until 1933. What happened? It was the rise of the gangsters and organised crime went through the roof. More people were shot, tortured, imprisoned and beaten than at any other time in American history. The act was eventually repealed because it wasn’t working? Why? Because a law can only work when the people support it, and people didn’t support it. It’s the same with the war on drugs; on the whole people do not support the law and so they ignore it. The result is that billions of pounds and millions of lives have been lost in this lost cause.
I’m not in favour of drug use; I think it’s dangerous and pointless, but for many people it’s a simple release from everyday stresses and strains, just like a cigarette or a beer at the end of the day. Of course some people cannot control their urge to have more, but that happens in every sphere of life from sport/fitness addiction, to business addiction, to drug and alcohol addiction, but they are a minority. Most people can manage their use.
My idea is that, if drug use was legalised we would save massive amounts of money that is wasted in trying to prevent it. Companies could sell them packaged like cigarettes or alcohol. Quantified, systemised, checked and produced under legal control just like tobacco and alcohol.
The country would spend less on crime prevention, create jobs and earn money in tax payments from the company’s manufacturing the drugs. Gun crime would reduce because the criminality of drugs had been removed and the drug lords and dealers would either become legitimate businesses or move onto something new just as the gangsters of the roaring twenties did and ordinary people would be removed from the line of fire.
One of the key facets of the AEGIS martial arts system is avoidance. In self -defence terms, avoidance means avoiding places where trouble is likely to occur and doing things that are unlikely to incite trouble. This is ‘the art of fighting without fighting’. Another type of avoidance is not to fight a battle that you cannot win. That’s not to say you shouldn’t still fight in some way. But there are lots of ways to fight without fighting head on. ‘if you can’t beat them, join them’ doesn’t mean join the enemies ranks, it means use the enemies force by insinuating yourself into their ranks and using their weapons against them. This is what needs to be done with the drug problem. The war is lost. We have hit them head on for the last 40 years or more and the cost has been great and the gains have been nil. But by aligning with the populations desire to take drugs we can make it work for society. We can make it pay society in the saving on law enforcement and the countries gain in revenue payments. We can begin an education campaign as we have with other legalised drugs such as cigarettes and alcohol and reduce their consumption gradually by people understanding their dangers and removing them from their lives.
This is my view on drugs, on defending ourselves from the dangers that arise from drugs being illegal and though many will disagree with me and say my way is too radical, at least it will create questions about how to defend against this growing problem.