Comment of the Day on “Comment of the Day: “Distracted Driving, Pot, and “The Great Debate””

Michael, whom I believe leads the field in 2011 Ethics Alarms Comments of the Day, just weighed in with an epic comment to Neill Franklin’s Comment of the Day from the lively distracted driving/marijuana post.  It restores some balance to what has been largely an Ethics Alarms vs. NORML mugging: I knew there had to be someone out there who agrees with me on the governments ethical obligation to keep drugs from further infecting American society. Here is Michael’s Comment of the Day on both Neill’s COTD and Distracted Driving, Pot, and “The Great Debate”:

“I was just a little horrified by Mr. Franklin’s comment, especially considering the source. I live in a neighborhood rife with drugs and the effects to me are evident. The effects that I see are different from those Mr. Franklin seems to care about, however. I see the wasted lives and wasted generations. If you look at the children around here, you see a generation that grew up without parents, without guidance, and without hope. They have never known adults who worked or who cared about their kids. They only know adults who are on drugs. These adults don’t play with their kids, don’t teach them. They don’t provide food, clothing, or reliable shelter and they subject their children to every form of abuse. These kids have no hope because they haven’t seen anyone like them live any other way. To escape this nightmare existence, they too turn to drugs and the cycle continues. I can’t understand how someone can advocate validating this behavior by legalizing drugs. I understand the self-serving legalization argument of the idle college student drug user and the people who somehow have lucked into good paying jobs that are easy enough to do while high, but I don’t respect them.

“I really don’t understand Mr. Franklin’s arguments. I don’t understand what he wants to do with drug legalization. Unlike alcohol, people don’t do drugs for the taste, or to go with their food, or to be social. They do drugs to get high. If every time someone touched alcohol they got completely drunk, alcohol would be illegal too. The ills of drugs aren’t mainly because of the illegal nature of it, it is because of the nature of the drugs. I assume Mr. Franklin is expecting the state to give everyone unlimited amounts of free drugs (so he won’t have to deal with them burglarizing houses and robbing people for drugs). This will keep him and his colleagues from having to deal with drugs because they will now be ‘legal’. He will then blissfully ignore the spousal and child abuse that will inevitably result. How caring.

“I have proposed a drug legalization scheme that lays bare all of the hype and obfuscation. In this scheme, people can apply for ‘drug licenses’. These licenses will allow them to possess and purchase user-level amounts of any drugs anywhere any time. In addition, excess drugs from drug seizures will be provided to holders of valid drug licenses at no charge. To apply, the following conditions must be met and adhered to:

(1) The applicant must have put up all existing children up for permanent adoption. (I think we can all agree that children shouldn’’t be around this)
(2) The applicant will be permanently sterilized (the state will provide free sterilization upon request)
(3) The applicant will surrender their driver’s license. Any holder of a drug license found driving a car will forfeit their drug license and face a prison sentence (these people are going to be high a lot and should not be driving).
(4) The applicant will surrender all state and federal welfare and social services benefits (free healthcare, welfare, food stamps, social security, etc). Society should not have to subsidize this behavior.
(5) Any holder of a drug license caught trying to steal property may be killed by the property owner.

“Most drug-legalization advocates are appalled by this (not serious) proposal because of what drug users must give up to get the license. I think many drug users would give all this up willingly for the ability to get free drugs legally. If people could see what drug-users are really like, and if they were no longer allowed to abuse their children, it would go a long way to turning drug-users into the societal pariahs they need to be.

“Go ahead and flame me. I have no respect for the drug legalization crowd. Drugs are illegal because of what they can do to people. Look at Timothy Leary. Look at episodes of “The Surreal Life”. After you look at that, watch “Idiocracy”. Is that what you really want?

“I already know the argument “but drug users aren’t like that”. The argument is bull. The argument is based on people that have someone else taking care of their needs (college students), celebrities with enough money and freedom to do what they want seemingly without serious consequences, the dabblers, and a handful of high-functioning addicts who somehow can keep their jobs (I do know some of these and I am always shocked that they keep their jobs). No, most drug users are “like that.” You know it, I know it, stop playing make-believe.”

41 thoughts on “Comment of the Day on “Comment of the Day: “Distracted Driving, Pot, and “The Great Debate””

  1. This wasn’t an ethics dunce comment of the day?

    This entire argument is dependent upon the premise in the last line. I’m sure it’s a good, solid premise that is backed up by evidence.

    No, most drug users are “like that.” You know it, I know it, stop playing make-believe.”

    …or maybe it ends on pure, unsupported bigotry. Look, I fixed it:

    No, most niggers are “like that.” You know it, I know it, stop playing make believe.”

    • That leap is beneath you, t. Michael is more than capable of defending his own opinion, but since users of illegal drugs are by definition lawbreakers, and hence of dubious citizenship, irresponsible, and thus untrustworthy, and selfish, and presumptively disrespectful of their society and obligations, and self-numbing, and therefore cowardly—with exceptions, of course, Michael’s conclusion has a basis in fact. Making generalizations based on conduct is nothing like making generalizations based on physical characteristics or ethnic origin. I declare that most spouse-abusers are “like that,” meaning “scum of the earth.” Is that bigotry to you? No,

      • Invalid premises:

        * All lawbreakers are of dubious of citizen and are irresponsible.
        * All irresponsible people are selfish, disrespectful of their society and obligations, and self numbing.

        Even if I parse that in the best possible light for you, it’s invalid.

        with exceptions, of course, Michael’s conclusion has a basis in fact.

        Michael’s conclusion is based on invalid premises, so stating it has a basis in fact is like me stating that today is a day in early spring because it’s 50 degrees (true) and the trees are budding(false) has a basis in fact.

        Making generalizations based on conduct is nothing like making generalizations based on physical characteristics or ethnic origin.

        No, but stating that the evidence doesn’t matter, he just knows it, is exactly the same.

        I declare that most spouse-abusers are “like that,” meaning “scum of the earth.” Is that bigotry to you? No

        That’s fine. Using “like that,” to mean they steal, lie, cheat, destroy christmas displays, and have flatulence issues is inappropriate.

        Applying a label to a specific behavior is extremely different from saying that people who do one specific behavior do other specific behaviors.

        • 1. All lawbreakers are of dubious of citizenship and are irresponsible. My acknowledgment of exceptions effectively eliminates any wiggle room. It’s true. What’s in valid about it? (I’m not talking about accidental or inadvertent law violations, if that’s your angle.)

          The proper parsing—I apologize for the ambiguous punctuation is
          “…users of illegal drugs are by definition lawbreakers, and hence of dubious citizenship—– irresponsible, and thus untrustworthy—-selfish, and THUS presumptively disrespectful of their society and obligations,—-and self-numbing, and therefore cowardly.

          I’ll stand by that. it’s accurate, with exceptions, as I said.

          2. Your definition of “evidence” is convenient and self-tailored in this area.

          3. Is Michael’s post hyperbolic? Sure it is—he termed it a rant himself. I know you don’t engage in rants, and I respect that, but the device has its uses.

          4. “Applying a label to a specific behavior is extremely different from saying that people who do one specific behavior do other specific behaviors” Bringing us back to signature significance. In all cases, I will trust someone who has never broken a major law intentionally and who does not excuse those who do over someone who has. I will always trust a Congressman who hasn’t tweeted his balls to a woman over one who has. I will always trust a Congressman who didn’t preside over a racist newsletter over one who did. Because even single-instance misconduct of a serious enough nature is meaningful.

          %. Why am I back arguing this? I posted Michael’s comment so HE could take the heat for a while….

          • 1. All lawbreakers are of dubious of citizenship and are irresponsible. My acknowledgment of exceptions effectively eliminates any wiggle room. It’s true. What’s in valid about it? (I’m not talking about accidental or inadvertent law violations, if that’s your angle.)

            If you’re building in exceptions, then you’re undermining your own argument. You have this:
            * All pot smokers are lawbreakers
            * Most lawbreakers are irresponsible
            * Therefore, all pot smokers are irresponsible.

            From your premises, you can’t even say that SOME pot smokers are irresponsible.

            2. Your definition of “evidence” is convenient and self-tailored in this area.

            No. It’s not. He’s specifically saying that what he thinks is what is, and doesn’t back it up at all. I didn’t state here that the evidence goes counter to Michael…just that Michael doesn’t care about evidence. I’m making a very Hitchian argument here.

            3. Is Michael’s post hyperbolic? Sure it is—he termed it a rant himself. I know you don’t engage in rants, and I respect that, but the device has its uses.

            I definitely note the use of rants and hyperbole and I do partake in them. Those structures though, don’t make an invalid argument valid. Moreover, if Michael was using hyperbole, that post becomes an example of “this is how ridiculous anti-legalization arguments are.”

            4. “Applying a label to a specific behavior is extremely different from saying that people who do one specific behavior do other specific behaviors” Bringing us back to signature significance. In all cases, I will trust someone who has never broken a major law intentionally and who does not excuse those who do over someone who has. I will always trust a Congressman who hasn’t tweeted his balls to a woman over one who has. I will always trust a Congressman who didn’t preside over a racist newsletter over one who did. Because even single-instance misconduct of a serious enough nature is meaningful.

            Do you realize that you just said that you would trust someone who follows destructive and immoral laws over someone who rejects them?

            Or are you using the weasel words of “a serious enough nature” and “major” to make this argument look like the argument I took apart above? No? The last option is creation of a circular argument.

            That aside, Michael didn’t say that drug users are more likely to be “like that” than non drug users. The relative argument you are making here is irrelevant.

            • 1. All pot smokers are irresponsible. All acquire their drug through illegal means, feeding organized crime, or illicitly crow an illegal crop, facilitating crime. All intentionally debilitate themselves. There are theoretical exceptions, but responsible adults do not use illicit drugs.
              2. It’s Hitchian. Touche.
              3. I don’t see it that way. But if it doesn’t work, it doesn’t work.
              4. Where do citizens get off unilaterally disobeying laws they don’t like or agree with? I’ll trust them IF they violate the law openly and go to trial—trust, admire and respect. Breaking a law and trying to get away with it? Virtually never, allowing for the “hiding a Jew from the Nazis” and the Underground railroad, etc.,

              • 1. The first sentence is an argument against prohibition. The second two are begging the question (in the context of this discussion).
                3. You’re confusing arguments that convince people with arguments that are valid. Michael can surely convince with that argument, but that doesn’t mean he wins.
                4. Based on your exceptions, you have undermined your argument. Anyway, as I said before, it doesn’t matter, as it was irrelevant to the discussion.

  2. I should probably also mention that the first paragraph is one giant strawman. Nobody wants tosociety to say that drug addiction is good, or validate the behavior of horrible parents.

    Jack, if you meant that this post brings balance to the argument, I assume you mean that it is unquestionably biased, and the product of someone who doesn’t care what the actual opposing arguments were. If this was a high school debate class, Michael would fail.

    • Why is it a straw man? If the claim is that government should approve the conduct, which is what saying what was once illegal (bad) is now legal (OK–tolerable–good) is, then someone has to argue that the conduct is good. And in the entire thread, nobody did. That means that the argument boils down to “this conduct is bad for all concerned, but 1) we want to do it anyway and 2) we don’t care about the harm and 3) we don’t have the will or the resolve or the guts to oppose it.

      • You keep building in the assumption that going from illegal to legal means that the behavior is approved of. This is simply not true. Alcohol Prohibition wasn’t repealed because the behavior was approved of; it was repealed because the results of prohibition were less approved of than use of alcohol.

        this conduct is bad for all concerned, but 1) we want to do it anyway and 2) we don’t care about the harm and 3) we don’t have the will or the resolve or the guts to oppose it.

        How about: “this conduct can have negative consequences, but, due to our limited resources, banning it causes more negative consequences than not banning it.”

        That’s the argument I see. You can argue against that argument, but your misrepresentations are not cool.

        • What can I say? You’re wrong, I’m right. Prohibition was not on point: a long-time legal activity was briefly declared illegal, and and then after a relatively short period reverted to the original state. Message: “Oops! That was a mistake!” Drug legalization means taking a long-time illegal substance, and legalizing it (Message: “We were wrong all along, we’ve learned to Love DRUGS, it’s fine, go get stoned.”) It’s the opposite of the process in Prohibition. In one we returned to the status quo, in the other, we are rejecting it.

          • So the repeal of prohibition was “Oops! That was a mistake! We’ve learned to Love ALCOHOL, it’s fine, go get drunk.” or “Oops! We still don’t like this behavior, but we found out our remedy was worse than the disease!”

            Either way I’ll eviscerate you. If you deny that those are the options, then you lose your consistency card in reference to prohibition and drug laws.

            In one we returned to the status quo, in the other, we are rejecting it.

            In one, we had a quick reactionary response, while in this othercase, our continuation of the policies against reason shows just how much we don’t like this.

            • You’re just being obstinate. There is a clear and obvious difference between legalizing what society has always disapproved of, and reversing a short term prohibition against conduct embedded in the culture. It was “Oops! We made a mistake! The votes were in, the die was cast, the horse had left the stable, the fat lady had sung. It was too late to reverse ourselves on this issue.”

              You know it wasn’t a quick reactionary response. Prohibition was a reaction building for a long time against a liquor centered economy, social system and culture, which led to violence, crime and vagrancy far, far worse than anything seen since. You see, Prohibition worked, to the extent that liquor abuse never returned to pre-Prohibition levels. A message was sent by the effort: the message of the repeal was also taken the right way. This wouldn’t be. The analogy is gambling, or abortion, not Prohibition.

              • Jack, you said: Prohibition worked, to the extent that liquor abuse never returned to pre-Prohibition levels.”

                After very careful examination of the evidence, most people would reach the conclusion that alcohol consumption actually increased during prohibition. If you believe otherwise, then how do you explain the following testimony given before the Senate Hearings of 1926 from WALTER E. EDGE, a Senator from New Jersey:

                “Any law that brings in its wake such wide corruption in the public service, increased alcoholic insanity, and deaths, increased arrests for drunkenness, home barrooms, and development among young boys and young women of the use of the flask never heard of before prohibition can not be successfully defended.”

                Or the testimony of Julien Codman who was a member of the Massachusetts bar:

                ” ..it has been a pitiable failure; that it as failed to prevent drinking; that it has failed to decrease crime; that, as a matter of fact, it has increased both; that it has promoted bootlegging and smuggling to an extent never known before”

                • It’s easy to win an argument when you intentionally distort what was said. After Prohibition, liquor abuse and dependency, both personal and economic, never approached pre-Prohibition levels. Prohibition levels were not part of my statement.

  3. If I must wear a LABEL, make it “legalization advocate”. However, I am NOT any of the following: (1) a college student; (2) a person whose needs are met by others; (3) an illegal drug user; (4) a neglectful or abusive parent; (5) etc. etc. etc. all the other “like thats”.

    But AM (1) fully employed 40 hrs/week; (2) 79 years old; (3) a tax-paying, voting, responsible citizen; (4) etc.etc.etc.

    Too many unsupported stereotypes of what legalization advocates are “like”.

    Too many unsupported assumptions that legalization advocates all advocate the same. We don’t. Nor do we pretend to have all the answers. But we all probably agree on this: the “War On Drugs” is a systemic failure, and needs to be replaced with some more well-thought-out policy.

  4. I think Michael left out at least one category—“detached” with no real stake in the issue.

    The argument that anti-drug efforts have failed is conventional wisdom that is simplistic and dubious at best. How do you feel about the arguments that Obama’s stimulus package staved off a depression? It didn’t achieve what was promised, but would things be worse without it? Sure. The question is whether we got enough bang for the buck. Whether that makes it a failure is matter of expectations. I keep reading where tons of coke has been seized—well, that’s success in my book. So is every drug smuggler jailed.

    You aren’t in this category, but many of the Commenters are—they have been singing the praises of drugs since the Sixties, declaring it cool, and by their advocacy and the fact that they are respectable citizens making these claims have encouraged increasing disrespect for the law and defiance, undermining law enforcement efforts. Then they say that the War on Drugs has failed, having done their level best to make it so. Their assessment is tainted.

    Yours is just mistaken.

      • Good, smart people come to flawed, unethical conclusions all the time. The correctness of a position is not determined by the quality of its advocates, but the quality of their reasoning. I am convinced that the reasoning of the pro-legalization advocates is naive, cynical, and wrong. Who the advocate is couldn’t matter less to me. A correct position uttered by an idiot is still correct.

  5. You know, there are drugs and there are drugs. It is my belief that anything I can grow, I have, by virtue of being a human resident of planet earth, the right to grow and use as I see fit. Synthesis gets into another realm. Senthesis, that comes up with chemicals like methaqualone and PCP should be, in my considerably informed view, highy regulated. All chemicals should be available to researchers however. LSD should be available by prescription, perhaps administered in a facility or by a trained person. marijuana should simply be legal to grow and use as should anything else that grows in nature including opiates, which are less harmful physically, taken in moderation and regularly that the over the counter pain killers such as tylenol. Coffee, tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, and other naturals should be up to me to decide to use or not use and no one should need any license to grow any plant or use any plant that grows on this world… no one has any business trying to control anyone’s use of plants… how absurd. The only time society has had drug problems are when government has decided to prohibit usage. Prohibition causes the problems.

  6. OH, and I might mention that I am a conservative voter… though I held my nose in 2008 while I campaigned for McCain (which I never imagined I would ever do) because Obama so repulsed me and still does. However, I believe in personal freedom. I am not and never will be a Ron Paul supporter. I have not decided who to support in 2012 (I have decided I cannot live with myself if I once again hold my nose and support some McCain like nominee like Romney). I just thought that since my views may fly in the face of the conservative norm… I should say a little about who I am, a middle of the road southern conservative voter who also believes in personal freedom and responsibiity. I am willing to, and do take responsibiity for my actions but I highly resent other people assuming authority over the legality of my personal private potential actions involving no one beside myself and any plant that God was pleased to give me as a man. I am 60 years old and fully understand the implications of what I do or don’t do. It is (or should be) my decision.

    • Sometimes nonsense is in the eye of the beholder. I think, for example that it is nonsensical to

      …argue that it would be beneficial to inflict another destructive legal drug or ten on top of the already deadly plagues of tobacco and alcohol
      …serious make the argument that because we are stuck with alcohol, we should try to protect against another social drug that may be equally destructive
      …to weep for those arrested for viuolating a law that they were aware of and that is hardly difficult to obey
      …to spend decades undermining anti-drug laws by pushing the intellectually indefensible argument that pot is harmless, then to criticize the laws because “they don’t work”
      …to argue that “education” and “treatment” is a viable alternative to punishment, when the schools can’t educate anyone, and when treatment has to be paid for by all the people who are responsible enough not to use drugs.
      …to pretend that legalization won’t be a catastrophe for children, the poor, and the most vulnerable in society,
      …to use medical marijuana as a Trojan horse for general legalization, when plenty of other drugs can accomplish the same medicinal effects
      —to pretend that the criminal exploitation of drug demand will be stemmed one iota by legalizing pot
      …to compare the U.S. culture in any way, shape or form to Switzerland, for God’s sake, with straight face
      —to do all of this so that people can get high, as if this conduct is necessary, productive,useful, helpful, creative, educational or virtuous, when it is not.

      • …argue that it would be beneficial to inflict another destructive legal drug or ten on top of the already deadly plagues of tobacco and alcohol

        Again, prohibition doesn’t eliminate the problems associated with substance abuse. It simply adds new problems. And again, particularly in the case of cannabis, we wouldn’t be ADDING to the destruction of alcohol and tobacco, we’d be providing an infinitely safer, legal ALTERNATIVE, thereby reducing the OVERALL harm associated with the use of recreational drugs. These points have all been addressed at great length by numerous commenters in the previous thread.

        …serious make the argument that because we are stuck with alcohol, we should try to protect against another social drug that may be equally destructive

        (See response above.)

        …to weep for those arrested for viuolating a law that they were aware of and that is hardly difficult to obey

        The law in question is unjust, absurd, and hypocritical. When Rosa Parks was ordered to give up her bus seat to make room for some white passengers, that command was also “hardly difficult to obey.” But you know what? I’m glad she didn’t. YOU may find it easy to cede your freedom over your body and your consciousness to the state, but that doesn’t mean that everyone does. And it certainly doesn’t mean that we SHOULD.

        …to spend decades undermining anti-drug laws by pushing the intellectually indefensible argument that pot is harmless, then to criticize the laws because “they don’t work”

        The question is not whether cannabis is “harmless” (few things in this world are). The question is not even whether its benefits outweigh its risks. The question is who decides in a free society: adult citizens individually for themselves or the state for everyone?

        …to argue that “education” and “treatment” is a viable alternative to punishment, when the schools can’t educate anyone, and when treatment has to be paid for by all the people who are responsible enough not to use drugs.

        The schools can’t educate anyone? Huh? Again, we’ve reduced the number of adults who smoke cigarettes in this country dramatically over the last 40 years and we’ve done so primarily through EDUCATION. And if you’re concerned that treatment will be paid for by those who are “responsible enough not to use drugs,” who do you think pays for enforcement NOW? The fact is that treatment and education (unlike incarceration) COULD be paid for by taxes on legal, regulated drugs — in other words, by the “drug users” themselves.

        …to pretend that legalization won’t be a catastrophe for children, the poor, and the most vulnerable in society,

        PROHIBITION has been a “catastrophe for children, the poor, and the most vulnerable in society.” And if the sky really does fall when we finally legalize drugs, presumably people will recognize that and be clamoring for a return to prohibition, right? Plus, you’ll get the satisfaction of being able to say “I told you so.”

        …to use medical marijuana as a Trojan horse for general legalization, when plenty of other drugs can accomplish the same medicinal effects

        Some people in the medical cannabis movement care only about patients. Some in the “movement” only want to use medical cannabis as a “Trojan horse” for full legalization, anticipating a slippery slope. (Of course, the reason that slope is proving so slippery is because the drug warriors were never on firm ground to begin with.) And some have mixed motives. Frankly, none of that matters to me. The fact is that cannabis has some pretty amazing medical uses. (It also has some pretty amazing recreational uses.) And the claim that there are “plenty of other drugs [that] can accomplish the same medicinal effects” is simply not correct. For certain conditions, and for certain patients, there simply is no substitute. And many of the “substitutes” that are available have dangerous or unpleasant side effects that make them an inferior choice. (There are VERY FEW drugs with a safety profile that can compare to that of cannabis. There’s a reason that former DEA Judge Francis Young called it “one of the safest therapeutically active substances known to man.”) Why not let adults decide for themselves after consultation with their doctors?

        —to pretend that the criminal exploitation of drug demand will be stemmed one iota by legalizing pot

        That’s just silly. Not “one iota”? Really? Do you buy your alcohol or tobacco products (or your organic produce for that matter) from the Mexican cartels or a neighborhood drug gang? Run a google image search for “U.S. homicide rate graph” (not all together in quotes). Take a look at the murder rate before, after, and during alcohol prohibition (1919-1933).

        …to compare the U.S. culture in any way, shape or form to Switzerland, for God’s sake, with straight face

        Geez, we’re talking about the Swiss, not Martians. I’m pretty sure the Swiss are also a carbon-based lifeform, have 46 chromosomes, give birth to live young that they breastfeed, etc. The argument that we CAN’T make comparisons to the Swiss or learn from their experience is what’s silly.

        —to do all of this so that people can get high, as if this conduct is necessary, productive,useful, helpful, creative, educational or virtuous, when it is not.

        Again, making it easier for people to “get high” is hardly the ONLY reason to favor drug policy reform (although it’s a perfectly legitimate one). Do you think that’s Neill Franklin’s motivation? Many, many commenters have explained — at great length — the destructive effects of prohibition.

        • 1. I like the way you guys keep using the term “prohibition” to make the invalid equivalency with liquor prohibition and to take the stigma out of “illegal drugs.”
          2. Making a harmful act illegal does address the problem, and also helps identify the people who have no respect for laws and put their own pleasure above society’s welfare. Good to know.
          3.”These points have all been addressed at great length by numerous commenters in the previous thread.” Yup—ant they are all a fanciful, bootstrapping, self-serving theory that will only be proven wrong after all the damage has been done and the genie is out of the bottle.
          4. PLEASE. Comparing segregation and discrimination, core human rights violations, with laws that prohibit arrested adolescent from lighting up and getting stupid because they get bored reading books, having sex and thinking is an insult to the Civil Rights movement and human thought. The next comment that includes that fatuous comparison gets deleted.
          5. Laws are an expression of the culture and collective wisdom, of which such dicussions as these are a part. This isn’t Stalinist Russia. “The state” reflects societal wisdom.
          6. Alcohol consumption has shown little improvement from “education and treatment”…in fact, treatment almost always fails. What has mad a difference with cigarettes is social disapproval and stigma (like what the pro-drug crowd works to undermine), and media messages (smoking cigarettes on TV and movies is taboo, but showing actors getting high is “cute”). School? No impact at all, just like in math and science. And everyone who smoked knew it was dangerous and addictive 70 years ago!!! Your history is completely fanciful.

          7.”Prohibition” was eliminated by a Constitutional amendment in the Thirties. I’m also not reading any more word game euphemisms. Odd that anti-drug laws worked just fine until the Sixties, when arrogant rich kids and college professors started telling everyone drugs were cool. It wasn’t the laws…it was the law breakers and the cultural corruptors. It usually is.
          8. “pretty amazing recreational uses.” What are you, 16?
          9. Organized crime will always have something to sell—it we allow some pot, it will be the pot we ban as too strong. Or coke. Or something else. Your constant one-note return to AL Capone shows a lack of any historical perspective or desperation. Different place, different drug, different context different laws, different culture, different economy. Otherwise, a perfect analogy.
          10. Switzerland is a small, European, culturally homogenous, peaceful, no-violent, non-dynamic, non-neurotic, country that has about as much in common with the US as Togo or Fiji. I know this comes as a shock, but the US is substantially unique, which accounts for both its triumphs and difficulties.

          Glad to know you came through Christmas OK and smoking all the mistletoe wore off for you.

          • Well, Jack, I think we’ve both laid out our respective positions. It doesn’t look like either of us is going to be able to change the other’s mind anytime soon. But I haven’t given up hope for you, buddy. 🙂 I do want to respond quickly to one point you raised though since I don’t think it’s been covered in the previous comments — and it’s an objection I hear a lot to the argument that cannabis legalization would reduce crime.

            Organized crime will always have something to sell–i[f] we allow some pot, it will be the pot we ban as too strong. Or coke. Or something else. Your constant one-note return to AL Capone shows a lack of historical perspective or desperation. Different place, different drug, different context, different laws, different culture, different economy. Otherwise,a perfect analogy.

            I think I’ve explained how prohibition er… (sorry, what’s your preferred term?) , anyways, I’ve explained how THAT fuels violence by driving the market for certain drugs underground, rendering contracts unenforceable, etc. Obviously, ending cannabis… obviously, legalizing cannabis (or even all drugs) wouldn’t eliminate organized crime. But it would deprive them of THE primary source of their profits and hence power (after all, there’s a reason we call them “drug cartels”) and it would eliminate the structural incentives that fuel violence in the (non-alcohol, non-tobacco) drug trade. (And again, cannabis is BY FAR the most popular illicit drug.) Arguing that the cartels wouldn’t be hurt by legalization because they would simply refocus on other drugs (or other crimes) is economically illiterate. It’s like arguing that McDonald’s stock price wouldn’t fall if they couldn’t sell burgers and fries anymore. (After all, they could always “refocus” on their salads and coffees.) And the fact is that ACTUAL crimes like extortion or kidnapping (you know, the kind with victims) are HARD. And they’re hard precisely BECAUSE there are victims. Victims have a tendency to resist being victimized, sometimes violently. And victims have an incentive to call the police, report the crime, and cooperate with the investigation. In contrast, victimless crimes (or, if you insist, “self-victim crimes”) like selling illicit drugs are EASY because they don’t produce complaining witnesses. You’re selling a product to a willing buyer in a consensual exchange. Instead of producing victims, it produces satisfied customers. Instead of calling the cops, they’re more likely to call their friends to refer you more business!

            Glad to know you came through Christmas OK and smoking all the mistletoe wore off for you.

            Yikes, I wouldn’t recommend that. I couldn’t find any information about smoking mistletoe, but I did come across this: “Eating any part of the [mistletoe] plant (particularly the leaves or berries) or drinking a tea from the plant can result in sickness and possibly death. Unlike the holiday poinsettia, which has a bad reputation yet probably won’t do more than make you feel sick if you eat it, mistletoe ingestion warrants a call to Poison Control and immediate medical attention.” Oh I see, you were making a reference to my affinity for cannabis. Well of course I came through THAT ok and its effects wore off. Cannabis is, after all, non-toxic (unlike, apparently, mistletoe) and its psychoactive effects are temporary. Unfortunately, not everyone was so lucky. If we assume Christmas was just an average day in terms of alcohol-related deaths, then approximately 205 Americans died this past Sunday as a result of alcohol abuse. It’s too bad they didn’t at least have the option of a safer, legal alternative. (And if we assume that Christmas was an average day in terms of arrests for cannabis possession, approximately 2054 Americans got a trip downtown as one of their Christmas presents.) But hey, at least we’re using our laws to communicate our um… “societal wisdom.”

          • There’s no other word for it, Jack!

            Due to Prohibition, far more people end up in prison or jail than would normally be the case. Apart from the fact that those extra prisoners are not then contributing economically to society, it also costs 50,000 dollars per annum to incarcerate them. Additionally their families often go on government assistance, and it’s again the average tax payer who has to pick up the bill. Their kids may be taken into care or raised by foster parents, again with tax payer money. Now add to all this the court costs, jail costs, and the salaries of all those people that have to deal with the enforcement of prohibition, like police officers, judges and public defenders and you’ll start to get a fair idea of why “Black Thursday”, October 24, 1929 happened during the period of another of our great experiments – Alcohol Prohibition.

            * The United States has the highest incarceration rate in the world.
            * 743 adults incarcerated per 100,000 population at year-end 2009.
            * 2,292,133 adults were incarcerated federal and state prisons, and county jails at year-end 2009, that’s approx. 1% of US adults.
            * Additionally, 4,933,667 adults at year-end 2009 were on probation or parole.
            * In total, 7,225,800 adults were under correctional supervision (probation,parole, or incarcerated) in 2009 — about 3.1% of adults in the U.S. resident population.

            Prohibition has helped fill our Prisons and Jails to capacity. Violent criminals, murderers, rapists and child molesters are released early to create space for so called ‘drug offenders’. Half of court trial time and also a huge chunk of police officers time is pointlessly wasted. Enormous untaxed profits from illegal drugs fund multi-national criminal empires which bribe law enforcement authorities and spread corruption faster than a raging bush fire. Prohibition takes violent criminals and turns them into multi-billionaires whilst corrupting even entire countries, including our own. Our drug laws are also funding the Taliban and al-Qaeda whose illegal opium profits allow them to buy weapons and pay it’s fighters more than $300 a month, compared with the $14 paid to an Afghan policemen.

            It’s quite possible, that many of the early Prohibitionists did not intend to kill hundreds of thousands worldwide or put 1 in every 30 American adults under supervision of the correctional system. But similar to Alcohol Prohibition in the 1920s, Drug Prohibition has given us rampant corruption, off the scale criminality, a bust economy and mass unemployment. On top of all this, it has gifted us the planet’s highest incarceration rate, a civil war in Mexico, an un-winnable war in Afghanistan and an even higher rate of drug-use (legal & illegal) than in all other countries, including those that have far more libertarian policies.

  7. The main paragraphs from the address of His Eminence, Cardinal Dougherty, the Archbishop of Philadelphia, to the Catholic societies of the Archdiocese on New Year’s Day 1931:
    “Having heard the report on behalf of the members of the Total Abstinence Society, it occurs to me to say that when the law prohibiting alcoholic drink was passed, many thought that there would be no further need for our temperance or total-abstinence societies. Hence the practice of giving a pledge against intoxicating liquors to boys and girls at Confirmation was discontinued. There seemed to be no need of it.”
    “But, unfortunately. Prohibition has not performed the miracles that were expected. According to experts, such as judges, public officials, social service workers, and others, there is as much, perhaps even more, drunkenness and intemperance today than before the passage of the Volstead Act.”
    “When in the past did we see young men and women of respectable families carrying a flask of liquor when going to social events? When did we see young girls, not yet of age, drinking in public, perhaps to excess, cocktails and the strongest kind of intoxicating liquors, and perhaps being overcome by them? That, today, is not an uncommon sight.” 

  8. prohibition­ has made all of these ‘at present illegal’ substances available in schools and even prisons. So how has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has also raised gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootleggin­g. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has creating a prison-for­-profit synergy with evil drug lords and terrorists. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has removed many of our cherished and important civil liberties. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has put many previously unknown and contaminate­d drugs on our streets. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has escalating Murder, Theft, Muggings and Burglaries­. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has overcrowd­ing the courts and prisons, thus making it increasing­ly impossible to curtail the people who are really hurting and terrorizing­ others. How has that helped our kids?

    Prohibition­ has evolved local street gangs into transnatio­nal enterprise­s with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling­ vast swaths of territory and with significant social and military resources at their disposal. How has that helped our kids?

  9. For anyone to claim that legalization of marijuana would not hurt the cartels is foolish,
    Until July of 2009,the FBI and the ONDCP reported that marijuana made 60% of the cartels money,,then when they realized that legalization would remove 60% of the cartels monies,they had Rand do a study that reduced the numbers given to congress just 2 months before and made it sound less effective to end banning marijuana.
    The government has built the entire justification for marijuana on lies and false science,science they control. I am just sorry Mr. Marshall that you bit hook,line and sinker.

    • I didn’t say it wouldn’t hurt the cartels. You go to the penalty box for triumphantly rebutting what I never wrote. I said that organized crime would find something else to peddle. It always does.

      • As yes, the “keep it illegal to give bad guys something to do” argument.

        Organized crime meets market demands, they do not play much of a role in creating markets.

        Cannabis is far and away the most popular illicit drug because of its attributes.

        What do you imagine organized crime peddling that they do not already peddle?

        What do you think organized crime could peddle that would be half as lucrative as cannabis?

    • It is impossible to argue rationally with you guys; you just keep shifting. Now it’s “false science”? People do still get stoned on the stuff, right? Or are you denying even that now? For decades you all liked studies that showed marijuana as harmless as soda water. THOSE were false studies. The drill is to keep using over-the-top silliness like “Reefer Madness” to characterize all concerns about the long and short term effects of heavy pot use. Dishonest, but effective….for a while.

      I like the stats showing that crime levels have fallen precipitously, with the War on Drugs. Of all the things the country’s doing badly, it seems that the criminal laws/law enforcement combo seems to be working better than it has in a while. That was not the case during Prohibition, you know.

      • After very carefully reviewing the evidence, the Canadian Supreme Court agreed with lower court findings of fact that cannabis is “relatively harmless” and “remarkably benign.” They found that *heavy* cannabis use may pose health risks to adolescents, pregnant women and those predisposed to psychosis, and upheld the constitutionality of cannabis prohibition on those grounds.

        However, how harmful cannabis is or is not isn’t really relevant to the real question; what is the optimal regulatory model of mitigating the harm cannabis causes?

        If cannabis were as addictive as tobacco, as impairing and criminogenic as alcohol, as carcinogenic as grilled hamburger, as perilous as contact sports, as demotivating as television and as toxic as table salt, it would make less sense to abdicate control of it to criminals and teenagers who sell drugs of unknown potency, purity and provenance, on commission, to anyone of any age, any time, anywhere, no questions asked. We have more control over cornflakes.

        Crime rates, like cannabis usage rates, rise and fall due to several factors, so we can not scientifically conclude that falling crime rates are a consequence of law enforcement without controlling for the other variables.

  10. THE TEN HARDEST ADDICTIVE DRUGS TO QUIT.

    Prof. Donald Nutt and his team at Imperial College, London, UK, did a study (http://thefix.com) on which addictive drugs were the most difficult to recover from. When he published results, he was relieved as UK’s chief advisor on drugs, apparently because his results did not fit the official dogma. But a German team replicated his study and reached the same conclusions. Here they are:

    (1) Heroin – no surprise there; (2) Crack Cocaine; (3) Nicotine; (4) Methadone; (5) Crystal Meth; (6) Alcohol; (7) Cocaine; (8) Amphetamines; (9) Benzodiazaphines – Valium, Xanax, etc.; (10) GHB.

    Despite the common wisdom, marijuana/cannabis did not make the Top Ten.

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