1. Prohibition Has Never Worked
US drug policy has relied on prohibition for over fifty years, aiming for the unrealistic goal of a drug-free society. Plants with a low risk of addiction remain prohibited while more dangerous substances, such as alcohol, tobacco, and opioid painkillers, are socially accepted. Authoritarians claim these laws keep us safe from the criminal element when in fact they allow those cartels to thrive in the first place, all while imprisoning the most people out of any country on earth. Drug laws do not keep us safe.
Furthermore, drug policy has been used as an extension of the slave state, visiting violence and misery upon racialized populations. It has given police nearly unlimited powers to detain and arrest, and eroded our Constitutional right to freedom from search and seizure. Rather, the legal doctrine of “asset forfeiture”, the legal right of the government to steal property without cause, has provided a perverse financial incentive for police to shake down their communities like petty muggers.
These policies have failed to put a dent in the real human cost of black market narcotics, and have entrapped poor populations in a cycle of exploitation at both the hands of traffickers and law enforcement gangs. They are maintained solely to provide prison labor. Prohibition is broken by design.
The Massachusetts Pirate Party supports a repression-free drug policy and demands an end to failed prohibition. The Pirate Party rejects attempts to control what an adult does with their body, freedom means the ability to choose to indulge or abstain without carceral pressure. Learning from Portugal’s success with decriminalization, the Pirate Party will replace the current system with legalization and regulated distribution.
We encourage a total re-examination of recreational substances in order to fully examine their actual impact on society. Drug policy must be based on sound research.
We fully encourage the legalization of traditional psychedelics and entheogens, especially for therapeutic use. For too long drug policy has been a cudgel of repression against indigenous beliefs. That must stop immediately!
3. Regulation, Help and Guidance instead of Punishment
Imprisoning addicts does not cure them. Addiction is a disease arising from cramped, unlivable social conditions, meaning the only “cure” for addiction is to ensure everyone has access to safe, comfortable housing. We encourage community-first intervention methods over traumatic imprisonment, public funds used to incarcerate must be redirected into the development of walkable neighborhoods, public parks, affordable housing, and single payer healthcare. Additionally, we support needle exchange programs in order to prevent disease transmission.
People suffering from addiction must be provided the space and resources to build themselves a life free from addiction. Unfortunately, American society is built to encourage addiction. Atomized, isolated suburban communities have the highest rates of addiction because a car-based lifestyle erodes personal connections. A community-centric solution must involve building livable communities.
4. Research and Medicine
The Pirate Party supports research on currently illegal substances to identify beneficial therapies. Blocking scientific work based solely on dogmatic arguments is no longer acceptable. Patients must not be hindered in their free choice of treatment. Well-trained, responsible physicians and informed patients should have the full responsibility for choosing the substances used for treatment. The dangers of all used substances, including both “natural” cures along with pharmaceutical medicines, must be fully disclosed.
5. Protection of Minors
The Pirate Party explicitly supports only sensible and necessary laws or regulations for the protection of minors. An open, objective treatment of the topic in the form of comprehensive public education is the only way to equip young people to survive life outside the home. Lying to children, rather than teaching them the truth, simply undermines their faith in all authority.
The largest exposure risk to children comes from the adults in their lives who use. These adults should be cognizant of the lessons they are sending to the children in their lives. A culture of responsible use must be maintained in order to exist as part of a responsible society.
6. Freedom from Persuasion
America must move to severely restrict the advertising powers of prescription drugs. Policies that control the distribution of alcohol ads should be expanded to include recreational cannabis and other doctor-approved treatments. They must also be updated to include limitations on internet-based advertisements, as current regulation only covers print, radio, and television. The largest single factor contributing to the opioid epidemic was advertisements and sales representatives employed by Purdue Pharma and the Mercer family. The biggest drug dealers in society aren’t street-level pushers, but the medical-industrial machine seeking wealth.