Legalizing drugs

Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Mon Sep 24, 2012 9:34 pm

Okay I have stated in the past I am rather Libertarian in many of my views, at least when it comes to personal freedom, economically... Not so much.

I was talking to some random person in a Bar the other day and we got into the legalize Marijuana debate. He was against legalization but not strongly, he didn’t really care about that specific drug even saying he had tried it in the past. But he felt it was a “gateway” leading to stringer drugs and addition.

I am strongly in favor of legalization of marijuana and actually all drugs really, so long as people know the risks involved I see no reason why people can’t do whatever they want to themselves. That being said I don’t think being stoned on meth should be allowed ot be used as a defense in court if you do something stupid on it. I also think that while you should be allowed to do it, you shouldn’t be allowed to do certain things on it, ie driving.

From the debates I’ve heard and the evidence I’ve seen in person I think the “gateway” debate is BS. Without exaggerating I can say 90% of the people in my high school graduating class had done weed, and maybe only 10% had done anything stronger.

Also from the stats I’ve seen I think a massive amount of Americas prison population is in on drug, or drug related charges.

Socially I believe informed adults should be able to do as they please to their own bodies so long as it doesn’t infringe on others person rights.

Economically I think we save massive amounts of money if they resources we spent on policing drugs were reallocated into other fields. Hell drug use could very well drop if they spent more time on effective education. And if they went as far as selling them in pharmacies, clean and safe and taxable… well they would make money on taxes and save money on people getting injured on coke cut with rat poison.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 25, 2012 10:59 am

I don't really care what you do at home... but the problem is when people partake and then drive... Legalizing everything seems doable on paper, but not in practice.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:01 am

Yeah thas always the problem, when you start hurting other because your high... but being illegal certinly doesnt stop people doing that.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Granitehewer » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:22 am

I'm not a proponent of the gateway idea, I've taken clenbuterol and quit after a few months and that was six years ago.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Graham Kennedy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 11:44 am

Don't see any reason why drugs should be illegal. What does it accomplish? Drugs are pretty much freely available anyway - the "war on drugs" has been lost already. Seems to me that legalising drugs would solve a whole slew of our social and even financial problems with very little cost to society.

And the gateway thing always struck me as silly. If the legal soft drugs like caffeine and alcohol don't lead to harder drugs, why would the illegal soft drugs like weed do so?
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Jim » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:05 pm

GrahamKennedy wrote:If the legal soft drugs like caffeine and alcohol don't lead to harder drugs, why would the illegal soft drugs like weed do so?


Unless you are in the "all or nothing" camp... where do you draw the line?
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Tue Sep 25, 2012 12:51 pm

You dont, the point is drugs being illegal obviously does nothing to stop people using them and only fills our prisons and costs us money.

Put it this way, if Methamphetamine was legal, would you take it?

Im assuming the answer is, "No I'm not an idiot", as would most everybodys be. So long as people are educated about it, making them legal shouldn't do shit for substance abuse.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby IanKennedy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:11 pm

First I will say that I'm not in favour of legalising drugs of any kind. I'd even be quit keen on banning tobacco. I'm not really interesting is justifying that stance one way or the other but there are a few issues I see with current arguments.

1) The number of people in jail issue. I don't think the people in jail are there because they've taken drugs. I would suspect that it is more related to selling those drugs. These people have demonstrated that they are willing to break the law to gain money. I suspect that if drugs where legal they would simply be breaking the law in another way in order to do the same. Equally, I would think you would still require police to capture them and courts to prosecute them just as you do now. How, would that save any money?

2)
Teaos wrote:if Methamphetamine was legal, would you take it? Im assuming the answer is, "No I'm not an idiot", as would most everybodys be. So long as people are educated about it, making them legal shouldn't do shit for substance abuse.


Under that logic nobody would be taking it now, it's not as if it's effects are currently a secret. You also get an issue of peer pressure in the young. Currently school kids often start smoking because it's seen as a cool thing to do. A similar issue would likely develop with other drugs. Placing an age cap on the products would only lead to the same black market that already exists for cigarettes.

3) Secondary effects. Who becomes responsible for the problems it causes. Such as the rise in DUI cases that would occur. Who is responsible for paying the health problems that result from the drug use. Presumably those in the states would soon find clauses in the heath insurance that would preclude treatment for any resultant issues. Equally, the NHS in the UK would have an interesting battle on it's hands to find the extra funding to treat people.

4) Taxation. One claim made is that taxation on these drugs would result in a huge in flow of cash for governments and presumably fund the issues raised above, at least in the realm of state funded health care. The issue with that is one of criminality. Presumably it would be illegal to sell the drugs without collecting and paying the tax. This would lead to the very same situation we have now, where there would be an illegal trade in tax free drugs. This exact thing has already happened here in the UK where tax on cigarettes is quite high. This has lead to an in flux of smuggled cheap imports from eastern Europe.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Tue Sep 25, 2012 5:59 pm

Under that logic nobody would be taking it now, it's not as if it's effects are currently a secret. You also get an issue of peer pressure in the young. Currently school kids often start smoking because it's seen as a cool thing to do. A similar issue would likely develop with other drugs. Placing an age cap on the products would only lead to the same black market that already exists for cigarettes.


Under your logic everyone would smoke tobacco since it is legal... wait, no. Being illegal isnt stopping people taking it, and being legal wouldnt make everyone take it, its only turning people into criminals. Look at prohibition, it didn't stop people drinking, it merely created a huge black market and turned quite a lot of formerly law abiding citizens into criminals, and when it ended the Mob lost a massive source of income, and I dont know about you, but I dont know of any Vodka dealers standing on street corners nowadays.

1) The number of people in jail issue. I don't think the people in jail are there because they've taken drugs. I would suspect that it is more related to selling those drugs. These people have demonstrated that they are willing to break the law to gain money. I suspect that if drugs where legal they would simply be breaking the law in another way in order to do the same. Equally, I would think you would still require police to capture them and courts to prosecute them just as you do now. How, would that save any money?


As far as I'm aware its all of the above, dealing drugs, making drugs, possession is a huge one.

Sure people deal drugs to make money, and there may very well be a bit of a black market even if it were legalized. But a big source of easy revenue for gangs would be cut off, maybe dropping other crimes as well.


Image

Image

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These show the increase of people in jail since the "war on drugs", the percent purely in on drug charges, and the huge number of people in prison. And this is over a period where Violent crime in the US is down.

3) Secondary effects. Who becomes responsible for the problems it causes. Such as the rise in DUI cases that would occur. Who is responsible for paying the health problems that result from the drug use. Presumably those in the states would soon find clauses in the heath insurance that would preclude treatment for any resultant issues. Equally, the NHS in the UK would have an interesting battle on it's hands to find the extra funding to treat people.


Well I strongly disagree legalizing it would cause more people to use. And I have never seen any stats to suggest otherwise. More people in NZ use Marijuana than they do in Holland where it is legal.

So as for cost:

We save money but not having otherwise innocent people in prison, this alone would be millions if not billions. Looking at the graphs I provided you would not only let out tens of thousands, but those people could very well go back into the work force providing even more revenue (avoiding the issue of unemployment at the moment)

We make money it taxing. Alcohol, the once illegal drug was legalized and taxed. There are no black markets for it of any worthwhile size, and it is a MASSIVE source of tax income.

Sure it would need some more policing to avoid DUI ect, but more police on the streets wouldn't exactly be a bad thing and would be easily covered alone by the reduction in the size of the prison system.

4) Taxation. One claim made is that taxation on these drugs would result in a huge in flow of cash for governments and presumably fund the issues raised above, at least in the realm of state funded health care. The issue with that is one of criminality. Presumably it would be illegal to sell the drugs without collecting and paying the tax. This would lead to the very same situation we have now, where there would be an illegal trade in tax free drugs. This exact thing has already happened here in the UK where tax on cigarettes is quite high. This has lead to an in flux of smuggled cheap imports from eastern Europe.


Again I give the example of prohibition and the then legalizing and taxing of alcohol.

I grant with drugs it may be a bit different, but if a user had a choice of getting a gram of Coke for $40 on the street or $50 in a pharmacy I'm sure the peace of mind of knowing he is A) getting clean drugs of proven quality and B) not breaking the law, would prove decent motivation. The illegal drug market would mostly collapse.

I also want to point out I am not picking on America, all countries have a problem but all the available stats are for the US. IN addition to their war on drugs provide a very obvious turning point in their criminal culture.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby IanKennedy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:03 pm

Teaos wrote:
Under that logic nobody would be taking it now, it's not as if it's effects are currently a secret. You also get an issue of peer pressure in the young. Currently school kids often start smoking because it's seen as a cool thing to do. A similar issue would likely develop with other drugs. Placing an age cap on the products would only lead to the same black market that already exists for cigarettes.


Under your logic everyone would smoke tobacco since it is legal... wait, no. Being illegal isnt stopping people taking it, and being legal wouldnt make everyone take it, its only turning people into criminals. Look at prohibition, it didn't stop people drinking, it merely created a huge black market and turned quite a lot of formerly law abiding citizens into criminals, and when it ended the Mob lost a massive source of income, and I dont know about you, but I dont know of any Vodka dealers standing on street corners nowadays.

Actually illegal drink selling is an actual problem in the UK. People smuggle it in from other places because of the Tax on it. Do they stand on street corners, no, they do it in a more practical way.

1) The number of people in jail issue. I don't think the people in jail are there because they've taken drugs. I would suspect that it is more related to selling those drugs. These people have demonstrated that they are willing to break the law to gain money. I suspect that if drugs where legal they would simply be breaking the law in another way in order to do the same. Equally, I would think you would still require police to capture them and courts to prosecute them just as you do now. How, would that save any money?


As far as I'm aware its all of the above, dealing drugs, making drugs, possession is a huge one.

But not as far as you can say those taking the drugs. Since it would be taking them that you are talking about legalising I can't see that making much difference to the number of people in prison. The others only do what they do because of the money in it. So long as you are going to tax the drugs there will be a black market and people going to jail for it. Will it reduce, quite possibly, to what extent I don't know.

Sure people deal drugs to make money, and there may very well be a bit of a black market even if it were legalized. But a big source of easy revenue for gangs would be cut off, maybe dropping other crimes as well.


Image

Image

Image

These show the increase of people in jail since the "war on drugs", the percent purely in on drug charges, and the huge number of people in prison. And this is over a period where Violent crime in the US is down.

I can't really see the data on those graphs they're a little small. The first seems to say that only 6% of people in prison are there for drug possession. That' doesn't see very large. The second graph doesn't seem to say anything other than the number of people in America in prison has gone up since 1980. Without a break down of why they've gone I can't see what you are trying to tell me. Same with the other graph, more people in America end up in Jail, but since drugs are illegal in pretty much the whole world I'm not sure what that tells us.

One thing that comes to mind is the three strike rule but I'm not sure when that kicked in. Wiki would seem to suggest that the 'War on dugs' started about 1970 which doesn't fit with your graph.

3) Secondary effects. Who becomes responsible for the problems it causes. Such as the rise in DUI cases that would occur. Who is responsible for paying the health problems that result from the drug use. Presumably those in the states would soon find clauses in the heath insurance that would preclude treatment for any resultant issues. Equally, the NHS in the UK would have an interesting battle on it's hands to find the extra funding to treat people.


Well I strongly disagree legalizing it would cause more people to use. And I have never seen any stats to suggest otherwise. More people in NZ use Marijuana than they do in Holland where it is legal.


The Wiki article on the rules in Holland makes interesting reading. They are changing the rules there.

So as for cost:

We save money but not having otherwise innocent people in prison, this alone would be millions if not billions. Looking at the graphs I provided you would not only let out tens of thousands, but those people could very well go back into the work force providing even more revenue (avoiding the issue of unemployment at the moment)

We make money it taxing. Alcohol, the once illegal drug was legalized and taxed. There are no black markets for it of any worthwhile size, and it is a MASSIVE source of tax income.

But there is a huge black market in alcohol in the UK, same with cigarettes. (Source)

Sure it would need some more policing to avoid DUI ect, but more police on the streets wouldn't exactly be a bad thing and would be easily covered alone by the reduction in the size of the prison system.

4) Taxation. One claim made is that taxation on these drugs would result in a huge in flow of cash for governments and presumably fund the issues raised above, at least in the realm of state funded health care. The issue with that is one of criminality. Presumably it would be illegal to sell the drugs without collecting and paying the tax. This would lead to the very same situation we have now, where there would be an illegal trade in tax free drugs. This exact thing has already happened here in the UK where tax on cigarettes is quite high. This has lead to an in flux of smuggled cheap imports from eastern Europe.


Again I give the example of prohibition and the then legalizing and taxing of alcohol.

I grant with drugs it may be a bit different, but if a user had a choice of getting a gram of Coke for $40 on the street or $50 in a pharmacy I'm sure the peace of mind of knowing he is A) getting clean drugs of proven quality and B) not breaking the law, would prove decent motivation. The illegal drug market would mostly collapse.


and yet it doesn't here in the UK. Source

I also want to point out I am not picking on America, all countries have a problem but all the available stats are for the US. IN addition to their war on drugs provide a very obvious turning point in their criminal culture.

Neither am I, I'm saying that it's not a panacea you seem to think it would be. There are plenty of people out there who don't take drugs simply because they are illegal, I'm not as convinced as you that they would still not do so if it where legal.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Tue Sep 25, 2012 7:29 pm

Actually illegal drink selling is an actual problem in the UK. People smuggle it in from other places because of the Tax on it. Do they stand on street corners, no, they do it in a more practical way.


Your right I was totally unaware of that. Is it a organized crime thing or more small scale opperations? I've never heard of it in my country, but that may just be an artifact of being an island nation in the middle of a big ocean.

But regardless of that fact 8.2 billion in revenue from booze. 12.1 billion pounds from tobacco. now I dont know, but I assume 20 billion pounds would buy a few police officers to deal with a black market in a legal drug. And have a little bit left over for cool stuff like teachers and nurses.

But not as far as you can say those taking the drugs. Since it would be taking them that you are talking about legalising I can't see that making much difference to the number of people in prison. The others only do what they do because of the money in it. So long as you are going to tax the drugs there will be a black market and people going to jail for it. Will it reduce, quite possibly, to what extent I don't know.


What the graphs show is that the people is purely for being in possession of drugs is about 6%. Not dealing, making, or giving to babies, just being caught with it on their persons.
The other graph was to show that 6% of 2.5 million is 360,000. Thats the amount of people is jail for the victimless crime of having drugs on their person.

Thats not including the ones in prison for making or dealing drugs.

The other one was to show the increase in prison population since the war on drugs, and your right to bring up the three strike rule. Being caught in possession of drugs three times (or any crime but in our debate its drugs) and your in prison for a long time (it changes state to state form what I can find).

[ur=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/cron/l]War on drugs[/url] started in 70's and has been consilidated since then. Carter was a big proponent of it, which coincides with the raise in prison population.

Link some estimates put the total up to 25% of total prison population in on drug charges.

now to clarify, my big reason to legalize drugs is not financial or even to get people out of prison. It is because I believe people should be able to do as they wish to their own bodies so long as it doesnt infringe on others person rights. I merely want to point out it has other benefits as well and would not cause the collapse of society as we know it.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby IanKennedy » Tue Sep 25, 2012 8:34 pm

Teaos wrote:
Actually illegal drink selling is an actual problem in the UK. People smuggle it in from other places because of the Tax on it. Do they stand on street corners, no, they do it in a more practical way.


Your right I was totally unaware of that. Is it a organized crime thing or more small scale opperations? I've never heard of it in my country, but that may just be an artifact of being an island nation in the middle of a big ocean.

Both, people bring it in themselves for their own use, which is legal, if it's for your own use. However, they've stopped entire 18 wheelers full of the stuff being brought in. So it is organised. I'm not supprised that it doesn't happen in NZ, as there's nowhere to bring it in from and your prices are cheaper than your nearest neighbor (Australia). Actually being an island makes it slightly harder for them rather than easier. They can't just drive across the channel, so they can have people at the ports to monitor it. It still gets through though.

But regardless of that fact 8.2 billion in revenue from booze. 12.1 billion pounds from tobacco. now I dont know, but I assume 20 billion pounds would buy a few police officers to deal with a black market in a legal drug. And have a little bit left over for cool stuff like teachers and nurses.

But the current taxes from these things do not prevent the black market in those items, nor do they fund people to fight it, otherwise it would be solved now. Any time you tax something there's going to be a black market in avoiding that tax.

But not as far as you can say those taking the drugs. Since it would be taking them that you are talking about legalising I can't see that making much difference to the number of people in prison. The others only do what they do because of the money in it. So long as you are going to tax the drugs there will be a black market and people going to jail for it. Will it reduce, quite possibly, to what extent I don't know.


What the graphs show is that the people is purely for being in possession of drugs is about 6%. Not dealing, making, or giving to babies, just being caught with it on their persons.
The other graph was to show that 6% of 2.5 million is 360,000. Thats the amount of people is jail for the victimless crime of having drugs on their person.

So let the people who have it only for their own use out. I've no problem with that. It doesn't mean you need to make it legal to do that. It's confiscated and a fine issued and you've reduced your US prison population by 6%. The fact that they're all druggies doesn't give me much faith that they'll help the economy much. At least not the legal one.

Thats not including the ones in prison for making or dealing drugs.

I'm happy to leave them there, they deserve it.

The other one was to show the increase in prison population since the war on drugs, and your right to bring up the three strike rule. Being caught in possession of drugs three times (or any crime but in our debate its drugs) and your in prison for a long time (it changes state to state form what I can find).

[ur=http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/shows/drugs/cron/l]War on drugs[/url] started in 70's and has been consilidated since then. Carter was a big proponent of it, which coincides with the raise in prison population.

Link some estimates put the total up to 25% of total prison population in on drug charges.

now to clarify, my big reason to legalize drugs is not financial or even to get people out of prison. It is because I believe people should be able to do as they wish to their own bodies so long as it doesnt infringe on others person rights. I merely want to point out it has other benefits as well and would not cause the collapse of society as we know it.

I didn't claim it would, however, I still say that let the people in for producing, making etc will only end up doing something else illegal, as they've already shown that that is their character. Nor do I think it would bring as much benefit as you think.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Mikey » Thu Sep 27, 2012 2:10 pm

OK...
I have used marijuana - at times, quite heavily - in the past, and I do so no longer. I have also heavily used alcohol, and to a lesser extent LSD, MDMA, meth, and various pills that do this day I can't rightly identify. I drink socially now, but not to the point of intoxication more than twice a quarter or so, and otherwise the only drug in which I still partake is tobacco. I can say with the dubious certainty of personal experience that marijuana wasn't a "gateway" to the other drugs. Rather, I would say that a person with tendencies to be willing to use marijuana i will have those same tendencies toward willingness to use other drugs. In other words, I didn't try those other substances because I used marijuana; I tried those other substances for the same reasons as I used marijuana.

That said, I think it follows quite closely that personality psychology seems to support what Ian says; when we look at the statistics of people incarcerated for drug crimes, what's important is less the "drug" and more the "crime." Those people aren't in jail because of drugs; they are in jail because they willingly broke the law. Whether or not the law is just (and believe me, I will never understand pot being illegal while alcohol isn't) is tangential to that fact. The bulk of those people aren't in jail because they were willing to break just a drug law; they are there because they were willing to break A state or federal law.

Now, I completely understand the idea of "it's your body, do what you want." I have two issues with that: 1) as Jim said, it's fine to say, "...EXCEPT when you may endanger someone else," but the practice never meets the theory. Alcohol is legal and DUI isn't; but there's a hell of a lot of DUI going on. 2) We, as humans, are of the type of vertebrates that tends to be gregarious. We seek communities for psychological needs as well as mutual benefit. One of those benefits is protection from things that are known to some, but unknown to the potential victim. I have watched heroin destroy people, both in a figurative sense and in the act of literally killing them. Yes, it's their body and their life; but I have a very hard time saying that we should just go ahead and let it be, especially when no first-time dragon-rider has any idea what they are in for and what sort of dependence they are about to engender. If I have to abrogate, in some hugely limited form, someone's idealized version of personal liberty in order to save them from that unknown beast, then so be it every single time. I mentioned above that I have partaken in meth in the past. Well, I am a man of fairly strong willpower; in my lifetime, without assistance, I have given up alcohol abuse, marijuana, LSD, pills, all manner of bleached flour or baked goods made with anything but whole wheat flour, candy and baked goods and in general anything sugary, and I have cut down on caffeine consumption from 5000-7500 mg/day to roughly 1200-1500 mg/day. I administer four injections daily into my own gut, and I raise two children. Let me tell you that after the third or fourth time that I said, "This is the last time" for meth - a drug which isn't even nearly as addicting as, say, coke or H - I realized that I sort of wish I had recognized that the law was in place for a reason.

So, does it abrogate the ultimate libertarian ideal? Yep. I'm OK with that, having seen and felt the alternative. Sometimes you just have to control the amount of rope BEFORE someone happens to hang himself. Do I think pot should be legal? Yes. Would I pick it back up if it were? Doubtful. But drug laws need to go beyond irrational fear and be written with an eye toward the protection of the individual rather than the coddling of "mainstream" society. Pot, OK. Acid? Maybe. MDMA? Trickier, because one may never know how toxic a designer knock-off is made. Lady, meth, coke, dust? Wipe 'em off the earth, before one more kid has to find out for himself.
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Re: Legalizing drugs

Postby Teaos » Thu Sep 27, 2012 3:06 pm

Very valid points and I can certainly see the logic in the argument. I guess I am almost an idealist in a way, I want to educate people, let them know the risks, and then let them live it themselves. Not the most practical probably, and ultimately it may be dangerous, we can never really know unless it happened. Unfortunately the world doesn't work in logical ways, and we all see it through our own experiences.
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