Thoughts on Georgia’s War On Drugs and the Poor:

Posted by Richard Lawson | Jan 28, 2016 | 0 Comments

Every day people call my office because they or a family member have been charged misdemeanor possession of marijuana. To begin with, my position on all drugs is very simple: I believe in human autonomy and freedom.  The first freedom is ownership of one's own body.  

The idea that government can tell a person what to consume means a government owns its citizens.  The logical conclusion would be that government would then have the ability to tell people what to eat, when to sleep, and even with whom.  It should be abhorrent to anyone that who believes in freedom.


Okay, please take a deep breath everyone.  Eating trans fats are bad.  Overeating will cause weight gain.  Alcohol abuse has terrible consequences.  Eating an entire large pizza is not a good idea.  Walking across a busy street while texting is dangerous. There are so many other things that bring us into harm's way.

I do not use drugs; and as a result, I am the perfect person to make this argument.  I would not hire someone who uses drugs because I believe that person will be less productive and less reliable.  However, I also think that if a person chooses to cause themselves personal harm, it is none of my business. The issue is freedom.  Are we free, autonomous individuals or is this Orwell's 1984?


Hmmm. What danger?  Yes, people who operate heavy machinery and drive automobiles may be under the influence of drugs.  Just like being under the influence of alcohol, that is a crime. The crime is putting others at risk by doing dangerous activities after consumption.  That has nothing to do with the fact that a person is not harming others by personally using marijuana at home.  If that same person puts others at risk, arrest that person for that which caused others risk.  Otherwise, there is no danger to others.  It is an illogical argument proven wrong in Colorado today.

What is the real effect of the "War on Drugs?"


We spend billions of dollars of police resources on trying to prevent human beings from doing what they want to do.  The money spent incarcerating people could be used to fund free treatment for those who need it.


We destroy the lives of people who are arrested for possession of drugs.  When we give people criminal histories for possession of drugs, we permanently brand those persons with a scarlet letter that follows them into every social and business interaction.

Creation of More Crime:

Almost the only reason my home and your home is at risk for a break-in this evening is because someone needs to find money to buy drugs.  Most property crime is drug-related.  The idiots in government use this as an excuse for the drug war.  In actuality, the drug war is what creates property crime and much of today's inner-city violence.


Today we live in a time where everyone expects the government to be the answer to every problem.  Part of this mentality starts with the government involving itself in things that are outside the legitimate role of government.  When government acts in "loco parentis," it creates more government dependency.  The war on drugs is a small part of their infantilization of society.  A truly free person does not need to be told what to consume.  

Generational poverty:

The war on drugs is a war on the poor.  When the children of my clients are arrested, they hire me and get put in diversion programs.  The result is not having a criminal record.  When the poor are arrested, many times they cannot even bond out of jail. They sit there until they are brought before a judge to plead guilty to timed served. The result is permanent marginalization and generational poverty.  It is simply unfair.


The drug war allows attorneys to earn more money.  Legalization of drugs is bad for my business, yet I still support it.

The Answer:

I hope people do not use drugs, as I believe they are harmful.  However, the government should not be ruining the lives of people who are doing a perfectly good job of destroying themselves.  The war on drugs must end.  

About the Author

Richard Lawson

Managing Partner at Lawson & Berry:


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