Skip to main content

Seventy-five years ago (December 5, 1933, to be exact) the United States of America repealed its ban on alcoholic beverages.

But even though you won't find a soul alive who thinks the repeal was a bad idea, we continue to live day after day with the disastrous consequences of a drug policy that is as misguided as was prohibition.

On Friday, the Wall Street Journal published an op-ed by Ethan Nadelman, executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance. Nadelman wrote:

Consider the consequences of drug prohibition today: 500,000 people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails for nonviolent drug-law violations; 1.8 million drug arrests last year; tens of billions of taxpayer dollars expended annually to fund a drug war that 76% of Americans say has failed; millions now marked for life as former drug felons; many thousands dying each year from drug overdoses that have more to do with prohibitionist policies than the drugs themselves, and tens of thousands more needlessly infected with AIDS and Hepatitis C because those same policies undermine and block responsible public-health policies.

And look abroad. At Afghanistan, where a third or more of the national economy is both beneficiary and victim of the failed global drug prohibition regime. At Mexico, which makes Chicago under Al Capone look like a day in the park. And elsewhere in Latin America, where prohibition-related crime, violence and corruption undermine civil authority and public safety, and mindless drug eradication campaigns wreak environmental havoc.

All this, and much more, are the consequences not of drugs per se but of prohibitionist policies that have failed for too long and that can never succeed in an open society, given the lessons of history. Perhaps a totalitarian American could do better, but at what cost to our most fundamental values?

Just like you can't find a soul who will say that repeal of prohibition was a mistake, you won't find a soul who will tell you our current drug policy has erased the drug problem.

Yet we continue to treat drug policy as a hypothetical issue, focused on the potential consequences of reform, rather than the disastrous consequences of what we are doing now.

The question isn't just about the pharmacological impacts of drugs. The question is also about the damage our current regulatory regime is inflicting on our society, economy, and criminal justice system. The question is whether we are getting our money's worth from the $50 billion we spend each year on the drug war. The question is whether there are better ways to allocate our resources than by focusing the bulk of that money on drugs -- like marijuana -- that are probably less harmful than alcohol or tobacco.

But until we collectively -- as citizens -- make it clear to our political leaders that it is acceptable to talk about the consequences of our drug policy, as opposed to a blind focus on nothing but the consequences of drugs, we're never going to make any progress.

If we don't change, we're going to continue having hundreds of brutal murders occuring not just across the border, but also right here at home. And we're going to continue to have American citizens addicted to drugs, wasting their futures.

So we need to rethink this drug policy of ours, because it just isn't working. It never has, and until we find the courage to change, it never will.

Originally posted to Daily Kos on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:00 AM PST.

Your Email has been sent.
You must add at least one tag to this diary before publishing it.

Add keywords that describe this diary. Separate multiple keywords with commas.
Tagging tips - Search For Tags - Browse For Tags


More Tagging tips:

A tag is a way to search for this diary. If someone is searching for "Barack Obama," is this a diary they'd be trying to find?

Use a person's full name, without any title. Senator Obama may become President Obama, and Michelle Obama might run for office.

If your diary covers an election or elected official, use election tags, which are generally the state abbreviation followed by the office. CA-01 is the first district House seat. CA-Sen covers both senate races. NY-GOV covers the New York governor's race.

Tags do not compound: that is, "education reform" is a completely different tag from "education". A tag like "reform" alone is probably not meaningful.

Consider if one or more of these tags fits your diary: Civil Rights, Community, Congress, Culture, Economy, Education, Elections, Energy, Environment, Health Care, International, Labor, Law, Media, Meta, National Security, Science, Transportation, or White House. If your diary is specific to a state, consider adding the state (California, Texas, etc). Keep in mind, though, that there are many wonderful and important diaries that don't fit in any of these tags. Don't worry if yours doesn't.

You can add a private note to this diary when hotlisting it:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from your hotlist?
Are you sure you want to remove your recommendation? You can only recommend a diary once, so you will not be able to re-recommend it afterwards.
Rescue this diary, and add a note:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary from Rescue?
Choose where to republish this diary. The diary will be added to the queue for that group. Publish it from the queue to make it appear.

You must be a member of a group to use this feature.

Add a quick update to your diary without changing the diary itself:
Are you sure you want to remove this diary?
(The diary will be removed from the site and returned to your drafts for further editing.)
(The diary will be removed.)
Are you sure you want to save these changes to the published diary?

Comment Preferences

  •  The "drug problem" and the war on drugs (30+ / 0-)

    is mostly a Full Budget Opportunity for law enforcement departments nationwide.

    Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

    by ROGNM on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:03:27 AM PST

    •  Yes. Prohibition breeds the corruption (11+ / 0-)

      of government at all levels, from the neighborhood precinct to the presidential mansion.

      "The millions who are in want will not stand idly by silently forever while the things to satisfy their needs are within easy reach." Franklin Roosevelt

      by semiot on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:11:25 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Juries helped end Prohibition, could help end War (7+ / 0-)

        on Drugs.  They refused to convict, it's called jury nullification, and that was exactly what the founding fathers intended when they wrote juries in to the Constitution so often.

        There was a poll in a recent diary on decriminalizing marijuana, and out of almost 3000 votes, 93% were in favor of that being one of Obama's first acts.  I'm going to paste in from a long comment I wrote there:

        Yes WE could act - Juries helped end Prohibition

        So the overwhelming majority disagree with the law.  If you sat on a jury and felt it was your right and duty to judge the law as well as the facts of the case, chances are very good that your panel would either acquit or hang.  Guess what, that's what happened during Prohibition:

        During Prohibition, juries often nullified alcohol control laws,[11] possibly as often as 60% of the time.[12] This resistance is considered to have contributed to the adoption of the Twenty-first amendment repealing the Eighteenth amendment which established Prohibition.

        The thing that pisses me off is that it's a Constitutional right/duty that has atrophied by government redefinition.  In California, you can't serve on a jury unless you agree to "follow the law," and the California Supreme Court ruled that you can't vote your conscience.  In federal court, there was an amazing case of a guy named Ed Rosenthal who had been deputized by the city of Oakland to grow medical marijuana but then was charged in federal court on marijuana charges.  This was the Bush administration taking on state law.  The jury was not allowed to hear that Rosenthal had been growing it for Oakland, and upon learning the facts after dutifully following the judge's instructions and finding Rosenthal guilty, four jurors held a press conference to denounce their verdict.  See "Pot Jury Rebllion" on

        [Four] jurors felt compelled to do something about what had happened. Earlier this week, they held a press conference outside the U.S. District Court in San Francisco where they publicly apologized to Rosenthal and expressed their dismay with a legal system that deprived them of the truth they believe they needed before determining Rosenthal's fate. At their press conference, the jurors were flanked by a number of local government officials -- including San Francisco's district attorney -- all of whom expressed their support for Rosenthal and his work.

        In making their case public, the Rosenthal jurors have drawn national attention to two issues: the Bush administration's offensive against state-level decisions on medical marijuana, and the right of a jury to know -- and to act on -- all the facts of a case.

        How screwed is this?   (PDF)

        There is no doubt that jury nullification was one of the rights and powers that the people were exercising in 1791 when the Bill of Rights of the United States Constitution was adopted. As legal historian Lawrence Friedman has written:

        In American legal theory, jury-power was enormous, and subject to few controls. There was a maxim of law that the jury was judge both of law and of fact in criminal cases. This idea was particularly strong in the first Revolutionary generation when memories of royal justice were fresh. Jury nullification is therefore one of the "rights...retained by the people" in the Ninth Amendment. And it is one of the " the people" in the Tenth Amendment.

        Jury nullification is decentralization of political power. It is the people’s most important veto in our constitutional system. The jury vote is the only time the people ever vote on the application of a real law in real life. All other votes are for hypotheticals.

        Famous trials from American history where the jury nullified law are the 1735 trial of John Peter Zenger, from whence we date our freedom of the press, and in Britain the 1670 trial of William Mead and William Penn -- yes, that Penn, of Pennsylvania, charged with preaching a Quaker sermon and disturbing the peace.

        This is a big thing with me.  I left another long comment here:

        •  Jury nullification (0+ / 0-)

          Didn't work so well when Southern white juries acquitted whites who killed blacks.

          We talk a lot about the rule of law. Jury nullification is the antithesis of that, regardless of the fact that a few historians can cherrypick some justifications for it.

          Obama said knock you out.

          by samlang on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:37:44 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  It worked both ways (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Juries also refused to uphold slavery laws, and so freed blacks before the Civil War.

            Jury nullification appeared in the pre-Civil War era when juries sometimes refused to convict for violations of the Fugitive Slave Act.

            That said, I share your pain over the Emmett Till trial and others.  But would Emmett Till's murderers have gotten a more just trial without a jury?  Make that case to me.  I think you can't, I think Madison was right, there are no angels in government.

            If men were angels, no government would be necessary. If angels were to govern men, neither external nor internal controls on government would be necessary.

            And the Constitution he helped write depended on juries who could nullify law.  And that has never been repealed, it's only been whittled away at, wrongfully.

            I disagree that jury nullification is the antithesis of rule of law.  It is what keeps laws sane.  You see the topic of this diary, and the insanity of the war on drugs.  Juries can't repeal a law, and they can't write a law.  All they can do is look at each case one at a time.  If they convict, that confirms the law.  If they nullify, and they keep nullifying, it becomes clear that the law as written is not worth upholding.  It's a reality check and balance.  It brings common sense and empathy to justice and keeps our government human and humane.  It brings the ultimate authority of the people full circle.

            I wish I could remember a quote, I think from DeTocqueville, about how Americans trusted(?) each other, because they knew how anyone could wear any hat at any time, legislator, judge or judged, it was almost like society by musical chair, a self-perpetuating engine of justice as opposed to an engine of corruption -- my total rephrase.  I can only find this quote:

            The health of a democratic society may be measured by the quality of functions performed by private citizens.

            That was before corporations were legal persons with lobbyists writing the laws, and before our job as citizens was to go shopping.

            One last thought, to see what justice looks like without juries, go to traffic court.

        •  Trouble is, you have to lie (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          to get on a jury if you believe in nullification. It's your fastest ticket home if you declare your right to judge the application and even validity of law in court -- I know this from personal experience.

          There are those who are deathly afraid of the concept, and not without reason. if a judge were required to let you know about nullification during the jury selection process, and if defense attorneys were allowed to bring it up during summarization's, a fair amount of injustice would undoubtedly occur along with a fair amount of better justice. While I personally favor the concept of jury nullification, it doesn't necessarily work well with the mandate of unanimity in jury decisions, nor with the b.s. method of choosing juries to begin with.

          Hope: a Breeze in the Essence of Learning

          by dRefractor on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:37:22 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  The two magic words that will get you dismissed (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            chemicalresult, dRefractor

            from jury service:  "Jury nullification."  At least in California (it happened to me), though I understand that a few other states go the other way, and in fact I'm very curious whether juries in those states are convicting or nullifying in marijuana or any other criminal trials.  The FIJA PDF link above goes to a 2000 article naming Maryland, Indiana, Georgia and Oregon as states whose constitutions have explicit provisions for juries to decide the law in all criminal cases.

            This was an issue that really got my dander up a few years ago, and I tried to research it.  There was a Supreme Court case (Sparf!) over 100 years ago where the court had to decide whether the defense attorney had the right to inform the jury about their power to nullify law.  The trial court judge had refused to allow it.  Just reading a bit on wikipedia now, the vote was 5-4 against jurors being informed.  I remember reading that decision years ago, and the dissent was terrific and the decision opinion blah and unconvincing.  But -- more from wikipedia:

            This decision, often cited, has led to a common practice by United States judges to penalize anyone who attempts to present legal argument to jurors and to declare a mistrial if such argument has been presented to them. In some states, jurors are likely to be struck from the panel during voir dire if they will not agree to accept as correct the rulings and instructions of the law as provided by the judge.

            So the way the land lays now, juries can nullify, they just can't be told they have the power to do so, which is amazingly crazy.

            FIJA (Fully Informed Jury Association) has a page for potential jurors, "If You Are Called For Jury Service", that says you still can serve, and how, but I have to say whenever I'm called I get filtered out on the "do you agree to follow the law" question from the judge.

            Nothing in the U.S. Constitution or in any Supreme Court decision requires jurors to take an oath to follow the law as the judge explains it or, for that matter, authorizes the judge to "instruct" the jury at all. Judges provide their interpretation of the law, but you may also do your own thinking. Keep in mind that no juror's oath is enforceable, and that you may regard all "instructions" as advice.


            •  Hmmm, I suppose a liberal interpretation (1+ / 0-)
              Recommended by:

              of "following the law" is that there is a nullification "law" or right that supersedes whatever is being tried in court. So maybe we can serve on a jury with a clear conscience by answering the judge's question in the affirmative.

              In the only jury selection hearing that I made it to, I stated that I believe in the concept of unlimited self-defense, hence I would take into consideration whether or not a person felt that their life was in danger through no fault of their own as a condition to whether or not they could be guilty of battery. The judge wanted to "explore" this opinion more thoroughly and I simply said, "if you're asking if I believe in the concept of jury nullification, the answer is yes." He did a double take and grimaced and did some vigorous notation to my name on his chart and I was excused moments later. I glanced at the defense attorney who looked a bit disappointed and I thought to myself what a crock the legal system is, even if it is one of the better systems in the world (allegedly).

              thanks for the FIJA link

              Hope: a Breeze in the Essence of Learning

              by dRefractor on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:24:35 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  I asked the judge about a jury nullification (0+ / 0-)

                article I had read, and he got a bit flustered, because apparently the trial at hand wasn't the usual place that jury nullification came up and it wasn't clear how it might possibly apply.  He asked me the same question another way and I said I would vote my conscience.  And then he dismissed me, saying it was too bad when people couldn't follow the law, making it clear that he thought I was a rotten citizen and that no one else in the courtroom should even think of thinking like me.  I tried to say, I think I would be following the law, the Constitution, but nope I was out.  And it wasn't just sit down and be quiet, it was court stopped until I left the room.  I thought, wow, those must be powerful words.

                But I'm kind of surprised that more isn't made of jury nullification.  I used to hear more about it than I do now.  There's an organization called LEAP, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, which is an association of judges and cops and whatnots who think the war on drugs is ruining justice and want it ended.  I heard a LEAP judge speak once, and I asked him about jury nullification as a way to end the war on drugs, and it was like the thought hadn't occurred to him, he didn't even know much about it, didn't know about the Zenger trial from back in colonial times which is the famous one most people refer to when they talk jury nullification.  So in terms of education, this is one that has a ways to go.  Thanks, it was nice talking to you.

                •  I believe John Peter Zenger was acquitted (1+ / 0-)
                  Recommended by:

                  The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                  by lysias on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 11:02:43 AM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  And violators of the anti-alcohol Volstead Act (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    were acquitted through jury nullification during Prohibition.  That's pretty germane to the discussion here.

                    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                    by lysias on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 11:05:07 AM PST

                    [ Parent ]

                    •  Volstead? I don't know that story, please tell (0+ / 0-)
                      •  Volstead Act was the Act of Congress passed (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        over the veto of President Wilson that enforced the prohibition on alcohol of the 18th Amendment.  To the surprise of some, the criminal penalties extended to transactions involving even lightly alcoholic beverages like wine, beer, and hard cider.  (The 18th Amendment spoke of "intoxicating liquors," which would have permitted a less expansive interpretation.)

                        Indeed, the prohibition even extended to near beer, until Congress during FDR's 100 days in early 1933 amended the Volstead Act to permit near beer.  (Thus confirming how flexibly the 18th Amendment could have been interpreted.)  At the same time, Congress passed the 21st Amendment repealing the 18th, but ratification by the states was not completed until late in 1933.

                        The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

                        by lysias on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 12:57:48 PM PST

                        [ Parent ]

    •  And the prison industry. (21+ / 0-)

      Just look at California.  Even with budget shortfalls, when all other goverment agency budgets are slashed, the prison budgets usually grow and grow and grow.  (Haven't lived there in a few years, but that was certainly the case when I was there.)

      They build prisons, hire guards, and then the prisoners to fill them to justify building more prisons and hiring more guards.

      Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

      by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:12:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Billions per year drug testing industry (23+ / 0-)

      The drug testing industry is a billions per year industry. Imagine if they had a "drug test" during prohibition which detected that you had an unspecified amount of alcohol in your system two weeks ago, and you were fired from your job even though you weren't high or impaired in any way shape or form during the testing time. That is the piss test for marijuana. It doesn't even detect any actual THC, just an alkaloid by product which supposedly shows some form of exposure, which can include even second hand smoke. It is a harassment tool, plain and simple. One that makes the drug testing industry very rich.

    •  and we are the worst self-medicating society in (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      bigchin, cgirard, msmacgyver

      history - we are hypocrites.

      Henry Dribble "if all you have is a hammer, then everything looks like a nail." Phish/Wittgenstein

      by henry dribble on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:34:36 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I'll drink to That; references please. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        potty p

        Notice: This Comment © ROGNM

        by ROGNM on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:43:29 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  if by worst you mean (0+ / 0-)

        we do self-medicate and we see that as a bad thing. I'm not sure it is. Seems pretty natural across human cultures. Now as for the hypocricy part, well there have always been those who would seek to deny choice to others.

        I long ago switched over completely to socially acceptable drugs like alcohol, mostly because of personal taste and the crowds I run in nowadays find alcohol to be more acceptable. I personally don't care what people want to alter with so long as the impact on society is kept low. I guess that makes me hypocritical, but then I don't operate machinery under the influence, so I can sleep at night.

        What I have (thankfully) have always had little use for was pharmaceuticals and watching my students self-medicated (and pass out ridlin to their friends because they have an open script, is more than a little troubling). That stuff is bad bad bad, at least when used in this way.

        Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment. --Solomon Short

        by potty p on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:44:33 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Its also a bailout (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      for street gangs and drug pushers. Al Capone couldn't have stayed in business without the profits from illegal liquor sales.

      The biggest difference between prohibition and the drug war is the bulk of the product.  When you're dealing in illicit beer and bottled booze, you've got to have trucks, warehouses, speakeasies, corrupt cops and judges... in other words, it's not a business kids can engage in at the retail level.

      Drugs, on the other hand, can be carried around in a pocket, used almost anywhere, and do not require adults in the pipeline, although they are there when we are talking about huge shipments from overseas, and the upper level in the distribution chain.

  •  It's time to decriminalize all... (21+ / 0-)

    drug use. What you put in your body is your business and nobody else's.

    •  I can certainly understand the sentiment, but (5+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      salmo, qazplm, carver, hoodsen, dotalbon

      there is an enormous difference between alcohol and marijuana and some drugs such as Meth, Crack Cocaine, and LSD.

      Alcohol and Marijuana don't immediately incapacitate. You can theoretically have a drink of alchohol and be just fine. You can also have a few puffs of Marijuana and be fine as well. After too much, though, and your responses will become impaired.

      That said, Meth, Crack Cocaine, LSD, etc all impair individuals almost immediately. It's not like someone could have a casual encounter with those drugs and then get up and be just fine in public company or behind the wheel of a car.

      In those cases people can become exceedingly dangerous to themselves (many times death occurs on the first "hit") and to others (people can become violent, unresponsive to external stimuli required for good driving, etc).

      I don't think it's as black & white a decision as is stated by either left thinkers or right thinkers.

      I believe more discussion is required to ferret out the gray area instead. That will give people more freedoms with drugs but also protect them and the rest of us from those users of the worst kinds of drugs.

      President Barack Obama - #44

      by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:31:10 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Which of these (15+ / 0-)

        is not like the other:

        B- Crack.
        C- Cocaine.
        D- LSD.

        That's right the answer is "D." I am not advocating for people to drive a car or go to work after having taken LSD, it's use requires the proper set and setting, something Timothy Leary tried to teach the world years ago. But please be clear about the nature of different chemicals before you lump them together. LSD, when properly used, can have powerful therapeutic and spiritual benefits. Maybe not for you, but this is the root of the discussion, it's not anybody's right to prevent another from having their sacrament.

        •  People who use cocaine speak of similar (0+ / 0-)

          experiences with regard to spirituality as with LSD. That's all I'm saying.

          That said, the OTP said that all drugs should be decriminalized, stop. That's why I chimed in stating that more discussion is required to ferret out a gray area. There are some drugs that create worse adverse reactions than others. I used Alcohol and Marijuana and juxtaposed them with Meth, Crack Cocaine, and LSD because the gulf between those two groups of drugs is enormous.

          Is there as large a gulf between LSD, Meth, and Crack Cocaine? Not particularly, but it is there as you've stated.

          I'm just saying that no one drug should be given cart blanche treatment of decriminalization. They should be studied and regulated dependent upon the reactions they cause.

          President Barack Obama - #44

          by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:07:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Who says that about coke? (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            jmcgrew, chemicalresult

            The thing people don't seem to understand about decriminalization is that DOING IRRESPONSIBLE THINGS ON DRUGS would still be illegal. Alcohol's legal but you can't drive drunk. Same with pot, coke, etc. If you get pulled over and can't recite the alphabet backwards, you're in trouble. If you show up to work with dilated pupils and talking a mile a minute, you're going to get fired.

            Obama said knock you out.

            by samlang on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:45:32 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  Coke is well known to cause hallucinations (0+ / 0-)

              and heightened alertness/state of mind.

              As for decriminalization and irresponsible behavior while on drugs, I agree. That said, some drugs put you in a position to do those irresponsible things FAR FASTER than others.

              If you have a few drinks of alcohol or puffs of marijuana you won't necessarily be impaired. Take a few snorts of heroin, coke, or LSD, and that's definitely not true.

              That's all I'm pointing out. Not all drugs are benign, relatively or otherwise. The drugs that are just plain dangerous should be illegal imo.

              President Barack Obama - #44

              by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:13:36 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  You might as well talk about (5+ / 0-)
                Recommended by:
                lazbumm, Sottilde, jmcgrew, barath, FuddGate

                about the weather report on Mars-- you probably know just as much about it.  First of all no one snorts LSD because its dosage is measured in micrograms--snorting even a pencil-eraser-sized dot of raw LSD crystal would probably be the first event of a week-long mind-bender.  (Which hypothetical week for the record might include both moments of hellish agony and moments of life-changing epiphany.)

                For the record, the "just plain dangerous" nature of LSD, here asserted on little more than hearsay and prejudice, has more to do with extrinsic factors like a stressful relationship between subjective personality and objective environment.  

                On a broader scale, the "some drugs are just plain dangerous" argument is completely ridiculous.  Prescription anti-psychotics are nearly identical, pharmaceutically speaking, to any number of so-called club drugs like MDMA, and have occasioned just as many heartache-inducing withdrawal events as many "street" drugs--even the cocaine many so often moralize about.  

                In short, Yalin, if you didn't open your yap about stuff you didn't understand, you wouldn't have to "stand corrected" so often.  Sleep deprivation has also been known to cause hallucinations and heightened alertness.  Big deal.      

                "You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy." -- Herbert Hoover

                by stranger eye on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:28:12 PM PST

                [ Parent ]

                •  Strawmen argumentation [nt] (0+ / 0-)

                  President Barack Obama - #44

                  by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 03:15:11 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  In what way? (1+ / 0-)
                    Recommended by:

                    Stranger Eye is completely correct in calling you out on this.  The phrase "a few snorts of heroin, coke, or LSD" is clear evidence that you know little to none about modern drugs and are in serious need of education.

                    America has had a problem with miseducated people determining and influencing policy for a long, long time.  Educate yourself first and figure out what it is you're talking about, and speak second.  You can't possibly hope to make decisions for other people (which is what government policy is, essentially) without knowing first what it is you're really doing.

                    One could argue that the cotton industry and Anslinger are the causes of current MJ prohibition, but in the end the primary cause is bad education.  

                    Please, spend some time on Google or Erowid and make an informed decision instead of spouting out second-hand DARE bullshit to us.

                    •  It's a strawman argument because the ways in (0+ / 0-)

                      which a drug is ingested, whether orally, nasally, or through injection, doesn't change the negative effects of the drug on a person.

                      It doesn't change the impairing effects that harder drugs have on individuals, much of the time in a far faster and more negative way than softer drugs such as alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana.

                      What is relevant is just what I argued in my original post. There are gray areas for many drugs in terms of their effects and they should be regulated in order to account for those gray areas.

                      I would support making pot legal if it were regulated and taxed like cigarettes. The more deleterious effects of other drugs (heroin, coke, meth, lsd) would lead me to want more study in that area.

                      That said, there are some really screwed up drugs on the market sold as "good" drugs. Whether it's morphine and its family members like OxyContin (the rush limbaugh drug), they can have really bad effects on people, in short order, if not strictly taken under a doctor's supervision. Not to mention the side effects you hear from statins and other respectable drugs like Lipitor (may cause diarrhea, cramping, palpitations, numbness in the extremities, dry mouth, death in some cases, mutant third leg, etc)

                      Now all that said, again, nothing changes the fact that some drugs are more benign than others. The less benign drugs should be regulated more based on their deleterious effects on people.

                      You try meeting people half way rather than berating them for not being immediately open to all drugs all the time for everybody and you might get somewhere in this discussion.

                      Because that's how I see it, i.e., as a discussion.

                      President Barack Obama - #44

                      by Yalin on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 11:43:28 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  you should spend some time on Erowid (0+ / 0-)

                        or reading the relevant research before you go comparing the 'deleterious' effects of LSD to something like Meth.  As far as physical or neurological damage, alcohol is an order of magnitude worse than LSD.  In fact, the only long term effect physical effect (not psychological) found with LSD (even heavy long term usage) was a increased ability to see in the dark.  It has no LD-50. It is not habit forming or addictive. It doesn't do anything that the frequent myths promulgated in the 60s say (chromosomal damage, stored in tissue, etc.) and has been found to be an extremely effective treatment for alcoholism (under a controlled setting).  The effects are highly subjective and personal (unlike, say, cocaine or narcotics which pretty much affect everyone the same way).  It can trigger long term depression in people predisposed to it, however, much like the similar psilocybin found in certain mushrooms, although that has recently been used in a ground-breaking study at Johns Hopkins, which found, when used in a safe, controlled manner,  to have long lasting and profoundly positive effects on the subjects, something I don't think you could say for cocaine, heroin, meth or alcohol, regardless of the setting or safety of the study, and overall, it has not been shown to have any negative long term psychological effects on the average user (in fact, most tend to be MORE well-adjusted, provided they stayed away from other more deleterious drugs, which isn't often the case these days, since they are all classified the same legally).

                        This does not mean, however, that I disagree with your premise that not all "drugs" should be legal, just your terminology of 'soft' and 'hard' drugs being a measure of said substances physical dangers.  I think that 'soft' and 'hard' are really more measures of the drugs potency rather than anything else; i.e. how much does it take to begin to alter your perception and how badly does it get altered?  It really isn't a measure of danger as the 'soft' drugs can be much more dangerous physically as they invite the user to use them far more often (i.e. cigarettes and such).  Booze is one of the few substances where, if you become severely addicted, you will simply DIE if you stop cold turkey.  Not even heroin behaves like that.  But, we've gotten it into our collective heads that we can only use as much as we want and quit when we need to.  Some drugs don't allow people to do that easily (like cocaine, meth and heroin) and others simply deny frequent use at all (like LSD, mushrooms and MDMA) as they generally force a refractory period on the user to process and recover from the experience.

          •  No one I know (4+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lazbumm, jmcgrew, barath, Calamity Jean

            ever talks about the spiritual aspects of cocaine use like they might about the spiritual aspects of LSD use.  But that's because I actually know real, live (happy, successful) drug users, and am not merely talking out of my ill-informed ass.

            And, PS, why must we assume these things require regulation?  So far, the only regulation the state has practiced over cannabis involves their hope that some day they can slow down its use by eradicating its crops and jailing its merchants.  So far, so ineffective: cannabis is more widely used, more widely grown, more genetically various, and more profitable a business than it ever was in the 1970s.  

            Meanwhile, Vioxx passed who knows how many regulatory hurdles before filling its quotient of bodybags.  Let's get over this mis-guided regulatory mania.  Dinoysus will not long be chained.

            "You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy." -- Herbert Hoover

            by stranger eye on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:35:59 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

        •  I entirely agree (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          sabishi, Calamity Jean

          lumping acid in with cocaine and meth is like lumping grass in with...well, with just about anything. People don't die of acid, or it's extremely rare. People likely die from what it's been cut with from time to time.

          Cocaine and meth, on the other hand, are quite dangerous, and in a variety of ways, some of them quite insidious. They are the two drugs I know of that I would categorize as being more dangerous than alcohol, and the only two I have reservations about legalizing.

          BTW, the diarist is offbase in stating no one wants prohibition repealed. There are still people who think alcohol is dangerous and damaging enough that its use should not be legal. I am not one of them, but I respect their opinion a lot more than that of people who want to keep grass illegal.

          "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

          by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:09:09 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I'm never to comfortable with... (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        ...hyper-paranoid meth addicts with guns - they are not the best party guests.

        Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." -- Philip K. Dick ....... {-8.25 / -5.64}

        by carver on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:59:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  If speed impairs immediately.... (8+ / 0-)

        why does the military give it to pilots?

        By many measures, it improves performance in the short term. You pay afterwards.

        The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

        by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:09:00 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Eh? The only time I've been aware that the (0+ / 0-)

          military gave its pilots LSD was during WWII. And with regard to improved performance, yes it can sometimes give you a sense of hyper-awareness. In most cases though it just causes hallucinations.

          Not exactly a good combination when having to perform difficult tasks.

          President Barack Obama - #44

          by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:14:27 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Speed is not LSD -nt (3+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            laurak, lazbumm, Calamity Jean

            I consider myself an Agnostic because the only thing I believe in less than God is certainty.

            by aztronut on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:27:24 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Speed= Amphetamines. (1+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:

            Methamphetamine isn't really any different than the other amphetamines in effect, just dosage.

            The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

            by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:28:41 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  I stand corrected. That said, from the studies (0+ / 0-)

              and documentaries on Meth that I've seen, the effects are significantly damaging almost immediately.

              How much lower are amphetamines that you're referring to when given, and still have the desired effect?

              President Barack Obama - #44

              by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:37:59 AM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The problem with meth freaks (6+ / 0-)

                is they don't typically take a dose, and then sleep, but continue a "run' for several days.

                Then there's the fact that prohibition means it's often prepared by bathtub chemists, who don't have the skills remove  impurities. Similar to the problem of methanol in bathtub gin during the booze prohibition period.

                When I was 17, speed was manufactured in licensed pharmaceutical labs, byproducts disposed by licensed toxic waste haulers, and distribution controlled by crooked MDs. Even in the aftermarket it was cheap, so more often taken orally, with a longer curve before a fullblown habit ensues, and less property crime to pay for it.

                The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

                by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:49:45 AM PST

                [ Parent ]

          •  LSD was not used in WWII (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lazbumm, Calamity Jean

            Albert Hoffman, who invented the substance in 1938, did not even try the stuff until April 16, 1943, and then only by accident.  LSD was not introduced into the United States until 1948.

            Seriously, Yalin, you're just a google search away from not embarrassing yourself.  

            "You know, the only trouble with capitalism is capitalists; they're too damn greedy." -- Herbert Hoover

            by stranger eye on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 02:47:15 PM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  The Germans used Methamphetamine (0+ / 0-)

            fairly frequently in WWII.  They gave it to their pilots as well as tank troops.  They mixed it with chocolate for the tankers and called it "tanker's chocolate"

            In fact, the USAF has been giving Dexedrine to it's pilots for some time.  Do you recall at the beginning of the Afghanistan campaign when a USAF pilot accidentally bombed a Canadian position?  His defense was that his judgment was impaired by the 'go pills' (as they are referred to).

        •  Psychological studies have shown... (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          FuddGate, Calamity Jean, cgirard, BoxNDox

          that recall accuracy, as well as response time of course, is improved with the use of amphetamines.  This means that if you study for a multiple-choice test under the effects of speed, even caffeine will do, you will then score better on the exam if you take it under the same conditions (i.e., amped up) than you would sober.  In fact, studying and test taking under the same amphetamine altered state will produce better scores than testing and studying without speed.  I think many students have done this experiment on their own and gotten similar  results, YMMV.

          I consider myself an Agnostic because the only thing I believe in less than God is certainty.

          by aztronut on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:34:51 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  As I recall (0+ / 0-)

            My buddy and I took an econ course after spending lunch at a bar where we routinely drank a pitcher or two and ate polish sausage sandwiches.

            We also took the final exam snockered.  Both of us aced the test. So, the altered state theory seems to hold with booze, too.

      •  absolutely agree with you (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        there is a ton of difference between meth, heroin, cocaine (powder or crack) and yes LSD. People talk about the "proper" use of these drugs as if the vast majority of addicts or even first time users would know or care to know or certainly use these drugs "properly."

        Now if you want to decriminalize drug use, I can certainly get behind that. Treatment instead of incarceration. It would be cheaper, more likely to reduce addiction and more likely to limit crime.

        I would still incarcerate violent drug offenders of course but who wouldnt, and I would incarcerate the big time dealers/distributors. Not talking giving something to your buddy or friends, talking about large shipments.

        I can't ever see the benefit of the government legalizing the serious drugs like meth or heroin, and saying here, we approve of this, have some crystal meth, go crazy.

        •  Legalization is not encouragement (0+ / 0-)

          And certainly nobody is encouraged to huff paint, although that is not illegal.  The materials that make up Crystal Meth are not illegal by themselves, but become illegal once assembled, and many of them are intoxicating on their own.  

          Legalizing drugs does not mean the government says, "go ahead, try it, it's not dangerous."  It means that the government is staying out of your business and making drug use a health issue, not a legal issue.

          •  you dont think huffing paint is illegal? (0+ / 0-)

            I'm fairly sure it is something you could be charged with in most jurisdictions.

            Legalizing drugs absolutely says "go ahead, try it, it's not dangerous." What you describe as changing it from a legal to a health concern is decriminalization. You've confused or co-defined that term with legalization. They are different in both quality and meaning.

            Staying out of my business? Perhaps that sole virtue works for libertarians but for the rest of us, there are all sorts of areas where the government has a legitimate reason to be in our business.

            Disability is a "health issue" but in many areas it is also a "legal issue" and employers and businesses are told what they have to do to accomodate those folks or face consequences.

            Crystal meth, like cocaine and heroin and LSD, is not some fairly innocuous drug like say marijuana (or alcohol generally), which generally affects only the user and then in such a way as to not endanger anyone else.

            These drugs can lead to seriously psychotic states which pose a risk to both the user and those in this proximity.

            It is one thing to suggest that these folks should be treated instead of incarcerated, and that is what decriminalizing does. It, as you say, makes a health issue and not a legal one. It also would provide a route for doctors to prescribe these drugs in the rare controlled cases where it might provide real medicinal relief.

            Legalizing, is far different. It not only says we are going to make this a health issue, it says hey, do it, good to go. It provides a cloak of acceptance.

            Thus why cigarettes and alcohol are acceptable because they are "legal" drugs, while "illegal" drugs are not acceptable.

            •  I wouldn't say that alcohol or tobacco (0+ / 0-)

              are considered by the NIH or any government health organization to be "not dangerous." Nor do I believe that the fact that they are legal is the government advocating their use.  In fact, I believe that there are MANY government sponsored programs with the specific goal of reducing or eliminating tobacco and alcohol consumption in the general populace, so I think your argument falls a little flat there.  

              Most often, legalizing something amounts to the government saying, "a significant portion of you want to do it, are going to do it, and the social and financial expense of stopping the behavior outweighs the deleterious effects on society caused by said behavior."  This is why speed limits were raised above 55mph in the late 80s, early 90s.  There is a WEALTH of evidence that this has resulted in a LOT more deaths (in the multiple thousands, every year). All for little to no benefit other than everyone could get somewhere 5-10 minutes sooner.  Talk about no good reason!  One of the positive side effects though is that car safety technology has dramatically improved because of this.  Still though, I would say that, if we look strictly at deleterious effects vs. benefits, it is an open and shut case for having the speed limit be something like 45mph.  Yet, it isn't.

              And, considering all the data we have about alcohol, I would say it is probably one of the MOST dangerous drugs (with prescription drugs coming in second) judging by the number of emergency room visits associated with its use and abuse.  Something like 50%+ of all MURDERS involve the consumption of alcohol in some way or another.  And in terms of long term physical effects . . . they are really bad, ever hear of the DTs?  

              The arguments for outlawing alcohol are always rebutted with: we tried it and it didn't work. But really, that was the 30s with 30s law enforcement and technology and, even then, it did kind of work as alcohol consumption was reduced (even though the Volstead act prohibited manufacture for sale, sale, and distribution but NOT manufacture for personal use, or consumption - home wine-making was very popular).  I'll bet if they decided to outlaw alcohol again and used the same methods they use in the so-called 'war on drugs' now, it would be a lot more successful in terms of limiting usage.  The fact is that there are LOTS of bad effects associated with alcohol and tobacco usage, but the population as a whole has become habituated to them and therefore assumes that changing things would make it worse.  A relatively conservative argument, since it is not necessarily based on the ACTUAL, recorded dangers/benefits associated with particular substances or their legality.

              The real dangers associated with prohibiting substances lies in the creation of the extra-legal market associated with them.  This leads to serious problems as any kind of dispute cannot be adjudicated through the normal legal system and substances are potentially adulterated (lots of people died or went blind from bad booze during prohibition).  In practice this means that if someone rips you off you only have extra-legal options of dealing with it (which usually means serious violence).

              The best way to deal with these things, while still keeping usage down, is to HEAVILY regulate them and make it a complete and utter pain in the ass to get as well as expensive, but still essentially legal.  Studies have shown that this drives usage down dramatically, without creating the criminal underclass associated with black markets.

              •  none of that really makes sense I'm sorry (0+ / 0-)

                IF you make it a complete and utter pain in the ass to get then how is that much different from making it illegal?

                The fact that there are other areas where we may or may not arguably fail (alcohol, driving) is not an argument for why drugs should be legalized, it's an argument for why alcohol shouldn't or the speed limit should be lower.

                You can argue hypocrisy if you want, but that's not an argument FOR legalizing drugs.

                I have no doubt that alcohol leads to bad things. I wish quite frankly it didnt exist. I wish cigarettes didnt exist. I wish we had guns controlled like the UK.

                Unfortunately, we cannot because that particular genie is out of the bottle, so we can't go to full outlawing of guns. Neither can we go to a full outlawing of cigarettes or alcohol, that genie as well is out of the bottle.

                That does not then augur however that we should say well screw it, might as well make everything legal.

                Many drugs are rather inexpensive. You can usually get meth and crack and probably heroin for non-expensive numbers. Particularly meth which is not shipped in from overseas, it's home grown.

                So the drive to get these things is still going to be there, and it isnt going to be cheaper by a lot if the government sells many types of drugs.

                it is the drive that leads to crime more than anything else. Unless we start literally giving it away to everyone who wants it...and I can imagine that being a great's your crystal meth, have a nice day.

                Society has some responsibility for their citizens and being part of a society means you give up some rights, and quite frankly the right to make yourself an immediate hazard to yourself and others is not a right.

                •  Actually, you should look at the social research. (0+ / 0-)

                  To understand what I am getting at.  Basically the conclusion it draws is this:

                  When something people what in a large enough scale is illegal, it creates a black market where the said substance is traded.  This black market is outside the bounds of the legal system which MEANS that any disputes arising in said market are ALSO handled outside of the normal legal system.  THIS is where the crime associated with the drug trade comes from, NOT the 'drive to get drugs'.  Otherwise, we would see the exact same issues with cigarettes (which are MORE addictive than heroin) and alcohol.  But we do not, because if, say, you were overcharged for your alcohol or they sold you water instead, you could simply report them to the police, rather than feeling like you have to blow their heads off with a shotgun.

                  What social research has shown, however, is that if something that people want is illegal, a certain percentage of people will do it, REGARDLESS.  Strangely, you can actually REDUCE this number by making it legal but VERY proscribed and at the same time completely remove the extra-legal market associated with illegal drug trade.  As long as it is legal, however, even slightly legal, disputes can be settled in court, and people are willing to call the authorities to handle them, rather than taking matters into their own hands.  Legal, but a pain in the ass, is HUGELY different than illegal.  Ever get a prescription filled?  Pain in the ass, huh, compared to buying it over the counter?  Ever had your insurance not cover it?  Did you show up at your insurance company and gun them down or did you just grumble and pay for it?  You don't see people gunning each other down for their viagra, do you?

                  And, I actually was NOT arguing that the laws were hypocritical per se.  You were saying that drugs should remain illegal because of the harm (supposedly) caused by them. I was arguing that society makes compromises like that all the time (giving several examples) where the harm caused by the usage of the substance itself is outweighed by the social harm (or social will in the speed limit issue) caused by the prohibition of the said substance.  Basically, you're arguing that the "War on Drugs" is a success because the potential harm from legal drugs (regardless of HOW legal it is - and there are variations of legality, i.e. a driver's license is easy to get, a pilot's license, not so much) is much worse than spending BILLIONS a year, putting MILLIONS of people in prison and massively eroding our civil liberties for a return on that investment of, essentially a 0 to 1% drop in importation and drug sales, with easy availability, low price, all the physical harm from people taking them ANYWAY and the crime associated with a brutal and lucrative black market.  I think, and social policy research backs me up, that this view is nuts    It essentially boils down to this:  You believe that if current illegal drugs are made legal, there will be a huge spike in people using them.  I say (and research backs me up here too) that the vast majority of people who would be inclined to use them are already doing so, and that, if anything, usage would actually drop as money was freed up for treatment and prevention, PLUS it would erode to the point of non-existence the incentive to have a violent black market that operates beyond the reach of the law.  You have nothing to support your view other than your belief that there are a ton of people who are just waiting to try meth who only abstain because it is illegal.  I say that is crap and, at most, there is maybe one or two percent like that.  The same number of teenagers who wait until they are 18 to start smoking or 21 to start drinking.  Oh wait!  most of the ones who are going to do so, start BEFORE it is legal for them to partake.  Hmm.

                  And, as a further illustration that you don't really know what you are talking about, the Netherlands ARE  giving heroin away to their addicts (and later methedone).  You know what?  It has worked to reduce their numbers, helped them become useful members of society (taxpayers rather than tax drains) who then have INCENTIVE to not be addicts and, at the very least, gotten them off the streets where they don't commit crimes.  So, yeah, that works better.

                  If you want to keep banging your head against a brick wall with the same (non-working) ideas, then I say the same thing to you: Making yourself an immediate hazard to yourself and others (in this case, through willful ignorance of the issue) is not a right.

                  •  cigarettes may be more addictive (0+ / 0-)

                    but they dont cause folks near the issues that heroin does.

                    People dont gun each other down for viagra because viagra unlike heroin does not cause:

                    Psychological and physical dependence
                    Extreme Anxiety

                    And neither does Cigarettes except for the first symptom

                    The Netherlands are not the US. The Netherlands has a small fraction of the population. That kind of well if it works in one place gosh it must work everywhere else argument shows that you dont know what YOU are talking about.

                    It's the same "I've got a study" thinking that libertarians love to use about a whole host of issues to tell us how if we just do X it will all work out because it makes sense on paper.

                    But even that is irrelevant because the Netherlands is not "legalizing heroin", they are using TREATMENT programs which use drugs temporarily before switching to something that weans them off like heroin to methadone to those who are addicted is NOT legalizing the drugs.

                    It is ILLEGAL to manufacture, possess, or sell heroin in the Netherlands. Took all of 30 seconds to find that out.

                    It is NOT illegal to do sell as part of their drug treatment program designed to get them off the drugs which for a time uses the drug they are addicted to and slowly replaces it with another alternative.

                    So once again blatantly misrepresenting that either through ignorance or on purpose kills what little credibility you had.

                    As for what I believe? I believe that you have a much harder time telling folks dont do drugs when drug companies sell them with brand names (whether they are prescription brand names or OTC)

                    I think there is a reason even drug tolerant nations LIKE the Netherlands in fact make possession, sale and manufacture of heroin illegal.

                    And since you wanted to be in ridicule mode let's twist the knife in a little deeper.

                    Heroin along with all of the other nasty drugs talked about here, are controlled substances under the Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs of which all the European nations are a signatory to, including the Netherlands.

                    And from that page you have this nice little quote:

                    "Many European countries, including the United Kingdom, Germany, and, most famously, the Netherlands, do not prosecute all petty drug offenses. Dutch coffee shops are allowed to sell small amounts of cannabis to consumers. However, the Ministry of Health, Welfare and Sport's report, Drugs Policy in the Netherlands, notes that large-scale "[p]roduction and trafficking are dealt with severely under the criminal law, in accordance with the UN Single Convention."

                    Gosh, why that almost sounds like, well, golly, the exact policy I said made sense.

                    Whaddya know. Sure you wanna still trumpet the Netherlands policy?

                  •  By the way on addiction (0+ / 0-)

                    cigarettes may be "more addictive" i.e. harder to quit, but given the choice between the withdrawal symptoms of cigs and that of heroin, well, just go to the wikipedia page and you tell me which one is worse.

      •  Look at the Netherlands and their ideas that work (0+ / 0-)

        Their problem is that the rest of the EU is still in the dark ages and everyone comes there...

      •  That "sentiment" (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lazbumm, Calamity Jean, cgirard

        you so blithely dismiss is the U.S. Constitution.  Nobody has any business declaring that anyone else's private behavior is illegal.  Right to privacy, remember?

        Citations to long strings of bad effects drugs can have are totally irrelevant.  When a crime occurs, deal with the crime, just as we deal with alcohol-related crime.

        If the guy who runs the company is so coked up (or drunk) he can't function, fire him.

        If the guy who's driving a car is impaired by drugs (just as when he's impaired by society's pet drug, alcohol) arrest him.

        Your freedom ends at my nose.  It does NOT end at any point before it gets to my nose.  Your private behavior is none of my business, and my private behavior is absolutely none of yours.  

        •  I'm not blithely dismissing anything. Consider (0+ / 0-)

          that I couched my response in the negative effects those drugs have on others.

          President Barack Obama - #44

          by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:42:15 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Sorry, I think you are. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            lazbumm, Calamity Jean

            It is, in my opinion, a huge mistake to abandon any aspect of our freedom because exercise of that freedom might have an adverse effect on someone else.  Freedom of speech took a terrible beating during the "Red Scare" because people were afraid that speaking out would encourage Communism.  To paraphrase Justice Brandeis, the men who wrote our Constitution were not cowards; and men feared witches and burned women.

        •  Btw, the Constitution also grants freedom of (0+ / 0-)

          speech. Does that mean that it's a blithe dismissal of that right to legislate that people can't yell "FIRE!!" in a crowded room?

          Or is it a matter of responsibility?

          President Barack Obama - #44

          by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:48:26 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  Yes, it does. (2+ / 0-)
            Recommended by:
            Sottilde, Calamity Jean

            And if your speech directly results in people being trampled to death, you're responsible.  If your drug use directly results in someone else being hurt, you're also responsible.

            You can say "fire" all you want in the privacy of your home.  There's nothing criminal about the word itself.

            •  Well, as I said in my original comment, I think (0+ / 0-)

              this issue is not as black & white as you think it is. We have our personal rights, but there's also the rights of the larger society which can be impacted, positively or negatively.

              Yelling "fire" in a crowded room is certainly an exercise in free speech. Legislating that you can't do that because it would harm the people in the crowded room isn't wrong imo.

              Legislating that you can't do drugs or drink alcohol and then drive, because you're liable to cause an accident, is also not wrong imo.

              That stance is the one I took in my post. You see it more starkly than that, so be it. We have a difference of opinion.

              But to say that I blithely dismiss those constitutional rights because of that opinion is taking it a bit too far.

              But hey, to each his own.

              President Barack Obama - #44

              by Yalin on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:08:18 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

        •  The problem with this extreme libertarian (0+ / 0-)

          argument is:  In a large scale, interconnected society, where does your "nose" end and mine begin?  Should we let you build a nuclear bomb in your house even though you aren't hurting anyone by the mere act of building it and owning it?  Only using it is dangerous and "bad", but, of course, by then it is too late.

          People hurting themselves has an effect on society as a whole as well as, since we are not a collection of brutal compassion-less psychopaths, we tend to want to take care of the "broken" members of our society.  This is expensive in terms of money and time (one of the reasons that Europe is seeing a real push to stop smoking as they generally have a universal health care system, which means that if you and I lived there and you smoked and got emphysema, I would have to pay for it, even though I knew it was stupid and didn't do it).  The other option is that society as a whole stands there and watches you die horribly on a street, coughing up blood and says, "too bad moron!  should have better resisted those tobacco company ads and peer pressure in high school when you really didn't know any better!" which ALSO has an effect on society as a whole (it turns us all into selfish, coldblooded assholes who become less capable of collective action when necessary).  Neither option is palatable in my mind. Plus, your deterioration and/or untimely death drops another tax payer from the pool, thereby theoretically increasing everyone else's tax burden (including mine if by only an infinitesimal amount)  But that is an extreme example and I generally think that these issues are complex and should be examined on a case by case basis.

          I'm not saying that I think drugs should or shouldn't be illegal, but merely that I think your "freedom" argument is flawed on its face.  Plus, technically, there is no 'right to privacy' explicitly stated in the constitution (which has allowed all kinds of right-wing stooges like Scalia to okay all kinds of heinous acts) and has only been inferred by several Supreme Court decisions (with good reason, in my opinion).

          Really, if you stretch your argument, you could advocate for drunk driving as, technically, you aren't hurting or affecting anyone else . . . at least not until you hit them.

          •  to reiterate (0+ / 0-)

            I don't disagree with you concerning your drug stance, I just don't think this is an effective argument to use.  I would rather argue that the social and individual harm caused by the "War on Drugs" vastly outweighs the potential harm from legalizing most of the currently illegal ones (in restricted access and quantities) and I think that is pretty much an open and shut case there.

    •  It's not that simple. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      hoodsen, dotalbon

      On one hand, I agree with you. Yes, if you're an adult, what you put in your body is your business...

      Until you mug me and steal my wallet because you need money for your next fix. When this happen -- as I'm sure it does thousands of times daily -- then it becomes society's business.

      Legalizing drugs will have no effect on preventing crimes that are committed in an effort to steal money to support drug habits.

      •  Please provide proof (21+ / 0-)

        to support your assertion:

        Legalizing drugs will have no effect on preventing crimes that are committed in an effort to steal money to support drug habits.

        You have no idea what legalization will accomplish, especially in consideration that high prices are caused by laws, not by production costs. Make it legal and the price will go way down, then nobody will be stealing your wallet.

        And if you are worried about getting mugged, then make Wall Street illegal.

        •  Proof? (0+ / 0-)

          Okay, I can't cite statistics from some report written by Professor Blahblah. Ya caught me!

          I'm just going to go with common sense here. If an addict needs money for drugs, whether the drugs or legal or not, he's going to rob someone.

          I'm sure drug addiction is a nightmare, and I wouldn't wish it on anyone. I believe that any addict should get the treatment he/she needs, and I would hope that all responsible parents would teach their children of the dangers of drugs.

          Legalizing drugs, however, does nothing to get to the root of the problems that drug addiction causes society.

          •  sure it does (8+ / 0-)

            People who have an illegal habit are much more reticent to ask for help because they are afraid of getting arrested. When an addicted person is trying to break a habit, s/he has no idea of whether these efforts will be successful. The general idea is you want a fallback position, and if you've just outed yourself to the authorities, then one fears one will be watched after that.

            So, legalizing drugs does not directly get to the root of the problem, but at least it puts the option of doing so much more firmly on the table.

            "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

            by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:12:25 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  So if someone robs you to buy food... (3+ / 0-)

            are they a "junkie"?

          •  But the key is to treat those problems (4+ / 0-)

            as a medical issue, not a criminal one -- if you've got someone who's holding a job and is thus able to afford the weekend baggie of weed or coke, where's the crime? So if you legalize drugs, then those folks wouldn't end up in prison.

            Sure, if someone commits a crime you punish them -- but if they need money they're going to rob someone whether they need the money for drugs, booze, food or just to score tickets to the next Springsteen concert. You punish the crime and treat the cause (whether it's job training, drug treatment, or whatever).

            "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

            by Cali Scribe on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:04:20 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

          •  Common sense? (8+ / 0-)

            Hardly. Legalization would make most "drugs", including morphine and cocaine, less expensive than cigs, going by current pharmaceutical prices.

            As a former pack-a-day-or-more cig smoker, I'm still taken aback when I see big signs advertising bargain prices of $7 for Marlboros. I always reflexively imagine that this is the price for a carton. A smoker at my former level is paying what they'd pay to lease a mid-level car. Yet I don't hear about many armed robberies connected to that expensive addiction -- said by researchers to be among the most painful of all drug withdrawals.

            The drugwar is nothing more than a price support to the dealers and associated criminals who operate the business. Their goods sell at as much as 100 times their free-market price because the police state protects their monopolies. Legal drugs, combined with treating addiction as a health-care issue, would at one swoop end government subsidies to domestic and international mobsters. It would free up resources to keep all drugs, including cigs and booze, away from kids. Common sense tells us that after a period of adjustment, drug related crime would decrease precipitately and we would live in a far freer and secure society.

            Bottom line is, the drugwar offers no benefits to society as a whole. Its primary beneficiary is the drug dealers at all levels, and its secondary beneficiaries are crooked vice cops, federal enforcers, posturing politicians, and the prison industry. Is that really where you want your tax money to go?

            Everybody talkin' 'bout Heaven ain't goin' there -- Mahalia Jackson

            by DaveW on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:16:04 AM PST

            [ Parent ]

            •  This doesn't refute your argument (0+ / 0-)

              and I agree with it, but I used to read appellate briefs as part of my job and there were a lot of instances of people robbing convenience stores and filling garbage bags with cartons of cigarettes.  So, it does happen, but not even CLOSE to the scale of other drugs.  Plus the people stealing the cigarettes in those cases are not really doing so to get a fix, but are simply stealing them because they are an easily fenced and relatively lucrative stolen property.  Not really different than stealing laptops and selling them.

              The other question too, is how many people get started using drugs BECAUSE they are illegal (with the extra thrill compounding the experience).  More than a few I think.  Legalization would further reduce the people who would use them for that reason, I bet, considering that a lot of people start using/abusing drugs in their teenage years and the "coolness" factor has a lot to do with that (just look at how the smoking advertising campaigns take advantage of that, while the anti-drug campaigns seek to negate the perceived "coolness" of drug use).

          •  Legalizing drugs solves these problems (8+ / 0-)
            1. Violent street gangs will have their power, size, money, and influence significantly reduced, because there will be no drugs to sell, and therefore no money to lure in new members.
            1. There will be fewer od's because of clearly labeled dosage.
            1. You won't end up becoming addicted to coke because the weed you bought was laced with it, since there will be no more lacing with a legal regulated market.
            1. There will be fewer diseases spread through dirty needles because of access to clean needles.
            1. Cops will be able to focus their resources on the real violent criminals who steal, rape, and kill, and won't waste their time arresting college kids for sparking up a blunt.
            1. There will be more jobs, and tax revenue because of the multibillion dollar marijuana business.

            Now I don't just support legalizing and regulating all drugs, but also legalizing prostitution so that the women aren't abused, and exploited by the pimps, and they are forced to use contraceptives to prevent the spread of STDs. They did it in parts of Nevada and the world didn't blow up.

          •  Drug addiction does not (8+ / 0-)

            automatically turn you into a pipe carrying thug.

            Most drug addicts are regular people who can't control their need for a substance. They are school teachers, students, mothers and fathers, people who work in the cubicles down the hall.

            Most addicts support their habit for a long time before they hit bottom, they work and pay for their habit.  It isn't until they hit bottom that they begin to cannibalize their own life to pay for their habit...they stop paying bills, they sell their stuff, etc.  The majority of addicts don't roam the streets knocking random little old ladies in the head for their purse.

            Besides all of that...the addicts are not the ones creating the violent crime in the streets, the dealers are.  It's the dealers that shoot each other over bad deals or stolen money and property, and over "respect".  It's the dealers that harass and intimidate the neighbors to make sure no one snitches on them to the cops. It's the dealers who are drawn to that dangerous and violent lifestyle by  fast tax-free cash.

            Legalize the drugs and the dealers are gone.  No more sick and/or dead junkies from drugs cut with dangerous substances to make more profit. No more 1000 percent mark-ups. No more tax-free cash.  No more ridiculous amounts of fast cash business to fight over because it's all taxed, regulated and sold safe and packaged in the store.

            This would break the back of the street gangs...and the police/prison industry that depends on policing, arresting, prosecuting, and jailing them.

        •  Switzerland (14+ / 0-)

          when they started supplying heroin, in clinics, to confirmed junkies, certain classes of property crimes, most notably bicycle theft, dropped dramatically. Voters there, by over 62%, a week ago approved making the program permanent. Fuzzyheaded liberals them Sweitzers.

          The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

          by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:12:26 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  except that when legal they are cheaper (11+ / 0-)

        and that alone will cut down the amount of crime needed to fill the need. If real hardcore addicts are prescibed and provided the drug, heroin, are part of a complete program then crime would dwindle. This has been proven overseas already.

        President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

        by SmileySam on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:49:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  With that type of arguement, all guns (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        el zilcho, cgirard, humanmancalvin

        should be illegal:  Society shouldn't care if someone wants to hunt deer or shoot targets on their property, but we should take away the rights of those law-abiding people because other people may use a gun to rob a bank, hold up someone on the street, or abuse people.

        If someone wants to use his or her money that they rightfully earned to buy pot and then smoke up in his/her house without harming any other people and to used for recreation purposes only, why should I care?

        But yes, if that stoned person decides he/she wants to then drive to a buddy's house and kills 4 people in a car on the way there, laws are in place to protect those people in that car.

        Should we try and convict a person who attempts to kill themself with a gun? Why do we seek treatment for that person, but not for the person who steals money for his next fix?

        "So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me." - Albert Einstein

        by kingyouth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:56:30 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  by your argument (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        alcoholics are equally dangerous.

        "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

        by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:10:06 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  What has criminalizing drugs done (2+ / 0-)

        to make you safer? Hard to say, isn't it?
        We do know that enormous profits from drugs fund organized crime. We know that prison doesn't rehabilitate drug addicts. Putting hundreds of thousands of people in prison for non-violent offenses is a little crazy, don't you think?
        If what we're doing isn't working, why not try something different?

        God bless America. Let's save some of it. ~ Ed Abbey

        by Andhakari on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:34:45 PM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The point is exactly that... (0+ / 0-)

        the price of legal heroin, amphetamines or cocaine would be less than fifty cents a day.  Addicts getting these drugs (on prescription?) would have no need to steal. They could work low-responsibility jobs or subsist peacefully on welfare and become law-abiding citizens.  

        If rare addicts insisted on continuing to comitt crimes while taking legalized drug, then fling them in jail.

        Renewable energy brings national security.

        by Calamity Jean on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 05:30:20 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  The War on Drugs is an ideological war (13+ / 0-)

    and it won't go away until the Sixties generation is dead and buried.  The culture wars from a half-century ago still rankle a lot of people, and politicians love to jump on emotional bandwagons as an excuse to waste public funds.

    Electing a Republican is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by dotalbon on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:07:44 AM PST

    •  I don't think it's just about the culture wars. (15+ / 0-)

      It's a bigger problem than that -- a problem of illogical thinking that dates back to Prohibition and further back than that.  

      If something is legal and accessible, people will do it, so if we make it illegal and inaccessible, people will stop.  That doesn't work, but for some reason, far too many Americans believe it will.  Booze, pot, prostitution, abortion, condoms for teens, birth control -- all of these things have been criminalized or made absurdly inaccessible, but the only effect is creating a dangerous black market in which people are more likely to be harmed.

      Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

      by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:33:29 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  you both make good points (3+ / 0-)

        and one being right does not make the other wrong.

        "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

        by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:14:47 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The root of the problem (4+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        lazbumm, barath, Angry Mouse, cgirard

        is the addiction. I have seen so many AA members who chain smoke. We tell alcoholics to get help, but we send drug addicts to prison where drugs are still easily available.

        I think legalizing drugs would lessen the stigma of that drug and we as a society could have better conversations on how to defeat those addictions.  

        "So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me." - Albert Einstein

        by kingyouth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:24:23 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  Very good point about addiction. (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          rick, kingyouth, Calamity Jean, cgirard

          Heck, walk by any Starbucks and tell me those people in line don't have an addiction.

          It's just sad that in our country, some addictions are considered socially acceptable and some aren't.  

          I rarely drink alcohol; I stopped drinking coffee years ago, except for the occasional (a few times a year) cup; I quit smoking almost nine years ago; I don't watch TV; I don't gamble.  All of these things are acceptable addictions.

          But the fact that I like to smoke pot once in a while in the privacy of my own home -- oh no!  Lock me up and keep me away from the kids before I corrupt the whole neighborhood!

          Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

          by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:46:12 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  The thing is though... (9+ / 0-)

    ... we have a gargantuan prison-industrial complex that depends on this misguided drug policy. Especially here in CA, where they're so powerful nobody stands up to them.
    Meanwhile, of course, countless neighborhoods like East Palo Alto and West Oakland suffer and decline, while these leeches engorge themselves.
    And IIRC, these thugs helped export certain "enhanced interrogation" techniques to Abu Gharib.

    (1) D.I.E.B.O.L.D.: Decisive In Elections By Ousting Liberal Democrats.
    (2) R.A.T.S.: Roberts, Alito, Thomas, Scalia.
    (3) -8.75, -8.10

    by Archangel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:08:45 AM PST

  •  a toast is in order... (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    flecktones, cn4st4datrees

    He raised one helluva son.

    The father of Hall of Fame quarterback Dan Marino has died.

    Dan Marino, Sr. died last night at his home in Florida after battling cancer.

    Marino and his family lived in Oakland.

    He was a driver for the Pittsburgh Press for 14 years and a big fan of Pitt football.

    Funeral arrangements are incomplete but Marino will be buried in Pittsburgh.

    Marino, who was a sandlot football coach, is credited with teaching his son to do a quick release of the football.

    He also taught his son that hard work and determination were keys to success.

    In Dan Marino Jr.'s autobiography, Dan recalled that his father always told him, "'You don't deserve anything in life. You work for what you deserve.'"

    Marino was 71.

    I am quite sure now that often, very often, in matters concerning religion and politics a man's reasoning powers are not above the monkey's. - Mark Twain

    by route66 on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:08:57 AM PST

  •  "Dry" counties in the USA remain (11+ / 0-)

    America has some problems with intoxication and moderation, I'm afraid.

    Ditto hypocrisy and 'aristocracy'........

    Prohibition efforts are always targeting the lower classes; elites do what they want.

    An interesting aside.....Gen. Smedley Butler was hired to enforce Prohibition but when he got too close to the upper class speakeasies, he was reined in.

    The same Gen. Butler who wrote "War is a Racket" and who saved FDR from a right-wing businessmen's coup.

    Almost from the start, lawlessness reigned. In late 1923, President Calvin Coolidge asked Brig. Gen. Smedley Darlington ("Gimlet Eye") Butler - the most decorated U.S. soldier of his time - to take a leave from the Marine Corps to become the city's director of public safety. Accounts say that he terrorized the gangsters, hookers and gamblers who had moved with impunity through such bastions of high society as the Union League and Ritz-Carlton. Butler pushed too hard, and Mayor W. Freeland Kendrick fired him in 1925. It is said that after Butler left, police officers began bribing their way onto the once-feared enforcement unit so they in turn could accept bribes from the rum runners and speakeasy operators.

    I sense there is something unfortunately 'esthetic' about 'Prohibition' and 'Law and Order' .......going hand-in-hand with Militarism........Something unhealthy.
    Not a good balance of Yin and Yang? Too macho?

    Media Reform Action Link

    by LNK on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:10:30 AM PST

  •  A British headline declared (7+ / 0-)

    "In the US they are going to party like it's 1933."

    Perhaps, but not likely, this depression can bring a little sanity to the wasted funds being squandered on the so called "War on Drugs."

  •  For sure, the non-violent drug (1+ / 0-)

    convictions need something more appropriate than prison and a felony conviction following them around for the rest of their life.  

    Whether drugs should be legalized is another issue I'm not so sure about.  Theoretically, yes, legalize them all, but does that lead to more addicts than we already have?  Haven't some European countries tried de-criminalizing drug use and what have their results been?

    •  I don't think there's any evidence (12+ / 0-)

      that prohibition of alcohol reduced the rate of alcoholism.

      If anything it led to more of a tendency to binge drinking.

      "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:20:04 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I’m not sure about this but (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I believe insurance company stats show problem drinkers rose from about 10% during prohibition to upper teens after it’s repeal.

        Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

        by snaglepuss on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:00:31 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  That's not in line with what I've read ... (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Katie71, cgirard

          This link only addresses pre-prohibition and prohibition, but it shows that after the first few years, alcohol problems were actually greater under prohibition than they were before.

          Alcohol consumption rose to record levels during alcohol prohibition.
          National alcohol prohibition began in 1920. Apparent alcohol use fell from 1914 to 1922. It rose thereafter. By 1925, arrests for public drunkenness and similar alcohol-related offenses were already above the pre-prohibition records. Consumption by women and children increased dramatically.

          I know I've seen a similar set of data regarding the period after repeal (basically a quick spike upward immediately after repeal followed by a reduction to pre-prohibition levels, but I failed to locate this in the short time I had to devote to searching just now.

          "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:30:39 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  that link (0+ / 0-)

            is probably not accurate.  There was really no good way to measure alcohol consumption during prohibition as the normal method (sales) was not available.  A lot of researchers have used liver cirrhosis rates during that time period, but it is isn't a perfect measure as the U.S didn't go from "wet" to "dry" overnight.  Many states were dry for years before prohibition and alcohol consumption was restricted during WWI (which falls under the first time period, which also marked the influenza epidemic).

            Basically, the consensus among the scientific community (and I'm not sure an advocate site like druglibrary counts in that group) is that drinking was probably cut by a third.  You have to consider that prohibition didn't make it illegal to consume booze or make it at home for personal consumption either.  Plus, it took effect one year after it's announcement; plenty of time for stocking up.

            Unfortunately, for that and many other reasons (like 1920s era law enforcement methods and laws) Prohibition isn't really analogous to the current "War on Drugs" (but it is the only thing that comes close).

        •  insurance company stats: problem drinkers rose (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          10% after prohibition.

          That makes sense: not only more availability of alcohol, but it was suddently very fashionable again.

          People bought cocktail sets for their homes, cocktail parties were all the rage, and so on and so forth.

          Read a novel from the '30s, '40s and '50s and you'll be surprised about how much everyone drinks daily.

          As in Madmen, liquor was routinely served in the office.

      •  Yes and no (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        Awhile back I saw a chart delineating the rate of alcohol consumption in the U.S., and yes indeedy  alcohol consumption did go down mightly during Prohibition.

        (Which only makes sense: no liquor stores, no legal bars, no liquor in grocery stores, etc.)

        It's not like there was a bootlegger on every corner, or speakeasies as available as bars. I live in a residential part of a city, and just thinking about the six blocks in each direction: there are three convenience stores that sell liquor, as well as one supermarket, three bars and two restaurants.

        If alcohol hadn't been scare, it wouldn't have enriched an entire criminal class, with money to burn and bribe cops, officials, etc.

        Which was one of the reasons Prohibition ended -- the wild west created by Prohibition, killing "innocent" civilians, as well as other gangsters, the civic corruption it promoted.

        As well as the damage done to drinkers subject to bad stuff: literally going blind, death (much like the drugs today cut with bad stuff.)

    •  Well, think about Amsterdam: (12+ / 0-)

      Every stoner knows Amsterdam is the mecca for drug users, but it looks like their policy works a lot better than the anti-drug policies of other European countries, and waaaaay better than our policy in the U.S.

      Dutch rates of drug use are lower than U.S. rates in every category.  


      The reported number of deaths linked to the use of drugs in the Netherlands, as a proportion of the entire population, is lower than the EU average.[17] The Dutch government is able to support approximately 90% of help seeking addicts with detoxification programs. Treatment demand is rising.

      Hope you enjoyed it, Sarah, 'cause we just kicked your silly winking folksy lipsticked ass back to Alaska. Now shut the fuck up and stay there. Also.

      by Kaili Joy Gray on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:26:53 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  The question is... (7+ / 0-)

      is it a public health problem or is it a criminal justice problem?  I think we all know the correct answer to that question, even if some won't admit it.

      I consider myself an Agnostic because the only thing I believe in less than God is certainty.

      by aztronut on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:32:15 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  A partial answer to your question about Europe (0+ / 0-)

      Switzerland has been running an experimental, temporary, program to provide heroin to addicts.  The basic idea is that the government provides addicts with heroin, and counseling if they wish it, but they have to inject in the clinic (maybe they get to take a small amount home, I don't know the precise details).

      Bottom line?  Just last week, Switzerland overwhelmingly voted by popular referendum to make the program permanent.  It has not only caused crime to drop dramatically, but it seems heroin use has actually declined as a result.


      Time to end the drug war.

      by Sam from Ithaca on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:41:09 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Thanks for this Jed L (25+ / 0-)

    The drug war at this point can only be described as immoral. Not only does it incarcerate the predominately poor and predominately brown it has unleashed a bloodbath just a few steps south of our border.

    And still, something tells me it hasn't made drugs harder to obtain in the slightest bit.

  •  I don't believe in prohibition, but... (8+ / 0-)

    it would make more sense to me for marijuana to be legal.

    Let not mankind bogart love.

    by Sarah Pawlenty on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:12:08 AM PST

  •  Tax it. (15+ / 0-)

    All the drug wars have done is turn drug gangs into drug armies to fight this war.  

    Legalize it and tax it. It'll save money, generate revenue and make the drugs safer, thus reducing expensive ER visits that often go unpaid.


    Hyperbole will be the death of us all!

    by MrHinkyDink on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:14:09 AM PST

    •  The economy could use $78 Billion (6+ / 0-)


      A 2008 study by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron has estimated that legalizing drugs would inject $76.8 billion a year into the U.S. economy — $44.1 billion from law enforcement savings, and at least $32.7 billion in tax revenue ($6.7 billion from marijuana, $22.5 billion from cocaine and heroin, remainder from other drugs).[45][46] Recent surveys help to confirm the consensus among economists to reform drug policy in the direction of decriminalization and legalization.[47]

      I think $6.7 from pot seems small. I wonder if that takes into consideration the farmers and small towns who would immediately benefit from the cash infusion.

      The larger point is, how could we make more effective use of $78 Billion?


      Hyperbole will be the death of us all!

      by MrHinkyDink on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:38:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  I once heard it estimated (9+ / 0-)

    that US citizens spend the equivalent of our national defense budget - in cash - for drugs. This was before the present ramp-up in spending.

    So, if we legalized marijuana and taxed it, not only would the money not be leaving the country, but the overall insane prices would go down.

    Change the media ownership laws - break up the corporate media monopoly!

    by moosely2006 on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:15:10 AM PST

    •  prices vary by region (5+ / 0-)

      but I am of the school that believes that since this particular plant is so easy to grow, will indeed grow unassisted in places, and gets to be six feet tall or higher, that the only tax base would be designer pot (i.e., stuff cultivated to be seedless, whatever) because, if left to its own devices, marijuana would likely infest large areas of the country.

      It's much more trouble to grow and cure tobacco, or make alcohol.

      The most interesting economic benefits from legalizing marijuana could well be related to using it as a crop for other purposes; i.e. fiber & oil.

      "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

      by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:32:54 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I suspect (6+ / 0-)

        that there is a large market for designer weed.

        Most people are lazy.  Even though they could grow pot for free in their apartment, they won't.  It would be much easier and convenient to stop by the liquor store on the way home from work and pick up a packet of their favorite weed brand.

        Imagine there would be different brands, with different potencies and flavors.  They'd even come pre-packed and rolled, ready to smoke.  I know a lot of folks that would pay extra for that.

        Mmmm....pre-rolled mocha haze anyone?

        •  as long as cultivation is not outlawed (5+ / 0-)

          I couldn't care less how many people would like to pay for designer weed. Have at it, people!

          You never know how a commodity might evolve. It is true that there isn't enough land in the cities to grow pot for everyone who wants it, so urban users are much more likely to purchase it, and even the ones who might want to grow it in their window boxes would have space constraints and often have to invest in special lighting.

          I think the possibilities are exciting considering how it could be used for fiber and fuel, as well. It could be a real boon for farming.

          "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

          by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:32:10 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  Glad to see this issue on the FP (19+ / 0-)

    The time has come to legalize marijuana at the very least. We need to treat users of other drugs, not jail them.

    But drugs and illegal arms are the biggest source of black market $$$ and that black market economy funds all kinds of covert ops, not to mention the drug war is very lucrative for the prison complex, data miners, etc etc.

  •  Not to mention we're funding (8+ / 0-)

    terrorism, massive criminal enterprises, the corruption of our border security, on and on ...

    It's absolute insanity.

    As a recovered alcoholic who did my fair share of other stuff too, I well know the harm done by abuse of these substances.  I also know that fear of prosecution never stopped me from doing what I needed to do.

    "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

    by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:16:25 AM PST

  •  As always the policy is set (12+ / 0-)

    Not by rational considerations, but based on one simple principle:

    I am willing to do anything to YOU, spend every penny of YOUR money, send YOU and anyone else to jail forever, in order to feel that I and MY family are safe.

  •  This debate needs to take place on a (10+ / 0-)

    scientific and non-emotional level - kind of like reading a CRS report.

    Unfortunately there are a lot of people who now have a vested interest in this not happening and they are not afraid to use the leftover remnants of the culture wars  to further their financial interests.

  •  What's so evil about "harm reduction"? (21+ / 0-)

    All too often, American policymakers look at drug use in moral terms rather than as a public health issue. As a result, we have zero-tolerance policies for possession and use, combined with Draconian penalties that are handed out inconsistently and often unfairly. The worst example is our marijuana laws: the great weight of scientific evidence indicates that marijuana is less harmful than either alcohol or tobacco, both of which are legal (at least for those of age) and relatively cheap.

    We see the same mentality when it comes to sex: the moralists insist on abstinence-only sex "education" even though studies show that it does little to prevent teenage sexual activity and results in unplanned pregnancies and sexually transmitted diseases.

    The Detroit "Lions". 2008 NFL Pre-Season Champions.

    by Dump Terry McAuliffe on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:20:16 AM PST

  •  Rolling Stone exposé (11+ / 0-)

    For background on the horrifying situation in Mexico described in the NYT article Jed links to, see this great Rolling Stone article, which explains how the growing lawlessness in Mexico is linked to US drug policy...

    •  Violence begets violence (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cgirard, mieprowan

      How is it that wingnut "moral" crusaders never realize this basic truth, or that "wars" are generally ugly and vicious?

      Can they be so dense?  It's almost like violence serves their purpose...


      Please don't feed the Security State.

  •  Banning (11+ / 0-)

    Why is it that government never seems to get the point that banning things after they've been legal NEVER works.  Aside from Prohibition, and the war on drugs, some idiots still go after abortion (legal), gay marriage (becoming more and more legal), etc.  I'm not even a smoker, but I know you can't outright BAN cigarettes or even guns for that matter.  Why pour good money that can be put to better uses down these wasteful rat holes?

  •  The right wing is addicted to war (18+ / 0-)

    War on Drugs, War on Terrorism, it's the only strategy they trust and it's misguided foolishness.

    The current administration representing the far right wing of the GOP has had their free reign to implement exactly what they always dreamed of, and it's been an unmitigated disaster on all fronts. Declaring war on every problem you can't solve is a stupid and ham-fisted approach that's shown itself to be a total failure.

    We're addicted all right but to oil, money, and declaring war on everything we don't understand.

  •  "I've lived in two states that won't sell crack (0+ / 0-)

    on Sundays.Talk about last-century thinking."

    See how strange it sounds when I substitute one illegal drug for the legal one, booze?

    Yes legalise, but make it against the law to make a profit on any drug, booze, ciggies, or crack. And offer many programs to reduce dependance on all.

    How many homicides a year due to booze? How many wife beatings? Do we need any drugs?

  •  Ignoring the science.. (9+ / 0-)

    The Commission of Inquiry into the Non-Medical Use of Drugs, often referred to as the Le Dain Commission after its chair Dean Gerald Le Dain, was a Canadian government commission that was begun in 1969 and completed its work in 1972. The final report recommended that cannabis be removed from the Narcotic Control Act and that the provinces implement controls on possession and cultivation, similar to those governing the use of alcohol. The report also recommended that the federal government conduct further research to monitor and evaluate changes in the extent and patterns of the use of cannabis and other drugs, and to explore possible consequences to health, and personal and social behaviour, resulting from the controlled legal distribution of cannabis.

    A total of 365 submissions were presented at the hearings and an additional 50 were forwarded to the Commission's office. About 12,000 people attended and participated in these hearings which included testimony from a number of prominent individuals including John Lennon on December 22, 1969 in Montreal[1].

    Although the report was widely praised for its thoroughness and thoughtfullness, its conclusions were largely ignored by the federal government.

    Have we heard this before..a Government commission that ignores its happens a lot where we prefer to ignore the experts for political expediency

    Thanks to Wiki...yet again.

    Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

    by ohcanada on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:23:49 AM PST

  •  Why is Amsterdam limiting the drug trade (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    If it doesn't attract organized crime?Amsterdam Limits Sex and Drug Trade

    •  Lots of things attract organized crime (10+ / 0-)

      Freight shipping, the restaurant business, construction, trash hauling, gambling, (just throwing out random examples of business that have historically had a big organized crime problem) - so should all those industries be eliminated?

      Even if we did that, organized crime would only be "attracted" to whatever is left.

      "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:29:42 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  That has a lot to do with (9+ / 0-)

      the fact that in surrounding countries it's still illegal. They're mostly tired of the "tourists" coming in for marijuana and because of the image the country has as a result of their lenient policies.

      European countries are small compared to the US, it would be as if one state decriminalized and all the surrounding ones had people coming in to take advantage. That doesn't mean that decriminalization didn't work in the Netherlands, among themselves, it means that it's tricky when it's unevenly applied across a region.

      It did, by the way, say "limiting", not making it illegal again, something worth noting.

    •  A new law banning having them close to schools (4+ / 0-)

      Since most of the coffee shops right in the centre of the city a fifth of sex shops and "coffee" shops are to close to schools.

      In fact they are relaxing laws to allow people to grow there own. The government just held a big "Weed Summit" in the capital last week.

      Rules they agreed: No marijuana shops within 250 metres (yards) of a high school.

      Cracking down on Drug Tourists who smuggle more than 5 ounces over the French German Belgian borders.

      Relaxing laws to allow people to grow there own.

      And all this from the Christian Democratic Party (The Social Conservatives) means it ain't all that bad. The justice minister said the national policy will remain the same.

      He also said that Amsterdam has less drug users per capita than USA, Britain, Ireland. Go figure.

      "We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river" - Hunter S Thompson

      by GonzoLegend on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:18:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Didn't they move right in the last election? (0+ / 0-)

      Think Tank. "A place where people are paid to think by the makers of tanks" Naomi Klein.

      by ohcanada on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:55:38 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Amsterdam was never fully legalized on pot sales (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam from Ithaca

      Due to largely US and EU drug enforcement pressures, Amsterdam could only go part-way on legalizing marijuana.  

      Take these two facts:
      You can't grow it legally.  Only a few limited shops are licensed to sell it.

      If you can't see how those two facts = invitation to organized crime, then you need to take economics and learn about supply and demand.

      If Amsterdam legalized and commercialized pot growing, and didn't hold back on coffee shop licenses, what the fuck would organized crime need to be involved for?

      It's the supply restriction that brings the organized crime!!

      You need to learn more about Amsterdam and the NLs than what you read in an article.  (or even this post.)

  •  If the right to privacy means anything, (10+ / 0-)

    then what people ingest, inhale, inject or excrete should be nobody's business.

    How do you tell a predator from a protector? The predator will eat you sooner rather than later.

    by hannah on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:25:45 AM PST

    •  I don't think the current Court believes in the (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      right to privacy — although apparently Sarah Palin sort of does.

      •  Palin believes in privacy when it affects her (5+ / 0-)

        family. If it affects yours or mine, she will shine a spotlight into every room of our homes...

        "Please don't ask me about Trig or the pregnant daughter or the impeding marriages. But please, don't even think of thinking about having your two gay friends marry or adopt. And don't even think about teaching kids about condoms even thought it is quite obvious that I never knew how to use them or show my daughters how to use them."

        "So long as they don't get violent, I want to let everyone say what they wish, for I myself have always said exactly what pleased me." - Albert Einstein

        by kingyouth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:07:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

      •  The Current Court believes (3+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moosely2006, msleonard, cgirard

        whatever their politics dictate.  Originalism and Textualism are both pitiful excuses for writing your own personal beliefs into the Constitution, but " IIOIAR.  Oh what did the "founders" have to say about that?  Wait let me just consult which ever founder I think agrees with me.

        We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

        by Tzimisce on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:09:55 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

    •  Not a Fundamental Right (0+ / 0-)

      The right to privacy is an umbrella under which various other rights fall (right to marry, right to choose, right to obtain contraceptives).  There are a few ways to determine if a right it fundamental:

      1. It has a long history of protection (re: government approval)
      1. Is has a long history of not being prosecuted (lack of criminal sanctions)
      1. Depending on the justice, a right should be construed either broadly or more narrowly

      Broad- the right to ingest whatever we wish.
      Narrow- the right to ingest marijuana.

      Also, its cousin alcohol would share a similar fate, though we have Constitutional Amendments for that.  Now you go go throughout all of history and look for peoples using, protecting, or not criminalizing, but that probably won't be that persuasive.

      You know like gay marriage or any other wedge issue I would prefer we do it the old democratic way rather than relying on Courts too stupid not to grant cert. to the Obama citizenship case.

      We all went to heaven in a little rowboat, and there was nothing to fear and nothing to doubt. --Radiohead

      by Tzimisce on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:07:33 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Forty years now of recreational cannabis use (18+ / 0-)

    and you'd think that it's terrible detrimental effects would have shown on me by now.

    Oh, never mind...

    If we're not willing to boldly refute the lies, the lies will stand as truth. (-6.75, -6.72)

    by cn4st4datrees on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:26:47 AM PST

  •  Repeal has been a disaster. (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    wezelboy, Isara, moosely2006, mieprowan

    ("Sex: Now that I've got your attention ..." Sorry for the provocative lede.)

    No, I'm not in favor of alcoholic Prohibition, and I oppose any figurative war that effectively criminalizes certain classes of human beings — those conceptual wars on drugs, terror, etc. But it's important to recognize that Repeal was a decision motivated by big-booze interests — who, for the sake of profit, perpetuated one of the biggest propaganda hoaxes in history on America: the disease model of alcoholism.

    To refute the temperance model of alcoholism — Jack London's "John Barleycorn" model, which basically blamed alcohol for ruining "the best minds of [his] generation" — alcohol companies, with the help of desperate groups of addicts such as a then-nascent Alcoholics Anonymous, sought to relocate the problem from the substance to the individual.

    The logic of Prohibition had basically characterized alcohol as too dangerous a substance for public consumption; Americans needed a rationalization to legalize such a product, a new way of viewing booze that placed the burden for alcoholic excess not on any capacity of alcohol itself to foster dependency and delinquency but on something innate to alcoholics. "Drink," the logic went. "There's nothing wrong with drinking, unless you're one of that small minority people who can't help themselves."

    The propaganda coup was so successful that we today have trouble even conceiving of a different model — one that treats alcoholism as a syndrome (descriptive collection of symptoms) rather than a disease with common causality. We're encouraged by doctors and large interest groups such as Alcoholics Anonymous to accept the narratives of victimhood that define the modern story of alcoholism — remember the first step of 12 (powerlessness)?

    But it's not Gospel. It's a discursive model that resulted from a distinct economic and political landscape, and it's just as historically contingent as any other. I'm not arguing for Prohibition, which would be downright silly, or for a drug war, which I oppose. But the intellectual tyranny of the "disease model" of alcoholism and addiction crimps our understanding of the manifold factors that actually motivate abuse of drugs and alcohol by reducing them to a single cause and effect and by promoting the notion of helplessness where we all actually exercise agency. What mitigates that agency is the most interesting and potentially instructive part — not something to be glossed over or simplified beyond analysis because it's impolitic to question a self-serving quasi-diagnosis.

    •  that's very insightful (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      especially when one considers the precedents this sort of attitude sets, viz-a-viz perceived helplessness of individuals.

      "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

      by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:47:06 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I've read deeply (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat, cgirard

      about the early history of Alcoholics Anonymous and I'm curious what evidence you think you have that the alcohol industry was insidiously injecting their "propaganda" into the fellowship.  Was Dr. Silkworth an agent of Jack Daniels, perhaps?  Or maybe it was Harry Tiebout?

      And I can tell you from personal experience that it is indeed true that "There's nothing wrong with drinking, unless you're one of that small minority people who can't help themselves."  With the exception of myself, every member of my family happily drinks in moderation.  I on the other hand will consistently wind up in a blackout if I have a single drink.  I know thousands of people with more or less the same experience.

      "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:46:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  So have I. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        I didn't mean to imply an active conspiracy. In fact, I don't think Alcoholics Anonymous engaged in anything "insidious" at all — as I said, it was just a bunch of people desperate to stop drinking. I won't get into the religious roots of the AA model of alcohol treatment — I'll just say that I think the AA folks were used by the alcohol industry to promote a model for understanding alcohol abuse that played into their pocketbooks. The old saying that "an idea is not responsible for those who believe in it" applies here; booze manufacturers took advantage of the well-meaning (though I'd say mistaken) folks at AA to advance a profiteering agenda.

        As for the "I can tell you from personal experience" line, I won't go there. We all either know people with deeply pathological relationships to alcohol or suffer from such problems ourselves. I'm not saying that the people who claim to drink compulsively are lying. It's obvious that they aren't. What I'm saying is that just calling such compulsion a "disease" and then characterizing the drinkers as "victims" is a cop-out. We all have choices — mitigating or constrained though they sometimes be — and the disease model of alcoholism prevents us from honestly examining out what makes someone stop drinking after one or two and someone else not stop until he's unconscious. Calling it a disease is like saying, "Just because."

        It also absolves the drinker of all responsibility for his behavior, which is obviously the point. And you're perfectly entitled to subscribe to that model and to say that your drinking problem is the result of a disease. However, I'm allowed to disagree — this is not scientific fact but one theory. The political correctness that surrounds the issue, in which my questioning the disease model can be construed as an attack on the character of alcoholics, is what I meant by "the tyranny of the disease model" (or whatever like phrase I used).

        A slight aside: Please also note the distinction between a syndrome and a disease. There's no question that "alcoholism" is a useful phrase for describing a category of pathological behaviors; whether those behaviors derive from a common cause (or any of a number of common causes) is highly questionable. It's a syndrome, but not necessarily a disease. I'm also not arrogant enough to say it isn't a disease. What I'm saying is that we need to interrogate the cultural conditions under which it acquired (and retains) the label of "disease" to figure out whether and how much they've affected the discourse.

        •  If you truly imagine (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Calamity Jean

          that AA thinks of alcoholics as "victims" or "absolves the drinker of all responsibility for his behavior" then you really know nothing about it.

          What AA says is that our "disease" was a matter of extreme self-centeredness which resulted in spiritual starvation (i.e. "being cut off from God," however one chooses to understand God.)  And the treatment for that disease is a change in behavior which, as much as possible, eliminates that self-centeredness thus opening the sufferer to spiritual connection.

          I'm somewhat at a loss as to how that serves any agenda of the alcohol business.

          Regarding syndromes and diseases - the "s" in AIDS stands for "syndrome."  Yet I think we can agree that AIDS is a disease.  So a syndrome is also not neccesarily not a disease.

          Finally, I'd note that AA explicitly says that it does not claim to be the only solution to alcoholism, just the one that has worked for many.

          "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 05:51:33 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

          •  I explained how it serves the alcohol industry's (0+ / 0-)

            agenda. The displacement of the "problem" with alcohol from the substance itself (i.e. the template of alcohol as a powerful drug, such as heroin, with the capacity to ruin the life of anyone who overindulges) to the individual alcoholic (i.e. the notion that drinking is fine for most people but problematic for some) transformed alcohol from a "public enemy" during the prewar and Prohibition years into an acceptable, respectable commodity from which only alcoholics needed to abstain by the time of Repeal.

            Please note the distinction I have already drawn between AA's intent and the wider causes and repercussions of the disease model. I would ask that you not use my argument for straw-man target practice, i.e. that you not mischaracterize what I'm saying and then attack the oversimplified version. I'm not blaming anything on AA — I'm just saying AA played into the alcohol industry's hands.

            Note also that tracing the historical roots of a cultural phenomenon — in this case the disease model — does not invalidate it per se. Proponents and opponents alike should want to understand more fully the disease model's genesis.

            As for your point about AIDS, it's inapplicable. AIDS was named before anyone actually knew for sure that it was a disease in the clinical sense — that is before the isolation of the HIV virus or any cause at all. It was given the name "syndrome" precisely because no common cause was understood — a substantial improvement over "GRID" but not a comprehensive title given all we now know about the disease.

            Again, I'd rather not talk about AA's religious content because of its "wedge" quotient. I will say that anyone who thinks surrendering yourself to an imaginary higher power isn't religious is blinded by religion.

            •  But the notion (0+ / 0-)

              that drunkenness is the problem of the drunk, not the substance was in no way new - the only difference being that the earlier conception was one of moral failing rather than "disease."

              Repeal of prohibition had more to do with the twin facts that it was a massive failure and people wanted their alcohol legally than it did with any industry agenda.  Of course the alcohol business is like any other - they want to sell their product.  But that doesn't in any way demonstrate that we shouldn't allow them to even if some people like myself are inclined to practically destroy themselves consuming it.

              The fact is that most people drink alcohol perfectly safely all their lives and many who drink in moderation get significant benefit from doing so.  They never get to the point where they've consumed in excess for so long that they've altered their physiological response to it because they don't have the need to do so that I and many others had.  I don;t think you can simply ignore that fact - something distinguishes those of us who are drawn to alcohol abuse from those who aren't.

              The same applies to many other drugs.  At one period of my life for about a year and a half I was a regular user of opium - but that wasn't what really did it for me so I never did get addicted because I was never drawn to use it in sufficient excess for that to happen.  Same with cocaine and speed at other times in my life.  So you see for me those substances weren't dangerous at all.

              Booze was the one that hooked me.  Other's mileage may vary.

              "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

              by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:46:34 PM PST

              [ Parent ]

              •  The first thing I said was that I wasn't in favor (0+ / 0-)

                of Prohibition. Again with the straw men. All I'm saying is that calling alcoholism a disease is a reductum ad nihilo — it begs the question. It's like saying that what makes alcohol a problem for you is the fact that alcohol is a problem for you. There are more useful ways of looking at alcoholism.

                •  asdf (0+ / 0-)

                  You pick one sentence out of what I write (which didn't directly accuse you of supporting prohibition) and label it straw-man and ignore the rest.  Whatever.

                  Your claim that laying the onus on the drunk was some new paradigm serving "big booze interests" is ahistoric - as I already pointed out the long history of attitude towards drunks is that they had a moral failing.  And the agenda in repeal was as I pointed out that people wanted their booze - preferably legally but every bit as much illegally, which made the whole thing a colossal failure.  There was no need to invent the disease view to accomplish the big booze agenda, it happened independent of that.

                  We'll have to disagree on the value of the disease view of alcoholism.  You seem to imagine that this is about avoiding responsibility and adopting the role of victim when as I see it it's about taking responsibility to treat the underlying mental/emotional/spiritual causes.  I know a hell of a lot of recovered alcoholics and not one of them thinks of themselves as a victim, not one of them denies their responsibility for their actions.  Quite the opposite.

                  And frankly I'm at a loss as to what the point of your argument is if it's not in support of prohibition - does our disagreement lead you to any substantive policy differences with me?

                  (just for reference, I favor broad legalization of recreational drugs, extensive taxation and strict labelling laws, limitation of sale to adults, and freely available treatment for those who develop addictions)

                  "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

                  by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:25:54 PM PST

                  [ Parent ]

                  •  It's quite historic. (0+ / 0-)

                    It results from an extensive analysis, in fact, of the construction of the myth that "people wanted their booze" — a myth engineered by the alcohol manufacturers with the complicity — conscious and, often, otherwise — of groups like Alcoholics Anonymous, as well as novelists and filmmakers who glamorized a speakeasy (or "Gatsby lawn party") culture in which, historically, very few people partook.

                    Prohibition was not a wildly popular initiative — no one likes to be told what not to do — but it also wasn't the abject policy failure ("colossal failure," in your formulation") we've been encouraged to see it as. In fact, it was widely considered a rather bland success in its day and was modestly popular; depictions to the contrary are distortions — some of which amounted to deliberate pieces of propaganda, others of which were the simple result of individual artists' or companies' agendas.

                    Now, as for the point of "my disagreement" and where it "leads me," I'll remind you that the disagreement here was in fact yours. I'm the one who began this subthread, and my point was not to advocate for any specific policy — I, too, favor broad decriminalization, though I'm loathe to "legalize it" in full lest currently illicit drugs transform into yet more deadly boondoggles for Big Pharma, with entire industries built up around avoiding accountability.

                    What I wanted to do was provoke a discussion, however modest in scale — check — about the lies we as a society were forced to tell ourselves about alcohol in order to rationalize Repeal and whose agenda (or wallet) those lies benefit. Furthermore, I hoped briefly to explore how the cultural model for understanding alcohol to which Repeal, the myth of speakeasy glamor and the Alcoholics Anonymous and/or disease models of alcohol led us has poisoned our society's understanding of its own relationship with alcohol and drugs in the decades since Repeal.

                    That's it. I have no master plan. I simply wanted to interrogate critically the common understanding of alcoholism and addiction, the cultural and economic forces that gave rise to it and the politically correct hysteria, often delivered in the form of self-righteous anecdotes about "my disease," vested in attacking countervailing ways of considering the problem.

                    •  Fair enough (1+ / 0-)
                      Recommended by:

                      Although I'd point out that our present day "war on drugs" is also modestly popular and widely viewed as something of a success, yet I'd characterize it as a colossal failure just as I do prohibition (and for much the same reasons.)

                      I think you're mistaken in your thesis in a number of respects, however.  

                      First, while it's true that relatively few in the population as a whole participated in the speakeasy culture, everything I've read indicates that there was widespread home brewing and distilling and in fact after the first couple of years consumption had returned to pre-prohibition levels or possibly higher.

                      Second, as I've said historically the drunkard was viewed as morally deficient and the attitude was why can't they straighten up and drink sensibly or not at all like the rest of us.  While the disease view changes how one approaches helping the drunk, I don't see that it's any different from the point of view of the alcohol business.

                      Third, there's a problem of timing.  AA did not begin before June of 1935 whilst the campaign for repeal was gathering strength already by 1928 or so. Now true enough some of the threads that led to AA - the Oxford Groups, Carl Jung's "spiritual experience" approach to treating alcoholism and so on were happening at that earlier date, but again I fail to see that one can establish any connection whatsoever between those things and the business agenda of the alcohol producers.

                      A final point regarding big corporate interests: of course it's true that in a legalized drugs scenario corporations will peddle these substances without much regard for the harm they do so long as it's profitable (witness the tobacco industry.)  But as I see it that's an inevitable thing in any case, basically all that our present policy does is substitute organized crime for big corporations.  So the approach to that is one of public policy - regualtion of industry and public health for individuals.  

                      "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

                      by jrooth on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 07:11:48 AM PST

                      [ Parent ]

                      •  Good point on the drug war analogy. I also failed (1+ / 0-)
                        Recommended by:

                        adequately to distinguish between Alcoholics Anonymous itself — as an organization — and the cultural currents that culminated in AA, which predate the group, as you note. I think the "connection" you "fail to see" is clear so long as you don't try to establish a direct causal link, which I think I've been careful not to do.

                        Historically, you're right — the drunkard was viewed as morally culpable for his actions. But that's only if you take the long view, i.e. going back to Colonial and European (and early American) societies. If you examine the nexus of alcohol and morality in the decades just prior to Prohibition, you'll see that the "problem" had been displaced from the person to the substance — a reconceptualization that provided the entire logic for Prohibition and which was reversed, with a medical rather than moral basis, for the purpose of Repeal.

                        See below for my n.b. on Occam's Razor and the genetic component and the notion of innate tendency, which may or may not exist. How do we know where nature stopped and nurture began? These things are enormously complicated. Moreover, how do I know that it isn't will power — that the difference between an alcoholic and a non-alcoholic lies not in alcohol's appeal but in the drinker's willingness to make unpleasant choices that reject hedonic reward?

                        Say I even concede the "disease model" — how does it account for in-between drinkers who are clearly not full-fledged alcoholics by any reasonable standard but also have mildly problematic relationships with alcohol? Are they strong-willed alcoholics or weak-willed non-alcoholics? I just don't think the model accounts for the complexities of the spectrum of alcoholic behaviors.

      •  A quick correction/addendum. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        wezelboy, jrooth

        I said below that "I'm also not arrogant enough to say it isn't a disease."

        Well, if you look above, where I call it "one of the biggest propaganda hoaxes" ever yada yada yada, I clearly am arrogant enough to say it isn't a disease. That's my opinion, but I should soften my stance to say this: Your opinion may be different, and that's fine. This is an area of ambiguity and uncertainty in which all we really have are informed opinions. Yours is as good as mine — please allow me to backtrack from my professed certainty — but it isn't better. Just because a lot of people subscribe to the disease model doesn't mean it's fact.

    •  Addiction and abuse are health problems (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      jrooth, msleonard

      but not necessarily diseases. To some extent they can be personal health problems, as when they cause brain or heart or liver damage, and perhaps at a slight remove when the experience of withdrawal symptoms is itself the immediate problem. Then there are social effects which make them both a public and private health problem, as when the abuser indulges in dangerous behaviors (especially involving cars and  weapons) or just when the abuser becomes unable to perform the social roles (worker, parent, etc.) that make him or her a productive member of society.

      To some extent you can use peer pressure to wake the affected person up to the fact that she or he has a problem that needs to be addressed. When that's not effective, society has a limited number of options. An absolutist libertarian would say just let the person ruin himself or herself, a moralistic preacher would want to browbeat him or her about sin, for a cop jail would be the answer, for a health professional the answer would be somewhere in the health system via either counseling or pharmacological treatment or lock-up in a sanitarium. I don't necessarily think any of those is an ideal approach, but the medical approach is probably the best, the punitive legal approach the worst, and the other two somewhere in between.

      Ideally if you teach responsible use of alcohol and drugs rather than an all or none attitude (either stay absolutely sober or get blasted as much as you can), there will be significantly fewer people with addiction/abuse problems. But I still think you will find people who for genetic reasons are prone to abuse of certain types of substances, and certain substances (like tobacco, cocaine and meth) that have a much higher abuse potential than others, so there is always going to be some societal need to figure how to care for/deal with people who are going off the rails because of alcohol or other drugs.

      But, the complexities and subtleties of all this are the enemy of politics, where what's wanted is fast answers, assertive answers, stupid sound-bite type answers in most cases; answers that prove the politician is strong-minded and willing to punish someone somewhere for their weakness or sinfulness to make you the voter feel happy. Because identifying some allegedly small group of troublemakers as the Other, and dehumanizing Them and ganging up on Them and meting out ridicule and stern punishment to Them is one of the sure-fire ways to appeal to the worst in all of us, a way that seems to have always had special appeal to Americans—and that has lured us into electing mean-spirited, venal politicians to leadership positions on way too many occasions.

      •  Well put, particularly the last bit. (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        jrooth, daveygodigaditch

        I think the role genetics plays in the process is highly dubious — it just doesn't pass the muster of Occam's Razor, to my mind, given all the simpler and more obvious explanations for personal patterns of substance abuse — but, at the moment, it's basically unknowable, so I won't dispute it too fiercely. What I will say, and have been saying, is that focusing on any possible innate proclivity toward addiction distracts us from the aspects of the problem that we actually can affect.

        Other than that, I agree with your thoughtful analysis, although quite a bit of it was only tangential to my original points.

        •  Here I am from the openthread (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          jrooth, msleonard

            interesting take. I've struggled to figure such things out. My take is it's a lack of something. On one occasion many many years ago after getting drunk with a bunch of friends and engaging in wild and crazy behavior (not ugly) and of course coming close to blacking out, a friend told me how funny I had been. He said it's obvious you aren't happy very often. That's been very helpful to me.

          music- the universal language

          by daveygodigaditch on Mon Dec 08, 2008 at 06:53:03 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

  •  It can get much worse (11+ / 0-)

    Great diary.

    As the recession mushrooms, there's a strong possibility of increasing competition for drug turf, and a big spike in violent crime, which will touch off the next round of "lock em up" hysteria. Two strikes and you're out! No, one strike! No strikes!

    Diaries like this help us organize ourselves to promote saner policies. thanx.

  •  Complete failure to learn from history (10+ / 0-)

    The amazingly destructive War on Drugs boondoggle was brought to you by the very same generation that lived through Prohibition and patronized the speakeasies while it was going on—and that flocked to all those Hollywood movies of the '40s and '50s where the stars were constantly knocking back cocktails and lighting up cigarettes to show us how the glamorous people lived. How incredibly, willfully blind to you have to be to miss the almost exact match of Prohibition and the War on Drugs when you already lived through the first one?

    Drug addiction and abuse, like alcohol addiction and abuse, should be matters for the medical profession to deal with, not for law enforcement officials to fatten up their budgets on. Non-abusive indulgence should be no concern of either.

  •  I know a person, not well, who (8+ / 0-)

    used to make his living (1970s - 1990s) selling drugs.  Mostly pot.  A very little bit of coke, as I understand.

    According to this person, if you want drugs, there is no problem getting them.

    According to this person, the real winners in the war on drugs are corrupt law enforcement and other government officials.

    •  "if you want drugs, there is no problem ..." (4+ / 0-)

      if you want drugs, there is no problem getting them

      I grew up decades ago in a small town, 20 miles away from the nearest small city.  I was painfully shy all through school, definitely not part of the "in crowd", and had no interest whatsoever in recreational drugs.  But even I knew who to go to for anything from alcohol to grass to various sorts of pills.  Cocaine?  Heroin?  I don't know for sure but I wouldn't have been surprised.

      I don't live 'round there no more, but I gather that decades of "War on Drugs" haven't changed things much.

      Legalizing -- or at least decriminalizing -- those things can't make them them any more available than they already are.

      "All progress depends on the unreasonable man." -- George Bernard Shaw

      by Bearpaw on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:03:16 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Race (9+ / 0-)

    Drugs have a racial history in the US (doesn't everything?).  It was used to mollify the "darkies" a hundred years ago--and to incarcerate the great-grandchildren today.  It has been a success if looked at from that perspective.

  •  Wow good old LSD is #14 (2+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    SecondComing, moosely2006

    Maybe old Joe Camel should be pushing a bit of the old blotter on kids! Think of the possibilities.

    Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment. --Solomon Short

    by potty p on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:31:25 AM PST

  •  It has spawned a drug enforcement industry.... (4+ / 0-)

    the lucrative prison industrial complex, police, lawyers, judges, etc. What if legisalation took their job?

  •  Pot (12+ / 0-)

    At a minimum - legalize pot.  We need the tax revenue.  Isn't it already California's most profitable crop?

    Somewhere, something incredible is waiting to be known---Carl Sagan

    by LibChicAZ on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:36:49 AM PST

  •  75 Years Since Repeal Of Prohibition (5+ / 0-)

    I'll drink to that.

    Liberté, Egalité, Fraternité

    by snaglepuss on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:38:55 AM PST

  •  Probably??? -nt (0+ / 0-)

    I consider myself an Agnostic because the only thing I believe in less than God is certainty.

    by aztronut on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:39:05 AM PST

  •  The problem is (5+ / 0-)

    ...that the tobacco, the industries threaten by industrial hemp and alcohol lobbies don't want the competition, the social conservatives want to prohibit all pleasure-seeking and law enforcement budgets would vastly diminish.

    "One of the reasons we were all thrilled Tuesday night is it was pretty obvious this was a collectively intelligent decision." - Al Gore

    by Marcus Junius Brutus on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:41:39 AM PST

  •  other countries? (0+ / 0-)

    Does anyone have any info on other countries who have relaxed their drug policies and have reported results from that?

    I'm just thinking that if there's a working model out there we can borrow from, it might help weight the discussion in our favor.

  •  Legalize it all. (10+ / 0-)

    Then deal with intoxication levels and have rehabilitation available for those who abuse. I still believe that if marijuana were legal, folks would be happy with that. Seems to me that by concentrating on marijuana, other drugs become more available. Back in the 80's, when I lived in NYC, an ounce of pot was about $40 and a gram of coke over $100. More people were happy with smoking an occasional joint. Then the Reagan/Bush regime started their "War on Drugs" and concentrated on pot. Meanwhile, coke was flowing over the boarders like crazy. Pot suddenly started going up steeply while the cost of cocaine plummeted, the two almost reversing the costs, with coke then going to about $40 a gram and dope over $100 an ounce. It's what helped start the crack epidemic.
    Let folks grow pot, tax it and sell it in liquor stores.
    Hell, with the tax revenue, we could finance universal health care!

    Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

    by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:43:28 AM PST

    •  And today, my pot smoking friends (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      MA Liberal, Calamity Jean, cgirard

      tell me it is seventy dollars for an eighth of an ounce.

      That for something you could grow for free by tossing a few seeds into your garden.


      Change the media ownership laws - break up the corporate media monopoly!

      by moosely2006 on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:31:51 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  big difference between (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        moosely2006, cgirard

        what is tossed off in your garden to grow and what is grown in the hydroponic systems. Or so i recall from college. I don't reckon that is your common cross-border ditch weed they are paying over 500 bucks an ounce for.

        Ignorance is natural. Stupidity takes commitment. --Solomon Short

        by potty p on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:37:27 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

        •  they're paying it for sensimilla buds (4+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          MA Liberal, Cannabis, moosely2006, cgirard

          and to grow that, you have to cull the male plants. Any good genetic strain of marijuana that is grown without male plants available will yield quite a smokeable product, especially if used fresh. Potency declines dramatically as the product gets stale, if not kept refrigerated and airtight. With legal marijuana, it is unlikely that large amounts of it will be kept around in closets, because the sensible thing is to keep large amounts refrigerated, properly preserved (like produce, or many other dried herbs).

          "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

          by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:59:04 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Here at the far end of the pipeline (2+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:
          Cannabis, moosely2006

          Decent but not spectacular Mexican runs $150-$200 per ounce, with the garbage grade around $100.

          The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

          by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:31:00 AM PST

          [ Parent ]

      •  I have a friend who gets decent stuff (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:

        nothing mind-blowing, mind you, and it's like $100 for a quarter ounce. That's insane.
        I wish they'd just say that you can grow your won, as long as you're not selling it. Like alcohol - you can make your own wine and beer, for your own consumption, but you can't sell it. Pot should be the same.

        Electing conservatives is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

        by MA Liberal on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:19:28 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  Is the prohibition of drugs constitutional? (8+ / 0-)

    The 18th Amendment was thought to be necessary before the federal government could prohibit alcoholic drinks.  Why is the federal prohibition of drugs constitutional?

    The influence of the [executive] has increased, is increasing, and ought to be diminished.

    by lysias on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:44:40 AM PST

    •  It didn't prohibit ownership of alcohol (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      moosely2006, kingyouth, mieprowan

      only the sale of it, which is why federal legislation was required.   Once sale became illegal, so did all the attendant activities -- transportation,  storage, etc.  

      Electing a Republican is like hiring a carpenter who thinks hammers are evil.

      by dotalbon on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:49:31 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  I don't think it is. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      I think the people who understood it took an amendment to the Constitution to criminalize personal behavior (alcohol) understood much better than we do that the Constitution as it is written does not permit the criminalization of personal behavior.  They decided to make an exception to our right to privacy.  shortly thereafter, they were bright enough to understand that it didn't work.  

      The current generation of Americans has simply accepted that government can regulate our personal behavior.  Moreover, we're apparently incapable of understanding that regulating personal behavior doesn't work.

  •  I'll drink to that. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:


    We have only just begun and none too soon.

    by global citizen on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:54:57 AM PST

  •  I will soon be in a job situation (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, cgirard, mieprowan

    where I will be dealing with these issues to the exclusion of most everything else.

    It is something I am not looking forward to, frankly, as I do not believe there has been much if any improvement in how we handle the drug problems of individuals in our society.

    There has to be a set of answers, but so far I haven't seen the effective implementation of much of anything in this regard in the past 25 years.

    They talk about rehabilitation, drug programs, etc., but until and unless our government takes a different approach to the overall problem, the individual is going to continue to be roadkill in the criminal "justice" system.

    Let's get some Democracy for America

    by murphy on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:55:10 AM PST

  •   If done in steps Obama can change things (5+ / 0-)

    The first thing he should do along this line is direct his AG and the DEA and DOJ to drop all charges that relate to Medical Marijuana and States Rights/Laws. On Jan 12th a man faces Life in Prison for following Ca. State Law as it pertains to Medical Marijuana. Obama should commute or Pardon all non-violent people in jail for simple pot procession also.

    Once this is slowly made the norm in the ststes that have made it legal the drama will fade and more States will follow along. After 10 yrs of this we could be over this kind of persecution.

    President Theodore Roosevelt,"No man can take part in the torture of a human being without having his own moral nature permanently lowered."

    by SmileySam on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:57:06 AM PST

  •  Our Pot Policy is Destroying Our Parks (14+ / 0-)

    First off, I once once an avid marijuana user. That was 25 years ago. Been there, done that. It was fun for awhile. It created some problems for me, none of them legal. I gave it up. It didn't hurt me or anybody else, I thought.

    Today I work in a metropolis but live in a semi-wilderness area where I spend my time and money tree hugging. State parks surround me. The park rangers and other law enforcement are continuously fighting a battle to free the public lands of illegal farming operations. All summer long, helicopters buzz over in the hot summer sky.

    The farms are sophisticated operations way down the rugged mountainsides, far from the park roads and official trails. Mountain bikers and the occasional hiker stumble onto them from time to time. This can be dangerous if the farmers are present since they are well-prepared for armed combat if cornered.

    When authorities find a plot, typically a few dozen plants growing in partial sun in a chaparral thicket comprised of briars and scrub oak, they first send in an armed squad to "secure" the area. This has resulted in multiple firearms exchanges twice locally in the past year, with at least one "suspect" killed. He turned out to be a Mexican national with a previous U.S. criminal record. After this, the local press was rife with stories of Mexican drug gangs operating illegal farms. This series went on for a few days, then the story got boring and went cold until the next bust.

    The real trauma is not to the humans (they usually are never there when the bust happens) but to the land. Large amounts of chemical insecticides and fertilizers are left in the steep watershed, where after abandonment they wash away in the heavy winter storms down the hill.

    The poisons wash into the protected redwood forest, where the coho salmon and steelhead trout are trying to sustain their increasingly pitiful numbers. The illegal farmers also lay long lengths of plastic pipe from streams above to divert water to their operation, with little care for the watershed effects below, where existing streams dry up to the point the habitat can no longer support amphibians, fish, or the higher predators who depend upon them. I know, who needs salamanders (hint: eagles and hawks).

    This is also happening on a larger scale in some of our greatest national parks, notably Yosemite and Kings Canyon, both of which have vast lightly-traveled back country -- some of which is ideal for cannabis growth. Our park rangers now carry firearms which include semiautomatic weapons. They are just arming themselves for a fair fight, they say.

    And as one of his last acts, Bush has enabled you and me to pack our own guns when visiting our national treasures, just to waste any asshole who threatens us.

    This unfolding horror is a direct result of our back-ass prohibition and severe  penalties for personal marijuana cultivation and use. Not unlike Chicago gangsters of the 20's, the pot gangsters of today reap the rewards of prohibition. America pays the costs without even collecting any taxes. Our prisons are full of potheads, hardly criminals when they go in, but after 6 years at Fulsom I bet they come out someone different.

    When are we going to wake up? When a camp full of schoolkids get caught in the crossfire? I hope it doesn't come to that, but this being America...

    The moral arc of the universe is long, but it bends towards justice. - Martin Luther King, Jr.

    by easong on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:58:09 AM PST

  •  Afghanistan can only grow opium (5+ / 0-)

    Most places have zero infrastructure. Zero. A farmer can put $100 worth of his opium crop in his backpack and carry it through the mountains to market. To tell this guy to start growing , say zucchini, there is no way he can cart $100 worth of his crop through the mountains. There are no roads. Just trails.

    Moving Afghanistan away from it's narco-economy would cost billions.

    "Some see their body as a temple. I see mine as a well run Presbyterian youth center." -Emo Phillips

    by bobinson on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 09:58:29 AM PST

  •  Start the debate! (5+ / 0-)

    Go to and tell the new administration that you are concerned about this travesty.

    scanner something mushroom cloud. -9.25 -8.92

    by el zilcho on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:01:31 AM PST

  •  Who really are the BIGGEST drug pushers! (9+ / 0-)

    The social climate in the US is so full of hypocrisy as to make a logical and sane person nuts!  On one hand we tell our children and citizens that drugs a not the answer and make some illegal via a never-ending war on drugs.  However, on the other hand we allow 90% of TV advertising in the evening to be actual drug pushing by big Pharma telling you that drugs are the answer to all your problems and you need this and that drug even if you seem fine.  Does anyone see a conflict going forward with both these campaigns??

  •  We can't afford NOT to look at it (5+ / 0-)

    The huge costs of these enforcements both financial and social are to great to continue.

    And when you hear stories about the elderly in Britain being arrested smuggling drugs through airports to pay for healthcare medicine you know this is getting worse.

    The Independent (UK)

    "We were warriors then, and our tribe was strong like a river" - Hunter S Thompson

    by GonzoLegend on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:04:08 AM PST

  •  The "drug war" isn't about combating drug use (6+ / 0-)

    or constructively engaging the drug problem, to the extent that there is one.  (We don't seem to have much "problem" with massive alcohol/tobacco/caffeine consumption.  In fact, we promote these addictions vigorously.)

    The "drug war" is (and has been) a pretext for US intervention on the behalf of benighted,  pro-corporate dictators facing popular opposition.

    The "drug war" abroad is about stomping out  uppity peasants.  At home, we mostly (mostly) just imprison them.

    It's hard to judge the "success" of a lying pretext.  That's why the "drug war", like most "wars" continues, in spite of it's manifest failure.  

    As with so much in today's pretend, big-boy pants "political" sphere, it doesn't have to make sense.  All that matters is that the "drug war" serves fascist interests, and so it continues.

    Partisanship is not the heart of politics.  Partisanship is the abdication of politics.

  •  Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (13+ / 0-)

    Has launched a Facebook petition,
    75 Years Later: Repeal a Drug Prohibition Again

    To: President-Elect Barack Obama
    We petition that...
    America should learn a lesson from our own history, 75 years ago, when we repealed the failed, dangerous and expensive prohibition of alcohol during the Great Depression.

    Today, we are in the midst of another economic crisis and we have another costly prohibition, the "war on drugs," which doesn't work and only gives money to gangsters and terrorists.

    Our families and communities need our country's leadership to take a true accounting of all of the costs of continuing to wage the "drug war." When the new administration and the new Congress really look at our drug policy, it'll become clear that we can't keep doing the same thing and expecting different results.

    We repealed a failed prohibition once before and WeCanDoItAgain.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:06:06 AM PST

  •  Been a lawyer a long time.... (11+ / 0-)

    ...and I can tell you that the worst misery I've seen in a court room was caused by alcohol, not pot.

    Spousal abuse, neglect, drunk driving, theft, poverty, insanity, death...all following the perfectly legal ETOH.

    Other than the poor people going through the criminal system for ridiculously small amounts of pot possession, I have rarely seen tragedy following pot smokers.

    They don't feel a superhuman need to drive after smoking and they sure as hell don't get violent.

    Legalizing pot, from my anecdotal yet empirical evidence, would not produce more harm but would free up resources for more important things.

    And if the day ever comes that it looks like marijuana will be legal, I'm buying stock in Frito-Lay.  Munchies are a force of nature that economics and budget can not deter.

    It would certainly stimulate the economy.

    And I really do think things are changing.  I've seen a lot more "regular" (i.e. don't have an all tie dye wardrobe) people talk about smoking pot.  PTA mom types, bankers, etc. Give it another generation or so and pot may be de facto legal, at the very least.

    Q to my 6 year old: Who should be President? Her answer: "Mommy, of course"

    by tort deform on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:06:26 AM PST

    •  marijuana does not cause physical impairment (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      though I've known lots of people who loved to drive stoned.

      You might get lost, but you're not going to drive into a phone pole.

      "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

      by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:06:49 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  Good comment. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      I would enlarge on one point - there is tragedy involved in pot use to the extent that heavy-handed law enforcement wrecks people's lives.  It's not easy to get a job with a "criminal" record.  I'm a lawyer too (civil, not criminal, thank God), and during motion hour one day I saw some poor soul who'd been arrested the day before at the bus stop on his way home for work for possession of one lousy joint.  He had no lawyer, so was stuck in jail for the night and brought to arraignment in orange jumpsuit and handcuffs.  He was pleading with the judge please to let him go so he could go to work. He was already late.

      I have no idea what happened to the guy after that.  Dollars to doughnuts he got fired.  Did he have a family?  What happened to them?  This kind of thing is counterproductive as all hell, is absolutely obscene, and, as usual, abuses the poor while the rich pretty much do what they want.  

  •  Well Said! Even the conservatives in our office (8+ / 0-)

    agree with this point of view.

    Now, we need to find politicians with the cojones to change the programs and the policy.  And, we need to demilitarize our police forces who go bashing in the doors of "drug houses" sometimes killing little old ladies, getting the wrong house, etc.  That whole model of "war" on drugs is just flat out wrong everywhere, but especially in a nation built on the rule of law and on freedom.

    droogie6655321 lives!

    by YucatanMan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:10:41 AM PST

  •  dude (7+ / 0-)

    the drug war has drenched the Border with blood. Every Latin Amercan country is feeling it, Mexico, El Salvador, Colombia, etc. Mexico is especially troublesome because its proxmity to us but because the governement has lost control. The gov has been infiltrated by corrupt people in the cartels pockets. Its starting a descent into madness...

    we must address this.

  •  Inner cities suffer (4+ / 0-)

    as a result on the war on drugs. Single parent (read: mother) families are much more of a problem when  an ungodly percentage of black men are in prison thanks to the war on drugs. Drug arrests rip apart a community that needs no further erosion. The percentage of minorities in prison is way out of statistical wack. By stopping the war on drugs, lives would actually be saved. Go figure.

    Liberal and Proud in Sarasota, Florida

    •  Add to that the fact that (4+ / 0-)

      penalties for crack cocaine (favored by inner-city blacks for the most part) being stricter than those for powdered cocaine (favored by the white elite) and that just magnifies the problem.

      "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:53:12 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  I didn't know that (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, cgirard

        that's really ugly. They are both hugely problematic drugs, and there is really no excuse for a difference in penalties.

        I'm not sure what I think should happen with cocaine - I really hate that drug. But putting people in prison isn't the answer.

        "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

        by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:09:57 AM PST

        [ Parent ]

  •  J. Carter said the punishment shouldn't be worse (15+ / 0-)

    than the drug itself.  Our jail cells are loaded with non-violent drug offenders, it's a waste of the taxpayer's money, and it seems silly for the government (which are just more sophisticated drug dealers pushing every pill under the sun during primetime TV) to tell grown adults what they can and can't do with their bodies.

    I think it's time to start considering decriminalizing marijuana (at the very least reclassifying it from a Sched 1 drug, meaning no health benefits, to a schedule 3 drug, meaning some health benefits that can legally be prescribed), and lowering the sentences on some of the harder drugs.  It should be no more than a speeding ticket.  And if they did consider legalization (at least for pot), it might just give the economy the kickstart it needs in the form of tax revenue.

    The war on drugs, promulgated by Nixon and Reagan, has been a complete failure.  As The Onion said (hilarious movie BTW), in the war on drugs, the drugs have won.  We will NEVER eradicate drugs.  It's time for a sensible drug policy.

    Don't blame me. I voted for Kodos

    by LatteSippingElitist on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:23:34 AM PST

    •  And it's not just the jails (8+ / 0-)

      You slap a guy in jail for possession of a couple of joints or a baggie of crack, and he's no longer working to support a family -- thus putting more stress on the already weak social safety net (food stamps, housing assistance, etc.). Whereas if you keep him out of prison but instead guide him into treatment if he's really an addict and not just a weekend user, he's still got a chance to hold a job.

      Now, there are certain jobs where you're not going to want the risk of someone hopped up on drugs or booze -- but I'd like to see an end or at least a drastic curtailment of random drug testing. Test for cause, like if your employee keeps showing up late or makes a lot of critical mistakes, or in the case of an accident on the job -- but let's not make everyone pee in a cup just because a couple of people fuck up. My spouse is subject to random testing as a bus driver, and while I know he's a good boy (he won't even have a beer or glass of wine if it's within 12 hours of his scheduled pull-out time), I still worry about false positives (he carries around a slip of paper listing all his prescription meds).

      "Once you choose hope, anything's possible." ~Christopher Reeve

      by Cali Scribe on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:51:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  gradual change is likely the way to go (4+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      trashablanca, Poom, Calamity Jean, cgirard

      with the harder stuff, but I think grass could be legalized tomorrow and the world would not end any more than it did when we elected an African-American as POTUS.

      "A society based on cash and self-interest is not a society at all, but a state of war." - William Morris

      by mieprowan on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:11:01 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  Which does not even account... (4+ / 0-)
    for the underachieving people who were convicted of a non-violent drug posession offense who because of that were not able to go to college (ineligible for student loans/grants) and in many states unable to be granted professional licenses to make a good living...

    Obama/Biden'08 Winning Change for America and the Democratic Party

    by dvogel001 on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:24:55 AM PST

  •  The Great Drug Fear isn't needed now (6+ / 0-)

    that we have the Terrorism bugaboo to get people to accept growing policestate powers. See DC Metro searches.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:26:28 AM PST

  •  Legalization of marijuana... (5+ / 0-)

    ...would also legalize the growing of industrial hemp.  Among other benefits is that hemp can substitute for cotton in clothing.  Cotton uses 25% of the chemical fertilizers produced and 10 to 15% of pesticides, where as hemp has no such requirements. Hemp paper is a superior grade of paper( the US Constitution is written on it) and it could greatly reduce the need for wood pulp. An acre of hemp is renewed annually, not so an acre of forest.

    Reality is that which refuses to go away when I stop believing in it." -- Philip K. Dick ....... {-8.25 / -5.64}

    by carver on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:32:18 AM PST

  •  Your missing...... (3+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    moosely2006, cgirard, mieprowan

    The recent indictment of Dick 'Face' Cheney  was on the basis of investments in prisons.
    The PRISON INDUSTRIAL COMPLEX makes huge profits. One thing the government won't address EVER is profit, no matter how evil. Just look at Afghanistan and it is proof that profit, not morals make the call.

    There aren't enough white people in prison for this to be a major issue and drug companies that make tons on pain killers are never going to allow you to grow pain relief in your window sill .

    By the way, Afghanistan, aside from being a war based on Chevron's profits (16 of 19 hijackers were in what countries air force?) is very interesting. Before the installed Haliburton executive was propped up into power, the dreaded taliban had heroin under control. Now, shockingly enough the brother of our puppet leader is THE LARGEST HEROIN DEALER IN THE WORLD !

  •  drug policy (6+ / 0-)
    A fresh look at drug policy, and possibly legalizing and taxing weed, should be a part of Obamas new "new deal".  It's part and parcel to the goal of stimulating the economy.
  •  This is not a Democrat or Republican issue. (6+ / 0-)

    I still don’t understand why our leaders don’t legalize marijuana.  When a law doesn’t make sense then it usually has to do with money.  And in the political world of law-enforcement, prohibition of marijuana is a real moneymaker.  We already know that the law enforcement industry has no natural predators or checks and balances.  If any politician even mentions taking a rational look at our irrational drug polices, they are branded as soft on crime.  

    But you will find that marijuana is not a Democrat or Republican issue, it is more of a Libertarian or liberty issue that is shared by both Republicans and Democrats.  The problem is that while rational everyday people understand that prohibition of marijuana is lunacy, our clueless media buys into the law enforcement industry’s propaganda and few politicians display either the courage or wisdom to stand for what is right.

    The politics of fear continues to trump our desire for liberty.  It is true that "the only thing we have to fear is fear itself."

  •  Ibogaine, the illegal cure for addiction (6+ / 0-)

    A single dose resets the brain's chemical switches to a pre-addictive state. demonized because the short-term effects resemble LSD's, and because the natural form, Iboga, is used in West African religious ritual much like some Native American cultures use peyote.

    A big step the Obama Admin could take quietly would be to sanction human trials.; To date, all treatments have been underground.

    The War on Drugs is $40 billion a year of Government waste.

    by ben masel on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 10:59:37 AM PST

  •  The only drug war that I want to see (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    ..has something to do with a friend of a friend who's on the dole and has a veritable pharmacopia of hard drugs given to her by Kaiser's doctors and pharmacisits twice a week.

    Costing taxpayers 100k annually, easy, and she sells them for pennies on the dollar.

    "I'd like to be a president [known] as somebody who liberated 50 million people and helped achieve peace." -- George W. Bush

    by SecondComing on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:01:19 AM PST

  •  France legalized heroin for heroin addicts... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    I heard that France had the option of decriminalizing marijuana or legalizing heroin for heroin addicts and they chose the latter and not the former.

    If this is true then it is a further reason that the drug war needs to stop for marijuana and focus on preventing heroin trafficking because there will now be a flood no doubt in this country as a result of France's decision.

    Also effort needs to be made to decriminalize mj and mild hallucinagenics and treat meth addicts and prevent the spread of meth, cocaine and heroin.

    MAKE TRADE FAIR DAMMIT! And! (1 mill+ names already)

    by siamesewonka on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:02:50 AM PST

    •  cops sale meth to highschool students. (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      cgirard, Marja E

      That is just one of the scenarios of what happened to a small Texas town which saw tons of highschool students addicted to meth:  cops were selling it to them!

      MAKE TRADE FAIR DAMMIT! And! (1 mill+ names already)

      by siamesewonka on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:16:35 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

    •  This is happening all over Europe (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      In fact, last week in Switzerland there was a nationwide initiative in which voters approved legalized heroin through hospitals (along with treatment for addicts).

      Vote for yourself at

      by rossl on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:35:03 AM PST

      [ Parent ]

  •  This is, first and foremost, a Liberty issue (7+ / 0-)

    Americans have become sloppy utilitarians, willing to criminalize damn-near anything if it "works", where "works" quickly comes to mean "makes us feel like we've done something".

    An individual's decision whether to use a drug is a decision about whether to take a substance into her own body. That's her body: not her husband's, not her child's, not her master's (we banned that in 1865), and most emphatically not the State's (alas, the State has done its best to become our new master).

    Once we lose sight of the basic principles of Liberty, anything goes -- including a War on Drugs that's decimated our 4th Amendment rights, railroaded generations of black men into lifelong penal servitude, broken countless families, wasted trillions of dollars, and turned huge quantities of human potential into even-larger reservoirs of despair.

  •  Swiss voters legalized heroin this week (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    In a national referendum, they legalized a program in which the government gives heroin and needles to addicts and also provides them with treatment.  The program has been tested on a small scale throughout Europe and has been pretty successful.

    Vote for yourself at

    by rossl on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:32:22 AM PST

  •  Drug use and alcoholism are frequently (0+ / 0-)

    a means of self-medicating to balance out brain chemistry problems caused by physiological or emotional issues.  

    I think the focus shouldn't be on legalizing or prohibiting drugs like marijuana, cocaine, meth, etc., but on eliminating the underlying negative effects of drug use:  devastating addiction, brain damage, ecological damage.... Until those things have been addressed, it doesn't make any sense to increase the availability of drugs -- unlike The Netherlands, we don't have socialized medicine, people don't have access to mental health care, and we don't have a safety net for people who are unable to care for themselves.

    It is not the strongest of the species that survive, nor the most intelligent, but the ones most responsive to change. - Charles Darwin

    by Freedoms Road on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 11:43:36 AM PST

  •  Spot on. Thank you. (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    Next to our disastrous health "care" problem (with which it is inextricably entwined) the obscenity of criminalizing private behavior should be at the top of our domestic repair list.

  •  I don't necessarily agree (0+ / 0-)

    that the drug war is not working. I think the idea of a "war on drugs" is stupid. But I do not for one second agree that we should not have laws that protect people against their own worst instincts. Drug addiction is a trap, a death-dealing trap even if you take the associated crime out of the picture. Wholesale legalization of addictive drugs would result in a large increase in the number of addicts. Drugs that are not addictive, like marijuana, probably should be legalized but taxed heavily. However, Methamphetamine is a hugely destructive, incredibly addictive drug that destroys not only the victim but lots of other people too. Every drug is its own story, and requires a unique strategy of harm reduction. What works for one drug may not work for another.

    Personally, I am opposed to drug use, and I am opposed to anything that facilitates it. But an anti-drug strategy has to be comprehensive and directed toward total harm reduction. That includes better treatment for addicts, decriminalization of certain dugs that are of limited harm, public health initiatives to reduce infectious diseases spread by needles, etc. But it also includes law enforcement designed to corral the drug problem into less harmful activities by cracking down on meth labs, for example, at the same time that other activities are more tolerated. Any sensible person does not want to see drug use go up. So, although I agree that simple interdiction and incarceration is not working, it doesn't automatically mean that a 180° turn is the answer. There is no substitute for thinking.

    •  I don't drink, smoke or ingest caffeine (3+ / 0-)

      do recreational drugs and don't care to associate with those that do but let's face it people will do what they want to whether its legal or not. I think some of the demand for the most dangerous drugs would be reduced simply because the less dangerous variety was readily legally available. If you make a lot of this stuff legal and sold in "package stores" like liquor is here in Texas will there really be much demand for anything else. If its manufactured under strict standards of purity and packaged by the dose won't that reduce many of health safety issues.

      •  Not true for crystal meth (0+ / 0-)

        This is a middle-class liberal fantasy. You don't trust Corporations to make voting machines, but you do trust them to make drugs that can very easily kill you and massively damage your brain. Interesting.

        •  So start with legalizing marijuana (1+ / 0-)
          Recommended by:

          and a few other recreational drugs that are known to be relatively non-addictive. Obviously crack cocaine doesn't fall into this category nor does crystal meth. Aren't those products largely just market responses to the illegality of something less damaging. Would there still be an incentive for dealers and producers to make products like meth and crack if their less damaging siblings were readily available. If we as a society accept that whether we like it or not people will do what they want to themselves and move on to helping see the light and recover if they don't see it until its too late we'll reduce the desire for some of the worst products and also be able to focus our law enforcement efforts at those products and not waste them on the stupid stuff.

          •  Perhaps you are right (0+ / 0-)

            but, as I say, each drug requires a specific management strategy, and I would not counsel some kind of blanket approach - either legalization across the board or an all-out "war". We just need a bit of intelligent planning and use of the enormous amount of research done on this question.

    •  The notion that crimnalizing drugs (2+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Kentucky DeanDemocrat, cgirard

      protects people from their worst instincts is just flat wrong.

      If you want to do that, you'd do a hell of a lot better by legalizing all drugs and spending maybe a fourth of what we now spend on catching, prosecuting and incarcerating people who have fallen prey to their worst instincts on treatment for those people.

      "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

      by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:17:32 PM PST

      [ Parent ]

      •  Some drugs must remain illegal (0+ / 0-)

        It's simple as that. Just as it's illegal to sell food laced with toxic chemicals, so it should be illegal to sell chemicals that rapidly causes massive brain damage. Your argument is essentially that there should be no speed limits on highways because it's impossible to prevent people from indulging their worst instincts. Your argument is simple-minded and wrong. That's the argument I am making. You view is one where you think everyone else can go to hell and you are not responsible. Tell me, how young should your kid be able to do crystal meth? 11? 10?

        •  Minors by definition are a special class (0+ / 0-)

          I don't think alcohol or tobacco should be sold to them either, although naturally they are today - along with crystal meth.

          Personally, I doubt most adults given the option of purchasing any and all of the various recreational drugs out there would pick the one with the big red label saying "this drug will cause immediate massive brain damage."  In fact the very nature of the drug market as it exists today make that far more likely.

          Probably they'll pick the one with the label that says "this drug may destroy your life, and by the way if it does here's the number to call for help."

          A gentle suggestion by the way:  "Your argument is simple-minded and wrong" is a piss-poor approach to persuasion.

          "I agree with you, I want to do it, now make me do it." - Franklin D. Roosevelt

          by jrooth on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 06:03:47 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

        •  Why do you do that? (0+ / 0-)

          Do you know anyone who has suggested selling crystal meth to children?  So why sabotage an intelligent conversation about drug policy?

          The point is not about making drugs more available and more dangerous.  Legalization is about regulating, controlling, and making safer.

          There are many ways of legalizing... In Switzerland, they successfully legalized prescription heroin through an incredible program that has reduced the amount of crime, increased the average age of heroin addicts, and reduced the health problems of drugs overall.

          Right now, drug dealers don't care about age.  In a legal system, they would.

          Also, keep in mind that crystal meth is mostly a byproduct of prohibition, just as dangerous backyard alcohol stills were byproducts of alcohol prohibition.  It's because of the criminalization of the safer amphetamine products that the easier to make, but much more dangerous, meth labs have emerged.  If you create a controlled, regulated, limited market for safe, clean amphetamines for adults, the underground meth industry will largely dry up, leaving children safer from the approaches of criminal drug dealers.

          Your comparison about highways is incorrect as well.  Legalization is about speed limits.  Prohibition is about having no control at all.

          Before you call other arguments simple-minded and wrong, please take the time to study them further.

        •  Pharmacies (0+ / 0-)

          are filled with chemicals that rapidly cause massive instant brain damage, if misused.


          Time to end the drug war.

          by Sam from Ithaca on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:49:34 PM PST

          [ Parent ]

    •  Personally, I also am "against" drug use. (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:

      But that is my personal belief.  I have no right to legislate my personal belief.  I also have no right to protect other people against their own "instincts," "worst" or not.

      I'm also pro-choice when it comes to abortion, although there are plenty of people who believe that having an abortion performed is giving in to a "worst instinct," and want to protect women from it.  I thank God that, so far, those people who want to "protect" me and other women from our worst instincts when it comes to deciding whether to bear a child have been unable to do so.

      As for policy "thinking," you have to choose between treating addicts and criminalizing drug use.  There simply is no way a vast number of people will ever seek help if seeking it will land them in jail/lose them their jobs/destroy their lives.  You try to have it both ways, and you can't.

  •  Great, so now what are we all doing about it (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Kentucky DeanDemocrat

    Since we generally seem to agree on the thesis that the law needs to be changed what we we doing besides preaching to the choir. Have you written to your Congressman lately, how about your Senator? Students for Sensible Drug Policy is working on this issue, have you shown them any support? Students for Sensible Drug Policy

  •  Progressives were responsible for Prohibiton (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam from Ithaca

    It, along with eugenics, was the crown jewel of their social engineering experiments.

    At least the Temperance movement had the common decency to get a constitutional amendment passed.. today's drug warriors don't have a legal leg to stand on, except that nobody wants to point out that the emperor has got no clothes.

    •  Republicans were responsible for prohibition. (0+ / 0-)

      They ran on it for years.  A couple of my favorite Democratic campaign buttons from the teens promise "Beer on Sundays!"

      There was also an interesting series on NPR a few years ago explaining that the industrial revolution was a huge motivator: the people who really pushed prohibition were the factory owners.  Workers showing up half-crocked aren't very good at their jobs.  In addition, there was the problem of drunk driving - when you're driving a buggy home at night, it doesn't matter whether you steer, or even much if you stay awake.  The horse can find his own way home.

  •  Utah was the state that put it over the top (0+ / 0-)
    always thought that was funny...all those closet Morman drinkers.

    "I do think it is kind of sad when everybody who owns a laptop thinks they are Thomas Paine" Redlief take on Helen Thomas, 2008

    by redlief on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 12:57:16 PM PST

  •  Big Pharma (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam from Ithaca

    The fingerprints of Big Pharma loom huge in prohibition.  The billionaires don't want a bunch of scruffy peace activists muscling in on their piece of the action.  Cannabis has been used as medicine for thousands of years. Vilify it and you have cleared the field for Your Own special brand of drugs- i.e. Oxycontin et al.  Their pain killers do work, but the side effects can be deadly and they are Hella Expensive!!!!

    They have even managed to consolidate their monopoly on meth.  Until recently, ill advised meth cooks were making their own via pseudo-ephedrine, strong acids and phosphorus or other reducing agent.  Now that cold pills are a controlled substance, the field is clear for Big Pharma to make meth in huge quantities in countries outside the US and import it here by the ton.   Heck of a job!!!

    "If you want a picture of the future, imagine a boot stomping on a human face -- forever." G.Orwell

    by FuddGate on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:42:53 PM PST

  •  Change Must Have Political Muscle Behind It (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:

    There are too many in the Greatest Generation and Baby Boomer generation that cannot imagine any other drug policy but prohibition.

    There are certainly other issues that continue to propel this "war", but it could not be fought without the political support it receives.

    Arguments against prohibition bring instant condemnation and political suicide.The audience for those arguments is far too hostile.

    Costs of incarceration is going to be the first opportunity to address the issue, but like other social changes, we're going to have to wait until there is less hostility and more open minds prevail.

    "Most people would sooner die than think; in fact, they do so."

    by sebastianguy99 on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 01:51:20 PM PST

  •  None? (0+ / 0-)

    But even though you won't find a soul alive who thinks the repeal was a bad idea,

    Here's one.

    •  You're right (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Sam from Ithaca

      It was an overstatement.  There are a number of people who think repeal was a bad idea...

      - Al Capone, and all of the organized crime members that were making such a killing off illegal booze.
      - Corrupt cops who were raking in the dough to look the other way.
      - Speakeasy owners
      - Prohibition Agents, who made their living off the crime caused by prohibition.

  •  You think it's an accident? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Calamity Jean

    "And elsewhere in Latin America, where prohibition-related crime, violence and corruption undermine civil authority and public safety, and mindless drug eradication campaigns wreak environmental havoc."

    ----think it over.  remember iran/contra? how one end of that trade was coke? remember the hell visited on SJMN journalist Gary Webb who wrote about alleged links between the cia and crack cocaine traffic?  he apparently killed himself.  remember how drugs were being smuggled into the U.S. to finance the Bay of Pigs?  the drug trade sure looks like a great big charge card to be used when rouge elements of the intelligence community want to do something for which they can't even get black budget.  and now it just turns out that all this crazy drug trade makes private militias and disappearing and unstable government in our Monroe Doctrine backyard?  and you figure it's a coincidence?

    •  Very true. Illegal trade benefits U.S. Gov't (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Calamity Jean

      because to raise money outside of Congressional allocations for black ops, drug money has been a historical tool, as you point out.

      Furthermore, to satiate organized crime, a "gimmie" if you will, the US Gov't has handed over a huge market to the mob.  

      There is no doubt that drug prohibition remains largely because of who it benefits, not moralistic bullshit.  Republicans (and some Democratic party members) use the drug war moralistic tone as a tool.  When the fuck did they care about morals anyways?

  •  Simple two steps (0+ / 0-)
    1.  Under 50 grams of marijuana is no longer a criminal offense that can warrant prison time.
    1.  Under 50 grams of marijuana becomes a civil offense.

    Under 5 grams - $500 fine
    5-10 grams - $1000 fine
    10-25 grams - $2000 fine
    25-50 grams - $3000 fine.

    I mean, our drug policy where first time offenders can be jailed for up to a year is fact, it's insane.

    We can all agree that marijuana is, for the most part, not good (don't lecture me on medicine...not talking about that)  However, prison is not the answer.  Civil fines, and ONLY civil fines are the answer.  With all of this money, several things can happen.

    1.  People have less money to buy drugs.
    1.  Less non-violent people in prison
    1.  More money for the government to create programs to help those who need help getting off drugs.

    It's beautiful.  Right now, the system is stupid.

  •  Great minds, Jed. Now watch this from MPP... (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Sam from Ithaca

    This diary is on the same editorial, and has a poll that got decent response.

    Check out this new video from MPP.

    Please keep this on the front page of out Progressive agenda.

  •  Thanks for writing this n/t (0+ / 0-)


    Time to end the drug war.

    by Sam from Ithaca on Sun Dec 07, 2008 at 08:34:41 PM PST

Subscribe or Donate to support Daily Kos.

Click here for the mobile view of the site