The Coastal Post - June, 1997

First Global Anti-Prohibition Day!

On Sunday, June 15th, 1997 the First Global Anti-Prohibition Day will be celebrated in several cities in Europe and the United States. This international event will be a peaceful and law-abiding demonstration of the growing opposition to failing drug policies, and is planned to immediately precede the summit of the heads of state of the European Union which takes place on June 16th and 17th in Amsterdam.

Parallel demonstrations will be held in Amsterdam, New York and San Francisco, that will begin at noon, local time. In Amsterdam, the Amsterdam Anti-Prohibition Street Party will start at the Central Station square and will have a joyful party character. It will continue throughout the day and following night. On various locations in the city, there will be music and dancing in addition to many other activities. New York and San Francisco will host International Drug Peace Day Rallies. In New York there will be a march, speakers of international renown will talk on the subject of the War on Drugs and the hope for peace, followed by poetry readings, music and dancing. In San Francisco, participants will gather to celebrate Drug Peace with music and dancing. In addition we will have information booths, entertainers, and well-respected speakers discussing their stance on ending the prohibition of drugs. Everyone will be encouraged to bring white flags that symbolize our quest for a truce and negotiations to end the Drug War.

The First Global Anti-Prohibition Day is the first in a series of events organized by the Legalize! Initiative, an international action forum for all people concerned by the damage currently being done to society by the War on Drugs.

In terms of crime, economic losses, wasted resources, and social and personal harm, this failing drug policy is turning into a worldwide crisis. Annual criminal turnover related to the trade in drugs is approaching the 800 billion dollar mark, which represents almost ten percent of the world economy. Illegal drugs now rank among weapons and oil as the world's top cash-generating commodities, and current prohibitionist policies mean that social services are not able to benefit from taxes on their sales.

What is called the 'drug problem' in fact largely consists of problems caused by the War on Drugs itself, while the public health problem this policy claims to be a response to is minor in comparison to other health problems. As an illustration of the relative harm caused by legal and illegal drugs, casualty figures for tobacco, alcohol and drugs are at a 100 to 25 to 1 ratio. We have learned the hard way that prohibition is not the right method to deal with the public health problem related to alcohol, so we should not be making a worldwide crisis out of health problems related to drugs!

Despite the fact that prohibition does not have any of its intended effects, and even makes the health situation for addicted persons far worse than it needs to be, politicians are currently planning to extend prohibition, and even turn it into a tool of social control.

Instead of following this doomed path which will only further deepen the crisis, prohibition must be put to an end. Laws must be made which state the conditions under which drugs can be used, bought and sold, like the laws regulating other substances which are more harmful than many drugs. This does not mean that everything will be available to everyone at will. To control tobacco, alcohol and drugs, the Legalize! Initiative calls on politicians to make rational, consistent and compassionate laws!