How Portugal Ended Its Drug Crisis! [FFON 240]

America isn’t unique in its War on Drugs, but it is unique in its racial disparity when it comes to the subject. And it’s true. Think of all the people that decided to make a plant illegal and committed this crime against nature. It’s most been white people. Nixon, Hoover, Regan, Biden, Clinton, are all white people. Kamala Harris and Obama are in the minority of minorities fucking over other minorities.  

By 2014, half of the 1.5 million arrests were related small marijuana offenses. Only 3% were high level drug traffickers. And these laws did nothing to help the rate of addiction or trafficking. And the CIA is primarily run by white people! Proving even further that white people in power are committing more drug related crimes than your average person of color!

Portugal is one of the countries that faced a major drug problem in the late 90s and early 2000s. Portugal, much like America, prosecuted its drug offenders as drug traffickers, which, go figure, didn’t help the rate of addiction & overdoses either.

In 2001, Portugal decided that this was a public health crisis and decided to treat the issue as one. All drugs in Portugal are decriminalized, which means using these drugs is not illegal, but trafficking high quantities is. And when those drugs are confiscated from drug traffickers, they are usually burned. 

Under this new system, if you’re caught with drugs on your person, you have to go to counseling with a sociologist. Portugal has also employed psychologists as community outreach to help people get access to clean and better equipment for their drug use. This has severely decreased the amount of deaths from ODs and also provides a pathway to recovery on the patients own terms. 

They also provide Mobile Methadone vans. Methadone provides relief from withdrawal symptoms without giving you a high. Rather than make it difficult for people to go through addiction recovery, Portugal is making an effort to get that relief to the people. It’s almost like they decided to treat people like…well people.

Currently they spend about 90% of their budget on social services and 10% on drug enforcement. People are also placed into job programs to help build skills and work experience to get them back out into the world. This is what the point of prisons should be; to help people, not demonize them! Drug related deaths went from 400/year to 30/year! But this program is currently in jeopardy considering when the recession hit, social programs like this were cut! 

It’s interesting that when Capitalism busts, it attacks the social programs that help people first. Programs like these decrease crime, addiction & hospitalizations connected to drug use. So shouldn’t cops be cut first? But instead the programs that drive real change are removed, proving once again, that Capitalism is a system that thrives on inequality and misery. 

In the Netherlands, psychedelics have been legalized because they realized drugs like LSD, MDMA & Psilopsycibin are very good for mental health. You can actually go to a retreat where, under medical supervision, you can experience these drugs and how they affect your mind. Most people find that helps them reconnect with a part of themselves and nature.

Even in the United States there are few wins. States like Colorado are seeing a billion dollar industry emerge with the full legalization of cannabis. In a criminal justice perspective, it’s hard for cartels to sell illegal substances when those substances have been fully legalized and sold at malls and boutique stores. 

On a legislative level, the Marijuana Opportunity, Reinvestment & Engagement, or MORE Act, is working to undo everything Nixon, Regan & Biden did with their callous, racist, War On Drugs. This removes cannabis from Schedule 1 and any federal convictions for possession. It’ll also make it easier for dispensaries to be banked and process various different types of payments, just like any other legitimate business.    

Prohibiting and making marijuana illegal created a criminal justice system that profited off it. It also created a criminal underground to meet the demand of people who want these substances. This happened when booze was prohibited in the 20s, and people still found a way to get drunk. 

People like Nixon, Regan, Biden & Clinton are responsible for escalating violence because they didn’t like a plant. Passing the MORE Act will, as Stephen Hawkins of the Marijuana Policy Institute puts it, “set us on a path to correct the unfair system and restore justice to those that have been victimized by prohibition”. Fully legalizing these drugs & educating people about what they do will ensure we have a more enlightened populace and actually restore justice.