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On another level, paternalistic legislation might be drafted to disqualify those who engage in certain behaviors from government subsidized medical care, under the theory that one has no right to saddle the rest of society with the financial burden of paying for one's irresponsible choice to persist in behaviors known to be detrimental to health and longevity. Naturally, the same concept would apply equally to those suffering the long-term medical consequences of smoking tobacco, which currently constitutes the largest preventable cause of lung cancer, heart disease, and many other illnesses that drain public resources.
The spectrum of government paternalism spans from complete permissibility, allowing utterly reckless conduct that is injurious to others to comprehensive over- regulation, where legal penalties attach to eating junk food if one is above one's ideal weight. My first disagreement with the current illegal status of recreational drugs is that I believe it represents a position on the spectrum that is too close to over- regulation in that it prohibits activities that are (or that should be) purely matters of personal choice. In my opinion, mandatory seatbelt and motorcycle helmet laws infringe into issues of personal choice where there is no justification based on protecting the public at large. Conversely, I am in favor of prohibiting seemingly innocuous activities such as operating cellular phones while driving, precisely because it increases the risk of collision with innocent people. The difference is seatbelts and helmets protect only the individual who chooses to use them, whereas distracted drivers represent a potential risk to other people as well. I also reject any claim that legalizing recreational drugs would result in an increase in crimes associated with their use, because, as I suggested earlier, the same can be said (and has already been witnessed in this country) in connection with 1920's Prohibition.
Ultimately, my most fundamental objection to the current illegal status of recreational drugs is their unjustified inequality and incongruence, as compared to regulation of tobacco, alcohol, and for that matter, ropeless mountain climbing and junk food. Regardless of any argument as to the appropriate point for anti-drug laws on the legislative spectrum between absolute permissibility and over-legislation, government regulations must, in principle, reflect uniformity and a logical consistency.