Friday, March 13, 2009

Penn: Let's Stop Putting People in Jail for Drugs


32 Comments:

At 3/13/2009 5:26 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

"legalize drugs to reduce my costs"... great. But, don't charge the tax payer for rehab, drug related medical costs, drug related public support (room and board). Those are the issues on the table... any takers?

Abusers of drugs will eventually eliminate themselves from society. We just need to get out of the way and let them accomplish their goals.

 
At 3/13/2009 5:31 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine, if people want to take drugs, let them. But take away their drivers license and don't let them operate any heavy machinery. Take them and put them on a rice patty in Louisiana where they can take all the drugs they want and watch the rice grow. That's what they do in Asia.

 
At 3/13/2009 5:43 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Costs and Abusers: Penn was talking about marijuana. It's far more costly to society to spend money imprisoning people and taking them away from their jobs for soft drug "offenses." Cannabis smokers Carl Sagan, Nobel physicist Richard Feynman, and Academy Award winning director Robert Altman eliminated themselves, yes, by dying only after highly productive careers.

Licenses and rice patties: Is there going to be enough room on the rice patties for all the alcohol drinkers?

C'mon folks, read up. Cannabis, for one, is a very safe drug.
http://www.fcda.org/judge.young.htm

 
At 3/13/2009 5:50 PM, Blogger Chris said...

Anonymous (1)

Don't forget the high cost Mexican citizens are paying for our drug habits. Not to mention all the profits going to ever larger and increasingly violent drug cartels.

 
At 3/13/2009 7:02 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

C'mon folks, read up. Cannabis, for one, is a very safe drug.


ScienceDaily (Dec. 18, 2007) — Here's another reason to "keep off the grass." Researchers in Canada report that marijuana smoke contains significantly higher levels of several toxic compounds -- including ammonia and hydrogen cyanide -- than tobacco smoke and may therefore pose similar health risks.

The scientists found that ammonia levels were 20 times higher in the marijuana smoke than in the tobacco smoke, while hydrogen cyanide, nitric oxide and certain aromatic amines occurred at levels 3-5 times higher in the marijuana smoke, they say. The finding is "important information for public health and communication of the risk related to exposure to such materials," say the researchers.

Link

In an article published in the European Respiratory Journal, the scientists said cannabis could be expected to harm the airways more than tobacco as its smoke contained twice the level of carcinogens, such as polyaromatic hydrocarbons, compared with tobacco cigarettes.

The method of smoking also increases the risk, since joints are typically smoked without a proper filter and almost to the very tip, which increases the amount of smoke inhaled. The cannabis smoker inhales more deeply and for longer, facilitating the deposition of carcinogens in the airways.

"Cannabis smokers end up with five times more carbon monoxide in their bloodstream (than tobacco smokers)," team leader Richard Beasley, at the Medical Research Institute of New Zealand, said in a telephone interview.

"There are higher concentrations of carcinogens in cannabis smoke ... what is intriguing to us is there is so little work done on cannabis when there is so much done on tobacco."

Link

The researchers also found taking cannabis in adolescence creates a greater risk of developing schizophrenia than using it when older.

Their findings will bolster the Government's decision last month to restore cannabis to the harsher Class B status against the advice of its own scientists.

But it will also increase dismay that the change makes no difference to the way under-18s caught with cannabis are dealt with by the police. They still only face prosecution if caught with the drug three times.

British psychiatrists have consistently expressed concerns that the drug appears to accelerate the onset of full-blown mental illness, raising fears of an epidemic of mental health problems among users in their 20s and 30s.

More than 6,000 youngsters aged 15 and 16 were involved in the research in Finland, published today in the British Journal of Psychiatry. Experts assessed which were potentially at risk of developing a psychotic disorder.

Link

A single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness.

Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports.

The analysis does not look at the age at which schizophrenia is likely to develop. However, previous studies have shown that smoking the drug as a teenager raises the risk of developing schizophrenia in one's twenties or thirties.

The researchers, from four British universities, analysed the results of 35 studies into cannabis use from around the world. This suggested that trying cannabis only once was enough to raise the risk of schizophrenia by 41 per cent.

At greatest risk, however, were heavy users, with those who took cannabis over 100 times having more than double the risk of those who never touched the drug.

With up to 40 per cent of teenagers and young adults in the UK believed to have tried cannabis, the researchers estimate that the drug could be behind 14 per cent of cases of schizophrenia and other psychotic illnesses.

Link

The researchers found the risk of being responsible for a fatal crash increased as the blood concentration of cannabis increased.

While even small amounts of cannabis could double the chance of a driver suffering an accident, larger doses could more than triple the risk.

Link

 
At 3/13/2009 7:10 PM, Blogger Paul Hue said...

The cost of banning pot and even hard drugs is much greater than would be the cost of permitting humans to put this crap into their bodies. I am astounded that anybody thinks that the current system is a deal compared to simply permitting free people to put into their bodies what they like, with govt enforcing such contracts as the users get what was advertised to them.

Do any of you "anony" posters really believe that with drugs illegal now that users aren't diving, operating heavy machinery, and requiring various public support? Do any of you really believe that your prohibition laws are stopping people from consuming?

Some of you believe that we drug legalizers are drug consumers ourselves. Well, I only eat natural substances, and I'm a vegetarian. But I don't seek to outlaw McDonnalds, Pepsi, Oscar-Myer, or other foods that *I* consider junk. I want you to have the right to ruin your health and drive up medical costs eating garbage. I also don't smoke, but I don't want to make smoking a crime either.

Legalize: Heroin, speed, and twinkies. I won't consume any of if, but I don't want to pay for your prison stay if you do, or have you rob my home for one of your fixes.

 
At 3/13/2009 7:16 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

We are not putting casual users in prison. From the WSJ:


The criminal justice system has been transformed over the past 15 years. Adult and juvenile drug courts are now common in most states. Nationwide there are more than 2,000 drug courts pushing low-level offenders to get treatment when drug use brings them into the criminal justice system. Child welfare and family courts also push drug treatment -- many endangerment and neglect cases involve an adult with a substance abuse problem. The criminal justice system has become the most powerful force in the country supporting addiction treatment, exactly the opposite of the critics' depiction.

Link

 
At 3/13/2009 9:25 PM, Blogger John F. Schmidley said...

The most important argument of all here is not even what's being discussed. Whether or not it's cheaper for the Government or if they can make money off of taxes is of secondary (If even that) importance.

The fact is that dictating what people do or do not consume is a _violation of individual rights._ If someone want's to consume alcohol, or even cocaine, they have every right to do so, as long as they are not using force against someone in some way. Argue all you want that it's unhealthy -- it doesn't matter. People have the right to be unhealthy, and even kill themselves if they want to.

It's called freedom, and what other people do with their's is none of your concern.

 
At 3/13/2009 9:36 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

John: What you are advocating is anarchy and chaos, not freedom.

Professor: If you are taking your ideological cues from somebody like Penn, perhaps you should rethink your position. I agree with you on most everything else but on this we part ways apparently.

 
At 3/13/2009 10:43 PM, Blogger Chris said...

To Anonymous(s):

Why are you all hiding?. Are you afraid of a good argument? What are you afraid of? Maybe you all have used drugs at some time and are afraid of being called a hypocrite? I'm sure Mark won't hurt you if you let him know who you are.

 
At 3/14/2009 4:51 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

As long as there are those who will use the government to force their fellow citizens to take care of each other, there's a "right" to infringe the individual freedoms of those whose activities will incur costs to society for their care.

You think addiction is a bad thing and people should be helped to get treatment? Amen. Do it with your own money and I've got no problem, in fact I'll applaud your generosity, and contribute some of my own money. But as long as you're taking my money by force to pay the costs of others' voluntary behaviors, I have a right to attempt to impose restrictions on those people's behaviors that you're insisting I subsidize.

Personally, I've never used an illegal drug and think it's stupid to do so, just as it's stupid to get drunk, smoke, or eat yourself to death, which everyone still as the right to do. When everyone is free to bear the costs of their own decisions, and people are free to choose to what degree they want to help the innocent bystanders (such as husbands/wives and especially children of addicts), I'll agree that what you want to put in your body is only your concern. As long as I'm being forced to pay for it, I don't think you deserve that freedom. Freedom comes hand in hand with responsibility, you don't get one without the other.

I'm all in favor of demolishing the nanny state, but as long as I'm being forced to pay for it, you don't get a free ride.

Compassion doesn't involve forcing others to fund things you think are worthy. That's just extortion under another name.

 
At 3/14/2009 6:47 AM, Blogger The Chinese Capitalist said...

You are paying MUCH more money to enforce drug laws and put drug users in jail. Those who commit crimes while high should face the appropriate penalties, no different than a drunk driver who causes an accident does.

I agree that rehab, etc., should be paid for by the drug abuser, I believe that is already the system we have in place today, just as traffic school is paid for by the person who receives a ticket.

Drugs should not be legalized, but decriminalized so that we don't spend money on enforcement or incarceration. Certainly we don't want drug use to be more widespread than it is. Public intoxication is already a crime, drug use should be permitted in private residences. That would save us billions every year, however enforcement agencies are against the idea because their jobs are on the line. That's why government agencies are nearly impossible to get rid of, no matter how ineffective or useless they are. You have a group that will do everything in their power to keep up the status quo.

 
At 3/14/2009 8:33 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> great. But, don't charge the tax payer for rehab, drug related medical costs, drug related public support (room and board). Those are the issues on the table... any takers?

Uh, what part of the whole package of taxes on the drugs in question did you not consider relevant.

Further, most of this is overblown
All drugs, with the exception of the legal ones (tobacco, alcohol) follow a standard usage curve: Increasing usage for a time, then a leveling out, then a steep drop and occasional-to-rare usage after that. The steep drop point varies with the drugs (if the steep drop doesn't occur then it's generally because the user tends to be dead...)

For heroin, the steep drop occurs after about 12 months. For acid, about 18 months. For cocaine, about 30 months. For grass, about 60 months.

In short, for most, either you quit or you're dead. No long term healthcare problems.

Many of the worst cases of burnout are tied far more to impurities and/or improper dosages of drugs which is clearly tied directly to the illegality and not to the drugs themselves or usage thereof.

Require that women who use drugs be on anti-pregnancy meds (as in implants, not "the pill") and you've taken care of one of the chief reasonable concerns with regards to it.

Tax it, use the taxes to subsidize various treatment and rehab programs.

And:
> But, don't charge the tax payer for
I'd be willing to bet you that whatever remained after the drug taxes themselves were applied would be far less expensive than the "War on Drugs", esp. when you grasp you're eliminating it as an income source for criminal cartels and street gangs, and far less encouraging of Big Brother to stick his nose into your bank accounts, your homes, and your phone calls.

 
At 3/14/2009 8:40 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> than tobacco smoke and may therefore pose similar health risks.

Well, except for the fact that almost all smokers of grass DON'T SMOKE substantially for more than about 5 years, 6 tops.

As you'd know if you actually KNEW anyone who smoked grass. Chances are, other than very occasional use after that 5-6 year timeframe (once or twice a month tends to be "heavy use" after that time), they prtty much don't smoke any more.

Exceptions? Yeah, a few -- most are the sort of never-grew-up hippie types that still haven't figured out that the 60s ended almost 40 years ago.

After stopping, your body more than likely repairs most of the damage in question, while smokers continue with their self-damaging for decades...

This kind of report is a crock because they virtually NEVER take this abbreviated usage into account (I grant, I didn't read the link, but I'll lay huge odds without doing so that it never discusses this blatantly relevant issue, probably never even mentions it, in the context it's being raised).

 
At 3/14/2009 8:42 AM, Blogger Jinglebob said...

My only argument against legalizing these drugs, is the fact the those on the loony left are most likely users of these drugs, either now or in the past and look how it screwed them up and how they are screwing our country up!

 
At 3/14/2009 8:46 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> The criminal justice system has been transformed over the past 15 years.

Yes, this is why the USA has one of the highest per-capita incarceration rates in the world. This is why a large percentage of so-called "drug criminals" are low-level users. This is why the DEA/FBI went after vocal leegalization proponents even in California where it's as legalized as the States can make it, even when the individual in question has a terminal illness and the grass in question is acknowledged to assist in the ability to both eat and take necessary medicines at the same time.

It's a crock of sh**. The government has, time and again, used the prison overcrowding problem to put dangerous, violent criminals on the street while retaining "hardened criminal" pot smokers, just to "justify" increasing penal expenditures.

 
At 3/14/2009 8:51 AM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

> Professor: If you are taking your ideological cues from somebody like Penn, perhaps you should rethink your position. I agree with you on most everything else but on this we part ways apparently.

Justify this.

Penn happens to be a smart, savvy, and a very rational libertarian.

When he expresses an opinion on something he consistently does it with rational arguments which back up any showmanship he applies. If you'd read anything he's written, you would grasp this, even if you somehow missed it in his speaking activities.

In short, he's hardly a fluffball.

Address the issues, not the messenger, and stop attempting to use ad hominem arguments.

 
At 3/14/2009 10:36 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

Pot Banners:

If pot should be illegal, then why not alcohol?

Please explain how you rationally distinguish between harmful substances. Please be consistant in your logic.

Also, do you support a return of prohibition? If not, why not?

 
At 3/14/2009 3:08 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

If pot should be illegal, then why not alcohol?

Please explain how you rationally distinguish between harmful substances. Please be consistant in your logic.

Sure, right after you respond to Jeff's argument that , ... as long as you're taking my money by force to pay the costs of others' voluntary behaviors, I have a right to attempt to impose restrictions on those people's behaviors that you're insisting I subsidize.

And remember, please be consistant in your logic.

 
At 3/14/2009 8:10 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Fine, legalize drugs but don't let them drive cars or operate heavy machinery. This is not Mexico or Viet Nam.

 
At 3/14/2009 11:35 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

The bottom line is people who support drug legalization either (1) do not know a drug addict[s] so do not have first hand experience with such things, (2) are drug users themselves, (3) genuinely love freedom but have not fully thought through the inevitable consequences of their ideas or (4) some combination of the above. Drug legalization would solve some problems (reduction in black market crime, increased tax revenue) but it would create so many more problems (mass addiction, wasted lives, health consequences, added taxpayer costs for the above) that it really is not worth it. Remember that America was founded on the concept of ordered liberty, not anarcho-"liberty".

 
At 3/15/2009 12:34 AM, Blogger bob wright said...

anon 3:08pm:

Jeff said:

I'm all in favor of demolishing the nanny state, but as long as I'm being forced to pay for it, you don't get a free ride.

I agree with this ... and he appears to favor legalizing pot.

So, dismantle the nanny state. Legalize pot. Don't tax me to pay for the rehabilitation of others and don't require all health insurance plans to pay for counseling and rehab.

As an aside, I thought today's liberals were against legislating morality - but through legislation they force to pay for their moral crusades. I guess they only oppose legislating morality when it is someone else's morality be legislated [somewhat inconsistant logic - in my view].

anon 11:35pm

you say
"Drug legalization would solve some problems (reduction in black market crime, increased tax revenue) but it would create so many more problems (mass addiction, wasted lives, health consequences, added taxpayer costs for the above)"

I submit we have all those problems now in addition to the black market crime and increased taxes.

Get government out of the morality business.

Freedom and liberty are not granted to me by the state - they are inalienable.

Don't tread on me.

anon(s): Your position wold seem to favor a return to prohibition. Should we put in prison people who drink beer?

 
At 3/15/2009 8:09 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Thank God tobacco is so safe.

 
At 3/15/2009 11:53 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

So, I see that you cede Jeff's point. And while I, like Jeff, am agnostic about the legalization of pot, I think that you've got the cart before the horse. You write:

So, dismantle the nanny state. Legalize pot. Don't tax me to pay for the rehabilitation of others and don't require all health insurance plans to pay for counseling and rehab.

Perfect. Once you and the other legalizers have convinced society to "dismantle the nanny state", end taxation for rehabilitation and drop treatment requirements for health insurance companies, get back to us.

Your rights may be inalienable but their exercise is not guaranteed. Men form governments, in part, to protect their rights and to establish an orderly society which allows them the greatest free exercise of those rights. A representative government, freely elected, and drawing it's authority from the consent of the governed has every right to establish and enforce behavioral norms. You, of course, have every right to make your case and work for change and to lobby the government for redress of grievances. You do not have the right to ignore duly enacted law.

Alcohol, as you know, has been consumed for thousands of years. It's use has been regulated for most of that time precisely because of the corrosive effect it's abuse can have on society, at all levels. It's acceptance by society does not argue for the acceptance of other substances with equal of greater destructive potential. In fact, it is societies experience with alcohol that gives rise to the rejection of drug legalization.

Many of the people you claim are interested in "legislating morality" do so in an effort to establish and maintain an orderly society that allows the greatest number of people the greatest free exercise of their inalienable rights. They are only concerned with your behavior to the extent that it creates and fosters an atmosphere of anarchy resulting in a loss of liberty. Even a cursory reading of the founders reveals the common belief they shared in the connection between virtue and liberty.

 
At 3/15/2009 12:22 PM, Blogger 1 said...

Interestingly enough I didn't hear Penn to volunteer to cover the liability costs of people being legally on drugs and causing either property damage or hurting someone else...

Apparently none the pro 'make it legal' crowd here isn't volunteering to cover those costs either...

"C'mon folks, read up. Cannabis, for one, is a very safe drug"...

Yep! At the very least as safe as cigs...

"Do any of you really believe that your prohibition laws are stopping people from consuming?"...

Personally I don't doubt your points which are all valid...

Two things though:

1) employer mandated drug testing helps tone down massive use...

2) making drugs illegal (in part just another extortion scheme by the government) also helps curb some of the excesses to some degree...

"If pot should be illegal, then why not alcohol?"...

Hmmm, can you say Prohibition?

"You are paying MUCH more money to enforce drug laws and put drug users in jail"...

This argument has been pointed out a couple of times...

The cost alone might be indicative of just how powerful the draw of quality reefer really is to say nothing of the rest of the drug menu...

This legalization thingie is quite the tough nut to crack...

Considering the possibilities of taxation I'm suprised that many more cities and states haven't decided that maybe just maybe some decriminalization or maybe making some of it legal hasn't been jumped before now...

 
At 3/16/2009 10:21 AM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

There are countless actions that have a "cost to society". Where do you draw the line? Obesity is still the biggest killer in the US and one of the most costly to health insurance premiums.

An insurance company is allowed to screen users for drug usage even if its legal (and in a free market you can chose to belong to that company).

Are we to also "help society" by limiting everyone's calorie intake to 2,200 calories a day and have Big Brother appear on TV to give us our daily calisthenics? This would have a HUGE net benefit to society. Food costs would decrease, people would be healthier, you wouldn't have to set next to fat people on airplanes...

How many of you drug haters are fat people?

 
At 3/16/2009 11:32 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

There are countless actions that have a "cost to society". Where do you draw the line? Obesity is still the biggest killer in the US and one of the most costly to health insurance premiums.

What's odd about this argument is that it is usually the same group of people arguing for both drug legalization and restrictions on fast food companies, cigarettes, universal health care and other nanny state items. Leftists all.

 
At 3/16/2009 3:02 PM, Blogger 1 said...

"Obesity is still the biggest killer in the US and one of the most costly to health insurance premiums"...

The credible source for this claim is what?

 
At 3/16/2009 4:42 PM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

10 Leading Causes of Death #1 Heart Disease, #3 Stroke, #6 Diabetes.

Obesity itself is listed as second largest preventable killer but even more are attribted to eating poorly and being a "fatass" which is more what im going at here (preventable lifestyle choices).

And here is a source to the cost of obesity
Between1982 to 2001 27% of health cost increase because of fat people.

I dont see how people can apply the "society first, liberty second" mantra to pot but not eating pounds of salty hamburgers.

 
At 3/16/2009 4:58 PM, Blogger ExtremeHobo said...

Oh and another thing, once again I am not arguing that driving while smoking should be legal either, as I am sure this will come up.

Keep in mind that 1.7 percent of accidents are caused by people eating while driving, another activity i do not condone.

 
At 6/22/2009 2:11 AM, Blogger SINE NOMINE said...

Thanks for pointing the way to his video.

He seems sane on the Beck show, happy he is still relatively sane on the Internet. :)

 
At 3/01/2011 7:00 PM, Blogger Josh said...

"There are higher concentrations of carcinogens in cannabis smoke ..."

good thing most people don't smoke two packs of joints a day. Plus, Polonium 210 is the major cancer causing agent in tobacco smoke, which will not be in weed.

"A single joint of cannabis raises the risk of schizophrenia by more than 40 per cent, a disturbing study warns.

The Government-commissioned report has also found that taking the drug regularly more than doubles the risk of serious mental illness."

I call bull on this. I DO NOT believe that one joint, once in your life, increases the risk of schizophrenia by 40 percent. It doesn't cause mental illness, it just brings it out in people that already have it.
"Overall, cannabis could be to blame for one in seven cases of schizophrenia and other life-shattering mental illness, the Lancet reports."

That is unbelievable. This is government sponsored bull.

 

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