'Surely Time' to Legalize Drugs?

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The Drug War Chronicle reports that Chris Davies, a British member of the European Parliament and a prominent Liberal Democrat, is calling for "the legalization and regulation of all currently illicit drugs." In an interview with The Sprout, a magazine that covers E.U. politics and policy, Davies suggests that position is no longer beyond the pale of acceptable political debate:

Far from preventing the use of illegal drugs the policy of prohibition creates the profits which drive the growth of the trade. It leads to the corruption of our institutions and provides funds for terrorism. These views used to be controversial but now that the prime minister's personal adviser says [in a report commissioned by Tony Blair's government] that existing policies are doomed to failure it is surely time for all responsible politicians to consider whether alternative strategies could do more to curb crime, reduce harm and save lives.

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  1. Drat. He’s British. He can’t run for president.

  2. This guys is on to something, and you figure the EU can subsidize the hemp and opium farmers — sounds like a winner…

  3. Oh man! That is the most encouraging thing I’ve read in, I don’t know how long. Still a long long way from actually improving the situation, but compared to the seemingly endless stream of wrist-slashingly depressing news I?ve grown accustom to, it’s positively uplifting.

    No booze for me today boys. I’m sparking a jay in celebration.

  4. I think its gonna take another major industrialized country to start legalizing drugs before the U.S. even creeps in that direction. If Britian, Germany, Japan, etc, started legalizing some drugs, it would show the U.S. that such a policy is viable.

  5. We all know the US is at least 50 years away from any kind of legalization. Honestly, I would be happy with just some prison laws and maybe sending non-violent drug-offenders to a place other than prisons….

    And, Friday high-fives to Randy Moss

  6. I don’t know. If Canada legalizes (and there is a real possibility) I don’t see how US prohibition could stand even another year under such circumstances.

  7. The only people who favor legalization are him, us, and 14 other people.

    I know a lot of regular people. Although a few will give you Medical Pot, NONE of them favor legalization. Many of them vote & most pay taxes. They are liberals and conservatives of all ages and they cross all racial and socio-economic lines. At least half of them have done serious drugs for fun, but they don’t care. Not a scientific sample, but it’s reality.

    fifty years JPJ, you are quite the optimist. 35 years ago there was a shot at legalizing pot. You saw how that went.

  8. Optimism isn’t one of my stronger suits TWC, but you figure that sometime between now and 2055 there will be some sort of prison disaster and people will be clamoring about “people who didn’t belong there”, blah, blah…

    The prison system in the White Elephant that gets fatter by the day….

  9. I have little faith in the abiliy of the average voter to use reason. The Drug War is here to stay.

    nmg

  10. TWC,
    What you say is true. However, if Briton, Canada, or any European country, or even any western province or city actually legalizes the drug market, I think there will be a domino effect and prohibition will come to a swift end throughout the free world.

  11. people who smoked weed without any consequences who don’t want to legalize it because others “can’t handle it” always blow my mind. i’m not really sure how to respond to that, especially when said person isn’t exactly a captain of industry or otherwise hypersuccessful predator.

  12. dhex, hypocrisy is a core element of the human condition.

    nmg

  13. Sorry to be a wet blanket, but erm, this guy has two strikes against him among the British. First, he’s a Lib Dem. Second, he’s an MEP.

    He may as well be a puppy-strangler.

  14. It’s not hypocrisy, so much as ego. They’re successful. Better. They can handle stuff that would destroy lesser mortals.

  15. Warren, I can see that happening, the black market pressures would be enormous and would render enforcement obsolete (if Canada legalized)

    JPJ, I really hope they stop putting people in jail before it devolves to your scenario. Ouch.

  16. But at the same time the EU has been trying to limit Europeans’ access to everyday vitamins and herbs. It seems like for every freedom the U.S. or EU gives its people, it takes away some other freedom.

  17. Like Plan Columbia, we need Plan Britain to take out these drug loving scum that seek to spread disease and pestilence across the planet. Long live the Drug War.

  18. Warren: I think you have hit the nail on the head. The real question is how hard the U.S. Government will fight to keep the EU from going that direction. My guess is they will fight pretty hard, but we have considerably less leverage over them than, say, Mexico.

  19. Actually, if you look at the polls, there’s a lot of support for legalizing pot.

    Now, as for legalizing smack, no one but us 14 lunatics is on board.

  20. Yes, it is time to legalize drugs… and don’t call me Shirley.

  21. Hmmm…..

    No serious trolls on this thread now. Just Jane. I’ll come back later.

  22. “No booze for me today boys. I’m sparking a jay in celebration.”

    I love to simply celebrate my latest Netflix shipment..

    And what the hell happend to SteveInClearwater? I miss that guy..

  23. make that 17

  24. 50 years seems like a long time, at least with respect to marijuaua. Things seem to be changing rapidly. In the small city of Santa Barbara, California alone 4 hydroponic equipment stores have opened in the past few years. The weather is great; are all those customers really growing tomatoes, legal herbs, and flowers?

    The Nevada 2002 initiative to end marijuana prohibition got 39% of the vote even though it had a lot going against it, including three (3) high-profile traffic deaths caused by assholes who were on pot (and likely other drugs, too). Hopefully if the 2006 initiative fails they’ll try again in 2008, a presidential election year.

  25. Ron,
    No question about it. My real hopes are for Canada. Progress in the EU is always so mitigate by their Eurofuckedatude as to make it worthless. I mean they can’t even get the free market in tomatoes right, I don’t hold out much hope for Europot coming to the rescue of the free world. Canada on the other hand, has been moving towards legalization for years now. Of course they have their own canuck crazy take on things. It’s been a one step forward, one step back, and one step sideways affair. Anti-prohibition progress in Canada is a serious threat to US prohibition, and the US has been cracking the whip to keep our friendly neighbors to the north in line. Witness the recent arrest and request for extradition of Marc Emery (why don’t you take a moment and send him a few bucks). Thing is, Canada is not some third world South American backwater we can kick around like a stray dog we decided to feed and call our own. The free flow of people and products across the worlds longest undefended border (are we still making that claim post 9/11?) is as vital to the US as it is to Canada. The US economy overwhelms the Canadian economy with the result that Canadian nationalism is often expressed as ?We are not the United States? lapdog?. So sometimes when we try to push them around, they push back.

  26. Warren, your link does not work.

  27. Goddamned MicroShitWord fonts. fixed link here:
    send him a few bucks

  28. 19 here.

    I hope that Marc Emery’s extradition galvanizes the Canadian populace into a) Tell the US Govt to piss off and b) truly looking at legalization (both for possession and for growth) as an alternative. I have serious doubts, but here’s to hoping.

  29. In other, related news, the DEA is continuing in its futile attempt to stop people from getting what they want. Just one day after our ranch-hand in chief’s administration announced that it was going to step up the battle against this decade’s scourge, methaphetamine, the DEA made public a major bust. Agents arrested 160 people in 4 states and 2 countries, while confiscating scads of drugs, guns, cars and anything else that the arrestees owned. While this may be a minor inconvience to some of the tens of millions of Americans who use drugs recreationally (and no, I am not including the tens of millions who legally abuse alcohol), you can rest assured that these fine citizens will have their needs met. After all, supply and demand is not a suggestion, it’s the law.

  30. Please PLEASE tell me I can get my next 8 ball behind th gas station counter. And that it costs $5.

  31. It’s funny that at the turn of the century (1900) pot, opium, & heroin were all legal. It was the liquor industry that lobbied congress to outlaw these drugs because they were in direct competition and in some places (New York, San Fran) were cheaper and more available then liquor.
    I believe Anhauser & Bush, two very powerful businessmen, lead the charge.

  32. Anyone got that actual link to the Sprout article?

  33. Anyone got that actual link to the Sprout article?

  34. Garn! Damn, double posts, sorry.

  35. 20 here.

    The Sprout article doesn’t seem to be online, unfortunately.

    I would submit that there is little reason for optimism, even in the UK. First, as others have mentioned, he’s a lib dem MEP (enough said). Second, “a Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘This is certainly not party policy.'” (from this article, reprinted from last Monday’s Guadiran).

  36. This kind of thinking is becoming more and more common among European liberals ( european meaning). For example, this autumn the Jong-VLD, the youth division of the Flemish liberals will be holding a congress were they will discus the possibility of total legalisation of drugs.

    I have heard more of this in other sistergroups in Europe.

  37. 21 here.

    Eion:

    Second, “a Liberal Democrat spokesman said: ‘This is certainly not party policy.'” (from this article, reprinted from last Monday’s Guadiran).

    No, it isn’t, yet. But the LDP are coming to terms with the “Liberal” portion of their party’s name (and heritage). Some members of the party are talking up deregulation, some others – like this one – are talking up drug legalisation.

    As a point of reference, how many Democrats supported Social Security in 1900? Not many.

    – Josh

  38. To even think that somebody has the right to ban a plant, is madness :-).

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