Monday, September 19, 2011

New FBI Numbers Reveal Failure of "War on Drugs": One Drug Arrest Every 19 Seconds in the U.S.

WASHINGTON, D.C. -- "A new FBI report released today shows that there is a drug arrest every 19 seconds in the U.S. A group of police and judges who have been campaigning to legalize and regulate drugs pointed to the figures showing more than 1.6 million drug arrests in 2010 as evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure that can never be won.

"Since the declaration of the "War on Drugs" 40 years ago we've arrested tens of millions of people in an effort to reduce drug use. The fact that cops had to spend time arresting another 1.6 million of our fellow citizens last year shows that it simply hasn't worked. In the current economy we simply cannot afford to keep arresting three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Neill Franklin, a retired Baltimore narcotics cop who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "If we legalized and taxed drugs, we could not only create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users, but we'd make society safer by bankrupting the cartels and gangs who control the currently illegal marketplace."

Today's FBI report shows that 81.9 percent of all drug arrests in 2010 were for possession only, and 45.8 percent of all drug arrests were for possession of marijuana."


21 Comments:

At 9/19/2011 9:48 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

If Obama wants to get reelected he will do what FDR did and legalize drugs. Not only would revenues increase and costs fall at the federal level but local and state governments would benefit greatly.

http://mises.org/resources/3808/Taxpayers-in-Revolt-Tax-Resistance-During-the-Great-Depression

 
At 9/19/2011 11:20 PM, Blogger OBloodyHell said...

>>>> If we legalized and taxed drugs

Naw, since the goal isn't to actually balance the budget, but to bankrupt the nation, anything that sensible and rational could never be proposed.

 
At 9/20/2011 2:20 AM, Blogger Expected Optimism said...

The author complains about using up cops' time enforcing drug laws, then suggests legalizing and taxing the drugs. Who do they think will enforce the drug tax laws? Users who have spent years avoiding police under the current law will have no problem at all avoiding drug taxes. How long after legalization-and-taxation before people like Neill Franklin turn around and argue against taxing drugs too?

 
At 9/20/2011 5:06 AM, Blogger ws4whgfb said...

It depends how you measure success. When they fully investigate the gunrunner / fast and furious scandals at the atf they may find the war on drugs was very profitable and successful for corrupt government officials.

 
At 9/20/2011 5:27 AM, Blogger geoih said...

Doesn't anybody remember Prohibition?

 
At 9/20/2011 7:36 AM, Blogger morganovich said...

"Users who have spent years avoiding police under the current law will have no problem at all avoiding drug taxes"

what on earth are you talking about?

how do you avoid sales tax or gasoline tax? you charge it at point of sale.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:41 AM, Blogger VangelV said...

Who do they think will enforce the drug tax laws?

The same people who collect sales taxes from the pharmacies and convenience stores now.

Users who have spent years avoiding police under the current law will have no problem at all avoiding drug taxes.

Why? After all most users pay the alcohol and cigarette taxes.

How long after legalization-and-taxation before people like Neill Franklin turn around and argue against taxing drugs too?

Don't the left and the right argue that consumption should be taxed? I would argue that most people outside of the libertarian sphere (about 10% of the population) would go along with treating drugs as we treat tobacco and alcohol.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:50 AM, Blogger AIG said...

See this whole legalization and 'war on drugs" stuff seems awfully fishy to me, from both sides. The anti "war on drugs" side seems to always provide half-statistics and half-facts; just what fits their story, nothings that doesn't. For example, talking about "arrests", doesn't tell us anything in terms of how many arrests happen overall in the US every year. It doesn't tell us how many of these people actually get convicted for these charges. It doesn't' tell us the level of punishment they receive, if they receive one. It doesn't tell us if they got arrested for OTHER offenses as well, which may or may not have been related to being on drugs (such as traffic violations, disruptive behavior, weapons possession etc).

So you're giving us the statistics you think support your story. Not the whole story.

I personally don't by it, without seeing all these other statistics.

 
At 9/20/2011 9:01 AM, Blogger AIG said...

Now the "legalization" folks have a similar problem. They are always talking about "taxing" drugs. They are foaming at the mouth at the prospect of taxing what could be a lucrative revenue source for governments. Hippies and pot heads and Ron Paul zealous, on the other hand, don't understand the fact that if drugs were legal, they would like be a LOT MORE expensive then they are today! Precisely because the gov. is going to tax the heck out of drugs at much much higher rates than they do for cigarettes today (and it is cheaper to buy pot today on a regular bases, than to be a heavy smoker).

Now why should we, as "free market" people, be supportive of a scheme which seeks to tax at incredible rates a product, and whose goal is to increase government revenues even more?

I can guarantee you, we will spend a lot less money on the current inefficient system, than we will spend when drugs are legalized. And the reason is that they want to legalize drugs in order to tax it.

And if I were a hippie pot head, I'd be opposed to legalization. The likelihood of getting into trouble over pot is INFINITELY TINY (my ex for example had been arrested for pot 3 times, and the worst she got was having to go to rehab for a couple of weeks, where they smoked even more pot). So the risk is tiny, the reward is greater now than it will be when pot is legalized; why would they support it?

 
At 9/20/2011 12:17 PM, Blogger morganovich said...

AIG-

"that if drugs were legal, they would like be a LOT MORE expensive then they are today!"

that's an absurd assertion.

did the price of liquor go up after the 21st amendment? no.

the price of drugs today includes a huge risk premium and outlandish transport costs.

most are really simple to actually make.

if drugs were priced higher, then the existing networks would continue to exist.

on what basis can you claim price will go up?

evidence from places like holland and portugal all argues the contrary.

 
At 9/20/2011 12:41 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

Now the "legalization" folks have a similar problem. They are always talking about "taxing" drugs. They are foaming at the mouth at the prospect of taxing what could be a lucrative revenue source for governments.

I suspect that many of them are interested in the new revenues and the reduced tax expenditures as a way to correct the problems created by making drugs illegal. The lesson of Prohibition suggests that they may be on to something.

Hippies and pot heads and Ron Paul zealous, on the other hand, don't understand the fact that if drugs were legal, they would like be a LOT MORE expensive then they are today!

No they would not. With increased competition costs would collapse, just as they did after FDR signed his executive order and stopped prosecuting alcohol users and producers.

Precisely because the gov. is going to tax the heck out of drugs at much much higher rates than they do for cigarettes today (and it is cheaper to buy pot today on a regular bases, than to be a heavy smoker).

The margins are thousands of percent. In a competitive market the producers might be lucky to get 10-20%. That leaves a lot of room for taxes to go up and still have much cheaper drugs.

Now why should we, as "free market" people, be supportive of a scheme which seeks to tax at incredible rates a product, and whose goal is to increase government revenues even more?

We shouldn't. But one thing we should certainly oppose is jailing people for voluntary transactions where no force is used. I guess that you forgot that part.

I can guarantee you, we will spend a lot less money on the current inefficient system, than we will spend when drugs are legalized. And the reason is that they want to legalize drugs in order to tax it.

LOL...Do you read the illogical crap that you write? Or is your faith so deep that you don't care about logic?

The cost of the drug wars is huge. Not only do you give billions to countries so that they will not produce it, spend billions more on jailing users and distributors but you force private individuals to spend billions on enhanced security because users need to steal in order to support their habits. Legalizing drugs will empty out jails of non-violent users, will cut all of that wasted foreign 'aid' to drug producing countries, will cut off terrorist funding, will reduce violence, and will increase tax revenues at the local and state levels.

And if I were a hippie pot head, I'd be opposed to legalization. The likelihood of getting into trouble over pot is INFINITELY TINY (my ex for example had been arrested for pot 3 times, and the worst she got was having to go to rehab for a couple of weeks, where they smoked even more pot). So the risk is tiny, the reward is greater now than it will be when pot is legalized; why would they support it?

They would support it because they would not be labelled as 'criminals' when they engaged in voluntary activities. And if the laws did not prevent your ex from using pot why have them at all? Why have the taxpayer pay for her rehab?

 
At 9/20/2011 12:42 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

on what basis can you claim price will go up?

Our friend's position is based on faith, not logic or historical evidence.

 
At 9/20/2011 1:09 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"on what basis can you claim price will go up?"

Drugs are dirt cheap, by comparison to other "legal drugs", despite the risk premium. If cigarettes were priced at what they cost + profit for the company, they would be less than 1/10 of their current price (by comparison, reservation cigs usually cost about 20% of regular price).

So we have a gigantic tax and regulatory burden on cigarettes, because they are a vehicle of generating funds for government. Illegal drugs, once legalized, are most likely going to turn into fund-generating vehicles as well. I'd be hard pressed to assume that the "risk premium" of pot, is 10 times the cost of processing it. And I'd be hard pressed to assume that gov, once legalized pot, wouldn't tax it 20-30-40+ times what production costs would be.

Alcohol post prohibition, to my knowledge, wasn't used as a vehicle for raising revenues.

 
At 9/20/2011 1:22 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"I suspect that many of them are interested in the new revenues and the reduced tax expenditures as a way to correct the problems created by making drugs illegal."

If we assume the gov. spends about 15 billion today combating drugs (and I suspect this figure to be greatly inflated due to many other programs bunched into it, which would exist either way or have no real relations to drugs), I'd be hard pressed to assume that gov. isn't going to get a lot more than 15 billion in tax revenue from drugs...and in the end we don't end up with simply a way of generating a lot MORE gov expenditures than we do today on fighting these drugs.

Thats not something I want to fight for.

"No they would not. With increased competition costs would collapse, just as they did after FDR signed his executive order and stopped prosecuting alcohol users and producers. "

Why do you look at alcohol experience 70 years ago, and not cigarettes today? Maintaining a cigarette habit today costs more than maintaining a pot habit, despite the "risk premium" of pot (which is, lets be frank here...TINY...when you take into account the number of users and growers).

Are you telling me that there ISN'T an actively competitive market for pot today? Seriously?

And there's still a pretty active "illegal" cigarette market in the US today (which would be a lot greater were it not for Indian reservations)

"The margins are thousands of percent. In a competitive market the producers might be lucky to get 10-20%. That leaves a lot of room for taxes to go up and still have much cheaper drugs. "

The margins for growing drugs? Now you're just making it up. Plus, there is a very competitive market already, because the risk premium is NOT all that high. Not for pot.

"But one thing we should certainly oppose is jailing people for voluntary transactions where no force is used. I guess that you forgot that part."

Yeah...but you haven't given me the numbers yet of how many people actually go to jail for such pot possessions, what the punishment rates are, what the types of punishments are, what % of users/dealers get caught etc. Police departments all over the country have pretty much stopped given a hoot about pot, anymore.

The real world isn't like Ron Paul thinks it is. The US gov is going to use this to raise money for itself, and you'll end up with more expensive pot, more regulated pot, and a less competitive pot market (and STILL with a very large underground illegal market!). So the trade off is between having a 0.00001% chance of getting caught, or a 99% chance of paying 200% tax.

People still go to jail for illegal alcohol and tobacco dealing, despite those products being legal.

 
At 9/20/2011 1:35 PM, Blogger AIG said...

If pot is so ubiquitous, if pot can be bought at virtually any street corner of any large town in the US, if police departments have pretty much voluntarily stopped pursuing such cases (and I suspect the vast majority of the pot arrests happened as a result of some other offense, and the pot possession was added on to the original offense)...then how do we keep saying that there is no competitive market in pot, and that the risk premiums are "large"? Pot smoking today is more accepted than cigarette smoking, and likely as common as cigarette smoking, and cheaper than cigarette smoking.

Why do we keep assuming, also, that legalization of pot is going to eliminate the underground illegal trade? If gov. controlled pot is going to cost more than street pot, street pot will continue. It happens today with cigarettes...and its not more frequent with cigs because there is a "legal" outlet in Indian reservations (which a large % of smokers take advantage of)

I agree that there will be a decrease in "criminal" activity associated with "drugs" I agree that there will be a decrease of arrests etc.

But I'd say it would be an economic loss for everyone, since the model the US gov if likely to follow may not be that followed during prohibition...but rather the model they use on cigarettes. We'll end up paying more for drugs and the gov will end up spending more of our money. And the people who go to jail today for drugs, are likely going to go to jail anyway for some other stupidity (because the people who grow drugs today, aren't going to become accountants tomorrow)

 
At 9/20/2011 1:39 PM, Blogger AIG said...

"Our friend's position is based on faith, not logic or historical evidence."

I'd venture to say you've never bought pot before, never met a drug dealer, never met a pot grower, never walked in an inner city ghetto. Probably never even smoked cigarettes either. But hey...don't let me ruin your dream.

If you don't understand how the market for these things works today, and how it will work tomorrow...you're basically just making it up on faith.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:04 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

f we assume the gov. spends about 15 billion today combating drugs (and I suspect this figure to be greatly inflated due to many other programs bunched into it, which would exist either way or have no real relations to drugs), I'd be hard pressed to assume that gov. isn't going to get a lot more than 15 billion in tax revenue from drugs...and in the end we don't end up with simply a way of generating a lot MORE gov expenditures than we do today on fighting these drugs.

Actually, according to the Office of National Drug Control Policy the total spending by federal and state governments comes out to around $40 billion per year. That does not include all of the money paid out by individuals and corporations or money like the increased welfare payments to the families of users who are unable to earn money to support them. Add to the cost the revenues that would come from taxing drug sales and you would be looking at a difference of more than $100 billion a year.

Why do you look at alcohol experience 70 years ago, and not cigarettes today? Maintaining a cigarette habit today costs more than maintaining a pot habit, despite the "risk premium" of pot (which is, lets be frank here...TINY...when you take into account the number of users and growers).

This is not true. Pot is more expensive than tobacco. And if you get caught you could wind up in jail or with a criminal record that would limit your opportunities in the future, hardly a TINY risk.

Are you telling me that there ISN'T an actively competitive market for pot today? Seriously?

No there isn't. Corporations who are good at driving costs down and dealing in bulk cannot access the market because it is illegal.

And there's still a pretty active "illegal" cigarette market in the US today (which would be a lot greater were it not for Indian reservations)

Of course there is. The government is trying to hike taxes as much as possible. When it drives costs too high the black market will spring up to give consumers what they want.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:17 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

The margins for growing drugs? Now you're just making it up. Plus, there is a very competitive market already, because the risk premium is NOT all that high. Not for pot.

The price of cocaine in Columbia is much lower than in the District of Columbia. In Columbia you can get cocaine at $2 a gram. After it is imported and diluted it sells for $150 a gram in Washington DC. If drugs were legal the cost would be 90% cheaper and the drug wars and drug related robberies would end.

Yeah...but you haven't given me the numbers yet of how many people actually go to jail for such pot possessions, what the punishment rates are, what the types of punishments are, what % of users/dealers get caught etc. Police departments all over the country have pretty much stopped given a hoot about pot, anymore.

They have a record you idiot. That means that they are shut out of many good jobs and have options that are limited. And we are not talking about just pot, and do not rely on the whims of law enforcement officials. We are talking about all drugs and the law as it is written.

The real world isn't like Ron Paul thinks it is.The US gov is going to use this to raise money for itself, and you'll end up with more expensive pot, more regulated pot, and a less competitive pot market (and STILL with a very large underground illegal market!). So the trade off is between having a 0.00001% chance of getting caught, or a 99% chance of paying 200% tax.

Take the 200% tax. It would mean much higher quality product at much lower prices, less legal risk and fewer health risks.

 
At 9/20/2011 8:19 PM, Blogger VangelV said...

I'd venture to say you've never bought pot before, never met a drug dealer, never met a pot grower, never walked in an inner city ghetto. Probably never even smoked cigarettes either. But hey...don't let me ruin your dream.

If you don't understand how the market for these things works today, and how it will work tomorrow...you're basically just making it up on faith.


I know that people are jailed for smoking pot and lose the opportunity to get good jobs because of the criminal records that they get when caught. That is how the real world works. Relying on the kindness of police officers looking the other way is not what people who care about liberty would want to do. Just repeal the laws and don't give them the ability to wield power arbitrarily.

 
At 9/21/2011 4:31 PM, Blogger Moniker said...

Drug use is so commonplace these days; it's just ridiculous to ask any police officer to lay down his life to stop it.

It's absurd not to legalize it. Tax or no tax.

 
At 10/17/2011 1:28 PM, Blogger Jorge Andres Ramirez said...

A couple weeks ago I wrote my own post showing how American War on Drugs is a failure. I did not consider the number of arrests or the money locally spent by US here in prohibition, instead of prevention since to me it is a minor problem.
All available statistics show that the War on Drugs is lost.

http://chamarticles.blogspot.com/2011/10/failure-of-american-war-on-drugs.html

 

Post a Comment

Links to this post:

Create a Link

<< Home