Sunday, February 20, 2011

Seattle Times Editorial Board Says "Legalize It"

"Prohibition has not worked. It might work in North Korea. But in America, prohibition is the pursuit of the impossible.  Marijuana should be legalized, regulated and taxed. The push to repeal federal prohibition should come from the states, and it should begin with the state of Washington."


40 Comments:

At 2/20/2011 4:31 PM, Blogger Morganist said...

I have just started a new blog.

morganisteconomics.blogspot.com

 
At 2/20/2011 5:15 PM, Blogger juandos said...

The Seattle Times is crewed by a collection of clueless libtards...

That editorial is every bit as believeable as something from Krugman...

These clowns at the Seattle Times are a collection of smoke nazis but they think its O.K. to burn a phatty?!?!

 
At 2/20/2011 7:53 PM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Hmmm. Friedman said to get less of something, tax it.

Should we not stop taxing labor and investment, and start taxing pot, recreational drugs, prostitution, gambling, and especially religion?

Most religion is just a business anyway. Tax baby, and leave us productive people alone.

 
At 2/20/2011 7:58 PM, Blogger Earl said...

Only stupid people do drugs, and listen to Seattle Times for news and views. But we already knew that, I was looking for Economic information.

Measuring crime rates doesn't make murder a good thing, unsolved murders even less desirable.

 
At 2/20/2011 8:22 PM, Blogger Craig said...

Yes, legalize it. And, while we're at it, roll the legal drinking age back to 18.

 
At 2/20/2011 9:37 PM, Blogger Michael Hoff said...

I'll go along with legalization of all drugs under one condition: not one red cent for treatment, rehab or medical care. Not one red cent. You have no dignity and want to get stoned? Be my guest. But don't you dare take one cent from me to clean up or save your dumb ass when you OD. And if you're stoned and hurt my wife or kids, God help you.

 
At 2/20/2011 10:18 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Benjamin: what do you make?

 
At 2/20/2011 10:20 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos is not in favor of free trade and open markets.

 
At 2/20/2011 10:23 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

This comment has been removed by the author.

 
At 2/20/2011 10:26 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Michael: ever had a runners high?
Ever needed knee surgery?

 
At 2/21/2011 2:05 AM, Blogger Benjamin said...

Cabinets, furniture, some freelance writing. Tables for sports bars (sportsbartables.com).

 
At 2/21/2011 8:30 AM, Blogger niknaknoo said...

People should have the right to be stupid if it doesn't harm anyone but themselves.

Misuse of alcohol causes more problems in society than marijuana.

Some strange right wing comments on here. By their logic we might as well ban fast food, ban alcohol, ban tobacco, ban guns (I'm for that actually), ban skiing, ban horse riding etc etc.

 
At 2/21/2011 9:10 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Benjamin: Cool, I'll check it out. Not too many people actually make stuff.

 
At 2/21/2011 9:16 AM, Blogger Hydra said...

Niknaknoo, funny how many get the government off my back types hate the idea of other peoples freedom.

 
At 2/21/2011 9:49 AM, Blogger Tom said...

How about meth, opium, LSD, etc.? How about sales to children? If you have children, move out of states which legalize drugs.

 
At 2/21/2011 12:08 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

earl-

only stupid people do drugs?

what planet do you live on because its' certainly not this one.

i went to some of the top couple of high schools and universities in the country. lots of people used drugs. most are less harmful than alcohol.

then, i've worked on walls st and in technology. again, very smart people, drugs all over.

hoff-

shall we include alcohol and health complications from smoking in your "not one red cent" plan?

the countries that have legalized drugs and taxed them wind up with all the money the need for treatment right there with money left over even before you take into account the massive savings on enforcement and incarceration.

if you think treatment is expensive, take a look at what we are spending on enforcement. you could put half a dozen people in rehab for the price of one in prison.

but the real issue is this:

why should the government have any say in my recreational activities so long as i do not harm others?

you can drink a fifth of scotch on the couch, why not smoke a joint? i have no interest in doing so, but i think people ought to have the right.

on what ethical basis can the government tell me not to smoke pot? seriously.

that it harms me? we then why can i drink and smoke tobacco and eat bacon wrapped butter? why permit people to be overweight? do you really support that kind of nanny state?

because i might harm others? i will bet you that the harm done to others by stoners is less than 5% of the harm done by drinkers. besides, we already have all manner of laws to punish harming others.

banning drugs because you might take them and harm others is like banning steak knives because you might stab someone or banning driving because you might run over a child.

there is simply no valid moral argument for a drug ban that is compatible with individual liberty.

 
At 2/21/2011 12:13 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

tom-

"How about meth, opium, LSD, etc.? How about sales to children? If you have children, move out of states which legalize drugs."

yup, legalize them all. part way is only a partial solution and black markets will still exist in the others. sell them at stores and have a using age, like a drinking age.

you wanna know why so many high school kids use drugs? it's because they are easier to get than booze.

that was true when i was in school and it's true now.

that's the nature of a black market.

if you want to keep drugs away from kids, legalizing them is the only real way to do it.

very few 14 year olds can buy beer, but virtually any of them can buy pot.

if you legalize just pot, the black market in that goes away and only those in harder drugs are left. that pushes kids into coke and meth etc because they are what's available.

partial legalization is the worst thing you could do in terms of underage usage of hard drugs.

 
At 2/21/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger juandos said...

I urge all you delusional folks with a less than tenuous grip on reality that thinks legalizng drugs has some upsides go to countries where it has been tried or at the very least decriminalized...

 
At 2/21/2011 1:56 PM, Blogger Hydra said...

Juandos:


what happened to personal responsibility?

You know, if those people can't save for their own retirement or health care, let them die.

If those people want to kill themselves with drugs, tobacco, or booze, let them die.

 
At 2/21/2011 2:13 PM, Blogger Marko said...

The feds should get out of this debate. Just like prostitution, murder, larceny, and car insurance [and health insurance, IMO], whether alcohol, tobacco, marijuana, opium or whatever are legal for recreational use are matters involving police powers and should be handled purely on the state level - absent an amendment to the constitution.

I personally would likely support state representatives that would vote against legalizing any more recreational drugs than we already have, but what other states do don't really matter much to me.

We really need to rein in the feds. They take what should be a contentious local issue that should be resolved locally and turn it into a contention national issue that can't be resolved.

 
At 2/21/2011 2:25 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

like where? the netherlands? portugal?

i have been to many. all have benefited from decriminalization.

here's the most recent test case:

http://www.scientificamerican.com/article.cfm?id=portugal-drug-decriminalization

perhaps you should get some facts on this before making such ludicrous statements.

 
At 2/21/2011 2:26 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ps.

remember how well prohibition worked?

why do you think other drugs are any different?

 
At 2/21/2011 3:12 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"what happened to personal responsibility?"...

A very pertinent question hydra and therein lies the problem with drugs, it seems that personal responsibility evaporates rather quickly...

I don't disagree with your following comments either but the sad fact is that the violent crime that always seems to come hand in hand with a drug market, even the relatively benign drug like reefer splashes on those who aren't part and parcel to that situation...

 
At 2/21/2011 3:25 PM, Blogger Mike said...

Earl,

It's the 'smart folks' like you that see a thriving, multi-billion-dollar black-market that is responsible for funding of organized crime, thousands of murders, drains on real law enforcement, prosecution & incarceration of millions of non-violent "offenders" and STILL believe we should stick with the status quo.

BTW, only stupid people go to economics blogs, looking for economic information, and don't recognize the many economic implications of potential legalization.

I hope I spelled all of that correctly...I'm super high right now.

 
At 2/21/2011 3:37 PM, Blogger juandos said...

"like where? the netherlands? portugal?

i have been to many. all have benefited from decriminalization
"...

morganovich's comment most definitely deserves the B.S. flag for both its lack of credible substance and how he sources an outfit that is part and parcel to the anthropomorphic global climate change scam...

All morganovich has done is parrot what ran in the High Times magazine twenty plus years ago...

EU judges back Dutch fight against drug tourism

Portugal's Drug Law Draws New Scrutiny

 
At 2/21/2011 4:39 PM, Blogger Crazy Eddie said...

I am all for legalization of marijuana. And I am all for taxing it. Prohibition accomplishes nothing. We can argue about it until the cows come home but I think it will eventually be legalized because of the money the taxes will bring and not because it's stupid prohibiting it. In this country money talks and is always a precedent over all else. Just my opinion.

Spirit Village Review

 
At 2/21/2011 5:23 PM, Blogger juandos said...

Well maybe Crazy Eddie, morganovich, and others who want to legalize reefer might have a point...

We have a national election coming up in 2012, will all the folks that want to legalize (yes, it has to go through all the legal motions) reefer get it on the ballot in time?

Or will they all be to stoned to get it done?

 
At 2/21/2011 9:27 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

juandos-

all you are doing is repeating the same failed repressive arguments over and and then tossing in an AGW non-sequester (and i believe you know my position on that fraud)

then, without either reading or understanding the study, you post two links that are tangential at best, mostly irrelevant opinion without any hard data, and even go so far as to argue against your position.

do you even read this stuff before you link?

this comes right from your article:

"Before decriminalization, Portugal was home to an estimated 100,000
problem heroin users, or 1% of the country's population, says Joao
Goulao, director of the Institute for Drugs and Drug Addiction. By
2008, chronic users for all substances had dropped to about 55,000, he
says. The rate of HIV and hepatitis infection among drug users-common
health issues associated with needle-sharing-has also fallen since the
law's 2001 rollout."

so nice try with the BS barrage, but that's not going to work.

here's some actual data:

http://www.cato.org/pubs/wtpapers/greenwald_whitepaper.pdf

are you going to accuse cato of being AGW stooges too?

 
At 2/21/2011 9:44 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

j-

show me one valid moral or ethical argument for drugs being illegal that does not result in a nanny state?

show me one valid economic argument that legalization doesn't provide huge cost savings?

the US has nearly 500k people in prison on drug offenses. at $20k per prisoner per year, that's $1 trillion a year in costs. let's be generous and pretend it's half that. just eliminating that expense would allow roughly 20% of americans to do outpatient rehab every year, a ludicrous number. the real figure would be more like 1%.

and we haven't even looked at the law enforcement, interdiction, and court costs.

this is a meaningful portion of GDP getting poured down a rat hole in a losing war.

there is no sensible argument to regulate people's private behavior this way.

this "war on drugs" is over. it was lost because banning them was both wrong and impossible.

along the way we have spent trillions giving rise to vicious gangs and violence to control the contraband here and done even worse in places like mexico, bolivia, colombia, afghanistan etc by providing price supports to thugs and private armies. if cocaine had profit margins like like aspirin, mexico would be governable.

so what are you going to do juandos? drug use is not going to stop. how many americans do you want to jail for their recreational choices and what % of GDP are you willing to sacrifice to this losing battle?

the current set of laws is clearly not working.

street prices for drugs are down, purity is up, usage is not going away.

what's your plan?

 
At 2/21/2011 9:47 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

portugal:

Since decriminalization, lifetime
prevalence rates (which measure how
many people have consumed a particular drug
or drugs over the course of their lifetime) in
Portugal have decreased for various age groups.
For students in the 7th–9th grades (13–15
years old), the rate decreased from 14.1 percent
in 2001 to 10.6 percent in 2006.30 For
those in the 10th–12th grades (16–18 years
old), the lifetime prevalence rate, which
increased from 14.1 percent in 1995 to 27.6
percent in 2001, the year of decriminalization has decreased subsequent to decriminalization,
to 21.6 percent in 2006.31 For the same
groups, prevalence rates for psychoactive substances
have also decreased subsequent to
decriminalization.

In fact, for those two critical groups of
youth (13–15 years and 16–18 years), prevalence
rates have declined for virtually every
substance since decriminalization (see Figures
4 and 5).

 
At 2/22/2011 11:10 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

oops, bad math.

the correct cost number is 500k (and rising) x $27k/year = $13.5bn.

i transposed orders of magnitude somewhere.

that would imply that 3 million americans a year could do outpatient rehab at $5k a pop, so the money is more than there to fund it, especially if you add in the expense from law enforcement and courts and consider that over 50% of those incarcerated each day are currently in for drugs which means that the % of drug offenders in our appalling 2.2 mn prison population is only going to rise.

 
At 2/22/2011 6:20 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"Should we not stop taxing labor and investment, and start taxing pot, recreational drugs, prostitution, gambling, and especially religion?"

Well, there appears to be a lower limit to "tax it & get less". As you know, pot, rec drugs, prostitution, and many forms of gambling, are already effectively taxed at 100%. There is no legal price, but they all continue to flourish everywhere on the black market. Regulating and taxing won't work any better than total prohibition is working.

 
At 2/22/2011 7:55 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

"Regulating and taxing won't work any better than total prohibition is working."

i do not think this is correct. you are confusing price supports for a black market with taxes. price supports widen the profit margin for the seller, taxes tend to diminish it.

further, regulation provides another benefit - kids get less access. when i was 14 it was difficult to buy beer, but easy to buy drugs. if drugs were sold at liquor stores, that would not have been so.

 
At 2/22/2011 10:41 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

"i do not think this is correct. you are confusing price supports for a black market with taxes. price supports widen the profit margin for the seller, taxes tend to diminish it."

I must not have worded my comment very well, as I don't understand the price support part of your response. In fact, when I reread my comment, I don't understand that either.

My point mostly applied to marijuana, which can be grown almost anywhere. I can imagine anyone who wishes to, growing their own, and even sharing with friends. What I can't imagine, is much tax revenue being generated from sales in stores. With possession legal, any kind of enforcement would become a nightmare for the enforcers.

I believe the black market would supply everyone who wants marijuana , just as it does now, unless the store price is so low as to make it almost free, in which case, those counting on bigtime tax revenue will be disappointed..

 
At 2/23/2011 3:56 AM, Blogger juandos said...

"all you are doing is repeating the same failed repressive arguments over and and then tossing in an AGW non-sequester (and i believe you know my position on that fraud)"...

Ahhh morganovich there's nothing more repressive than gun fire and the reason I tossed that alledged 'non-sequitur' is that Scientific American has strayed from the scientific to the political...

I was once a subscriber to SA from 1966 until 1994...

That's when it got so painfully obvious that the editorial board was more interested in politics instead of science than ANYTHING coming from that once great magazine became questionable at best...

So morganovich your hope that this comment by you: "then, without either reading or understanding the study, you post two links that are tangential at best" might have some substance doesn't...

"show me one valid moral or ethical argument for drugs being illegal that does not result in a nanny state?"...

No nannies here morganovich...

 
At 2/23/2011 10:28 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

jaundos-

yet again you provide a link that undermines your own augment.

that violence is a direct result of the illegality of drugs.

remember prohibition and how it gave rise to organized crime to distribute liquor?

remember how the violence around liquor distribution went away after it was legalized again?

you are proving my point for me.

you want to stop that violence, you need to legalize drugs and reduce their profit margins and bring their production and sale under the umbrella of law as opposed to outside it where every transaction must be backed up with a gun.

you don't see farmers and grocers coming to meetings to sell corn armed to the teeth because neither can rely upon legitimate contract enforcement and thus require their own private armies.

wake up and smell what you're shovelling son.

all you are providing is information that argues against your position and non sequitor and ad hominem.

address the facts.

did you read the cato report?

how about all the data from portugal?

you are just tossing up emotional chaff to try to hide the fact that you have no actual evidence or argument.

 
At 2/23/2011 10:36 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

ron-

"My point mostly applied to marijuana, which can be grown almost anywhere. I can imagine anyone who wishes to, growing their own, and even sharing with friends. What I can't imagine, is much tax revenue being generated from sales in stores. With possession legal, any kind of enforcement would become a nightmare for the enforcers.

I believe the black market would supply everyone who wants marijuana , just as it does now, unless the store price is so low as to make it almost free, in which case, those counting on bigtime tax revenue will be disappointed.."

i think this is a flawed argument.

you can grow your own tomatoes too, but most people don't. you can make you own beer quite easily and with far less equipment than needed for indoor growing, but most people don't.

why?

because it's easier and cheaper to just go buy it just like it's easier to buy bread than to bake it.

"With possession legal, any kind of enforcement would become a nightmare for the enforcers" this is particular seemed an odd premise.

what enforcement? there is no enforcement if it's legal and no tax on things that are not sold.

if you grow your own watermelon, there's no tax on that.

if, however, you begin selling it for a profit, then yes, there is, though one could argue about whether there should be.

taxes on drugs are not a part of my argument for legalization. they might be a side benefit, but it's the reduction of costs and increase in liberty that i find most persuasive.

any revenue generated from their taxation is just gravy but is certainly not required to make the argument work.

 
At 2/23/2011 1:06 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

morganovich

I originally disagreed with this from Benji:

"Hmmm. Friedman said to get less of something, tax it.

Should we not stop taxing labor and investment, and start taxing pot, recreational drugs, prostitution, gambling, and especially religion?
"

My comment was that taxing these things couldn't possibly reduce their use further than the current total prohibition does. You responded with something about price supports.

You also suggested that selling marijuana at liquor stores would limit access by kids. I disagree, based on your tomato argument. It's too easily grown at home, unlike beer, or cigarettes.

Many who advocate legalization of drugs, particularly marijuana, point to the supposed benefit of large tax revenues to support their argument. I disagree, and happen to think that the amount of tax collected on the sale of marijuana would be similar to the amount of sales tax currently collected on tomatoes. Not something anyone brags about.

If additional taxes and restrictions were imposed, a black market would spring up just as it does now in circumstances like this.

None of my comments are arguments against legalization, which I support. I believe you and I agree on the libertarian argument for liberty as the only justification needed. I just don't see attempts to regulate, restrict, or tax - other than sales tax - working out as well as some have suggested.

 
At 2/23/2011 4:21 PM, Blogger Ron H. said...

Correction:

I previously said:

"If additional taxes and restrictions were imposed, a black market would spring up just as it does now in circumstances like this."

A black market wouldn't "spring up", as a fully functional one already exists. It would simply remain in operation at some level.

 
At 2/24/2011 1:18 PM, Blogger juandos said...

morganovich proving he can't get it regardless of its explained to him: "yet again you provide a link that undermines your own augment.

that violence is a direct result of the illegality of drugs
"...

Wrong! I gave you links that showed there was violence where it was legal and what its like where its illegal...

What was the COMMON DENOMINATOR?

 

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