Drug Legalization Tangent

Discussion in 'The Study' started by bushidomartialarts, Jan 6, 2011.

  1. bushidomartialarts

    bushidomartialarts Senior Master

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    I'm curious.

    A position is clear among a portion of the population: marijuana should remain illegal because it has been proven to be dangerous and cause harm to our society.

    What about junk food? The cost of poor diet in this country is an order of magnitude greater than drug abuse as a whole.

    I'm not picking a fight. (OK I'm not just picking a fight). I'm honestly interested to hear different takes on this.
     
  2. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Marijuana has been decided that its illegal. A twinkie has not. But you're right....if you look at what people say, America is full of unhealthy, over weight people. I was reading an article a few days ago, and I'm not sure what state it was, I think it was in LA, but the PD was saying that in an effort to curb the prison pop., they weren't going to arrest small time drug offenders. So, in other words, I get the impression that the cop who pulls a car over and finds a joint in the ashtray, wont get arrested. Now, if the guy had 3 trash bags filled with the stuff, then yeah. LOL.

    I suppose the same can be said about alcohol. Thats legal, yet it can hinder your body. I'm wondering....should marijuana be in the same class as alcohol? Make it legal, just like a beer, yet if you're found to be DWH (Driving While High) you get the same charges as if you were drunk.
     
  3. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I don't think you can make that argument. A significant portion of the US population think marijuana should remain illegal for all kinds of reasons.

    Frankly, I have little use for the argument that it has proven to be dangerous, but I do subscribe to the notion that it damages our society. Others who like me oppose legalization do not necessarily agree with my reasoning; they just agree with my conclusion.

    I think we eat crap and it's killing us. I also think it's our right. There is an order of magnitude in difference between the damage done to society financially and the damage done to society by drug users who pull the fabric of our society to ribbons. The 'twinkie defense' aside, we're not going to be murdered in our sleep by junk food junkies. The truly do just harm themselves - except for the financial aspect.

    I don't care who shoves what down their cake hole in the way of food.

    However...and I've warned this for years... if we move from a private insurance system to a national system of health care, or any federal system in which taxpayers pay for the health care of a significant portion of the population (more than just the Medicare/Medicaid, etc we pay now), then the financial burden taxpayers face dealing with the overeaters and the poor eaters and the non-exercisers and the lardasses (I speak as one myself) become our business. That's one of the reasons I am against socialized medicine; it makes personal choices something that have to paid for by taxpayers involuntarily. That gives the taxpayer a say in how that money is spent.

    Put simply - if I have private health insurance and the fat tub of lard next cubicle over has a heart attack whilst shoving ho-hos in his face, it may cost me money in the form of higher insurance premiums, but I at least have the option (granted I may not take it) of not buying the health insurance offered me. I can go and get my own if I wish, or even go without health insurance (well, until Obamacare, anyway).

    But, if I have to buy the same insurance old fatty over there did, then his poor choices take money right out of my wallet, and I don't even get a say in it, I just have to pay by law whether I like it or not? Nope. If that happens, then I get a vote, and I vote fatty puts down the ho-hos and runs a couple laps before I see him at the food trough again.

    I don't want to live in that society, but that's the fact; if I have to pay by law, I get to tell you how to live your life if your bad choices cost me money.
     
  4. Carol

    Carol Crazy like a...

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    To continue this thought, how would a LEO determine Driving While High? Behaviour? THC levels in bloodstream?

    As the level of intoxicants in the bloodstream fade over time, is there a field measurement that can capture evidence on the scene the way a breathalyzer can? Or will it require transport to a hospital for a blood test?

    Will this mean that ordinary motorists that do not choose to indulge in drink or drugs before getting behind the wheel be subject to more intrusion, such as searches of one's car or person?
     
  5. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    I do believe the legal term is DWI: driving while intoxicated. Or DUI: Driving under the influence.

    Since I neither smoke nor get behind the wheel after imbibing, I don't know how far non-alcoholic intoxication is covered.
     
  6. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    The only real comment I have on this is that companies need to be up front about what's in the food, and we as a society need to back off the sugar (whether it's cane sugar or HFCS or whatever). I don't mean eating sweet treats or anything like that. What I'm talking about is the senseless inclusion of sugar into just about everything that's produced. Breads, sauces, frozen dinners and just about everything else. It doesn't matter what it is, it's going to have sugar in it.

    That's a departure from the old days, and I believe it's a little deceptive. What I mean is, it's one thing to say, "If you want to lose weight, lay off the candy bars." But people aren't aware of how pervasive the use of sugar is in any kind of even minimally processed food.

    Essentially, I guess I'm getting at more transparency in what's actually in the food and exactly how bad it is for you. The goal would be to prevent companies from marketing something as a "health food smoothie" that is really as bad or worse for you than a milk shake or half of a chocolate cake.

    A really great (IMO) law was passed within the last year or so in the Seattle area. Basically, this law requires restaurants, both fast food and sit down, to put how many calories are in food directly next to the food. So, if you go to McDs, you look at the menu board, it says, "Big Mac - 390 calories." No hiding it.

    So, to sum up. Junk food shouldn't be made illegal, but it should be clearly labeled so that people are making informed decisions to chunk up or not. And we could stop putting sugar in everything (In other words, try to get back to a time when not everything is junk food). :)
     
  7. granfire

    granfire Sr. Grandmaster

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    There is some anecdotal evidence of people losing weight by not really eating less but by eating 'real food' stuff that was made from the original source, not out of a box.

    making commercial foods has one simple formula: Make it taste. And there are 3 key incredients: fat, salt, sugar. (and all three are cheap, too)

    And naturally, once the palate is used to the taste...
     
  8. Empty Hands

    Empty Hands Senior Master

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    They do it now. I've seen news stories of drivers busted for DUI (DWI, whatever) for marijuana or other drugs. Presumably they would keep doing it the same way.
     
  9. Nomad

    Nomad Master Black Belt

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    They're way ahead of you. In some places at least.
     
  10. Steve

    Steve Mostly Harmless

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    Actually, Nomad, I was surprised to find when I took the time to read the article that they aren't banning any kind of food. They're actually just saying that you can't give away toys with meals that have over 600 calories.

    While I wouldn't endorse a ban on the food itself, I do see where they're coming from. We have laws that prohibit cigarette and alcohol companies from marketing directly to minors. This is along the same lines. If a kid wants a burger, fries and a small Coke, they can still get it. They just won't be enticed into getting a happy meal just because it comes with a Buzz Lightyear toy.
     
  11. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    Its not as easy as say someone that drunk. It takes alot more specalized training. The Drug Recognition Expert class in my state is over 6 months long and alot of departments dont send people to it becuase the failure rate is high and they just cant loose the man power for that long. Ive seen ALOT of people released with no charges when we know they are high but we cant prove it.
     
  12. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    I would agree with you that this is one of the areas where the federal government can do some good; a pure Libertarian point of view would insist that people are on their own to find out what's in the food they eat, and that government should keep their mitts out of the process.

    But most food (not restaurant food, but grocery store food) is labeled now, is it not?

    It may be what we need, but what's your enforcement mechanism, or do you just think we *should* do it, and if we don't, then we don't? Not attacking, just curious what you intend by the statement.

    The problems that I have seen is that sometimes people who are in agreement about the problem are in disagreement about the solution.

    Let's take calories for fast food. OK, so let's say we pass a law that says that fast food restaurants have to list their calories, fat and sugar contents, etc, on the menus inside the restaurant, in big huge letters.

    And people ignore it and eat what they want.

    Now what?

    Do we shrug and say we did our best, and people have the right to eat crap if they want to, so long as they know what it is they're eating?

    Do we forcibly 'educate' them because we think they just don't get it?

    Do we make the rules more draconian, perhaps forcing customers to sign a waiver before ordering a hamburger?

    Or do we shut down the restaurant or force them to stop serving the food we think is bad for people?

    I am with you when it comes to knowing that we shovel crap into our faces and it's going to cost us our health as well as the money it is going to cost us in health care bills. I'm not that certain what to do about it.

    Any thoughts?
     
  13. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    I'd imagine much like they would do to determine if someone is drinking, ie: swerving, the odor, if they were smoking in the car, any visable signs of marijuana in the car, failure to pass a standard field test.

    I have no idea if there is a device similar to the breathalyzer, to detect drugs. Of course, if there isn't, that'd certain be a money maker. Is this something that would be picked up in a blood or urine test? No idea.

    Why would they? I'd think that if you were not doing anything to attract the attention of the officer, theres nothing to worry about. LOL.
     
  14. ballen0351

    ballen0351 Sr. Grandmaster

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    As of right now the only test excepted by the courts to determine drug content of a person is a blood test. In my state (every state has its own rules) Unless the person consents to give you his blood you have to call for a Drug Recognition expert (DRE). Now most departments don’t have DRE's so you have to call one of the larger departments in your area and see if they one working that will come out to you. Depending on where you are you have a 50/50 chance of finding one. If you dont find one and you cant get consent for blood then 9 times out of 10 your case is over and the guy that was high will get off the charge. You can still charge them but when you get to court unless you found drugs in the car or something like that you will loose the case.

    If you do find a DRE he performs a series of tests which take about 2 hours. Once hes done he decides if he feels the person is high or not. If he believes the person is high he can then take the person to the hospital to have blood drawn. Then 3 months later you get the results of the blood test and the person is charged. Other departments would charge that night mine usually waits for the results. From time of stop until your finished is normally 4 to 5 hours.
    Because of the time this process takes alot of officers dont bother with it because we cant afford to have an officer off the street for that long. We are already under staffed so to loose another officer while this process is going on can cause real problems. Alot of the smaller departments may only have 3 or 4 officers working anyway and now you loose 1 to this process and thats when officer safety issues start.

    Now that was a very short description to a very involved process and there are many steps left out but that was the readers digest version.
     
  15. geezer

    geezer Grandmaster

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    The OP got me thinking.... about marijuana and junk food. If marijuana is ever legalized should I buy stock in companies like McDonalds and Frito-Lay? Junk food consumption would definitely rise!
     
  16. Flea

    Flea Beating you all over those fries!

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    Aaahh, that takes me back. To, erm, good burritos I've eaten! And .. pizzas! Completely above board. Really. I swear. :angel:

    Comparing the social evils of MJ as opposed to junk food is an interesting conversation, and I've seen it come up on MT before. I'm never comfortable with the conversation though because it always seems to head down the slippery slope of micro-managing people's diets. Stupid fat people. Stupid poor people. Stupid rich people. Stupid ethnic people with their stupid ethnic cuisines. Stupid parents and their stupid latch-key kids. Stupid handicapped people who don't exercise. Stupid religious people with their stupid dietary practices. We could go on and on. If this thread continues long enough, we probably will.
     
  17. MJS

    MJS Administrator Staff Member

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    Thats intersting. I've never heard of a DRE. Are there any other LEOs here that are familiar with that? Now you mention that if the officer doesnt get consent, theres no way to prove the driver was under the influence of anything. Further in your post, you said that the DRE can take the person to the hospital. What if the driver doesnt consent? What makes the DRE any more special than the officer who stopped the guy initially?

    While the officer who made the initial stop may not be able to physically prove the driver smoked, chances are, they'll still be able to get DUI, if the guy is not passing field tests. Of course, theres a good chance the officer will come up with other charges to add on, ie: drugs in the car, other mv violations, etc.
     
  18. Blade96

    Blade96 Senior Master

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    I'd like to see junk food regulated somewhat, but not banned no

    as for Bill M. having to pay for the slob down the street with the heart attack, I don't particularly like it either. I understand where you are coming from Bill. I have often thought too, about that well one of my cousins wound up with cancer and she used to be smoker. My bro smoked and I've thought well if you get cancer i wont feel too sorry for you. But I live in a country that has socialized medicine, and the benefits of that outweigh the paying for the slob or the smoker down the street issue.

    Personally I'd rather pay for the slob down the street than see our health care system privatized, because it helps so many people.
     
  19. Bill Mattocks

    Bill Mattocks Sr. Grandmaster

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    Just FYI, my dad was a 4 pack-a-day smoker and he got throat cancer. I did feel sorry for him even though his smoking may have had something to do with his cancer. I used to smoke and if I get cancer someday, I hope people won't feel that I'm undeserving of sympathy. Not an attack your statement, just thought I'd throw that in there.

    However, on to the point.

    There are essentially three ways to pay for medical care. The individual pays for all their own, individuals club together into private risk pools that spread the risk between those insured, and government insurance schemes of various kinds in which all citizens who pay taxes pay into the pool. I realize that's oversimplification, but it serves for the purpose of illustration.

    When the individual pays for their own care, none dast tell that person how they can live, because it literally has nothing to do with anyone else (disregarding issues like second-hand smoke for the moment). However, few individuals are able to absorb huge costs that can be associated with various illnesses and injuries.

    When individuals club together, generally through the auspices of an employer, risks are assumed by a third party, which creates risk pools based on actuarial science that categorize everything they can think of that can be assigned a value in terms of risk and cost. Some things they are not allowed to use as determiners for assigning risk and thus cost, such as sex and race; other things they are allowed to use, such as age, weight, medical history, family history, and so on. These are used to establish the costs which the insured pay, and they change with changing costs, such as rising costs of health care. In many cases, the pool of risk is charged to the club (the employer), which then charges a set fee to the insured (employees). This means that employers have a vested interest in controlling costs (which they generally pay a part of) by trying to move their employees into a lower risk pool as a group. Changes can generally be made only once per calendar year.

    If an individual chooses to buy their own health insurance, then they act as the employer would in the paragraph above. They are fit into a risk pool based on their own health, history, and other actuarial factors, and they can change their risk based on modifying their own behavior, or they can change their costs by seeking out other insurers who see their risk differently and can charge less. They can modify the terms of the agreement to pay such that they pay more of their own expenses and the insurer pays less, etc. If they find themselves in a risk pool that they cannot or do not want to be part of, they can quit.

    In the third method, government acts as the pool manager instead of the employer. When this happens, all who pay taxes (it must be noted that many in the US do not pay taxes, as they are below the threshold for taxation due to income or exemptions) become members of the pool. None are rated higher or lower due to any circumstances; all pay the same amount. That means that all risk is assumed by all payers. No one pays more or less due to their family history, individual risk factors, etc. The fat and the thin pay the same; the chronically-ill and the marathon runners pay the same, despite the actual risk they run of needing medical services.

    There are problems with all of these methods. In all of them, one end of the costs for health insurance is left open; that of the providers themselves. This means that the (usually) for-profit institutions such as the hospitals, doctors, drug companies, and so on are all expenses that must be accounted for in setting health care costs, but which are not controllable by the insurance pool or the individual. We can get fit ourselves, we can encourage employees (or citizens) to get fit, but we can't readily control the costs of a stay in a hospital or a particular drug. Government has that authority in some cases, but not all. Insurers have responded by setting limits on what they will pay for a given procedure or drug, and many providers accept those limits, but some refuse and will bill the remainder to the person who receives the care or drug, or in the case of current government payment schemes, they begin to refuse to accept patients from that group at all;

    This is why I tend to see health insurance as a three-ring circus. We've got the individuals who need health care dealing with employers who are trying to lower their end of the costs, working with the care givers and drug companies, and all are trying to get some level of satisfaction; and it just doesn't work all that well. Adding another layer; the government - to the mix in lieu of the employer seems to make things even worse; now everyone has to pay and they are part of risk groups they cannot control in any way; they can't withdraw and they can't make the riskiest people take steps to get fit or become less risky. They also run the risk of having doctors and care givers and drug companies refuse to accept their government-run insurance payments.

    I am a conservative. I do not ordinarily believe in the goodness or efficacy of government-run anything. In an ideal world, insurance would be illegal; people would pay for their own health care costs. However, such a world does not exist, nor can it realistically.

    I see far too many entangling issues with health care costs; Gordian knots which challenge anyone to fix. I would therefore, reluctantly, tend to come down on the side of the Alexandrian solution. Cut the knot by eliminating the players.

    National health care; nationalized industry. All providers, all hospitals, all drug companies nationalized. Everyone insured just by being citizens. No exceptions. All risks covered. That also means 'death panels'. By that I mean that since there are limits to everything, there will be established limits to how much effort and money will be spent on a given person's needed care, based on things like their age. 95 year-old patients are not going to get heart transplants, for example.

    There are many problems with this solution; I don't claim it will cure all ills (no pun intended). It damages an issue near and dear to my heart - that of state sovereignty. It runs the risk of people with unforeseen issues being put into classifications that deny them care unfairly - although this happens now too. It can cause doctors to choose to work outside the USA instead of working for the government, it can cause drug companies to choose to relocate too instead of becoming part of the government. Some drugs and care and expertise will necessarily come from outside the USA anyway, we're not the whole enchilada when it comes to those things; and the government will still have to figure out ways to pay for whatever is needed out of taxpayer dollars.

    But in the end, I think I prefer an all-or-nothing solution. Either leave health care alone - broken, damaged, and expensive as it is now - or go all the way and nationalize the whole thing. Half-measures cannot do anything for us but make things worse, I believe.
     
  20. K-man

    K-man Grandmaster

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    We have random drug tests that are normally conducted at the same time as the random alcohol tests. It is a mouth swab that indicates the use of marijuana or amphetamines. Personally, I would hate to see marijuana use legalised, decriminalised maybe.

    As for junk food. We have had vigorous debate for years over the advertising of junk food. The companies here have been targeting the kids during daytime TV.

    Full article http://subtropic.com.au/2010/10/24/junk-food-as-bad-as-heroin-advertiser/

    This voluntary regulation has not been all that successful. The point is, although I don't believe that junk food should be banned, perhaps the advertising of it needs to be regulated by law. (Tobacco product advertising has been banned for years and as from the 1st Jan cigarettes can no longer be on display, except in tobacconists granted exemption.)

    I think you would have the agreement of nearly everyone in Australia and the UK that some form of socialised medicine is essential for the overall health of the population. How that pans out over the next 40 years as the post war baby boomers age remains to be seen. We have a basic level of health care subsidised by our taxes and the ability to take out additional private health cover if required. It means that even the most disadvantaged in the community is afforded a reasonable level of health care.123
     

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