CCLE & DRUG POLICY REFORM
The CCLE is opposed to laws that make
otherwise law-abiding people criminals simply for using psychoactive drugs.
drug policy is just one of the issues we address.
1) Is the CCLE a drug policy reform
Our focus is on protecting freedom of thought, and
we maintain that criminal drug prohibition violates freedom of thought by
intimately infringing on the fundamental right to self-determine one’s own
mental states. The CCLE’s drug policy work is different from that offered by
most drug policy reform groups.
drug policy reform
organizations take a harm reduction position against the war on
drugs. They oppose the drug war because it (drug prohibition) causes more
social harm than the drugs themselves. This is a consequentialist approach
to the issue – one that debates the relative harms of drugs versus the
relative harms of drug prohibition.
We believe that this harm debate is not only
impossible to resolve (how exactly does one quantify the harm of a heroin
overdose versus the harm of over-crowding prisons or corrupt police
officers?), the debate structure may actually produce its own sort of harm because it
encourages bad science about drugs and drug policy. Framing the debate and
policy analysis in terms of harm encourages the government to exaggerate the harm
associated with drug use, and to deny that some drug use may present little
or no harm. (One example is, medical marijuana, which the federal government
will not acknowledge has any medicinal value because such a acknowledgement
would detract from its larger argument that marijuana is an inherently
harmful drug that must be outlawed.) Additionally, we are concerned that a
harm reduction approach to drug policy leaves open the possibility of future,
more efficient (less harmful) forms of prohibition.
Most importantly, critiquing
the drug war by focusing exclusively on its consequences ignores the character of
drug prohibition – and its character is flawed.
We seek to add this -- otherwise unaddressed --
component to the national debate over drug policy.
2) How is the CCLE’s approach
to drug policy different?
The CCLE’s focus is on protecting the unlimited
potential of the human mind, and we maintain that criminal drug prohibition
infringes on the inalienable right to freedom of thought. We maintain that
the war on drugs is not a war on pills, powders, and plants, anymore than
the earlier governmental efforts to ban books or to censor publications was
a war on paper and ink. These are wars against thinking certain ways, and
for this reason we maintain that criminal drug prohibition is
unconstitutional cognitive censorship, and inconsistent with the basic
values and freedoms upon with the United States was founded. So long as a
person does not endanger others, the CCLE maintains that the government
lacks the constitutional authority to punish the person simply for
self-determining his or her own cognitive
3) I don’t agree with
illicit drug use. Why should I care about the war on drugs?
The war on drugs is a major policy issue with real
and important implications for legal rights well beyond the use of illicit
drugs. New developments in legal pharmaceuticals (memory enhancers, mood
enhancers, and anti-aging drugs) as well as the development of other
neurotechnologies that directly affect cognition will soon challenge our
understanding of personal liberty, identity, and human rights. Criminal drug
prohibition sets terrible legal precedent that threatens to impede the
creation of just and sustainable policies for a modern society with powerful
mind technologies. (See
Neuroethics for more.)
The CCLE strives to protect the fundamental right to freedom of thought
-- a right that Supreme Court Justice Benjamin Cardozo has called "the
matrix, the indispensable condition for nearly every other form of freedom." Because our
enumerated rights date back to a time in which the drafters could not have
conceived of modern methods of mental enhancement, or mental
surveillance and control, the CCLE is committed to gaining legal recognition
of cognitive liberty and to expanding legal protection for our rights of mind.