Reason Writers Around Town: Jacob Sullum Talks Drug Policy on Off the Page

In a recent interview with National Review Online's Will Cain, Senior Editor Jacob Sullum explains why "drug-related violence" is really prohibition-related violence, why more drug use after legalization would be a good thing, and why controlled substance is a misnomer.

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  • kinnath||

    http://www.slate.com/id/2255385/

    With the passage of the 18th Amendment in 1921, the dysfunctions of Prohibition began. When you ban a popular drug that millions of people want, it doesn't disappear. Instead, it is transferred from the legal economy into the hands of armed criminal gangs. Across America, gangsters rejoiced that they had just been handed one of the biggest markets in the country, and unleashed an armada of freighters, steamers, and even submarines to bring booze back. Nobody who wanted a drink went without. As the journalist Malcolm Bingay wrote, "It was absolutely impossible to get a drink, unless you walked at least ten feet and told the busy bartender in a voice loud enough for him to hear you above the uproar."

    So if it didn't stop alcoholism, what did it achieve? The same as prohibition does today—a massive unleashing of criminality and violence. Gang wars broke out, with the members torturing and murdering one another first to gain control of and then to retain their patches. Thousands of ordinary citizens were caught in the crossfire. The icon of the new criminal class was Al Capone, a figure so fixed in our minds as the scar-faced King of Charismatic Crime, pursued by the rugged federal agent Eliot Ness, that Okrent's biographical details seem oddly puncturing. Capone was only 25 when he tortured his way to running Chicago's underworld. He was gone from the city by the age of 30 and a syphilitic corpse by 40. But he was an eloquent exponent of his own case, saying simply, "I give to the public what the public wants. I never had to send out high pressure salesmen. Why, I could never meet the demand."

  • ||

    In the immortal words of David Byrne - stop making sense. It hurts my brain.

  • Max||

    But wait, Sullum is arguing for legalization of drugs SO GOVERNMENT CAN REGULATE THEM. There's a role for the state? What the fuck...

  • ||

    How many kids has Jacob Sullum killed with his pro-drug rants?

  • ||

    Ah, my lovely Juanita, forever selflessly concerned about the childre.

    Thoughts of you illuminate my spirit;
    Never a flicker of flame, but with
    Arching bolts which strike with a force
    That disturbs my equilibrium.

    My mind races as waves of passion flush over
    My pale skin, causing me to gaze upon visions
    Of impossible romantic possibilities.

    Pathetic is this woman who anticipates the
    True rhythm of love, with a man she will never hold.

    My imagined discourse of thoughts leave me suffering,
    As my lips quiver with the words I shall never speak
  • ||

    Not nearly as many as the prohibionists have with their anti-drug bullets, incarcerations, and laws.

  • ||

    Liar. Pothead.

  • ||

    Sorry to take the spotlight away from max and juanita, but THREADJACK:

    http://opinionator.blogs.nytim.....ration/?hp

    Peter Singer thinks you'd be better off dead.

  • Max||

    Peter Singer is the one person who is crazier than the average libertarian.

  • Astrid||

    Funny, I think Peter Singer is better off dead.

  • ||

    What's all this hate towards Singer. He's a philosopher. So he thinks about things and discusses them. Is this scary or something?

  • ||

    Lead the way, Pete. Lead by example.

  • ||

    Can non-existent people have a right to come into existence?

    No, you festering wart on mankind. I have the right to reproduce.

  • ||

    Unfortunately.

  • ||

    I'm thinking of sending them to you for a couple weeks. They could use the refreshing sea air.

    "Remember kids, when Uncle Episiarch wants to play Tickle Me Epi, it's a crime. So, use this to blackmail him."

  • ||

    hmm, my life is by and large pretty good. The trick is to enjoy life as it comes. Shit even when I was in prison for selling drugs I overall had a good time.

    You just got to roll with the punches and enjoy life. And if that life let's you do some extasy or coke on occasion, well it's pretty damm good IMO.

  • cynical||

    He's a Combine agent, the bast.

  • Max||

    Actually, heller, you didn`t finish Singer`s piece. He thinks we should persist as a species. I think so too, except for libertarians.

  • ||

    What's up with your apostrophes?

  • Astrid||

    Maybe they're leftist apostrophes?

  • skr||

    lol

  • Max||

    You should less worry about my apostrophies and more about the letter you'll be getting from my lawyers soon.

  • Astrid||

    Seriously, that was the best you could come up with Max? A little pathetic don't you think?

  • ||

    Max, I did finish the piece. He concludes that it's still worth it, despite all the "reasoning" he just put forth. He still seems to believe that we are "causing harm" to children by creating them.

  • ||

    That's big of him.

  • skr||

    I didn't have an older sibling to buy beer for me but it was sure easy to buy weed and acid.

  • moob||

    Not only could you trust that the proof you are getting is accurate if drugs were legal, there would probably be competition for lower-proof forms of drugs that are currently dangerous on the black market - just like how you can buy baby aspirin at 81 mgs, you'd be able to buy extremely low proof forms of heroin, cocaine, etc.

  • ||

    I wish more anti-prohibition people would stop pussyfooting around and qualifying their statements with "while nobody should be encouraged to use drugs..." Sullum is right; for the vast majority of people, drug use is a positive and beneficial activity.

    Enjoyment and happiness are good things. I don't see why alleviating pain is considered such a higher ideal than bringing pleasure.

  • ||

    Citizen: OMG I'M SO HAPPY

    Politician: OH NOES! THIS MAKES ME SAD. I need a beer to make me happy again.

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