It’s never nice when friends fight . . .

. . . even online friends and fellow bloggers;  but sometimes it happens.

Borepatch argues that the War On Drugs is a colossal failure;  therefore, drugs should be legalized and regarded as a source of tax revenue.

It’s way past time to declare victory and brings the troops home.  Legalize it all, tax it (use some of the revenue to fund treatment centers) and be done with it.  This sure isn’t working.  It’s  a stupid game and we shouldn’t play.

There’s more at the link.

Aesop responds in two articles with his usual acerbic, biting style, pointing out the many negatives associated with legalizing drugs.  In the first, he points out:

As it is now, people here since marijuana legalization are keeping their kids home from the beach, overrun as it is with homeless junkies, because of discarded needles in the sand.

When you have to explain to some mom why her three-year old will probably get Hepatitis A, B, & C, and why she should have all her kids vaccinated as if they were cops or paramedics working Skid Row, give a holler. I want to hear your take on that conversation. I’ve already delivered it or listened to it delivered twice, this year.

So, should we also “legalize and tax” discarding drug needles on the beach?  Wouldn’t prosecuting such things be another “War On Drugs”?? Or should we simply cede all public space to society’s dregs and wastrels? How’s that cunning plan working out in San Franshitsco and Los Angeles? Or anywhere else?

Again, more at the link.  In a subsequent article, he continues:

If We Legalize And Tax Drugs, It Will Totally Work Because…

…drug dealers and narco-cartels will line up twenty deep to pay their taxes on their newly legalized products, they being such law-abiding and tax-paying folks since forever.

…cartels will not smuggle drugs in illicitly, unlike they already do with legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco products, which was your most recent argument for why we should stop trying to stop drugs from getting here.

…drug cartels and dealers will not undercut the price of legal, taxed drugs by selling their product for less, exactly unlike they’ve been doing with pot in Califrutopia since 0.2 seconds after weed became legal here, because they’re not capitalists, and will do nothing to maintain and expand their market share, and profits, even by continuing to break the law.

…the cartels will not get fifty times wealthier, once getting their product safely into the U.S. will become virtually consequence free once it hits our shores, and thus be emboldened to try to take over this country de facto if not actually de jure, as they already have in any number of nations south of the Rio Grande.

…drug dealers will never, ever allow minor children to get their hands on drugs, just like that never happens with alcohol and tobacco now.

…they will never expressly market their products to younger users, knowing that the actuarial tables means that as their old clientele dies off from using their products, that’s the only way to continue raking in fabulous sums of money, unlike producers of legal drugs like alcohol and tobacco do right now, and since forever.

…junkies desperate for a fix will not rob, burgle, and thieve any longer, despite not being able to afford a fix, because they are such law-abiding citizens, and so well-provided with long-term planning and financial responsibility skills.

More at the link.

I find myself caught on the horns of a dilemma.  I think Borepatch is quite right – self-evidently so – that the War On Drugs is a failure.  It’s never been a success, in over fifty years of being waged!  On the other hand, Aesop is also correct.  My experience as a pastor, particularly in inner-city areas, and as a prison chaplain, teaches me that all the negative consequences of legalization that he predicts will, indeed, happen, and sooner rather than later.  Therefore, no matter how flawed it may be, I don’t think there’s any alternative to declaring drugs illegal and waging a legislative and judicial “war” on them, and their vendors and users.

The fact remains, as conventional wisdom would have it, that “insanity consists in doing the same thing, over and over again, and expecting different results”.  From that perspective, the War On Drugs is insanity.  It’s failed to achieve its objectives in almost every single year one cares to examine.  Therefore, why are we continuing it in its present form?  There has to be a way to “work smarter, not harder” – although this may not be it.

If we crack down – I mean really crack down – on drug dealers and users, we can, indeed, win the War On Drugs . . . but that would mean real punishment, probably including execution after a certain number of offenses, or after causing a certain degree of damage (e.g. killing or injuring others while under the influence of illegal narcotics).  I don’t think our society has the stomach for that.  Absent such a crackdown, what can be done to achieve better results?  Borepatch is right that continuing to do the same old thing is untenable;  but Aesop is also right, that failure to fight against drug abuse will lead to worse consequences in any way one cares to consider the matter.  So . . . what do we do?

Any ideas, readers?



  1. Don't some Western European nations have 'drug ghettos' for lack of a better term where drugs are basically legal? It isn't much better than a death sentence, but hey, if you are going to go kill yourself slowly while shooting that crap into your veins or nose, may as well get it all in one nice convenient place!

  2. The law of supply and demand doesn't care about the legality of the trade goods, currently the status of illegal drugs constitutes a federal price support.

    I believe that until you are willing to execute all the consumers of drugs the demand will not go away. I'm not advocating this, just observing that the law of supply and demand doesn't care.

  3. The WOD is a failure to the nation and its people, but not necessarily to those who benefit from either the trade or the War on it. Follow the money.
    Much more should be made of Aesop's call to remove all support for the (self-created) victims of addiction — not just denial of medical insurance and supprt programs like methadone maintenance, but refusal to provide medical care. Probably EMT's but possibly even physicians may want to draw a line at the point where Do No Harm conflicts with Give Him What He Wants.

  4. When you make recreational drugs legal, make narcan illegal.

    Things sort themselves out if you let them.

    We're at the point where having the drugs being illegal is worse than letting them be legal.

    That doesn't mean that legalizing them is going to make things good, but it will make things better.

    Just like when prohibition ended.

    Prohibition didn't cure the ills caused by booze and created many more problems. Ending prohibition didn't end all of the problems, but it mitigated much of them.

    Things ended up worse than before, and the lesson should have been to not ban things people take to get euphoric.

    But we don't like that answer, so we keep trying to force people to be moral.

  5. If you're talking about narco-cartels "not paying taxes" or profiting more, you're missing most of the point of legalization. Cartels will not be able to compete with legal businesses unless the tax rates are absurdly high. This is a huge reason for me to support legalization, I'd much rather a mostly legal corporation profit (with the lower margins that real competition brings) than a full-on criminal.

    Leave the penalties for illegal import, illegal sale. Make it legal to use or posses in private, in a willing business but a felony on a playground or similar–use will move. We don't really have a big problem with opioid overdoses in general, we have a small OD problem attached to a big fentanyl OD problem. Instead of using fentanyl as an excuse to ban normal opioids, make it a felony to adulterate with fentanyl. Where junkies can get known dosages of known drugs, OD rates will be lower. Legal for adults, felony to sell to children–when I was in junior high, I knew where to get pot or speed, but alcohol was much more difficult. Junkies may rob…but they won't need nearly as much. Let police focus on crimes against decent people instead of dealing with the aftermath of drug dealer disputes.

    I don't take illegal drugs, nor would I if they were legal. But I believe that decent people like me are harmed by indirect effects of drug laws more than we would by their elimination.

  6. @McThag: I wouldn't make Narcan illegal. It's used to treat good people who accidentally come into contact with fentanyl and other illegal substances – cops, EMS workers, etc. They're going to need it, whether or not we make illicit drugs legal.

    One might argue that Narcan should be reserved for the "good guys", but denied to the "bad guys". Trouble is, how can one tell? It's not always obvious whether or not someone affected by fentanyl touched it accidentally or took it on purpose. Any delay in making that call might be fatal.

  7. Create Drug Treatment Centers where drug users can use their drug of choice. The drugs would be free to the users. The treatment centers provides meals and a place to sleep. If you want to get out you have to be clean for 30 days. If you decide to use drugs until you die it's your choice.

    The drugs would come from dealer stocks when they're arrested.

    Doing this will reduce crime. Users no longer have to commit various crimes to get money to buy drugs. Dealers will soon have to find more profitable for ventures.

    The drug treatment centers will also be a draw for do-gooders intent on saving these poor people from their destructive impulses. They will leave us alone.

    On the downside people will die in the treatment centers but I believe the net death toll will be less than what we're doing now.

  8. @Sevesteen:

    First, it is wise to separate the marijuana market from the hard drug trade. Like it, or not smoking weed has become part of our culture. Kids are going to sneak a joint just like a beer. Better they don't have to get it through a black market where the hard stuff is sold.

    But "legalization" in CA has been disastrous.
    Under the old 215 laws pot was available, inexpensive, and the requirement for a "Dr.'s Rec" kept the riff-raff out of the dispensaries.

    Under 64, the State taxes on weed are so egregious that everyone is going back to the black market, or gray market. The same ounce of weed that costs ~$180 on the gray market will cost about $500 in a State "Legal Cannabis" shop. To boot, now CA continues to ignore the federal weed laws, yet calls in the National Guard to raid unlicensed pot farms. The State of California has become the new cartel.


  9. Mine view is that I lost. There is no Constitutional authority delegated to the FedGov to prohibit drug use.

  10. Congratulations.

    My next blogpost will be to take the comments above, and take them to the woodshed as well.

    The reply would be too lengthy to accommodate here, and this isn't my blog.

    And thanks, Peter, for posting this.
    The worst part about replying to Borepatch was that I agree that the current Mutually Beneficial Slapfight On (Some) Drugs With Collateral Damage isn't working never has, and never will.

    I just refuse to throw out the baby of the entire republic with the dirty bathwater of a stupidly-conceived and executed MBSO(S)DWCD, especially when you throw out the baby, but drink the bathwater.

    I'm crazy like that.

  11. The problem is really an individual moral issue. We have become a nation of hedonists. Practicing delayed gratification is no longer exalted in our society.

  12. I cannot figure anyway to cut this knot.

    I agree we are losing. I also think that drug addicts are not good citizens in managing the public space they are in.

    Some drugs would be a disaster in the work place and you know druggies will go to work high.

    Nothing good is going to come out of this anyway you work it.

  13. JWM:
    A few years ago Ohio managed to come up with a pot semi-legalization scheme that I was against, giving the sponsors a monopoly on growing. Even a slightly less blatant power grab would have been enough to gain my support. (We did the same thing for casino gambling with a bill that would make it legal on 6 or 8 particular plots of land owned by an existing casino company)

    I don't know a ton about California's legalization, but much of what I've heard is similar, with high taxes and limited competition. Doing it wrong doesn't disprove the concept, any more than cronyism disproves free markets.

  14. Praytell, explain how to "do it right".

    Drug cartels will give product away to maintain market share, then knock off the competition either by bankrupting them, or leaving a horse's severed head in the bedsheets.

    Either way, you'll be sending drug money to the cartel, forever, and now making their business legal.

    Neither Walmart nor Vito Corleone are entirely fictional entities.
    This is real-world, right now.

    You have to set taxes at a penny per metric-fornicationton, and you'd have to get retail prices to $0 too.
    At which point, you're now taking ME to subsidize giving Pothead his fix.

    If I'm spending the money, I say use it for a bullet for Pothead, rather than buying him his dope.
    And another one for the cartel.

  15. I went on my first drug patrol in 1978, the pilot said "where going out to do our part to keep the price of drugs up on the street." He was right, that was 40+ years ago & nothing has changed.

    It costs the tax payers around $31,000 a year to keep a human locked up in the US so someone has been doing ok.

    I think it's about control.

  16. Aesop, are you saying there were no problems with homeless or needles on the beach in California until marijuana was legalized? Making marijuana illegal again will solve the hard drug and homeless problems?

    I'm in Colorado. I haven't the collapse of civilization and haven't seen reports implying that the state is collapsing because marijuana is legal. Of course, somebody will now tell me that the state is in violent anarchy and I just haven't seen it or am ignoring it.

  17. For Peter's comment that we can win the "war on drugs" if we really crack down on them, two questions:

    1. Give examples of nations which have eliminated a black market. In particular, countries which have eliminated a black market without eliminating other individual rights.

    2. It's interesting that if the topic goes from banning illegal drugs to banning guns I instead hear all of the reasons why banning guns can't work, if guns are illegal only outlaws will have guns, etc. If you believe the war on drugs is winnable then you're also arguing that the "war on guns" by the left is also winnable.

  18. There is really only one way to deal with it. You address it. You teach your children.

    If it's all that bad, you couldn't make me notice because there are still many millions and millions of people still in those countries making the drugs and sending them here for pennies. They need those pennies.

    Way back when I was young I was an officer. I was responsible for the well being of my men.That's all gone by the wayside.

    I owe familial duty to one but the courts stole her away from me 12 years ago when she was 5. i'd be like the staff officer stepping explaining how to load the rifle at this point and for much of the last 12 years.

    You're probably familiar with the saying, every man finds the path to his own damnation. Drug addicts can find it easy. Fortunately we number in the billions.

  19. Explain, please, how legalizing marijuana leads to needles in the sand at the beach. Last I looked, marijuana is not injected. And we could solve the homeless problem in a hurry by going back to the old rules about dealing with insane people…lock them up and keep them that way.

    Part of my opposition to the Drug War is that it gives the government far too much power, and too many chances to pry into people's affairs. I will also admit that when I hear the words "it's for the CHILL-DRUNN!" my instinct is to get my back to a wall and reach for a weapon. Samuel Johnson was wrong—it is faux concern for "the children," not patriotism, that is the last ploy of a scoundrel.

  20. @Thomas W: You're absolutely right. If we're ruthless enough, we can win the War On Drugs. If the Left is ruthless enough, it can win its War On Guns. Of course, in the latter case, the casualties would not be nearly so one-sided; but yes, victory is possible that way.

    It's all about how callous, ruthless and merciless one is prepared to be. As I said in the article, I don't think our society has the stomach for that. Certainly, I, as an individual, don't – not "in the mass". As it affects my family and loved ones? Oh, heck, yes! I can certainly be ruthless enough to put their lives and safety above all other considerations. I suspect most of us will fit that bill, if push comes to shove.

  21. Being utterly ruthless is how societal standards are established and maintained. Do not murder or rape, or you will be killed. Do not fight with the cops, or you will be beaten or killed. Do not do drugs, or something horrible will happen to you.

    Government is force. Force is suffering, pain, or death.

    It's how the world works.

  22. For most of life I have been totally against drug use and alcohol. I've never taken drugs and had my last drink aged 19 before I was baptised. My brother-in-law is a hopeless junkie. My eldest son has abused meth for years. This has given me a different perspective on the matter.

    I believe that recreational drug users should be registered. Their drugs could be available via prescription. The drugs would have a genetic marker detectable with an appropriate test. The user would be prohibited from driving, operating dangerous machinery and from certain professions, doctor pilot, law enforcement etc.

    Anyone caught in possession of unauthorised and illegal drugs/dealing etc would face the most stringent penalties including capital punishment. Hopefully this would reduce crime as addicts would receive a regular supply of their drug and law enforcement could crack down on the illegal trade. Registered use would be decriminalised and become a public health matter. I would point to Keith Richards as an example of someone who was able to obtain what his habit demanded, live a productive and came out the other side clean for the last twenty years. I know I don't have all the answers but there must be a better way!

  23. Well Singapore was called Disneyland with the death penalty for a reason.

    As a filthy libertarian, I'm in favor of decriminalization but on the other hand I'm in favor of pulling the safety net too. If you go into a thing heads up and eyes open, it's on you to deal with the consequences. Legalizing with changing how drugs are dealt with on the results side is a recipe for failure.

    Then there's the view from tinfoil hat territory. Legalize drugs plus state funded single payer equals a tax rate high enough to guarantee no one has any mobility economic or physical.

  24. One can combat drug abuse/trafficking while still making some substances legal or decriminalizing their use.

    "In Singapore, you can be dragged into custody without a warrant and be compelled to submit to drug testing by the Singapore authorities."

    So, if you want to shred the Bill of Rights even more with a "Final Solution" to drug users/abusers then have at it. I don't think you'll gain much support.

  25. @Thomas W,

    No, I'm bloody well not saying that, but you knew that.

    The problems in Califrutopia go hand in glove, but they all spring from the same root.

    The laissez faire attitude towards pot springs from the same laissez faire attitude about every drug, coupled with a massive defect of reasoning, total and fundamental ignorance of human nature, and malign intent regarding the proper role of government.

    But feel free to take a look at what I wrote will happen with legalization, and explain how that won't happen.
    Show your work.

    "It's too hard, and I don't have the stomach for that" is not a good enough excuse to flush civilization down the toilet.


    Read up on "gateway drugs". No one starts off shooting up heroin. They start off getting drunk. Then high on pot. And they keep looking for bigger highs, until that's all they do. And in a short time, you have San Fransh*tsco. Prove me wrong: find me articles detailing the needles all over the place, and the homeless addicts crapping and sleeping in the streets from before the time we legalized or decriminalized pot. If you're right, that there's no progression, it should be easy for you.

    Lock up the homeless? Fine. Get to it.
    Most of them are homeless because they're addicts and crazy, off their psych meds because those make them feel "weird" (we call that feeling "sanity"), so instead they get high because when they get the voices in their head stoned, they can't understand what they're saying (which is always "Kill yourself. You suck.") That last is actual verbatim quotes from one of the more lucid exemplars of the species, btw.

    And sorry if it's news to you, but the government has no more power with regards to your life or liberty because of the War on Drugs now than they ever did, in your entire lifetime.
    The feds were seizing cars and assets used in crimes back to 1929.
    We've been writing drug laws in this country since at least 1832.
    No, that's not a typo. 1832. Opium Tariff Laws.
    The government had the same ability to abuse you and take away your freedom in 1789 that they do now.

    If this is news to you, you haven't been paying close attention.

    And it's a matter of record that a hands-off policy on drugs pre-1900 or so, which every internet pseudo-historian pines for, was what created between 500K and 1M junkies in this country before the turn of the last century, when the US population was only 76M people.

    The last refuge of scoundrels is trying to protect rights they never had, at the expense of everyone else in society.

  26. Drug use and in particular drugs other than Marijuana have created a lot of health issues as well as crimes done in support of the habits these drugs induce. I have no problem isolating the Marijuana users from the other drug users and dealing with that as a separate issue.

    If we truly want to reduce or even eliminate hard drug use we need to consider that in any war zone, your first strategy is to deny the enemy reinforcements and resupply. If the enemy is the entire 'hard drug' system including suppliers, dealers and users, you need to stop the flow of drugs into the system. If you can starve the system of drugs you will essentially put the pushers and suppliers out of business.

    Border control is job one in this matter. You can compare the war on drugs to the WWII campaign in the Pacific. Each island represents a system of resistance. When we began an approach to attack and take over an island, we started by stopping the resupply of that particular island followed then by a campaign to eradicate the invaders on the ground. If we could stop the flow or even just stem it to half or less, we could end a lot of the illegal use.

    Without a containment policy that is designed to eliminate or curtail the influx of illegal drugs any other effort to fight illegal drug sales and use is pointless. You cannot bail out a leaky boat if you do not fix the leaks.

    Ultimately, the war on drugs is a war of sovereignty over the lands we call the United States. The enemy is a public health menace along with an increased level of crime associated with the sale and use of said drugs.

    I live in a very rural area and yet, I see increased violent crimes going on in communities in the region that 15 years ago never saw such things. The drug trade and the turf wars are creating a hazardous situation in communities and this is a problem for the local population in terms of safety and health. As mentioned, legalization has its problems too as the government cannot resist taxing anything that involves money and is legal. Black market sales will still proliferate if drugs are legalized. It is that distribution network and the crime that surrounds it that is the real problem in the nation today.

  27. Some thoughts;

    The Cartels m,igh well line up to pay their taxes. Right now they spend a great deal of money over territory disputes and using violence to enforce contracts. Going to court has almost GOT to be cheaper. Certainly a lot of people who were involved in bootlegging at various levels went legit in 1933.

    Tobacco and alcohol are still being smuggled even where they are nominally legal because the governments in those areas tax them to such absurd levels that smuggling is worthwhile. There's a simple lesson there, but it's a lesson that assorted authoritarian swine steadfastly refuse to learn.

    Needles scattered over the landscape is a littering problem. Arguably creating a public nuisance or menace. Don't jail people for shooting up. jail them for being barbarians who don't pick up after themselves.

    There have been studies purporting to show that what ruins junkies' lives is not the drug, but the arrest and the record. I cannot vouch for the truth of such studies, but they sound plausible.

    Legalize drugs like heroin and we get the government the hell out of kibitzing pain management. That HAS to be a plus.

    The way I understand it, the widespread use of 'no-knock' warrants, midnight raids, asset forfeiture, and 'dynamic entry' (sounds SOOOOO much better than kicking doors in) all trace back to the War On Drugs. So the WOD has largely failed to end drug use while making Police State tactics mainstream.

  28. Here's where I start on this topic:

    You can't get insurance for risks related to an illegal act.

    For legal acts that entail some risks, an insurer could assess the individual, the act in question, the risk pool, and come up with some kind of rider related to that activity.

    Thus, I think that if a person is using legalized marijuana, they should have a rider specifically to address increased liability due to diminished capacity, potential drug rehab costs in case they become uncontrollably addicted, overdose medical response costs, et ceteras. This cost may be minimal, particularly if the individual has an low propensity toward addiction (how you'd work that out, I don't know, but I do know of both people that are wrecked after using something once and people who are full functioning and partake on occasion, so presumably there is a spectrum)

    Similarly, locations that legally sell recreational pharmaceutics could be required to see an insurance card or a bond card for those that self-insure. Such sellers would report amount and dosage dispensed to the insurers, who would track usage as part of their calculations for determining the cost of the insurance rider. This would dis-incentivize legal users from purchasing for others because they could face higher insurance costs for higher apparent usage rates. Naturally, such an insurance rider would be void if the user was consuming the RecPharm from sources/sellers that weren't logged to the insurer, and the user would essentially be self-insuring. Legal sellers would be able to vouch for the quality, quantity and characteristics of the product they sold, as procured from legitimate sources that document such things.

    At one time, I held a position in the USAF were I was managing contracts, and I learned that a government contractors never says "No", but rather they tell you how much what you want will cost. I think there is much value in this for many parts of life. The difference between absolute prohibition and a dispassionate presentation of the necessary costs changes much. The forbidden has an perverse appeal. The quite expensive has a different appeal, and it is subject to considerations of "was it really $NUMBER good?"

    To go along with that scheme, an crime committed under the influence should be considered either pre-meditated or reckless disregard. You purposely chose to put your neuro-chemistry in an altered state, in a circumstance where it was possible for you commit such a crime, so you're just as liable as if you has lit a fire and walked off.

    None of this will actually do anything about completely black-market usage, except at the tail end of the scenario where the user is entangled in the justice system. But we have that scenario now, and otherwise the burden of dealing with ODs, addition, etc is socialized through the emergency rooms and the jails. Private high, public cost, lots of strong feelings on both sides of the issue. I think it would change the game considerably if we moved to a more private high, private cost (moderated through insurance) system.

  29. I'm not sure about the relevancy of needles on the beach with legalized marijuana. I haven't seen too many people injecting marijuana, but then again I don't hang out with druggies to begin with.

  30. @Aesop: I could write your "If We Legalize and Tax Drugs" post dated 1932 replacing "drug" with "alcohol". And we've seen the result of legalizing alcohol, it's a wonder society still exists. 🙂

    I also can't refute your most of your claims because they are absolutes. Will junkies "never" leave a needle in the street? Will there be no (zero) black market in untaxed drugs? Will minor children never, ever, not once in a nation of 350 million, get their hands on drugs?

    Of course not, those aren't true of legal products today. But we don't see violence in the streets or failed states taken over by violent gangs from legal products.

    But I'm not going to convince you because most of your statements are true today, and being absolutes (never) will remain true if drugs are legal. You also aren't going to convince me using the same war on drugs arguments which have been used for decades and, to a large extent, are descriptions of any black market.

  31. Larry Niven solved the drug problem in his universe with his wireheads. Rather than attacking the drug problem directly make them obsolete by providing a better and cheaper high.

    It solves many of the issues, danger to others, crime, disease and legal costs but at the expense of probably proving fatal to a large percentage of the addict type population.

  32. I don't know that I'd call this a fight. I respect Aesop a lot – maybe my skin is thick, but we have to be able to have a truly open discussion among friends.

    And I agree with your conclusion that this country has no stomach for executing thousands of drug dealers.

  33. "Gateway drugs." I'm reminded of nothing so much as the frantic warnings of the Temperance/Prohibition movement, Back In The Day, that drinking so much as one beer inevitably led to alcoholism and a ruined life. And I would like to hear an explanation for the people I know personally who've toked for years, but have yet to graduate to anything harder. Maybe they didn't read the book?

    I will stipulate freely, for the record, that some drugs and some people are a bad combination. The exact same thing could be said of alcohol—again, I know people who're perfectly okay when sober, but after a few drinks, it's Katy-bar-the-door with a vengeance. However, the solution to that is not law…it's for them to recognize that drink's something they're better off without.

    Our Esteemed Host's experience is not necessarily typical; the people you find incarcerated do tend, on the whole, to be dysfunctional. They would almost certainly be just as dysfunctional in a world where mind-altering substances did not exist. And I have heard that just about any drug you want can be obtained in prison, even in maximum security. Rather than prohibiting them, why not try a different approach?

    One reason I oppose the War on Drugs so bitterly is my mother's experience. She had to nurse her much-beloved brother through his last, fatal illness(the same kind of bone cancer that Teddy Kennedy's son had) and he was in so much pain that even the strongest stuff my grandmother (an MD and one of the first women in that profession that I know of in my state) wasn't doing much good. Mom told me that if she could have obtained heroin to alleviate her dying brother's agony, she'd have done so. Instead, thanks to the fanaticism of Some People, doctors who "prescribe too much" pain medicine are in great danger of bad trouble with the DEA, or of having their licenses to practice taken away—and chronic pain patients can't get the relief they need. This leads to a very high rate of suicide among such people.

    Also, "drugs" covers a great deal of ground. Marijuana is not cocaine is not barbituates is not heroin is not LSD is not amphetamines is not "magic mushrooms." And most people who use marijuana are perfectly functional, at least in my own experience. The bad rap "drugs" get may come from undiagnosed mental-illness victims trying to self-medicate; I've seen that done with alcohol.

  34. Technomad – Marijuana is a hallucinogen. The strong stuff is now well over 20% THC. That's ten times the concentration it used to be. People are regularly going insane or dying from marijuana overdoses these days.

    People who use marijuana habitually for 5 years have brain damage you can see on imaging. The stereotype of the stoner exists for a reason.

    The rate of traffic fatalities in Colorado doubled in the six months following legalization of marijuana.

    Still think it's harmless?

    1. Stronger weed just means that people smoke less of it at one sitting for the same high. It's called "one-hit pot" for a reason. One hit versus a whole joint of the old stuff. It's like arguing hard liquor is 10 times worse than beer or wine. Well, yeah, if you consume the same liquid volume of each. Want to rethink that?

      It's not harmless, but come down like a ton of bricks on driving while impaired and make sure everyone knows what will happen to them if caught, the rates will come down just like DUI rates came down from 1980 levels.

  35. McChuck: Please provide references for your claims. I find no statistics for marijuana overdose and controversy over a coroner ruling a marijuana overdose this year.

    In Colorado traffic fatalities rose from 447 in 2011 (before legalization) to 648 in 2017. That's 45% in 5 years, not doubled in 6 months. Nationally fatalities rose 20%, so I don't think all of the rise can be blamed on legalization. That's before looking at whether the reason is marijuana or not.

  36. My daddy always said: "everything's a trade off, anyone who says otherwise is selling you something."

    There's not going to be a perfect solution, only a solution who's price we're willing to pay.

    I'm actually glad to see @Aesop pointing out that legalization won't be the immediate end of the cartels, I've been saying that awhile myself.

    May be the answer is some things made legal, some things made not. Maybe a federalist system where eacg state decides. Dunno, but like i said, we'll have to decide which cost we're willing to pay.

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