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jkrowling
 
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Originally Posted by Free_Willy View Post
Just uploaded on youtube/IIIUHUMAN

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i was listening to that with the flying lotus album los angeles in the background and digging it an extreme amount.
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Old 09-28-2008, 04:33 AM jkrowling is offline  
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lets come to grips shall we....

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Old 09-28-2008, 12:57 PM Free_Willy is offline  
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I'm not sure if anyone here is from Michigan, but it's on the ballot this year to be approved for medical use. If it passes it will make Michigan the first Midwest state to do so, and the 13th (I think it's 13) state overall. People from all walks of life smoke pot, it's just sad that it is tossed in the same bin as the harsh drugs (booze, coke, crack,ect).
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Old 10-01-2008, 09:17 AM Shinespark is offline  
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I'm not sure if anyone here is from Michigan, but it's on the ballot this year to be approved for medical use. If it passes it will make Michigan the first Midwest state to do so, and the 13th (I think it's 13) state overall. People from all walks of life smoke pot, it's just sad that it is tossed in the same bin as the harsh drugs (booze, coke, crack,ect).

lol go Michigan, NY is still being gay about it. 13 states is a start, hopefully we'll see 50 one day.
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Old 10-07-2008, 02:46 PM The Unflushable Turd is offline  
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Old 10-14-2008, 09:50 PM Free_Willy is offline  
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yoj
 
Drugs and Harm Reduction: A model involving legalization of all recrational drugs.

I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this, a workable model in which all recreational drugs such would be completely legalized. The basic premise is that a complete legalization of recreational drugs would result in a net reduction in total harm to society, as well as the obvious reduction in costs associated with policing, raiding, sentencing, and jailing drug related criminals as well as all curbing medical expenses related to serious drug abuse.


I make three basic assumptions here:

1. That the current model of "War on Drugs", in which severe restrictions and penalties must be enforced, is not functioning. Far too much money is spent with far too little results. One look at the Vancouver's downtown east side should be enough evidence.
2. That recreational drug use with safe doses of known, pure dosages is not inherently harmful. One of the most dangerous aspects to recreational drug use in today's world is the factor of uncertainty in both dose and purity.
3. Availability of illegal drugs is widespread. Most people are within three degrees or less of separation of someone who could provide their drug of choice. It follows that the legalization of these drugs would not increase availability of those who really want it by a large factor.

These points are simply my opinion but I will assume they are true to apply my model. The second point is very important, because while this would result in a total increase of drug use, I believe there is a difference between safe recreational drug use and dangerous/abusive drug use that results in chronic debilitating addiction.


The model for legalization of recreational drugs is as follows:

1. The manufacture of recreational drugs will be completely legal, although subject to all the same rules current pharmaceutical companies are held to for normal drugs. The FDA would oversee the manufacture just as they do for regular drugs (aspirin/tylenol etc).
2. The sale of recreational drugs would take place OTC at regular pharmacies, with valid ID (age restrictions same as alcohol, area dependent).
3. The government would include Drug education into their Sex Ed/Health classes. Careful explanation of the affects of various doses would be thoroughly explained and instructions for safe, recreational use would be taught.


How would this accomplish harm reduction? I see two major places:

1. Crime Reduction:
- Elimination of criminal drug trafficking enterprise. There is no question that something can be done legally for much cheaper than illegally, so no criminals would be profitable trafficking drugs. One only has to look to the alcohol industry before/after prohibition to see that this is true, since no illegal manufacture of alcohol occurs on a large scale anymore. While illegal manufacture may still linger, it would be on the same level as homemade distilled alcohol - relatively harmless.
- Drug trafficking is a gateway crime. The progression from dealing weed to dealing hard drugs to killing over hard drugs to even worse is not unreasonable to see, one that I have seen many people on the path of. Eliminating the entry point for low level criminals to become serious ones would, in my opinion, drastically reduce the possibility. I believe that people are not born evil, but drawn to it through both desperation and opportunity. Eliminate the opportunity.
- It follows that basic capitalism could eliminate drug empires far more effectively and completely than the DEA ever could. Considering all of the above, I believe a reduction in total harmful crime would be the result. The best part? Reducing crime while simultaneously decreasing the cost of justice.

2. Increasing the ratio of safe use to abusive use. Embrace drug education. People here have posted excellent articles on progressive European countries in the aspects of Sex Ed from a young age. Complete transparency and delivery of the facts is, in my opinion, the answer. Making it clear that one use of meth or heroin may be enough to cause an addiction (is this even true or just anti drug propaganda? I have no idea), yet giving people the knowledge to make their own decisions, and if they do choose to do it, how to do it while minimizing potential for harm. I think, similar to alcohol, if people are aware of what is a safe recreational dose then they will be much more likely to follow that dosage, especially if they are educated on what is the exact consequences of a higher dose.


I realize that, especially in the short term, people will suggest a much higher rate of abuse (by abuse I mean chronic addiction) due to higher availability. I have a couple points in response:

1. Proper drug education starting from a young age (obviously progressively more advanced throughout school, 5 year olds don't need to know how to hotknife hash) will curb abusive practices of most drugs, to an extent. However, "Escapist" abuse of these drugs (such as in the homeless) can only be solved by curing the root problem - homelessness. That is beyond the scope of this model.
2. Compare the easily abused drugs to alcohol. The vast majority of people who drink alcohol do so safely and not in an abusive matter, despite both the health danger and the possibility of developing a physical addiction being much greater than many recreational drugs.

Summary:

This isn't entirely about the benefits of legal drugs. The increased availability and potential for addiction would be countered by the increased education and safe use practices. I would like to believe it would result in a decrease in abusive use of drugs, but that might be wishful thinking. Whether this would hold true in reality is something I cannot answer. Escapist use of drugs (ie junkies) could not be prevented this way but, as seen done by the Swiss, legal heroin coupled with rehabilitation has cleaned the streets of these people. But the real benefit of this model stems the first two important issues I stated previously. First, the "War on Drugs" would effectively be over, which would eliminate drug criminals nearly completely, thus saving both lives and money. I believe that the lives saved through this would far outweigh any extra potential for abuse. Second, the ability for people to use drugs for which they know are safely manufactured and pure is very beneficial. There are many cases of accidental overdose when someone gets a particularly pure dose of heroin, not to mention all the dangerous additives that some drugs are cut with, this would save lives/reduce health risk, saving medical expenses overall. Lastly, since we are in an economic downturn, I might add that it would sure stimulate the economy!

A lot of people may throw this idea out the window purely because "drugs are bad" and all that they have heard in the media. I urge you to believe that this is not the rant of a burnt out hippie. In fact, I have never tried hard drugs and I don't believe I would even if they were legal. I simply believe that its time to throw social stigma on drug use out the window and make room for models that make sense and are more effective overall than our current ones.

Thanks for reading. Interested in hearing your thoughts. PS - copypastaed my post from another R/P forum :P. But I think people over there were too lazy to read.
Old 12-02-2008, 03:20 AM yoj is offline  
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Exactly what I advocate.

Well put.
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:13 AM MentallyInept is offline  
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Old 12-02-2008, 08:42 AM Xayd is offline  
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Quote:
"I have been spending a lot of time thinking about this, a workable model in which all recreational drugs such would be completely legalized. The basic premise is that a complete legalization of recreational drugs would result in a net reduction in total harm to society, as well as the obvious reduction in costs associated with policing, raiding, sentencing, and jailing drug related criminals as well as all curbing medical expenses related to serious drug abuse."
Net reduction in total harm to society is relative to how you define it. Police expenditures and jailing would more than likely be reduced, medical expenses related to serious drug abuse should not change that much on the basis of increased usage will undoubtedly increase the number of people hopelessly addicted increasing medical costs for them. However problems with ODing on unknown quantities would reduce, I think overall medical costs associated would increase but the net expenditure would be down due to reduced police spending. However there are "costs" other than monetary that must be considered in any full legalization model. Many people do not like drug use/users and surely we would have to all become accustomed to seeing drug use on the streets and their effects on people in everyday life. However, same could be said about alcohol and that public intoxication on drugs would be illegal as well. There is some other ideological potential costs but those will vary widely from person to person. Lastly, for many, other than their taxes, the war on drugs does no harm and the portion of the taxes that do go to that is so small its a moot point.
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"That the current model of "War on Drugs", in which severe restrictions and penalties must be enforced, is not functioning. Far too much money is spent with far too little results."
Depends on how you want to measure the results. Before anyone links any study about every dollar spent on treatment is worth five for enforcement, every one of those is subject to measurement issues and the true cost is unknown. It is also unknown just how effective the war on drugs is. As with any treatment study, drug enforcement results will vary considerably from different sources and all must be taken with a grain of salt.
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"That recreational drug use with safe doses of known, pure dosages is not inherently harmful."
I agree to a certain degree. Much of the danger associated with drugs is due to this, but some drugs are inherently harmful. Of course deaths from our legal drugs (alcohol/tobacco) outnumber anything from recreational use.
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"Availability of illegal drugs is widespread. Most people are within three degrees or less of separation of someone who could provide their drug of choice."
Completely subjective to each person and location on drug availability, but point taken that drugs are generally easy to acquire depending on what you want.
Quote:
"These points are simply my opinion but I will assume they are true to apply my model. The second point is very important, because while this would result in a total increase of drug use, I believe there is a difference between safe recreational drug use and dangerous/abusive drug use that results in chronic debilitating addiction."
If you assume a increase in overall drug use you must also assume a increase in abusive behavior and chronic addiction. These items cannot be separated that once legalized all drug use will be safe and responsible.
Quote:
"The model for legalization of recreational drugs is as follows:

1. The manufacture of recreational drugs will be completely legal, although subject to all the same rules current pharmaceutical companies are held to for normal drugs. The FDA would oversee the manufacture just as they do for regular drugs (aspirin/Tylenol etc).
2. The sale of recreational drugs would take place OTC at regular pharmacies, with valid ID (age restrictions same as alcohol, area dependent).
3. The government would include Drug education into their Sex Ed/Health classes. Careful explanation of the affects of various doses would be thoroughly explained and instructions for safe, recreational use would be taught."
1 and 2 good ideas. However, for 3 there is budgeting issues to examine. To properly go over each drug its effects, doses, safe use, etc would be quite a undertaking and quite a expenditure. This needs to be factored in cost analysis. Also there is the effectiveness of your proposed classes. Using MADD as a example, every study evaluating the effectiveness of it concludes it has none, except of course the ones funded by MADD.
Quote:
"1. Crime Reduction:
- Elimination of criminal drug trafficking enterprise. There is no question that something can be done legally for much cheaper than illegally, so no criminals would be profitable trafficking drugs. One only has to look to the alcohol industry before/after prohibition to see that this is true, since no illegal manufacture of alcohol occurs on a large scale anymore. While illegal manufacture may still linger, it would be on the same level as homemade distilled alcohol - relatively harmless.
- Drug trafficking is a gateway crime. The progression from dealing weed to dealing hard drugs to killing over hard drugs to even worse is not unreasonable to see, one that I have seen many people on the path of. Eliminating the entry point for low level criminals to become serious ones would, in my opinion, drastically reduce the possibility. I believe that people are not born evil, but drawn to it through both desperation and opportunity. Eliminate the opportunity.
- It follows that basic capitalism could eliminate drug empires far more effectively and completely than the DEA ever could. Considering all of the above, I believe a reduction in total harmful crime would be the result. The best part? Reducing crime while simultaneously decreasing the cost of justice."
Drug trafficking will probably still exist. As a general rule everything can be done cheaper illegally than legally. All of the regulations that exist in the US ensure that and it would be no surprise to see the illegal trade actually increase if enforcement was to disappear. You have to think about taxes, labor cost, etc All it will do is decrease the profit margin of the drug traffickers. Of course this is all dependant on cost for the legally manufactured item. Alcohol production as a example is somewhat flawed, because after the removal of the ban the manufacturing all of the previous suppliers resumed their operations and forced the small scale ones out of business or became legit ones themselves. However the drug traffickers would not be able to make this transition due to strict US regulations on manufacture since they don't posses the facilities to produce the consistent product. It is really unknown what would happen since so much of it depends on cost of the legal drug.

You mentioned the opportunity for people who have none in the drug business, if you were to say eliminate it what happens to those people? You may in fact displace their crime of drug selling into others such as robbery, burglary, etc. causing a actual increase in crime of a more serious nature.
Quote:
"2. Increasing the ratio of safe use to abusive use. Embrace drug education. People here have posted excellent articles on progressive European countries in the aspects of Sex Ed from a young age. Complete transparency and delivery of the facts is, in my opinion, the answer. Making it clear that one use of meth or heroin may be enough to cause an addiction (is this even true or just anti drug propaganda? I have no idea), yet giving people the knowledge to make their own decisions, and if they do choose to do it, how to do it while minimizing potential for harm. I think, similar to alcohol, if people are aware of what is a safe recreational dose then they will be much more likely to follow that dosage, especially if they are educated on what is the exact consequences of a higher dose."
Your ratio of safe use to abusive use would of course go up, the amount of people who can use drugs responsibly is higher than those who abuse. However as with any use of a item that can be abused, as use goes up so does abuse. If alcohol is any example it is one of abuse especially amongst the younger crowd. Tons of people go to the ER for alcohol poisoning and other problems that occur with over indulgence. While easier to measure the amount taken of a drug there is no reason to believe overindulgence in drugs would not occur. There is also the matter of all the possible drug interactions. I could see thousands dying fairly quickly by taking opiates and mixing with alcohol because they didn't know. You speak of education on this, but that is only going to be applicable to those in school, the rest of the country would have to make a proactive attempt to gain the information.
Quote:
1. Proper drug education starting from a young age (obviously progressively more advanced throughout school, 5 year olds don't need to know how to hot knife hash) will curb abusive practices of most drugs, to an extent. However, "Escapist" abuse of these drugs (such as in the homeless) can only be solved by curing the root problem - homelessness. That is beyond the scope of this model.
2. Compare the easily abused drugs to alcohol. The vast majority of people who drink alcohol do so safely and not in an abusive matter, despite both the health danger and the possibility of developing a physical addiction being much greater than many recreational drugs."
You are operating under the premise that education is the only conditional factor upon drugs safe use and abusive use. I would say legalize everything now if safe responsible use for every person was a guaranteed, but it's not. You are almost making a de facto claim that it will be. Your view of escapist people most likely to be dependant is very flawed, the homeless is such a small statistical abnormality it's not even worth mentioning and far more people abuse alcohol than the homeless. On #2 you are correct, most people do use alcohol in a responsible manner, but you seriously downplay the addictive nature of many of these drugs. Assuming all were legal under your plan you must surely admit cocaine, crack, opiate derivatives, etc have a incredible amount of addictive power which of course throws off the abuse probability

Personally I don't think either system is correct. The current exclusion of all recreational drugs when some can be made as harmless as alcohol is ridiculous. I believe alcohol should be the benchmark for drug legalization. If the effects are relatively the same (in severity not type) then it should be legalized. While I don't support marijuana use there is no feasible argument that I can submit to outlaw it when alcohol is roughly the same if not worse, it would in fact be easier to argue to make alcohol illegal. However, the idea of full legalization of every drug is completely ridiculous as there are some drugs with such heavy addictive properties and severe health issues they do not need to be in the public sphere. Ideologically I support the notion of what I do in my home is my business as long as it does not infringe on others rights, but as we know drug use does not stay only in the home it comes out to the public sphere and I have to concede that my inability to use said drugs is acceptable to reduce the potential impact that others who abuse it may have.
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Last edited by Figment; 12-02-2008 at 11:02 AM..
Old 12-02-2008, 10:53 AM Figment is offline  
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"undoubtedly increase the number of people hopelessly addicted"

Spoken like one who has no idea what addiction is.
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:23 PM Frock is offline  
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"undoubtedly increase the number of people hopelessly addicted"

Spoken like one who has no idea what addiction is.

Depends on how you want to conceptualize addiction. I used hopelessly addicted because it describes the type of addiction that everyone can agree is unwanted. Addiction can have quite a variable range. Now with that aside lets conceptualize hopelessly addicted.

Would it be fair to say that someone who is hopelessly addicted to drugs is one that ignores all other aspects of life for the pursuit of the drug at the cost of physical, financial, spiritual, familial health?

On a statistical level lets say that .001% of current drug users are hopelessly addicted. That is a tenth of a percentage point. I dont think thats to far fetched. So lets even be more generous and assume the population of new users in general is more responsible, hence why they havent done drugs yet and cut that hopelessly addicted rate by .75% of the initial tenth of 1%. Alright lets do some math. Assume 1 in every 10 americans try drugs going to use 300million to work off of. So 30 million try drugs any drug. Useage rate of each drug will be highly variable and addiction rates will vary by each drug, which is also why im being extra generous. So 30mil x .00025 = 7500 completely hopelessly addicted people based on fairly generous math to the addiction side.

Even if my math is completely BS (which it is) to think levels of drug addiction will not increase and the far spectrum of addiction will not increase as well is being a
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Old 12-02-2008, 12:42 PM Figment is offline  
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yoj
 
Thanks for all those points Figment . You are right to be concerned about some of them. But I just don't understand how illegal manufacture/trafficking could possibly be done cheaper? Yes, you could possibly import cocaine and other third world drugs for cheaper, but I think the question of quality still comes in to play. Who would buy hand rolled cigarettes or home brewed moonshine of unknown quality - illegally - from a criminal when they could go to the store - legally - and get exactly what they paid for? I think the #1 concern of many people is the dubious origin and content of some drugs. I think you are vastly underestimating the power of this factor in the would-be-ensuing battle between illegal supply and legal supply. Aside from that, I just don't see how something can be done illegally in a better AND cheaper way than legally. How can an illegal "company" (drug ring) operate better than a legal company when it's "employees" (dealers etc), "factories" (grow ops/labs etc), and product are all being seized by police at random times? Not to mention, a company that has large factories can produce far more efficiently and cheaply than a bunch of meth labs scattered across the trailer parks of the country. This is basic economics, no?

Also, I would like a bit more explanation on your opinion about crime reduction. I haven't exactly looked at rates but would it not be safe to say that the foundation of many gangs and other criminal groups that commit violent offenses is the drug trade? I can't imagine the Hell's Angels having nearly as large of an impact. Yes, there would still be key players who continue into extortion, assassination, etc. But I think over time we would see a large decrease in violent crime, simply because there isn't anything to fight over anymore.

You are using the term abusive in too many different ways. I define abusive as a chronic physical addiction that causes harm to self or others. Binge drinking in college is not abusive behavior. It is dumb behavior, but doesn't fit your or my own definition. And despite alcohols potential for chronic physical addiction, I don't see a correlation between college binge drinking and alcoholism, or at least one strong enough to do something about. If someone who knows exactly what is in the drug in hand, who is completely aware of the possible consequences, and who is aware of how to safely dose, should they not be allowed to do it? There are safe doses for all drugs, even heroin. Hell, speed is also a leading ADD medicine. While I concede that some drugs (cocaine/heroin/meth, thats about it) are potentially very addictive, I argue that they are no more addictive than tobacco, which we accept. Their destructive properties are within acceptable levels of currently legal vices in my opinion.

I don't think you are valid in saying that drug education wouldn't work because MADD doesn't work. Thats because MADD sucks. They just come and give you a sob story about drunk driving, tell you its bad, dont do it, and then be off. We do not truly educate our children on responsible use of alcohol. I think a much more convincing parallel to draw is that of Sex Ed in Holland: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/662403.stm
That is what I mean by total transparency. They teach children younger than 12 about anal and BDSM, yet they have the lowest teen pregnancy rate. Current methods teach the negatives, but not the positives. I think this simply makes children jaded to the message.

I will admit that it would be very difficult to educate the current population. I haven't thought about how to deal with that problem :P. I will also admit that it could cause a temporary increase in violent crime, due to current drug criminals turning to other enterprises. The benefits of saving time and space in the justice system would also not quickly be apparent. We would still have to keep up efforts to wipe illegal manufacture out, but I think that over the long term it simply could not be profitable for them. But in the long term would you agree that it would reduce crime?

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Old 12-02-2008, 01:40 PM yoj is offline  
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I read the majority of the thread and just wanted to add two things:

1) The inherent flaw with ever legalization of drug use/sale any any level (recreational/all) argument is the assumption that drug users are as a whole responsible, well informed and educated users.

Obviously, users will have limitations set on consumption. FDA will asses safety and come up with something like users can only smoke 2 joints a day... you don't think that people will be growing their own? Its cheaper, its defiantly cheaper if they are un-insured. It is also possible that users can grow more potent variety at home. Marijuana today is 100x more potent than it was at woodstock. People dont just grow the shit in the backyard any more. Hydro, complex fertilizers, timed lighting, etc all have made marijuana more potent, GSK isnt going to harvest some bomb ass chronic for you, its going to be much more tame. Users will look elsewhere.



2) Addiction is always under-defined and reserved for the raving, under the bridge Vietnam vet heroin users. Binge drinkers and marijuana smokers arnt addicted!... who cares? The fact of the matter is that binge drinkers, addicted or not are equally as deadly behind a car when intoxicated. Same for drug users.

The drug use has little to do with the harm inflicted on society, nor are the purchases of the drugs, its the side effects that stem from the usage. When you legalize drugs you resolve 10% of the problem and leave the remaining 90% to increase. Legalize it, no more gang shoot outs over trash bags full of weed. No more cops on the payroll. Instead you have the next generation in highschool smoking legalized marjuana, failing harder than ever before on their math tests. Gaining more weight from all the bags of munchie driven M&M devouring.

Once you legalize drugs you become a really big version of the thing that they always talk about in rehab; The enabler, allowing the nation to fall into perpetual party mode grants you stoned cops, having poor judgment on the job. Educators and students spending the day giggling in class, the list goes on. The kicker here is... you cant stop anyone because if you do, you are back to square one. If you refuse highschoolers and on duty police officers the right to use, then you have to jail them, fine them and arrest them when they are obviously going to use and then you have to hunt the suppliers to the underage users, etc... its the same level of work just different targets this time.
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1) Why would the FDA have limitations on marijuana? The effects are less than alcohol and 100% less deadly. Also, more potent weed means that you are going to smoke less to get high, not get uber stoned and pass out every time you smoke (and shit, if you did then who cares, you arn't ODing your sleeping). How can you predict how potent commercial weed would be?

2) why are cops and students suddenly stoned all the time? Are they all drunk right now? No one's proposing that everyone should be able to get drugs... only those of age. Getting marijuana in high school was never a problem for anybody. Much easier than alcohol because drug dealers dont' card you! If students were forced to buy through legal means then it'd be on par with obtaining alcohol.


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Old 12-02-2008, 02:39 PM beedoop is offline  
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Figment
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I think to start off its good to point out a fully deregulated drug market will never happen, so all of this is purely conjecture.

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Thanks for all those points Figment . You are right to be concerned about some of them. But I just don't understand how illegal manufacture/trafficking could possibly be done cheaper? Yes, you could possibly import cocaine and other third world drugs for cheaper, but I think the question of quality still comes in to play. Who would buy hand rolled cigarettes or home brewed moonshine of unknown quality - illegally - from a criminal when they could go to the store - legally - and get exactly what they paid for? I think the #1 concern of many people is the dubious origin and content of some drugs. I think you are vastly underestimating the power of this factor in the would-be-ensuing battle between illegal supply and legal supply. Aside from that, I just don't see how something can be done illegally in a better AND cheaper way than legally. How can an illegal "company" (drug ring) operate better than a legal company when it's "employees" (dealers etc), "factories" (grow ops/labs etc), and product are all being seized by police at random times? Not to mention, a company that has large factories can produce far more efficiently and cheaply than a bunch of meth labs scattered across the trailer parks of the country. This is basic economics, no?
This is where the problem with full legalization starts especially with the caveat that a primary reason is to reduce expenditures on the criminal justice system. You can't have them both, especially at the same time if you want the drug markets to disappear. You would still need illegal drug enforcement to keep all non US regulated supplies out of the country. That takes law enforcement resources of a quite substantial nature, hence why the current war on drugs is so expensive. The number 1 thing that will make or break a fully legalized drug market is the price of the legal alternative. Legal companies have a lot of overhead to supply, especially in the US. You have taxes, workers social security, pay, land taxes, city taxes, environmental regulations, etc the list goes on and on which adds to the overhead. Foreign countries, especially where the drug rings are operating out of have significantly reduced costs giving them a edge over domestic competition a good example of this is why everything is manufactured in china. I'm not really up to date on the regulations on prescriptions where they are made etc in the US or if they are imported, but it's important to remember where a profit exists there will be a industry. Now onto the issue of who would use these imports vs. the legal high quality ones, well it depends on price. If cocaine is $60 a gram from the legal or $30 a gram for your local drug dealer it's pretty easy to see who will be chosen. Competition from legal suppliers will also force the importers and distributors' (illegal ones) to up the quality of their product. You won't see middle aged middle class people using a local dealer, they wouldn't risk it, but poor people and kids probably would. Illegal importers will always be able to undercut the legal ones because of the reasons above especially if law enforcement dissipates. Most of the price of drugs comes from the illegality behind them, the dealers have to cover intercepted shipments and costs of that nature so they can make a profit. The main point of all of this is that for a market to survive there would probably have to be the same amount or even increased levels of drug enforcement for there to be a viable domestic market.

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Also, I would like a bit more explanation on your opinion about crime reduction. I haven't exactly looked at rates but would it not be safe to say that the foundation of many gangs and other criminal groups that commit violent offenses is the drug trade? I can't imagine the Hell's Angels having nearly as large of an impact. Yes, there would still be key players who continue into extortion, assassination, etc. But I think over time we would see a large decrease in violent crime, simply because there isn't anything to fight over anymore.
I'm not sure which part you are talking about in explanation about crime reduction, but I'll just go with a overarching theme. Let's start with gangs to address your point. Gangs are not formed around the drug trade. The drug trade is something that gangs engage in to support themselves and their goals. Other activities are weapons trade, prostitution, gambling, etc those are just all activities that they engage in due to the lack of legitimate opportunities. Gang formation and the people in them have much more to do with identity issues. Broken homes, mutual protection on the streets, sense of belonging etc are what research points to for the formation of gangs. A decrease in violent crime is probable since that is one of the major reasons for violence, but gangs fight for other things and gang culture is one revolving around machismo and violence to begin with. The money from the drug trade is a moderating variable on the amount of violence increasing it and giving cause to commit more. So in my opinion will violence decrease, yes. Will gangs cease to exist, most certainly not. Now overall crime reduction is guaranteed because you are decriminalizing a large amount of crimes. Onto the issue of displacement of crime this is a real issue to consider. I don't have numbers right beside me, but suffice to say there are many people involved and supported by the drug trade. Those who got involved in it usually lack any sort of legitimate work opportunities and are more than likely felons at this stage. So if you remove the illegal market which employs a large amount of people who otherwise have no available work they will seek to support themselves in other ways. This is problematic as drug dealing, transport etc are relatively victimless crimes, but other ways to make money are not. The dissolution of the illegal drug trade would likely put thousands and thousands of people out of work with no viable alternative than crime to support themselves. Since these are most likely uneducated people with little to no skills the 2 most probable crimes are robbery and burglary. So it is possible to increase crime with your legal drug markets.

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You are using the term abusive in too many different ways. I define abusive as a chronic physical addiction that causes harm to self or others. Binge drinking in college is not abusive behavior. It is dumb behavior, but doesn't fit your or my own definition. And despite alcohols potential for chronic physical addiction, I don't see a correlation between college binge drinking and alcoholism, or at least one strong enough to do something about. If someone who knows exactly what is in the drug in hand, who is completely aware of the possible consequences, and who is aware of how to safely dose, should they not be allowed to do it? There are safe doses for all drugs, even heroin. Hell, speed is also a leading ADD medicine. While I concede that some drugs (cocaine/heroin/meth, thats about it) are potentially very addictive, I argue that they are no more addictive than tobacco, which we accept. Their destructive properties are within acceptable levels of currently legal vices in my opinion.
In my opinion you are being short sighted in what you see as abuse. Binge drinking in college is abuse of alcohol. Drinking until the point of vomiting everywhere and passing out is abuse. The difference is alcoholism is a psychological problem that people develop with alcohol, not necessarily a physical dependency (unless they have been alcoholics for years). Many of the drugs you are advocating be legalized have physical addiction properties much like cigarettes but much more severe. There is also the issue of being psychologically addicted to these as well. Crack has been referred to as being orgasmic when using but the difference in that feeling and the "normal" one they have is so large they want to feel like that all the time. This is just one example. Marijuana is not physically addicting, but it is for sure psychologically same premise different drug. When a drug has both physical and psychological addictive properties it becomes very dangerous for use. Knowing everything about the drug does not change the propensity for its abuse. You are placing too much emphasis on education and the deterrence on the person. Everyone in the country knows cigarettes will kill them, but millions smoke. Knowing the safe dosage and using the safe dosage are completely different things. Knowing not to snort coke 5 times a day 7 days a week is different than not doing it. Education is important, but it's not the end all cure. This is not even getting into substance abuse issues that revolve around mental issues such as coping mechanisms and retreatism from the world.

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I don't think you are valid in saying that drug education wouldn't work because MADD doesn't work. Thats because MADD sucks. They just come and give you a sob story about drunk driving, tell you its bad, don't do it, and then be off. We do not truly educate our children on responsible use of alcohol. I think a much more convincing parallel to draw is that of Sex Ed in Holland: http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/europe/662403.stm
That is what I mean by total transparency. They teach children younger than 12 about anal and BDSM, yet they have the lowest teen pregnancy rate. Current methods teach the negatives, but not the positives. I think this simply makes children jaded to the message.
To begin you need to read peer reviewed journal articles made by academics and even when you read those you need to be able to identify flaws in methodology and measurements. As a general rule if its on tv its worthless for real discussion unless the report is about a ground breaking study that just came out. The article you linked is a example of such. Examples of this... Does this teen pregnancy rate count dropout after getting pregnant. Is this just public school? Who did the reporting? Is this including aborted pregnancies? What are the polling ages 13-18 or 15-18? There are tons and tons of issues with that report it essentially tells me nothing but what they want me to hear. I'm not saying that drug education won't work, but it's not as simple as you make it sound. The reason I use MADD as a example of failed education is because of its prevalence and longevity in the area. Drug education programs are not as simple as they immediately work otherwise every rehab, sex education, drunk driving etc program would have great success rates. The truth is that different programs work better than others and it takes years and years to do program evaluations and restructure and reevaluate that program.

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I will admit that it would be very difficult to educate the current population. I haven't thought about how to deal with that problem :P. I will also admit that it could cause a temporary increase in violent crime, due to current drug criminals turning to other enterprises. The benefits of saving time and space in the justice system would also not quickly be apparent. We would still have to keep up efforts to wipe illegal manufacture out, but I think that over the long term it simply could not be profitable for them. But in the long term would you agree that it would reduce crime?
As I said above it is almost guaranteed to see a reduction in crime because you are decriminalizing a illegal activity. The question is how much of one? There are many people involved in illegal activities that are in jail on drug charges and there are those that are in on just drug charges alone. However there could theoretically be a increase in crime associated with the legalization. It's just unknown how many people will be effected by a fully legalized drug policy is a negative way. If addiction is higher than expected and crimes to support the addiction increase above the crime rate of previous possession and selling crimes then we will have a increase. It's not really a cut and dry issue as many of the outcomes are so variable it is nothing more than pure conjecture as to what will happen.
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Old 12-02-2008, 03:19 PM Figment is offline  
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