Man Argues that “Illegal Drugs Do Not Exist.” Courts Do Not Agree.

In the endless arguments over drugs and addiction, here’s a semantic distinction we’re guessing you haven’t thought of: Illegal drugs do not exist. That’s right—so says British prisoner Casey William Hardison, described by UK Cannabis News as an “entheogenic activist, unauthorized researcher and psychedelic chemist.” Hardison wrote an article for the site from his cell, six years into his 20-year term for manufacturing the psychedelic drugs LSD, DMT, and 2C-B. So, now that we know where Mr. Hardison is coming from, so to speak, what is his argument? Specifically, or at least semantically, Hardison believes that the Commentary on the 1971 U.N. Convention on Psychotropic Substances proves that, “in effect, drug laws control property rights. Thus, drug legislation regulates humans and not drugs. This makes sense; drugs will not obey; drugs have no agency.”

But the squirrelier the guy sounds, the more sense he starts to make. Hardison points out that the terms “illegal drug” and “legal drug” do not appear anywhere in the UK Misuse of Drugs Act of 1971, the founding document for British drug law enforcement. The references are to “dangerous and otherwise harmful drugs,” and Hardison would like to know upon what basis such distinctions are made. The UK Government’s official response, writes Hardison, was that “the distinction between legal and illegal substances is not unequivocally based on pharmacology, economic or risk benefit analysis. It is also based in large part on historical and cultural precedents.” And here is where Hardison gets to make his point: “So when we discuss and analyze the ‘drugs problem,’ let us remember that alcohol and tobacco are drugs. And let us remember that the (un)intended consequences of a ‘War on some people who use some Drugs’ is exactly that: partial, unequal, and unjust.” Take that, magistrates. And in another 14 years, Hardison can tell it to their faces.