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We had a pretty interesting discussion the other day about Mexico and how large a part of the problem drugs are. Ever since, I've been curious about what the consensus would be on our current drug policy here on WSO. As if on cue, Harvard Econ prof Jeffrey Miron sat down with the TechTicker guys and laid out the case for full legalization:

So, where do you guys fall on this issue? I'm sure most of you know that I consider drug laws not only utterly ridiculous, but completely unconstitutional (not that what I think matters in the least). I'm interested to hear what you think.

If you think drugs should be legalized across the board, say so. If you think they should remain illegal, explain why. If you're in favor of some drugs being legal (pot, for example) but other drugs remaining illegal, tell us where you draw the line and why.

With California decriminalizing marijuana recently, I have a feeling we're on the cusp of a major shift in drug policy. Which way do you think it should go and why?

Comments (69)

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    There is some study that I read a few weeks ago that for every dollar of tax revenue the government would get from legalizing drugs, they would spend 5-7 on increased healthcare costs. This particular study didn't include the affect on law enforcement as relates to how many would lose their jobs, how much governments would save in law enforcement salary, equipment, insurance, etc. I would be interested to see a comprehensive study that, somehow, at least attempted to address these aspects of the issue.

    That being said, I personally think that the use of drugs shouldn't be wholly legal or illegal. I think one would have to admit the possibility that legalizing drugs would open the gates to a new portion of the population becoming addicted to drugs and using disproportionate amounts of their income towards their habit at the expense of other obligations. Realistically, I think the uptick in drug use would obviously lead to more needs in the form of addiction education and rehab facilities.

    After all that, to answer your question I would advocate for a step by step type process. Weed being first because I think we can all agree that pot has been proven to be fairly safe. Then move on to other drugs, substances, etc. I would also advocate for taxes on these things greater than or equal to the taxes on cigarettes.

    I do think that if California is able to legalize marijuana and do so successfully without far reaching effects on the population at large and use prop 19 to to raise huge tax revenue (especially in light of record deficits in that state) then there will be a massive push towards legalization on a macro level.

    Side note: If this happens I am going to put every fucking penny I have into Frito-Lay stock.

    Just my .02 cents

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    I have to take issue with the notion of legalizing for the express purpose of generating tax revenue. I hear the argument all over the place. In fact, it's a large part of the argument in favor in California right now. Look at all the tax money we can raise by making pot legal and then taxing the hell out of it.

    It amounts to a moral violation on par with making something that grows in the ground "illegal" in the first place. If you don't have the right to make something natural illegal, then you certainly don't have the right to tax it just because you suddenly pulled your head out of your ass.

    Are you taxed on the tomatoes you grow in your garden?

    I'm not saying commercially procured drugs shouldn't be subject to the same local sales tax that every other product incurs, but to level an additional unconstitutional tariff on a product that amounts to nothing more than a "sin" tax is ludicrous. And before you ask, yes, I feel the same way about excess taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

  • In reply to Edmundo Braverman
    happypantsmcgee's picture

    Edmundo Braverman wrote:
    I have to take issue with the notion of legalizing for the express purpose of generating tax revenue. I hear the argument all over the place. In fact, it's a large part of the argument in favor in California right now. Look at all the tax money we can raise by making pot legal and then taxing the hell out of it.

    It amounts to a moral violation on par with making something that grows in the ground "illegal" in the first place. If you don't have the right to make something natural illegal, then you certainly don't have the right to tax it just because you suddenly pulled your head out of your ass.

    Are you taxed on the tomatoes you grow in your garden?

    I'm not saying commercially procured drugs shouldn't be subject to the same local sales tax that every other product incurs, but to level an additional unconstitutional tariff on a product that amounts to nothing more than a "sin" tax is ludicrous. And before you ask, yes, I feel the same way about excess taxes on tobacco and alcohol.

    Valid point to be sure, but I would respond thusly. At what point does the 'fruit of the earth' argument no longer apply? Weed, yes, absolutely. You can walk outside, pick it up and smoke it (basically). I think one would also have to include mushrooms in that category as well. But what about Cocaine? Comes from a plant but requires more processing. Or opium? Then at the opposite end of the spectrum the ecstasy and LSD stuff. I think the sin tax is a fantastic point and, admittedly, not something I have really considered to this point. I do enjoy a good cigar at times as well as dip whenever I feel like I can get away with it so I am acutely aware of the tobacco tax

    Essentially what I am asking, since you are much more informed than myself on the issue, how would you draw the line so to speak on what would or wouldn't be legal?

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • Edmundo Braverman's picture

    Since no man has the natural right to tell any other man what he can and cannot ingest, nothing would be illegal. Let's not forget that the Declaration of Independence itself is written on hemp paper.

    Where the law enters is what happens if someone under the influence impedes the rights of or causes injury to others. We have well established (though not particularly well thought out) laws in place to deter driving around while fucked-in-half drunk, so the same would apply.

    I am much more in favor of a zero-tolerance DUI law (you blow even .01 and you go to jail for a year, do not pass Go, do not collect $200) than the current nebulous .08 policy that only benefits the cops, courts, and lawyers. In my perfect world, the law would apply equally to drug infractions.

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    We waste so much money a year on inmates in our prisons for petty drug crimes, we lose out on so much tax revenue from the illiegalization of marijuana, and we waste so much drug enforcement dollars on finding these thiefs for petty pot crimes, not to mention the war south of the border that will spill over into the US because of none other than weed. There is seriously so type of corruption going on in politics as to why marijuana is still not legal. They will wake up one day and realize how wrong they are about this, and it will truly become a free land.

    The reason marijuana is still illegal is because these huge pharma companies like Pfizer, Elli Lilly, and Merck would rather manipulate you into thinking you have depression/ADD/ADHD/Bi-Polar and force you to be psychologically dependent on the drugs they manufacture with obscene profit margins and little substitutes rather than give you lost cost marijuana which will cure the minor back pain, depression.

    Now, hardcore drugs are a whole different animal .I am from the south, and methamphetamine is a huge drug down here which can literally kill people in the process of manufacturing/recreational use. These hardcore drugs such as meth, cocaine and other opium derived products, extasy, can kill people. These drugs cause class warfare amongst the nation. The cause children to go unfed, families to lose savings and live on the streets collecting unemployment and other government benefits.

    Lastly, the medical cost to treating such drug addictions is astounding. There are hospitals that go bankrupt because they have to treat AIDS from syringe use, overdose, and other addictions which is taking so much of our taxpayers dollars for what? So some poor redneck can get high. It;s absurd

  • kimbo's picture

    This probably isn't a fair question and by no means directed at anyone...

    Say X years from now, you catch your kid (could be hs or college) doing heroin with friends. You confront him/her and the response is..."but dad, it's completely legal." What then?

  • In reply to kimbo
    Edmundo Braverman's picture

    kimbo wrote:
    Say X years from now, you catch your kid (could be hs or college) doing heroin with friends. You confront him/her and the response is..."but dad, it's completely legal." What then?

    It's definitely not to be taken lightly. I'm all in favor of age restrictions like we currently have (except that I would lower the drinking age to 18 yesterday - it's an absolute travesty that you can take a bullet for your country or put a fool in the White House but you can't go buy a beer).

    The truth is it's all in how you raise your kids. There are plenty of kids out there who don't smoke or drink because of the way they were raised. And the scenario of a high school kid doing heroin only speaks to the fallacy that prohibition works - if someone wants to do drugs, regardless of age or legality, they're going to do them.

  • vanillathunder12's picture

    I am in favor of taking steps to legalize drugs. I would start with marijuana and if that works well move to something a little higher up.

    Reasons: Millions of Americans smoke pot every day while it is illegal. If it is made legal, the cigarette companies would commercialize it, and the government can tax it like cigarettes/alcohol. The taxes, combined with hiring less prosecutors/judges/prision guards would save hundreds of millions of dollars for taxpayers.

    Also, while I am not a personal fan of marijuana, I have tried it and alcohol certainly impairs you more than weed. Alcohol is more addictive (pot is not physically addicting). I agree with Edmundo that you should not be driving while high.

    I come from a pretty diverse town (we had the super rich, the super poor, and everyone inbetween), and gangs have most of their revenues from selling pot. If it is legal then they cannot compete with Altria or Philip Morris. I think there would be a huge decline in gang activity around the country. I cannot stress this point enough.

  • Virginia Tech 4ever's picture

    While I support the full legalization of marijuana, the fact that the Netherlands is becoming more and more strict with its drug laws gives me pause. That nation at large has determined that un-restricted access to drugs and prostitution does not necessarily create the ideal quality of life. So I'm a little more reluctant to state matter-of-factly that full legalization of drugs is the best step.

  • jhoratio's picture

    Yay all the way. Prohibition is stupid. Why do we feel the need to keep proving this to ourselves?

  • CuriousCharacter's picture

    I would legalize everything. The reasons are too many to list; it's utterly ridiculous that these archaic laws still exist in a "free" country.

    I think it's pretty obvious that drugs should never have been made illegal in the first place. If alcohol prohibition is any indication, drug laws have realistically only encouraged the recreational use of narcotics, and the punishment handed down for drug crimes has done nothing to deter re-offenders. In other words drug legislation has been a failure.

    @happypantsmcgee I would really like to see that study. If it doesn't include the savings related to law enforcement activities than the point is moot. Who cares if it costs an extra 5 dollars in health care if it saves 10 in legal?

    @eyelikecheese you raise an interesting point with the pharmaceutical companies. Assuming drugs became legal, what kind of drugs would big pharma unleash? The things they kick out now, adderall, oxycontin etc., are simply derivatives of naturally occurring substances. If getting high became acceptable, what kind of terrible (awesome?) stuff could they cook up in the lab given free rein? Would Aldous Huxley's Soma become reality? Would that be a bad thing?

    @edmundo braverman I wholeheartedly agree with you that they should not legalize marijuana because of the tax incentives, however they wouldn't do it if it would COST the government money - Government always grows, it never shrinks.

  • In The Flesh's picture

    About the only thing I can agree on is legalization of marijuana for medical purposes. If it helps ease someone's pain, then by all means. AND reduce the drinking age to 18, or leave it up to the states to decide an appropriate age instead of coercing them by denying them highway funding if they refuse. It's one of the tiny handful of things where I disagreed with Reagan.

    However, I think it would be ridiculous to make the argument that if we legalize drugs, people won't abuse them anymore. Drugs are a huge issue that often gets swept under the rug. Legalizing hard drugs like cocaine/heroin would worsen the pain and suffering of families with drug abusers and make them available to a wider segment of the population. It's crazy. Do these academics seriously think about what they're proposing?

    And as for the argument that we could make tons of revenue by taxing legalized drugs--as we all know, both Congress and states like California are the gold standard for fiscal responsibility, right? It won't matter how much revenue they bring in; they'll STILL be in the red. Dumbasses.

    Metal. Music. Life. www.headofmetal.com

  • In reply to In The Flesh
    CuriousCharacter's picture

    Pfalzer wrote:

    However, I think it would be ridiculous to make the argument that if we legalize drugs, people won't abuse them anymore. Drugs are a huge issue that often gets swept under the rug. Legalizing hard drugs like cocaine/heroin would worsen the pain and suffering of families with drug abusers and make them available to a wider segment of the population. It's crazy. Do these academics seriously think about what they're proposing?

    I don't think anyone made the argument that by legalizing drugs we will stop abuse. The argument is harm reduction.

    The classic example is alcohol: When alcohol was made illegal, alcohol abuse actually increased, as did violent crime and incarceration. Today, alcohol is legal, and yes people still abuse it, however rival gangs aren't shooting each other over turf as the academic in the video so eloquently described.

    It's pretty obvious that drug prohibition failed in the same way that alcohol prohibition did.

  • spoonfork's picture

    Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001. After 5 years, incidents of death by overdose dropped by 25% and HIV infections dropped by 75%. None of the crazy predictions of societal collapse came true.

    @ kimbo -

    You explain to your son that right/wise and wrong/stupid are not defined by the legal system. You shouldn't have to think too long to come up with examples of morally reprehensible laws.

  • metalmoses's picture

    Full legalization of pot would be a positive step for the country.

    Pot is a nonfactor drug and is equilvalent to alcohol and should be treated with the same local regulation.

    Dont give it to kids, harsh fines for driving while under the influence

    I honestly dont think people that never touched drugs before will simply decide to try pot just because its illegal.

    There may be an increase in usage but the US will be no more worse off.

    I never understood the idea that even in America you are not allowed to put a substance in your body.

    I think full legalization would be an extension of freedom in the United States.

  • kimbo's picture

    Edmundo,

    I completely agree with you, it's all about how you raise your kids. However, when it comes to drugs, I just don't have faith in the youth of America (on a national scale). If parenting was so great, we wouldn't have as many problems as we do now with regards to drugs, gang violence, and the like. I'm not preaching a socialist agenda here, all I'm saying is that when it comes to drugs, drawing that line is going to be very difficult.

    Over the last five years, I know of five people who've overdosed on heroin (friend's little brother and teens in near by high schools). It's so sad, I've even seen billboards from parents discouraging the use of black tar heroin because their kid died from it. You might be wondering WTF is going on and believe me, so was I as this is in the northern burbs of Chicago. Drugs are becoming a big problem in high school these days and I'm not just talking about weed.

    You are also correct in that if someone wanted to do drugs, regardless of age or legality, they'll do them. My argument is that drugs being illegal serve as an added deterrant. Not only do you have to worry about the harmful effects of drugs on the body/brain, but you also have to worry about going to jail and how it's going to affect your life, family, career, etc. If you conclude that you're okay with taking those risks, you are obviously going to do them anyway so go for it. I guess I'm just not a fan of making it easier for everyone to buy and use drugs, I believe moral hazard plays a role.

    Please note that my view applies to the hardcore drugs, I haven't formed an opinoin on marijuana. Perhaps in a different post....

    vanillathunder12 : "I think there would be a huge decline in gang activity around the country. I cannot stress this point enough."

    ^ If they can't sell marijuana, they'll sell cocaine. If not that then something else. I just cant seem to buy that argument.

  • Bi-Winning's picture

    For the lolz... "I thought you were an investment banker..."

    On topic:

    I win here, I win there...

  • ke18sb's picture

    I am not for drug legalization, not even marijuana (except for medical purposes). I would also like to note that I have done more than my fair share of drugs, so to me its not a moral issue or being against drug usage. I like drugs and have fun with them.

    That being said, I do not have faith in my fellow American to use drugs responsibly. They way the system currently works is that you gotta go out of your way to do drugs. I like that. There is a taboo to drugs which acts as a natural deterrent for many. Let's face it drugs, whether you are looking at an underachiever stoner or a full blown meth head, have the great ability to ruin lives. Currently, this only effects those of which are bold enough to break to social taboos and use drugs. However, I feel if drugs were legal more people would get sucked into usage and more lives would be ruined. Could you even imagine the marketing that would go into the billion dollar industry, think of the beer commercials or tobacco print advertisements but for acid, shrooms, cocaine...just the thought is scary enough. Or what about investors who's primary concern in an ROI and thus want to insure their clients are addicted regardless of the negative side effects. Remember fellow WSOs not everyone has the same logic and intelligence that we do and don't know when to say when. If that means that I gotta go out of my way to buy something so be it, I'd rather myself be inconvenienced than every dipshit out there using.

    I also do not like the alcohol prohibition analogy. Alcohol had been a common place in society for hundreds if not thousands of years. It's consumed at social gathers and taken with meals. It is widely used and part of our social fabric. Prohibition was a means to buck society as a whole. Drug usage never has nor never will be as common place. Nor was drug usage ever legal. Its not a right that was temporarily taken away. The analogy does not hold.

    I also do not like the constitution was printed on hemp argument. For starters hemp used as rope and textile does not equate to smoking weed. Second, there is a huge difference between natural marijuana and hydroponic super strains of weed. As someone that has smoked some of the dankest weed as well as some of the shittiest I can attest, they aren't even in the same stratosphere. It would be as if someone invented an alcohol a thousand time more potent than the rum drank in colonial times and try to claim them as equals, both just rum.

    I'm not naive to the fact that the whole war on drugs thing is a colossal waste of money. I also think that imprisoning people for petty drug infractions is not the way to go. You can't merely try to kill a market but cutting off the supply, especially if there is such a great demand. There are probably much better things we can do improve the drug problem in America. Restructuring the laws to eliminate prison time for limited drug position/sale would create a tremendous amount of tax saving. Maybe the way to go is to give very large fines for low end drug dealers instead of jail time. Increase revenue while decreasing expenses. I'm sure we could be creative and create a better system if we all thought long and hard about it.

    Basically, it's clear the current systems needs reform. However, full blown legalization is not the answer.

  • Midas Mulligan Magoo's picture

    Nay.

    Saying that legalization of drugs will lower crime is like saying that eliminating prop trading will prevent another crash. It's good that many of you guys have never come into contact with a real drug dealer (no your boy that had those dimes in college doesn't count), because the notion that legalization would somehow alleviate this issue is laughable.

    As far as the economic side of the coin, if you think smoking a J after work would help your life out overall, maybe it would. I'm of the opinion that the mountain of lazy shitbags we have in this country would turn into a full blown range and that if we are apathetic and weak now, the man tit booster effect legalization would have on our society would be equivalent to a longer term depression than we've ever experienced (economically and psychologically).

    I don't have the time or interest to go into detail. All I will say is that as a guy who has too much experience with about ten different sides of this issue...no good can come of it.

    I'm not saying the system is good right now, but legalization would make it worse. Decrim is cool for weed to some extent, but the stigma associated with pot smoking is actually an overall benefit for the U.S.

  • eokpar02's picture

    Legalize and regulate all "drugs". All the supposed "arguments" against the legalization of drugs were made against and can be made against alcohol. Should we go to prohibition and bust people's doors down because they are drinking?

    The federal government has no right to tell people what they can consume UNLESS there is some demonstrated harm that is unquestionable. This standard existed for the prohibition of alcohol but has never existed for marijuana or : 85 thousand people last year died from the consumption of alcohol but NO ONE died from consuming marijuana last year.

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • SAC's picture

    I don't trust Americans to exercise enough self-control in their usage of drugs. So no, I'm not in favor of legalization.

  • In reply to Midas Mulligan Magoo
    eokpar02's picture

    Midas Mulligan Magoo wrote:
    Nay.

    Saying that legalization of drugs will lower crime is like saying that eliminating prop trading will prevent another crash. It's good that many of you guys have never come into contact with a real drug dealer (no your boy that had those dimes in college doesn't count), because the notion that legalization would somehow alleviate this issue is laughable.

    Why did the end of prohibition reduce crime?

    It is more than obvious that crime will go down. The federal government is essentially saying "nananana" as it closes its eyes and ears and pretends that its prohibition of drugs will prevent unscrupulous people from reaping the massive rewards from the drug trade.

    The federal government is driving up the price while doing nothing to reduce demand; for example, more than half of all college aged adults smoked marijuana last year. This may push normal, middle class people out and away from the market, but will do nothing to drive those who don't care about incarceration or those who are willing to kill or maim. Legalization will drive down the price and thus reduce the incentive for maiming or killing others. Thus, crime would drop.

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • In reply to SAC
    eokpar02's picture

    <a href="http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital" rel="nofollow">SAC</a> wrote:
    I don't trust Americans to exercise enough self-control in their usage of drugs. So no, I'm not in favor of legalization.

    So we should ban alcohol, right? And to extrapolate, we should ban prescription drug usage, right?

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • In reply to ke18sb
    eokpar02's picture

    ke18sb wrote:

    I also do not like the alcohol prohibition analogy. Alcohol had been a common place in society for hundreds if not thousands of years. It's consumed at social gathers and taken with meals. It is widely used and part of our social fabric. Prohibition was a means to buck society as a whole. Drug usage never has nor never will be as common place. Nor was drug usage ever legal. Its not a right that was temporarily taken away. The analogy does not hold.

    Lies. Marijuana and heroine were smoked by people in North America before there even was an America.

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • liberty's picture

    I'm absolutely for the legalization of all drugs, and while we're at it, prostitution.
    No one has the right to tell you what you can or cannot do to yourself (so long as it's not affecting the rights of others etc.), especially not the federal government. If you want to become a meth addict, sucks for your health, but hey, your right to do it.
    As for all the lazy asses turning completely useless... those who don't contribute when they can shouldn't be getting any rewards for it anyway.

    "I don't know how else to put this, but... we're over." "Okay. I disagree."

  • In reply to Midas Mulligan Magoo
    surferdude867's picture

    Midas Mulligan Magoo wrote:
    Nay.

    Saying that legalization of drugs will lower crime is like saying that eliminating prop trading will prevent another crash. It's good that many of you guys have never come into contact with a real drug dealer (no your boy that had those dimes in college doesn't count), because the notion that legalization would somehow alleviate this issue is laughable.

    As far as the economic side of the coin, if you think smoking a J after work would help your life out overall, maybe it would. I'm of the opinion that the mountain of lazy shitbags we have in this country would turn into a full blown range and that if we are apathetic and weak now, the man tit booster effect legalization would have on our society would be equivalent to a longer term depression than we've ever experienced (economically and psychologically).

    I don't have the time or interest to go into detail. All I will say is that as a guy who has too much experience with about ten different sides of this issue...no good can come of it.

    I'm not saying the system is good right now, but legalization would make it worse. Decrim is cool for weed to some extent, but the stigma associated with pot smoking is actually an overall benefit for the U.S.

    Your analogy regarding drug dealing and prop trading is way off. Here is a more accurate one: Saying legalizing drugs would eliminate drug related crime is like saying eliminating high frequency trading would eliminate high frequency trading related market crashes. Makes sense doesn't it?

    I've had more than my fair share of experience with "real" drug dealers and legalizing drugs would go a long way to preventing this type of person from succeeding in the criminal underworld. Your typical mid to low level drug dealer is lazy and undereducated but very clever. They see drugs as a way to make a substantial amount of money for very little effort and they are correct. Take away this ability and they've got nowhere left to go. Violent crime provides nowhere near the economic incentive and complex financial crimes requires a level of sophistication that these people do not possess and never will. What's left is small time fraud which is much easier to track and less harmful to society as a whole.

    As far as the argument that productivity will tumble goes, I just don't see it. People who are getting high are gonna get high anyways, may as well let them. Let the money users spend flow to an educated person who fills a demand, rather than a scumbag drug dealer who's pushing misery.

  • Frieds's picture

    Let me appoligize now, as I know I will sound like a shill, but I had to do a major policy debate on this subject while in college. I think I am also the only one to weigh in on more than just weed as a drug...

    I will be the first to admit that I draw the line at marijuana and outright believe that there should be a higher degree of regulation for prescriptions in addition to stiffer penalties for other drugs.

    Lets focus in on Weed since it is the most prevelant and pervasive illegal drug in the world. Pot is the ultimate gate way drug, or so the advertisments say, yet it also makes the most sense to legalize it. I will hark on the tax issue, but I want to point out a few things that haven't been said about Pot.

    For starters, Pot is viewed as the only thing that arises from the genus C. Cannabis. Not quite true. The Government tends to forget that Weed, traditionally an unpollinated female strain of Cannabis, is closely related to Hemp, traditionally the male Cannabis Sativa plant, a plant that can provide more than just a drug.

    There is a whole enterprise that can be created from growing hemp, from textile applications (Did you know that Hemp has one of the highest tensile strengths of natural fibers?) to biofuels. Edmundo, you already pointed out that the the Declaration of Independence was written on Hemp.

    By legalizing marijuana, the government will, ipso facto, be forced to accept that industrial hemp can now be grown freely. By legalizing weed, the government will allow for the creation new sources for industrial revenue and can slowly move away from more antiquated practices, like logging for the production of paper and work to break up the monopoly that companies like ADM have on the biodiesel game as Hemp can be used to create a cheaper, more viable alternative substitute. The beauty of Hempanol is that is, from a chemical perspective, much easier to break down than other comparable biomass used. Hell, scientists even think that hemp can be used as a "mop plant", in that it can be used to help decontaminate and purify water and soil. Scientists have been working on this one for a while, testing out whether hemp or other plants can absorb up nutrients from the contaminated soil in order to reduce the contamination in parts of Australia and in Chernobyl. If this is actually a viable method of purifcation and reclaimation, then who knows what kind of benefits that hemp, or other plants for that matter, could have for our own cleanup issues. I've attached a link if anyone's interested: http://www.mhhe.com/biosci/pae/botany/botany_map/a...

    Besides rope, fuel and paper, there are numerous other uses for hemp. Industrial hemp can be used for the growth of milled hemp seed. Hemp seed has the similar effects to flax seed, chia seed, in that it is a good source of healthy oils, esential amino acids, Omega-3 and Omega-6, and other nutrients that help the body. Hemp seed does not contain any Delta-9-THC or similar cannabinoids, so it does not make you high.

    Hemp can also be used to make clothing, either by itself, or by using a hemp/cotton blend. How about another intresting hemp fact, the fabric that we call canvas was called such because of was originally made from hemp producing Cannabis. By cultivating hemp and either weaving it alone or blending it with cotton or another fiber, it will be possible to try and restart our the domestic textiles industry with a low cost material that could be competative with cotton.

    Enough with the hemp and on to the drug itself. Pot is, without a doubt, the most useful of all of the illegal drugs on the market. Weed, in plant form, is more effective than Marinol, a syntheticly produced Delta-9-THC compound prescribed for the same issues as medicinal weed. From a chemical perspective, it is impossible to recreate what makes Delta-9-THC effective on a molecular level even though science has synthesized a chemical replica. Without the exact spin, degree and force acted upon it, Marinol is only a second rate solution to non-addictive easement of pain. There is a whole slew of treatments that weed is used for. Legalizing this would cause people to self-medicate, however, given the non-addictive nature of weed, it will be easier to transition on and off without a high degree of difficulty.

    Another interesting use for weed is for its protective properties after a night of heavy drinking. According to UCSD, weed can help reduce the damage done by heavy drinking. This is surprising news considiering all of the ills that people say about pot. http://myhealth.ucsd.edu/healthnews/healthday/0908...

    Looking at the supposed abuse factor; weed is the most jailed for drug in the US. Possession often comes at a steep price in many states and there are an abundance of non-violent offenders in jail because of position of marijuanna. Legalizing weed would cause a major reduction in our prison community by taking out offenders who got screwed because of their posession of a beneign plant. Of those not in jail and smoking pot, there are no reports of fatalities or death from overdose on weed alone. It's a fairly sedentary drug and does not have an addictive impedement that might interfere with your ability to function on a daily basis.

    How often do you hear about a guy robbing a place for money to buy weed? How often do you hear about a weed induced rampage? You never do. The fact is, it's an extremely easy drug to target due to the requirements for growing and is much easier to wage a war on than other substances, especially when you can track growth based around both sight and heat signature.

    Personally, I believe that special interests is the reason why pot is currently illegal. Hemp is illegal because of special interest involvement in industries where it is a more effective material. Marijuana is mislabeled as a Schedule 1 drug, drugs that are outright illegal, because Nixon was influenced by special interests to do so. Scheduule 1 is govorned by three principles:

    1) The substance in question has a high potential for abuse;
    2) The substance in question has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States;
    3) There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

    Anyone care to guess where Cocaine, Opium, Oxycodone, Adderal and Methamphetamines fall? If you said Schedule 1, you'd be wrong. They are schedule 2, meaning that, in lieu of their lack of accepted medical use for treatment, they have supposedly strict guidelines as to how they can be used and prescribed. Coke is used for vasoconstriction in Rhinoplasty and similar surgeries, although there are more effective substitutes in use. Opium and its derivatives are used for analgesic pain management despite the extremely high potential for abuse. Why Meth is on that list is beyond me (I was shocked when I didn't see it on the Schedule 1 list), but amphetamine salts are limited to being an extremely potent CNS stimulant with a high potential for addiction.

    The fact is, legalizing marijuana will reduce part of the burden incurred by the state and government, from reducing the prision population to the creation of new hemp based industries. There are also the tax incentives. As much as I don't necessarily think its a great thing, have marijuana be governed by the DEA and apply a sin tax to it in order to see a higher degree of conrol and some income coming from it. There are more benefits to it from a social, medical and industrial perspective than we are accepting.

    The reason I draw the line at pot is due to having seen the effects of hard drugs in action, and the destruction they cause. I saw a fraternity brother go through a coke spiral, even taking something of mine that he thought he could pawn, just to feed his fix. I had a high school friend that OD'd on Oxycontin and was placed in an anethsia induced coma. I found out that one at my parents 25th Wedding Aniversery when the anesthesiologist that put him under asked if I knew the guy. I witnessed 3 friends fall into heroin addiction, seen them recover and then relapse, and have been keeping one on the straight and narrow for the last year and a half after he decided he was done outright and wanted to get clean (and yes, in order to really recover, you need to make the concious decision to do it because you want to do it).

    You hear all the time about celebrity abuse of these substances in connection with their deaths and it does nothing to phase lawmakers into putting out tougher legislation to control substances that are so addictive. The higher the potential for abuse and addiction, the more it should be regulated if they are prrescription, or targeted if they are outright illegal. We are morally fine with assuming that because a doctor can prescribe a powerful drug, it's okay, regardless of the effects, yet we support prohibition of a plant that can do more good than harm. Simply put, more harm arises from hard drugs than it does from weed.

    The only positive thing I can say about legalizing everything, oddly enough, is from a purity standpoint. This is something that no one has mentioned yet. Most drugs are not pure and can be adulterated with god knows what. While I am awre that it is possible to lace weed with other things, it takes a higher degree of effort to do so than it does to lace other subtances during the cutting process. By legalizing everything, it forces the government to ensure that an extremely high degree of purity is met without being adulterated by substances that, in combination with certain cutting agents, can cause even more irreperable damage. Any white powder that you can use to cut a drug with adulterates with the potential for extremely bad results. I know of cases where Heroin has been cut with Fentanyl, another opiate, and produced disasterous results, as Fentanyl is about 20 times stronger than Heroin. The fact is, we don't know how many deaths are purely attributed to a non-pill substance because of the adulterant factor and how much substance abuse is attributed to that fact. I know it seems like an out their call; the purer the substance, the less is required to use. Again, this is the only arguement I can think of for it.

    There is the potential for abuse for all drugs. It doesn't matter whether or not you are talking weed, alcohol or something as beneign as food. People will abuse things, especially if they have that type of personality. It's just a matter of working to prevent abuse for substances that do the most harm and have the highest potential for abuse.

    @Spoonfork,

    That may be, but what was the initial effect and how much increased use, if any, occurred once they outright decriminalized all drugs? Ending Prohibition will cause an imediate increase in use across all groups, as it is now legal and they can try if they want. Use will eventually decline, but at what cost in the near term?

    @Edmundo,/Kimbo

    Quote:
    The truth is it's all in how you raise your kids. There are plenty of kids out there who don't smoke or drink because of the way they were raised. And the scenario of a high school kid doing heroin only speaks to the fallacy that prohibition works - if someone wants to do drugs, regardless of age or legality, they're going to do them.

    You hit the nail on the head. Alot of this is how we raise our children. If you are raised properly, then you can make rational decisions about whether or not you want to drink or try drugs. Parents cannot raise their children on either extreme because it creates a situation where they either rebel outright and do it because they were told against it or will have parents who will support their habbits because the child is so outright coddeled and never assumed to be wrong.

    I can't help but think of the Sweet Sixteen party for the girl that lived across the street from me. She was in my grade and threw a Sweet Sixteen with one other girl on the same night, so they had a massive party. The girls parents provided her and all of her close friends with alcohol to drink and the girl ended up getting taken out of her own party on a stretcher because of alcohol poisoning. The next weekend, the parents provided her and her friends more alcohol to drink despite the fact that they shouldn't. I have similar stories involving drugs to share as well.

    What bothers me is the nonchalant attitude that parents have over this stuff. That nonchalance is just as much of the problem as it is the child's decision to use. Honestly, I want to see those parents taken out back and beaten with a baseball bat.

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    ^^^^I like where you heads at. It's not against the law to give woman(or whatever you in to) money, and it's not against the law for a woman to sexually service another man.

    Just when you do these two acts in a close enough timeframe, that makes it illegal??

    This country is screwed up and this thread is exactly why

  • In reply to SAC
    spoonfork's picture

    <a href="http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital" rel="nofollow">SAC</a> wrote:
    I don't trust Americans to exercise enough self-control in their usage of drugs. So no, I'm not in favor of legalization.

    I don't trust the press to accurately report the news. So, no, I'm not in favor of freedom of the press.

    I mean...seriously?

  • In reply to eokpar02
    surferdude867's picture

    eokpar02 wrote:
    <a href="http://www.wallstreetoasis.com/company/sac-capital" rel="nofollow">SAC</a> wrote:
    I don't trust Americans to exercise enough self-control in their usage of drugs. So no, I'm not in favor of legalization.

    So we should ban alcohol, right? And to extrapolate, we should ban prescription drug usage, right?

    If I had any silver bananas you would get them all.

  • spoonfork's picture

    @ Frieds

    I'm not sure what happened immediately after they decriminalized. I wouldn't at all be surprised if there was a slight uptick in usage or experimentation. However, I would argue that the long term positive effects outweigh negative near term effects. Your example of prohibition is illustrative. Would you argue that the increase in drinking after the repeal of prohibition demonstrates that repealing it was not the correct thing to do?

  • Frieds's picture

    No, I would not argue that repealing prohibition was the incorrect thing to do, as Prohibition in the 20s was made more out of a moral decision than a political or socioidological one. I would argue that prohibition, in this case, caused more problems, most notably the rise in organized crime, than it solved, and repealing it was one of the few ways to start to rectify these adverse consequences. The increased uptick in drinking after prohibition was repealed may have been because of the repeal of the 18th Amendment, however I do not necessarily believe that it is the sole causal link. An alternate consideration would be that the uptick in drinking was caused by the Great Depression and not the repeal of the 18th Amendment. I humbly suggest this, as prohibition was not repealled until 1933, a whole three years into the depression.

  • levelworm's picture

    Let me conclude, you are too soft on criminals. It has nothing to do with the "Constitution", the so called Constitution can of course change with time. And you are too soft with people who don't care about themsleves. You paid lots of money just to heal someone who deliberately ingest some drug into his body and now you are crying about spending too much money healing those guys. Let me answer, leave them to be, leave them to whatever hole they wanna live. If you want the Constitution, this is it: Darwinism.

  • mr1234's picture

    Marijuana Economics:
    http://fora.tv/2009/07/30/Marijuana_Economics

    National Geographic's Drugs Inc.:
    http://channel.nationalgeographic.com/series/drugs...

    On crime: After prohibition, there were no more Al Capones, no more bootleggers, no more gangster bad guys. Drug cartels doesn't make money from distilling alcohol. Prohibition on marijuana creates and benefits drug dealers. Legalization would squeeze out the drug dealers because you bring marijuana into a more regulated environment. Right now, its easier for a kid to get weed off a drug dealer than it is to get alcohol from a liquor store, because at least the liquor store asks for ID.

    On addiction: Don't blame drugs for addiction. Blame dumb people. Its not coincidence that addicts have a tendency to have hard childhoods or they're just plain messed-up in the head. Besides, alcohol addiction eclipses drug addiction.

    On economics: Biggest benefit would be cutting down law enforcement resources that are dedicated to drug enforcement. Shrink the DEA and free up local police/sheriff depts. A new hemp industry would be a source of economic growth and job creation...and a new source for tax revenues. Marijuana legalization = Lower govt costs + New taxes.

    On medicinal purposes: Do you think its a coincidence that the drug companies have been spending millions in R&D dollars to develop a magic pill (Marinol) that mimics the effects of THC? No, its not. Marijuana has medicinal properties, pharma industry has figured this much out and now they are trying to profit from it. They cant patent a plant but they can patent some kind of pill that acts like a plant. Marinol is FDA approved.

    On health: I think something like 450k/yr die from nicotine related complications, about 100k/yr related to alcohol, 35k/yr form prescription drugs, 15k/yr from hard drugs, and (my favorite statistic) 0/yr from marijuana.

    On hard drugs: Obviously, they should be legalized for the same reasons as above.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • ibintx's picture

    Wow, this thread is popular.

    I made my opinion quite clear on the Mexico thread, but here's a summary.

    Yes, I think drugs should be legalized in some form, not bc of tax revenue, but bc of crime, mainly related to Mexican drug cartels. Legalize drugs and those cartels are out of business/money, and can no longer afford a war against the government. Anyone who needs further explanation of why this is necessary, check the Mexico thread.

    As I said before, the real questions should be WHICH drugs to legalize. Marijuana is a gimme-It's a large part of the cartels' business, and is less dangerous than even alcohol and tobacco.
    Other drugs are more worse. To answer this question, we would need more analysis of the dangers of the drugs and their popularity/how much cartel business they account for. If weed is legalized but not others, will the cartels be able to sustain their business by shifting to other drugs, or will demand be too low? The way I see it is that legalizing other drugs won't increase their usage much (assuming fair warnings of risk are given)-most people stay away from these drugs for safety and other reasons, not for fear of the law. Take salvia (basically a short-term hallucinogen)-not many people do it even though it's legal.

    So I propose a follow up question to those in favor of legalization: Which drugs do you legalize? Where do you stop?

  • ibintx's picture

    Ok, I just read through the other posts now that I put my opinion out there, and have a few responses:

    Spoonfork- That's a very interesting point about Portugal that I did not know. Definitely good support for the argument. Would be interested to see some facts about Amsterdam too..

    Metalmoses- Also very good points that I agree with. Pot is safe, but driving would have to be regulated.
    On that note, one obstacle I see for marijuana legalization is that there needs to be a test for it that shows recent use. Current tests detect pot from weeks past, when the influence is long gone. A test that checks for impairment would be needed to enforce driving rules, as well as rules at the workplace.
    Also, to those worried about everyone becoming lazy, the people that I know who smoke regularly can actually function pretty normally while high. Not saying driving or going to work high is ok, but still..

    Edmundo- (first of all congrats on your recent fame) I agree that there should be an age limit on any drugs legalized. Age limits and education programs should be very similar to alcohol now. As it is, some kids choose not to drink, at least not heavily. And most people know where to draw the line in terms of drinking too much.

  • In reply to ibintx
    mr1234's picture

    ibintx wrote:

    Other drugs are more worse.

    More worse how? More worse because cartels kill for heroin and cocaine? Or more worse because hard drugs are more likely to kill you? Please clarify.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • blastoise's picture

    no because drugs are bad

  • In reply to mr1234
    happypantsmcgee's picture

    mr1234 wrote:
    ibintx wrote:

    Other drugs are more worse.

    More worse how? More worse because cartels kill for heroin and cocaine? Or more worse because hard drugs are more likely to kill you? Please clarify.

    Or because they fry your brain and prevent you from being able to spell

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • ibintx's picture

    haha my bad on that. Went back and changed something a little hastily

    I meant "more worse" bc they are more likely to cause harm to the user. I think cartels kill for all drugs, but some drugs kill users more easily than others. Point being that legalizing them could have a more negative effect on society.

  • In reply to ibintx
    mr1234's picture

    ibintx wrote:
    haha my bad on that. Went back and changed something a little hastily

    I meant "more worse" bc they are more likely to cause harm to the user. I think cartels kill for all drugs, but some drugs kill users more easily than others. Point being that legalizing them could have a more negative effect on society.

    But the statistics don't back that up. Far more people die from alcohol.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • ibintx's picture

    Dude, chill, i'm on the legalization side. I'm just comparing hard drugs like crack and heroin vs. weed. It's harder to justify legalizing crack bc it is dangerous, whereas weed is not.
    And do you really think comparing those drugs to alcohol is fair? Everyone drinks alcohol. Of course the death numbers are going to be higher. I'm sure more people die of cigs each year too. If that many people used heroin, then I'm sure that number would be exponentially higher. You have to look at it as a percentage thing

  • In reply to mr1234
    kimbo's picture

    mr1234 wrote:
    ibintx wrote:
    haha my bad on that. Went back and changed something a little hastily

    I meant "more worse" bc they are more likely to cause harm to the user. I think cartels kill for all drugs, but some drugs kill users more easily than others. Point being that legalizing them could have a more negative effect on society.

    But the statistics don't back that up. Far more people die from alcohol.

    Couldn't you attribute that to alcohol being more widely used/avaialble?

    make hard drugs legal > drugs become available, usage increases > more people die from drugs

    but perhaps i'm missing the big picture....

  • In reply to ibintx
    mr1234's picture

    I am picking on you because you make a good example of how people think about hard drugs.

    ibintx wrote:
    And do you really think comparing those drugs to alcohol is fair?

    Yes, its absolutely fair because people take alcohol to achieve the same thing as taking drugs, which is to alter your mind.

    ibintx wrote:
    Everyone drinks alcohol. Of course the death numbers are going to be higher. I'm sure more people die of cigs each year too. If that many people used heroin, then I'm sure that number would be exponentially higher. You have to look at it as a percentage thing

    I am sure everyone participating in this message board right now drinks alcohol. But if heroin were to be legalized tomorrow, I doubt anyone in this discussion would become a heroin addict.

    Even as a 'pound-for-pound' percentage, alcohol causes more death and violence than coke and heroin. When people shoot heroin, they want to sit alone in a dark room. When people do coke, they want to party. When people do alcohol, they seem to want to beat up their children, beat their wives, break stuff and cause general mayhem and destruction.

    I think its a common misconception that if hard drugs were legalized, then all of a sudden a lot of people would be a drug addicts overnight. That wasn't the case for Portugal:
    http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,189....

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • eokpar02's picture

    Frieds, thanks for kicking the shit out of these stupid counterarguments.

    I am not cocky, I am confident, and when you tell me I am the best it is a compliment.
    -Styles P

  • mr1234's picture

    Ok, I just saw the "No on Prop 19" banner ad on the side("Someone is killed by a drunk driver every 45 mins. How often will someone be killed by a stoned driver?"), and it is such a good example of how misinformed people are.

    Smoking weed doesn't impair driving. I know, I know. Sounds counter-intuitive right? There is no statistical backing that says weed makes you drive worse.

    ---
    man made the money, money never made the man

  • Bondarb's picture

    Yea. Its not even close.

    It's my body, I should be able to decide what I put into it. Plenty of harmful substances like alcohol, tobacco, and sugar are already legal and we manage to do just fine.

    Legalize it all. Hard drugs and soft.

  • happypantsmcgee's picture

    Interesting thing to consider here

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2010/10/even...

    Quote: "We will vigorously enforce the CSA against those individuals and organizations that possess, manufacture or distribute marijuana for recreational use, even if such activities are permitted under state law."

    Basically if CA passes prop 19 the government says it won't stop efforts to fight the drug trade. States rights my ass.

    If I had asked people what they wanted, they would have said faster horses - Henry Ford

  • eyelikecheese's picture

    I don't know if anyone has read the book about the financial crisis "The greatest trade ever". Well its mostly about John Paulson, but it does talk about a guy named Andrew Lahde, who made about 300 million, I think. He has some GREAT views on marijuana and legalization. I strongly urge each and every one of you to read his farewell letter to investors and tell me its not the greatest investor farewell you've ever read.

    http://www.bankersball.com/2008/10/19/andrew-lahde...

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