Whenever one makes a statement, I think it’s very important that we take an appropriate way of disputing it.  I recently echoed my thoughts on Twitter, on how our governments violate individual freedom. On my tweet I specifically referred to cocaine consumption. Here’s what I tweeted via Facebook:

“Legalize and decriminalize cocaine. What’s wrong if I consume my drugs? It’s my drugs. It’s my “CHOICE” what to do about my life.”

The first person who replied to my tweet lashed out at me, describing me as very childish and ignorant. I told her that it would have been much better had she asked me why I uttered these words.

You see, I take the issue of drugs very seriously, but I also believe that people should be responsible on the choices they make about their lives.  I ought to have a right to kill myself, as long as I do not harm the third-party, unless of course he’s willing to be harmed, by his consent.  It should not be the government’s responsibility or anyone’s responsibility to protect me from harming myself, unless I’ve asked for that protection.

According to Milton Friedman, it is the role of government to intervene in cases where one commits an act that affects the third-party without his consent. But the case of a child is different. The government has the responsibility to protect the child. And I fully agree with him.

When it comes to drugs, I believe an individual shouldn’t be prohibited from consuming any drug that he might like. By the way let me make it very clear that by drugs, I mean any type of drug, be it painkillers or cocaine.

There’s a perception that a person high on cocaine automatically becomes a threat to society. There’s no credible evidence to support this. How many crimes do we hear about every day? When last you heard that the person who committed a crime was under the influence of cocaine or alcohol? I doubt you’ll even remember.

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But what if one does take cocaine and harms someone else? Our government needs to enact laws that entail severe punishments on those who commit crimes under the influence of drugs. They must be very severe, such that one thinks twice or maybe three times before taking a drug. Government must enforce these laws and protect the third-party while upholding individual freedom.

DOES IT HELP TO ILLEGALIZE DRUG USE?

It doesn’t. One of the main reasons why we see a high rate of drug-related violence is because the market operates underground. And because this is so, the market becomes very violent. Their illegality pushes up the price, that’s why they are worth millions. It’s basic law of economics that any good that is scarce and hard to obtain will be expensive. Putting them on open-market would reduce the price and violence significantly. Let’s treat this like an ordinary market. Why complicate it? Do we really have to jail people and destroy their lives just because they decided to shorten their own lifespan by consuming cocaine?

Enforcing the unnecessary laws we have right now is very expensive. It costs our economy millions of dollars. Is it really worth it to pay this price? We need “necessary” and “appropriate” laws that guarantee individual freedom.

I’m not advocating consumption of drugs. Drugs are not good for anyone. They destroy one’s life. But I think it’s unfair to imprison or execute a drug-addict, when he’s never hurt anyone. How is that moral? Life is about choices. So let’s let each and every individual make a choice about his own life.

 

Phumlani M. UMajozi is a Professional Business Analyst, a Policy Analyst at Independent Entrepreneurship Group, and Youth Coordinator at Free Market Foundation South Africa.