Legalize Drugs to Stop Violence

Nomad

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An interesting, and well-voiced editorial on CNN today, worth a read:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/24/miron.legalization.drugs/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead.
Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after.
Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine when prostitution is banned but not when it's permitted. Violence results from policies that create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question.
The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs. Fortuitously, legalization is the right policy for a slew of other reasons.

Thoughts? Opinions?
 

Bill Mattocks

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An interesting, and well-voiced editorial on CNN today, worth a read:

http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/24/miron.legalization.drugs/index.html?eref=rss_topstories

Thoughts? Opinions?

It would work.

Just because a side-effect of a ban can be reduced by removing the ban, does not mean that it should be removed. The issue is the ban and why we have it, not the side-effect (in this case, violence).

Whether society feels that drugs should be legalized - that's the issue. Not whether or not we can ameliorate a side-effect by giving in.

Personally, I'm against legalization.
 

BrandonLucas

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I've always heard that Mary Jane is illegal because it's too hard to tax...and it makes sense in that way. Technically, it's no more dangerous than ciggerettes or alcohol. Not sure how much truth there is to that, though...
 

Bill Mattocks

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I've always heard that Mary Jane is illegal because it's too hard to tax...and it makes sense in that way. Technically, it's no more dangerous than ciggerettes or alcohol. Not sure how much truth there is to that, though...

Well, for me, it's like this - the legality of marijuana (or cigarettes, or alcohol, etc) does not hinge on seemingly logical factors like "how bad is it for you" or "how hard is it to tax" and so on. The legality hinges on a more basic concept - what we as a society want to be legal.

Our history shows trends and reversals, and legality has changed based on those societal changes - alcohol being the big example here.

It is not wrong, in my opinion, for a society to not want to have marijuana available as a legal recreational drug. Logic does not enter into it. Arguments about relative health risks do not enter into it. Ability to tax and regulate and cut associated violence do not enter into it. Those are all side-issues. The question is still more basic - do we want to allow it?

And the answer, at this time, is 'no'. That may change, and if it does, then the legality of marijuana as a recreational drug may change. But the fact that the majority do not want it to be legal pretty much settles it for now. And it is a very good reason.

For myself, I remain against legalization of marijuana. I don't have to have a logical reason that I can defend to another person - I just don't want it to be legal. That's personal opinion, it carries no weight. Taken as a whole, society's opinion amounts to a plebiscite. That does carry weight.
 

elder999

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. Taken as a whole, society's opinion amounts to a plebiscite. That does carry weight.

It has been shifting towards legalization for years, and will shift the other way-just to have a few old folks, "conservatives," and "Christians," die...and have a few more people go to college...:lol:....at least, that's the way the demographics read here.

Interestingly, and a more likely scenario for legalization, is its increased support in Congress-a repeal of federal laws and removing marijuana from the Controlled Substances Act Schedule 1. This would not, of course, require the support of a majority of the population, only a majority in Congress. There was just sort of movement last year, seen here. While I don't think it has a chance of passing in this decade, it will probably happen between 2010-2020.
 

blindsage

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Legalizing drugs also puts them in the hands of corporations and large marketing budgets, I'm so not a fan of this idea for heroin or cocaine or most "harder" drugs. But as a society I see the fact that alcohol and tobacco are legal makes us, at a minimum, hypocrits when it come to marijuana being illegal.
 

BrandonLucas

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Well, for me, it's like this - the legality of marijuana (or cigarettes, or alcohol, etc) does not hinge on seemingly logical factors like "how bad is it for you" or "how hard is it to tax" and so on. The legality hinges on a more basic concept - what we as a society want to be legal.

Our history shows trends and reversals, and legality has changed based on those societal changes - alcohol being the big example here.

It is not wrong, in my opinion, for a society to not want to have marijuana available as a legal recreational drug. Logic does not enter into it. Arguments about relative health risks do not enter into it. Ability to tax and regulate and cut associated violence do not enter into it. Those are all side-issues. The question is still more basic - do we want to allow it?

And the answer, at this time, is 'no'. That may change, and if it does, then the legality of marijuana as a recreational drug may change. But the fact that the majority do not want it to be legal pretty much settles it for now. And it is a very good reason.

For myself, I remain against legalization of marijuana. I don't have to have a logical reason that I can defend to another person - I just don't want it to be legal. That's personal opinion, it carries no weight. Taken as a whole, society's opinion amounts to a plebiscite. That does carry weight.

I'm not flying the marijuanny flag here, just doing my devil's advocate thing...lol..

How do we know society as a whole wants to keep it from being legal? Is there some sort of survey that goes out once a year that asks these types of questions?

I think that alot of people find it unacceptable because it always has been unacceptable. It's a taboo thing...those that enjoy it know that it is not legal, and some people do it for that reason alone.

I think a good question to ask is at what point was it decided to not be made legal, who made that judgement and why?

The reason I ask this is that I know a great many people who enjoy smoking marijuanna, just like they enjoy smoking ciggarettes. I also know a great many people who have never tried it and never will.

So, why is it ok to smoke ciggarettes and drink alcohol, but it's not ok to smoke marijuanna? How is it morally different, aside from the fact that it's considered taboo at this point? Given the fact that alcohol was made legal, how is this any different?

Just food for thought...
 

Omar B

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I say legalize it, tax it, these guys won't have to police themselves (gets guns off the streets, turf wars). Treat it like smokes of alcohol, put in an age limit and laws around it's safe usage (kinda like no drinking and driving).

How cool would it be to go to the store and buy it in a pack like cigs and know you are getting a safe product? rather than having honest people having to mix with a criminal element to have a smoke on a Friday night.
 

Bill Mattocks

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It has been shifting towards legalization for years, and will shift the other way-just to have a few old folks, "conservatives," and "Christians," die...and have a few more people go to college...:lol:....at least, that's the way the demographics read here.

http://www.usnews.com/articles/opin...arijuana-the-united-states-publics-views.html

It may indeed become the majority viewpoint. And at some point, it may become legalized. But that's just pot. The border violence is caused by more than just wars over pot, and many have been calling for the legalization of all illicit drugs to 'stop the violence'. There is much less public support for say, the legalization of crack or powder cocaine.

In any case - I'll still be against it. When it is legal, I'll be against it. That's ok - I'm against a lot of things that are legal. Just personal opinion.
 
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So, why is it ok to smoke ciggarettes and drink alcohol, but it's not ok to smoke marijuanna? How is it morally different, aside from the fact that it's considered taboo at this point? Given the fact that alcohol was made legal, how is this any different?

This summarizes my thoughts on this one a bit as well. It can easily be argued that alcohol abuse is more destructive than marijuana and more akin to the harder drugs (also cited for legalization in the original editorial).

Looking at this from the other side of things, how is the "War on Drugs" going? A tremendous amount of resources is poured into this annually, but I don't really think we're winning it. Instead, it seems like we're making more ruthless, better armed drug lords to supply the habit that obviously a fair number of Americans are willing to pay well for. The US has the highest per capita rate of incarceration in the world, and a very large percentage of those in the prisons are there for drug-related crimes.

Studies in Canada have shown that operating a needle-exchange and hassle-free injection zone was able to dramatically curb the spread of HIV and Hepatitis C, and also resulted in more people coming forward to get help to kick their addictions (through education and informational handouts, trained professionals on site, and so on).

These may be side-effects of the "real" issue, as one poster suggested, but I think they're worth taking a serious look at.

What is the war on drugs costing us, and what benefit are we really getting out of it?
 

Bill Mattocks

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I'm not flying the marijuanny flag here, just doing my devil's advocate thing...lol..

How do we know society as a whole wants to keep it from being legal? Is there some sort of survey that goes out once a year that asks these types of questions?

Two ways. First, yes, there are surveys and polls:

http://www.usnews.com/articles/opin...arijuana-the-united-states-publics-views.html

But second, since this sort of thing usually ends up on state ballots, that's how we know. The electorate, for example, seems to be increasingly ok with medical marijuana - but still against legalization. How do we know? They either fail to get their ballot initiative (not enough votes to put it on the ballot) or the ballot measure fails. I heard one stoner complain that's because stoners don't vote. Well, too bad, fella. That's how the system works. Don't vote, get shafted. Ta-dah.

I think that alot of people find it unacceptable because it always has been unacceptable. It's a taboo thing...those that enjoy it know that it is not legal, and some people do it for that reason alone.

But that's a valid reason too. You're looking for logic where there does not have to be any. People being against it is good enough - no matter why.

I think a good question to ask is at what point was it decided to not be made legal, who made that judgement and why?

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_history_of_marijuana_in_the_United_States

So, why is it ok to smoke ciggarettes and drink alcohol, but it's not ok to smoke marijuanna? How is it morally different, aside from the fact that it's considered taboo at this point? Given the fact that alcohol was made legal, how is this any different?

It is different only because the electorate thinks it is. No other reason. You look for logic - there isn't any. Doesn't have to be. That's how it goes.
 

MA-Caver

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Just like all we have to do is legalize murder and people would quit getting murdered, right?
Exactly my thoughts on the idea that the legalization of illicit drugs will cull the violence.
Exactly WHICH drugs are you talking about? Marijuana only? Then be specific because if you say drugs then cocaine, heroin, methamphetamines and others will have to fall under the legal flag. Legalize one you'll find yourself legalizing others. And thousands more will die from irresponsible use of the heavier/harder drugs. Thousands are dying or killing anyway but not because it's illegal it's because the **** is deadly poison. PERIOD!
21 years ago I'd been all for the legalization of marijuana because I was a user. Now 20 years later not having smoked any of it since that day I decided that was the end of it all... dammit I'm still feeling long term effects, mild cravings (especially after high stress situations) and suffering from clinical depression. So save your "it's the safest drug" speech for the ignorant and inexperienced. Also stop the denials that it's a gateway drug because it is. If not for marijuana I wouldn't have thought to try coke, meth, ludes, acid and other nice hallucinogens (of which Marijuana is a part). I've done it and smoked it heavily (very heavily for years) so don't say it's not harmful. Legalizing it will get more people to smoke it more heavily.
But legalize it and you're gonna want to eventually legalize the other stuff.
Saying it will cull the violence is unrealistic and naive. Besides any streetwise person knows the real money is in the harder stuff. Weed has become such a passe' drug and a "poor man's drug" Lots of people grow it and tons of it still get smuggled across the borders annually. So it's relatively or compartatively easy to get. The violence isn't so much stemming from the sales of Marijuana... it does happen but not as it was say 15-20 years ago.
So legalizing it will just lead to more problems on down the road.
 

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I think the defining point here is not "Legalizing", but more "Decriminalizing."

To legalize something like marijuana says that it's okay to smoke marijuana. As a citizen, and in light of the legalization of marijuana, I would assume entire government bureaucracies revolving around the stabilization and taxation of product. Tremendous debate would go on for decades in terms of where the tax money is going, and over whether or not growers (many of whom are in the US, and provide a serious cash crop for certain states) are legitimate, and sanctioned by the government to grow marijuana. People in prison for selling the chronic? Imagine the mass amount of appeals bogging down the court systems (it might not work that way, so please correct me if I'm wrong about that.)

Headache upon headache just to glean a couple of bucks around a small cash crop, that corporations are going to take over anyway, and gouge the public with prices and flashy marketing.

I say, keep the pot in the hands of local growers, and not the big companies.

They can do this by decriminalizing the drug and not send someone to jail for possession of marijuana and thereby not spending public funds in search of marijuana and police action to bring growers and users to "justice."

Decriminalization won't directly allow marijuana, but it certainly won't create an immediate bureaucratic mess that legalizing it would make.

Sometimes, the government should just turn their heads when it comes to certain subjects, IMHO. Government involvement, on any level, mucks things up for the private citizen.

Now, harder drugs, like cocaine, heroin, etc? I'm screaming Survival of the Fittest. Can't handle your vice? Die from it. The same already happens with alcohol, tobacco, and the vast majority of prescription drugs for some reason, already have interests on Capitol Hill.

Like I said before, get the government out of the drugs.

My $.02.
 

Bill Mattocks

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Now, harder drugs, like cocaine, heroin, etc? I'm screaming Survival of the Fittest. Can't handle your vice? Die from it.

My family member, who chose to use drugs and became addicted to crack, deserves what she got. Her daughter, raped at age 2 in a crackhouse while her mom was turning tricks for crack, did not.

When you get the phone call in the wee hours of the morning from child protective services to go to the hospital for something like that, you won't be singing the same tune. Promise.
 

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