We Need to Legalize Marijuana

It seems like every day there’s another article on TTAG about violence in urban areas. And while none of that involves law abiding gun owners, a large percentage of the American public nevertheless sees it and instantly jumps to the conclusion that guns are the root cause of the evil. Its that knee-jerk reaction to violence in inner cities that seems to be driving the current gun grabbing fever, arguing that if those people didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t be killing each other. Therefore guns need to be banned. I disagree. In fact, I think we should add something instead of trying to take something away. We need to legalize pot . . .

Gun grabbers aren’t the most intelligent people on the planet. As Bruce points out just about every time he puts fingers to keyboard, it seems like those who want to ban guns are deathly allergic to facts and operate instead from pure emotion. So it’s no surprise they can’t see past the immediate cause of the death and destruction in come cities (guns, knives, fists, candlesticks, lead pipes…) and figure out the underlying problem that’s fueling these acts. And that underlying cause seems to be, by FAR, the sale and trade of illegal drugs.

People don’t just kill each other for no good reason. Almost never, anyway. There’s just about ALWAYS a motivation behind the actions. The mere fact that I have a loaded firearm in my hand as I write this does not mean I’m going to go screaming out into the pool area outside and start murdering people.

And while criminals may have a personality that gives them a higher propensity to solve their differences in a less than civil manner, the fact remains that they still need a difference to settle before they go off on a murder spree. And from my analysis of the “gun violence” incidents in urban areas, drug trafficking is a theme I see popping up again and again.

From the Department of Justice:

Marijuana is the most widely abused and readily available illicit drug in the United States, with an estimated 11.5 million current users.

And from InsightCrime.org:

Given the lack of solid information on production, there are differing arguments as to how much money there is in the marijuana business. A recent paper on cannabis in the United States said domestic production in the U.S. alone was worth an estimated $35 billion in 2006. And some say that marijuana represents the Mexican drug trafficking organizations’ largest source of income.

We know that Mexican cartels are using deadly force in their home country to keep the supply of illegal drugs flowing to the United States. We also believe that most of their profits come from U.S. customers. Therefore, it logically follows that Mexican gangs and their local distributors would use force within the United States to keep their profits up and keep others from encroaching on their business. In fact, sources in the law enforcement community tell me that DHS reports confirm this and point to illegal drugs as the root cause of the vast majority of gang-related violence in the United States.

If we really want to put a stop to this “gun violence,” both to save lives and to stop it from impacting us as legal gun owners, we need to get to the heart of the problem. We need to look beyond the superficial answer and attack the real reason people in urban areas are killing each other in such high numbers. And in my opinion, illegal drug sales is that reason.

The solution, therefore, is to remove the monetary incentive for the illegal trade of marijuana. In other words, we need to legalize it.

I’ve never smoked pot in my life. Sure I’ve been offered many times, but it’s not my thing. That doesn’t mean I’d begrudge others their chance to indulge. As anyone who has ever read the evidence provided by the good folks at NORML, there really is no medical or social reason why marijuana use needs to be as criminalized as it is currently.

In other words, there’s no harm to society in legalizing its possession and distribution. In fact, being a $35 billion industry, it probably would give the government some much needed tax income. Plus there’s that whole “people won’t kill other people over it” thing.

The observant among you may have noticed something already. The arguments I’m making here were the exact same arguments that were made in the 1930′s against prohibition.

The prohibition of alcohol in the United States bred the most hardened and vicious criminals and mobsters we’d ever seen, and led to some of the ridiculous gun laws that we still have to deal with to this day. For example, the National Firearms Act. Prohibition marked the beginning of the slow decline down the slippery slope of gun control that eventually culminated in the Assault Weapons Ban, and we stand poised to start down that same slope once more unless we take action.

Gun control didn’t stop mobsters in the 1930s and gun control won’t stop the modern day thugs that run the drug trade. The only thing that will stop them now is the same thing that stopped them then: pulling the carpet out from under their whole industry.

We need to stop the violence. We need to legalize marijuana.

We need an organization like Gun Owners for the Legalization of Marijuana. And I’m about three lazy weekends away from starting it.

avatar

About Nick Leghorn

Nick Leghorn is a gun nerd living and working in San Antonio, Texas. In his free time, he's a competition shooter (USPSA, 3-gun and NRA High Power), aspiring pilot, and enjoys mixing statistics and science with firearms. Now on sale: Getting Started with Firearms by yours truly!

109 Responses to We Need to Legalize Marijuana

  1. avatarPYROhafe says:

    Excellent point! When you get it started, ill be a proud member of GOLM!

  2. avatarrosignol says:

    Gun Owners for the Legalization of Marijuana

    Needs a better acronym. How about a contest? :D

  3. avatarMichael says:

    I agree completely. I am a non-user, but a LOT of people I know from all walks of life use. Its here to stay so there is no reason not to legalize and industrialize it. If it takes a bite out of violence – even better. Now as for why you are blogging with a loaded firearm in your hand…um…weird.

  4. avatarJean Paul says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. My dad was a cop, a State Trooper, and after he retired he told me he thought marijuana should be legal. Apparently he quit busting people for possession sometime about halfway into his career. He told me he would dump the weed out in front of the person, admonish them, and send ‘em on their way. Why? Because, he said, he never had a problem with a marijuana smoker. No violence, no fighting, no crazy behavior. Never responded to a domestic violence case where marijuana was the drug being used. Alcohol was the culprit 90 percent of the time, he said. Toward the end of his battle with Parkinson’s Disease and multiple back surgeries, we got the old man some hydroponic weed and it truly helped him with his pain, his mood, and his appetite.

    It’s not harmless—but it’s probably less harmful than booze. The $32 billion number is today’s industry, which is mostly underground. How many jobs could be created if it was legalized? Somebody has to bake the brownies, drive the delivery truck, etc.

  5. avatarChris Dumm says:

    As a non-smoker and former prosecutor, I agree with you 100%.

  6. avatarPaul says:

    I wholeheartedly agree. It’s no more dangerous than alcohol, and should be controlled no more than alcohol. It don’t believe it’s a “gateway drug” any more than alcohol is. By making a crime of something so harmless, yet still desired by so many, we reproduce all of the ill effects of Prohibition. And hey — if the Preezy of the United Steezy says it’s OK, well then… ;-)

  7. avatarhoppes#9 says:

    Bah. The The Great Patriotic War on [Some] Drugs guarantees a self-funding urban jobs program – the pols will never abandon that. Without the illicit drug economy most of our inner-city areas would have no economy.

    Not going to happen.

    • avatarPaul says:

      Interesting point!

    • avatarSpannerX says:

      Not like they are going to legalize all the other drugs, like cocaine, etc, that are dangerous, and hell, look at meth, if anything putting more police on the dangerous drugs would be beneficial… ah, who am I kidding, it’s easy to bust potheads, they don’t fight… :)

    • avatarsmwlce says:

      we would have no economy period without the war on drugs.

  8. avatartdiinva says:

    Nick:

    First, I am 100% in favor of legalizing marijuana but what about other drugs. Do you think that the drug wars will stop just because weed is legal? What about powder and crack cocaine? How about meth? Where do you draw the line? If the objective is to end the drug wars than you have to legalize all drugs. Do you think that making drugs legal will negate the effect of meth on human behavior? Do you think that legalized drugs will make outstanding citizens out of drug users and gangbangers? I find the legalization crowd to be as simple minded as any anti-gun group. Guns don’t cause crime nor do drugs. People cause crime.

    I posted the following text in an earlier thread. I have made the points before but I will repeat them here. Perhaps someone will step up and provide explanations why legalizing drugs are the answer to the problem of organized crime despite the historical experience.

    “We have been down the thread before. The Irish controlled organized crime until after WWI and for much of that time drugs, gambling and prostitution were legal. After the war the Italians and Jews began taking over organized crime. That was the reason for the gangland violence and not merely Prohibition. Gangland violence continued unabated after the end Prohibition. The mafia controlled the drug trade until the federal government succeeded in destroying the major mafia families in New York, Chicago and the West Coast. When the mafia controlled the drug trade there were no drugs wars. Like the 1920′s the drug wars were the result of new actors moving in to fill the power vacuum.

    Go watch “Casino.” It is a true story. They changed the names because one of the Principals, Frank “Lefty” Rosenthal threatened to sue the Producer and the studio if they used his name. When you are finished watching perhaps you can explain to all us why organized crime could exist in an environment where so-called victimless crimes are legal.”

  9. avatarBOB says:

    I could not agree more, but I would take it even further, and legalize ALL drugs. As long as there are illegal substances that people still want to get there hands on, there will be criminal syndicates that work to supply them with it. When the damage of these substances is limited to the body and mind of the person using them, by all means, leave it to be their right to decide whether or not they should use such substances.

    Meanwhile, conservative Republicans prove yet again that they only care about liberty and the Constitution when it suits them, and are no friends of true liberty. A conservative “family values” group filed a lawsuit in Arkansas against letting the voters of their state vote on a legalized medical marijuana initiative. One of them had the audacity to say, “The democratic process is part of what makes America great, but we should not be in the business of hoodwinking voters into passing complex measures that blatantly defy federal law. That’s wrong” So much for the 10th Amdendment, eh? http://nwahomepage.com/fulltext?nxd_id=361932

    • avatarpcrh says:

      Meanwhile, conservative Republicans prove yet again that they only care about liberty and the Constitution when it suits them, and are no friends of true liberty.

      In the Raich case, where the Supreme Court ruled against the legality of marijuana by California, the majority included all the “liberal” justices, while three of the courts “conservative” justices dissented (i.e., the only ones on the Supreme Court who voted for legalization were the conservatives, and they lost.)

      http://scholar.google.com/scholar_case?case=15647611274064109718

    • avatarBob says:

      Just to prevent any confusion, “BOB” is not me.

      I’m “Bob” (not all caps). I’ve been a regular and frequent commenter on TTAG for a long time, and “BOB” is new here, I think. (Today is the first time I have noticed someone with a username similar to mine.)

      Welcome to TTAG, BOB, but you probably should change your username to something that will cause less confusion. (Unfortunately, “Robert” has been taken too.) Do you have a nickname?

  10. avatarAccur81 says:

    Marijuana DUI is a pain in the ass. Alcohol can be quickly and easily measured – a .08 % BAC will likely get you arrested. Virtually everyone knows that. Marijuana is smoked to get high, and the measurement of how of intoxicated a driver is under the influence of cannabis is much more difficult to deal with. Most weed smokers don’t understand that you can get a DUI with MJ. Heck, it’s only weed, right? Why not smoke up in the car?

    The marijuana dispensaries in SoCal are hotbeds for criminal activity. I’ve responded to multiple crimes in progress to legal dispensaries – shootings, strong-arm robberies, burglaries, etc. Shockingly the MJ user I’ve dealt with are not terribly responsible people.

    Personally, I’m not a fan of marijuana. There are definitely arguments for legalization, but don’t forget the criminal activity and DUI abuse already associated with the drug.

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      But if it was legal, wouldn’t the economic motivation for robbing such a place drop? I mean, economy of scale would suggest the prices would come down, probably comparable with alcohol.

      People rob liquor stores, but not at higher rates than convenience stores, right?

      DUI is a tough one. Marijuana affects people differently than alcohol does. I know people who drive stoned all the time, and honestly, they do just fine. Of course, they are driving a bit more slowly than everyone else….

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        If the DUI enforcement aspect could be more adequately addressed, I would have less issues with it. Part of the problem is people “friends” who “drive just fine” while stoned. Go to an injury or fatal marijuana DUI crash, and your opinion on that will change quickly.

        • avatarpcrh says:

          There are particle detectors that can sniff out marijuana on a person’s breath. Not sure how well they work, or if they would give any sense of the level of intoxication though.

          Then again, field sobriety tests worked fine before we had breathalyzers…

        • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

          All of that is irrelevant. The cost in human capital and human life from the illicit drug trade so overwhelmingly outstrips any threat to human life from DUI, that it is a no-brainer.
          We also have precedent (from alcohol) and numbers showing that education and awareness prevent much more DUI than does enforcement. And it takes a fraction of a fraction of the money spent on Drug enforcement.

        • avatarBrother Bear says:

          None of that matters. You can be arrested for blowing less than .08. You can be arrested for blowing 00′s. DUII stands for Driving under the Influence of Intoxicants. You can be arrested for driving under too much cough medication.

          Most police agencies have Drug Recognition Experts. If a patrol officer believes that the person is under the influence but they have failed the the sobriety tests, and have blown zero’s they can still arrest the person and call in a DRE.

          Being able to accurately measure how much intoxicant is in a persons system is not required to service the law.

        • avatarChris Dumm says:

          I’ve dealt with literally hundreds of DUI’s, from both sides of the justice system, and I’ve never encountered a single accident, injury, or instance of horrendously dangerous driving that was caused my pot. Pot AND meth? Sometimes. Pot AND a blood-alcohol level of .195? Lots. But never just pot. Every pot DUI was just driving along in the slow lane, and only got pulled over because he/she was driving too slow.

    • avatarDavidT says:

      But most of the crime is because the users (or sellers) can’t just go to the store and ask for 2 packs of Marlboro Acapulco Gold, they have to hide the whole process.

  11. avatarTD says:

    There may be arguments for the legalization of marijuana, but I don’t think crime prevention is one of them. I don’t buy the notion that criminals stop being criminals because one of the things they illegally sell is made legal. They’ll just move on to the next money maker and nothing will have really changed. I’m also not convinced that the legal sale of weed does anything to prevent a black market for it. The black market is up and running, so once it’s illegal to possess, why would anyone go to the store and buy it with tax when you can keep getting it from the same place you’ve always gotten it, except now with much less risk. The price might come down a little, but that’s about the only change you’d see. bottom line is drug dealers are businessmen, they don’t stop doing business and go get a legit job just because the rules are tweeked a little bit.

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      You’re missing a big market—the edibles. People would happily go to their local “legal marijuana store” and buy brownies, cookies, sodas, etc—all infused with THC.

      Being able to buy it as a legal product and not have to deal with skeevy dealers would be a big selling point for most people. Why do you think so many people in California like their dispensaries? Because it’s safe, easy, and convenient.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Legalizing drugs is an all or nothing proposition. If you just legalize marijauna then the cartels will just grow and distribute it legally while diversifying the production into illegal drugs. They will use their legal operations as a cover for the illicit activities.

      • avatarrosignol says:

        Nope. The Tobacco companies will run the cartels out of the pot business pretty much immediately. They’ve already got infrastructure, processing, packaging, distribution, marketing, and political connections that the cartels can only dream of…. and if the cartels take their traditional approach to dealing with competitors, they’re right back where they started with regards to the police.

        I dunno if it would be a good thing or a bad thing overall, but legalizing pot and letting the tobacco companies step up would put a major hurt on the cartels.

      • avatarministerial says:

        Cannabis is very very easy to grow. It is, in fact, the fastest growing biomass on the planet. This is one reason it’s remained illegal: it makes better, cheaper paper than wood pulp. There are other similar industry-disruptive applications of industrial cannabis (hemp.) Annheiser-Busch is less than giddy about legal cannabis to boot.

        Rosignol is correct, possibly more correct than he knows. Not only would agribusiness drive the cartels out of that side of their business in a single season, but in following seasons your tomato lady at the farmers market could keep you in buds for less than the price of cigarettes. Considerably less.

        It’s just not that hard a plant to grow. Frankly, I wish I liked the stuff better. Alcohol is nasty.

        • avatarDerek Dauma (formerly Other Derek) says:

          Yep. Generally plants called “weeds” aren’t called that because they are delicate and intolerant of a wide range of growing conditions. Just sayin’.

    • avatarpcrh says:

      “I’m also not convinced that the legal sale of weed does anything to prevent a black market for it.”

      It certainly had an effect when they legalized alcohol. I know of no black market for beer. I also don’t hear about people killing one another over beer.

      • avatarMatt says:

        No, there really isn’t a black market for bear. However, there is for liquor. The difference between the two is that home brewing is legal, while home distillation is not. If home distillation was legal, which it should be, the black market would cease.

        The government’s contention is that its unsafe, what they don’t say is that they think it would cost them tax dollars. Their first point is mythical, there is no more risk than there is cooking poultry. The second point has been proven otherwise by home beer brewers. Moreover, some of these home beer brewers have expanded into successful, job creating enterprises which generate plenty of tax dollars and employ people. Would be distillers are stifled by heavy handed and expensive bureaucracy.

        You think getting a CCW/LTC in San Diego is hard? Try getting a license to make liquor…

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      “I don’t buy the notion that criminals stop being criminals because one of the things they illegally sell is made legal.”

      Some will, some won’t. Not every pot dealer or grower is a violent sociopath. Plenty of moonshiners went back to whatever jobs they had or could do once the money dried up.

      The hardcore criminal types either moved onto something else, got caught eventually, or got involved in politics.

    • avatarateam36 says:

      A lot of why pot is so expensive is because it is illegal, so I think the price drop with full legalization (even with tax included) would be pretty significant and hurt the black market pretty hard. Another thing is that a lot of pot dealers, at least the low level ones you actually buy from, are not career criminals. Many are just young people making some cash on the side or dealing between jobs. If you made it so people could get their weed in stores, I doubt many of these pot dealers would keep dealing. That said, I guess it depends on where you are and who your clientele is. In my fairly quiet college town, you’d be hard pressed to find a dealer who wasn’t a student looking to make a little cash or just smoke for free.

  12. avatargreat unknown says:

    There’s something the drug lords learned from Prohibition. Pay the politicians to keep drugs illegal – which keeps profit margins high. Similarly, there are states where referendums to legalize medical marijuana were opposed by the alcoholic beverage industry.

    Imagine if you could grow your beer and whiskey in your backyard for pennies for a year’s worth.

    Then there is the other employment issue: What would be the justification for militarizing the police then? We would be able to cut the number of police and corrections officers drastically.

    BTW BOB@14:27, let’s not go for collective guilt. If you follow classic conservative blogs, you will find a strong inclination to legalize pot.

    • avatartdiinva says:

      Except organized crime didn’t pay anybody to keep Prohibition going. By the end of Prohibition the mob controlled the distribution chain and when Prohibition ended they simply operated in the open. Making booze legal again did not turn the mob into a bunch of choirboys. The mob controlled liquor distribution into the 1980s and their profit margins were probably higher with a legal product. You will still find a weaken mob heavily involved in liquor wholesaling today.

      • avatarMichael B. says:

        There was a lot less organized crime-linked violence after Prohibition ended and the crime stats we have bear this out.

        When there’s lots of money to be made in an illegitimate way and the competitors can’t compete openly in a free market like everyone else, there will be blood.

      • avatartdiinva says:

        My first post got caught in the spam filter. It is a repeat of posts I have made in the past. The gangland violence during the 1920s was not a function of Prohibition. It was the result of the Irish mob being squeezed out of their dominant position by the Italians and Jews. It just happened to occur during prohibition but it would have happened anyway. Gangland violence did not decline after Prohibition. There were periods, particularly in the immediate post-WWII period where gangland violence exceeded Prohibition levels. In any event mob violence never reached the levels that we see in the inner cities today.

        When the mafia controlled the drug trade in the post war period until they were broken by the Feds there was little if any drug related violence. The mob controlled it and insured peace on the streets. If anybody at the local distribution level started to make a move they ended up dead. The drug war as we know it began in the 1980s when power of the mob declined and the new TCOs from South America moved in. It was the 1920s displacement all over again.

        The Irish mob controlled the rackets with same or greater ruthlessness as the modern Italio-Jewish mob from the mid 19th Century until the end of the WWI. During that time drugs, gambling and prostitution were generally legal. If criminalization of so-called victimless crimes is the cause of organized crime why did it exist when such activities were generally legal? Another question is how did the modern mafia control gambling and Prostitution in Nevada when such activities are legal?

        I find that the pro-legalization crowd is as simple minded as the gun grabbers are about guns. You seem to think that legalizing drugs will turn gangbangers into choir boys, ghetto girls will stay in school and not get pregnant, single motherhood will disappear and legal meth will lose its potency to do harm.

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          No one is saying legalization of drugs will eliminate organized crime. It will cut into their profits and this is something that’s already been discussed above. And gangland violence was made way worse by Prohibition. The pre-Prohibition Irish gangs you’re referencing were more like Irish hoodlums that got away with committing crime because of political connections in NYC than they were cutthroat dealers. And no, plenty made money off cathouses and illegal gambling. Dunno where you got the idea that prostitution and gambling were legal at that time. Of course, the Jewish gangs you mentioned that displaced them wanted in on that money. It’s all about the ill-gotten money.

          In any case, a lot of the violence is the result of getting rid of competition. In the free market you put them out of business through various non-violent legal means. In the black market you ****ing kill them. That’s what was going on in that era. Without the massive amounts of money being generated by selling illegal booze there wouldn’t have been much point for wars over who controls what bootlegging racket where. It was way more profitable than anything else going on at the time. Skirmishes over prostitution rings, gambling, etc. paled in comparison to the bloodshed that occurred due to competition in the illicit liquor market.

          As for the modern mafia controlling gambling and prostitution in Nevada? I don’t know anything about it and I don’t particularly care. That’s not a nationwide problem.

          “You seem to think that legalizing drugs will turn gangbangers into choir boys, ghetto girls will stay in school and not get pregnant, single motherhood will disappear and legal meth will lose its potency to do harm.”

          You’re full of it, bub.

        • avatartdiinva says:

          By this statement:

          “As for the modern mafia controlling gambling and prostitution in Nevada? I don’t know anything about it and I don’t particularly care. That’s not a nationwide problem.

          You disqualify yourself from rational discussion. It shows a remarkable lack of knowledge American crime history. Oh, and by the way the Irish mob was a lot worse than the Italians for much of the 19th and and early 20th Centuries. They made a comeback in Boston when the FBI made a deal with Whitey Bulger to put down the Patrarcha Mob.

  13. avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

    Not in favor of legalization. The stigma of illegality is all that keeps some kids, including myself, from ever starting the stuff.

    • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

      The only thing that keeps you from doing something stupid is a law? Really!?

      • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

        You got a problem with honor students who end up with lots of letter behind their last names??

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          Nope. Got a bit of a problem with people only doing the smart thing because there’s a law in the way of the dumb thing. But hey, whatever motivates you, I suppose.

        • avatarNot Too Eloquent says:

          You keep saying “only”. Illegality isn’t the “only” reason some of us don’t do stupid $hit, just one of the reasons. Plus we all do at least “some” stupid $hit.

        • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

          “The stigma of illegality is all that keeps some kids…”
          ——
          The “all that keeps” is often used to denote “only”. If I am in error, mea culpa.

        • avatarministerial says:

          Many of the smartest, most degreed people I know smoke cannabis.

          More intelligent people tend to do more drugs (google it.) It would be best if the least harmful one was legal.

          As I said above, I wish I liked the stuff myself. I like to get high occasionally, and cannabis is a lot better option than my personal choice, alcohol.

          Also, do you think this theoretical “stigma of illegality” in any way justifies the absolute concrete, provable harm that prohibition causes? I assure you, it does not (in cannabis’s case. You’d have a lot easier time arguing against methamphetamine, etc.)

    • avatarmiforest says:

      It is nothing like worth it . all that crime and death because you need direction? legalize it an make you own choices.

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      Yet alcohol is legal, is advertised on TV and at sporting events, and kills 75,000 people in the US each year. People’s lives are ruined by taking that first drink every day.

      Plenty of people would be much better off if they smoked pot instead of drinking, that’s for sure.

      • avatarTD says:

        that would be an argument for making alcohol illegal, not an argument for making weed legal. “hey look, this legal drug kills 75,000 people, therefore we should make this other drug legal….”

        • avatarJean Paul says:

          But marijuana cannot kill people. It’s impossible. You can go to Walgreen’s with 10 bucks, buy a handle of Popov vodka, go home and chug it—and you’ll die.

          You could put Snoop Dogg in a warehouse full of marijuana, give him a bong and a box of lighters—and all that’ll happen is he’ll smoke enough to fall asleep.

          To quote Bob Saget from “Half Baked”—”You ever suck D*** for weed?”.

        • avatarministerial says:

          Wrong. Patently & obviously wrong.:

          1. Prohibition.

          2. Why do you think the liquor companies contribute to anti-marijuana campaigns? It’s a competitor, a replacement, and a less harmful one to boot.

          I personally know 2 alcoholics who quit by smoking tons of weed. They’re not better off than if they were sober, but they’re a LOT better off than when they were drinking.

  14. avatarjwm says:

    i vote gop to protect my guns. but i’ve said a number of times on this site we need to legalize drugs. if the people wanting to make the drugs legal would step up and support my right to own and carry guns i’d be more than happy to pitch in for the cause.

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      Those people are called the Libertarian Party. They support both causes. Democrats don’t support marijuana legalization, since Obama has raided more MMJ clinics than Bush did.

  15. avatarLoyd says:

    I live in a predominately white, middle class relatively crime free suburb of a crime riddled medium sized urban center. Most of the cops from the big city live in my town. In fact, more city cops live here than the town employs in its own department. Last year we had our first murder (non murder/suicide) in 38 years. A couple of 17 year olds shot the neighborhood pot dealer for his money. Would the murder have happened if marijuana was legal, and the victim hadn’t been the trailer park drug dealer? I don’t know. But the cash he had on hand from his illicit salesmanship is the motive in this case.

  16. avatarMr. Lion says:

    Okay, so we legalize pot. All the drug cartels and criminals down the food chain from them will just say, well, that was fun while it lasted, and go home to lead productive lives, right?

    BS. They’ll traffic more cocaine, heroin, meth, and so on and so forth, to make up the difference. The violence will not be reduced one iota.

    Even if we legalize everything, which would be massively stupid, criminals are not going to let that get in the way of their primary revenue stream. Where there’s an illegal buck to be made, it will be made.

    About the only thing that would actually reduce drug-related violence would be to make the penalties for it so steep that they would actually serve as a deterrence to the crimes in question.

    The simple truth that most big L libertarians miss this: Crime happens for two reasons: Opportunity, and simple risk vs. reward calculation. If Mr. Bad Guy can do X and make more money that he would actually working for a living, with relatively insignificant penalties the only issue to contend with, he will. Doesn’t matter if it’s selling drugs or stealing cars or doing home invasions or being a pimp.

    The risks of wide spread legalization of harmful narcotics, even aside from the criminal element, is also not insignificant. Do you really want to pay for the health care of someone who shoots heroin every day? Guess what, you do already. Want to pay for many times more people with said addiction? Go ahead and legalize drugs. Want to deal with some truck driver on meth plowing into your kid’s school bus with ever increasing frequency? Go ahead and legalize drugs.

    This remains one of the most bone-headed mentalities of those of a libertarian stripe. While I’m all for letting anyone do whatever they want to themselves, the buck stops when it erodes society to the point of the cure being worse than the disease.

    • avatarLoyd says:

      I’ve also had this thought. I’m back and forth on the issue. It depends on who is making what argument.

    • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

      I want to give the druggies all the dope they can consume, ingest, inject, snort, smoke or apply to their skin. As much as possible, in as pure a form as possible.

      Natural selection will take care of the problem, and from my observation of dopers, it will happen pretty quickly, too.

      We seem to be intent on teaching Darwinism in our schools, but preventing it from taking place among the general population.

      • avatarAccur81 says:

        Ever heard of a nanny state? Your tax dollars will be spent on drug abusers. They already are.

        • avatarMichael B. says:

          The cost would pale in comparison to the savings. No more new prisoners in the system for dealing, possessing, using, or growing marijuana.

          Also wouldn’t need as many cops. Which is why I think you’re probably against it.

          Law Enforcement Against Prohibition offers a very different perspective than yours, thankfully.

          http://www.leap.cc/

        • avatarDyspeptic Gunsmith says:

          Then tax their consumption to the point where they’re self-supporting and earmark the funds for their treatment.

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      What nonsense. They’re not going to produce more of the other drugs because there wont’ be increased demand for them. Demand for coke, meth, heroin etc. won’t change at all if marijuana is legalized.

      The cartels will lose out because they won’t be able to compete with the boys of big tobacco and other massive companies that could start churning out tons more marijuana than they could ever dream of on an industrial scale. Add in the fact that there’s quality control and no one will buy from the sketchy drug dealer down the street. They’ll walk into Walgreens, a liquore store, or a head shop and order a pack. Or a carton. Or whatever.

      And no, steep penalties don’t serve as deterrents to crime. Only IMMEDIATE, overwhelming violent punishment does. And you know what kind of places allow their police to dispense that kind of immediate brutality? Police states. Or states on the brink of failure.

      Your outdated thinking is part of the problem. We’re losing our liberty because people like you are obsessed with what others put in their body and want the government to send its shocktroops to punish the providers and users alike. No-knock raids, warrantless searches, etc. was all born out of the War on Drugs.

      • avatarJean Paul says:

        +1. If anything, cheap and legal marijuana may keep people off other illegal drugs. Why risk buying heroin when you can get the best weed in the world at your local weed store?

        I live in a place which has been ravaged by Oxycontin, which is totally legal and recieved via prescription. Addicts pay their money to the pill clinic and get a big ol’ bottle of synthetic heroin. Why? Because it’s legal.

      • avatarMr. Lion says:

        They’re not going to produce more of the other drugs because there wont’ be increased demand for them.

        Psst. There’s a reason that illegal drugs are a seller’s market. There’s a reason a few bucks worth of chemicals is worth many thousands of dollars. The demand is already THERE. It doesn’t need to be increased.

        By the way, you may want to read the part where I said “I’m all for letting anyone do whatever they want to themselves” before breaking out the righteous indignation. When it comes to liberty for all, I’m willing to bet we’re of a similar mind. Where we differ is I’m not willing to fiddle while Rome burns.

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      “About the only thing that would actually reduce drug-related violence would be to make the penalties for it so steep that they would actually serve as a deterrence to the crimes in question. ”

      Avoiding your contradictory conclusions, the above statement is a huge fallacy. Many of those involved in the illicit drug trade regularly face prison or death. The risk sets the street price & the demand is a constant. If you make it riskier to deal, you make the dealers richer.

      It is an absolute fact that the increased risk from applied drug enforcement policies both here and abroad are directly responsible for the extraordinary financial power the cartels wield. When you can buy your own private cell-phone network from the spoils of the trade, build disposable drug-running submarines and fund not just and private army, but a war – you are reaping the rewards of of high risk, not being deterred by it.

      You are right about one thing – legalization of one substance will do little. But your conclusion that legalization of all substances is stupid, is proven false time and again.

      • avatarMr. Lion says:

        Avoiding your contradictory conclusions, the above statement is a huge fallacy.

        Actually, it was a completely logical contention based on fact, but either way…

        Many of those involved in the illicit drug trade regularly face prison or death.

        The jist of what I said, which you seem to have missed, is this: Penalties for trafficking drugs are very light compared to other crimes. Felony possession with intent will generally get you a year or two at most, and thanks to our entirely broken justice systems, said bad guy would likely be out on the street in as little as six months.

        Now, if you were an enterprising young criminal, which would you rather do in order to put shiney wheels on your car? Something that comes with a slap on the wrist if you get caught, or something that can get you put in an un-happy place for many, many years?

    • avatarMatt in SD says:

      About the only thing that would actually reduce FIREARM-related violence would be to make the penalties for it so steep that they would actually serve as a deterrence to the crimes in question.

      Fixed it for you. Oh wait…..

      • avatarMr. Lion says:

        There are somewhere around 120-160,000 arrests every year for firearms offenses, such as illegal possession and sale. There are somewhere around 1.3-1.5 million arrests every year for similar drug related offenses.

        Get caught with illegal drugs, even with intent to distribute, and you get a year or two in jail, at worst, if the state in question could be bothered to prosecute you.

        Get caught selling illegal weapons, and you’re going to the big house for a good long while.

        Would you like a calculator to figure this one out?

  17. avatarJason says:

    If we allow drugs to become legal, do we also have to support druggies in both their possible rehabilitation or being unproductive? Is it OK for a school bus driver to take a few tokes before his route? By saying that the substances are OK to consume, it seems that it opens a lot of other questions that need to be answered. I think Accur81 makes a great point in that you need to be able to measure how intoxicated someone is.

    I’m not necessarily against it but it still not immediately clear how it will reduce violent crime. The prohibition argument makes some sense but where did the prohibition violence take place? Was it one distiller gunning down another? Does the analogy really hold all the way down to the violence around the production and distribution of pot? Maybe it does, I don’t know.

    You also have to consider that it changes the fabric of our community. Just as a bunch of bars and strip clubs changes the town, having drug shops is undoubtedly going to change the community and eventually our culture. I think America is slipping in the fight to maintain world dominance. Is supporting a drug culture going to help us compete with China? Is your kid raised in that environment going to turn out different?

    Maybe pot makes sense but I don’t know why we tolerate this violence across our border. We’re fighting the taliban but giving weapons to Mexican thugs. As far as the laws stand today, I don’t know why we aren’t marching south.

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      Is it OK for a bus driver to have a few shots before getting behind the wheel?

      • avatarJason says:

        His work code probably forbids alcohol on the job but legally as long as he doesn’t blow a 0.08 he’s probably OK as far as not going to jail. How do you measure how much pot the guy smoked?

        • avatarBeninMA says:

          For public safety jobs, just give drug tests like we do now. Zero tolerance — you test postive and you’re gone.

        • avatarJean Paul says:

          I believe a field sobriety test would work. Marijuana impairs certain reflexes and abilities.

          A drug test wouldn’t be constitutional, I think. Marijuana stays in one’s system for what, two weeks? There’s no way of knowing if the person in question smoked the night before and got high for two hours. You would have to punish them if you suspected them of being high at work and they failed a sobriety test. It’s not difficult to tell if someone is high.

        • avatarJason says:

          The problem with “it’s not difficult to tell if someone’s high” is that it’s a subjective test. Maybe the cop just doesn’t like your outfit and your eyes are bloodshot and he writes you up as high. The alcohol test is objective, you blow in a tube and a number pops out. The more subjective the more it’s open for abuse.

        • avatarBeninMA says:

          Jean Paul — If it’s Constitutional to ban Marijuana outright, I’m sure we can find some way to allow employers to prohibit its use for people in public safety jobs. The Constitutional issue would come down to this — you’re free to refuse a drug test and your employer is equally free to fire you for violating the terms of your employment.

  18. avatarDavid says:

    Yes with some conditions:
    1. State sales only with each purchaser going into a national database and the state cashing in on the profits.
    2. Anyone buying mj forfeits their driving privileges until police can measure drugs levels
    3. Anyone buying mj forfeits their right to purchase a gun.
    4. Only US grown crops sold

  19. avatarSanchanim says:

    I don’t smoke but…
    I don’t find it to be more harmful than alcohol or tobacco.
    If you legalize it you can tax it. It also helps to remove the the criminal element.

  20. avatarRIGHT! says:

    I have a question; How many lives is it worth to legalize MJ?
    If you think the Cartels are vicious now, just wait till you threaten thier profit margin.
    Of course the alternitive for them is to simply under cut the legitimate mkt. using legal grow sites in the US but employing slave labor and ignoring USDA regs.
    Tighter Guv controls on illegitimate grows will inevitably lead to a situation like FDRs shutting off the oil to the Japanese Empire in 1940-or 41, I forget which.
    I assure you changing laws have absolutely no effect on Organized Crime

    • avatarMichael B. says:

      History disagrees.

    • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

      When Prohibition ended, did the bootleggers and mafia undercut the legal distilleries and breweries?

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      If Americans had access to legal, high-quality marijuana(which the cartels do not grow), they would buy it.

      Americans already grow the best marijuana in the country—the dispensaries in California are supplied by local growers, not the cartels.

      • avatarMoonshine7102 says:

        This. Think of your average home-grower as analogous to your average home-brewer. He or she produces an above-average (at the VERY least) product at the same price point (at MOST) as any comparable commercial product.

  21. avatarOddux says:

    “And in my opinion, illegal drug sales is that reason.” While I agree that drug sales is PART of the reason, I think a greater impact could be made on our violent crime rate by reforming our prison system.

    “The United States Department of Justice tracked the rearrest, re-conviction, and re-incarceration of former inmates for 3 years after their release from prisons in 15 states in 1994.[16] Key findings include:

    Released prisoners with the highest rearrest rates were robbers (70.2%), burglars (74.0%), larcenists (74.6%), motor vehicle thieves (78.8%), those in prison for possessing or selling stolen property (77.4%), and those in prison for possessing, using, or selling illegal weapons (70.2%).
    The 272,111 offenders discharged in 1994 had accumulated 4.1 million arrest charges before their most recent imprisonment and another 744,000 charges within 3 years of release.”

  22. avatarإبليس says:

    THC should be mandated for every ATF employee.

    ” Want a silenced G18? That’s cool brah. Just pass the cheetos and we’ll get you that stamp in a week. Shotgun 1/4 inch too short? Chill homes we’re good. String is too gnarly to be a machine-gun. I mean, where does string even come from? “

  23. avatarTD says:

    couple of questions. Would more or less people smoke weed if it were legal? Would the stoner be any less of a deadbeat if the weed they smoked was legal? Is the weed free? because if not, more stoners, still deadbeats, still stealing to support the habit….

    I honestly don’t care if it’s legal or illegal, but I think the notion that legalizing weed makes society better on the whole is a joke. everyone likes to point to crime during prohibition, nobody ever likes to talk about net number of alcohol related deaths during prohibition compared to now, taking into consideration deaths from alcohol, crime, the whole package…. those numbers would not look so favorably upon legalizing a drug….

    • avatarOther Derek says:

      It would be very very cheap.

      Plant some seeds in the ground, watch them grow.

      Are hydroponically grown tomatoes expensive to grow?

    • avatarBilly Wardlaw says:

      1st paragraph) …is a flawed stereo-type of who cannabis users are. There are many if not more perfectly productive users than “dead-beats”. Dead-beats will be dead-beats regardless of legality. Stealing to support a habit is a consequence of the expense and risk caused by illegality.

      2nd paragraph) …you must be joking! Are you really trying to argue that there was less alcohol related death during prohibition than there is now, during legal consumption? What have you been smoking?

    • avatarJean Paul says:

      Saying that stoners are deadbeats is a pretty outdated concept. Carl Sagan was a major pothead—not a deadbeat. Beatles? Not deadbeats.

      Marijuana is used by millions of Americans, from convenience store clerks to PhDs.

  24. avatarMikeinid says:

    Legalize it all. I didn’t used to think this way, but I’ve changed. We already bear the societal cost of drug use. That won’t change. What might change is the crime, criminal justice system, and systematic erosion of our rights. What happens if south of the border drugs no longer have such high demand? Maybe we could start demilitarizing our police.

    If you are worried about the school bus driver, I say almost all work places require drug and alcohol testing. All driving jobs do. That wouldn’t change.

    People will be irresponsible regardless of legality. They will still be burdens on society. I think it would be better if the drug profits went to farmers and legal manufacturers and distributers in this country, instead of illegal cartels in other countries. It will take the government some time to switch over to milking the revenue stream through taxes versus milking it through the criminal justice system (more taxes), but when it comes to tax, I think they can find a way.

    • avatarministerial says:

      I am for full legalization… but I think you’d have to be VERY careful about a few of the drugs. Some of them are actually as bad as their propaganda.

      Vis a vis psychedelics, they can actually be very positive & therapeutic, but they can also drive borderline people into the asylum. And they lose any potential benefit with habitual use. Despite years thinking on the subject, I can’t tell you how I’d regulate them. Would take a lot of trial and error.

      As for the truly bad drugs: meth & heroin, I actually do have a creative solution: sell them cheaply, but only at state clinics, and only with mandatory counseling, offers of treatment, clean needle exchange, etc. *****Require ID & publish the names of all purchasers in the local paper.******

      This would certainly create an illegal secondary trade, which you would keep reign on by large fines (but no jail time.) Public shame would disincentivize middle class buyers, hopefully enough to mitigate the effects of freer bad drugs.

      Cannabis legalization is a very clear win for society, and I believe Prohibition is so evil & pernicious as to demand repeal, but man, those last couple really do give me pause. As I said, they are actually as bad as you hear.

  25. avatarkiller99 says:

    I once saw a man at a gun show wearing a NORML t-shirt with a colt .45 in his pocket.

  26. avatarWhit says:

    I agree with Mr. Leghorn here. On a sidenote, this country really needs to put time into improving mental health care as well. Why? It would be far more effective at preventing mass shootings by disturbed individuals (the other major type of gun crime that plagues us, other than the urban violence Nick Leghorn describes) than gun control. Graduating from college with a Psychology degree is often seen as a joke nowdays. This needs to change.

  27. avatarViper26 says:

    You guys just lost me as a reader and follower of this website. You are morons.

  28. avatarBeninMA says:

    Nick, I think GOLM is a great idea. Richard Feldman’s new organization supports drug law reform, although it’s only a secondary issue: http://www.independentfirearmowners.org/content/drugs-firearm-rights-and-mexico

    It’s definitely an issue that deserves more attention.

  29. avatarAaronvan says:

    Viper26 is dumb and your right. As an ex EMT and ambulame driver ,if you want to talk danger lets talk bars with parking lots.

  30. avatarMichael Christenbury says:

    As a truck driver I am subject to different rules than anyone else legalizing marijuana would not affect us in any way as it would be illegal for us to use just like many prescription drugs that your average person can use on a regular basis. For instance we can not use any narcotics, sleep aids (including over the counter) or many allergy medications even with a doctors prescription, we are also not allowed to have any alchohol for 12 hours before getting into a truck, penalties include lifetime revocation of our commercial drivers licence, monetary fines and jail time! I am in favor of legalization for many reasons but it will not affect commercial drivers in any way so stop using that as an excuse.

  31. avatarAPBTFan says:

    Legalize it all.

    People that want drugs will find and consume drugs. That fact has been abundantly clear since Nixon. Weed may be the most common but thinking legalizing it and nothing else will make much of a difference is a fool’s errand. The drug trade is THE quintessential model of supply and demand. Legalize weed all you want but you still have a laundry list of more destructive drugs that people want.

    Aside from nicotine, weed is the most innocuous drug to be had. I don’t partake but I’ve known plenty of folks that unwind with a bowl at the end of the day and are perfectly productive and responsible. They work full time, pay taxes and raise good kids.

    Legalize the hard stuff, have Big Pharm manufacture it, tax it then fund world class rehab centers for those who want to do better.

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