Legalising drugs?

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Cleverbeans
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Cleverbeans » Thu Jun 10, 2010 2:53 am UTC

Bubbles McCoy wrote:To be fair, these would have undoubtedly been banned later in the sixties and seventies regardless.


Even pot? I figured the recent movement to decriminalize largely got it's legs due to widespread use in the 60s.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby nitePhyyre » Thu Jun 10, 2010 5:26 am UTC

When they banned MJ it was because of "those damned dirty Mexicans".
In the sixties it just would have been "those damned dirty hippies".
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Sockmonkey » Thu Jun 10, 2010 7:53 am UTC

Also, back in the 20s and 30s people weren't educated about drugs so the problems were greater than they would be now if they were legal.
It wasn't much better in the 60s since essentially one side side was saying they were harmless and the other said they made your head explode.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Headshrinker » Sat Jun 12, 2010 7:32 am UTC

HermanBlount wrote:
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.)


You could say the same about pizza. If I wanted to set up a shop I could undercut a legitimate business by not getting FDA approval, not getting taxes or cutting back on all the governmental stuff. I don’t think the black market would win this.

Not to mention every country all ready has large (legal)drug distribution companies. The legit businesses have the superior frame work.
(Why would the black markets cost drop? they are all still taking the risk of breaking laws, we could leave the punishments the same as the moment)

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Cleverbeans » Tue Jun 22, 2010 12:42 am UTC

foxfire666 wrote:But legalizing hard drugs ... doesn't sound logical to me.


Define hard drugs? You included XTC, but didn't include alchohol - why?
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby meatyochre » Tue Jun 22, 2010 1:36 am UTC

ecstasy is a pretty soft drug, or at least it would be if it was ever sold in pure form. it's nearly 100% certain to be cut with other substances.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby redgrowth » Tue Jun 22, 2010 4:34 am UTC

meatyochre wrote:ecstasy is a pretty soft drug, or at least it would be if it was ever sold in pure form. it's nearly 100% certain to be cut with other substances.

Maybe relatively speaking, but MDMA makes you stupid in the long run. I don't remember the mechanism, but I think it has to do with shortening serotonergic axons, which also shrink some as you age.

Some hard drugs like heroin, aren't that bad. Basically the only inherent problems with heroin (and other opiates) is addiction. It's fairly cheap, and might compete with alcohol on price if it was legal.

I'm a fan of legalize everything, stick warning labels on them, and sell drugs in special stores that require ID to enter. No matter how harmful drugs are, gang violence is much much worse, and gang violence is funded mostly by drug trafficking.

At a minimum I think marijuana, and all psychedelics (LSD, shrooms, salvia, etc.) should be legalized. Also, crack should carry the same penalty as cocaine. The current laws against crack are very biased against poor people.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby recurve boy » Thu Oct 28, 2010 8:34 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote: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 only recently heard about California maybe legalizing pot. So I was thinking about this recently. I agree that that argument is bad.

For whatever reason, smoking and alcohol are socially acceptable and legal. I think this is why we have a large problem with them. What happens when someone reaches legal age? They do the things that were illegal before. This is made worse since these substances are really easy to get and acceptable. With everyone doing it, there are much more instances for bad things to happen.

I think this is why prohibition was such a disaster before. You can't just ban things that were OK yesterday. If we look at how we dealt with smoking for instance, rather than ban it, which we knew would not have gone down well, they slowly made social changes. And now smokers are pretty much regulated to back alleys if they want to smoke.

We're doing the same thing with alcohol. Trying to reduce alcohol consumption by introducing social changes.

This is the problem with legalizing drugs. They never became acceptable before we banned them. And they are clearly not desirable. If we go down the road of legalizing it until they become mainstream because it seemed like the best thing to do at the time, how do we get rid of them again? How do we know it won't become as big a problem as alcohol, or worse? How do we know that the culture of a country will handle legalization well?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby savanik » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:42 pm UTC

recurve boy wrote:
Zamfir wrote: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 only recently heard about California maybe legalizing pot. So I was thinking about this recently. I agree that that argument is bad.

...

This is the problem with legalizing drugs. They never became acceptable before we banned them. And they are clearly not desirable. If we go down the road of legalizing it until they become mainstream because it seemed like the best thing to do at the time, how do we get rid of them again? How do we know it won't become as big a problem as alcohol, or worse? How do we know that the culture of a country will handle legalization well?


I have to agree that argument is bad, but for a wholly different reason. It presumes that alcohol is 'bad'. False premises lead to false conclusions.

Let's take something that I think we can all agree is irresponsible and directly leads to deaths: Drunk driving. In 1982, there were 43,495 traffic fatalities - of these, 26,173 were alcohol related.
Spoiler:
The definition of what counts as 'alcohol related' is another debate entirely and will not be addressed here.
In 2008, there were 37,261 traffic fatalities, and of these, 13,846 were alcohol related. As you can see, great strides have been made in reducing traffic fatalities due to alcohol. Kudos. And that's without banning alcohol at all. One more piece of data, though. There were 616,067 deaths due to heart disease last year. Now, which is worse, driving while drunk - or eating fatty foods?

The argument of 'X is not good for you, and is therefore bad for you, and is therefore illegal' can be made with regards to just about anything. Alcohol can be safe - in moderation. Ditto with tobacco, or McDonald's, or salt, or computers, you name it. Overuse can have severe, detrimental effects, certainly, but who gets to decide what might be a safe level when it varies from person to person?

Regarding marijuana as 'never being acceptable' - its criminalization is a fairly recent thing. Before the 1900's, pretty much nobody cared about marijuana's legality. It was first attacked in the early 1900's on the state level - to crack down on Mexican immigrants in the west who regularly used it. Then it was torpedoed in the 1930's by DuPont, who saw hemp as competing with their wood pulp processes. In both cases, they vilified the narcotic effects of the drugs to get the public to cry for its criminalization, but the underlying reasons had nothing to do with any health effects.

So now, marijuana is a schedule 1 drug. That's the same category as heroin. Even cocaine is schedule 2, useful for some rare medical applications under supervision. If you were to step back and look at the effects without looking at the history of the drug, I'm pretty sure that you wouldn't classify is as such. I find the idea that we continue to consider marijuana to be a schedule 1 drug (high potential for abuse, no medical purposes, not even possible applications while under medical supervision) when it was originally criminalized for political and corporate reasons to be a travesty of law.

That said, even if they legalize it on the federal level, I'm never going to smoke it, so my opinion may well be colored.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Thu Oct 28, 2010 10:58 pm UTC

In 2008, there were 37,261 traffic fatalities, and of these, 13,846 were alcohol related. As you can see, great strides have been made in reducing traffic fatalities due to alcohol. Kudos. And that's without banning alcohol at all. One more piece of data, though. There were 616,067 deaths due to heart disease last year. Now, which is worse, driving while drunk - or eating fatty foods?


Eating fatty foods doesn't cause people who happen to be in the same restaurant die; this is a very important difference from alcohol in relation to driving.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby krazykomrade » Fri Oct 29, 2010 1:54 am UTC

The way I see it there are three main arguments for legalization:

First, there is the consistency argument, which works by arguing that some or all illegal drugs are significantly analogous to legal drugs such as tobacco and alcohol that it is legally inconsistent for us to maintain the status quo. The implication is that it is self-evident that making the currently legal drugs illegal won't work, so therefore we ought to make the illegal ones legal. I don't find this to be a terribly strong argument because as Frank Zappa said, "The United States of America is a nation of laws; poorly written and randomly enforced". Our laws are inconsistent all the time, and while everyone might agree that we ought to make them consistent, that's not a problem unique to the legalization of drugs, and in fact there are more clear-cut and easy ways to remedy legal inconsistency than that. If anything, that our drugs laws are inconsistent makes them more consistent with American laws as a whole. Additionally, this argument is only relative to the existing laws of certain nations, so you're left with the possible thought that America ought to have all (or more) drugs legalized to be consistent, but other nations ought to illegalize tobacco to be consistent if their existing legal structure is significantly different from ours. A stronger argument would have a more universal application, rather than differ from time to time and place to place. Furthermore, this would only work for some illegal drugs, not all (or at the very least, it would work significantly better for some drugs rather than others, as some are more relevantly analogous than others).

The second argument form is a consequentialist argument, which claims that the consequences of drug legalization are superior to the consequences of maintaining the status quo. The consequences could be the number of people killed, the amount of crime (especially violent crime), public health, public well-being, the amount of taxes we have to spent versus other uses for that funding, or even pure economic efficiency. I think the evidence strongly, and in regards to specific drugs, overwhelmingly, supports this argument. The problem is that overwhelmingly is not "completely", and sometimes there is room for debate. This is problematically compounded by the significant amount of bad science, misinformation, and lies spread by a number of government and non-government agencies in an attempt to justify existing power structures. Things like John Ricaurte's "studies" on MDMA and John Olney's work on dissociatives are still frequently cited as "evidence" against the consequentialist argument, and countless claims about marijuana which seem to be based off of Reefer Madness are routinely used in informal discussion. Once one weeds through all the propaganda (teehee), not only does the evidence strongly support this argument, but it supports it for nearly all illegal drugs. So when faced with the consequentialist argument, you either have to accept that nearly all drugs ought to be legalized, or simply reject consequences as a valid (or primary) criterion for legalization. (Or, more commonly, instead cherry pick your evidence in such a manner so as to invert this argument)

The third, and I believe strongest, argument is the deonotological argument (which Gelsamel brought up earlier), which asserts that one has some sort of fundamental ownership and right to one's own body (or consciousness) and to do to one's own body as one pleases, and the government is violating such a right via current drugs laws. The government is somehow implicitly claiming some right to ownership over people's bodies by using force and coercion to control what they are and are not able to do to them. This is completely morally unjustified, regardless of the consequences people are doing to themselves. Of course, the government is justified in preventing me from accessing it's stores of military smallpox to put in my body, because "Your right to swing your arms ends where my nose begins" to quote Holmes. However, unlike the smallpox virus, illegal drugs can be used in a manner that do not harm others (involuntarily), and our laws ought to be structured in such a manner as to respect people's right to their own bodies (or consciousnesses), while limiting or preventing violations of other's rights. This would not mean making everything from marijuana to heroin as easily available as french fries, or even alcohol or cigarettes, but rather some more complex system (I'm fond of the "licensing" concept, myself) which is crafted after careful study of scientific evidence of each particular drug to minimize net (body/consciousness) rights violations.

Spoiler for splitting hairs over terminology:
Spoiler:
meatyochre wrote:ecstasy is a pretty soft drug, or at least it would be if it was ever sold in pure form. it's nearly 100% certain to be cut with other substances.

That's because ecstasy is supposed to be cut with something; that's the point. Ecstasy = mdma + x, where x is another stimulant or psychoactive drug which has a potentiating effect (and a cost cutting effect, of course). Pure, uncut MDMA isn't called ecstasy at all, it's called "molly" or "mdma" (amongst many other regional terms), and it exists as a separate product in separate markets, and overall isn't any more or less difficult to obtain than ecstasy. Similarly, cocaine and crack are sold by different people, to different people, and each meet separate market demands; it would be silly to say "crack is almost 100% certain to be sold in freebase form, rather than as pure cocaine".

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zanmanoodle » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:03 am UTC

On more philosophical grounds, the best argument for legalization of drugs is, as stated many times above, the assertion of individual rights. Your body is yours, and you can do whatever the hell you want with it. On a personal note, I have serious moral complaints with illicit and mind-altering substances, but that's a personal thing. I think we can agree: individual rights come first.

The thing is, it gets stickier when the use of a drug has negative effects on people other than the individual taking the drugs. The biggest problem I have is parents that would (or already do, today) let their child starve so the parent could get some more dope. I know it sounds a bit cliche, but it only takes one kid in a backyard accident to lose his life because their parents were too stoned. For me, someone's right to live is superior to others' right to get stoned. Driving has a similar problem, as you are a danger to others on the road. Harder drugs, such as meth or PCP, might result in the user completely freaking out and seriously injuring someone. Another problem is the use of drugs by those of a younger age. If legalization were brought into effect, it would be much easier for kids to sneak into their parent's special cabinet (or get some from a less responsible parent) than it would be for them to acquire a completely controlled substance.


In conclusion: Marijuana on it's own is pretty harmless, and should be subjected to similar regulations as tobacco and alcohol. No driving while stoned, no giving it to minors, no operating heavy machinery, etc. It's no more dangerous than alcohol, probably less so.

On the other side, the benefits of legalizing drugs such as heroin, cocaine, and meth, (a fulfillment of individual rights of the user) are overruled by the negative consequences. (injury to those around the user, loss of life, kids not really given a chance)

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Gelsamel » Fri Oct 29, 2010 7:42 am UTC

Kids can get their hands on any drugs they want pretty damn easily.

In any case I say we punish people for the crime, not try to scapegoat drugs. If you run over someone or starve your child then you go get charged for running over someone or starving someone, whether you were intoxicated or not (Though, of course, mens rea plays a part in the sentence). The US allows citizens to own guns for this very reasons. People who shoot people should go to jail for shooting people, not for having a gun.

In any case, children die from neglect for a myriad of reasons. Parents just momentarily distracted. Stressed out. Playing video games. None of these things warrants banning being distracted, stress, or video games. And while bad consequences can come about from neglect, it does not actively infringe people's rights.

By being high you don't infringe a dependant's right to live because you don't actively kill them by being high. If you freak out on a drug and killed someone then your crime should be murder, not taking a drug.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Sockmonkey » Fri Oct 29, 2010 9:58 am UTC

Once you legalize something the black market for it pretty much dries up provided the legal route is cheaper.
It becomes harder for minors to get a hold of it unless they have an adult willing to buy for them.
Kids have tried to sell pot to me.
When a street gang opens up a crate of shiny new automatic weapons to take out rival gangs with, (and a number of innocent bystanders) where do you think the money to buy them came from?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby General_Norris » Fri Oct 29, 2010 12:21 pm UTC

savanik wrote:. One more piece of data, though. There were 616,067 deaths due to heart disease last year. Now, which is worse, driving while drunk - or eating fatty foods?

You assume that all heart diseases are caused by "fatty foods".

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby savanik » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:30 pm UTC

mmmcannibalism wrote:
In 2008, there were 37,261 traffic fatalities, and of these, 13,846 were alcohol related. As you can see, great strides have been made in reducing traffic fatalities due to alcohol. Kudos. And that's without banning alcohol at all. One more piece of data, though. There were 616,067 deaths due to heart disease last year. Now, which is worse, driving while drunk - or eating fatty foods?


Eating fatty foods doesn't cause people who happen to be in the same restaurant die; this is a very important difference from alcohol in relation to driving.


You are correct - the proper analogy would be that running the restaurant is akin to driving the car, and driving it badly (serving fatty foods) causes everyone in the restaurant to die. Thus, the proper course of action to take would be to ban all restaurants from serving fatty foods.

General_Norris wrote:You assume that all heart diseases are caused by "fatty foods".


Also true, many other things have been linked to heart disease. Health critics have been targeting any number of foods or behaviors that can cause heart disease, including trans fats, salt, smoking, and lack of exercise - all of these which officials have used for reasons to regulate how, where, when, and ultimately why you live.

That last article is particularly telling - if you search, you'll find various other articles by people saying we should nationally mandate exercise to save health care (thank the gods, no one serious yet). It's not enough for some people to forbid you to be bad. They also want to require you to be good.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Oct 29, 2010 6:50 pm UTC

You are correct - the proper analogy would be that running the restaurant is akin to driving the car, and driving it badly (serving fatty foods) causes everyone in the restaurant to die. Thus, the proper course of action to take would be to ban all restaurants from serving fatty foods.


Nope; serving unhealthy food(especially when it is well understood to not be healthy) is not the actions of one person causing harm to another. You can serve super death burgers laced with cyanide and uranium; the cause of my death is still directly related to my choice to eat it. Someone driving doesn't get to choose if another person is driving safely.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby iChef » Sat Oct 30, 2010 1:30 am UTC

I'm going to have to side with legalizing all drugs, but only distributing them through closed channels.
While cannabis is probably no more harmful than booze. A great service could be done for people currently addicted to hard drugs.
The way heroin addiction is treated in the US is deplorable. Methadone clinics are subsidized by the government. They charge (at least in my area)
$200 up front then $70 a week. They are not designed to ever get you off drugs, they tend to slowly increase your dosage over time until you are
"stabilized" which is usually at their maximum allowable level (around 140mg) due to tolerance. Basically you go from addicted to heroin to addicted to methadone.
If you can no longer pay you are "detoxed" for three days with decreasing dosages then cut off. after this you typically go into withdraw for 10 - 30 days. Methadone withdraw is much worse than heroin withdraw. If heroin could be provided in clinics with clean needles and under the supervision of doctors many lives could be saved. The people who really want help could get it and those who don't could at least be less of a risk to themselves and the community. There are also better drugs for getting off heroin such as suboxone. The government won't fund suboxone because they make money off the methadone clinics.

Grouping all illegal drugs together is the most harmful policy possible. I remember being told how marijuana would destroy my life, it didn't and I felt lied to.
I remember how I was told that MDMA was addictive, it wasn't, lied to again. So when heroin came around I figured all the stories were more lies and propaganda, they weren't. The current method of handling drugs, at least here is the US is just as if not more harmful than the drugs themselves. I'm sorry i don't have links but I am reporting first hand from the front lines on the war on drugs. In 12 years all I have to show for it are 3 felony convictions. Out of my two best friends in high school one is roaming the streets of St. Louis homeless, I found the other dead of an overdose about a year and a half ago in the rooms i was renting him. My last girlfriend is in the hospital with kidney failure due to shooting drugs. Three other close friends have killed themselves on purpose, 2 with drugs one with a gun.

Drugs are not a game, not something to be taken lightly, but locking people in jail, taking away their futures is not right. The War on Drugs is a war on our communities, a war on our families, a war on ourselves. I guess I don't know what the answer is but it's not this, it can't be this.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby CorruptUser » Sat Oct 30, 2010 7:00 am UTC

I think I have another one for the list; cannabis is a gateway "dealing" drug. I don't think any sane person wakes up one morning and says "gee, I think I'll start selling heroin!". Drug dealers start off with small things, like cannabis, learning the 'trade', before moving into heavier stuff. Legalizing cannabis reduces the "training" that drug dealers get, making drug dealers less skilled, meaning easier to deal with.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby anterovipunen » Sat Oct 30, 2010 2:03 pm UTC

Interesting talk at Liverpool University by Professor Gilmore last week:

http://news.sky.com/skynews/Home/UK-New ... 8315688964

His argument that "All drugs should be legalised" has been blown out of proportion by the media (as always). His actual argument is:

All drugs should be available legally from a registered medical source but only IF:
You are a registered drug addict

His aim seems to be to tackle the mess that goes on behind drug addiction: trafficking, dealing and crime.

It also forces drug addicts to engage with health services to buy legal drugs and so gives the opportunity to screen for HIV/Hepatitis and offer help.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby krazykomrade » Sat Oct 30, 2010 8:50 pm UTC

anterovipunen wrote:All drugs should be available legally from a registered medical source but only IF:
You are a registered drug addict

It also forces drug addicts to engage with health services to buy legal drugs and so gives the opportunity to screen for HIV/Hepatitis and offer help.


Is Professor Gilmore talking about all illegal drugs, or just heroin? What about non-addictive illegal drugs?

As regards heroin, which he seems to be talking the most about, I don't see how what he is proposing is all that different from current methadone systems, other than he's suggesting letting addicts use actual heroin. I also don't see how this would prevent addicts from stealing or committing crime in order to get the funds to buy more heroin; it's not being given out for free, right?

While this sort of harm-reduction is a step in the right direction, I don't think his plan will accomplish his goals of significantly tackling the the crime, trafficking, and tax expense of current drug policy, because the majority of that is fueled by drug demand of non-addicts. Regulating all drugs such that they can be legally purchased if you simply want to do them would accomplish his goal much better.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby elasto » Sun Oct 31, 2010 6:51 am UTC

krazykomrade wrote:As regards heroin, which he seems to be talking the most about, I don't see how what he is proposing is all that different from current methadone systems, other than he's suggesting letting addicts use actual heroin. I also don't see how this would prevent addicts from stealing or committing crime in order to get the funds to buy more heroin; it's not being given out for free, right?

Well, if he's talking about the UK, then it probably would be free or as good as.

While this sort of harm-reduction is a step in the right direction, I don't think his plan will accomplish his goals of significantly tackling the the crime, trafficking, and tax expense of current drug policy, because the majority of that is fueled by drug demand of non-addicts. Regulating all drugs such that they can be legally purchased if you simply want to do them would accomplish his goal much better.
Softer drugs really should be available to buy; They won't do any more damage than people can already do to their bodies through bad diet, lack of exercise and other legal vices.

Harder drugs shouldn't be on general sale, though, but should be available as this guy suggests.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby big boss » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:40 am UTC

elasto wrote:
While this sort of harm-reduction is a step in the right direction, I don't think his plan will accomplish his goals of significantly tackling the the crime, trafficking, and tax expense of current drug policy, because the majority of that is fueled by drug demand of non-addicts. Regulating all drugs such that they can be legally purchased if you simply want to do them would accomplish his goal much better.
Softer drugs really should be available to buy; They won't do any more damage than people can already do to their bodies through bad diet, lack of exercise and other legal vices.

Harder drugs shouldn't be on general sale, though, but should be available as this guy suggests.


I think the main problem with harder drugs is not the harm they do to your body, but the fact that they can become so addicting that one needs to resort to crime to pay for them. If someone wants to harm themselves and risk all sorts of diseases by injecting themselves with heroin, fine by me, but the things they need to do to obtain the heroin (even if heroin is legal) can still be illegal. Most heroin addicts probably aren't the best specimens of humanity society has to offer...

edit: punctuation
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby elasto » Tue Nov 02, 2010 10:50 am UTC

big boss wrote:I think the main problem with harder drugs is not the harm they do to your body, but the fact that they can become so addicting that one needs to resort to crime to pay for them. If someone wants to harm themselves and risk all sorts of diseases by injecting themselves with heroin, fine by me, but the things they need to do to obtain the heroin (even if heroin is legal) can still be illegal. Most heroin addicts probably aren't the best specimens of humanity society has to offer...

There are two main problems with hard drugs to my mind:
- the long term damage they do to you - which isn't actually that much with, for example, heroin, but is, for example, with meth
- the addiction to the drug itself - which is only really a problem if you can no longer get it

Then there are two main problems with the most common approach of making hard drugs outright illegal, which would be eliminated if overturned
- poor quality control (eg the drug being cut with crap, overdose due to unexpectedly high purity etc.)
- enormous social costs due to crime, gang warfare, and high taxes funding the police and justice systems

Some Western governments have seen the light on this matter but it's going to take a long time, I fear.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zamfir » Tue Nov 02, 2010 12:33 pm UTC

elasto wrote:
big boss wrote:I think the main problem with harder drugs is not the harm they do to your body, but the fact that they can become so addicting that one needs to resort to crime to pay for them. If someone wants to harm themselves and risk all sorts of diseases by injecting themselves with heroin, fine by me, but the things they need to do to obtain the heroin (even if heroin is legal) can still be illegal. Most heroin addicts probably aren't the best specimens of humanity society has to offer...

There are two main problems with hard drugs to my mind:
- the long term damage they do to you - which isn't actually that much with, for example, heroin, but is, for example, with meth
- the addiction to the drug itself - which is only really a problem if you can no longer get it

I think you are missing at least one important category: addiction to drugs changes your life. From experience we know that this change is often (but not always) for the worse. That's still true if access to the drug is not a problem, and when there are no direct health risks.

That's the main problem with things like heroin and crack. Consumption of the drug often becomes the main focus of the addict's life, and things like their family, a job, friends crumple away until nothing is left. After that, stopping is even harder because there is nothing to return to. It's also a big driver for the link between addiction and petty crime: not because heroin is too expensive to pay from a normal job, but because holding a normal job is hard when you are addicted.

Serious alcohol and marijuana addicts suffer from the same problems, but with them it is not the common pattern for most users. For alcohol in particular we have elaborate social customs to control and restrict the use to a level that doesn't harm the rest of your life. Nicotine addicts can clearly function normally, which makes the addiction itself less of a problem (if it weren't for the cancer).

For "party drugs", like coke or XTC, you see that many users have a habit that is restricted to special occasions, often together with others. You then end up with a situation like limited alcohol use: people might cause problems when intoxicated, but the rest of the time there is little problem. But like alcohol, there is the risk of drug use taking over more and more of someone's life, especially if they are going through a bad period. And we have much less customs and traditions to keep coke use under control than we have for alcohol.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Winter Man » Tue Nov 02, 2010 5:34 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:marijuana addicts


Seriously? I know they can get pretty dependant sometimes, but calling them addicts implies an actual physical addiction.

edit: dependant's probably the wrong word. More 'maaaan I could really do with a joint but it's not the end of the world if I don't get one'
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby elasto » Tue Nov 02, 2010 8:14 pm UTC

Zamfir wrote:I think you are missing at least one important category: addiction to drugs changes your life. From experience we know that this change is often (but not always) for the worse. That's still true if access to the drug is not a problem, and when there are no direct health risks.

I think you're somewhat right, and it's why I personally would put heroin in the hard drug category (hence prescribed free of charge to proven addicts only) rather than the fully legalised soft drug category. However, if I had to guess I'd be pretty sure that a lot of middle class people throughout modern times have been addicted to opiates and still muddled through their lives more or less just fine - whether it's some Victorian doctor making liberal use of his supplies or some right-wing talkshow host hooked on oxycontin or whatever.

And to further temper your point, I'd point out that any number of legal addictions can work in just the same way - whether its gambling or Everquest. Any addiction can cost your job, your house or your marriage. On its own it's not enough of a reason to make something illegal imo. It's a reason to better educate honestly on the relative risks.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby krazykomrade » Tue Nov 02, 2010 9:11 pm UTC

On its own it's not enough of a reason to make something illegal imo. It's a reason to better educate honestly on the relative risks.

And to provide effective support structures to help addicts cope with those risks and disadvantageous "changes to one's life" payed for by taxation of the drug.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Midnight » Wed Nov 03, 2010 7:34 am UTC

It should all be legal and taxed. Many drugs are illegal because of racism (marijuana, or look at the disparity of punishment between crack possession and cocaine possession), which is pretty gosh-darn fucked up.
If you wanna shit out your own brains because you do meth, that's fine by me--at least my roads will be cleaner because of it, and at least my policemen are busy looking for rapists instead of your sorry ass.

I simply don't think drug possession is a good reason to be in jail. I fully support rehabilitative efforts.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby zookap » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:31 am UTC

I'm not completely sure but I don't think the topic of state vs federal enforcement of drug laws has come up. To me this is the main issue when it comes to drug laws. The US constitution does not grant the federal government the ability to pass laws prohibiting drug use, that power belongs to the states. Several states have decriminalized and even legalized pot at times but the federal government always warns and threatens and essentially overrides the state, which is not legal. All federal drug laws need to go and this debate needs to happen in our individual states.

Personally I am for the legalization of most drugs but care does need to be taken. For almost any drug, the most dangerous thing is not the physical effect it has (although some are very harmful) but the effect it can have on your life. If you're getting stoned all day nothing bad will happen to you but chances are you aren't doing your life properly. The reason this is important is because you cannot make a law saying drugs are legal, but you must use them responsibly. Yes, legalizing drugs will cause some people who otherwise wouldn't go and become an addict and possibly destroy their lives but that is no reason to have them illegal. Legalizing drugs, especially pot, would make everyone on average much, MUCH safer from them. First of all this would shut down the black market for drugs and generate thousands of jobs in every state. These new employees would then go about generating billions for that state! With the black market would go the Mexican drug cartels which cause MAJOR problems in areas of the south.

Also I see many people mentioning the FDA in the context that its opinions and rulings should even be considered. This is not so; there is simply to large a conflict of interest. They have too long a history with the Monsanto company (indeed the current head of the FDA is a former Monsanto) and frankly don't keep our food and drugs safe enough for me to trust their actions. It's no secret to anyone that much of what is in the supermarkets is very bad for you.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby traveltheory » Thu Nov 04, 2010 4:57 am UTC

American culture still strikes me as too immature to handle this. Until we stop glorifying pot we probably shouldnt legalize it.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Zamfir » Thu Nov 04, 2010 6:29 am UTC

traveltheory wrote:American culture still strikes me as too immature to handle this. Until we stop glorifying pot we probably shouldnt legalize it.

Is pot really more silly than Star Wars?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby cjmcjmcjmcjm » Fri Nov 05, 2010 5:20 am UTC

zookap wrote:I'm not completely sure but I don't think the topic of state vs federal enforcement of drug laws has come up. To me this is the main issue when it comes to drug laws. The US constitution does not grant the federal government the ability to pass laws prohibiting drug use, that power belongs to the states. Several states have decriminalized and even legalized pot at times but the federal government always warns and threatens and essentially overrides the state, which is not legal. All federal drug laws need to go and this debate needs to happen in our individual states.

Personally I am for the legalization of most drugs but care does need to be taken. For almost any drug, the most dangerous thing is not the physical effect it has (although some are very harmful) but the effect it can have on your life. If you're getting stoned all day nothing bad will happen to you but chances are you aren't doing your life properly. The reason this is important is because you cannot make a law saying drugs are legal, but you must use them responsibly. Yes, legalizing drugs will cause some people who otherwise wouldn't go and become an addict and possibly destroy their lives but that is no reason to have them illegal. Legalizing drugs, especially pot, would make everyone on average much, MUCH safer from them. First of all this would shut down the black market for drugs and generate thousands of jobs in every state. These new employees would then go about generating billions for that state! With the black market would go the Mexican drug cartels which cause MAJOR problems in areas of the south.

Also I see many people mentioning the FDA in the context that its opinions and rulings should even be considered. This is not so; there is simply to large a conflict of interest. They have too long a history with the Monsanto company (indeed the current head of the FDA is a former Monsanto) and frankly don't keep our food and drugs safe enough for me to trust their actions. It's no secret to anyone that much of what is in the supermarkets is very bad for you.

Your second paragraph confused me. First, is it our job whether or not you live your life "properly"? Second, you mean that the black market wrecking havoc on the South as the current condition, correct?
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby zookap » Fri Nov 05, 2010 6:08 am UTC

cjmcjmcjmcjm wrote:Your second paragraph confused me. First, is it our job whether or not you live your life "properly"? Second, you mean that the black market wrecking havoc on the South as the current condition, correct?


First, the comment that a pothead will come to no actual harm but is probably not doing his life properly was there to demonstrate that people need to be aware of what drugs are and what drug use is and to realize that some of the dangers of drug use are not to be tackled using laws. People actually do waste a good bit of their lives doing stupid stuff like not being sober for even an hour a day. Since many people here are talking about legalizing drugs but doing so in a safe way, this was just to point out that for some harmful effects of drugs, it isn't about making laws. Second, yes I mean that the drug cartels are certainly wreaking havoc in areas of the south.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby pollywog » Tue Nov 09, 2010 11:05 pm UTC

zookap wrote:First, the comment that a pothead will come to no actual harm but is probably not doing his life properly was there to demonstrate that people need to be aware of what drugs are and what drug use is and to realize that some of the dangers of drug use are not to be tackled using laws. People actually do waste a good bit of their lives doing stupid stuff like not being sober for even an hour a day. Since many people here are talking about legalizing drugs but doing so in a safe way, this was just to point out that for some harmful effects of drugs, it isn't about making laws.
People also waste large parts of their lives arguing about shit on the internet. In fact, I'd say that most of what people do is wasting time. That's what people do. You can't decide whether someone is not living properly. It's not up to you. If drugs are to become legal, then people can use them in any way they like, provided that use is not illegal (drink driving, drug driving, working while high, all of which happens anyway.)
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby zookap » Thu Nov 11, 2010 3:39 pm UTC

pollywog wrote:
zookap wrote:First, the comment that a pothead will come to no actual harm but is probably not doing his life properly was there to demonstrate that people need to be aware of what drugs are and what drug use is and to realize that some of the dangers of drug use are not to be tackled using laws. People actually do waste a good bit of their lives doing stupid stuff like not being sober for even an hour a day. Since many people here are talking about legalizing drugs but doing so in a safe way, this was just to point out that for some harmful effects of drugs, it isn't about making laws.
People also waste large parts of their lives arguing about shit on the internet. In fact, I'd say that most of what people do is wasting time. That's what people do. You can't decide whether someone is not living properly. It's not up to you. If drugs are to become legal, then people can use them in any way they like, provided that use is not illegal (drink driving, drug driving, working while high, all of which happens anyway.)


I don't get it, why are you saying this to me?

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Griffin » Thu Nov 11, 2010 9:45 pm UTC

As far as addiction goes - a big part of its damage, from the studies that were done, is caused when the rest of a persons life is crap. When they have something else (a family, a good job) they can often manage both being addicted and living a productive life.

I've often heard people mention a study on rats (or the one on monkeys) where they were given a hit of some addictive compound (cocaine, in most of them) whenever they triggered a level (ability to self-administer), and they would repeatedly hit the lever until they died. What most people leave out is this was done on solitary rats/monkeys in small cages with no other pleasure outlet.

When the experiment was done on rats in living conditions mirroring natural conditions (expansive semi-natural living environment with other rats around and family units), they found the rats would often use enough of the drug, but not to the point where it was harmful to their lives.

For example:
Alexander, Peele, Hadaway et al., 1985
Johanson & Fischman, 1989, p. 24; cf. Wilson, Hitomi, & Schuster, 1971
http://www.peele.net/lib/cocaine.html

This isn't to say that anyone here has argued from that experiment, but I figure you guys might appreciate the links and the thoughts about addiction they entail.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby PhatPhungus » Sun Nov 28, 2010 12:21 am UTC

Definitely in favor of legalization of marijuana, I found this page helpful in seeing a lot of false reasons for making things illegal. One of the more interesting things in the article is that a study in the netherlands showed many people used marijuana as an alternative to harder drugs when it was decriminalized.

However:
wikipedia wrote:Another legend about PCP is that some people who have taken it have engaged in cannibalism and other bizarre acts of violence, and this one is unfortunately true. In 2002, for example, rapper Big Lurch did in fact do exactly that while under the influence of this substance, killing an acquaintance and eating her lung.[113][114] He was subsequently convicted and is currently serving a life sentence for murder. This incident then inspired an episode of the television crime drama CSI, in which an otherwise unassuming high school girl cannibalized a fellow student while on this drug. Another more recent case involved a California man eating his 4 year old son's eyeballs in 2009 while on PCP, leaving the child blind.[115] Though relatively rare, extreme and bizarre violence such as this does in fact occur on occasion among PCP users.


Which is why there are certainly drugs that should be kept illegal. I have a lot of trouble deciding whether cocaine and heroin are in that category, mostly because I have very little knowledge or experience with them. Things like LSD and 2C-Xs in principle I have no problem with, except that there might be some idiots who drive or operate other machinery while on them, which leads me to the next problem which is that we currently have breathalyzer tests for alcohol when driving, but we have no such tests for other drugs. I am not experienced enough with drugs to know whether there are reliable, observational methods of doing this. This leads to a bit of a catch 22 as we have no reason to create such a test as long as drugs remain illegal.
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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby Aldighieri » Mon Nov 29, 2010 1:51 am UTC

Legalize, with heavy taxing, also take out those nasty chemicals they put in it. And keep it illegal to smoke in public. I can barely tolerate cigarette smoke, I don't know how I would react to other types of smoking.

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Re: Legalising drugs?

Postby mmmcannibalism » Fri Dec 24, 2010 6:03 am UTC

http://www.drugwarrant.com/2010/12/pat-robertson-voice-of-sanity-in-the-drug-war/
(first source that seemed to discuss statement)

So pat robertson made comments to the effect that we need to reconsider the laws about possession of marijuana. Someone of his political persuasion saying this is rather promising.
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