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MS13

“Mexican drug cartels control drug trafficking in multiple U.S. cities throughout the Southwest and continue to spread over the entire nation” breitbart.com reports. “While government officials continue to claim that the border is secure, a recently unclassified intelligence report by the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration called Areas of Influence of Major Mexican Transnational Criminal Organizations shows that the entire nation is under the influence of drug cartels.” So, aside from suicides, disabling drug-dealing gang-banging gangs is the best way to reduce firearms-related crime. Yes, but . . .

there will always be trigger-happy armed gangs in America, regardless of their ethnic makeup or the locus of their command and control. As long as the lucrative illegal drug trade thrives there’s not a damn thing law enforcement can do about it. It’s a lot easier to pass laws that degrade and destroy Americans’ natural, civil and Constitutionally protected right to keep and bear arms than to eliminate a popular profitable criminal enterprise. [NOTE: I’m not referring to the government here.] One wonders … would drug legalization significantly weaken or destroy the gangs, or would they simply shift focus to other criminal activities and continue their ballistic bad acting?

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263 COMMENTS

  1. The problem is that there are some drugs that you just can’t, in good conscience, make legal. Those drugs will always have customers regardless. Legalizing some drugs might help, but it won’t solve the problem.

    • I respectfully disagree. People who abuse alcohol can/will have all the horrible things happen to them as your average meth head. Including but not limited too, destroying their bodies, abusing and/or killing their friends and family and committing crimes to support their addiction.

      I will concede that a lot of these “hard” drugs like meth, crack and the new synthetics like bath salts and spice are way more unpredictable in the affects on the user and have harsher side effects. But the self destructive nature of substance abuse is the same. Legalize and regulate, its not like drugs that are illegal has stopped anyone who wants to use them from getting them, just made the prices go up.

      • “I will concede that a lot of these “hard” drugs like meth, crack and the new synthetics like bath salts and spice are way more unpredictable in the affects on the user and have harsher side effects.”

        You shouldn’t concede this point at all. It is precisely the illegal nature of these drugs that sustains their unpredictability, contamination, and potency. That these product are illegal means they cannot be adequately tested and safely produced with any consistency. That use of these substances is criminalized raises the risk of their use and makes treatment for use unavailable for most. All of which greatly increase the risk and harm associated with drugs, even before you begin to considered the violence created by the criminal organizations involved in the trade.

      • There are many issues with legalization and or decriminalization of drugs that would ripple across a free society like sand in an earthquake , some of which are , of coarse , known . Most are not known and could possibly be the Pandora’s box that would not be closeable . A short answer to the question would be an unequivocal YES .
        The ramifications to society altogether may turn out to be far worse however than an occasional drug dealer killing another or a citizen popping caps in a crazed addict . The single greatest contributor to drugs , drug culture and drug addiction in our time is the absolute destruction of two loving , disciplining and nurturing parents , raising children with moral fortitude , having a desire to be their brothers keeper and to honor their father and mother .

        • Society didn’t have much drug regulation for the good half of 20th century (sans alcohol), and none at all in 19th, and it managed fine.

        • int19h,
          So what . Society has changed along with the introduction of tens of thousands of man made drugs .
          I don’t actually get the point or the correlation between legalization of drug abuse today and historical regulations on drugs in or before the 19th century . We can not logically compare the two with each other any more than we could say people managed fine without traffic signals on roadways in and before 1890 .

          • Why not? The most popular drugs today were all available (and popular) then also. The comparison with traffic signals is not really useful, because they are regulating something that didn’t really exist back then. But both people and drugs did exist back then, so…

        • Whew !
          After 300 comments on yet another fascinating topic . Good comments , bad ones , smart , silly , simple , complex , raw , tough , poignant , angry , funny , religious , secular , heartfelt and whimsical . Just like other post that draw such complexity and diverse comments , it seems to me to always come back to the same solution . A free people must be a moral people , responding to the needs and suffering of their brothers and sisters within the society they are a part of . There are lots of paths people can take to reach a similar and perhaps suitable standard for maintaining a free and functioning society but the standards themselves should be fairly inflexible . Modesty , humility , compassion and love for each other regardless of appearances , ethnicity , and belief system . Gluttony and basic over indulgence in anything from drugs to sugary drinks to wealth accumulation should be standard don’ts , helping poorest among us , sick , weak , orphans , widows and widowers , depressed and grieving should be standard do’s . I personally believe , as did many of those who set this nation in motion , that the Christian dictates and Christian values offer a supreme set of standards to protect a free people from self mutilation .

          • Why look to such a complex solution when a much simpler solution is so obvious: Spend, Tax and Borrow the deficit!

            So simple; and yet, so demonstrably successful!

          • A lot depends on whether one views the country as a people, or a herd, or just a collection of individuals to climb on to get ahead.

    • Before drug prohibition, all that stuff was legal: opium, cocaine, everything. You could walk into a drug store and buy any of it, after a quick chat with the pharmacist. If a pharmacist sold it to a kid, it was generally a refill for the kid’s parent. There was an illegal market for people who abused them, but it was minor.

      When drugs became illegal, and especially when Nixon started the war on drugs to make them even illegal-er, the potency increased dramatically, the availability increased (especially to children), the dangerous impurities increased, and the price dropped. That’s right: a kilo of coke is cheaper today (adjusted for inflation) than it was in 1965. And it’ll provide several times the high.

      Now let’s look at alcohol prohibition in the 1920s and early 1930s. Potency increased (more hard liquor, less beer). Impurities went up. I’m not sure about the price. The rate of alcohol poisoning and public drunkenness also went up (because people were binge drinking harder liquor). The violent crime rate skyrocketed. Kids could buy alcohol, because bootleggers generally didn’t ask for ID. And the government used the high crime rate to justify infringements on civil liberties, such as the 1934 NFA.
      What happened after prohibition ended? Potency went back down. Impurities went down. The negative social consequences of alcohol diminished. And violent crime plummeted. Without the alcohol trade, the crime syndicates and their influence shrank. And it became harder for kids to get alcohol than to get cocaine or heroine.

      So yeah, we can legalize everything. And yeah, it will dramatically reduce crime, improve society, and keep kids away from drugs.

    • The problem is that there are some drugs that you just can’t, in good conscience, make legal.

      Such as..?

      All drugs should be “legal” or at the very least decriminalized. If you want to get hooked on heroin, why should the government throw you in a cage?

      • “If you want to get hooked on heroin, why should the government throw you in a cage?”

        The standard socialist response to that it is “It’s bad for SOCIETY.” Or, the Statist variant, “It’s bad for YOU and we are your de facto nanny.”

        In either case, individual liberty and responsibility for one’s own life takes a back seat.

      • Whatever you use to escape “today” is an indication that you are not in it for “tomorrow.” If you are not in it for tomorrow, you are more likely to hash-out the remainder of our existence together today. If you are not “in-it” for tomorrow, you are not in it for my tomorrow, or my grandkids tomorrow.

        Further. Drug (and significant alcohol) users are less likely to hold down a (more) permanent employment and thereby take care of themselves in the long run, and many have to resort to crime to (not eat, but to) further support their habit. They often become victims to suppliers of drugs [we protect the public against predatory lenders, pay-day loans, incorrectly dated dairy products, etc.] If we can’t protect them from drugs, then chuck ALL SUCH REGULATION OF EVERY KIND, and we can do Armageddon right now mf.

        You can say that’s none of my business, but I wouldn’t say it out loud.

        • Did you just copy your argument from anti-gunners? Because it’s basically the same premise; completely void of fact and based entirely upon “suppositions” and emotion. Of course, not surprised, social cons like you are just as statist as leftists.

        • You are making the assumption that criminalizing drugs reduces their use. If it worked, we wouldn’t be 40 years into the War on Drugs and losing.

        • “Whatever you use to escape “today” is an indication that you are not in it for “tomorrow.””

          Quite a fallacious generalization to reduce all drug use to “escape”. It can also be a way to not feel like escaping, so today can be tackled; I know more than a few people who use marijuana that way. Or it can have nothing at all to do with escaping, and just be a way to experience things in a different fashion — for example, I’m told that some classical music is an entirely different experience when enjoyed via/through mind-altering mushrooms.

        • Kendahl, does that mean you support the counter-assumption that de-criminalizing drugs would REDUCE use?

          If so, I’ve got a bridge I’d like to sell to you…

          • So parents can’t properly raise their kids, and then they blame legal pot on the troubles that result? Do they have the same problem with alcohol also? Besides which I have to note that sale to minors is still illegal, so there is a law… it just works about as well as prohibition usually does.

            Oh, and “marijuana overdose”, seriously? There’s no such thing (or if there is, we don’t know how much you need to take to get there, because no-one ever did). In particular, there’s no known condition that would result in stuff like “He was gray. His heart wasn’t beating and he wasn’t breathing.” from weed. I suspect the kid actually lied to his parents about what he took, thinking that smoking weed would result in less of a scandal than something like amphetamines, which sounds way more likely judging by the symptoms. Well, either that, or the entire story is bullshit.

        • Yeah, they all suddenly and coincidentally became crappy parents at the exact same time that pot was legalized.

          • Of course not, they were crappy parents before, too. They were just able to offload a bunch of things they were supposed to do as parents (like keeping their kids from doing things they probably shouldn’t be doing) to the state to enforce, using other people’s money collected via taxes for that purpose, and limiting the freedom of everyone else in the state while they were at it.

            What else should we ban because “omg kids”? Alcohol? Tobacco? Porn? Violent movies? Guns?

        • Regular pot is much stronger than it used to be, and the synthetic pot can kill much more easily because users have no idea how strong each batch is, coming from different sources. Does it really matter if your heart stops due to the drug’s direct affect, or if you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway? Dead is still dead.

          • >> Does it really matter if your heart stops due to the drug’s direct affect, or if you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway? Dead is still dead.

            Does it really matter if your heart stops when you black-out while driving 70 MPH on the highway because you are high on weed, or because you’re drunk? Dead is still dead (and in fact, drunk people drive faster than stoned people, because stoned people are aware that their reactions are slower, while drunks believe that they’re actually faster – that’s the difference that makes alcohol that much more dangerous).

            The obvious answer, of course, is that both are bad, which is why you don’t drive when you’re under influence of any substance that affects your mind and/or your reflexes (and we have laws to drive that point home, for both alcohol and weed). What does it have to do with the legality of the substances themselves?

        • “What else should we ban because ‘omg kids’? Alcohol? Tobacco? Porn? Violent movies? Guns?”

          Nice switcheroo from legalizing stuff that’s currently banned to banning currently-legal items. I bet almost no one noticed.

          • You do realize that the things that are currently banned used to be legal, while the things that are currently legal (like alcohol) used to be banned, right? There’s nothing inherently good or evil about any of these things – they’re banned because at some point some people decided to ban them, and often for ridiculous reasons (for example, cocaine was banned largely because of hysteria about “cocainized Negros” – google that phrase to see the context). It behooves any rational person to actually revisit those reasons and see if they’re valid, rather than blindly assuming that banned = bad. And in cases where there’s obvious mismatch between the laws on substances that are otherwise comparable, like weed and alcohol, it’s very hard to justify such selective bans.

            And this is before even getting into the whole personal freedom and constitutionality angle…

        • You can make whatever outlandish claims you’d like, but they are not matching-up with reality as it currently exists in CO. A single “harmless” drug was legalized, and problems went up across the board, both with legal users and not-legal users.

          As a group, we still haven’t learned how to deal with alcohol, which causes (directly and indirectly) thousands of deaths every year. Your solution? Legalize MORE stuff that people, as a group, have proven they cannot handle.

          Yeah, that’ll work.

          • The only outlandish claims that I’ve seen are in that article. I note now that it actually says “according to the advocacy group”, so no surprise it’s full of bullshit. We have the same kind here in WA, and they make the same claims. But when the state itself released its statistics, there’s nothing alarming there. No more car crashes, no more people “overdosing” etc. Sky didn’t fall. Which, of course, was obvious to anyone who did even cursory research on the subject.

            What I know for sure is that, ultimately, the state has no business telling people what they can and cannot put in their own bodies, regardless of anything else. It’s that whole “liberty” thing; you might have heard of it, I hear it’s mentioned in the founding documents of this country a few times here and there.

        • That state that is telling you that everything is just fine, that’s the state that’s collecting the tax windfall, right?

          Probably the same state that decides whether or not the driver gets drug-tested during the autopsies after all single-car driver-only fatalities, right?

        • Nice switcheroo from legalizing stuff that’s currently banned to banning currently-legal items. I bet almost no one noticed.

          And that’s when you realize you don’t have a leg to stand on.

        • As a group, we still haven’t learned how to deal with alcohol, which causes (directly and indirectly) thousands of deaths every year. Your solution? Legalize MORE stuff that people, as a group, have proven they cannot handle.

          Some nursery is missing it’s nanny.

        • Nineshooter,

          The underlying flaw in your assumption that we can look at CO and see some sort of message regarding the wisdom of legalizing marijuana is that it quite simply is too soon for that to have any measurable social effect.

          Societies, even fairly localized ones, are too “viscous” to change that rapidly.

          In logical terms, you are essentially committing a combo Confirmation Bias / Begging the Question Fallacy; you use the premise that legalized marijuana is bad, point to some bad things (claimed by others) that seem to support that conclusion, then announce the conclusion. It is illogical.

          There may well be data at some point that shows CO’s experiment was a ‘failure.’ However, that cannot be from any measurement this year, or the next. These things take time to have effects.

          We should all beware of looking for a specific result and seeing it; that’s about as irrational as it comes, short of purely/blindly making something up from thin air.

    • Thats correct- now that marijuana demand in the US is beginning to be met in places like CO, the mix coming up from the south is changing- more meth, more heroin, less pot.

      I like the Singapore solution.

      • >I like the Singapore solution.

        Gotta love it when Americans demand this nation to be more fascist.

      • For those unaware: Singapore has an extremely harsh drug policy, up to and including death penalty for possession. Furthermore, there are several situations in which possession is assumed and does not need to be proven (e.g. knowingly being on the premises where drugs are consumed). Furthermore, search warrants are not necessary for police if they “reasonably suspect” drug consumption. From a US perspective, such policy would shit all over the Bill of Rights.

        But seriously, do you advocate corporal punishment and death penalty for victimless crimes?

        • I hear it goes to the extent if Singapore customs suspects you are under the influence of drugs they can forcibly take a blood sample and if drugs are present in your blood, that is considered ‘drug possession’ and dealt with accordingly.

          “Dealt with accordingly” can mean the death penalty.

      • It may take a generation or two at least to really see an effect on violent crime. It will require a fundamental cultural shift among those currently established in the ‘drug trade’ to find new, hopefully ‘better’ outlets.

        Anyone looking for the ‘immediate gratification’ result after a year or two is bound to be disappointed.

        • Yep, and the state/local governments will wait until everyone is well-hooked (probably not formally addicted, just really comfortable with regular use) before they start to raise the taxes on these items. Over and over again. Then folks will try to make or smuggle and sell “untaxed” drugs, just like we get right now for untaxed booze and cigarettes.

          So, we’ll have any new problems that crop up, PLUS all the old problems (now related to taxes on each drug) all over again! Sounds like a winner to me! Not.

          • What’s actually happening is the reverse of that – it looks like the states are about to start a tax war over weed. Case in point: Washington taxes it at a whopping 37%, while Colorado has it at 15%, and Oregon at 17% (plus up to 3% local). Since WA and OR share a border, this results in cross-border shopping for significant savings (which is especially easy as Portland is literally right across the border). It’s not even new – people have been doing that before because OR has no sales tax – but it’s going into high gear because this is something that is best bought every once in a while in bulk, and the savings are significant. So now WA has to see some of that revenue go elsewhere or else lower its rates. It remains to be seen what it does, but I very much doubt that they’d want to raise it anytime soon and lose even more.

        • I live next to a state border. The neighboring state does not tax clothing at all.

          One would think that would give them a huge advantage in pricing, right?

          Wrong.

          What happens is, retailers in the state with no taxes on clothing raises their retail price so it is juuuuuust below the taxed price for the same item in the other state. And the difference goes straight into their pocket. Consumers do not benefit at all, and the state with no taxes on clothing has less money to work with to provide city/state services.

          It may take awhile, but this is how it will shake out, if the state/local governments stay out of it. But they won’t; they CAN’T.

          • Well, I know people who live at WA/OR border, and I can tell you that it certainly does work the way I described here – prices are lower in OR, so people who live close enough go there for their shopping. It’s a well-known perk of living in Vancouver, WA (which is right across the border) in particular. It’s also well-documented that weed prices in OR are lower than anywhere else in the country, so the same effect can be reasonably expected there.

        • Give it time.

          Hey, you could track it for us! Do some comparison pricing, and track it over the next year or two, for locations near the border!

          After you see it for yourself, maybe you’ll believe it. Then again, maybe not…

        • “Consumers do not benefit at all, and the state with no taxes on clothing has less money to work with to provide city/state services.

          Eh hem. **Cough**

          Excuse me, there, I had something in my throat.

          Consumers DO benefit in the long run when less money is funneled into government.

          Good grief. I can’t believe there’s someone arguing for more tax revenue over private commerce…so The Almighty State can provide “services.”

          What, pray tell, services does your state NOT provide now that you think they need more money to provide? Be specific, please?

          Marx and Engels would be proud that you got a lot out of Chapter 2.

        • No, “Sport,” I quoted what you wrote directly and responded to that statement. I was not talking about “your state” vs. any other state.

    • Irrespective of what the actual outcome of legalization might be, we have to consider the political realities. There are too many interests standing in the way of a wholesale repeal of drug laws. That isn’t going to happen just because it IS/MIGHT-be/we-BELEIVE it to be the desirable or constitutional position.

      We seem to be well-on-our-way toward the legalization of pot. That will prove to be an important step. If the legalizing States can manage to maintain reasonably good-order (not much DWHigh, etc.) then the legalization movement will continue to spread. And, those of us who have doubts about the efficacy of drug-laws can continue to promote the legalization process.

      It took a long time to get to the current era where some States were willing to consider legalizing pot. While the next species of drug to be legalized will probably go more quickly we should not expect it to fall like the next domino. We might be better off looking to other countries’ alternative approaches such as, for example, maintenance programs.

      We ought to take care not to seem to be “promoting” drug use; merely, instead, trying to de-criminalize it. We ought to advocate diverting the enforcement resources toward education, detoxification and programs that will divert youth from drugs-as-a-way-of-life toward more constructive activities.

    • The vast majority of people doing drugs in this country (and others) are content with “soft” drugs. The whole “gateway drug” theory has been roundly debunked in any case, but to some extent the illegality of both soft and hard drugs contributes to it actually working somewhat: kids hear about the supposed horrors of weed and heroine, then try weed and find out that it’s 1) not actually addictive, 2) easy to use in moderation, and 3) doesn’t ruin your life. They then know that everything they’ve heard about weed is basically bullshit, and incorrectly assume that everything they’ve heard about other stuff is similarly bullshit. And opiates are nasty in that even a single use is enough to cause physical addiction…

      In any case, possession and use of any drugs should never be illegal. If we collectively decide that some drugs are just too destructive, we should make it illegal to manufacture and distribute them, but possession is inherently a victimless crime, and as such should not be a crime at all.

      • Even casual users seem to think they are not impaired. Employers have the right to pay impaired v. Unimpaired wages.

        But Y E S 19th

        You are not interested in tomorrow if you ain’t getting by today substance free.
        Not everyone can do drugs and have this taco stand keep working. You need the rest of us sober enough to provide what it is likely we could not if impaired. That makes you a damned vampire-tick because you suck 2x, and you want to drag some, but not all, others into the fold, because you can’t always afford Doritos and bus fare, and anal lube, and your dope, on the same day.

        • I have no idea what you are actually trying to say. Taco stands? Doritos? Vampires?

          It would seem that of the two of us, you’re the one who is high on something.

        • Ignore him, he’s just some old fart shacked up in some cabin somewhere still working on his manifesto.

    • Why not? I mean if the effects of legalizing those drugs are less harmful than the effects of criminalizing them, how can you Moraly justice any prohibition. The only moral justification for taking away people’s right to consume what they want is to protect the public. If the drug war does more harm than good then that moral justification is pretty much shot.
      Now one may argue that keeping some drugs illegal does more good than harm, but science and history are not on the side of that argument so far. Countries that end prohibition still have drug problems. Their drug problems are usually smaller than the ones they had under prohibition but largely the same. What they don’t have are the drug war problems and expenses. Like most products of the progressive era( including gun control) prohibition is a failed social experiment.
      Harm reduction programs on the other hand work. They are not a cure for all societies ills, nothing is, but they do make the drug problem smaller not bigger.

    • When a drug is available on every streetcorner, even if it is a suicide drug, legalize it. If anyone can get it anyway, keeping it criminalized just keeps anyone from respecting any law. If you cannot, or will not, enforce it, repeal it. I don’t even care how horrid a particular drug is made out to be by the nanny state, and neither did Barry, he tried most everything, and STILL was elected to two terms as president. The drug laws are stupid and unenforceable, and, yes, contribute to firearm and other violence.

  2. It would reduce violent crime whether firearms are involved or not.
    It would also take a huge chunk of money out of organized crime bank accounts. It would also make Mexico a lot safer. And lifting their ban on civilian gun ownership would help a lot too.

  3. The problem with legalizing drugs is the government replacing the revenues, fines and forfeitures that result from criminalization of drugs. There is also the employment of those in the prison, legal, and policing industries that would negatively affect the economy. It’s all about money.

    • Sammy, I would venture to say that the enforcement of the drug laws costs far more than we recoup in fines and the such.

      Legalize, then use some of the money we spend making criminals out of users to provide treatment and re assimilation into society. Spend a bit on proper drug education for our young ones as well.

      • With all respect. I would say based on asset forfeiture laws, and taxes imposed of the salaries of those “enforcing the laws” is an overall plus for government and the economy. I think we are interfering with Darwin, mis-allocating resources and enriching criminals by having prohibition in place. Kind of like ” If selling drugs is illegal, only criminals will sell drugs”. Alcohol prohibition did nothing but turn citizens who were otherwise law abiding into criminals.

        • Maybe I’m misunderstanding what you’re saying, but “taxes imposed of the salaries of those “enforcing the laws””… aren’t most (all?) of the people enforcing the laws (I assume you’re referring to cops, DAs, DEA agents, FBI, etc., ie Law Enforcement) government employees, and therefore paid by the gov’t? I don’t see how the government could make a net gain paying out Y amount of salary to a person, then recouping 25% of Y back, in the form of income taxes on that salary.

      • Exactly. And no government agency ever asked for its funding to be cut. If you’re part of the judicial system then “costs more than it takes in” is irrelevant as long as you can simply mandate the public foots the bill.

        • Re RocketScientist

          In my opinion it doesn’t cost the government anything to pay anyone. The money used for salaries comes from you and me. ROI has never seriously been a consideration for the bureaucracy because they do not produce anything of value in an economic sense. Studies of running shrimp and allowing thousands of up armored hummers to fall into the “wrong hands” help me come to that conclusion. I feel the prohibition of drugs is impossible. We have had a “War on Drugs” for ever it seems and there are more and deadlier substances developed for abuse than when we started. Additionally it has been fairly well documented drugs have been used as social engineering tools.

      • yeah but he’s saying that all the people involved in and employed by the drug war, it’s not so simple to put these people out of a job. they won’t go quietly, they almost certainly have debts that they would default on. and there likely wouldn’t be replacement jobs available to them all upon legalization.

          • The last thing we need to worry about is unemployed DEA agents.

            Our fundamental problem is that our society has become addicted to believe that if “it” is a “problem” then by definition, the solution is “government”.

            This form of addiction might work in some societies. By illustration, one might imagine that the society in an isolated place like Iceland might be quite happy to solve all it’s issues by assigning some level of government to deal with each one. Yet, that doesn’t mean it works in every society. Our American society might be very ill-suited to cope with this addiction.

            When our Federal government is determined to exercise control; and, the communities most adversely suffering from drugs combine with the communities most fearful of intrusion of drugs agree to let the Feds handle it – well it’s not going to be easy to break that coalition.

            In a society that demands that “SOMETHING” must be done, then some viable alternative needs to be offered. Voters addicted to government control are not going to embrace libertarianism immediately. The alternative on offer might be merely a placebo, but it needs to be immediate and tangible.

            Fortunately, there is a lot of money available to work with. Whatever billions of dollars are being spent on the War-on-Drugs can be re-assigned to some alternative; e.g., basketball courts. It’s got to be cheaper to incarcerate youths in basketball courts compared to prisons. It’s got to be cheaper to incarcerate habitual users in detox camps vs. prisons.

            Voters, both inner-city and conservatives, are probably convinced that the War-on-Drugs isn’t cost-effective and would welcome an alternative approach. Will they accept legalization without some plausible scheme to discourage use? I think that’s unlikely.

    • law enforcement just makes a lateral shift to combat child porn and human traffickers, all the same techniques and technologies can be utilized the same (so no need for retraining) and this allows us to go after crime that actually has victims.

      • The problem is mission creep. There are not that many child pornographers so they will make new laws making new things considered child porn so they have more people to lock up. Better to concentrate on victimn, violent and property crimes. Let’s face it there are plenty of unsolved rapes, murders robberies and such in the USA to keep cops busy if they would forget about the stupid drug war and other silly crimes. Also we need to shift money away from law enforcement and into private security. Private security has been proven to be more effective at preventing crimes from happening dollar. For dollar. The private security is simply more accountable to the customer than government.

    • The problem with legalizing drugs is the government replacing the revenues, fines and forfeitures that result from criminalization of drugs. There is also the employment of those in the prison, legal, and policing industries that would negatively affect the economy. It’s all about money.

      That is a false argument. Government spends more employing all those thugs to enforce the drug laws than it brings in through forfeitures and fines. It makes up that difference with taxes. Additionally, those workers provide nothing of value to the economy. They might as well be digging ditches and filling them back in. So putting them out of work for a few months while they retrain their skills would have only the positive effect of reducing taxes. And maybe some of them could get jobs as security at the new drug stores that open up.

      • Maybe, as long as they are careful with their resumes. Anyone discovers they were DEA, ATF, or any of the other completely incompetent and cowardly government agencies, that person will never, ever hire them, not even for minimum wage.

  4. It would just shift focus of the gangs, and also focus of who is doing fun crimes. It would create more addicts and abusers, more people willing to go to extremes for their next high.

    • Not so sure it would create more users. Look at the number of smoker’s. It’s been going down.

      Also people with good family support or community or church involvement probably aren’t going to suddenly find themselves hopelessly addicted and homeless.

      • “Also people with good family support or community or church involvement probably aren’t going to suddenly find themselves hopelessly addicted and homeless.Not everyone has a family support network.”

        The problem with legalizing the highly addictive drugs such as the opiates and amphetamines is that as addiction spirals downward (or upward) is that people become less able to function ‘normally’ and they tend to lose their source of income. (Don’t even start as to how tweakers are the most productive employees, that happens *to a point*, until it doesn’t).

        When the main point of an addict’s existence is simply more drugs, their productivity drops or ceases entirely.

        You don’t need poppy fields to make opiates, much of the work on their synthesis was done in the early part of the last century to ensure a steady supply in wartime. By weight, they can be hundreds of times more potent than Heroin (some of them are *thousands* of times stronger). Its not a particularly difficult or expensive cook given the precursors, a trained organic chemist can produce them in bulk. I’m sure the Chinese can produce them by the ton.

        Legalizing the hard stuff won’t work, unless you find someone to pay for the addict’s room & board.

        • Well, if being illegal actually stopped people from abusing them, then you would be right, but it doesn’t stop people from abusing them, it only makes them criminal and ensure their “help-off” comes through the criminal justice system.

        • I don’t think much would change legalizing hard drugs. The people already doing them would keep doing them and the people who would have done them anyways will do them anyways. I don’t think we will see a massive portion of the population lined up around the corner to pickup their new legal and loosely regulated heroin or fentanyl patch.

          An uptick in users is conceivable, but I think most of that would be people already doing drugs coming out of the woodwork and becoming more public about it. To put it into perspective, think of how many people you know or have met over the years who are alcoholics, publicly or hidden )an as socially acceptable an addiction as possible). Now think of how many people you know or have met over the years, how many of them do you think might already be addicted to drugs like prescription medications or other hard drugs? There is no way to know for sure but the possibility exists if we think of the staggering number of alcoholics there are, how many other addicts are there that can hide it well enough and still be functional or pass it off as another sort of addiction? I’d wager a lot more than anyone really knows or thinks. And sure, there could also be the new users who might be attracted to the idea that they can now get a clean supply of needles and heroin, but I’m thinking that will be very few people.

          Just like carry permits does not equal blood in the streets over parking space disputes, I don’t think most intelligent people will say “gee wiz maybe I’ll try that heroin everyone is raving about because its now legal.” I wouldn’t touch it if it became legal and I doubt the majority of people would. It is obviously playing with fire that burns almost everyone it touches. As it is now I don’t smoke pot because it’s decriminalized in my state (CT) and I wouldn’t if it is legal. As it is I barely smoke (cigars or a pipe occasionally, never cigarettes) and barely drink and I grew up with Joe “Cool Guy” Camel and all those other evil influences.

          Here’s what I think would happen if hard drugs were legal.
          The people already using would continue to use, we might see a few more users as described above. If the government was smart they would tax it but not to a point where illegal sources are cheaper. Now users can access a safe (unadulterated) product at a potentially affordable price. That would eliminate the extreme ends some addicts must go to to meet their addiction if they do not have to contend with a black market, unpredictable price fluctuations and artificial scarcity to drive prices. They could hold a job just like a functional alcoholic then go down to the drug store and buy their day or weeks or whatevers worth of heroin for $26 right next to the guy who is buying his 30 pack of beer at the same price to support his addiction.

          Are addicts the most responsible and dependable people? No. Does making drugs legal or what I have proposed above change that? No. An addict is an addict; those proclivities will never change. What I have proposed above just gives some people a chance to be functional; this will of course not work for everyone. The repercussions for the people it doesn’t work for are exactly the same but less severe since they are generally not dealing with an illegal substance, a black market, and actors (government or other) who may hurt or kill them.

          Is this a fairy tale? I don’t know, maybe. However, many people are functional addicts as it is now. There is also evidence from experimental maintenance programs that dispensed safe amounts of clean heroin and needles, allowed people to be safe, productive, and functional members of society. I don’t see that as any worse than what we do with methadone/suboxone right now; it’ll work for some but not others.

          None of this is any reason to discourage other programs that help people get and stay clean; those can be at least partially funded form tax revenue from the drug sales.

          Would all hell break loose in the short term? Maybe but doubtful; letting millions of people carry guns didn’t cause all hell to break loose. As others have pointed out above, what happens in the short term is no way to measure what will happen in the long term.

          Now a consequence no one ever talks about is what the cartels will do. Do you think they would be happy that drugs become legal and domestic producers pop up to fulfill the new demand? I don’t think so. I think that will be the worst part of it.

          TL;DR
          People already doing drugs would keep doing them but now in a white market instead of black.

        • Geoff, you are assuming that it is a given that the taxpayer will pick up addicts’ bills for them. Once we stop that, and adopt the obvious alternative, “let them starve to death in the streets”, your argument goes away. We cannot save these people, there is no capability, and never will be a capability, for anyone to save them. But absolutely nothing requires the taxpayer to support their habits, just write them off.

    • ” It would create more addicts and abusers”

      Contradicts all actual evidence, but hey, you just gotta drink the drug warrior kool-aid. 🙂

      • Precisely. Just as with alcohol. Substance abuse remains fairly constant per capita regardless of illegally or control measures in place. Some consistent percentage of the population is prone to addiction, the only thing that changes are tastes.

      • it’s very possible that society would have fewer lethal overdoses or fewer overdoses over all if it was legal.

        • But if we wash our hands of the responsibility to control other people’s actions, we would no longer care if people OD or not. Or if an OD is fatal or not. Bye-bye!

      • This is why I’m a proponent of legalizing everything. If we did, eventually we’d see a decline in drug abuse because the people with self-destructive drug utilization behaviors would, well, self-destruct.

        By padding every corner and sharp edge of the world, we’re regressing against evolution.

  5. Unfortunately the real problem is not the drugs. They’re just a symptom of a larger problem. As long as we have large segments of the population that have not assimilated into society, the problem of gangs cannot be solved. Remember, the Italian, Irish, and Jewish mobs predated prohibition. While prohibition strengthened them, it was only one facet of the problem. The real death knell for the old European gangsters came when those ethnicities became wholly a piece of the American fabric.

  6. The DEA only exists to make money and supply job security for themselves. It is not in the DEA’s best interest to crack down on all the drugs, otherwise they would have to find other work for themselves.

    Furthermore, the DEA absolutely cannot enforce these drug laws. They pick and choose which cases are most lucrative to the DEA.

    Legalizing drugs gives worthless drug addicts access to police for drugs that are stolen from them, etc, using public law enforcement for their benefit. In the drug world, there is no enforcement of their own laws except by their own. As a result we get gangland drive by shootings and gang related homicides which the libs chalk up on their own stats for more gun control agendas.

    It’s hard to tell people what they can and cannot ingest. After all it’s their body and their life. As the libs say… My body my choice… right??

    I think the best case scenario is legalization of these drugs, but holding these people responsible when someone is hurt due to their “addiction and neglect.”

    • “I think the best case scenario is legalization of these drugs, but holding these people responsible when someone is hurt due to their “addiction and neglect.””

      We already do this with alcohol and I’d image Colorado is having to do the same for pot.

      Government can replace a lot of the drug war revenue with new tax revenue.

  7. Legalizing drugs would absolutely reduce firearms-based crime. However, it would absolutely need to be coupled with “hug-a-thug” proposals to get convicted drug dealers into the legal white market of employment. Otherwise, you’ll be taking away the only income stream that ex-felon offenders have, and that won’t work out well.

    Simply put, yes: if you legalized drugs, the cartels in Mexico won’t go away immediately, but they’ll be caught flat-footed, and the need for mexico as an entry point to the US for drugs suddenly falls. If you legalize drugs, and especially if you do prostitution as well, the only other crimes left are pretty much ones that everyone agrees are ones with VICTIMS- and then there will be less sympathy towards criminals, less community-based support for these criminals, and hopefully, less asset forfeiture and other perverse incentives that cause so much mistrust of police.

    I don’t understand why the government should know whatever drugs you’re taking; and that if I have adderall with a prescription, government permission slip, and government registration of me it’s ok; but if I acquire it another way (same cognitive condition, no script) I’m a felon. If you care at all about federal government overreach, then the entire system is an abomination.

    • “Otherwise, you’ll be taking away the only income stream that ex-felon offenders have, and that won’t work out well.”

      So what? Dopers are not my business, let them starve. They come after me, I will be ready. If someone else is not ready, well, pretty soon they will be. Becoming an addict is currently rewarded by a completely work-free life, for the rest of your life Uncle Sugar will take care of you. When he backs away, you will need to adjust or die. Adios!

  8. Gotta agree with fishydude here. The appetite for illegal drugs in the US has provided the profit motive that enabled the narco mobs to take over Mexico. If you want to fix Mexico and fix the gang banger problems then this would be a big part of the solution. The 40 plus year old war on drugs has been by any measure a complete failure.

  9. The real trick is how do you eliminate demand?

    As long as you have gangs, poverty and few opportunities in the inner cities, you will never eliminate gangs shooting at each other or selling drugs to support themselves. When you have a culture where drug dealing and being thugs is acceptable you cannot expect change. When an acceptable career path is getting onto welfare, you cannot have change.

    It is a multi-generational problem where you have break the cycle of stupid.

    there are no simple solutions and inner city governments see no incentive to change anything because their power is from dependency on the government like a drug dealer is to his clients of drug addicts.

    • The real trick is how do you eliminate demand?

      Family values and education, which have been in great decline since the country was founded.

      • Addiction, of any kind, has remained fairly constant through history. Values have a role I’m sure, but a stable percentage of the population is always going to abuse substances.

  10. Would Legalizing Drugs Reduce Firearms-Related Crime?

    Yes.

    Will it do so in any way that can be measured with any kind of accuracy?

    Can’t know for sure.

    Look to the states who have already legalized pot…. how have their crime stats changed? And do any of those states have enough data to demonstrate a real trend and not just a change this year compared to last.

  11. Once a government’s prohibitionist policies have fostered the formation of a criminal class the members of that class will not simply fold their camel and strike their tent when prohibition is abandoned. It will seek to maximize its profits in some other way; without the (heretofore lost) inhibition of respect for law and order.

    The lesson for society is, I think, to avoid the formation of a new criminal class via a new prohibition. The advent of “designer drugs” seems to illustrate the futility of such an approach. Following the partial failure/success of the War-on-Drug-A; criminals will shift to drug-B to be followed by a War-on-Drug-B; followed by drug-C.

    I dread the outcome of legalization and its effect upon the people of Mexico. It will be horrendous. Extortion, kidnapping, robbery and other crimes are already problematic; they will have to make-up for lost drug revenue.

    This is NOT to say that we should have continued the Prohibition of alcohol for fear of the shift to gambling, prostitution and drug trafficking. Nor should we continue the prohibition of pot and other drugs for fear of the shift to other drugs or other crimes.

    America is better prepared to cope with the shift of crime from drugs to – e.g., robbery. Americans are allowed the means of self-defense. It may take a generation for Americans to tool-up to meet the challenge; but we can do so. Mexicans do not have this alternative; they must submit to criminals from both the public and private sector – or decide to take-up their natural right to self-defense.

    • I will accept Mexico as being my problem, hell, any of my business, when they apply for statehood. Otherwise, who cares what our own finally moving toward sanity does to Mexico?

      • The last thing I would stand for is Mexico becoming a US State. They are a big enough country to make it on their own; and, they need to find their own way out of their jam.

        My statements were intended to be of general applicability. Mexico is a very acute case from which America deserves to learn.

        In any case, we Americans ought not be sanguine about the outcome of legalization. I can’t imagine Mexico legalizing drugs. It would destroy the cartel system which has a symbiotic relationship to official government. So, that’s not the likely scenario.

        America could legalize pot; or, simply stop enforcing the laws against pot. That would shut-down the smuggling of pot from Mexico (or anywhere else). (We can grow our own if there is no interference from police.) That would cause a huge drop in top-line revenue to the cartels; which will drop to the bottom line. Where will the cartels make-up for lost profits? Kidnapping? Extortion? Trafficking in illegal immigrants? Sex trafficking? Leaching off commerce? Relatively speaking, moving pot from Mexican fields to the US is relatively benign on Mexican civilians. Any or all of these substitute activities will trigger economic collapse in Mexico which will trigger even greater pressure to immigrate to the US.

        Economics is like a house-of-cards; move one and the others are apt to move as well.

        By no means do I think we should refrain from legalization of pot (or other drugs) because of the consequences resulting in Mexico and the blow-back to the US. Rather, we shouldn’t be naive in imagining that legalization of pot won’t have second and third order effects triggered in Mexico.

  12. Im not so sure that solves the problem. Before legalizing drugs we have to consider addiction rates and how many new people will become hooked. Im not sure potentially adding 30 million new drug users nation wide is going to lower any crime statistic, except maybe possession cases.

    Plus if you decriminalize production, transport, and sale of all drugs, you aren’t taking power away from the distributers, you are increasing and legitimizing it. You are turning a multi-million dollar illegal business into a multi-million dollar LEGAL business. I’m not sure the extra tax money is necessarily worth it in this case. When it comes to hard drugs, the cartels already have the knowledge and infrastructure in place to go mass market on day 1 of legality.

    All I am saying is we need to have a serious debate about the positives and negatives before making a decision on something this important. We know the current laws aren’t being enforced when it comes to border security and conviction of violent drug offenders. How about we start with competency from our elected officials before the discussion turns to legalization.

    • It is highly unlikely that there would be 30mil new drug users/addicts. People who choose to do drugs nowadays are going to do so regardless of legality; I doubt anyone ever said “man I really want to try meth but dang it it’s illegal so I can’t.”

      Is there a potential chance of more people trying it? Yeah sure but the biggest benefit from drug legalization is eliminating the stigma that comes with drug use. That stigma and being labeled an “addict” is what causes people, who realize they have a problem, to not go out and seek the help they need because they’re scared about how people will view them. The stigma perpetuates the problem. Legalizing drugs could vastly decrease the amount of addicts in this country because people can be educated about drugs honestly and properly instead of trying to fear-monger kids into not doing something. Then if someone is having a problem with a drug they can go seek help without being shunned from their family/society.

      All the money we waste by locking people up for victimless crimes can be shifted towards education and treatment programs. Drug cartels would be defunded of a multi BILLION dollar industry and many gangs will lose their funding and violent hold over the neighborhoods they control.

      However we will NEVER see this happen in any of our lifetimes because it would actually benefit society as a whole but it would eliminate the jobs of the DEA agents. The DEA and many LE agencies will fight tooth and nail to make sure drugs aren’t legalized regardless of the outcome of it. They will lie, cheat, and steal no matter how many lives they ruin or how many people are killed because all they care about is the big fat sack of government funding that they receive because they kill and lockup adults who have made the conscience decision to put whatever substance they choose into their bodies.

    • The nice thing about legal businesses, they don’t go around just killing people, on account of doing so results in immediate loss of that legality.

      The current laws on drugs are very much enforced. I don’t know if you know, but this country has the single biggest prison population in the world, both in absolute numbers and per capita. Bigger than China, Russia and Iran. And vast majority of it is there because of drug offenses, mostly rather low-scale.

      In any case, there’s no legitimate constitutional grant of authority that would even allow the Federal government to be in the business of enacting and enforcing drug laws. To remind, Prohibition took a Constitutional amendment, but I don’t recall anything like that for War on Drugs. This alone is all the reason you need to dismantle that system.

      • Enforcement is putting a lot of people in prison. However, it isn’t crippling the drug trade which is supposed to be the goal.

        • Lotta people pushing drugs here. Not a lot of people (not many of these same people pushing personal responsibility). I’ve said it before, if we’re not pushing personal responsibility, then we’re essentially just doing ‘anything goes’ [if you play the game out long enough]. If we’re going to do anything goes, we’re going to do my version, and I guarantee you win’t like it.
          ALSO, don’t let me catch you selling your broke-di<K notion of what's 'ok' to kids either.

        • Legalizing drugs *IS* pushing personal responsibility, as opposed to a nanny state. You make your own decision, and you live or die by it. How much more “personal responsibility” can you even imagine?

    • If drugs were a completely legal and above board business, then it wouldn’t be legitimized cartels that would be doing the producing and selling. It would be Philip Morris, ConAgra, and Pfizer. They have the resources to make and distribute products on a huge scale and are already connected to all the legitimate distribution channels. If we’re going to be selling marijuana in packs at 7-Eleven, then Philip Morris has everything in place to make that happen. If there’s going to be pre-mixed heroin injection pens, then Pfizer can put those straight into Walgreens and CVS without breaking a sweat. The cartels can’t compete with that.

  13. pwrserge, nobody on earth has any legitimate authority to dictate to anyone else what they eat, drink or otherwise do with their own life and body. If people actually are aggressive and harm others, they can and should be dealt with by their intended victim and whoever else is available. Currently, there are plenty of laws against assault, murder and so forth.

    Laws attempting to control behavior, prohibiting various foods, plants and substances make no more sense than laws prohibiting guns or controlling their peaceful use and carry method. Ending prohibitions of all kinds would reduce the incentive for all criminals involved. It is not really possible to “protect” people from themselves, especially with prohibition laws.

    Unfortunately, the US government and all of its subsidiaries are among the greatest criminals involved here, and probably reap the greatest amount of the stolen goods involved, so any real repeal of prohibitions is not ever apt to happen as long as people believe government has legitimate authority over their non-aggressive actions and choices.

    • I long ago came to the conclusion that laws against “possession” were at best silly, at worst, downright obnoxious. Laws should be against actual actions, and only those actions that demonstrably harm others through force. (There, one could argue over whether “negligence” in such matters counts as a crime, and at what point it comes into play.)

      Unless you force drugs onto someone, or slip them into his/her food or drink without their knowledge, not even that can apply to drugs. There are more (and easier) ways to misuse a gun in violation of someone else’s rights, than there are with drugs, so there’s simply no reason why anyone who believes guns should be legal, shouldn’t believe the same about drugs.

      Many of the problems we see today that seem to be directly related to the drugs, rather than to the fact that they happen to be illegal, such as lethal overdoses, or the harm from what they are cut with, would actually be considerably reduced if they were legal; legal drug dealers, like pharmaicists today (hell, it would likely BE the pharmacists), would have good reason not to want to kill their customers.

      • The only reason I would regret seeing drug laws repealed, is that we would lose the concept of “as soon as you finish getting the drugs off the street, we can talk about guns”. That has been fun for decades. I suppose we could move to “as soon as all the illegal aliens are deported”, but that won’t be the same for about 40 years.

  14. I’m pretty sure the guy with the shotgun was just on the way to bust some clays and accidentally got pulled into the picture

  15. Yes.

    All the war on drugs does is give increase the welfare mentality of police and the “criminal justice” system. It’s a government make work program.

  16. I have watched the “war on drugs ” rage since I saw Nixon on television declaring it. We have lost this war big time. drug profits drive crime world-wide and corruption too. It is used to shred the constitution and justify egregious police tactics. the number of murders in the western hemisphere would be cut in half. that’s probably 50K lives save a year.

    it is the longest running war in US history, and the bodies and destruction keep piling up. Would bad things happen if we legalized ? yes, But it’s High time we found out if it balanced out or not. no pun intended .

  17. I don’t know if legalizing drugs would reduce firearms-related crime, but I do know that making and keeping certain drugs illegal simply is not working. It’s unlikely that drugs will ever be decriminalized here. Too many people in the government are making a living, and in some cases they are making fortunes, from illicit drugs. That’s the real issue.

    Other countries, like Portugal, have experimented with decriminalization, and those experiments seem to be working. Okay, we’re not Portugal. I get that. Still, we should try because ultimately, it’s nobody’s business what substances people choose to consume.

    • We already have weed legalized outright in, what, 5 states now? Plus however many more with medical marijuana, which frankly is just a thin veneer for legalization.

      It’s happening, and it’s happening rather fast at that.

  18. Of course legalizing drugs would end gun violence. The downside is that the community colleges’ adult education course enrollments will go through the roof. Because really, take away the profit motive of illegal drugs, and immediately every vicious, murderous, bloodthirsty thug in the hemisphere will lay down arms and take up kilns.

    Ceramics courses, maybe leather working, possibly creative writing, definitely woodworking will all become the highly prized peaceful pastimes of monsters formerly committed to lives of inflicting misery and causing mayhem.

    • “immediately every vicious, murderous, bloodthirsty thug in the hemisphere will lay down arms and take up kilns.”

      Kilns?

      Why the energy demands of those things will cause ‘Global Warming, er ‘Climate Change’ and kill us all!!!

      🙂

  19. Gangs may or may not shift their focus to other criminal enterprises; I tend to think that there will always be criminal gangs, but depriving them of easy cash and large profit margins of the illicit drug market would hamper their trade. Nevertheless, decriminalizing drugs would certainly have the effect of freeing up badly-needed prison space…without the mandatory minimum drug offenders taking up bunk space and prison resources, perhaps the legal system would be more inclined to keep the criminals who pose an actual danger to society incarcerated for longer.

  20. I imagine it would reduce violent crime but even more likely it would make movies and music more interesting for me.

  21. What are we going to do with all the convicted drug users in jails and prisons? There are thousands and thousands, maybe millions! If we legalize drugs, do you think all these prisoners are gonna just let that pass? There will prison rioting on a scale not seen before!

    • “What are we going to do with all the convicted drug users in jails and prisons?”

      Burgers will need to be flipped (well, until robotics takes those jobs), floors swept and ditches dug (Drat. The ‘Ditch Witch’ is taking those jobs). and cut yards, etc…

      Well, the world can always use an inexpensive hooker.

      Until the inflatables take those jobs.

      🙂

      • “Inflatables”
        Yeah, I like that, many years ago I had a love affair that was beyond description! Let me tell you about…………………….no wait! I’m on the wrong page!

        Yes it would be nice if all those convicted folks could just go to work! Aint gonna happen! It is very difficult for a felon, or any other convict to get a job. Who would hire them? When we just have a few now and then being released, that’s one thing. But on a scale approaching if not exceeding millions, I doubt if more than 5% to 10% could find employment.
        Add those to the 11.5 million illegals we already have to deal with,………………. I don’t even want to think about it.

        • >> It is very difficult for a felon, or any other convict to get a job.

          That’s one of the things that have to be fixed. In many other countries, information about convictions is considered private, and after the person has served their time no-one outside of the govt can find out or ask them about it, and it’s illegal to discriminate based on it. Some places limit this to non-violent crimes only. Or, alternatively, they place time limits, so basically if you go flipping burgers for 2 years and don’t commit any crimes then you can seal the record.

          For things that were crimes then but that aren’t crimes anymore once the laws are changed, I think the only logical thing to do is to release everyone still in jail for it [alone], and erase all associated criminal records.

  22. Empirically, yes, about 30-40% (based on post alcohol prohibition studies). The law is impotent in the face of economics, and physics. The problem with the theory of harsh penalties for drug crimes is that the cartels can always think of harsher ones, and there will always be a limit to how far the govt can go (whereas, cartels can always firebomb your entire family on flimsy evidence). The other problem is that jail has never cured anyone’s addiction. If anything, jail creates more addicts because what else is there to do?

  23. Interestingly enough, decriminalization of drugs in the Czech Republic led not only to fall of drug-related crime, but also to fall in overall drug use levels.

    As regards US, you can bet your money it would decrease firearms related crime. Even if we take all directly – drug related crimes out of equation and presume it would remain the same, then you are still left with large portion of population that is criminalized for something that would not be worth even a fine equal to a parking ticket in most of Europe. These people get criminal record, often serve time (for crimes they would never end up in jail in most of Europe) which in turn makes it impossible for them to find normal jobs, and that forces them further out of the general society and leads to them procuring income in illegal ways (and that in large for other purposes than feeding addiction habit).

    All these people have their possibilities to return to law abiding society severely restricted. If drugs were decriminalized, most of them would not be even pushed out of it in the first place.

    • People claim this, but honestly, you cannot measure the level of illegal activity. People do not answer honestly. The best you can say is that drug use is down compared to what it was thought to be before legalization – estimates which may or may not have been accurate. There is a strong argument that drug use may not change that much overall, but the type of people consuming it, as well as the reasons for consuming it, will.

      • An interesting point. It holds even when people are afraid that something they do now, which is legal, might become illegal–which is why we tend to disbelieve surveys intended to assess how many people (or households) own guns. Few want to answer yes for fear that after DiFi gets her “turn them all in” wet dream passed into law, their answer could come back to haunt them.

        However, once a drug is *legalized* there could be an amnesty: it could be made clear that you won’t be arrested even if you stand in the middle of Times Square (or local equivalent) and brag about how many joints you smoked every day before the day of legalization.. (You’d be admitting to what is technically a crime, even post legalization, without that amnesty). That might make a “before and after” survey possible. It wouldn’t be possible while the drugs are still illegal, though.

      • The estimates when it was illegal may be inaccurate, but it would seem that such inaccuracy would always err on the side of underestimating it (i.e. some people who actually used drugs would lie and say that they do not if asked, out of fear of being prosecuted; but why would anyone lie and say that they do drugs when they do not?). After decriminalization and/or legalization, you can expect the number of people lying in that way to fall, or at worst remain the same. So if stats show that drug use is lower afterwards, then at worst it has gone down by the amount measured by the polls, and at best it’s gone down even more than that.

        • LE would lie, in order to get more money, power, and control. They would also seek to corrupt surveys and other research to show more of a problem than actually exists.

  24. A black market in anything will result in violent crime in proportion to the level of demand.

    When Prohibition ended, the violent crime rate plummeted by four-fifths. The economic recovery took longer, as a few giant producers grabbed the market and it’s only been recently that the diversity in brewing that existed before Prohibition has returned.

    Just ending the misnamed “War on Drugs” would plunge violent crime probably by three-fourths, maybe as much as happened with Prohibition. But the way it’s ended is also important: for anything that can be grown at home, big corporations should be locked out, and only a “household industry” allowed (there’s an international expert who argued forcefully for this, but I can’t recall his name; he has excellent arguments). For things that require labs, let independent agencies (medical schools, maybe?) establish licensing criteria and let anyone who can meet those run a lab, subject to inspection by independent certifying groups (no government involvement, please!).

    My big reason for wanting recreational drug production spread broadly and not concentrated is that concentrated production inevitably leads to government coercion to maintain market conditions favorable to those with large production — and that means violence.

    • My big reason for wanting recreational drug production spread broadly and not concentrated is that concentrated production inevitably leads to government coercion to maintain market conditions favorable to those with large production — and that means violence.

      Yet here you are advocating having government lock the big corporations out to protect the little businesses, which means violence.

      You really need to work on your libertarianism; you haven’t got the hang of it yet.

      • I have never heard of any sort of violence involving issuance of business licenses.

        And giant corporations are a danger to liberty — something Thomas Jefferson knew and we’ve ignored.

        • You get get fined, then eventually arrested for violating the law against running a business without a license. That’s force. If you resist arrest, they’ll get violent.

          The ultimate penalty for violating any law, ANY law, is violence done on your person. Your laws had therefore better have something to do with violating people’s rights, rather than running a corporation that’s too big in your solitary opinion, and having it move into a newly legal product line.

    • So, let me get this straight. Your main reason for removing the government from being in control of drug prohibitions, is so that you can be in control of drug prohibitions? That sorta sounds like you are a teenager.

      • Someone’s reading skills suck….

        I want to end government prohibition so there will be no prohibition. How did you get that I want to be in charge of prohibition out of that?

        • I dunno, maybe from your (anti-Libertarian) statement that you want to PROHIBIT some companies from participating in the new market?