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  • I'd like your input on this

    One day within the last week, we had a real bad thing happen locally. A man lived with his uncle and his uncle's wife. The wife was holding a 2 year old baby in her arms when someone (probably more than one) came into the house, and shot all four dead. Illegal drugs were found in the house, and it's all but certain it was a drug-related killing.

    I'm of the thought that all drugs should be legalized. Addicts are going to get them one way or another, and if they were legal, many lives would be spared, and the crime rate would most certainly go down. How do the rest of you feel about it? What would legalizing drugs do to our economy? I've been wondering for some time how others feel about the problem. Pros and cons are welcome.

    Ed

  • #2
    Originally posted by Ed_L
    ...I'm of the thought that all drugs should be legalized. Addicts are going to get them one way or another, and if they were legal, many lives would be spared, and the crime rate would most certainly go down. How do the rest of you feel about it? ...Ed
    The Libertarian Party is for re-legalizing drugs (their website notes that "Today's illegal drugs were legal before 1914." http://www.lp.org/issues/relegalize.html

    I know it's a complicated issue with no easy answers. Drug use often turns into addiction, and addiction will create personal, family, social, and economic problems even if drug use is legalized. I worked in the corrections field for some years, and some of our prison beds are filled by drug users (not pushers, but drug users who violated their probation by being caught using drugs again, or who were sentenced to prison instead of probation). Would these people end up in prison even if they could get their drugs legally? Would they seek treatment if it were available? Don't know for sure.

    Would organized criminal gangs and groups who make millions of dollars lose money if the U.S. legalized drug use? The Libertarians and other groups who push for legalization think it would, and it sounds sensible. I'm sure that organized crime would figure out another way to make money off of our penchant for vices (they would still have sex, gambling, and some other stuff I probably don't know about), but it might keep them out of our neighborhoods.

    I've been wondering about this for a number of years, and if there's ever a vote, I'm leaning towards legalization. I know it wouldn't be a solution, but it might be moving the right direction.

    So, how about YOU? What do you think about it?


    "In 2000,...The rate of incarceration in prison and jail was 699 inmates per 100,000, making the U.S. the world leader in incarceration, surpassing Russia's rate of 644 per 100,000, and giving the U.S. an incarceration rate that was five to eight times higher than those of European countries. " from Human Rights Watch (dedicated to protecting the human rights of people around the world.) www.hrw.org
    Last edited by CJ Swartz; 01-25-2004, 05:42 PM.

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    • #3
      Ed, would you also legalize the manufacture and import of drugs? I'm sure a great deal of money would be saved by legalizing drug use, but in the long run, it seems like much of that money would have to be funneled into treatment programs and shelters. Many of those people currently in prison would invariably end up on the street.

      I am all for decriminalizing certain drugs...it seems ludicrous to throw people in jail for marijuana! ...but there are other drugs I would deem far too dangerous to make legal. Certain drugs pose a serious danger to the person taking them as well as to society in general. Legalizing such drugs would be irresponsible IMO.

      I am just glad caffeine and alcohol are legal...I could not function without my espresso in the morning and wine in the evening!

      Comment


      • #4
        a number of years ago there was a proposal to legalize and tax drugs ,using the tax to pay for treatments.

        the tax on each drug would correspond to the harm done and the cost to society of each.
        medical, detox , counseling etc.

        they realized that some drugs like heroin would have to be taxed lower than cost to sell below black market prices.

        so in effect people who used the drugs paid for their own recovery down the road when they wished to go clean .. or for medical treatment.

        it sounded out of whack back then.. but cigarettes and booze were included and smokes were to triple their price to $5.oo or more per pack..

        booze was to be about the same I think but way down at the bottom was POT... and I think the plan even called for it to be sold nearly as cheaply as it could be produced. that was so that people would actually buy it rather than being supplied by greenthumbed friends.

        it was a far better framework then I've recalled here... and sounded good to me...
        unsettling as the thought might be of someone buying the harder drugs cheap and easily ... at least dosages would be consistent.. and reducing the cost would surely reduce crime.

        speaking of crime the plan called for all convictions for use be tossed out so the addict had fewer barriers to re-entering society.

        It called the past history of making criminals out of pot users a mistake... If It was a "latchkey" to stronger drug use, making outlaws of the lowest members of the drug culture was to mute the warning they might give to friends who might be headed into serious drug use.

        my own thoughts are perhaps the protests and disorder that occurred in the 1960/70's against the establishment were perceived related to the rising popularity of pot use.
        Can't have folks resisting authority now can we ?

        RonDon

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        • #5
          I agree with CJ. There's no easy answer on this one. Drugs will be a problem no matter if they are legalized or not. Just like alcohol. No doubt, people will die from using them, but how many people would live, who otherwise would have died if drugs stayed illegal?

          In regards to the money issue, I don't know if it would cost the taxpayer more if they were legalized or not. Certainly society would save a bundle by not tying up our courts, building new jails and prisons, staffing police departments, etc. But I don't think the issue of money should come into play when we're talking about saving the lives of so many people. To me, *that's* the bottom line. Every day, we hear about kids who are caught in the line of fire, and become hospitalized.....if they're one of the lucky ones.

          It's a touchy issue, but I can't help but think we'd be better off if they were legalized. And *this* coming from a guy who has never smoked marijuana, and who gave up on alcohol over 20 years ago because I thought I had a problem with it.

          Greg, I'll have a cup of java, and you can have a cup with me, or you can drink a cold one while we chat!

          Ed

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          • #6
            Ed, I can certainly understand the desire to save lives, but unfortunately, the issue of money will always be the sticking point if there is to be any sort of practical movement towards legalization. We live in a messed up world! I'll give you a perfect example...laws in my state (NC) and several others, prohibit me from ordering any sort of alcoholic beverage and having it shipped to my house. Why? The lawmakers state that it's an effort to prevent children from getting hold of alcohol via the Internet...but why not just prohibit liquor and beer? I'm not really sure how on earth my being unable to order a nice Cabernet from a small winery I visited out west, is going to protect small children from the evils of alcohol! The truth is, the laws are more about money than anything else. Individual consumers having the ability to order from out of state warehouses or direct from the manufacturer would have a serious economic impact on local distributors...and therefor on the amount of taxes collected!

            Drugs would bring up all the same issues...how would the government tax it? Are they going to find a way to tax the hippie growing pot down in his basement? ...or the bored scientist making his own "designer" drugs in a lab during lunch breaks (don't laugh, I know of someone who actually did this!).

            Even legalizing all drugs would not prevent criminal activity...there are still going to be a sizable number of scumbags who are going to attempt to sell to children and teenagers in an effort to get them hooked early.

            Comment


            • #7
              Originally posted by G. Couch
              Even legalizing all drugs would not prevent criminal activity...there are still going to be a sizable number of scumbags who are going to attempt to sell to children and teenagers in an effort to get them hooked early.
              There's certainly some evidence to back up your argument:

              R.J. Reynolds to Drop Joe Camel August 1997
              "R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. July 10 announced that it would eliminate the Joe Camel character from advertisements for its Camel brand cigarettes. The move followed repeated accusations from antismoking advocates and government regulators that the company used Joe Camel, a cartoon character, to attract young smokers."

              Comment


              • #8
                Wow, you sure tackle the tough questions Ed. I have to say I thought along the same lines as you though but CJ, Greg and Ron make me wonder if it would work as well as we think. I guess there is no easy answer since this is no easy problem. This thread has brought up some interesting thoughts on the subject.

                Oh and by the way, nice to be back with you guys again. I've missed you all.
                DJ

                Comment


                • #9
                  I'm for legal drugs

                  Hi DJ
                  Glad to see you... well you read me wrong I lean more towards the legalization..

                  In answer to this:
                  Even legalizing all drugs would not prevent criminal activity...there are still going to be a sizable number of scumbags who are going to attempt to sell to children and teenagers in an effort to get them hooked early.

                  That was the whole point of the tax idea... make drugs so cheap that there is no criminal activity.. it would cost more to sell illegally..

                  except for a few places where I guess they make moonshine for a local market .. people don't buy alcohol on the black market... or smokes either..

                  we're talking about a world where you'd throw $10 on the counter and say "we're having a few folks over and I'd thought a pack of your Acapulco Gold would go well with the wings "
                  best part is, at the end of the get together as the pot wears off the host serves a good coffee to refresh folks for the trip home.

                  the harder drugs of course would be something else... but with the taxed money paying for public awareness ... the accessible treatment and without the stigma of a criminal record perhaps some of those drugs would fade out...
                  If it only were to stay level at least the addicts wouldn't need a lot of money to support their habit. it would be a medical problem.... not a criminal one and the money would be there for recovery.
                  maybe they'd get to missing the fun at the wing thing and clean up their act.
                  RonDon

                  Comment


                  • #10
                    Hey Deb!

                    Glad to see you back. I think this is a subject worth serious discussion, and I wish there were more people putting their thoughts into it. We all seem to agree that drugs are a serious problem, and they will continue to be, regardless of which way we go with it. There are certainly good arguments to be made for each side on this, but like they say...."If you keep doing the same thing you've always done, you'll continue to get the same results you always got". So I guess we have to ask ourselves if we're comfortable with the situation, as is, or should we do something different.

                    In my opinion, we are not likely to see legalized drugs because of the personal gain some of our politicians might enjoy. That's not to say that any politicians are the ones actually selling the goods. Just that there are probably side benefits in one way or another related to the problem. Get rid of the problem, and the benefits are history. It all comes down to power and money. Greed.

                    I'd just about bet that every one of us knows someone who has been affected, in one way or another, by illegal drugs. In fact, we probably know someone who has an addiction! I say it's time for a change.

                    Come on, some of the rest of the regulars! How do you feel about it? Don't you think it's a problem??

                    Ed

                    Comment


                    • #11
                      No Ron, I didn't read you wrong. My statement meant that even though you, Ed, CJ and Greg held different points of views on the subject, you all had some interesting comments that gave me pause in what I originally thought should be a no brainer. I was for legalizing too and still am for the same reasons but I was thinking in simplified terms when you all showed me this was not a simplified problem at all. Like, do we legalize across the board or do we speicify? Do we just discriminalize? And what of the prescription drugs? Or the point Greg made in stating "how do we tax it? I really never gave alot of these points consideration above my feeling that legalization would take it out of the black market and bring down the high cost of law enforcement which is so inadequate in this fight. Even more so now when we are so desperately trying to fight terrorism. But would legalization really do this? I still say it's a tough question and even tougher answer. Lots and Lots of details to be worked out first, I think.

                      Ed, nice to be back too.
                      DJ

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                      • #12
                        Originally posted by rondon
                        That was the whole point of the tax idea... make drugs so cheap that there is no criminal activity.. it would cost more to sell illegally..

                        except for a few places where I guess they make moonshine for a local market .. people don't buy alcohol on the black market... or smokes either..

                        There are plenty of people who sell alcohol and cigarettes illegally to kids...but I see your point as far as making it more cost effective to stay legal.

                        Ed - You are probably right that it's time to try something different. We certainly don't seem to be winning the "War" on drugs...and it seems like young people are bombarded with a contradictory message. On the one hand they are told that drugs are bad and should be avoided at all costs...on the other hand, their parents are probably consuming Prozac, Viagra, and a host of other drugs at an alarming rate. It's ok to take a pill for any and every problem but smoking a little pot is some sort of horrible sin?

                        By the way, anyone else stuck indoors due to ice storms? ...I'm going stir crazy!

                        Comment


                        • #13
                          Ok ... didn't mean to ruffle your feathers DJ

                          you are right about it not being simple.... although I think the tax issue is.
                          most drugs could be produced very cheaply... barring any patents.
                          cheaply enough to tax most and still sell them for a fraction of black market costs.
                          keeping in mind the sliding tax/damage scale the most destructive drugs would not be taxed to fully cover themselves.... to keep the cost too low for the pushers.
                          pro/con is that the addict wouldn't have to rob for his habit... but the lower price may entice others...
                          with the new found trust the drug culture might have in the program the money spent educating the public may save the day there.

                          also with the police and penal system's lightened load any persistent drug dealers would find themselves the center of attention.

                          an odd thing I've noticed over the years is that every election year talk in the papers turns toward legalization of some sort.. then fades away...

                          what about that drug war in central America: Imagine the cocoa farmers raising their crops legal ?

                          for any that don't know they have used cocoa leaves for centuries there.. they chew them for energy.. endurance etc.

                          I've never tried cocaine but I'd like to try chewing the cocoa leaves ... provided there are no health risks.
                          RonDon

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                          • #14
                            No ruffling involve Ron. Just my lack of comunication skills.

                            I know what you mean about the issue being brought up during election years. I think they try to test the waters of popular opionion and if even a small gripe is heard they back off imediately for political reasons. Drugs affect so many people that there are very strong views on it and politicians hate those issues. It's comical watching them tip toe around Roe v Wade or gay marriages. I have a feeling it will be some time yet before they finally take a stand and do something about it.
                            DJ

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              DJ, waiting for a politician to take a stand and do something has to be something like watching the sun run out of energy and go dark

                              Making a whole lot of things legal, and taxing them to keep them in order is most likely in order for a number of activities. We already do it for some things, booze and smoking come to mind. But why not for drugs and prostitution? (I added prostitution because I saw a rerun of a Cops TV show where they picked up a woman street walker for the 56th time for the same thing. One could write whole pages about that. )

                              Gambling, at least for here, has become the Native Americans way to a decent lifestyle. The rest of us should just stay out of that.

                              Lots of details to work out, lots of folks to convince that it is a good idea, but I think that we could do it in the long run.

                              Mike

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