Legalising drugs?

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Headshrinker
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Legalising drugs?

Postby Headshrinker » Fri May 28, 2010 9:30 am UTC

Should drugs be legal?
I would say yes, for a number of reasons,

I believe that people who do not take drugs don’t not take them because they are illegal. So legalisation will not lead to much higher drug use. I believe this has been noticed in countries where drugs have been legalised.

If the drugs are sold solely by the licensed organisations then precautions can be taken, taken in a safe area with medical staff nearby, rehab help if people are seen to have a problem there. In addition to that the illegal drugs will be cut, this will mean that users do not know how much they can take and how much they are taking.

Crime is committed for drug money, while licensed organisations may not stop this they can pass on data on to the police if the organisation grows suspicious.

Drug money is used for supplying money for larger crimes, if we cut crack dealing we cut bank robbery.

The risks of drugs are mainly due to the crime side. Arrests becoming highly in dept to the wrong people, blackmail.

We stop supplying drug producers. The Talaban’s finance rests entirely on drug money. If we could stop them selling drugs we will cripple them.

Drug users won’t be high on the streets. The users will be safely put away for their entire trip. So streets will be safer.

The money gained by the country selling drugs will more than pay for any costs of healthcare that drugs create. This could improve the health of everyone in the country.

In addition drugs are illegal when more dangerous things aren’t classically ecstasy and horse ridding.

(NOTE: i do not think this list is exhaustive)

Any thoughts, thanks

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Jplus » Fri May 28, 2010 11:20 am UTC

Yes I agree that drugs should be legalised, and I think I can add an argument that wasn't on your list yet.

As you stated, if drugs are sold only by licensed organizations then precautions can be taken. Another advantage is that a specially dedicated government agency can enforce and supervise quality control of the drugs, thus avoiding peculiar scenarios like ground fluorescent lamps in cocaine (as a cheap filler), marihuana with so much THC that it is a hard drug (nederwiet), or that is loaded with pesticides, or both, and XTC pills containing deadly doses of several kinds of stimulantia or hallucinogens.
Related to this, legalisation of drugs makes it possible to regulate a standard for package inserts.

However, there is a backdraw: if legal drugs are much more expensive than illegal drugs, many people will still choose for the illegal drugs. Therefore legalising drugs would probably have to be accompanied by governmental funding for legal drugs use.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri May 28, 2010 11:33 am UTC

Drugs are cheap as hell to make and even with heaps of regulation would be much much much cheaper than illegal drugs which are ridiculously expensive because of the risk (from not only legal sources) involved in producing and distributing the drug.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Diadem » Fri May 28, 2010 12:02 pm UTC

Jplus wrote:like ground fluorescent lamps in cocaine (as a cheap filler)

Actually they put that in not as a cheap filler (ground fluorescent lamps are not that cheap, compared to, say, sugar), but because they cause tiny wounds in your nose, meaning the cocaine will be absorbed faster. So you can less cocaine, and cocaine of inferior quality, without people noticing.

But yeah, it's insane. The stuff they add to drugs is criminal. It would be awesome if that could be stopped.

Legalising drugs, or at least the softer drugs like marijuana and XTC, only has benefits.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby ianf » Fri May 28, 2010 12:04 pm UTC

This looks interesting, but if you are serious about changing the law then the people you need to convince are the people who don't take drugs and don't wish to. The other set of people you need to convince are the people who do take drugs and don't care that it is illegal. So, basically, you need to focus more on the "not getting robbed" and less on the "it's safer for people taking drugs".

So, saying that, here are some more comments ...

Headshrinker wrote:I believe that people who do not take drugs don’t not take them because they are illegal. So legalisation will not lead to much higher drug use. I believe this has been noticed in countries where drugs have been legalised.


That's not a reason to legalise drugs. What it says is that the consequence of changing the law doesn't affect the status quo. The reason to change something is to cause a consequential change elsewhere - saying "do X and Y stays the same" is not a reason to do X.

Headshrinker wrote:Drug money is used for supplying money for larger crimes, if we cut crack dealing we cut bank robbery.


This may or may not be true. However, you may also increase bank robbery since people need to make up the loss of money from their drug operation by increasing the bank robbery side of their operation (which would seem to be a standard business practice - if one marketplace dries up then look at exploiting your other marketplaces more).

Headshrinker wrote:We stop supplying drug producers. The Talaban’s finance rests entirely on drug money. If we could stop them selling drugs we will cripple them.


This just doesn't ring true for me. The Taliban don't grow drugs, what they do is "tax" farmers who do grow drugs. The reason that they grow drugs isn't because they are illegal, but because they grow well there and the people know how to farm it. If drugs are legalised, the legal outlets will still need to obtain their supply from somewhere. Surely they will be looking to the people who can already supply these drugs cheaply and have expertise in it? So they will continue to buy from the farmers who currently grow it and the Taliban will continue to take their cut.

Headshrinker wrote:Drug users won’t be high on the streets. The users will be safely put away for their entire trip. So streets will be safer.


I don't see how that will work. People will still want to smoke weed at festivals or in clubs. If you make it legal but restricted, then there will still be an illegal trade from the people who don't want to abide by the restrictions.

Headshrinker wrote:The money gained by the country selling drugs will more than pay for any costs of healthcare that drugs create. This could improve the health of everyone in the country.


I don't know about that - would need to see the figures.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Chen » Fri May 28, 2010 1:05 pm UTC

I don't necessarily disagree with legalizing SOME drugs. I'd imagine there are some where the risks don't provide a reasonable benefit for society and probably just add to its costs (likely in healthcare and such). That said, I have an issue with some of the points you've made.

Headshrinker wrote:Crime is committed for drug money, while licensed organisations may not stop this they can pass on data on to the police if the organisation grows suspicious.

Drug money is used for supplying money for larger crimes, if we cut crack dealing we cut bank robbery.


I don't see why people wouldn't still commit crimes for drug money. Even if legal it would have a cost. The reason people commit crimes for drug money is because of the addictive nature of many types of drug. If you have no money and need your fix, well stealing to get it becomes more viable. I don't see why this would change. Perhaps the price would be lower, but you'll still have people who lack the money to get their drugs.

The risks of drugs are mainly due to the crime side. Arrests becoming highly in dept to the wrong people, blackmail.


I'm not really sure what the second part of this means. Can you elaborate? There are other risks associated with drugs though that would need to be looked at. In terms of a per dose effect, some drugs can be fairly detrimental. I don't think its a deal breaker or anything, but there are dangerous drugs out there that probably shouldn't be legal.

We stop supplying drug producers. The Talaban’s finance rests entirely on drug money. If we could stop them selling drugs we will cripple them.


Drugs still need to be produced. It would just legitimize their business. It would probably cut into their profit but they'd still control the areas where drugs were produced.

Drug users won’t be high on the streets. The users will be safely put away for their entire trip. So streets will be safer.


Why would this change? Wouldn't it be easier to be high on the streets if you could easily buy drugs legally at the store? Or are you saying to do drugs legally you'd have to do so in some sort of contained environment? Because the latter will still keep illegal drugs around so people can use them whenever and wherever they want.

The money gained by the country selling drugs will more than pay for any costs of healthcare that drugs create. This could improve the health of everyone in the country.


Unclear. If tax rates are too high people will still go with illegal drugs. We already see that here in Montreal with cigarettes. People will drive to the Reserves and buy their contraband cigarettes for a much lower price. Hell, the convenience store associations have been complaining very loudly about this lately.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Jplus » Fri May 28, 2010 1:06 pm UTC

ianf wrote:
Headshrinker wrote:We stop supplying drug producers. The Talaban’s finance rests entirely on drug money. If we could stop them selling drugs we will cripple them.


This just doesn't ring true for me. The Taliban don't grow drugs, what they do is "tax" farmers who do grow drugs. The reason that they grow drugs isn't because they are illegal, but because they grow well there and the people know how to farm it. If drugs are legalised, the legal outlets will still need to obtain their supply from somewhere. Surely they will be looking to the people who can already supply these drugs cheaply and have expertise in it? So they will continue to buy from the farmers who currently grow it and the Taliban will continue to take their cut.

I don't entirely agree with this point. Yes, the Taliban are only middlemen in the trade of papaver, but they depend on the output of the farmers to make money out of it. If legal opiate traders offer the farmers better prices, that should help to compete against the Taliban, which will at least reduce the Taliban's income from opiate trade.

ianf wrote:
Headshrinker wrote:Drug users won’t be high on the streets. The users will be safely put away for their entire trip. So streets will be safer.


I don't see how that will work. People will still want to smoke weed at festivals or in clubs. If you make it legal but restricted, then there will still be an illegal trade from the people who don't want to abide by the restrictions.

Smoking is also restricted (and sometimes intentionally made expensive) in many countries, but that doesn't lead to illegal trading. Smoking weed can probably be treated in a similar fashion. Injecting heroine, on the other hand, is something that users typically don't want to do on parties (or any busy circumstance), and can therefore more easily be put away by the heroine provider. Heroine injection is also something that you're more likely to want to ban from the streets.


As a completely separate side note, I would like to say that I found Gelsamel's point on drugs pricing quite convincing. So that removes yet another problem to drugs legalisation.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Headshrinker » Fri May 28, 2010 1:26 pm UTC

I don't entirely agree with this point. Yes, the Taliban are only middlemen in the trade of papaver, but they depend on the output of the farmers to make money out of it. If legal opiate traders offer the farmers better prices, that should help to compete against the Taliban, which will at least reduce the Taliban's income from opiate trade.

My original idea was that we could buy them from somewhere else if we don't like the others

Unclear. If tax rates are too high people will still go with illegal drugs.

I think there would need to be a very large difference in price, illegal drugs could be less pure, dangerous, and of course illegal.
I think the drug industry is worth enough that a small tax will be enough to breakeven
In addition to that, we pay for the healthcare anyway, it may well reduce as people are using drugs in a safer way.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby ianf » Fri May 28, 2010 1:43 pm UTC

Jplus wrote:I don't entirely agree with this point. Yes, the Taliban are only middlemen in the trade of papaver, but they depend on the output of the farmers to make money out of it. If legal opiate traders offer the farmers better prices, that should help to compete against the Taliban, which will at least reduce the Taliban's income from opiate trade.


I don't think that the Taliban are middlemen in the typical business way that is implied here. Surely whatever the arrangements with legal suppliers, if the Taliban are a well-armed militia then they can just take their cut off the top and no amount of standard business arguments will apply here.

Jplus wrote:Smoking is also restricted (and sometimes intentionally made expensive) in many countries, but that doesn't lead to illegal trading. Smoking weed can probably be treated in a similar fashion.


But there IS illegal trading in cigarettes - just type "illegal cigarettes" into Google and you'll see pages of stories. Cigarettes are smuggled into the UK, sold illegally from the back of vans, even sold illegally in shops. Same is true of alcohol. That experience clearly shows that just because drugs are legal, it doesn't stop an illegal trade in them.

Jplus wrote:Injecting heroine, on the other hand, is something that users typically don't want to do on parties (or any busy circumstance), and can therefore more easily be put away by the heroine provider. Heroine injection is also something that you're more likely to want to ban from the streets.


But I don't see people injecting heroin on the streets now! It's already banned from the streets. I really don't understand the logic in this. There's a law against shooting up heroin in the streets now, but some people still do that. You want to remove that law and somehow that will stop people shooting up in the streets?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Indon » Fri May 28, 2010 1:44 pm UTC

To devil's advocate, I might note that the most harmful drug in America is the legal drug of Alcohol.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Headshrinker » Fri May 28, 2010 1:51 pm UTC

I don't think that the Taliban are middlemen in the typical business way that is implied here. Surely whatever the arrangements with legal suppliers, if the Taliban are a well-armed militia then they can just take their cut off the top and no amount of standard business arguments will apply here.

If we stop buying drugs off the Taliban then they cannot take a cut off what we don't pay them.

But I don't see people injecting heroin on the streets now! It's already banned from the streets. I really don't understand the logic in this. There's a law against shooting up heroin in the streets now, but some people still do that. You want to remove that law and somehow that will stop people shooting up in the streets?

Why would they shoot up in the streets. They have no reason to when they can go to the licenced places.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri May 28, 2010 1:52 pm UTC

I don't even care if they're harmful or not (but, yeah, Marijuana has a 1000:1 Lethal:Effect Dose Rate, Cocaine is 15:1 and Alcohol is 10:1).

People should have a right to put what ever they want into their bodies, we should just do our best to give information to people so they can make informed and educated decisions with regards to what they put in their bodies. There are other benfits, like being able to tax it, dropping demand for possibly tainted drugs, being able to sell the drugs along with information etc. but these benefits are secondary in my view.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Indon » Fri May 28, 2010 1:55 pm UTC

Gelsamel wrote:I don't even care if they're harmful or not (but, yeah, Marijuana has a 1000:1 Lethal:Effect Dose Rate, Cocaine is 15:1 and Alcohol is 10:1).

People should have a right to put what ever they want into their bodies, we should just do our best to give information to people so they can make informed and educated decisions with regards to what they put in their bodies. There are other benfits, like being able to tax it, dropping demand for possibly tainted drugs, being able to sell the drugs along with information etc. but these benefits are secondary in my view.


I don't just mean harmful to the self.

Alcohol is the #1 drug involved in rape and is prevalent in automotive fatalities. Alcohol harms not only the people who use alcohol, and not from the actual use, but it harms others.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby DSenette » Fri May 28, 2010 2:28 pm UTC

Drugs are cheap as hell to make and even with heaps of regulation would be much much much cheaper than illegal drugs
current street drugs can be cheap to make, because the people making them don't really care about quality control. if they make a bad batch and it kills a bunch of junkies, they just move to a different market with a different recipe.

making "drugs" with a high enough quality level (and purity level) that the government would allow for sale would actually be quite expensive. if you can't use bleach to make your coke and instead have to use the proper chemicals (not going to list em) then it's a lot more expensive
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Le1bn1z » Fri May 28, 2010 2:31 pm UTC

I think that for some drugs, notably pot, legalisation would be similar to the end of prohibition.

Ending prohibition successfully ended the mass illegal distribution of the controlled substance, but governments in Canada and the United States have still been able to successfully place considerable restrictions on drugs. The government-run liquor distributors in most Canadian provinces are now major success stories, in terms of raising money for important programs and of controlling distribution.

That being said, there are still some drugs that give me the heebie-jeebies, and I do wonder how much meaningful control one can have over crack or heroin. Besides, the war on drugs may be unwinnable in the extreme sense, but that is not to say that it cannot have a positive effect as well as the many, well documented negative ones. The Chinese ran a very succcessful war on drugs after the colonial powers got the boot to wipe out the mass-opium addiction which plagued the port cities. Singapore has also been quite successful in combating the drug trade in its territory (although they are brutal in enforcement.... non-negotiable death sentence for possession/smuggling in many cases.)

The biggest pitfall to avoid is "decriminalisation," which empowers the criminal gangs by granting them immunity from prosecution while still denying legal competition. Sometimes sold as a middle-road alternative, its not. It's a terrible idea which carries all of the downside of both criminalisatin and legalisation, with few, if any, of the benefits.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Azrael » Fri May 28, 2010 3:42 pm UTC

There's a WHOLE HUGE PILE of unsupported assertions all up in here. We don't need another "Me too!" thread on the subject.

Facts -- cited, even -- or I'll lock it.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Kuji » Fri May 28, 2010 4:25 pm UTC

I'll throw in a page (not called Wikipedia) with arguments in favor or against legalization, in a nutshell. http://www.balancedpolitics.org/marijuana_legalization.htm
The Wikipedia page regarding this topic has tons of citations regarding researches that verify each argument. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Arguments_for_and_against_drug_prohibition

Figured I'd throw in a helping hand.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby big boss » Fri May 28, 2010 4:31 pm UTC

I would say that only certain drugs are legalized such as pot. Certain drugs can cause horrible addictions more so than "less dangerous" ones, and certain drugs can be extremely bad for your health such as meth.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Kuji » Fri May 28, 2010 4:45 pm UTC

big boss wrote:I would say that only certain drugs are legalized such as pot. Certain drugs can cause horrible addictions more so than "less dangerous" ones, and certain drugs can be extremely bad for your health such as meth.


You can also say that Marijuana could be a stepping stone to more dangerous drugs, which is true on almost all cases of drug addicts saying "At first I started smoking pot with friends, then I wanted more..". At least, the one's I have heard of.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Jessica » Fri May 28, 2010 4:52 pm UTC

The gateway drug theory has many problems with it, and is not universally accepted as a reason.

Personally, I believe the correlation between using Pot (or smoking or drinking) and then using other hard drugs is not a causation, but more of a third variable effect. For example: Pot is easier to obtain usually then other drugs, or the first "illegal" experience is the threshold or gateway, not the actual drug itself.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Indon » Fri May 28, 2010 5:00 pm UTC

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 28, 2010 7:22 pm UTC

Indon wrote:I might as well support my claims about alcohol. Alcohol is the most used date rape drug, and in 2006, about 40% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.


Thise are reasons to be in favor of a ban on alcohol, not reasons to favor legalization of other substances. There are enough drugs that are good rape drugs, or that cause you to drive bad. The reason alcohol is so much bigger in the statistics is because it is easily available, not because it so much worse.


Le1bn1z wrote:The biggest pitfall to avoid is "decriminalisation," which empowers the criminal gangs by granting them immunity from prosecution while still denying legal competition. Sometimes sold as a middle-road alternative, its not. It's a terrible idea which carries all of the downside of both criminalisatin and legalisation, with few, if any, of the benefits.


I am not sure what you mean by "decriminalization". Here in the Netherlands we have a sort of middle-road system for marijuana, and its effects are pretty much what you would expect from a middle system: somewhere between those of full criminalization and those of full legalization.

The system allows people (in a legally dubious way) to own and grow marijuana in quantities for personal use, and it allows licensed shops to own larger quantities and sell them. The system doesn't allow mass-scale production, so shops are in practice still dependent on the black market. There are serious, organized criminal producers and they are seriously persecuted, often on RICO style laws.

The system seems to work to prevent 'gateway' effects, and it means the police doesn't have to spend effort on persecuting harmless users. Recreational use of weed here looks pretty similar to that in the surrounding countries, without the secrecy but still a bit of a stigma. There are enough people who would never touch a joint.

Addiction is a problem, although perhaps not much worse than in other countries, just easier visible. Some people, especially people who encounter difficulties in their life, get in a habit that is so strong that it destroys most other aspects of their life.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Chen » Fri May 28, 2010 7:23 pm UTC

Indon wrote:I might as well support my claims about alcohol. Alcohol is the most used date rape drug, and in 2006, about 40% of traffic fatalities were alcohol-related.


From those links I found: http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/dea ... -story.htm

We can see here over 20 years there were ~44.7k deaths due to illegal drugs. 22.7k from accidental heroin overdose and 15.5k from accidental cocaine overdose. In the same timeframe ~379k people died to alcohol induced causes (directly from alcohol, not indirect things like drunk driving deaths).

The question which I could not find the answer to is how the %s stack up. Clearly there are TONS more people who use alcohol than those who use heroin or cocaine. The numbers show alcohol causes ~16.6 times the number of deaths than cocaine does (directly). I'd imagine there are more than 16 times the number of people who use alcohol regularly than those who use cocaine regularly but I couldn't find any hard data for that.

Considering heroin and cocaine take up a MASSIVE part of the total number of deaths due to illegal drugs, I'd be willing to go out on a limb (unless proven wrong) to say they are probably more detrimental than alcohol. The other side to that is that the other drugs which take up a TINY portion of the total deaths, are probably much more benign than alcohol (again in and of themselves).

The only other factor not really taken into account here is if there are other risk factors associated with drugs/alcohol that will skew these numbers, and will they do so evenly for both. Currently obtaining cocaine would likely be much more dangerous an activity than obtaining alcohol. Does this skew the data somewhat? Are cocaine users dying to other factors related to using cocaine before the cocaine can actually kill them? The same can be said for alcohol too. Do alcohol users die to other things before their liver gets destroyed by alcohol (that was the largest % of the alcohol induced deaths)?

Its not super clear to just say "well alcohol causes X amount of deaths and its legal" as an argument to make other drugs legal.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 28, 2010 7:33 pm UTC

Chen wrote:Currently obtaining cocaine would likely be much more dangerous an activity than obtaining alcohol.

Really? In most places it's just a matter of knowing the phone number of a local dealer, who brings stuff to people. The risks are much higher up in the chain, at the level of organized trafficking.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri May 28, 2010 8:05 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Thise are reasons to be in favor of a ban on alcohol, not reasons to favor legalization of other substances. There are enough drugs that are good rape drugs, or that cause you to drive bad. The reason alcohol is so much bigger in the statistics is because it is easily available, not because it so much worse.

As bad as it is remember what a disaster prohibition was?
Think about the sheer number of people who drink compared to the ones harmed by it. Drinkers make up a huge chunk of the population.

How much serious crime never gets reported because the victims were involved with drugs and feared arrest?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zamfir » Fri May 28, 2010 8:22 pm UTC

Sockmonkey wrote:
Zamfir wrote:Thise are reasons to be in favor of a ban on alcohol, not reasons to favor legalization of other substances. There are enough drugs that are good rape drugs, or that cause you to drive bad. The reason alcohol is so much bigger in the statistics is because it is easily available, not because it so much worse.

As bad as it is remember what a disaster prohibition was?
Think about the sheer number of people who drink compared to the ones harmed by it. Drinkers make up a huge chunk of the population.


I am not arguing in favour of prohibition*. Just a against a particular argument that roughly goes "Alcohol is bad and we allow that, so we should allow other bad things too".



I can't remember it sharply, to be honest. It was a long time ago, and my memory isn't what it used to be. Don't know what caused that.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri May 28, 2010 8:40 pm UTC

Must have been the drugs. :wink:
But yeah, I get what you were saying. I was just trying to make the point that the argument you were arguing against was trying to make but didn't quite pull off.
Did that make sense?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Wnderer » Fri May 28, 2010 9:27 pm UTC

This is way too broad a question to have a yes or no answer. Does society have a right to decide what drugs should be legal and under what context? Of Course. But which drugs and in what contexts and what constitutes society? Alcohol and tobacco are legal but there are laws against drinking and driving and public drunkenness and smoking in public places. There are age limits. And at what level of government should this be decided at? If one state has a drinking age of eighteen and another has one of twenty-one, is it the fault of the state with the lower drinking age that the underage citizens of other state head for their bars on the weekend? Should a parent be arrested for serving wine to a sixteen year old with dinner? How about a six year old? How about shots of tequila? What business is it of Arkansas, if California want to legalize Marijuana? What business is it of the US if Afghanistan wants to grow opium. Who pays for the rehab of drug addicts? The emphysema of smokers? Only a strict libertarian, would say let anyone do anything they want, then let them suffer the consequences and rot. None of these questions have a single right answer. They all depend on the culture, society and government of the people in question.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby nitePhyyre » Sat May 29, 2010 6:21 am UTC

Chen wrote:From those links I found: http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/dea ... -story.htm

We can see here over 20 years there were ~44.7k deaths due to illegal drugs. 22.7k from accidental heroin overdose and 15.5k from accidental cocaine overdose. In the same timeframe ~379k people died to alcohol induced causes (directly from alcohol, not indirect things like drunk driving deaths).

It doesn't make sense to compare overdoses with alcohol related deaths. Alcohol related deaths include things like drinking until your liver pickles. Overdoses are when you take too much and die with the needle still in your arm. It would be more useful to compare overdose with alcohol poisoning.
Accidental alcohol poisoning mortality in the United States, 1996-1998 - NIAAA'S Epidemiological Bulletin No.40 wrote:The annual average number of deaths for which alcohol poisoning was listed as an underlying cause was 317, with an age-adjusted death rate of 0.11 per 100,000 population. An average of 1,076 additional deaths included alcohol poisoning as a contributing cause, bringing the total number of deaths with any mention of alcohol poisoning to 1,393 per year (0.49 per 100,000 population)


Chen wrote:The question which I could not find the answer to is how the %s stack up. Clearly there are TONS more people who use alcohol than those who use heroin or cocaine. The numbers show alcohol causes ~16.6 times the number of deaths than cocaine does (directly). I'd imagine there are more than 16 times the number of people who use alcohol regularly than those who use cocaine regularly but I couldn't find any hard data for that.

Well, looking here we can see that 98.7% of the population have never used heroin, 85.6% of the population have never used cocaine, and only 17.4% of the population have never used alcohol.

Chen wrote:Considering heroin and cocaine take up a MASSIVE part of the total number of deaths due to illegal drugs, I'd be willing to go out on a limb (unless proven wrong) to say they are probably more detrimental than alcohol. The other side to that is that the other drugs which take up a TINY portion of the total deaths, are probably much more benign than alcohol (again in and of themselves).

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It would be interesting to see where OTC drugs fall on that scale. I've heard many times that ecstasy is less harmful than tylenol.

Chen wrote:The only other factor not really taken into account here is if there are other risk factors associated with drugs/alcohol that will skew these numbers, and will they do so evenly for both. Currently obtaining cocaine would likely be much more dangerous an activity than obtaining alcohol. Does this skew the data somewhat? Are cocaine users dying to other factors related to using cocaine before the cocaine can actually kill them? The same can be said for alcohol too. Do alcohol users die to other things before their liver gets destroyed by alcohol (that was the largest % of the alcohol induced deaths)?

Its not super clear to just say "well alcohol causes X amount of deaths and its legal" as an argument to make other drugs legal.

It really is though. Not just deaths mind you. Reading about the effects of the war on drugs is IDENTICAL to readin about the effects of prohibition.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Jplus » Sat May 29, 2010 2:53 pm UTC

The Henningfield and Benowitz ratings (bottom of the page) give a somewhat different impression of the relative addictiveness and destructiveness of the drugs than the graph shown above.

Just to show a different account on drugs comparison.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby tastelikecoke » Sat May 29, 2010 3:16 pm UTC

How would it go to the point-of-no-return-you-will-get-high-drugs like heroin?

A version I promulgate:
Drug land? It's illegal to use drugs, except for this place and because of that drug users will clump in this area, but the place will be highly discouraging as drug users roam around this area. This area will be provided with great service.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Plutori » Sat May 29, 2010 5:44 pm UTC

I'll just leave this here.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Chen » Tue Jun 01, 2010 1:16 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:Really? In most places it's just a matter of knowing the phone number of a local dealer, who brings stuff to people. The risks are much higher up in the chain, at the level of organized trafficking.


There's still a larger risk than going to a bar and buying a beer. Even if the danger is higher up on the chain stuff like that CAN trickle down. Non-drug dealers can still get caught in fallout between drug dealers. It seems like it would be more likely to occur if you were actually frequently AROUND drug dealers. I'm simply saying there is more risk in going to get some heroine than going to get a beer.

nitePhyyre wrote:It doesn't make sense to compare overdoses with alcohol related deaths. Alcohol related deaths include things like drinking until your liver pickles. Overdoses are when you take too much and die with the needle still in your arm. It would be more useful to compare overdose with alcohol poisoning.
Accidental alcohol poisoning mortality in the United States, 1996-1998 - NIAAA'S Epidemiological Bulletin No.40 wrote:The annual average number of deaths for which alcohol poisoning was listed as an underlying cause was 317, with an age-adjusted death rate of 0.11 per 100,000 population. An average of 1,076 additional deaths included alcohol poisoning as a contributing cause, bringing the total number of deaths with any mention of alcohol poisoning to 1,393 per year (0.49 per 100,000 population)


With such a significantly lower usage that would imply that Cocaine and Heroine are much more dangerous substances in an acute manner. Comparing the total deaths by drugs (which also included more long term effects, they were just fairly low on the number of deaths) to the total deaths by alcohol, seemed like a more reasonable comparison. Just because alcohol doesn't kill you right away doesn't mean its not dangerous.

Well, looking here we can see that 98.7% of the population have never used heroin, 85.6% of the population have never used cocaine, and only 17.4% of the population have never used alcohol.


Good to know.

Its not super clear to just say "well alcohol causes X amount of deaths and its legal" as an argument to make other drugs legal.


It really is though. Not just deaths mind you. Reading about the effects of the war on drugs is IDENTICAL to readin about the effects of prohibition.


My point was just because its already legal isn't a good reason to make drugs also legal. Saying that we've seen the impact of banning alcohol and its similar to what we currently see with banning drugs and thus should legalize drugs is a far more detailed and backed up statement. I have no problem with that.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Midnight » Tue Jun 08, 2010 5:01 am UTC

Diadem wrote:
Jplus wrote:like ground fluorescent lamps in cocaine (as a cheap filler)


The stuff they add to drugs is criminal.



Heh. I laughed at that.



ANYWAYS, I say yes, cause it'd make them cheaper (or not cheaper because the government just tosses a 2000% sin tax on them and makes some money for public education).

and if you're really stupid and really wanna kill yourself on crystal meth? more power to you. The government (and therefore the people) get money because you were a complete idiot. It's new darwinism.
uhhhh fuck.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby HermanBlount » Tue Jun 08, 2010 2:59 pm UTC

Go ahead an legalize it. However, you'll have to forgo the 2000% sin tax. All that will do is make the current black market for drugs a viable competitor for the legit businesses. The black market for drugs has been going on for a long time now. They have the production and distribution infrastructure to stay in the game if you artificially inflate the price of the legal product. Not only that, once you legalize drugs, the risk-factor of the black market operations drops significantly which further cuts their costs.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby nitePhyyre » Tue Jun 08, 2010 6:54 pm UTC

Thing is there is already a large markup by virtue of drugs being illegal. The prices of the black market are artificially inflated due to the inherent danger of being a drug dealer/smuggler. Legalize it, the price drops, then add tax to bring it back to near-current levels. Use the income to pay for universal healthcare/rehab. Couple this with the government issuing production licences with the condition that they only deal with the government, and not many people would risk dealing with the black market.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby HermanBlount » Wed Jun 09, 2010 4:23 pm UTC

nitePhyyre wrote:Thing is there is already a large markup by virtue of drugs being illegal. The prices of the black market are artificially inflated due to the inherent danger of being a drug dealer/smuggler. Legalize it, the price drops...


That's almost exactly what I said, but we draw different conclusions. If you raise the cost of the legal product to what the current illegal product costs, the black market can undercut you because their cost of business is now much lower and all of their infrastructure is already in place. They don't need a license, FDA approval, quality control, or pay any taxes. In addition the penalty for getting caught would would be far less severe than it is currently.

Yes, ridiculously high cigarette taxes has caused cigarette smuggling to occur. (Not the best example, since there wasn't previously an illegal cigarette trade and they weren't ever illegal. However as the sin taxes become more and more unreasonable, drug cartels will add tobacco to their list of products.)
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby meatyochre » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:29 pm UTC

I think the thread could benefit with an explanation of when and why the drugs under discussion were made illegal in the first place. I mean, cocaine was legal until the 1900s, and even used as an additive in coca-cola (get it?? :P).

I certainly don't understand why non-lethal psychotropics like pot and mushrooms were ever illegalized, except that they make people feel happy and complacent while accomplishing nothing meaningful, and government doesn't like that.

So this is more or less a request for information.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Jessica » Wed Jun 09, 2010 5:53 pm UTC

I remember seeing a show about the illegalization of drugs, and the main reason I remember them talking about was racism. Mainly that certain drugs were mainly used by certain minority groups, and the majority wanted them to stop. So they started anti-drug campaigns (like reefer madness) and laws to stop this.

Of course, I need more sources for this. I'm just saying that I remember that being a part of it.

Ooo some sources!
The law which made opiates and cocaine distribution illegal. Quoting from the article "The drafters played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs"

Also from The Marijuana tax act of 37 "The bill was passed in order to destroy the hemp industry[2][3], largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[2][3]"
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Bubbles McCoy » Wed Jun 09, 2010 7:47 pm UTC

Jessica wrote:The law which made opiates and cocaine distribution illegal. Quoting from the article "The drafters played on fears of “drug-crazed, sex-mad negroes” and made references to Negroes under the influence of drugs murdering whites, degenerate Mexicans smoking marijuana, and “Chinamen” seducing white women with drugs"

Also from The Marijuana tax act of 37 "The bill was passed in order to destroy the hemp industry[2][3], largely as an effort of businessmen Andrew Mellon, Randolph Hearst, and the Du Pont family.[2][3]"

To be fair, these would have undoubtedly been banned later in the sixties and seventies regardless. I doubt making LSD illegal was done out of racism; the modern dichotomy between crack and powder sentencing is much more racially damning here then the basis for illegality in the thirties.


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