Wednesday, June 18, 2008

Legalize It. Legalize Everything. Legal Is Better.

Of course medical marijuana should be legal. For adults, everything should be legal.

Banning drugs certainly hasn't kept young people from getting them. We can't even keep these drugs out of prisons. How do we expect to keep them out of America?

While drugs harm many, the drug war's black market harms more. Legal is better. And most importantly, in a free country, adults should have the right to harm themselves.


~John Stossel's latest column "Legalize All Drugs"

18 Comments:

At 6/18/2008 7:58 AM, Blogger matt said...

I see nothing but economic benefits in legalizing marijuana as a medicine. I'm optimistic about it's social benefits as well.

Why stop there, though? What if we do 'legalize everything'?

What about reconsidering the use of LSD as a psychotropic therapy aid a la the acid tests of the '60s? Or MDMA (ecstasy) as an anti-anxiety medicine?

Personally, I have no problems with any of the above uses. But we must consider the ramifications of legalizing it as medicine and be prepared to deal with the inevitable abuses.

 
At 6/18/2008 9:16 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Matt,

One of the primary reasons to legalize drugs is to give the public access to due process of law and consumer protection.

When one considers the tobacco industry or Vioxx, can you imagine the legal council for the Hell's Angels trying to explain to the Supreme Court that his client did not know that cocaine or crystal meth was addictive or produced adverse health effects such as brain damage. Can you imagine Justice Alito's reply to that one!

Producers would be required to meet all public safety standards, their income would be fully taxed, their industry would likely be subject to health care levies to support addiction treatment and associated costs relating to adverse health effects, and their industry would likely be subjected to massive class action suits.

In other words, drug dealers would bear the responsibilities of any other business while society would benefit from reduced costs relating to law enforcement and incarceration, increased excise and income tax revenue, lower drug prices and lower petty crime.

 
At 6/18/2008 10:02 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be better for society to remove laws against drugs, but it isn't just a question of letting adults harm themselves. The problem is pushers. People who actively try to get others addicted so they can squeeze all the money out of them that they can.

The more general form of this question is: In a free society does a clever shyster have the right to take advantage of an ignorant rube as long as no laws are broken? Probably, the answer is yes. So what laws do we pass to protect our children? Real estate, consumer credit, employment, etc, etc are highly regulated. How will we regulate drug sales?

 
At 6/18/2008 10:17 AM, Blogger bobble said...

"The problem is pushers. "

if everything is legalized, the pushers go away. where is their profit? you can just walk into a store and buy the same thing.

 
At 6/18/2008 10:28 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The problem with legalizing drugs is that unemployment would spike by maybe 1% overnight.

Consider all of the employment surrounding illegal drugs. Law enforcement personnel (not just police), Fire and EMT services, attorneys, justice system infrastructure like buildings, prisons, etc., prison guards, transportation services, support services and so on.

Consider that nearly one million incarcerated individuals might be released from prison because their crimes were to simply have drugs in their possession.

What would do you do with all the newly unemployed?

 
At 6/18/2008 10:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We have been treating the issue of illegal drugs as a societal problem and by doing so, enforcement has reduced supply raising prices creating an even greater incentive by making the industry more profitable. Legalization uses the law of supply and demand to the advantage of society rather than to the advantage of criminals.

One need also consider the societal cost of the diversion of youth from education and career paths to street trafficking.

Why work hard when with minimal effort, one can make a great deal of money. Assuming that these kids survive to 40, they find they have few job skills, a criminal record, little education, a spotty employment history and few opportunities. Often, they have dealt to support their own drug habit and most have burned through money as fast as they made it.

Few of us encounter this sub-culture in our society yet it exists.

 
At 6/18/2008 11:15 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Just a word of caution for anyone thinking that getting some MDMA (ecstasy) to self-medicate might be something else to "try."

Most of the MDMA on the street is cut with something else or is not even MDMA.

I agree however that combined with therapeutic guidance, MDMA shows great promise.

 
At 6/18/2008 11:43 AM, Blogger rufus said...

I don't know, man; all them lawyers on welfare? Sheesh, THAT sounds expensive.

 
At 6/18/2008 3:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"Legalize It. Legalize Everything. Legal Is Better"

Hmmm, so you think its a good idea that the whole country should look like Detroit, eh?

What does Stossel care, he doesn't live there...

 
At 6/18/2008 4:43 PM, Blogger K T Cat said...

Brain chemistry really isn't your forte', is it Mark?

Legalizing drugs is a stupid idea for biochemical reasons.

 
At 6/18/2008 4:56 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Juandos,

Aren't we glossing over a decade of declines in manufacturing especially in the auto sector and the present sub-prime problems?

This video is not exactly representative of much of Detroit. Having been in Detroit last fall, I found a lot more of these types of shacks:

http://travel.webshots.com/album/554085266cGNdaL

The alternative to legalization is the present War on Drugs:
http://www.drugpolicy.org/drugwar/

When do we recognize that this approach is economically challenged and just plain not working.

 
At 6/18/2008 5:17 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/ongoing/narco-terrorism.html

One also needs to consider the use of drug trafficking to finance international terrorism. What do you think financed 9-11?

kt cat,

I have to agree with your assertions regarding brain chemistry not to mention brain damage which is why I long supported criminalization.

There are many products which are harmful to human health. According to Health Canada, cigarette smoke produces over 4,000chemicals including 90 that are carcinegenic. There are also many prescription drugs that have dangerous side effects, for example, liver damage from SSRIs or muscle problems with Lipitor, but the patient is informed and monitored by their physician.

The question is whether we allow people to actually make choices or not. Do we make trans-fat illegal, for example?

 
At 6/18/2008 6:42 PM, Blogger K T Cat said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 6/19/2008 1:57 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

DRUGS NEED TO BE LEGALIZED!

Think of all the minority (& white) youth that would be "encouraged" to find alternate lines of work! A large segment of the population in inner city America is involved in narcotics trafficking. if this line of work was no longer profitable, they would have to aspire to be pro athletes, rap moguls, OR MAYBE productive members of society.

Crime would probably go down 75%. Why would someone steal, when they could have all the fixes they want for $5 a fix?

The war on drugs has cost MILLIONS of lives, especially in the inner city. It is a complete and abject failure.

 
At 6/19/2008 7:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Anon. 1:57,

Concur with your assessment. Drug trafficking offers a highly dangerous, lucrative, low skill job. There is an incredible waste of human capital here not to mention the associated violent crime and property crime.

BBC news reported last night that there have been 1400 people killed in the last year in Tijuana, Mexico. This community is seeing some of the worst violence in years.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/world_news&id=6111025

When do we consider that the war on drugs has failed?

Imagine what you could do with all of the money expended on incarceration and law enforcement if it was applied instead to health care and education or used to finance unfunded pension obligations? If Senator Obama proposed such a measure, we might take his claims of being the politician of change seriously.

 
At 6/19/2008 9:43 AM, Blogger K T Cat said...

Libertarianism works until it doesn't. One of the places it fails in the legalization of drugs. With drugs, it's not about the money. It's about the human cost associated with ingesting toxins that cause permanent brain damage.

Not everything is economics.

 
At 6/19/2008 12:23 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> People who actively try to get others addicted so they can squeeze all the money out of them that they can.

Don't be ridiculous. Legalize it and it's going to be sold over the counter in Walgreens, like Sudafed (which won't be sold over the counter, any more, by the way -- it'll be back out in the open with the concern about Meth dealers gone). You really think someone's going to be making big profits selling things at 50 cents a pop?

> What would do you do with all the newly unemployed?

Ask Obama. He needs to have a plan for much worse unemployment than that in place if his policies get implemented, anyway.


> enforcement has reduced supply raising prices creating an even greater incentive by making the industry more profitable.

No, it's worse than that. In 1985, the Gainesville, FL police department set out to shut down all marijuana sources in the area, and actually managed to succeed pretty well (I saw t-shirts that said "I survived the Great Gainesville Pot Famine, Summer 1985").

I knew people who smoked pot. They'd never done cocaine. When they could not get the pot, though, they did switch to cocaine.

If people want to get high, they are going to get high. -- even if they have to smoke banana peels.

> Hmmm, so you think its a good idea that the whole country should look like Detroit, eh?

LOL, Detroit has much, much bigger problems than drugs. Unions, for example. Weaning itself of those is a slow, exceedingly painful process.

> Legalizing drugs is a stupid idea for biochemical reasons.

Debate, logic and reason really aren't your strong suit, are they, K.T.?

Hint: Making a bald faced claim with specious applicability, and not refuting any of the points made in favor of a proposition -- not a good way to make a counterpoint.

> Libertarianism works until it doesn't.

See above. Repeat as needed.

> It's about the human cost associated with ingesting toxins that cause permanent brain damage.

"My choice, My body"?

Ah, that only applies to killing fetal cells? (not that there's anything wrong with that)

1) As opposed to the human cost of involuntarily ingesting human reproductive cells while incarcertated?

2) as opposed to the human cost of experienceing certain fatal immunodeficiency syndromes known to be rampant in incarceration facilities?

You have a point. Perhaps if you tease your hair, though, it won't show as much.

 
At 6/19/2008 11:38 PM, Blogger juandos said...

anon asks: "Aren't we glossing over a decade of declines in manufacturing especially in the auto sector and the present sub-prime problems?"....

Good question anon, something of the chicken or the egg sort of question... I don't know...

BTW Bloomfield Hills I've been told is its own city, not a part of Detroit proper... Was I misinformed?

Anyway legalizng drugs and doing something more productive with the money spent on the so called drug war would be nice, real nice but there are still some serious downsides...

NIDA InfoFacts: Nationwide Trends

Its not a pretty picture...

 

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