My Act Back Then Was Not Based On Liberty


This past April 8, I “celebrated” my 25th anniversary of having publicly spoken out against our nation’s failed and hopeless policy of Drug Prohibition.  But my position at that time was really based only upon pragmatism, not philosophy.  At that time while looking back over my own experience as a criminal defense attorney in the Navy, a federal prosecutor in Los Angeles, and a trial court judge for almost nine years, I had concluded that we were simply churning low-level drug offenders through the criminal justice system for no particularly good purpose, but at great expense of time and resources.  Furthermore, even when we occasionally arrested, convicted and incarcerated a big-time drug dealer, the same illicit drugs were still plentifully available on the streets in the same neighborhoods within at least a week.  Why?  Because other dealers simply and rightly saw it as an employment opportunity.  In addition, I also had concluded that all of the violence and corruption – and beheadings – in Mexico, for example, had literally nothing to do with drugs, they were all caused by drug money.

Only later as I started thinking as a Libertarian did I also conclude that this was also a matter of Liberty.  For example, the government should have as much ability to control what I, as an adult, put into my body as it does what I put into my mind!  It’s none of the government’s business!  But if, for example, I drive a motor vehicle under the influence of, you name it, marijuana, methamphetamines, cocaine or alcohol, that is – and should be – a crime.  Why?  Because now I am putting your safety at risk.  So the answer is to hold adults accountable for their actions, but not what they put into their bodies.  Accordingly, now I am fully convinced that we simply must repeal Drug Prohibition both for pragmatic as well as philosophical reasons!  Again, why?  Because the criminal justice was designed for – and is quite good at – protecting us from each other, but is not designed for – and is truly not good at – protecting us from ourselves.  Thus, in this important area like in so many others, Liberty brings the best results.

Judge Jim Gray (Ret.)
2012 Libertarian candidate for Vice President, along with
Governor Gary Johnson as the candidate for President