« The end of the world | Main | Paper Kittens »

April 05, 2010


...Which says nothing of the havoc our drug policies appetites are wreaking on places like Mexico...

There. Fixed that for you.

...Which says nothing of the havoc our drug policies appetites policies are wreaking on places like Mexico...

Refixed. We can blame innate human nature and its frequent desire for recreational drugs. Or, we can blame specific policies that allow criminal organizations to flourish with attendant death and destruction.
The latter seems more fruitful, since changing human nature is a dubious project. But if you'd prefer an unfixable problem to a fixable one, so be it.

There. Fixed that for you.

No, you broke it.

Human beings, including Americans, have been using various substances to get high and/or alter their moods since the beginning of time.

Some people drink coffee. Others tea. Some smoke cigarettes, others drink alcohol. Some take pot, or hallucinagenics, cocaine, opiates, etc.

To blame American "appetites" is really to miss the point. It would be akin to blaming American "appetites" for booze as causing the spike in organized crime circa Prohibition.

While right on some level, it is also meaningless since those appetites will be there with or without Prohibition. But the Prohibition created the black market, which gave sustenance to the criminal enterprises. As with Mexico.

People arrested with up to 30 grams of the drug - slightly more than an ounce - may have to pay a fine but face no risk of a criminal record.

While I think this is a step in the right direction, I don't see why there needs to be an arrest, at least not in every case. Why not write a ticket like they do for speeding? If it's a matter of determining the weight, couldn't the officer be given the discretion to make obvious calls for amounts clearly under 30 grams? An ounce is a pretty good amount of weed to be strolling about with. If you catch someone with a only, say, a couple of joints (given that it's not being fully legalized, which would be even better) why not issue a ticket and be done with it?

That's how they do it here in Ohio. You have to get up to over 200g to get into felony territory, and misdemeanor possession is not an arrestable offense.

Do you know how many prison wardens will lose there job when this goes through? Add to that all the imprisoned that would not be withdrawn from the normal job market (and added to the highly profitable slave market) anymore and this is a recipe for a major economic crash. All parts of Big O's hideous agenda I presume.

An ounce is a pretty good amount of weed to be strolling about with.

Hell yeah. :)

I think that drug legalization is where gay marriage was 10-15 years ago; just starting to seem reasonable to the enough people to begin a discussion. A decade from now, it'll be achieving the sort of societal consensus (aside from the neanderthals) that scratches its head and wonders 'why was this ever against the law?' 10 years after that, the New Republican Party leaders will be praising Tim Leary the way they praise Dr.King now.

And they'll be adamant in their opposition to intelliboost ghostlinking.

It's a great idea, and I'm really proud of Seth Williams. Now I just have to figure out if this is outweighed by the Eagles trading McNabb to the Redskins for draft picks.

I hate texting and emo-metal. Now get off my lawn.

It's also noteworthy that Williams worked this out with Ron Castile and Seamus McCaffery, two old-timey law n' order types (Castile was a Philadelphia DA before being elected to the state supreme court). I suspect that one issue was what kind of changed Williams could make without new legislation ('cause good freakin' luck with that), and it helps to have Supreme Court justices weigh in on that; but the fact that they've signed off on a change like this is also going to make resisting it harder for judges and police.

For that reason and others, it would be better if more cities, states and then the federal government adopted this approach, and then an even more comprehensive decriminalization.

Reverse order, please. So long as the DEA is in this business, enforcing federal controlled substances acts, at least production, wholesale, and large retail activities involving cannabis as a recreational drug will continue to be prosecuted. Once authority devolves to the states, different choices can be made with regard to licensing of sales, just as they are with alcohol.

It may be worth noting that removing cannabis from the controlled substances list might require that the US either withdraw from the UN's Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, or have the treaty modified to remove cannabis from that list of controlled substances.

The majority of arrests and prosecutions of drug offenders take place in the minority communities, and sentences are disproportionately longer for African American males. This has had the effect of disenfranchising millions black men which undermines the Voting Rights Act.

This is provoking another trip down memory lane, to the Pre-Reagan era. Specifically, 1979, when simple possession and use of pot was a traffic-fine level offense pretty much everywhere, and legalization looked so much like a sure thing that tobacco companies were already formulating ad campaigns for their line of Mary Jane smokeables.

It's only taken us 30 years to get back to some elementary sanity in the "drug wars." I don't blame moral puritanism for the 30 year record of futility and cruelty so much as I blame the profit motive: too many people made too much money on demonizing drugs, from the druglords themselves to the police departments who used confiscature to self-fund - and let's not leave out the for-profit prison system, which represents such an astonishing abdication of public policy in favor of private profiteering it blows my mind.

I'm all for fines rather than long-term prison sentences, but you need to get to grip on some issues, pro-legalization commenters. No, even marijuana is not the cup of tea you would like it to be.

Intoxicants DO have a long history, and it's a horrible history. States don't try to restrict it just because they are mean, or for profit (then they could just get into the business of selling them!), but because they really, really hurt people and societies.

Like tobacco (not used as an intoxicant, but harmful for other reasons) and alcohol, drugs always give the seller perverse incentives - they will stand to make a lot of money on suffering, death and misery.

People really don't appreciate this. For our only legal intoxicant of significance, alcohol, about 80% of the sales come from the 20% heaviest consumers. It's even sharper in the upper percentages. Alcohol companies profit from extremely harmful use, they could scarcely exist without it, and they know it.

Now tell me cocaine is going to be better?

Yes, criminalization has big disadvantages. People seeking profit from other people's misery can still do a lot of damage from underground. But reduced access is still a type of reduced supply, and reduced supply leads to higher prices, which leads to reduced demand. In this, illegal drugs are like any other good. (Yes, I know about giffen goods. No, drugs aren't.) Done responsibly, government restrictions on sale and possession reduce damages.

The comments to this entry are closed.