Guess I Don't Have to Go Now

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Well, that was fast. As a couple commenters have pointed out, Mexican President Vicente Fox, whose office on Tuesday said he would sign a bill decriminalizing drug possession, yesterday backtracked, saying he will insist on changes "to make it absolutely clear [that] in our country, the possession of drugs and their consumption are, and will continue to be, a criminal offense."

Fox did not mention American objections, but they had to be uppermost in his mind. The day of his reversal, the U.S. Embassy said American officials "urged Mexican representatives to review the legislation urgently to avoid the perception that drug use would be tolerated in Mexico, and to prevent drug tourism." An embassy spokeswoman said Mexico should "ensure that all persons found in possession of any quantity of illegal drugs be prosecuted or be sent into mandatory drug treatment programs."

In other words, the U.S. insists that Mexico remain faithful to the American dogma that drug users belong either in prison or in treatment, even if they've never hurt anyone else and if getting arrested is the worst thing that has ever happened to them because of their drug use. Under the policy demanded by the American government, a kid caught with a joint must submit to "treatment," whether he needs it or not, if he wants to avoid jail. The refusal to see any distinction between use and abuse (let alone between self-regarding behavior and behavior that harms others) is especially striking in this case, since it looks as though the fix for the bill will be to limit it to bona fide addicts, as opposed to mere "consumers."

NEXT: Schroedinger's Prisoners

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  1. I’m sure we’ll soon learn what deal he made with the US.

  2. Rest assured that this 180 is gonna cost us $$$$$ in aid to Mexico. The US drug war has been so successful that it is no wonder we insist on making the rest of the world follow our lead.

  3. Eric Cartman has a word to describe Vicente Fox, and it begins with “P.”

    In view of this latest development, I guess Jacob will have to find a new theme song. I suggest, “North to Alaska.”

    May I be delivered from those who think they know how to run my life better than I do.

  4. And don’t forgot stories like this. Illegal flower selling? Sheesh… What does it say when you try to arrest people for selling FLOWERS?

  5. I think it is really odd that Fox caves, or at least is willing to take a bribe, over a non-existent problem (drug consumption), but basically tells Bush to go fuck himself when it comes to a real problem (illegal immigration). Viva Zapata.

  6. It’s apparently just not good enough to control us within the borders of the country anymore, gotta make sure we stay in line when we’re on vacation.

  7. Oh no, Guadelajara won’t do
    and I’m never going back to my old school.

  8. When are we cutting off diplomatic relations with the Netherlands?

  9. Does anyone know who actually controls U.S. drug policy? This is something I have never figured out. Presidents come and go, congress gets re-shuffled, but U.S. national drug policy remains unflappably pro-criminalization.

    Who’s behind it? It can’t just be ONDCP bureaucracy, can it? It’s gotta be something with more staying power. The FDA? The FBI?

  10. More proof of my theory – if either of our continental neighbors ever decide to fully decriminalize drugs, we’ll either see a Berlin wall equivalent on the border in a matter of months or there will be sudden proof that Mexico and Canada have always been at war with America, and we need to move in troops. Since I’m playing Nostradamus, some other ideas of what would happen: mandatory drug screening upon re-entry to the US, perjury charges if you lie about drug use in another country, banning of Sonic Youth’s later records, etc.

  11. I have always wondered what the US would do if, say Colombia decided to legalize drugs, but stay our ally.

    Someone in Colombia has to figure out that would be the easiest way to win their war and bring peace and prosperity to their country.

    I was hoping that Vicente Fox would use some of that “Fuck You” from the war on terror, and the immigration thing on our WOD. But I guess not. I guess our government can put the screws when they really want to.

  12. U.S. national drug policy remains unflappably pro-criminalization.

    Actually, unfortunately, it’s “We the people…”.

    Which is odd since I personally don’t know anyone who’s for MJ prohibition.

    But that’s probably like whatshername not knowing anyone who voted for Nixon.

  13. Any of y’all watch the 3rd season of “The Wire”? One of the police majors decides to decriminalize drugs in certain zones in the city. I really liked it and really liked the charachter. But they end up fucking the cop over big time.

    Good damned show though

  14. Rest assured that this 180 is gonna cost us $$$$$ in aid to Mexico.

    I seriously doubt it. It would be a big change in policy for both the US and Mexico if the money didn’t go directly to President Fox.

  15. For those that dont know anyone that wants to keep MJ illegal. Here am I. Stupid is as stupid does.

  16. “Does anyone know who actually controls U.S. drug policy? This is something I have never figured out. Presidents come and go, congress gets re-shuffled, but U.S. national drug policy remains unflappably pro-criminalization.”

    It’s a very good question: “If I were President, whom would I have to fire to make the ‘War on Drugs’ go away?”

    I’m afraid it’s completely self-sustaining, as any government program, and the bureaucracy attached to it, is self-sustaining. Why is there still a Department of Education? Too many people have too much to lose. Money, power, turf, mission creep, and on and on…

  17. Is this a reasonable statement: “Fox did not mention American objections, but they had to be uppermost in his mind.”? The “reasoning” is just an assumption. Something, perhaps, you would like to believe in order to fit your veltanschaaung.

  18. RF: Why wouldn’t it be a reasonable statement? Why else would Fox, outside of political reasons (National and International) be backing off? And are you trying to find a way to fit “Reason” into your posts to make an ironic statement?

    In all seriousness, I would like to hear your reasons why MJ should remain illegal. If any of my before-comments were snarky or otherwise malicious, I apologize. But I still want to hear your reasons.

  19. “Does anyone know who actually controls U.S. drug policy? This is something I have never figured out. Presidents come and go, congress gets re-shuffled, but U.S. national drug policy remains unflappably pro-criminalization.”

    Path dependence controls the war. Same thing P Brooks said.

  20. Swillfredo Pareto – The thing is, illegal immigration is (arguably) a problem for the US, not Mexico. If anything, it’s a win for Mexico, since they get to ship off people who might otherwise be unemployed and get money sent back into the country. Why would he want to do anything about it?

  21. It’s an educated assumption. If you have some idea in your mind as to another reason Fox would reverse so quickly we’d like to hear it…

  22. As CNN reports the backpeddling, the decriminalization was intended only for “addicts” who could presumably still “possess up to 25 milligrams of heroin, 5 grams of marijuana (about one-fifth of an ounce, or about four joints) or 0.5 grams of cocaine — the equivalent of about four ‘lines.'”

    This will come as welcome news to the millions of marijuana “addicts” in Mexico who buy their “fix” a few joints at a time.

  23. Which is odd since I personally don’t know anyone who’s for MJ prohibition.

    I know at least one. And she smokes, or at least recently used to smoke, marijuana. She’s worried that it’s often a “gateway drug,”* and that too many people couldn’t handle it responsibly, like she does/did. Come to think of it, her husband, with similar experience, feels the same way.

    * Yes, I know. It’s a “gateway” because it’s illegal, therefore many people have to buy it from criminals who, since drug selling is already punishable by law, have every incentive to push more addictive and expensive drugs on their customers and up their reward/risk ratio. But I didn’t have that argument handy when I had the conversation above.

    PS: I think this bodes ill for any ideas of setting up a sovereign “libertopia,” along the lines of Oceania or a “Somali Hong Kong,” where drugs are not outlawed.

  24. So basically for the rest of the world to have the laws they choose — including the lack thereof — the US would have to collapse first.

    Won’t be long then, at this pace…

  25. Regardless of the particulars of the law, it’s always good when something gets the War On Drugs into the mainstream discussion for a few days. People just don’t think about the issue beyond “drugs are bad, mmmkay?,” so anything that gets people to apply neurons to the problem is good, even if this law ends up for naught.

    Or maybe I’m too optimistic.

  26. Shit, now I won’t be able to score a bag in Tijuana!

  27. Stevo – it’s an elitist mentality.

    “Well, you know, I can smoke mj responsibly, but some hillybilly/nigger/spic/dumbass/whatever wouldn’t be able to handle it, so it should remain illegal.”

    It’s a (generally) liberal (not in the classical sense) mentality that the average joe (sorry joe) cannot take care of themselves and so must be watched after.

    My opinion is that there are going to be people who “can’t handle it”, but 1) it’s nobody’s business to force them to not be able to until they actually demonstrate that they can’t handle it and 2) if we keep holding people’s hands, they’re never going to take responsibility for their actions and join the rest of us adults.

    I’m a libertarian because I firmly believe it’s the only position that will allow our species to survive and flourish.

  28. Lowdog, you’re talking about a mentality that permeates more issues than just drug use. A friend of mine made the same comment about Social Security the other day. Something like, ‘But if we didn’t have Social Security what about those people who wouldn’t save enough money for retirement and then get too old to keep working?’ Oh, there were a dozen replies I could have made – that maybe more people COULD save enough money for retirement if so much of their money wasn’t going down the SSI rathole. That the ones who lack self-discipline might change their behavior and save more responsibly if the government would stop bailing them out for their stupid choices, creating a culture of dependency.

    But basically this guy just thinks that there are all these stupid people out there who can’t or won’t make good decisions, and it’s the government’s job to make sure they don’t wind up sleeping in a box at the end of his driveway.

  29. Pirate Jo – oh, absolutely, and I’m sorry it didn’t come across that I meant is was a mentality that colours everything for someone of that mindset.

    I’ll be honest…I’m not saving for retirement, I’m living paycheck to paycheck (sure, I have a car, a home, pay my bills, etc, but still), and have made a number of stupid decisions financially, emotionally, physically, etc. But you don’t hear me running around crying about it, asking for someone to bail me out (well, other than friends and family, but that’s what friends and family is for…and it goes both ways).

    No, I accept my decisions like an adult and hope to always make good decisions while realising that I make really crappy ones all the time. That someone can be as much of a fuck up as me would still want the oppourtunity to rise and fall on my own, should be telling.

  30. Lowdog, regarding the nanny-state “we must protect the stupid from themselves” mindset, I notice that those folks usually fall into one of two camps. One, that you mentioned already, was the “I am super-smart and make wise decisions but not everyone is as smart as me so we have to protect them.” The other one is even odder. Those folks think that they need the law to protect them from themselves. Kind of on the order of, “If heroin was legal I might try it and get addicted,” or “If we didn’t have to pay into SSI I might not be self-disciplined to save enough for retirement.” These folks baffle me to no end – I wonder if they have ever viewed themselves as adults at all, or if they place any value whatsoever on self-reliance.

    Just a couple of weird mindsets we have to deal with when we try to fight the nanny state.

  31. Until I am not forced to pay for someone elses selfish and idiotic decision to take mind altering and stupefying drugs, through socialized medicine and welfare, as well as wasting money on things other than say retirement (soc. sec.), then I’m all for keeping it illegal. First things first.

    On top of that, I can see what alcohol is doing to our society and think that MJ would more than double the problems such as broken homes and anything else that is a result of irresponsible behavior. I think that a classical liberal education is the most important thing that a citizen can do, and MJ, etc., is completly the opposite.

    Finally, there are so many more important things to worry about in life than how or where you are going to get your drugs. Or spend much more time than I already have on this.

  32. B-Psycho

    Simply, the vote. If the majority of voters dont want drugs then politicians are smart to tune in to that. I might be conviced that if we currently send $Billions directly in loans or similar and someone threatend Fox that we would cut that funding… But I dont know about any of that sort of money going that way.

  33. RF, what do you mean when you say you see what alcohol is doing to “society?” I don’t think alcohol is a societal problem – I see it as an individual one. I see it messing up the lives of a few individuals who abuse it, but other than their immediate family or friends, I don’t see how that affects anyone else. (Their family and friends would probably be wise, in those instances, to distance themselves as far as possible from those individuals.) Why do you see alcohol as a societal problem?

    Do you think we should get rid of socialized medicine and welfare, those things that force you to pay for other people’s stupid decisions?

    And who are you to tell someone else what is important in life for them to worry about? How about you just worry about the things in life YOU think are important and let others do the same?

  34. “Does anyone know who actually controls U.S. drug policy?”

    He’s roommates with the guy who sets the gas prices.

    –Keith

  35. “…selfish and idiotic decision to take mind altering and stupefying drugs…”

    Well that statement right there says you don’t know what you’re talking about. I don’t see how it’s any of your business. You may not agree, and that’s fine, but how can you claim some right to force me to not take mind-altering substances through the coercive power of the state?

    And how is MJ, etc (whatever etc is) anathema to a classical liberal education? Christ, the very nature of mind-altering substances allows you to look at everything from a different perspective…how can you automatically dismiss that as a negative?

    But in the end, Pirate Jo has is exactly right: “ow about you just worry about the things in life YOU think are important and let others do the same?”

  36. “Finally, there are so many more important things to worry about in life than how or where you are going to get your drugs. Or spend much more time than I already have on this.”

    Considering the criminal organizations keeping our inner city denizens locked into a cycle of poverty and violence, the sheer amount of money needed to jail and “rehabilitate” drug users, the money needed to increase enforcement in order to counter said criminal organizations, the fact that we’re ineffectively dumping toxic chemicals on poor farmers in order to try to stop this, the countries that produce these illegal goods are locked into guerrilla war and are overall shitty, not to mention any graft or corruption that springs up on both sides of the border by officials looking for their “fair share” are a result of this sinkhole called the war on drugs, I’d say people have a very good reason to care, even if they’re not users.

    Also, officials are going to try to paint drugs as funding terrorism, even though legalization would open the door to our own industries competing against the terrorists and cutting off their money supply. If this claim has any truth (the claim about terrorists openly selling goods, not the economic reality of an legalized product no longer serving bandits), then we might even see arrests out of it.

    Sad to see you’re not going to respond to this or read it though.

  37. Path dependence controls the war. Same thing P Brooks said.

    Sure, but there’s muscle behind it, no? And it’s more deeply entrenched than things like welfare and income tax rates.

    Is it the Justice Department? FBI? FDA? DEA? It’s a bureaucracy, but which one? Like I said, I don’t think it’s really the ONDCP. But someone threatened all doctors in CA, and many of them listened; then someone threatened the President of South California with enough muscle to make him look like a fool the way he backpedaled.

    Does Bush care so much about this that he threatened Fox? Maybe it’s the State Department? Condi? I mean, it’s weird.

    It’s one thing to have bad drug laws on the books continue to be prosecuted by careerists at Justice, but the war on drugs seems to me to have real energy behind it.

  38. Responsible Freedom,
    Is the problem you’re describing the result of drugs or the result of the screwed-up way in which we treat the homeless? Isn’t the ideal of a free society one in which private social aid groups help those who have no one else to help, rather than one where the government puts the homeless in holding cells for a night or in uninhabitable shelters? I would think that someone who boasts a “classical liberal” education would see that these people on the fringes of society wouldn’t be changed whether drugs were legal or not?
    You can want to legalize drugs and tear down the socialized medicine and mental health system we have simultaneously. It’s called being a libertarian.
    Drugs and homelessness are two completely separate issues. Mental illness and homelessness, now there’s a connection…

  39. RF: For one thing they won’t have to resort to thievery or robbery to support their habits, nor will they be able to rely on drug dealing to take them from week to week between jail visits.

    Going on from what RC said, it sure as hell won’t take them off the streets or convince them to live by “the man’s rules” but it would lessen their impact on surrounding neighbors.

  40. Im all for letting people do whatever they want until it affects me.

    Do we make all substances legal? Or just the ones you want? What about uranium? LSD? Meth?
    Nitro-glycerin? Flame-throwers? Uzzis? Grenades? Rocket Launchers? Tanks? x-ray machines?

  41. Responsible Freedom,
    Why should the things in your list be illegal? If you can come up with a cogent response that boils down to something else that “people might use them improperly or to do bad things,” then perhaps I’ll change my mind.
    There’s a crazy idea that’s been running around that anything you do that doesn’t cause harm to another person is all right. Again, those darn classical liberals. Of course, they, as do I, believe that culture grows up around curbing the excesses of humanity. Most people have no use for the items you listed. Some might use them to entertain themselves in various non-violent ways.
    Laws exist to say what is impermissible. As far as I know, it is always illegal to murder someone or plan to murder someone, I don’t see why owning a substance or weapon should be criminalized until you do one of those two things.

  42. Actually LSD leaves no lasting effect (or is that just mushrooms?), meth is overblown, flame throwers are creatable, uzi’s are legal (with the proper licensce), nitro glycerin is very unstable and there are better substances out there, tanks/grenades/rocket-launchers are cost exhorbint and serve no real practical purpose (although tanks can be gotten with the correct procedures without a legal hassling from the authorities), x-ray machines were already legal and used way back when for customers to check to see if their shoes fitted. Knowing what we know now, I doubt anybody other than nincompoops and xxxtreme dudez would be messing with them (same with drugs, if you think about it) and argumentum ad absurdium, the argument made by stretching out your opponents viewpoints to the extreme makes for terrible dialogue.

    Are you bob by any chance? No offense if you aren’t.

  43. Clarification – “murder someone or plan to murder someone” should be “injure someone, plan to injure someone, or coerce someone into something by force”

  44. 76 – good idea about debate tactics.

    Responsible Freedom,
    What about guns? Cars? Syringes for diabetics? Those plastic six-pack rings that choke dolphins? Little plastic things that children under 3 can choke on? I can’t believe you’re enough of a libertine to allow these dangerous items to exist in civilized society.

  45. “responsibile freedom”, ask yourself the following:
    Why do americans do so much of the world’s drugs?

    I suspect the main reason the War on Drugs continues in the US is cultural fear. If drug abuse were confronted as a personal issue rather than by the law, we’d have to ask ourselves what we’re trying to get away from. Nope, better to deny all else & lock up all the stoners regardless of why they do it or whether they commit actual crimes or not, actually thinking about it could lead to questioning the psychological worth of the moral status quo, we can’t have that

  46. “people on the fringes of society wouldn’t be changed whether drugs were legal or not?” vs “For one thing they won’t have to resort to thievery or robbery to support their habits…”

    The second quote believes that if drugs were legal things would be different.

    What would happen is that people would then be compelled to make a decision as to use or not. Just by sheer numbers and odds it is obvious that that means that use would go way up.

    Because there is no intrinsic value or benefit for a society from the use of drugs (or any number of things that are currently not legal) and as long as I must pay for and take care of people that have ruined theirs and their childrens’ lives, and as long as the govt has the power to control the use of ANY substance, then stupefying drugs are on my list for being controlled.

    When a mother or father cannot take care of their children, then who has the right to come in and rescue them? According to a Libertarian: no one. I’m sorry but this means that someone will have to take care of them eventually because they will probably never become educated enough to get out of the hole they are in. And a life of crime is often the result. We all pay for crime.

  47. What would happen is that people would then be compelled to make a decision as to use or not. Just by sheer numbers and odds it is obvious that that means that use would go way up.

    Funny thing, after they (sort of) legalized pot in the Netherlands, usage went DOWN !!

    But hey, don’t let those pesky facts get in your way…

  48. Responsible Freedom, I just read your post. Lots of “interesting” stuff in it.

    Because there is no intrinsic value or benefit for a society

    This is called “collectivistic” thinking. And collectivism has proven itself to be … ummm … EVIL !!

    What people like you need to understand is that what you usually call “the common good” does not exist. The TRUE common good is actually the sum of individual preferences. So, if I want to smoke a joint and then listen to Pink Floyd, busybodies like you shouldn’t have any say in this, as long as I don’t hurt anybody else.

    When a mother or father cannot take care of their children, then who has the right to come in and rescue them? According to a Libertarian: no one.

    You don’t have the vaguest idea about REAL libertarian beliefs, do you? Anybody has a right to intervene. Nobody has the right to coerce them to do anything.

    We all pay for crime.

    Again, more collectivistic thinking.

    No, we don’t !

  49. Before I forget, can anyone tell me if it is possible to change text colors and how do you do italics with this site?
    “What about guns?” I believe you can give me several reasons on how guns or cars, etc. are beneficial to a responsible person and consequently to society. Mind altering drugs have no benefit to society or the individual.

    “Actually LSD leaves no lasting effect (or is that just mushrooms?)” Actually LSD has bad lasting effects. Most of these drugs alter the brain and make people stupider. Many agencies regard any person that has ever taken LSD as psycologically unstable and will not hire them.

    “meth is overblown,” You obviously have not seen the average meth user. Ask any person that has worked with meth users and they will tell you how fast these people start to look like death warmed over, where their teeth start falling out and their skin becomes full of sores and how hard it is to recover from that if at all. The question still stands. Should it be regulated or legalized?

    “flame throwers are creatable, uzi’s are legal (with the proper licensce),” Not legal in California. But there is an argument for the usefullness of guns for the average citizen. I’m sure all Losertarians know it. As far as the flame thrower, if it and the fuel were legal to own and gangs used them to burn down rivals homes, How many people would have to die before you would consider making it illegal. Or would you? I understand it is hypothetical because it doesnt seem like this would happen, but when things become legal they become used.

    “nitro glycerin is very unstable and there are better substances out there,” Right, cheap and dangerous, should this be legal to possess or make?

    “tanks/grenades/rocket-launchers are cost exhorbint and serve no real practical purpose (although tanks can be gotten with the correct procedures without a legal hassling from the authorities),” good point, I was pretty sure you would see it, but it helps make my point with cheaper and more dangerous substances, if that is the only argument is this case.

    “x-ray machines were already legal and used way back when for customers to check to see if their shoes fitted. Knowing what we know now, I doubt anybody other than nincompoops and xxxtreme dudez would be messing with them (same with drugs, if you think about it) and argumentum ad absurdium, the argument made by stretching out your opponents viewpoints to the extreme makes for terrible dialogue.” —Terrible, perhaps, but it helps make the point if they can’t see it right off. The question is if govt should control what happens to or who can own one. They have been know to kill and make a lot of people sick because of ignorance, which drugs tend to do too. I really want to see your reply before I explain how this happens,… If these are not disposed of properly or get into the wrong hands the cesium inside has done a lot of damage mostly out of ignorance. Again, should the govt control these substances?

    “Are you bob by any chance? No offense if you aren’t.” Bob? The inference is loud and clear but I hope my reply reverses that arrogant judgementalism.

  50. “Funny thing, after they (sort of) legalized pot in the Netherlands, usage went DOWN !!

    But hey, don’t let those pesky facts get in your way…”

    Actually, in the areas which they became legal, usage went up. Much of the public areas became uninhabitable. How’s that for facts!

  51. “My opinion is that there are going to be people who “can’t handle it”, but 1) it’s nobody’s business to force them to not be able to until they actually demonstrate that they can’t handle it”

    So then what do we do when they become unteachable and dependent on society? What do we do with the children that dont get 3 squares a day or even 2 or dont go to school or are left unsupervised for hours or days? That are on the fast track to crime and dependence?

  52. Actually, in the areas which they became legal, usage went up. Much of the public areas became uninhabitable.

    Oh, is that so? And how exactly do you know that? Have you been there? Or do you just take the DEA’s word for it?

  53. Responsible Freedom, how do you feel about alcohol, tobacco, fatty foods, motorcycles, unsafe sex and sky diving ? (just to name a few)

    I’m very curios what kind of life we’d have if busybodies like you get their way.

  54. Hey, I just thought of another thing.

    Every decision that I take ends up affecting somebody else. So, there should be regulations concearning every decision that an individual would face.

    After all, we wouldn’t want “society” to pay the price for individual mistakes, would we?

  55. Does the DEA write the news reports? Should I deem that information unreliable simply because the DEA agrees with it? Who cares what the DEA says?

    The fundamental assumption made by many pro-drug legalization advocates is that people are rational actors who can weight their interests on their own without the aid or hindrance of government or community. Admittedly, not all advocates of legalization make this assumption, but even they have a rosy optimism about what cheaper, more reliable access to more potent drugs would do to society.

    If this was the America of 75 or 100 years ago I’d say no problem. Actually, everything was legal prior to the 1910 Pure Food and Drug Act. You could get Heroin cough syrup and shoot up morphine and cocaine to your hearts content.
    But – if you screwed up on drugs, there were consequences – like prisons and chain gangs where they locked you up and threw away the key. And the gallows and the electrict chair – and if the law didn’t stretch your neck or fry you – the good citizens of your community would do so.
    With our namby pamby sissy lefty laws today, a society MORE full of drugged up sociopaths getting off soft when they rob and murder to get money to support their LEGAL habit is not something I want to contemplate.
    Unless, of course you support going back to the days of hanging, flogging and the chain gang – which may be cool, but I doubt it.

  56. So this is how freedom dies. People decide it’s too “dangerous”

    if you screwed up on drugs, there were consequences

    So, nowadays if you rape a woman while under the influence, nothing happens to you? Didn’t know that.

    Have you ever actually considered that you can use mind-altering substances and be a productive member of society? Carl Sagan (for example) was an avid pot-smoker. Of course, if you had your way, he’d have done hard time …

    But you didn’t tell me, have you actually visited the Netherlands?

  57. Responsible Freedom, how do you feel about alcohol,–relatively good as antiseptic.

    tobacco,–stupid to smokeor chew. Has societal harm.

    fatty foods,–a little fat is not bad.

    motorcycles,–transportation is good.

    unsafe sex–is stupid and someone else often pays the price.

    and sky diving ?–does no societal harm.

    (just to name a few)

    I’m very curios what kind of life we’d have if busybodies like you get their way.

  58. Dangerous should not be the criteria.

    Danger to innocent bystanders is, coupled with no socially redeeming value.

  59. So, you think unsafe sex and tobacoo have “societal harm” …

    So what should be done about them? I’d really really like to know.

    I’m fascinated by the workings of totalitarian minds.

  60. Danger to innocent bystanders is, coupled with no socially redeeming value.

    And what exactly constitues a “socially redeeming value”? Anything you like, that would be my guess.

    Anyway, let’s consider an example.

    Take a man who likes to drink a bottle of vodka every sunday. He harms no one, but I’m guessing this activity has “no socially redeeming value”.

    So, by your criteria, his habit should be illegal, and he should be facing time in jail. Please explain the errors in my judgement (because I’m sure you’ll find plenty of them).

  61. Responsible Freedom, motorcycles are very dangerous. They have a much higher accident rate than four-wheeled vehicles, and a motorcycle accident usually has more serious consequences than a car accident.

    Does that not constitute “societal harm”? If so, shouldn’t you be against them?

  62. RF: Going back on that flamethrower part, gangs (funded by drug sells, courtesy of the drug war) have already burnt down houses without their use. Meanwhile, unlike uzis or handguns, flamethrowers tend to be large and bulky and generally unwieldable in a standard “gang banger” fashion.

    Anyway, moving on:

    [i] “people on the fringes of society wouldn’t be changed whether drugs were legal or not?” vs “For one thing they won’t have to resort to thievery or robbery to support their habits…”

    The second quote believes that if drugs were legal things would be different.

    What would happen is that people would then be compelled to make a decision as to use or not. Just by sheer numbers and odds it is obvious that that means that use would go way up. [/i]

    If drugs are legal, things WOULD be different, since this would entail a major price change and lowering street values of drugs. The people who use them now wouldn’t change-they would still be loafing around the park and bus station screwing around or sitting in dirty warehouses.

    Going back to the days of alcohol prohibition, several beverages that were created were quite stronger than what we have now with our weiner bud lights and smuckers or whatever- they had paint thinner, rock hard alcohol that made grown men cry. Better alcohol COULD be made, however the instance of people going blind from bad alcohol rose dramatically. After all, there is no quality control for illegal substances and the only requirement that the distillers had was that their customers came back.

    Going back even further, apparrently coke was used in conjunction with certain drinks, like Coke. (WOW!) It was also used as an additive in whiskey. Now, the reason I’m bringing this up is because

    1- Who is to say that the drug products won’t become weaker or have less zing in them, even if it is the thrill people are searching for when they use them, because the illegal nature of the product meant it was harder to get, use and enjoy without worrying about the police finding out and further ruining their lives?

    2- People can drink whiskey today without being stupid souts about it, and they were able to drink whiskey then without being souts about it. The reverse is also true, so don’t people believe it is possible to have a product change and not have people become souts about it.

    Also, your point: “Many agencies regard any person that has ever taken LSD as psycologically unstable and will not hire them.”

    They also won’t hire marijuana users, even though mj is light years behind LSD in percieved damage. Hiring practices doesn’t make up for hard data and explanations detailing brain damage or damage in general not being here. The problem is if the History Channel’s program “Busted!” is to be trusted, the DEA has an interest regarding employment to be stopping or neglecting said studies and stopping them from being carried out, and has had these interests from the beginning.

    No, that’s not an excuse for myself not having studies either, I’m just saying.

  63. Actually LSD has bad lasting effects. Most of these drugs alter the brain and make people stupider. Many agencies regard any person that has ever taken LSD as psycologically unstable and will not hire them.

    Uh-huh. “alter the brain and make people stupider.” Could you point us to some peer-reviewed medical journals supporting these conclusions, please? Because you’re making a claim that’s wildly at odds with every medical source I’ve ever seen. As for “many agencies” – now, there’s an unassailable source! Many agencies can’t be wrong! Try replacing “any person that has ever taken LSD” with “Negroes” and see if you think that statement still makes sense.

  64. Re: LSD and brain damage, some NIDA contractors surveyed the literature on LSD and presented their conclusion in the book LSD: Still With Us After All These Years : Based on the National Institute of Drug Abuse Studies on the Resurgence of Contemporary LSD Use. There’s a review of the book here. One of the conclusions: Despite dire warnings, LSD use doesn’t result in mental illness and does not damage genes or chromosomes..

  65. Responsible Freedom-
    Please take “freedom” out of your name because you’ve got no idea what that is.

  66. Slipping into the “but what of the impacts on society” trap is a hard habit to break– much worse than quitting smoking. It sneaks-up on me sometimes and I have to come here to get my head straigtened out especially when my thinking takes me into that place without my even realize it. It’s like reaching for the cigs and not even realizing you’re smoking until you’ve gone through most of it.

    nm,,
    I think “responsible” should go as well.

    I’d rather take my chances with the possible danger of a fellow citizen than the certain danger of a totalitarian government.

  67. M’
    Responsible Freedom didn’t slip he/she jumped into an authoritarian mode and is stuck.

  68. “alter the brain and make people stupider.”

    True perhaps of Alcohol the legal intoxicant, but pretty much false for any other intoxicant except perhaps PCP.

  69. The veto power is rather limited in Mexico, if the Congress sends back the same law to the President he’ll be forced to sign it.

  70. Everyone has a line. I draw my line at when it affects me. It affects me when I have to pay taxes to support either druggies that are too stupid and ugly to support themselves or their children. Legalizing recreational drugs only enhances these problems.

    Like I said, I’m for legalizing drugs when they system stops forcing me to take care of the “victims” and lets me make sure they are not on the streets around my city.

    Should we not require drivers licenses? Of course you will probably ignore this question too.

  71. Everyone has a line. I draw my line at when it affects me. It affects me when I have to pay taxes to support either druggies that are too stupid and ugly to support themselves or their children. Legalizing recreational drugs only enhances these problems.

    Like I said, I’m for legalizing drugs when they system stops forcing me to take care of the “victims” and lets me make sure they are not on the streets around my city.

    Should we not require drivers licenses? Of course you will probably ignore this question too.

  72. Everyone has a line. I draw my line at when it affects me. It affects me when I have to pay taxes to support either druggies that are too stupid and ugly to support themselves or their children. Legalizing recreational drugs only enhances these problems.

    Like I said, I’m for legalizing drugs when they system stops forcing me to take care of the “victims” and lets me make sure they are not on the streets around my city.

    Should we not require drivers licenses? Of course you will probably ignore this question too.

  73. You only say this info is not in medical journals because you want to believe it though if I knew where to find it I could since I have read them before.

    About.com
    Two long-term effects persistent psychosis and hallucinogen persisting perception disorder (HPPD), more commonly referred to as “flashbacks”-have been associated with use of LSD. The causes of these effects, which in some users occur after a single experience with the drug, are not known.

    Psychosis
    The effects of LSD can be described as drug-induced psychosis-distortion or disorganization of a person’s capacity to recognize reality, think rationally, or communicate with others. Some LSD users experience devastating psychological effects that persist after the trip has ended, producing a long-lasting psychotic-like state. LSD-induced persistent psychosis may include dramatic mood swings from mania to profound depression, vivid visual disturbances, and hallucinations. These effects may last for years and can affect people who have no history or other symptoms of psychological disorder.

    Hallucinogen Persisting Perception Disorder
    Some former LSD users report experiences known colloquially as “flashbacks” and called “HPPD” by physicians. These episodes are spontaneous, repeated, sometimes continuous recurrences of some of the sensory distortions originally produced by LSD.

    The experience may include hallucinations, but it most commonly consists of visual disturbances such as seeing false motion on the edges of the field of vision, bright or colored flashes, and halos or trails attached to moving objects. This condition is typically persistent and in some cases remains unchanged for years after individuals have stopped using the drug.

    Because HPPD symptoms may be mistaken for those of other neurological disorders such as stroke or brain tumors, sufferers may consult a variety of clinicians before the disorder is accurately diagnosed. There is no established treatment for HPPD, although some antidepressant drugs may reduce the symptoms. Psychotherapy may help patients adjust to the confusion associated with visual distraction and to minimize the fear, expressed by some, that they are suffering brain damage or psychiatric disorder.

  74. JD

    You are equating Negros with druggies, not me.

  75. Should Ecstasy be legalized? At least let me know where you draw your line.

    “Ecstasy” Damages the Brain and Impairs Memory in Humans
    By Robert Mathias, NIDA NOTES Staff Writer

    ——————————————————————————–

    A NIDA-supported study has provided the first direct evidence that chronic use of MDMA, popularly known as “ecstasy,” causes brain damage in people. Using advanced brain imaging techniques, the study found that MDMA harms neurons that release serotonin, a brain chemical thought to play an important role in regulating memory and other functions. In a related study, researchers found that heavy MDMA users have memory problems that persist for at least 2 weeks after they have stopped using the drug. Both studies suggest that the extent of damage is directly correlated with the amount of MDMA use.
    “The message from these studies is that MDMA does change the brain and it looks like there are functional consequences to these changes,” says Dr. Joseph Frascella of NIDA’s Division of Treatment Research and Development. That message is particularly significant for young people who participate in large, all-night dance parties known as “raves,” which are popular in many cities around the Nation. NIDA’s epidemiologic studies indicate that MDMA (3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine) use has escalated in recent years among college students and young adults who attend these social gatherings. (See “Facts About MDMA,” p. 15.)

    These brain scans show the amount of serotonin activity over a 40-minute period in a non-MDMA user (top) and an MDMA user (bottom). Dark areas in the MDMA user’s brain show damage due to chronic MDMA use.

    In the brain imaging study, researchers used positron emission tomography (PET) to take brain scans of 14 MDMA users who had not used any psychoactive drug, including MDMA, for at least 3 weeks. Brain images also were taken of 15 people who had never used MDMA. Both groups were similar in age and level of education and had comparable numbers of men and women.

    In people who had used MDMA, the PET images showed significant reductions in the number of serotonin transporters, the sites on neuron surfaces that reabsorb serotonin from the space between cells after it has completed its work. The lasting reduction of serotonin transporters occurred throughout the brain, and people who had used MDMA more often lost more serotonin transporters than those who had used the drug less.

    Previous PET studies with baboons also produced images indicating MDMA had induced long-term reductions in the number of serotonin transporters. Examinations of brain tissue from the animals provided further confirmation that the decrease in serotonin transporters seen in the PET images corresponded to actual loss of serotonin nerve endings containing transporters in the baboons’ brains. “Based on what we found with our animal studies, we maintain that the changes revealed by PET imaging are probably related to damage of serotonin nerve endings in humans who had used MDMA,” says Dr. George Ricaurte of The Johns Hopkins Medical Institutions in Baltimore. Dr. Ricaurte is the principal investigator for both studies, which are part of a clinical research project that is assessing the long-term effects of MDMA.

    “The real question in all imaging studies is what these changes mean when it comes to functional consequences,” says NIDA’s Dr. Frascella. To help answer that question, a team of researchers, which included scientists from Johns Hopkins and the National Institute of Mental Health who had worked on the imaging study, attempted to assess the effects of chronic MDMA use on memory. In this study, researchers administered several standardized memory tests to 24 MDMA users who had not used the drug for at least 2 weeks and 24 people who had never used the drug. Both groups were matched for age, gender, education, and vocabulary scores.

    The study found that, compared to the nonusers, heavy MDMA users had significant impairments in visual and verbal memory. As had been found in the brain imaging study, MDMA’s harmful effects were dose-related?the more MDMA people used, the greater difficulty they had in recalling what they had seen and heard during testing.

    The memory impairments found in MDMA users are among the first functional consequences of MDMA-induced damage of serotonin neurons to emerge. Recent studies conducted in the United Kingdom also have reported memory problems in MDMA users assessed within a few days of their last drug use. “Our study extends the MDMA-induced memory impairment to at least 2 weeks since last drug use and thus shows that MDMA’s effects on memory cannot be attributed to withdrawal or residual drug effects,” says Dr. Karen Bolla of Johns Hopkins, who helped conduct the study.

    The Johns Hopkins/NIMH researchers also were able to link poorer memory performance by MDMA users to loss of brain serotonin function by measuring the levels of a serotonin metabolite in study participants’ spinal fluid. These measurements showed that MDMA users had lower levels of the metabolite than people who had not used the drug; that the more MDMA they reported using, the lower the level of the metabolite; and that the people with the lowest levels of the metabolite had the poorest memory performance. Taken together, these findings support the conclusion that MDMA-induced brain serotonin neurotoxicity may account for the persistent memory impairment found in MDMA users, Dr. Bolla says.

    Research on the functional consequences of MDMA-induced damage of serotonin-producing neurons in humans is at an early stage, and the scientists who conducted the studies cannot say definitively that the harm to brain serotonin neurons shown in the imaging study accounts for the memory impairments found among chronic users of the drug. However, “that’s the concern, and it’s certainly the most obvious basis for the memory problems that some MDMA users have developed,” Dr. Ricaurte says.

    Findings from another Johns Hopkins/NIMH study now suggest that MDMA use may lead to impairments in other cognitive functions besides memory, such as the ability to reason verbally or sustain attention. Researchers are continuing to examine the effects of chronic MDMA use on memory and other functions in which serotonin has been implicated, such as mood, impulse control, and sleep cycles. How long MDMA-induced brain damage persists and the long-term consequences of that damage are other questions researchers are trying to answer. Animal studies, which first documented the neurotoxic effects of the drug, suggest that the loss of serotonin neurons in humans may last for many years and possibly be permanent. “We now know that brain damage is still present in monkeys 7 years after discontinuing the drug,” Dr. Ricaurte says. “We don’t know just yet if we’re dealing with such a long-lasting effect in people.”

    View our summary of links about MDMA (Ecstasy).

    Sources
    Bolla, K.I.; McCann, U.D.; and Ricaurte, G.A. Memory impairment in abstinent MDMA (“ecstasy”) users. Neurology 51:1532-1537, 1998.

    Hatzidimitriou, G.; McCann, U.D.; and Ricuarte, G.A. Altered serotonin innervation patterns in the forebrain of monkeys treated with MDMA seven years previously: Factors influencing abnormal recovery. Journal of Neuroscience 191(12):5096-5107, 1999.

    McCann, U.D.; Mertl, M.; Eligulashvili, V.; and Ricaurte, G.A. Cognitive performance in (?) 3,4-methylenedioxymethamphetamine (MDMA, “ecstasy”) users: a controlled study. Psychopharmacology 143:417-425, 1999.

    McCann, U.D.; Szabo, Z.; Scheffel, U.; Dannals, R.F.; and Ricaurte, G.A. Positron emission tomographic evidence of toxic effect of MDMA (“ecstasy”) on brain serotonin neurons in human beings.

  76. Aghajanian, G. K., and Bing, O. H.: Persistence of Lysergic Acid Diethylamide in the Plasma of Human Subjects, Clin. Pharmacol. Ther. 5:611-614, 1964.
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    Keeler, M. H., Reifler, C. B., and Liptzin, M. B.: Spontaneous Recurrence of Marihuana Effect, Amer. J. Psychiat. 125:384-386, 1968.
    Kluver, B.: Mescal and Mechanisms of Hallucination. Chicago: University of Chicago Press, 1966.
    Robbins, E., Frosch, W. A., and Stern, M.: Further Observations on Untoward Reactions to LSD, Amer. J. Psychiat. 124:393-395, 1967.
    Smart, R. G., and Bateman, K.: Unfavorable Reactions to LSD, Canad. Med. Ass. J. 97:1214-1221, 1967.
    Ungerleider, J. T., Fisher, D. D., Goldsmith, S. R., Fuller, M., and Forgy, E.: A Statistical Survey of Adverse Reactions to LSD in Los Angeles County, Amer. J. Psychiat. 125:352- 357, 1968.
    Viscott, D. S.: Chlordiazepoxide and Hallucinations, Arch. Gen. Psychiat. 19:370-376, 1968.

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