There have been a lot of brilliant pieces written on the failing of most countries in managing drugs. Criminalization has lead to massive, dangerous underground economies that don’t reduce drug use; and, for the most part, make it more dangerous.
This piece is different. Far simpler. I’ve been doing work lately on how to reinvent cities and work to meet a broader range of human needs – social equity, voice, social inclusion, food security… all those good things people want. Kate Raworth and her Doughnut Economics concept are the current way people are expressing this. Its pretty transformative.. in a really good way. It argues that we should be designing societies to maximize all of these needs and want s- the things that make us happy and whole – and not just out GDP and the stuff we can buy.
This has made be think about drugs. Drugs – some of them and when used with some level of responsibility – can make us happy. I’m not a big drug user myself but a couple of the drugs that I go like – Molly, Pot – they make be pretty happy. I understand that drugs can be abused and that some drugs are much more prone to abuse than others. But the joyful effect of drugs.. shouldn’t that count for something when we decide how to manage it?
For the fun of it, I looked up a regulatory impact statement done in one of the jurisdictions legalizing pot. This is the analytical study politicians use to understand and quantify the pros and cons of new laws they were considering. The analysis on legalizing pot was really interesting. All the brilliant work I mentioned above – that drugs can be safer when decriminalized and regulated; that the economic system works better when drugs (at east pot) are decriminalized. That was all there. But there was nothing – not a word – on the societal benefit of the happiness people who choose to do drugs feel.
I am not saying that just because something make us – or some of us – happy that its unequivocally good. But surely happiness is one consideration.