Penn Jillette on legalizing pot

Discuss

227 Responses to “Penn Jillette on legalizing pot”

  1. guy_jin says:

    I’m gonna go pop some refined sugar now. mmm.

  2. Takuan says:

    still no arguments beyond: “because I say so”? Hmmm. And what might you say tomorrow?

  3. Jack says:

    @#158 POSTED BY TAKUAN

    ummm, yes Jack, I AM telling you that casual users of cocaine, heroin and methedrine are indeed all around us and have happy, successful lives.

    Are you looking at yourself in a mirror when you say that? Because if that’s the case kudos to you… But I will restate the challenge I made:
    If there are casual users of cocaine, heroin and meth out there who hold prominent positions in society and who can point to a neutral trail of evidence proving their lives as such, let them please reveal themselves.

    #159 POSTED BY MDH

    bad lives before or after they used the hard stuff? My experience is that the hard drugs are a refuge from a bad past. A crutch for the crippled. People with bad lives who can’t even get weed will huff gasoline, I say weed is less bad than that.

    I pretty much agree with that. Hard lives do lead to hard drugs. And pot is not as bad as anything else. But I personally would like weed to be legalized for one simple reason: Thanks to weed not being as bad as other illegal drugs there is a stigmatism attached to criticizing anyone who smokes pot that isn’t attached to people who are—let’s say—alcoholics.

    Call someone an alcoholic and point out how they have destroyed their lives and the lives of others and nobody really lashes back at you.

    Say the same about a pothead who has destroyed their lives in a similar way and you’re a narc.

    Refusing a drink might make you look weird to some. But refuse pot and suddenly you’re “weird.”

    You want pot legalized? Come clean about the bad side of smoking it as well as the good.

  4. nutbastard says:

    @#68:

    “I would find such a change utterly unacceptable, but we do not set tax levys based on person characteristics.”

    Then why is there anything BEYOND sales tax on tobacco and alcohol? The propensity to smoke or drink is a personal characteristic, and is at least in part a genetic one. Yet those people are subject to additional taxes for that very reason.

  5. Takuan says:

    remove 39% of terrorist financing instantly: legalize. Straight from the DEA Cartel itself:
    http://www.usdoj.gov/dea/ongoing/narco-terrorism.html

  6. azanon says:

    I’ve met an investment banker who casually uses coke, and a district attorney who casually uses meth. Both are cutting down or quitting because family obligations make it impractical, but it never turned them into monsters in any shape or form. I see a strong correlation between positions of responsibility and prominence and ability to “handle your drugs”. The people who have serious trouble with drugs are the ones who don’t have much going on in their lives to keep them away from drugs. The same people that have trouble with alcohol and casinos.

    I do believe that legalization would increase the number of people who get addicted and cause trouble for themselves and society, just like allowing most anyone to drive on our highways kills innumerable innocents. There’s a price and responsibility that comes with freedom, but it’s much lower than the cost of trying to lock everyone in their homes with feeding tubes so they don’t hurt anyone.

  7. SKR says:

    The question I have for people is,”why is drug use immoral”?

    You’re not committing an act of violence against anyone, and you are not cheating anyone. Why is it wrong?

  8. Jack says:

    @#167 POSTED BY UGLY CANUCK

    As to the operation of machinery while using reefer: marijuana is not impairing in the same way as other substances are: there is science about this, eg amphetamines do not impair like booze does, either: each substance is different in its effects on perception/reaction time/etc.

    Is the issue the legalization of a substance? Or the self-justification of the use of a substance based on the grounds that a few wing-nuts believe someone on weed or meth can operate machinery based on the substance they like.

    Look, if you truly believe it’s no big problem connected to drug use and operating machinery, I’ll support legalizing pot & meth just for you. With one catch: You will be fully responsible—financially & legally—for the damage your behavior and actions take?

    That’s the problem I have with all of these discussions on personal freedom and drug use. It always hinges on the self-centered/entitled notion that “I should be able to do this just because…” and never ever addresses the larger societal issue of who gets the bill when the party is over.

  9. Spinobobot says:

    Not only should we decriminalize street drugs, we should also make the prescription drug system optional! I want to sign a waiver that would allow me to purchase and consume whatever drugs I want. I’m not about to go operate heavy machinery when I’m messed up, so I promise you no one’s gonna get hurt. Why shouldn’t I be allowed to do that? Why shouldn’t we all be allowed to do with our bodies whatever we please, so long as we don’t hurt others?

  10. Wolf_RunStrukture says:

    A basic problem in this issue is that basically every situation in which people use drugs is different. Different political and family environments, different biologies, different consequences and histories. Any amount of evidence can be marshalled in support of either side in the argument, but, as with all social issues, the only moral unambiguity is ambiguity – the paradox which democratic rebublics are built on.

  11. Keeper of the Lantern says:

    Presto wrote…

    “I have to respectfully disagree with legalizing crystal meth. That’s just crazy. I may have thought about this a couple of times (**____**) — instead of legalizing meth (a horror show) lift the ban on production of pharmaceutical biphetamines and amphetamines, and then regulate the usage.”

    I think I agree with this…Meth appears to be one of those drugs that wouldn’t exist if better alternatives were available.

    But that would require a drug policy based on rational thought…

  12. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #70 Jason Rizos

    I think Wigwam’s view of the law is simply tautological. It is illegal because it has been deemed illegal. Alcohol is not illegal because prohibition was repealed.

    I haven’t taken a view of the law, but simply stated my opinion on the issue of the legalization of marijuana for recreational use in the USA. The majority seem to favor my view, and I am glad of that.

    It would be a tautology if I argued as you stated, but I haven’t.

    Like he said, if cannabis were legalized, he would “deal with it.” He’s not interested in criticizing the law, only in following it, fascist though it may be.

    I often criticize laws, and if I can help change them to something I prefer with my vote, I will. I happen to agree with the current regulation of marijuana, so I do not vote against it.

    Everyone has laws they like and laws they do not, and I am no different – we just disagree about which laws we disagree with.

    That’s not fascist, as far as I know. Just democracy in action. I am a law-abider, if that is what you mean, but I can’t agree that makes me a fascist, either.

  13. failix says:

    Wigwam Jones: Your attitude towards democracy, the way you use your privilege to vote, to actually have your voice heard, is a disgrace to our civilization. A society can’t maintain itself if people like you exploit democracy to express their “gut feelings”. When one isn’t educated about a certain subject, the best attitude to adopt is to stfu. Same for democracy, if your vote is based only on an unjustified opinion, please don’t vote.

  14. nutbastard says:

    @#73

    “It probably would not comfort you to know that I am not in favor of abortions, either. BUT, I accept that the majority feel they should be legal, and that is the law of the land.”

    So back before emancipation would you have followed and supported the perpetuation of slavery laws, so long as the majority felt the same way?

    You do realize that this country would not exist were it not for a MINORITY deciding that the taxes were bullshit, right? That the American revolution was seen as criminal by the majority of the population then, and was orchestrated by something like only 12% of the population – a move which is now widely considered to be one of the bravest stands against tyranny in history?

  15. nutbastard says:

    I used to think it was a bit crass to use the term ‘sheeple’, as individuals can’t be painted with so broad a brush. However, in this case, I’m willing to make an exception.

    For reference, I speed constantly, I drink beer while driving, and I’ve done every drug under the sun. And yet, here I sit, in my office, with my window, at 24 years old, with no college education. Not to be too arrogant about it, but I’m pretty sure I know how to act responsibly in practice while sidestepping many of the laws. The only evidence i have for such a claim is the fact that i’ve been doing so for about 10 years, and I’ve never been arrested for anything. I’ve never stolen anything. In fact, I’m absolutely sure that i’ve never committed a crime against another human being in my life. Also, I use the carpool lane constantly.

    If anyone out there has the balls for it, try breaking some useless laws every once in a while.

  16. rawbacon2 says:

    We hold these truths to be self-evident.. come on, doesn’t anybody read the birth certificate anymore? You have the unalienable right, which means that it doesn’t matter what the law says, you have the right to toke.
    Freedom is for thinking humans, the rest follow the shepherd.

  17. Takuan says:

    heh heh! The “opinion” defense! Fortunately, law is not a matter of religious belief. Any position must defend itself with observed facts and logical, defensible argument. “Because I said so” may work for slaveholders with whips, or male priests pontificating on female reproductive rights but it has no standing in a free society. Ans surely we all agree that a free society is a desirable thing?

  18. Brainspore says:

    @ Wigwam Jones #68:

    “No reason, just my opinion”? Seriously?

    Dang, I was honestly hoping we could have a thought-provoking and respectful debate on the topic, but that seems unlikely if even you can’t come up with a reason to justify your position.

    Also, regarding your comment @ #117:

    So if I can support DUI laws, I think I can just as logically support laws against recreational marijuana use.

    That’s not the same thing at all since most people can think of at least one REASON to keep drunk driving illegal. (Namely, it endangers the innocent).

  19. Takuan says:

    nutbastard, do you know what “probability” means?

  20. nutbastard says:

    @#78

    “That’s not fascist, as far as I know. Just democracy in action.”

    What you are referring to is Mob Rule, not democracy. Also, it’s worth noting that America isn’t (and never was, nor was supposed to be) a democracy, it’s a Democratic Republic.

  21. SKR says:

    @ #43 SKR

    This is why there is a difference between democracy and liberty

    There is indeed. To the best of my knowledge, no court has held that being prevented from smoking weed violates any part of the Constitution.

    So it would appear that ‘liberty’ is not the issue is. That makes puts it in the realm of ‘democracy’, where votes count, and mine is ‘no’.

    If and when SCOTUS holds that citizens have an individual right to smoke dope, I will accept that democracy is trumped by liberty in the case of marijuana-smoking and deal with it.

    Just because a law is constitutional doesn’t mean that it doesn’t violate someone’s liberty. That is why we have had to amend the constitution, think slavery or universal suffrage.

    It seems to me that your opinion is far removed from the framer’s intent, since they believed in natural rights not positivist contructs only created by the grace of government

    The distinction I was refering to is based on a quote from Ben Franklin. “Democracy is two wolves and a sheep voting on what to have for lunch. Liberty is a well armed sheep contesting the vote.” This of course illustrates the tyranny of the mob and was a major reason why we don’t have a pure representational democracy but instead have a democratic republic.

  22. Teller says:

    Takuan: Portugal decriminalized drugs but did not legalize them, not a minor difference. Will be interesting to read Greenwald’s report when available. In the meantime, a decent 2007 report on Portugal’s decriminalization is findable here: http://www.beckleyfoundation.org/

  23. SKR says:

    @127 Takuan

    He probably will…eventually.

    @125 Nutbastard

    Doing drugs, or more specifically possessing drugs in a prohibitionist state, made me a much SAFER driver. I don’t speed of roll through stop signs. I always use a turn signal. Why give the police a reason to pull you over when the thing in your pocket could send you away?

  24. SKR says:

    damn, nutbastard beat me to it.

  25. flowerchild says:

    Few people seem to know that Heroin is or at least was a trademark name by Bayer pharmaceuticals. It was legally marketed from 1898-1910 before they realised how addictive it was. So for those who think it should be legalised, perhaps inform yourself and others of what happened the last time it was. I’m not saying I’m very well informed myself BTW.

    I’ve noticed that many of you have talked about alcohol prohibition in the USA. I think that drug laws need to be agreed internationally for them to be effective (whether legal or illegal) otherwise the illegal trade and drug wars will continue.

    I’m all for legalising cannabis but agree there is an issue of drugged driving and machinery operating which is more difficult to test than with a breathalyzer.

  26. spazzm says:

    With the exception of alcohol, I find no use for the recreational use of psychoactive drugs, no.

    Coffee? Tea? Tobacco? Chocolate? Kava?

  27. nutbastard says:

    Opinion: People shouldn’t be able to vote on laws that they haven’t read, and/or cannot demonstrate through testing a complete comprehension of those laws.

    I’m looking at you, Patriot Act, and you too, TARP.

  28. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #80

    heh heh! The “opinion” defense! Fortunately, law is not a matter of religious belief. Any position must defend itself with observed facts and logical, defensible argument. “Because I said so” may work for slaveholders with whips, or male priests pontificating on female reproductive rights but it has no standing in a free society. Ans surely we all agree that a free society is a desirable thing?

    But I argue no such thing. I hold no religious opinion on the legalization of marijuana, and I do not have to defend my opinion, because it is opinion, not law. Nor do I argue that my opinion ought to be law because is is my opinion. I hold no authority beyond that of a voter.

    @ #81 nutbastard

    What you are referring to is Mob Rule, not democracy.

    Majority rule and ‘mob rule’ are indistinguishable from one another, except that the latter is used as a pejorative.

    Also, it’s worth noting that America isn’t (and never was, nor was supposed to be) a democracy, it’s a Democratic Republic.

    I agree that we are a Representative Republic, and a good part of the reason we are such is to protect us from the negative effects of swinging, ever-changing public opinion.

    But I specifically stated that I would vote ‘no’ in any such plebiscite. A plebiscite (or referendum) is indeed direct democracy. Legalization and decriminalization efforts are frequently included as ballot measures and put directly to the voters of a state, where majority (or the ‘mob’ if you prefer) does indeed rule.

  29. teufelsdroch says:

    Penn Jillette a ‘teetotaller’:

    “I’ve never had a drink of alcohol or any drug in my life.”

    “If I go out to dinner with you and you order wine, I leave. I won’t be around drugs and alcohol at all.”

    Either that’s hyperbole, or it’s nuts. It’s like saying you’ve never eaten salt.

    If true, why in the world would we listen to what this guy has to say re: pot? He has no context for his comments. And I see NO reason to think it’s true. BULLLLLLLLLSHIT, Penn Jillette.

  30. Takuan says:

    read the attached story about DEA Cartel capo, Don John (Johnny Icepick)Walters and the medical patient.

    http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/stories/2005/02/18/irvRosenbergAndTheCompassi.html

  31. flink says:

    I agree. Completely. Think of the millions of lives ruined for a meaningless concept. Think of the tens of billions of dollars spent each year towards incarcerating people for simple use or cultivation of a weed.

    This is utter madness. The money spent on the drug war is not spent with my consent as a tax payer.

  32. Padraig says:

    Drug use is a health issue, not a criminal issue.

    Criminalisation does not prevent drug use, but does blunt and limit its spread (sometimes). It also costs huge amounts of money to police and results in opportunities for corruption on an intense and broad scale. Further it contributes to convoluted and complex politics (eg. Afghanistan and Columbia) which cripple governments and offer opportunities to criminals they would not have otherwise.

    Prohibition is considered a correlational if not causal factor in the rise of the US Mafia

    http://www.abbeys.com.au/items.asp?id=27942

    The major problems are actually caused by legal drugs, not illicit drugs. Most communities have an almost delusion concern with illegal drugs when legal drugs are causing huge social problems. The use of licit drugs (for example, in Australia) causes huge problems and imposes enormous costs on the community.

    http://www.nhmrc.gov.au/your_health/healthy/alcohol/burden.htm#bur

    http://www.aihw.gov.au/drugs/population/index.cfm

    The Australian approach has been that certain drugs are illegal and you can be prosecuted, but the main approach is to institute harm minimisation and harm reduction, using education and health service provision without fear of prosecution. This includes things like injection rooms.

    Provides a list of deaths and the related drugs. Illicit drug deaths are very small compared to those related to legal drugs like tobacco.

    http://www.drugfree.org.au/fileadmin/Media/Reference/DFA_DrugRelatedStats.pdf

    A conservative estimate of the cost to the community of alcohol use is approximately $AU15 billion.

    Page 27 of this report from the Victorian Government (second largest State in Australia by populution):

    http://www.parliament.vic.gov.au/dcpc/Reports/DCPC-DiscussionPaper_Alcohol_2004-10-21.pdf

    has a chart showing the relationship between the various types of drugs and hospital bed days.

    Arguments of personal experience are frequently used (by either side) as an explanation for why it is good/bad to criminalise various drugs. Neither is convincing as the issue is not personal but social and political.

    Arguments against prohibition and criminalisation are primarily historical, political and cultural – they’re not health-based or even financial. The cost of policing, prosecuting, fining and gaoling is added to by the costs of corruption.

    My final point is that the arguments against the decriminalisation is commonly characterised by the good/bad drug distinction – which is illusory and moralistic – and is usually based on very little in the way of good, hard facts.

  33. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #84 nutbastard

    Opinion: People shouldn’t be able to vote on laws that they haven’t read, and/or cannot demonstrate through testing a complete comprehension of those laws.

    It is an interesting opinion, but we did have ‘literacy tests’ for a number of years in many states before one was permitted to vote. They were known under the general term “Jim Crow Laws,” for the portion of the populace they were meant to disenfranchise.

    One of the downsides of democratic votes is that everyone’s vote counts equally. One of the upsides is that everyone’s vote counts equally. Whether one sees this as a positive or a negative seems to be depend in large part on whose ox is being gored.

  34. Keeper of the Lantern says:

    “I’ve lost several dear friends to drug overdoses and none of them were suicidal: they died because street dope varies wildly in potency and the heroin they took was purer than they’d anticipated.”

    Excellent comment.

    Let’s not forget the crud that street drugs are often cut with as well.

    Personally, I wouldn’t mind if some drugs remained relatively illegal, if less dangerous substitutes were available. But this couldn’t be a political decision for it to work, so I’d prefer everything to be legal, though with plenty of oversight (paid for by the sales taxes on the legal drugs, of course).

    I’ve felt that many problems in the US (in particular) are due to the fixation Americans have on making the law reflect morality, no matter if the law is actually moving people to the “correct” behaviors or not. Few seem to realize that drug usage would drop if drugs were legalized in a controlled fashion. Or if they realize it, they don’t care or would rather have law be some sort of stand-in for a big ugly God that waits for you to “blow it” and then karmically club the crap out of you.

  35. Wolf_RunStrukture says:

    I can’t decide if doing drugs is one of those activities which benefit an individual or a small group, while being absolutely ruinous for larger groups. Examples of this are numerous: over- farming and fishing, driving cars, etc.

  36. Anonymous says:

    A note that nobody seems to have brought up:
    I strongly believe that as soon as it is legal to sell mind-altering drugs, Big Pharma will reach into their vaults and pull out the recipes for all the drugs that they stopped testing/evaluating as soon as they realized that their test subjects were getting high.
    Give them a few years to finish up the human testing, and there will be synthetic drugs available that will get you high as a kite but will not be physically addicting. (Probably psychologically addictive as hell, but then again, doesn’t that make them more sellable?)
    So – why would I light up some reefer, or go buy heroin, when I can get a chocolate-covered Happy Pill(TM) at the corner store and bliss out?

  37. gravytop says:

    I used to believe this was a no-brainer.

    I still support the idea of legalizing all or most drugs simply to take much of the incentive out of trafficking in them illegally. But I think there is another part to the calculus. A drug lord has now been named by Forbes as one of the world’s richest men. If you take away the primary source of income from a huge group of the world’s most amoral and vicious criminals, what are they going to turn to? You would definitely have some hungry and angry decapitators on your hands, and possibly banging on your doors.

    Bottom line, I still lean towards legalization for reasons of disincentivizing criminals (and also personal liberty), but wonder what direction that huge criminal infrastructure would take next.

  38. Anonymous says:

    I actually kind of like wigwam. He doesn’t try to come up with any crazy reasons for keeping pot illegal, he just says he doesn’t like it. No reasons, it’s just his opinion and he’s glad it’s illegal. Maybe if everyone else admitted that that was their only real reason for wanting it illegal (which has to be almost all of them right? I’ve really never heard a good reason for keeping it illegal) maybe some of them would realise they were being kind of silly. Because I would imagine most people don’t think it’s good to follow the law JUST because it’s the law, or that a law is good or bad JUST because it’s constitutional or unconstitutional.

  39. zuzu says:

    But hell, if you want to change your state of mind with a chemical, it’s your goddamned state of mind to change. What liberty could be more fundamental than the liberty to choose how you think?

    * cognitive liberty
    * neurolaw
    * morphological freedom

    c.f. Center for Cognitive Liberty and Ethics (CCLE)

    For an anti-pattern, consider Alan Turing’s hormone treatments to “cure” him of his criminalized homosexuality. (Or the fictional Ludovico technique in A Clockwork Orange.)

  40. mamafrog says:

    The only reason the government pursues such a stringent anti-drug policy is that they make a lot of money from it. Whose pocket do you think all your happy little tax dollars line? The cops get to buy all sorts of toys because of the “war on drugs” and Joe Average gets to feel virtuous and safe because drug users aren’t on the street. Just stop and think how much money would suddenly hit the economy if they were regulated like corn and wheat? And how many people would be out of jobs or have to switch to something regulating it (talk about job security here). This is the same thing that happened with Prohibition in the 20′s if you want to read about it. All the mob bosses got into running liquor and lost money when the legislation went away. The Moral Majority and religious right have us so convinced this is the way it has to do be done, punish instead of cure, that it would be almost impossible to change now. Pity the poor smokers, caffeine drinkers, sugar users, etc. because they are next. Heck maybe even sex, you can’t do what feels good anymore!

  41. Takuan says:

    in say the instance of the USA, over-eating to obesity causes much,much more harm than the tiny amount actually caused by abusing marijuana. Why aren’t they jailing people for eating foolishly?

  42. error404 says:

    on the day that the Mexican drug lord made the Forbes rich list it is madness to be still having this conversation.

    The mafia were a bunch of penny ante scum bags running protection rackets on Sicilian immigrants before the US criminalised alcohol.

    Prohibition is the MAKING of criminal enterprises.

    Would you go and buy a bottle of bath tub Gin made in somebody’s garage that will send you blind mad and dead when you could legally buy a bottle of smooth safe and BONDED Tanquerray London Dry Gin ?

    The same thing is true of drugs. They are not expensive, but they are very dangerous when they come from some 4th rate chemistry students idea of how to make them, or have been cut or indeed NOT cut enough by some haphazard idiot.

    I have friends in Australia who are buy their own admission heroin addicts, but would not describe themselves as junkies. They run companies are on the board, they are department heads.

    They are not sucking people off in bus station toilets for pocket change.

    If you look at the war on drugs and how useless it has all been any rational onlooker would conclude that the people waging the war were very heavily invested in both the sale of rams and the manufacture of narcotics, as they are the only ones making any money there.

  43. zuzu says:

    If you take away the primary source of income from a huge group of the world’s most amoral and vicious criminals, what are they going to turn to?

    Politics?

  44. Purly says:

    I don’t know if we should legalize the trade of all drugs, but I agree that the answer is to stop preaching abstinence from drugs and start helping people cope with managing their addictions.

  45. minTphresh says:

    oddly enough, almost every state it is put before( medicinally, anyway, so far), eventually signs it into law, after which the federal gov’t does everything in its power to make it impossible for those states to enact!

  46. Purly says:

    “If you take away the primary source of income from a huge group of the world’s most amoral and vicious criminals, what are they going to turn to?”

    Why would it be taking away their source of income? They could just start doing what they’ve always done out in the open.

  47. orangeorangutan says:

    Well said, Cory. I have yet to hear a good argument in favor of maintaining the prohibition on drugs that hurts so many all the while filling the bank accounts of evil men. Seriously, could someone please direct me to an article with a really succinct, cogent, and well thought-through argument in support of this ludicrous status quo? I may go into it with my mind already made up, but I’d really like to try to understand how anyone could argue against legalization.

  48. nutbastard says:

    #86

    “we did have ‘literacy tests’ for a number of years in many states before one was permitted to vote. They were known under the general term “Jim Crow Laws,”

    That’s in a completely different context – Those laws were in place in conjunction with other laws that prohibited blacks from attending school, or made it financially impossible to do so.

    In this day and age, no such prohibitions exist. Anyone who cares to is free to become literate. Are you suggesting it’s too much to ask that those who are putting laws into place actually comprehend what they are doing???

  49. stuhfoo says:

    “I’ve lost several dear friends to drug overdoses and none of them were suicidal: they died because street dope varies wildly in potency and the heroin they took was purer than they’d anticipated.”

    if legalized, drugs wouldn’t vary in potency… since you wouldn’t want to kill your business, and dope hasn’t killed anyone, you can’t OD on marijuana, you just sort of pass out.

  50. Ugly Canuck says:

    Social control of substance use/abuse is good; legal/state control bad, as in ineffective, cruel , costly, and not tailored to the individual and her problem, if any (that is, many use a substance with no problem at all, eg alcohol, but not all – control via the Law is not as “fine-grained” as social control, ie disapproving comments by friends/family/peer group/people on the street, or in the theatre or workplace).

    As to the operation of machinery while using reefer: marijuana is not impairing in the same way as other substances are: there is science about this, eg amphetamines do not impair like booze does, either: each substance is different in its effects on perception/reaction time/etc.

    Medical marijuana users ought not be deprived of freedom without proof that marijuana at their level of use is IN FACT impairing.
    Sloppy reasoning by analogy with alcohol or barbituates will not do, IMO.
    Freedom is too precious …

  51. zuzu says:

    I agree that the answer is to stop preaching abstinence from drugs and start helping people cope with managing their addictions.

    Many people can handle their drugs without becoming addicted.

    Some people can’t handle alcohol, tobacco, sex, gambling, or debt without becoming addicted.

    Seems like drug legalization and addiction disorders should be considered as orthogonal issues.

  52. Anonymous says:

    ******************************
    Legalizing (with responsible regulation) and TAX IT = instant stimulus plan.

    ******************************

    Marijuana, legalized and regulated in similar fashion to tobacco and alcohol, would provide the country with a taxable product that could generate BILLIONS of economic influx. Drunk driving = stoned driving = ILLEGAL. Period. But, people can get wasted in the privacy of their own home with out breaking the law, so why can’t they get high? Anyone who would debate otherwise is not weighing the facts in an unbiased manner.

  53. Zaren says:

    #6:

    “Pity the poor smokers, caffeine drinkers, sugar users, etc. because they are next.”

    I was reading somewhere today that there’s a proposal up in Utah to tax caffiene.

  54. nutbastard says:

    yes everyone, i know that statistically, eventually, i might get busted for SOMETHING. but i haven’t yet, and while i wont get into my methods TOO deeply, I don’t do these things flippantly. there are self imposed rules that keep me out of trouble. the #1 rule – don’t break more than one law at a time. #2 always have a (jettison) plan. and #3, treat every car as if it were a cop car. #4 don’t sip anything while stationary, or when changing highways.

    it’s just beer, for christs sake.

  55. SKR says:

    oddly enough, almost every state it is put before( medicinally, anyway, so far), eventually signs it into law, after which the federal gov’t does everything in its power to make it impossible for those states to enact!

    Haven’t you heard? Federalism is dead.

    A belated moment of silence…..

  56. Anonymous says:

    @Gravytop

    According to The Wire, real estate.

  57. nutbastard says:

    Because it seems to me that I am expected to know and understand the laws that exist (Ignorance of the law is no excuse) once they are passed, so how is it unreasonable to demand that those passing the laws understand them? Those writing the rules don’t have to understand what they are, but those who are governed by the rules do???

  58. Jiggle Billy says:

    With all due respect, Mr. Doctorow, you *do* consume altering substances. Everything you put into your body affects your neurological function. Change your diet radically for a period and this becomes apparent.

    Gravytop, you’re presenting a false choice between the disestablishment of bad laws (prohibition has never seemed to work, anyway) and putting druglords out of operation out of fear for what they’ll do next.

  59. Teller says:

    Brainspore: Illegal oil, hope not.
    There’s no hypocrisy in your statement as you stated it, but that was not my point. Can’t write it any clearer that I did @172 – my failing. I don’t understand one thing – why people keep countering hard drug viewpoints with pot arguments. Pot is nothing compared to crack/meth/ice/heroin.

  60. Anonymous says:

    Nutbastard @ 133 – I hope that the probability that you get busted finds form before the probability that you kill someone while driving under the influence.

  61. Takuan says:

    an opinion that takes no heed of the opinions of others nor the state of the observed universe is a mean thing indeed. (let’s see now….

  62. presto says:

    I have to respectfully disagree with legalizing crystal meth. That’s just crazy. I may have thought about this a couple of times (**____**) — instead of legalizing meth (a horror show) lift the ban on production of pharmaceutical biphetamines and amphetamines, and then regulate the usage.

  63. palad says:

    However, you need to remember that the ‘it’s your state of mind to change’ comment is only true insofar as it doesn’t cause anybody else harm. If there are drugs, for instance, that routinely cause a violent psychotic episode in the majority of people, it is still within society’s interest to prevent them from being used, as the altered state of mind would go hand-in-hand with an altered behavior which negatively affects other people. A good middle-of-the-road example is alcohol – sure it’s legal to use, but we draw a line at people who drive or become abusive while their minds are altered by it.

    That said, what about drugs whose effects are not limited to immediate ‘state-of-mind’ changes? Are there drugs which, over time, negatively impact decision-making skills, judgment, reflexes, etc? Are there drugs which, long after the ‘high’ or ‘buzz’ has worn off, have cumulative long-term effects which could make a person dangerous in everyday circumstances such as driving? I’m reminded of stories of LSD flashbacks. What happens to a person operating heavy machinery when latent effects take hold? What happens to those around him? How carefully regulated would these things have to be?

  64. Stefan Jones says:

    Legalize it and tax the crap out of it.

    There are already tax stamps for pot. Not having them on your product means the feds can get you for tax evasion as well as violating controlled substance laws.

    I’d make the tax stamps for legal pot really pretty. Holographic, artsy, often-changed and collectible.

  65. Junglemonkey says:

    I just want to remind people that even our legalized, regulated, taxed drugs (alcohol and cigarettes) are targets for criminal activity. Because the taxes on alcohol and cigarettes are a relatively large part of the retail price, there’s money to be made in cutting out the middle man (government regulators) and taking them directly from producer to consumer via truck hijacking & the black market. The legalization of medical marijuana in California hasn’t stopped illegal growers for one second.

    Legalizing something doesn’t end the criminal activity associated with it.

  66. yboris says:

    While I don’t think you have a right to put anything in your body (if there was something that made you go on murderous rampages – we ought to prohibit it), I do not think any recreational drug use should be criminalized. Whenever one is put in jail, the question “why am _I_ being put in jail?” needs to be answered.

    http://www.DecriminalizeDrugs.org

  67. Takuan says:

    ah yes:
    “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them”

  68. Tritty says:

    i think a few of our brave cultivators may leav this lucrative business if it is legalized. how bout decriminilization?

  69. ShawnBruce says:

    A-fucking-men. I’m glad to see you and Dan G. promoting some rational examination of this issue. The history of our “war on drugs” is shameful and idiotic.

  70. dove says:

    How timely. I was just reading a few articles about a student at a nearby college that was shot by police officers, ostensibly during a pot raid. The student is recovering in the hospital, but the campus is outraged.

    http://www.mlive.com/news/grand-rapids/index.ssf/2009/03/derek_copp_is_name_of_grand_va.html

  71. virgil says:

    Very interesting conversation going on here. It’s always good to see opposing views argued civilly.

    I can understand opposition to hard drugs, but am always baffled by that stance being taken against pot.

    Would some of the folks here who are opposed to its legalization share their feelings about marijuana? Is it bad because all drugs are bad? Is pot consumed in moderation (as one has a couple of glasses of wine in the evening) somehow harmful in and of itself? Is it possible to use a drug without abusing it?

  72. zuzu says:

    I’m reminded of stories of LSD flashbacks.

    I’m curious as to whether there’s any scientific evidence supporting the existence of “LSD flashbacks” at all.

    Or is it just PTSD? …in which case we should ban military combat. :)

    If there are drugs, for instance, that routinely cause a violent psychotic episode in the majority of people, it is still within society’s interest to prevent them from being used, as the altered state of mind would go hand-in-hand with an altered behavior which negatively affects other people. A good middle-of-the-road example is alcohol – sure it’s legal to use, but we draw a line at people who drive or become abusive while their minds are altered by it.

    It’s the behavior, not the drugs, that are proscribed.

    In your example of drunk driving, it’s not the drunkenness that’s forbidden, but the reckless driving.

    Likewise, assault is still assault whether you’re lucid or on PCP.

  73. zuzu says:

    The history of our “war on drugs” is shameful and idiotic.

    and ongoing.

  74. Teller says:

    Oil is a successful commodity in the global economy, but a lot of people, the No Blood for Oil crowd in particular, don’t like the death and environmental destruction that follows in its wake. An admirable and compassionate position in my opinion. Yet many of these same people trumpet the economic benefits of legalizing hard drugs, even though misery and death come to those addicted and to those collaterally affected. Legalizing hard drugs suggests a tacit societal sanctioning of their use, inviting an increase in the number of triers and users, hence, adding more misery and more death. I get that, for some, it’s politically “cooler” to support hard drug use than oil use, but it seems disingenuous to use a rational economic-benefits argument for one destructive commodity while demonstrating in the streets against another for its soulless addiction to economic benefits. The scale, of course, is different, but even so, where’s the compassion?
    Again, I’m for legalizing pot, but I’m dubious about hard drugs.

  75. Jimmy says:

    We’ll never win the “war on drugs” as long as we’re financing both sides of the conflict. Tax dollars pay for one side; after-tax dollars pay for the other. Let’s call a cease-fire and sort the mess out. Legalize it.

  76. mdh says:

    You’re not committing an act of violence against anyone, and you are not cheating anyone. Why is it wrong?

    Because we belong to the state now, silly, and not vice versa.

    This is also why we have to be transparent to the state, and not the other way around.

  77. El Stinko says:

    Personally, I draw the line at highly addictive substances. Heroin and Cocaine create irrational behavior that users cannot control. They are apt to hurt others in their attempts to continue using.

    I know this is a slippery argument. Depending upon where one draws the lines many substances could be defined as such. But I definitely think marijuana should fall on the legal side of the lines.

  78. KingofthePaupers says:

    Jct: When I ran in my first of 69 election campaigns, the media called me the champion of the gamblers, hookers and dope smokers.
    Prohibition of the planet’s greatest biomass source is a crime against humanity.

    ODE TO LAUGHING GRASS
    By John C. “The Engineer” Turmel
    Aug. 16, 1994 Hemp Rally in Toronto Canada
    (To the tune of “Glory Glory Halleluiah”)

    Throughout all history, hemp’s been a plant of great repute,
    Four months to grow a mini-tree of twenty foot from shoot,
    More oxygen converted from dioxide-carbon smogs,
    Four times more wood than forestry can chop trees into logs.
    A hardy plant, insecticides and fertilizers, not,
    It grows so tall the shade kills weeds for fertile garden plot.
    With petro-fuels with sulfur being burned into the air,
    A fuel of bio-mass would help environmental care.

    REFRAIN:
    Hemp protects human environment,
    Hemp provents human defilement,
    Hemp promotes human achievement,
    God’s gift for certain life.

    Hemp fuel, hemp paints, hemp varnishes, hemp fibers, cloth and rope,
    Hemp fertilizer, oil and plastics, medicines of hope.
    It’s source of protein primary for man and beast alike,
    The best plant used for finger in environmental dike.
    While alcohol debases, vibes of negative grow strong,
    God’s laughing grass makes calm and jolly, wishing no one wrong.
    There’s never been recorded death from using hemp, they say,
    It’s sedative that fits receptors in our DNA.
    REFRAIN

    The industry of dirty petro-chemicals may fear,
    It’s nature’s agri-chemicals we’ll substitute, it’s clear.
    For crops of untold uses which can soon be realized,
    Our greatest source of bio-mass must first be legalized.
    The chance that we may yet evade environmental doom,
    With planet’s fastest-growing vegetable, no need for gloom.
    The Abolitionists charge that “On lies are based these laws.”
    Abolishing hemp prohibition is our second cause.
    REFRAIN

  79. arkizzle says:

    if legalized, drugs wouldn’t vary in potency

    Do you mean because of homogeniety in the production process, or standardisation rules by the government?

  80. Anonymous says:

    ” But hell, if you want to change your state of mind with a chemical, it’s your goddamned state of mind to change. ”

    Drug use doesn’t happen in a vaccumn. Drug use impacts on everyone around the User.

    When my older neighbour got heavily into heroin when I was a kid, the entire street knew about it, from the increase in robberies and late night knocks on the door begging for money.

    Finding him dead on his front lawn pretty much destroyed his sisters, one of whom repeated the pattern.

    Even if legalised, the dosages could still be abused, since we’re talking about addictive states of being. It’s naive to think this would suddenly end overdosing.

    I’ve also seen enough Emergency Room drug overdoses to know it’s not glamourous, harmless and ‘cool’. You have a group of doctors and nurses fighting for the patient’s life – what gives the drug user the right to put others into that situation?

    At the very least, who pays the rent?

    Selfish, selfish attitude.

  81. J France says:

    The histrionics over Meth and PCP being “violent drugs” are laughable. Well – mildly amusing – and i’ve inadvertantly found myself on the wrong side of more than one person who was strung out, sleep dep’d and sort-of high.

    But that was in a clean needle program, where contextually one finds drug users.

    I’ve recieved alot more guff, violence and threatening behaviour just walking down the main nightclub street in my city after midnight, on any given day. There’s this little thing called Alcohol, it makes people very, very violent and turns drivers into murderers. It’s also, like, totally legal!

    Not to mention “meth” is produced legally in the US (and very few other places, it seems).

    Also worth noting: this “Ice epidemic” really only started, worldwide, when law enforcement starting turning the screws on heroin producing cartels and nations. Their solution was to drop the smack and produce amphetamines.

    Prohibition is responsible for the rise in meth’s availability. If this naff old War on Drugs continues, and law enforcement finally shifts it’s focus to meth and we get all the precursors banned expect a massive shift back to smack.

    It seems international drug law enforcement has trouble focusing itself beyond a substance or two, which is just another in a long list of prohibitions’ failures.

  82. Antinous / Moderator says:

    Wigwam,

    I don’t think that you really get the Constitution.

  83. Ardreeves says:

    Preach on brother Doctorow! I have been saying this for a long time and I get so much flack for saying it. People have a really hard time seeing the benefit of legalizing heroin, but I think if it required a prescription to get, even for recreational use, then it would be far, far, safer. Even if it could be bought over the counter it would be safer but the amount of control you could get from requiring a prescription for a first time user would be amazing. Imagine if you could have a doctor that says, “in all likelihood if you inject more than 400mg (or two of these pills) then you will die so I highly recommend only using one. If you feel one is not enough come back and I will talk to you about raising your prescription.” Of course there would still be over doses, there would be abuse, but there would also be the benefits such as more tax dollars, less prisoners, and most importantly more control. A doctor would be forced to give a prescription however, they could never turn one down unless it looked obvious that the person would die from it, but they would get to suggest a dosage. Not perfect but better, and more business for the doctors as well!

    I wrote about this on my blog as well, that I titled The Wacked Out War on Drugs. Says basically the same stuff but you should check out the comments there, they are kind of funny and interesting at the same time.

    http://thislifeandtime.blogspot.com/2006/11/wacked-out-war-on-drugs.html

  84. SKR says:

    Because it seems to me that I am expected to know and understand the laws that exist (Ignorance of the law is no excuse) once they are passed, so how is it unreasonable to demand that those passing the laws understand them? Those writing the rules don’t have to understand what they are, but those who are governed by the rules do???

    I believe this is the role of congress, in the case of federal law. They, after all, are the ones making the laws.

    I understand your point however. Ignorance is one of the reasons I dislike goverance by ballot initiative. A problem considering I live in CA. I don’t agree with your position about restricting the vote though. Seems like a dangerous road to travel down.

  85. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #88 nutbastard

    Are you suggesting it’s too much to ask that those who are putting laws into place actually comprehend what they are doing???

    Yes, that is my opinion. I would argue that some would say I (for example) simply did not comprehend the legalization of marijuana issue well enough to be permitted to vote on it – unless I agreed with that person’s opinion.

    @ #90 nutbastard

    Because it seems to me that I am expected to know and understand the laws that exist (Ignorance of the law is no excuse) once they are passed, so how is it unreasonable to demand that those passing the laws understand them?

    It is my belief that we are required to obey the laws that exist. We are neither required to know about them nor understand them. That may seem as if the former requires the latter, and in a practical sense it may, but in a legal sense, there is no such requirement. No one is required to ‘know’ the laws – just to obey them.

    Those writing the rules don’t have to understand what they are, but those who are governed by the rules do???

    No, just to obey them.

    There have been several cases in recent years of plebiscites where the wording of the ballet question was vague and in some cases, seemed contradictory to the intent of the proposed law. Not a good thing, but once enacted, it is difficult to undo. The will of the people is considered law, even if they are stupid.

    @ #93 Takuan

    ah yes:
    “a decent respect to the opinions of mankind requires that they should declare the causes which impel them”

    In context, this was the wording of the Declaration penned by Thomas Jefferson, as he addressed the King of England, and proceeded to state the grievances the colonies had with the crown. It had the effect of causing an action, the Revolution. I do not hold such lofty goals.

    One might as well be compelled to explain why they purchased a green car instead of blue – with the rationale being that if they cannot adequately explain it, they ought not be allowed to do it.

  86. robcat2075 says:

    In the interest of honest discussion, it should be pointed out that pot smokers are NOT being “imprisoned by the millions”.

    There are about 2.3 million people incarcerated in the US in federal, state or local jails for all crimes and only about 20% are there for drug crimes of any sort including just pot possesion.

    The US does have a high incarceration rate compared to other countries, but there are not vast prison camps of marijuana smokers.

    Most marijuana possesion penalties in the US are fines. People who score prison sentences have usually done so in combination with other crimes.

    It is possible to get a prison sentence for first time possesion in some parts. Perhaps part of the problem is that laws are not uniformly written or applied.

  87. SKR says:

    ok MDH that explains why it is wrong. So why is it immoral? Is it a “honor your mother and father” issue with the state taking the place of parent?

  88. cinemajay says:

    @14, with all do respect Jiggle Billy, I think you might be taking things a little to literal. We’re talking about smoking, drinking, and recreational drug use here–not how your neurotransmitters are affected by diet.

    I think Cory was having a little fun. Reel it in a bit.

  89. enodo says:

    If Penn Jillette says he’s for legalization, it will make me reconsider my support of it. He is an arrogant blowhard who (for example) has totally foolish views on global warming. http://podblack.com/?p=733

  90. mdh says:

    @ wigwam “I would suggest that no matter what arguments I may offer in support of my opinion, you will find them lacking unless I change my opinion?

    If you really think that, why bother responding?

    I’m not suggesting you change your opinion, I’m suggesting you find better reasons than the ones you cite, which are adequate for your subjective reality, but don’t hold water when it comes to a basis for judging public policy.

    Be against it, but be against it for good reasons, not because it’s squicky or because some drug addict affected your life negatively.

    Otherwise you’re just throwing the baby out with the bathwater, and at an enormous fiscal and social expense.

  91. bklynchris says:

    YEaaa Corey! I so much more agree with you in this regard than your stance on vaccines. Not that I am not squeamish about the legalization of the harder scarier drugs (like katt Williams says, “if it comes out of the ground and it just grows that way, its not a drug. Drugs you have to do shit to, like add baking powder stir it…I’m just sayin”).

    but your argument about bringing it out of the shadows so that people can get the help that they need rings loud, true, and clear.

  92. Takuan says:

    the WHOLE POINT of the Waronsomedrugs is you are NOT supposed to ever win it. That would mean the end of the Industry. Does anyone really think the DEA Cartel will disband voluntarily? Count on getting their Don in a roof-top shoot-out first.

  93. SeppTB says:

    #16 Presto – Interestingly, meth is schedule II in the US (It is 1 or A in other countries), which is accepted medical use with high potential for abuse. This means it can be sold by prescription (Under the name Desoxyn). Compare to pot, which is Schedule I, no medical use. Unlike other schedule IIs doctors rarely prescribe meth, but many would like to be able (and in some states do!) prescribe marijuana.

    The world’s drug laws on the whole are massively flawed.

  94. Jack says:

    The problem with this mentality of entitlement is that most people don’t take the burden of personal responsibility.

    And legalizing pot is fine, but opiates? Seriously anyone saying that someone on opiates is in control of themselves and not a true risk to others has never dealt with a real junkie.

    Also, Penn was a lot more tolerable with Teller to balance him out. His YouTube screeds are annoying, pedantic and I will honestly say this is one guy I would not miss when he’s gone.

  95. SKR says:

    One might as well be compelled to explain why they purchased a green car instead of blue – with the rationale being that if they cannot adequately explain it, they ought not be allowed to do it.

    No, they can do it. They would simply not be respected for their inability to articulate their decision.

  96. Takuan says:

    just beer? Well, perhaps a few ounces of weak beer is no more deleterious than being tired or having the flu. Or did you mean a dozen beer? Or six? Perhaps you weigh 150 kilos and have a high tolerance? In any case, you will discover in time that over time, something ALWAYS happens. Mixing driving and alcohol is something you have control over.

  97. Felipe Budinich says:

    “Is the issue the legalization of a substance? Or the self-justification of the use of a substance based on the grounds that a few wing-nuts believe someone on weed or meth can operate machinery based on the substance they like. ”

    You could actually write down rational laws based on substance.

    You can’t drive while certain amount of alcohol is present in your blood.

    You can’t drive while certain amount of THC is your bloodstream.

    etc…

    Then you make those laws scalate based on the offense and amount of drug.

    Violate 3 times the basic rules about driving, and you get your drivers license revoked, that way we stop you, before you are driving while heavily intoxicated.

    People that i know that have gotten killed while driving drunk (and killed others in the process), had this slow progression;

    1.- First some glasses of wine/ beers, etc…
    2.- Then they would drive while tipsy
    3.- Finally they drove totally wasted

    If law enforcement has the tools to stop them before they get to point 2, and forbid them to drive from that point on, it’s practically safe to allow people to use the substance.

    It works with alcohol (to a certain extent).

    “That’s the problem I have with all of these discussions on personal freedom and drug use. It always hinges on the self-centered/entitled notion that “I should be able to do this just because…” and never ever addresses the larger societal issue of who gets the bill when the party is over.”

    And who gets the bill for the war on drugs? you could do some serious studies to see wich one is the worst option:

    a) A few thousand assholes that get killed on their own (with casualties), with a X dollars a year cost/earnings.

    b) A few thousand outlaws that get incarcelated/killed, with the approximately the same few thousand assholes that get killed on their own (with casualties), with a Y dollars a year cost.

    Either way everyone pays the bill, but at least with option A, drug users will pay a big part of the bill through taxes.

  98. Wigwam Jones says:

    As long as the legalization of marijuana is put to a plebiscite, I will vote ‘no’. I will never acquiesce to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, coke, crack, speed, ecstasy, heroin, or whatever happens to be the drug du jour.

    Fortunately, at least for now, people who believe as I do constitute the majority in the USA. I sincerely hope that does not change.

    And I once loved Penn Gillette, but like Al Franken, and Bono, I stopped caring about anything they had to say when they decided that their fame gave them wisdom, authority, and credibility in realms other than their value as entertainers. That’s why I still find Colbert and Daily funny as hell – they stick to their knitting.

  99. Takuan says:

    White House explains why pot is illegal:

    http://blogs.salon.com/0002762/2009/03/29.html#a3384

  100. SKR says:

    [quote]I have to respectfully disagree with legalizing crystal meth. That’s just crazy. I may have thought about this a couple of times (**____**) — instead of legalizing meth (a horror show) lift the ban on production of pharmaceutical biphetamines and amphetamines, and then regulate the usage.[/quote]

    If you legalized all drugs, wouldn’t biphetamines and amphetamines be available? I am guessing that people that wanted to get a little amped up would choose those over meth, which isn’t a very pleasant high IMO.

  101. Anonymous says:

    “I’ve lost several dear friends to drug overdoses and none of them were suicidal: they died because street dope varies wildly in potency and the heroin they took was purer than they’d anticipated.”

    Heroin completely by itself is fairly hard to fatally overdose from – the LD50 is huge. Most fatal heroin-related overdoses are more about multiple additional CNS depressants being present, most commonly alcohol and/or benzodiazepines (valium, rohypnol, anything with a generic name ending in -pam). The most common reason to be using benzos at the same time is it helps reduce the symptoms of withdrawal when your supply of heroin is interrupted (you don’t have any money, for example):

    Darke, S. & Zador, D. Fatal heroin ‘overdose’: A review Addiction, 1996, 91, 1765-72 (DOI:10.1111/j.1360-0443.1996.tb03800.x)

    Obviously if heroin was legally available (at the very least to heroin users who had tried treatment unsuccessfully, as has been used successfully in Switzerland for over a decade now), you remove the problem of uncertain supply and much of the impetus to use other CNS depressants.

    On top of that, my own research suggests the single biggest contextual factor which turns an overdose from a non-fatal overdose to a fatal overdose is whether there was another conscious person within line of sight at the point they lost consciousness:

    Davidson, P. Circumstances of death: An assessment of the viability of using non-toxicological coronial data to investigate opiate overdose risk factors National Center for Research into the Prevention of Drug Abuse, 1999

    Davidson, P. J.; McLean, R. L. et. al ‘Fatal heroin-related overdose in San Francisco, 1997–2000: A case for targeted intervention’ Journal of Urban Health, 2003, 80, 261-273
    DOI:10.1093/jurban/jtg029

    Again, heroin use being illegal and stigmatized pushes people to use alone or only with other heroin users, greatly increasing the chance you’ll die. In the study of San Francisco deaths cited above, half of all fatal overdose deaths in the city occurred in ‘single room occupancy’ hotel rooms – one person, alone in a locked room. Not a good start to someone noticing you seemed to have stopped breathing and calling an ambulance.

    I’m sorry about your friends. Having people you know die, and particularly die young, is a hard thing. For myself, when close friends have died, one of the frustrations has been knowing that the structural conditions imposed by the war on drugs played a huge role in their deaths, and that they’d probably still be alive if we had some more commonsense policies.

    Peter Davidson

  102. Craigf says:

    I read once that the 4 states with most laundered drug money also were the 4 states with the highest campaign contributions. The people in charge have no financial or political reason to legalize drugs.

  103. Felipe Budinich says:

    forgot this:

    “If you take away the primary source of income from a huge group of the world’s most amoral and vicious criminals, what are they going to turn to?”

    As a business man I would evaluate the playing field.

    “If you take away the primary source of income from a huge group of the world’s most amoral and vicious criminals, what are they going to turn to?”

    As a business man I would evaluate the playing field. Since all drugs are legalized. I just lost my main comparative advantage. But now:

    a) I’ve got the providers network. and I’ve got the PR department to “persuade” you from contacting them.

    b) I’ve got the human resources to do delivery.

    c) My PR department can sell protection for local producers/distributors, yakuza style.

    d) I can do lobby, and show your goverment “how wrong is it that XYZ country still has not opened their doors to personal freedom” and ask them to use their own PR department to open new markets by force.

    e) (don’t know if this applies in the US) I can get access to government funding to give capacitation/education for my workers, as it will be an urgency on this extremely competitive market.

    f) (again don’t know if this applies in the US) I can now get access to goverment funding to produce locally, so I don’t need to rely on external providers.

    Etc… What I’m trying to say, is that even though I’m all in for legalization of drugs. Drug Lords are highly resourceful and intelligent (or they have intelligent people on they payroll), so War on Drugs should continue for a few years after the legalization, with a new focus on unfair practices like “protection” and tax evasion.

    That way you can drive out of business the highly violent cartels, and let the doors open for happy-hippies, Pharmaceuticals and University researchers.

    Illegal drug trading will stay for long, but unless they can deliver quality products, Pharmaceuticals, and Around the corner Organic Growers will grab the mayority of the market share.

    And also you would have the highly skilled PR department to do private security contracts on war-torn countries and the like.

  104. Roger Krueger says:

    I’m with #16–no way you can justify legalizing things that cause huge increases in violence towards innocent bystanders–things like meth and PCP.

    Conversely though, no way you can NOT justify legalizing things that almost never cause harm to innocent bystanders–pot, opiates, ecstasy, mushrooms, LSD, peyote, etc. Right now innocent people get hurt–especially by opiates–by junkies trying to feed their habit. So legalization and maintenance programs should decrease harm to innocents.

    Cocaine is kind of an edge case, I’ve certainly seen some people go seriously apeshit on coke, but it’s not remotely in the same league as meth and PCP. I think alcohol is about as dangerous as coke, but you see a lot more alcohol-related violence because way, way more people use alcohol. In any event booze seems a permanent part of our culture, we tried to make it go away and failed.

  105. SKR says:

    [quote]The legalization of medical marijuana in California hasn’t stopped illegal growers for one second.
    [/quote]

    Almost all the growers in California are illegal under state law because of the way the medical marijuana law is written. Only those with a prescription or their immediate family are suppoed to be able to grow, this being a simple summation. Also, since it is federally illegal, the growers in CA must remain covert. If it were truly legal, you could plant 100 acres of it and just be a farmer.

  106. Jack says:

    Ultimately the biggest victim of illegalization of drugs are minority groups that are locked up due to outdated drug laws.

    Here in New York there is a strong and very vocal movement against the Rockefeller drug laws that unfairly jail those who are arrested for—let’s say—smoking pot simply because that’s their third strike, so there goes their lives.

    Doing that is insane nowadays but made sense for a brief period of time in the 1970s/1960s when drug use and crime were very closely connected. They make no sense now. Chuck them.

    But all of these other arguments about legalizing drugs ignores history, ignores the impact on society legalization has had in other cultures and is simply based on entitled white suburban kids who just believe laws screw them over only.

    Reform the legal penalties connected to using drugs and I’m with you. But completely remove all safeguards because someone is simply lazy and has a sense of entitlement? Hell no.

    Thanks Penn Jillette for filling the world with more “Bullshit!”

  107. minTphresh says:

    wigwam, are you aware that most ogf the framers of the declaration and the constitution GREW pot by the hundreds of acres? in those days, people paid their taxes with marijuana, for krysakes. how do you think they would feel, having the crop they felt was “unpatriotic NOT to grow…” put behind bars.

  108. zuzu says:

    I will never acquiesce to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, coke, crack, speed, ecstasy, heroin, or whatever happens to be the drug du jour.

    Benzodiazepines, amphetamines, phenothiazines, and other legal opiates are all ok though?

    Or is there no place at all for psychoactive pharmaceuticals in your view of civil society?

    Yes, I’ve just opened the door to all those “but legally prescribed drugs are abused far more than illicit drugs” arguments.

  109. Jack says:

    Missed this comment before in this huge thread so posting again here:
    @#120 POSTED BY ANONYMOUS , MARCH 13, 2009 5:02 PM

    It may work wonders in the first world, here in the third world a lot of stupid kids are dropping out of school to start their lives as thieves with the whole purpose of getting high.

    Bingo. You really need a sheltered western/monied mentality to believe that drug use is harmless and controllable and it’s simply “the man” who is keeping things down.

    If legalizing pot will stop crime in third world countries, that, at the same time are the main providers to first world countries, then, be my guest. Look at Mexico or Colombia is a whole mess there.

    Exactly.

    Let’s make this even clearer. The majority of folks who are calling for the legalization of all drugs already have fairly easy access to not only the drugs already, but also the detox system and related support systems that will make them a viable part of society after they kick the habit.

    Considering we live in a society where healthcare is still an issue and people with simple ailments can’t get treatment, why should I subsidize the damage someone else’s recreation use causes to them?

    I’ll dare say in societies where socialized medicine is far better—like Canada or Japan—drug legalization might have some footing.

    But here? In the west? In America? It’s really just the whining of privileged white kids who want an even simpler way to get high beyond waiting for their pot delivery guy to come by.

  110. nutbastard says:

    @#17

    “If there are drugs, for instance, that routinely cause a violent psychotic episode in the majority of people, it is still within society’s interest to prevent them from being used”

    It seems to me such drugs would be unpleasant enough to be their own deterrence – and with much nicer alternatives available, well, you get where i’m going.

    I think most of the time people take really horrible drugs (crack, pcp, meth) is due to the fact that there isn’t much else available where these people are. You can’t find LSD or Ketamine in the ghetto.

    I’m pretty sure the proliferation of marijuana cuts down on glue sniffing and paint huffing.

  111. Takuan says:

    I would think holding an opinion that permits and even requires you to assault the health and liberty of others is a rather important opinion. Certainly important to your victims.

  112. newe1344 says:

    wtf youtube! put the vid back up! youtube is jf (jellyfish) they are totally spineless now…

  113. nutbastard says:

    “No one is required to ‘know’ the laws – just to obey them”

    One is required to know the laws IF one is to obey them. Come on, arguing semantics doesn’t change the reality of it.

    “One might as well be compelled to explain why they purchased a green car instead of blue – with the rationale being that if they cannot adequately explain it, they ought not be allowed to do it.”

    A vehicles’ color is inconsequential, and a matter of personal preference. The rules that determine who gets locked in a jail cell are not.

    A better analogy is outlawing Green cars for no decent reason whatsoever, because the majority of the population doesn’t like seeing green cars.

  114. SKR says:

    Personally, I draw the line at highly addictive substances. Heroin and Cocaine create irrational behavior that users cannot control. They are apt to hurt others in their attempts to continue using.

    This is only applicable to those deep in the throes of a heavy addiction, to which I have borne witness. However, I know people that have been recreationally using one or the other of those drugs for decades and only on the weekends. They have managed to not become hopelessly addicted although they probably get a little bit of a jones. They are not violent in the least. They may at times behave irrationally, but then I think most people are irrational, so I can’t attribute that to their drug use.

  115. Takuan says:

    Jack,you make many generalizations without citing any back up for them.

  116. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #103 Takuan

    I would think holding an opinion that permits and even requires you to assault the health and liberty of others is a rather important opinion. Certainly important to your victims.

    I think characterizing voting as ‘assaulting’ and ‘victimizing’ people is a bit over the top.

  117. minTphresh says:

    jack, you are so fuking rong, i don’t even know where to begin. so fuk it, im going to bed.

  118. Ernunnos says:

    @Zuzu

    Politics?

    It may sound like a sick joke, but sometimes giving the gangsters a government job is the least bad option. Graft is preferable to war. And once they’re in the political system, there’s at least the potential for the people and other nations to apply democratic and diplomatic pressure to encourage even better behavior.

    Afghanistan in particular would be a much better place if the government could offer its farmers access to markets and courts in exchange for the same tribute they’re currently paying local warlords. Put the local warlords on the payroll too. The more stake everybody has, the better.

  119. Takuan says:

    sigh… once again: human history did not commence in America in 1930. Marijuana was common in Mexico and coca in Colombia (and the rest of South America fo that matter) long before prohibition and the Waronsomedrugs Industry got started.

    If Mexico is in tatters today it is BECAUSE America created both the market demand AND the drug war business. Hemp was long used in Japan and only banned because the American lobby forced it.

    Further, detox and other systems little apply to marijuana, quit conflating it with addictive drugs like nicotine,heroin and alcohol.

  120. nutbastard says:

    @CraigF

    “The people in charge have no financial or political reason to legalize drugs. ”

    Thankfully, everyone is doing drugs anyways – civil disobedience is alive and well (though unfortunately somewhat closeted)

  121. Teller says:

    “What liberty could be more fundamental than the liberty to choose how you think?”
    - Cory

    “Be against it, but be against it for good reasons, not because it’s squicky or because some drug addict affected your life negatively.”
    - MDH

    I would say Personal Experience qualifies as a reason why a person thinks what he thinks.

  122. Wigwam Jones says:

    #38 zuzu

    Benzodiazepines, amphetamines, phenothiazines, and other legal opiates are all ok though?

    I don’t have a problem with their use as medicine; prescribed, dispensed, and used for the treatment of legitimate medical problems.

    Or is there no place at all for psychoactive pharmaceuticals in your view of civil society?

    With the exception of alcohol, I find no use for the recreational use of psychoactive drugs, no.

    Yes, I’ve just opened the door to all those “but legally prescribed drugs are abused far more than illicit drugs” arguments.

    Technically, I believe that sort of abuse is criminal as well.

  123. SKR says:

    I think characterizing voting as ‘assaulting’ and ‘victimizing’ people is a bit over the top

    Not when you vote to have the government assault and victimize for you.

  124. SKR says:

    As long as the legalization of marijuana is put to a plebiscite, I will vote ‘no’. I will never acquiesce to the legalization or decriminalization of marijuana, coke, crack, speed, ecstasy, heroin, or whatever happens to be the drug du jour.

    This is why there is a difference between democracy and liberty

  125. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #104 nutbastard

    A better analogy is outlawing Green cars for no decent reason whatsoever, because the majority of the population doesn’t like seeing green cars.

    I accept this as a better analogy, you’re right.

    And I agree – if the majority, for no good reason, wanted to ban green cars, then there you go. As long as there are no constitutional issues involved (like banning people of a certain color instead of cars), I agree that the people have a right to do it.

    Plebiscites, as we’ve discussed, are laws made by the voting majority. They don’t have to have a good reason, or any reason. As long as they are constitutional, they’re law.

  126. nutbastard says:

    @#105

    “I think characterizing voting as ‘assaulting’ and ‘victimizing’ people is a bit over the top.”

    Not when you’re voting to allow armed men to break down people’s doors in the middle of the night in body armor with fully automatic weapons based on anonymous tips and unverified testimony of undercover informants – it’s not over the top at all.

    Because that’s what it comes down to – you are voting to authorize what is essentially the use of military force on anybody who enjoys altering their consciousness with anything other than alcohol, without due process.

  127. Takuan says:

    muderous incompetence – again -? or planned extra-judicial assassination of an “activist”?
    http://rawstory.com/news/2008/MI_cops_shoot_unarmed_20yearold_marijuana_0316.html

  128. Jack says:

    @#177 POSTED BY TAKUAN:
    And you have provided no facts to back anything up.

    My basic generalization is this:
    1) Laws regarding drug use are too harsh and need to be re-examined but need to stay in place not because of the “war on drugs” but more because prior to the “war on drugs” even existing there were—and are—valid reasons to control these substances.

    2) Claims of people being casual drug users who can take coke, heroin and meth and still have a normal life are never backed up with any facts at all. Everyone seems to know these magical junkies, but nobody has ever seen them. And given there is a whole world of art/literature based on ex-junkies cleaning up their act, kicking the habit and getting back to normal, you’d think there would be at least ONE memoir or something from someone out there that backs up the ludicrous claim that one can take heroin casual and it’s “no big deal.”

    You know what, I think I see what Corey is saying. Just legalize all drugs so people can truly see the damage this stuff causes.

    What I have learned about clean-cut junkies I have met who work in “legit” fields is they spend a lot of time keeping up a front to ally criticism. Remove that veneer and they are no less decrepit than other junkies.

    It’s like the difference between the rich and poor. The poor have no choice but to bare their pain to the world. The rich can hide it and pretend it doesn’t exist.

  129. Takuan says:

    the important part of the above:

    “Having just returned from Minnesota whose state lawmakers are entertaining a conservative, highly restrictive medical marijuana law, I can tell you what’s not funny to Joni Whiting.

    Ms. Whiting told the House’s Public Safety Policy and Oversight Committee of her 26-year-old daughter Stephanie’s two-year battle with facial melanoma that surfaced during the young woman’s third pregnancy. The packed hearing room was dead quiet as Ms. Whiting spoke of Stephanie’s face being cut off “one inch at a time, until there was nothing left to cut.” She spoke of her daughter’s severe nausea, her “continuous and uncontrollable pain.”

    Stephanie moved back to her family’s home and “bravely began to make plans for the ending of her life.” The tumors continued to grow, invading the inside and outside of her mouth, as well as her throat and chest. Nausea was a constant companion. Zofran and (significantly) Marinol, the synthetic pill version of THC, did nothing to abate the symptoms. Stephanie began wasting away. She lost all hope of relief.

    Joni’s other children approached their mother, begged her to let their sister use marijuana. But Ms. Whiting, a Vietnam veteran whose youngest son recently returned from 18 months in Iraq, was a law-abiding woman. And she was afraid of the authorities. There was no way she would allow the illicit substance in her house. As she held her ground, her grownup kids removed Stephanie from the family home.

    Three days later, wracked by guilt, Joni welcomed her daughter back. “I called a number of family members and friends…and asked if they knew of anywhere we could purchase marijuana. The next morning someone had placed a package of it on our doorstep. I have never known whom to thank for it but I remain grateful beyond belief.” The marijuana restored Stephanie’s appetite. It allowed her to eat three meals a day, and to keep the food down. She regained energy and, in the words of her mother, “looked better than I had seen her in months.”

    Stephanie survived another 89 days, celebrating both Thanksgiving and Christmas with her family.

    Shortly after the holidays, Stephanie’s pain became “so severe that when she asked my husband and me to lie down on both sides of her and hold her, she couldn’t stand the pain of us touching her body.”

    Stephanie died on January 14, 2003 in the room she grew up in, holding her mother’s hand. A mother who, as she told the legislative committee, would “have no problem going to jail for acquiring medical marijuana for my suffering child.”

    Following Joni Whiting’s presentation, it was all I could do to hold it together during my own testimony. Such was the power of this one woman’s story. And of the sadness and rage roiling inside me as I reflected on the countless other Stephanies who are made to suffer not only the ravages of terminal illness and intractable pain but the callousness and narrow-mindedness of their leaders.

    When I finished my testimony, a local police chief, a member of the committee, angrily accused me of disrespecting the police officers in the room–who’d shown up in force, in uniform, to oppose medical marijuana. Wearing a bright yellow tie with the lettering “Police Line, Do Not Cross,” the chief charged me with placing more stock in the opinions of doctors than of Minnesota’s cops. Guilty, as charged. Who are we, I asked him, to substitute our judgment for that of medical professionals and their patients? Who are we, for that matter, to deny the will of the people.”

  130. mrsunshine says:

    #25 – Prohibition has proven you can’t stop people from getting their hands on a banned substance. The more dangerous substances are exactly the ones that need to be legalized so that they can be very closely monitored.

  131. nutbastard says:

    @#109

    “They don’t have to have a good reason, or any reason. As long as they are constitutional, they’re law.”

    Simply because something is law doesn’t mean it’s just. I’ll remind you of your example, ‘Jim Crow.’ Are you telling me you have no interest in questioning the ethics or the morality or the intelligence of our laws – that law is law, and right or wrong, laws should be followed? Because you seem to not mind at all the prospect of enacting laws that are would clearly be harmful to a society (ie, the banning of green cars) so long as they don’t ‘violate the constitution’.

  132. nutbastard says:

    @#26 El Stinko

    “Heroin and Cocaine create irrational behavior that users cannot control. They are apt to hurt others in their attempts to continue using.”

    Uh huh. and what percent of coke and heroin users would you say end up that way?

    i tried coke a few times when i was younger, and found it incredibly unpleasant to come down off of. I wanted more. so i decided i wasn’t going to do coke ever again, because it’s playing with fire in my situation. some people can give their last line to a friend no sweat, and some of us lick the bag.

    we were only doing coke because it was the strongest drug available at the time. if we could have found LSD we wouldn’t have even considered doing coke, and I wouldn’t have been so miserable at the end of the night, unable to sleep, laying there for hours wishing i had more, and hating myself for wishing that.

    make superior drugs available and you can effectively obsolete the shitty drugs.

  133. Anonymous says:

    “But hell, if you want to change your state of mind with a chemical, it’s your goddamned state of mind to change.”

    Because it’s what others have to put up with while you’re in that state of mind that everyone should be concerned with. So what if you’re stupid enough to do this kind of thing, why should everyone else have to put up with your stupidity?

  134. Teller says:

    Legalize pot.
    The argument for legalizing hard drugs by applying the notion of Individual Freedom seems flawed. Heroin addicts, crackheads, meth freaks, angel dust smokers – these people fuck with other people’s Individual Freedoms on a daily basis through thefts, robberies and assaults. Legalizing hard drugs doesn’t make hard drugs free of charge. Still takes money. And for many of the strung-outs of this world, money is always an issue. Cory’s argument is rational – those who need help will get it; those who don’t will do their thing – but I see hard drug users as decidedly NOT rational, but in a nasty dog-eat-dog fight to feed their addiction. Prisons will still incarcerate for felonies attributed to hard drug use, whether the drugs are legal or not.

  135. Jack says:

    @#146 POSTED BY TAKUAN:

    Further, detox and other systems little apply to marijuana, quit conflating it with addictive drugs like nicotine,heroin and alcohol.

    Have you actually read this post:

    As far as I’m concerned, everything that we call “drugs” — including crystal meth, heroin, crack, and other drugs that destroy lives in vast swaths — should be legalized and brought into the light of day…

    Perhaps Cory’s screed acknowledges this, but it’s still bizarre logic: These drugs destroy lives so they should be legalized so people can see how they destroy lives? And then what? Re-illegalize them after people finally “open their eyes” and see how damaging this junk is?

    Further, you don’t need to detox for marijuana but the idea it is not addictive is a tad insane. I’ve seen the endless studies saying it’s the least addictive thing out there substance-wise, but it’s still addictive.

  136. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #39 nutbastard

    It seems to me such drugs would be unpleasant enough to be their own deterrence – and with much nicer alternatives available, well, you get where i’m going.

    One might respectfully suggest that a person who believes that has never retrieved his sister from a crackhouse where she was peddling her own ass for crack, despite being ‘able to afford’ any number of other substances, nor been to the hospital to be with a niece raped at age 2 in a crack house by these nice people, left there by same sister.

    When that happens to one, one stops thinking in terms of what one imagines crackheads might want to do, and starts to realize what scum they really are.

  137. nutbastard says:

    Let me put it this way: 75% of American Adults have smoked marijuana.

    Given perfect enforcement, that means that somewhere around 85% of our population would have criminal records. Given harsh sentencing, such as is in Nevada where possession can (or could at one time, not sure) score you 99 years in prison, well, we’d have something like 85% of the population in prison.

    It’s clear to me that it would be great if we could catch 100% of the murderers, 100% of the thieves, and 100% of the rapists.

    But no rational person can argue that it would be good for every drug user to get caught. That it would be better for society if the vast majority of people were locked in prison. So how can one support a law that theoretically would do so, if only the enforcing body had the resources? Certainly one can’t if one bothers to THINK about it instead of just FEEL.

  138. esnible says:

    I’d like to point out that in this country you cannot buy eyeglasses without a doctor’s prescription. You can be a professor of optics but if you want glasses you either need a note from an adult (doctor) or you have to grind your own.

    Why not start treating citizens like adults? When prescriptions were invented some legitimate doctors were home-schooled. Many college students today know more about medicine than 19th century doctors.

    Canada has done pretty well legalizing codeine. Let’s start there and see if we have any problems.

  139. zuzu says:

    These drugs destroy lives so they should be legalized so people can see how they destroy lives? And then what?

    Believe it or not, some people can handle their meth, coke, and heroin. You just never hear about them.

    coca in Colombia (and the rest of South America for that matter)

    c.f. Bolivia for a culture that’s used coca responsibly for millennia

  140. Takuan says:

    when talking about drugs, use of terms like “addiction” had better be meticulous.

    As to how damaging some drugs can be, yes, legal, clean, safe, informed supply out in the open IS far less damaging. We already tried the other way.

  141. Takuan says:

    You seem to think any person who has used cocaine, meth or heroin even once is automatically a “junkie”. You should examine how you are using that word.

  142. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #43 SKR

    This is why there is a difference between democracy and liberty

    There is indeed. To the best of my knowledge, no court has held that being prevented from smoking weed violates any part of the Constitution.

    So it would appear that ‘liberty’ is not the issue is. That makes puts it in the realm of ‘democracy’, where votes count, and mine is ‘no’.

    If and when SCOTUS holds that citizens have an individual right to smoke dope, I will accept that democracy is trumped by liberty in the case of marijuana-smoking and deal with it.

  143. Takuan says:

    the criminals that created and maintain prohibition HAVE thought about it. They are making money.

  144. mdh says:

    You want pot legalized? Come clean about the bad side of smoking it as well as the good.

    I live in MA, it all but is. But if you are already so paranoid that you think pot-smokers find it ‘weird’ that you don’t smoke pot, then perhaps you shouldn’t.

  145. nutbastard says:

    @#40 SKR

    “Personally, I draw the line at highly addictive substances. Heroin and Cocaine create irrational behavior that users cannot control…However, I know people that have been recreationally using one or the other of those drugs for decades and only on the weekends. They have managed to not become hopelessly addicted although they probably get a little bit of a jones. They are not violent in the least.”

    So you personally witness friends using responsibly, but think that the drugs they use ought to be illegal for everyone?

    If that’s your take, you need to turn your friends in pronto. Otherwise you’re a hypocrite, just like Bush, just like Obama.

    You cant say drugs ought to be illegal if you aren’t willing to send EVERY user of those drugs to jail. Laws must apply to everyone. And if you yourself have ever used a drug that you think ought to remain illegal, then you ought to acquire some more and go turn yourself in, if you truly believe society will be better off without you simply because you partook of a substance.

    you can’t apply rules and laws to other people that you aren’t willing to comply with, or think ought not be enforced on you and your buddies.

  146. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #111 nutbastard

    Simply because something is law doesn’t mean it’s just.

    No, it does not. But I did not speak to how just such laws are. The courts do not, either. They address the constitutionality of the law in question.

    I’ll remind you of your example, ‘Jim Crow.’ Are you telling me you have no interest in questioning the ethics or the morality or the intelligence of our laws – that law is law, and right or wrong, laws should be followed?

    With regard to ‘Jim Crow’ laws, as I have said, constitutionality is the key. It is not that Jim Crow laws were unjust (they were that as well) but that they were unconstitutional, that got them dumped.

    With regard to the second part of your question, yes, I believe that the ‘law is the law’ and yes, it should be followed. I pay my taxes, I drive the speed limit, I don’t take drugs, and in some cases, not because it is my choice but because it is the law and therefore I obey it. Societies have rules and I benefit by many of them. I don’t feel that I get to pick and choose which of them I will obey.

    Because you seem to not mind at all the prospect of enacting laws that are would clearly be harmful to a society (ie, the banning of green cars) so long as they don’t ‘violate the constitution’.

    I’ll refer you back to the abortion issue. I am not in agreement with existing laws allowing abortions, but I am accepting of the fact that it is the will of the people and that it is lawful, whether I like it or not.

    If offered a choice, I’ll vote against abortion. If my side loses, then it loses. That is how our system works.

    Why would I not be ok with that?

  147. nutbastard says:

    @#47

    i’m sorry to hear about such things. you have my genuine sympathy.

    it seems to me that these particular crackheads are committing crimes AGAINST people, and that is why they should be in prison/executed. But you can’t blame the crack any more than you can blame alcohol for rapes and abuses that happen concurrently with its use. And there’s no point in making criminals out of users who don’t commit crimes against other people.

  148. Takuan says:

    interesting thread so far. I see, as usual, the Prohibitionists are unable to state any kind of case at all.

  149. mdh says:

    I think characterizing voting as ‘assaulting’ and ‘victimizing’ people is a bit over the top.

    “Beware the tyranny of the majority” – de Tocqueville

  150. zuzu says:

    Takuan, reminds me of Wickard v. Filburn.

    From that article Guido David put forward:

    As our government hands over billions to Wall Street bankers, jobless Americans live in tent cities and collect food stamps in record numbers. Now when we need it the most, growing our own food may be against the law and punishable by a fine of up to $1,000,000. Think I’m joking? Meet Bill HR 875, The Food Safety Modernization Act of 2009, introduced by Rosa DeLauro whose husband Stanley Greenburg works for Monsanto. The insanity doesn’t stop there—fishing boats, hotdog stands, neighborhood vegetable booths and farmers’ markets will be federally regulated under the same draconian law. As always, the spin is designed to make you (the public) believe these new provisions are for your own good. Under the deceitful guise of protection, the goal of this bill is crystal clear: to prevent us from locally growing our own food so multinational agribusiness can completely control the production and distribution of our food supply. I refer you to the usual suspects—Monsanto, ADM, Sodexo, Tyson, and Smithfield. This bill is designed to allow corporations, with the help of their hired government guns, to force small competitors (you and me) out of business.

    Wasn’t corporatism supposed to stop with the Neo-Cons being removed from power?

  151. Takuan says:

    the issue won’t go away if we don’t let it go away.

    http://www.politico.com/news/stories/0309/20576.html

  152. nutbastard says:

    @48 wigwam

    “no court has held that being prevented from smoking weed violates any part of the Constitution.”

    There’s a part in there that says exactly that about alcohol. Also, remember that bit about ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?

    How about this: The Constitution states that the Federal Government has only those powers which are explicitly and specifically granted to it. Why don’t YOU show me where it says that the Federal Government has the authority to prohibit substances IN THE FIRST PLACE?

  153. Jason Rizos says:

    @Wigwam Jones

    With the exception of alcohol, I find no use for the recreational use of psychoactive drugs, no.

    What is the value of recreational use of alcohol? I assume you just mean personally.

    What about users of peyote or Ayahuasca (south american psychedelic) for religious or spiritual purposes? Is it a “bogus” claim? Are these people just lying and looking for an excuse to get high? Why would you wish to prevent these people access to their natural, plant sacraments?

    You are “glad” that the majority of Americans wish to prevent certain groups for accessing natural plants, and I find that sickening.

  154. dimmer says:

    “One is entitled to have opinions, to vote their opinion, and if in the majority, to have their opinion become the law of the land”

    Possibly the most horrific statement I’ve ever heard. We have laws to protect the rights of the minority, not to indulge the prejudices of the majority.

  155. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #50

    Thank you for your kind words. I do realize that not all people who smoke pot – or crack – commit these kinds of heinous crimes. But I am emotionally tainted, and I know it.

    I feel the way I feel, and have a difficult time getting past it. I just have no use for illicit drug users or dealers, and when I look into my soul to try and find pity for them or sympathy for their cause, I cannot find any. That is my problem, but it most likely will never change.

  156. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #112 nutbastard

    But no rational person can argue that it would be good for every drug user to get caught. That it would be better for society if the vast majority of people were locked in prison. So how can one support a law that theoretically would do so, if only the enforcing body had the resources?

    If I were to take the words ‘drug user’ out of your statement above, and replace it with the words “DUI driver,” then it makes perfect sense. DUI is illegal, most people (I believe) want it to be illegal, most people (I believe) are in favor of harsh penalties on repeat offenders or those who hurt others while DUI driving, and I suspect that more than “75%” of the population has driven DUI as opposed to having smoked pot.

    So if I can support DUI laws, I think I can just as logically support laws against recreational marijuana use.

    Certainly one can’t if one bothers to THINK about it instead of just FEEL.

    My feelings form a valid basis for many of my opinions, and this is one of them. That does not mean I am devoid of logic or reason.

  157. Jack says:

    @#148 POSTED BY ZUZU , MARCH 13, 2009 11:12 PM

    Believe it or not, some people can handle their meth, coke, and heroin. You just never hear about them.

    I’ve never met them either. I grew up with neighborhood friends who did coke and heroin as early as 13 and not one of them has had a good life. Some are dead. The others might as well be.

    I keep on hearing about these magical coke and heroin users who work in financial & legal firms. And have never met them.

    Correction, I have met more than a few financial types who are big coke-heads and they are without a doubt the most vile humans I have ever had the displeasure of knowing.

    If there is a person out there who has taken coke, meth or heroin please point out who they are rather than raising this magical canard.

  158. Fiz says:

    I think I’m starting to favor legalizing SOME drugs, tax the bejeesus out of it, and regulate it.

    I just think too many people will abuse this, like (and this may not be the best comparison) people jailbreaking the iPhone just to get cracked apps. I’m willing to bet the governments aren’t ready to trust us to trust ourselves not to go crazy.

    This won’t happen in my lifetime, especially in Singapore. Be in posession of Cannabis and Ice (what you call Crystal Meth) above a certain weight, and you’ll be sent swinging. And that opens a whole new can of worms.

  159. Takuan says:

    one reason why no progess is made in cleaning up the mess created by criminalizing marijuana is that the nay-sayers lack focus. Rather than drifting into other areas, shall we stay focused on the issue of the existing, bad marijuana laws?

  160. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #51

    I see, as usual, the Prohibitionists are unable to state any kind of case at all.

    Personal choice is a case. One is entitled to have opinions, to vote their opinion, and if in the majority, to have their opinion become the law of the land – and not have any other reason.

    I have never been involved in a discussion of this type where the stated ‘reasons’ either side gives are accepted as genuine by the other side, so it really does just come down to our own choices, pro and con. There is nothing inherently wrong with choosing either.

  161. mdh says:

    Wigwam,

    I drive the speed limit

    First, Bee Ess. You never speed? Nor did you in your youth? No excuses.

    Second, Are you aware the citizens of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, through a ballot initiative drawn up largely by retired law enforcement officials, just made marijuana possession LESS of an offense than driving just ONE mile per hour over the speed limit?

  162. zuzu says:

    If there is a person out there who has taken coke, meth or heroin please point out who they are rather than raising this magical canard.

    Do you see the obvious problem of them not declaring themselves while their actions in question remain criminalized?

  163. ScruffyNerfHerder says:

    Is the juice worth the squeeze, though?

    Legalizing drugs will eliminate some problems but the problems not caused by illegality will continue to exist.

    The stigma, health side effects and mental effects are far more costly for many hard drugs.

    That said, the benefits of legalizing marijuana are financially clear. Interestingly, it’s illegal status doesn’t accomplish any of what criminalizing behavior is meant to do: it’s not retributive(because it’s not a crime upon a person), it isn’t a particularly effective deterrent and trying to rehabilitate someone from smoking pot is on par with teaching someone how not to be bored.

    Anther point of consideration is that the two party system deters career politicians from publicly espousing certain policy stances, which is why an entertainer like Penn Jillette gets so much attention for being vociferously libertarian(and boingboing for exposing people to him and other libertarian ideas). The other odious example (which marginalizes internet libertarians to some extent) is Ron Paul: he can say whatever he wants because he literally brought a large number of his constituents into the world.

  164. Anonymous says:

    Don’t forget the environmental damage cause by the prohibition on pot: people are planting secret farms in protected and park lands, and hurting those lands with their fertilizers and pesticides. Legalization would eliminate that, and provide much needed employment for farmers in this country.

  165. Anonymous says:

    the main harm from drugs now comes from the crime associated with profit motive. legalize it ALL–even the meth–regulate it, tax it, the tax money going to rehab

    the main legal drugs (alcohol and nicotine) kill enough people. the profits from the “drug war” (both on the ‘good guys’ and ‘bad guys’ side of the fence) kill many more others

    how about this: legalize/control/tax everything worldwide for say, 10 years. if things haven’t gotten better by the end of that span, we can go back to our neanderthal ways of punishment

  166. Jason Rizos says:

    Currently, in the United States, guns are legally available to licensed private citizens. They are far, far more deadly the the dried flowers of cannabis sativa. Furthermore, like cannabis, they are used recreationally, for the most part. Let’s just say people defend their constitutional right to use firearms “recreationally,” not just for protection. The reason guns are legal is because the people who wish to earn the right to use them responsibly fought tooth and nail for that right and to preserve it.

    Does this mean private citizens can purchase and use thermonuclear ICBMs? No. It does not. Does it mean five-year-olds can buy guns at 7-11 and kill people? No it does not. Does it mean people are driving down the street shooting and one another? No. Does it mean that every last man, woman, and child is a gun owner, or has seen their life/family destroyed by firearms? NO.

    So please stop giving me the same goddamn arguments against legalization of drugs.

    Regulate. Control. License. It’s all been done before.

  167. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #116 dimmer

    “One is entitled to have opinions, to vote their opinion, and if in the majority, to have their opinion become the law of the land”

    Possibly the most horrific statement I’ve ever heard. We have laws to protect the rights of the minority, not to indulge the prejudices of the majority.

    Actually, I must take issue with your statement. Plebiscites are precisely ‘rule by the elecorate’, and it is how a number of laws are made, mostly at the state level.

    The protection to which you refer is for the constitutional rights of citizens, and when state laws (passed by plebiscite or otherwise) are found to be infringing on those rights, then yes, they are struck down. An example of this would be the Roe v Wade decision, which invalidated state laws banning abortions, because they infringed on a woman’s right to privacy, which was found to be a constitutional right by the Supreme Court. It is not that women are a ‘minority’ and thus entitled to protection from the masses, but that women, like all citizens, have an expectation of privacy that banning abortions would infringe upon.

    However, if the law in question does not infringe on anyone’s constitutional rights, then it is indeed law – and I am sorry if you find it horrifying, but it is how our laws work.

  168. Anonymous says:

    It may work wonders in the first world, here in the third world a lot of stupid kids are dropping out of school to start their lives as thieves with the whole purpose of getting high.

    If legalizing pot will stop crime in third world countries, that, at the same time are the main providers to first world countries, then, be my guest. Look at Mexico or Colombia is a whole mess there.

    But I seem to be missing something here, it just doesn’t make sense.

    So, fine, you can go and buy your precious weed at the local store, but, making it available as a legal won’t stop those losers with half their brain dead that are killing and assaulting to get the money to buy the same stuff.

  169. mdh says:

    @ wigwam

    I just have no use for illicit drug users or dealers, and when I look into my soul to try and find pity for them or sympathy for their cause, I cannot find any.

    “pity” and “sympathy” are a far cry from “a fully informed opinion”, which I think you may also lack.

    People who are going to be nasty bastards to you are going to be that way sober or not.

    Blaming drugs is the same thing as blaming guns for problems.

    Insofar as its not blaming PEOPLE for being irresponsible and terrible, and that, I think, is your real issue.

  170. mdh says:

    “So if I can support DUI laws, I think I can just as logically support laws against recreational marijuana use.”

    If you can prove to me that recreational marijuana use kills thousands of innocent people a year, then yes, you would have a point there.

    But it doesn’t

    Your canards have failed you, and have illuminated your low opinion of other people. No change in any law is gonna help you with that my friend.

  171. Jack says:

    @#154 POSTED BY ZUZU

    Do you see the obvious problem of them not declaring themselves while their actions in question remain criminalized?

    I can see that for someone currently employed, but you’re telling me that casual coke, meth or heroin use is so common there isn’t someone who is retired or who stopped using who can’t stand up and say “Hey, I was a successful CEO, had it all and did heroin and my life is fine…”

    Between Europe, U.S. and Asia there must be at least one of these magical people you’re talking about? But not one has come out and said as much.

    Unless you count David Carr who clearly couldn’t handle his drugs and has only admitted to the damage his abuse did to his life after the fact and after he rose to prominence as a journalist despite this tragic background. And he readily admits he’s an exception and grateful for the second chance at life he’s gotten.

    In fact I will say this: I have met folks like David Carr who used, abuse and destroyed their lives but were given a second chance based on skills, perseverance and sheer luck. But they universally don’t credit the drug use as a career aid.

  172. Jason Rizos says:

    @Wigwam Jones

    “One is entitled to have opinions, to vote their opinion, and if in the majority, to have their opinion become the law of the land – and not have any other reason.”

    You may change your tune if we suddenly “voted” to levy a 2000% tax increase on left-handed people.

    Well, maybe if you were left-handed. Screw lefties though, amiright?

  173. Brainspore says:

    @ Wigwam Jones:

    OK, the same questions I ask everyone who thinks pot should be illegal.

    1) Why should pot be illegal?
    2) Do you think we should bring back alcohol prohibition also?
    3) If you answered “no” for #2, why?

  174. nutbastard says:

    @#54

    “I feel the way I feel”

    A good chunk of human suffering is due to people acting on feelings, as opposed to acting on thoughts.

    Feelings have no place in the law. When I think of abortions, I feel like that’s something pretty horrible, and I wish it never happened. But I also realize that people are going to have abortions, legally or not, and that ultimately the most humane solution is to provide people with places where it can be done safely.

    “I just have no use for illicit drug users or dealers, and when I look into my soul to try and find pity for them”

    We don’t need pity, sir, we need tolerance.

  175. failix says:

    Takuan, you rule. :)

  176. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #52 nutbastard

    There’s a part in there that says exactly that about alcohol. Also, remember that bit about ‘Life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness’?

    Yes, that’s right. Alcohol is specified in the Bill of Rights – as an amendment when it was made illegal, and another when it was legalized again. No other drug that I am aware of is given legal status under the constitution itself.

    As to ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of..’ that’s valid, but you’d have to convince a court that the recreational use of currently illicit drugs falls under that.

    How about this: The Constitution states that the Federal Government has only those powers which are explicitly and specifically granted to it. Why don’t YOU show me where it says that the Federal Government has the authority to prohibit substances IN THE FIRST PLACE?

    Actually, I have to disagree with you on this.

    The federal government has the stated authority to regulate commerce, and it does this in the case of illicit drugs by placing them on a list of controlled substances – they are technically ‘regulated’ and not prohibited. It is the states themselves which have laws against possession.

  177. SeppTB says:

    @#52 Nutbastard: Actually, the Life, Liberty and Pursuit of Happiness thing is from the Declaration of Independence, not the Constitution =)

    @Wigwam: I’m curious of your exception for alcohol as well. I look at people who drink and I look at people who smoke pot, and in most cases, I feel safer and more at ease around the stoners than the drunks. Alcohol makes many people angry and violent and you can pretty easily overdose on alcohol and die. That is not the case with marijuana, I’ve never seen someone angry when under its effects, and its impossible to OD on the stuff. There are certainly many arguments to be made why using marijuana is bad, but those same arguments (and more on top of them) could be made against alcohol. So why one and not the other. The “harder” drugs are another issue, but when comparing marijuana to alcohol its very difficult for me to see how the more dangerous of the two is legal and the other one is a schedule I controlled substance.

  178. ricket says:

    I have a biological argument for MJ. Doesn’t MJ prohibition effectively promote the eradication of a species from our ecosystem? Who are we to play God? God didn’t know what he was doing putting that plant in the ecosystem? Didn’t we learn anything from the 70s TV commercials? “It’s not nice to fool with mother nature!”.

  179. neurolux says:

    I definitely think pot should be legalized. Why? No reason, just my opinion.

  180. Fiddy says:

    I think it all boils down to the question of self-ownership. Who do you believe “owns” your body? The amorphous collective government/state/community, or you, a thinking, reasoning adult?

    For further education, see
    http://www.isil.org/resources/philosophy-of-liberty-english.swf or http://www.isil.org/resources/philosophy-of-liberty-index.html

    Speaking as an occaional recreational cannabis user myself (and the brother of a victim of the War on Drugs–who spent two long years in an Oklahoma prison for possession of a single ounce of weed), I’ve voted to legalize it every chance I had, and eventually succeeded in helping to pass California’s Proposition 215 back in 1996 (after gathering over 200 signatures to put it on the ballot on behalf of the Libertarian Party of California, which was the first political party to endorse the measure within days after it was proposed).

    I’m still a proud Libertarian, and financial supporter of the Marijuana Policy Project (http://mpp.org) and Americans for Safe Access (http://safeaccessnow.org) and will continue to promote legalization of freedom as long as I can. Over the years, I’ve met many people who depend on cannabis for medicinal purposes, and cannot fathom why anyone would deny sick and dying people of the benefits of this medicine. My wife is also an oncology nurse who has cared for people who need marijuana simply to continue functioning under conditions that would surely kill them otherwise, so I’m not just another stoner.

    As the Pro-Choice movement so often demands of the government, “Keep your hands off of my body.”

  181. Takuan says:

    ummm, yes Jack, I AM telling you that casual users of cocaine, heroin and methedrine are indeed all around us and have happy, successful lives.

  182. mdh says:

    @scruffynerfherder – trying to rehabilitate someone from smoking pot is on par with teaching someone how not to be bored.

    That is a gem. I’m taking it with me.

  183. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #61 – I agree, I may not have a ‘fully formed opinion’ as you charge. I would suggest that no matter what arguments I may offer in support of my opinion, you will find them lacking unless I change my opinion?

    @ #62 – I would find such a change utterly unacceptable, but we do not set tax levys based on person characteristics.

    @ #63 – 1) No reason, it is just my opinion. 2) No. 3) See #1. It’s all about opinions, really. I don’t want to see marijuana legalized for recreational use in the USA. That’s all.

  184. Brainspore says:

    @ Teller #172: Is there some effort underway to make oil illegal that I haven’t heard about? I live near Berkeley and that sounds extreme even by northern California hippie standards.

    There’s nothing hypocritical about wanting to reduce oil consumption and also legalize personal drug use.

  185. mdh says:

    I grew up with neighborhood friends who did coke and heroin as early as 13 and not one of them has had a good life.

    bad lives before or after they used the hard stuff?

    My experience is that the hard drugs are a refuge from a bad past. A crutch for the crippled.

    People with bad lives who can’t even get weed will huff gasoline, I say weed is less bad than that.

  186. SKR says:

    @#40 SKR

    “Personally, I draw the line at highly addictive substances. Heroin and Cocaine create irrational behavior that users cannot control…However, I know people that have been recreationally using one or the other of those drugs for decades and only on the weekends. They have managed to not become hopelessly addicted although they probably get a little bit of a jones. They are not violent in the least.”

    So you personally witness friends using responsibly, but think that the drugs they use ought to be illegal for everyone?

    no it was a tag error. I’m too used to forums and I tried a quote tage with html brackets and it just dropped them

  187. Jason Rizos says:

    I think Wigwam’s view of the law is simply tautological. It is illegal because it has been deemed illegal. Alcohol is not illegal because prohibition was repealed. Like he said, if cannabis were legalized, he would “deal with it.” He’s not interested in criticizing the law, only in following it, fascist though it may be.

    Personally, I hate citing alcohol as argument in favor of cannabis legalization. It’s a logical fallacy, two wrongs don’t make a right.

  188. Takuan says:

    drink two quarts of hard liquor every day and live in the streets and die before forty. Drink two quarts of high end scotch every day, have three solid meals brought to you and never want for a single material thing because you have the money and live to seventy.

  189. nutbastard says:

    @#66

    i stand corrected, though both documents are valid fulcrums for arguments IMO.

    @#65

    “The federal government has the stated authority to regulate commerce, and it does this in the case of illicit drugs by placing them on a list of controlled substances – they are technically ‘regulated’ and not prohibited.”

    ‘Regulating commerce’ would be things like setting quality standards, levying taxes, and various other guidelines that govern other aspects of the drug industry.

    How can they regulate commerce in regards to drugs when there is no legal commerce occurring? and technicalities aside, please, they are prohibited from every practical standpoint.

    you could put a $1,000,000 tax on each pack of cigarettes and claim that they aren’t technically ‘prohibited’, they’re just ‘excessively taxed’.

  190. crocman says:

    the UN charter of human rights needs to allow an individual control over his/her own body and mind, even to their own detriment

  191. Wigwam Jones says:

    @ #64

    Feelings have no place in the law. When I think of abortions, I feel like that’s something pretty horrible, and I wish it never happened. But I also realize that people are going to have abortions, legally or not, and that ultimately the most humane solution is to provide people with places where it can be done safely.

    It probably would not comfort you to know that I am not in favor of abortions, either. BUT, I accept that the majority feel they should be legal, and that is the law of the land. Feelings actually are quite valid reasons for a person to hold an opinion. Logic is good too, but feelings matter.

    “I just have no use for illicit drug users or dealers, and when I look into my soul to try and find pity for them”

    We don’t need pity, sir, we need tolerance.

    I’m sorry, I haven’t any for these people. If it makes me a flawed human being, I accept that judgment.

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