Drug Policy

Mark Kleiman's 'Radical' Yet 'Practical' Drug Policy Agenda

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UCLA's Mark Kleiman, who has long distinguished himself as one of the few thoughtful, intellectually honest drug policy experts who nevertheless manage to be consulted by people in power, has an essay in the January/February issue of The American Interest calling for "radical rather than incremental" (yet "practical") changes in the way the government deals with intoxicants. His proposals include less incarceration of drug dealers, more-sophisticated drug education, reducing the government scrutiny that discourages adequate pain treatment, making drug law enforcement a lower priority in foreign policy, allowing the regulated use of performance-enhancing drugs, permitting religious and psychotherapeutic uses of psychedelics, eliminating the drinking age, and legalizing possession and cultivation of marijuana for personal use. Kleiman's ideas are not as radical as I'd like, and some of them (e.g., higher alcohol taxes and, depending on what it means in practice, "coerced abstinence") move in the wrong direction. But on the whole we'd be substantially better off if his advice were followed. In the meantime the drug policy debate could benefit by absorbing some data-driven, Kleimanesque wisdom:

We have a highly intrusive and semi-militarized drug enforcement effort that is often only marginally constitutional and sometimes more than marginally indecent…

Most drug use is harmless, and much of it is beneficial…No harm, no foul. Mere use of an abusable drug does not constitute a problem demanding public intervention. "Drug users" are not the enemy, and a achieving a "drug-free society" is not only impossible but unnecessary to achieve the purposes for which the drug laws were enacted….

"Compulsive" isn't the same as "involuntary": Addicts can and do respond to the conditions and consequences of their behavior….Most substance abuse disorders resolve "spontaneously"; that is, without formal treatment….

The average incarcerated dealer commits fewer predatory crimes than the average non-drug prisoner, so filling cells with dealers while prison space is scarce tends on balance to increase the rate of property and violent crime….

There is no one "solution" to the drug problem…Any set of policies will therefore leave us with some level of substance abuse—with attendant costs to the abusers themselves, their families, their neighbors, their co-workers and the public—and some level of damage from illicit markets and law enforcement efforts. Thus the "drug problem" cannot be abolished either by "winning the war on drugs" or by "ending prohibition." In practice the choice among policies is a choice of which set of problems we want to have….The overarching goal of policy should be to minimize the damage done to drug users and to others from the risks of the drugs themselves (toxicity, intoxicated behavior and addiction) and from control measures and efforts to evade them.

Kleiman tends to put too much faith in the government's ability to weigh all the relevant costs and set policy accordingly. He recommends much higher taxes on beer, wine, and liquor, for example, to discourage alcohol abuse, even while acknowledging that a uniform surcharge will overdeter responsible drinkers and underdeter "the dangerous minority." If, as he suggests in his discussion of illegal drug use, "harmless pleasure and relaxation count as benefits," the benefits forgone because of higher alcohol taxes could outweigh the harm prevented. Although I have less confidence than Kleiman does that we can calculate our way to the ideal drug policy, his insistence that the government consider the costs of its interventions is, as always, welcome. 

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  1. How about this idea; hold people responsible for their actions. If you work and pay your bills and do not harm anyone, who cares if you are using drugs? If you don’t, the fact that you are not a drug user doesn’t make any difference. The most telling comment is this one “Most substance abuse disorders resolve “spontaneously”; that is, without formal treatment….”

    Translation, most substance abusers are just miscreants and no amount of deterrence is going to keep them from being miscreants. You want to abuse drugs, have fun. You rob someone to support your habit, fuck you go to jail for the rest of your life and the fact that you have a drug problem isn’t even admissible as mitigating evidence. Spend all your money on drugs and end up living in the gutter? Have fun with your lifestyle choice your not getting one dime of help. I am all for legalizing drugs as long as that comes with a real sense of personal responsibility. What I don’t want is to legalize drugs and also continue to get hit for the bill helping addicts.

  2. I think the inertia behind a more sensible drug policy is closer than many might think.

    As taxation and budget deficit issues become worse and the desire by the public for medical care grows (and it is growing), I think the notion of “legalizing drugs so you can tax them” will gain some serious traction.

    That’s my prediction anyway.

  3. Why would you want to discourage the consumption of wine?

    Wine is a force for good in our society, and the primary public interest in relation to it is the removal of barriers to its production, acquisition, and use.

  4. Oh joy. Another enlightened, thoughtful post by John.

  5. Kleinman is the only drug policy activist I can name who supports the drug war. His articles always read the same and they can be paraphrased as:
    “The drug war is the worst thing ever, but we can’t legalize or even decriminalize harder drugs, it just can’t be done so there is no point in trying. Sure pot might be okay, but that would be it, and I’m not saying it would be a good idea to completely deregulate it.”

    WTF???

  6. Figure out what hallucinogens are good for, and don’t let the drug laws interfere with religious freedom. In light of new scientific evidence, it’s time to forget some of the (false) lessons learned from the paisley-and-Day-Glo “psychedelic” episode and bring the potential benefits of responsible hallucinogen use back into the realm of scientific and policy respectability. If hallucinogens have potential for therapy or performance enhancement, why stifle it? If sincere religious seekers want to accept modest risks of injury by taking potentially dangerous chemicals to induce mystical visions, why forbid them?

    Wow. I am stunned to see this in a mainstream publication. It looks like we’re making some progress here.

    WAKE UP!

    Seriously, do you really think Jesus convinced people he was the son of God by feeding them crackers and grape juice?

  7. Oh joy Madpad. Do you really think the government owes addicts anything? Is so why? It seems to me that if drugs are so horrible that people cannot help from using them, perhaps we are right to ban them? If it is your choice to use drugs, which it most assuredly is, why then should anyone but you bear the consiquences of doing so? You either beleive in personal responsibility or you don’t. You can’t have it both ways and expect to have the freedom to do what you like but then whine to have government come save you from your choices.

  8. Do you really think the government owes addicts anything?

    Yes, because the government is pushing all the addictive drugs. Cocaine, Heroin, and Meth all come from a gangster status quo maintained by the CIA. Criminals In Action. If it weren’t for them we would be struggling with our “addiction” to chewed coca leaves, poppy tea, and market-price Adderall.

    That is why they put pseudophedrine behind the counter. They want the tweakers to use the nasty shit from Ciudad Juarez.

  9. The drug use is so bad for society, it has sever downstream effects on society. We cannot allow it. Even if the laws are ineffective and perhaps even counterproductive we must continue to fight because it is morally the right thing to do. Drug use gives people pleasure, we cannot allow that because pleasure is sinful. The purpose of life is to suffer, it is good for the soul. Nothing but all out war is acceptable.

  10. John,
    I thought you didn’t believe in addiction. In fact once upon a time you stated

    it is the case that there is nothing inherently addictive about drugs and the people who do abuse them do so because they are weak criminal personalities

    Do I hear a change in tune?

    I agree with your statement about personal responsibility and agree that the state should not be funding rehab.

    However, if the only option to convince the general populace of this country to end the drug war is to fund rehab for addicts; my money is on rehab. It is cheaper and less damaging to civil rights. It isn’t perfect, but it is a might sight better. For now, I’d settle for not having Libertopia and go back to respecting police and knowing that they won’t be barging through my door at 4AM looking for ingestibles. Then we can work on defunding rehab.

  11. Also, if the drug is allowed, we should mandate that anyone who uses is not allowed to get medical care because it is not fair that we all should pay for your drug induced health consequences.

  12. Drug is like prostituton and gambling in that it cannot be allowed because it is pleasurable and therefore sinful and a work of devil. We are one nation under GOD and GOD wants us all to suffer because we will then be rewarded in the afterlive, suffering is good for the soul.

  13. Hi, Juanita.

    John asks, “Do you really think the government owes addicts anything?” That’s not really the question. The question is, “Is funding drug treatment a good idea? Will it produce benefits that outweigh the costs?”

    Nobody wants to fund drug treatment because they think society owes it to addicts.

  14. The purpose of life is to suffer, it is good for the soul. Nothing but all out war is acceptable.

    Wow, I’m glad we could isolate that sentiment. Have ya’ll ever seen a Christian Science healing ritual, where they pull the evil spirits out of your stomach? It’s all sleight of hand and the “spirits” are actually pork rinds, but the placebo effect is a powerful thing.

    I can’t say that I approve of their medicinal practices, but the Christian Scientists do maintain a respectable newspaper. That’s saying a lot in this day and age.

  15. Kwix,

    I haven’t changed my tune at all. If drugs are not addictive, then your use of drugs doesn’t diminish your responsibilities for your actions. That is my point. It is your right to use drugs and your choice to abuse them. Society shouldn’t be throwing you in jail for using drugs, but doesn’t owe you one red cent to help you with whatever consequences you suffer for your actions.

  16. It seems to me that if drugs are so horrible that people cannot help from using them, perhaps we are right to ban them?

    So all people cannot help from using them and that makes them horrible?

    Do you really think the government owes addicts anything?

    If the government doesn’t owe addicts any interest, then why ban drugs at all.

    You either beleive in personal responsibility or you don’t.

    If the issue is solely about personal responsibility, why should you care if anyone does drugs?

  17. “Do you really think the government owes addicts anything?” That’s not really the question. The question is, “Is funding drug treatment a good idea? Will it produce benefits that outweigh the costs?”

    Nobody wants to fund drug treatment because they think society owes it to addicts.”

    I am not so sure about that. Further, to take your point is funding rehab really productive? I am not so sure about that. “Most substance abuse disorders resolve “spontaneously”; that is, without formal treatment….” I think there may be some truth to that. How does funding rehab do anything but enable people to behave irresponible? Maybe if people bore the full brunt of the consiquences of abusing drugs they would do it less and we are thus creating more irresponsible behavior by funding rehab? That is a harsh reality but maybe a reality nonetheless.

  18. The drug war is so bad for society, it has severe downstream effects on society. We cannot allow it. Even if the methods are ineffective and perhaps even counterproductive we must continue to fight against it because it is the right thing to do. The Drug War gives moralists pleasure, we cannot allow that because morality is in the eye of the beholder. The purpose of life is to live as you see fit, it is good for the soul. Nothing but all out war on the drug war is acceptable.

    There, I fixed it for you. No need to thank me.

  19. “it is the case that there is nothing inherently addictive about drugs and the people who do abuse them do so because they are weak criminal personalities”

    Wow! You keep a John folder? Creepy!

  20. “If the government doesn’t owe addicts any interest, then why ban drugs at all.”

    We shouldn’t

    “If the issue is solely about personal responsibility, why should you care if anyone does drugs?”

    I don’t. Not in the slightest. What you do with your body and on your own time is your business. Just don’t expect me to pay for it.

  21. “If drugs are not addictive…”

    Know any crackheads, John?

  22. How does funding rehab do anything but enable people to behave irresponsible?

    How does funding rehab create a culture of irresponsibility? You do the crime, you do the time. You don’t do the crime, but think you’re on the road to trouble due to your drug usage patterns, you enter voluntary rehab paid for by the state.

    Not that I’m a big advocate of socialized rehab, but I’d take that in a heartbeat over making drugs illegal.

  23. “Not that I’m a big advocate of socialized rehab, but I’d take that in a heartbeat over making drugs illegal.”

    Given a choice, I would to, but in an ideal world we woudl have neither. If socialized rehab is the only way to end the drug war, we are taking the lessor of two evils.

    “Know any crackheads, John?”

    Seen a few and everyone of them was just irresponsible and used crack use as an excuse to continue to be irresponsible. Remove the crack from the face of the earth and they still would have been irresponsible, just not using crack anymore. I realy don’t buy it that they couldn’t help themselves. Further, if they did and crack was just poison that some people could not stop using, I would be forced to reconsider my position on it being illegal. How can we let people see something that a good percentage of users will use to the point of death through no choice of their own?

  24. John must be taking his Buspar. His responses are far more reasonable than usual. I actually find myself agreeing with him, except for his undercurrent that all drug users are morally inferior.

  25. “How can we let people see something that a good percentage of users will use to the point of death through no choice of their own?”

    Like smokes and autos?

  26. “except for his undercurrent that all drug users are morally inferior.”

    I don’t think all drug users are morally inferior. I don’t see anything wrong with taking drugs. If I did, I would have to stop drinking coffee and booze. I think people who abuse drugs are moraly inferior.

  27. “How can we let people see something that a good percentage of users will use to the point of death through no choice of their own?”

    Like smokes and autos?”

    Smoking only kills like 1/3 of all users. Of course a lot of people would like to ban cigs too. Seriously, if you assume that drugs are addictive and that if they are available some people, indeed a large number of people or even all people if you buy some of the drug propeganda, will use them to the point of death and completely destroying their lives, it is awefully hard to see how they should be legalized. Step back for a second and assume that the propeganda is true and that things like heroine and crack and meth will get anyone addicted for life on like the second use. If that is true, how can you not want to throw anyone in jail who sells the stuff? I don’t think that is true, but if I did, I would really have to think long and hard about how to stop drugs.

  28. Seen a few and everyone of them was just irresponsible and used crack use as an excuse to continue to be irresponsible. Remove the crack from the face of the earth and they still would have been irresponsible, just not using crack anymore. I realy don’t buy it that they couldn’t help themselves. Further, if they did and crack was just poison that some people could not stop using, I would be forced to reconsider my position on it being illegal. How can we let people see something that a good percentage of users will use to the point of death through no choice of their own?

    You are a very ignorant person who is obviously NOT qualified to be making statements concerning the nature of this substance. Just so you know, crack IS a poison designed to cause CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY. It was invented by the CIA to enslave the human race.

    The only drugs that should be banned are the ones the CIA is selling us. How about that? Would that work? Legalize all drugs except Heroin, Cocaine, and Meth. Then force the DEA to bust up the Juarez cartel. Do you think they would do it?

    I’ll bet they all flee to Mexico when that happens. Who do you think we could trust to lead the manhunt?

  29. Okay, to be fair, the quote from John regarding addiction was a hypothetical (hence, click on link to read his entire previous statement). It is just one that stuck in my head from a ways back.

    John,
    I think that you are assuming that by entering rehab you should get a free pass for crimes committed on drugs. I personally have the exact opposite vision. If you rob someone while under the influence, you should get an additional penalty for not sitting your ass on the couch while stoned.

    I don’t think that society owes addicts anything. However I feel that if a person is faced with “free” rehab or commiting a crime for a fix then rehab should be available but looked at as a crime preventative.

    It isn’t the best solution, personal responsibility is, but it would at least de-escalate this war and restore civil liberties and cost less. It is also the only policy move I can see that might actually work in the forseable future. You can’t legislate personal responsibility, that comes from personal teaching. Sadly, that teaching has become rare. You could try to pound that idea into American’s heads but it would take a long, long time when “nothing is anybody’s fault” anymore.

    Kid’s too fat, it’s the advertising.
    Hooked on drugs, it’s the meth maker’s fault.
    You get in an auto accident, it’s the other guys problem.
    You’re house in New Orleans got flooded, it’s the Government’s fault.
    You starved during the Blizzard of ’05, Red Cross should have gotten there sooner.

    I don’t want to maintain the status quo while my civil liberties go down the drain because some people feel that druggies should be left to thier own devices or no change should occur.

  30. “The only drugs that should be banned are the ones the CIA is selling us.”

    Just how many of you are in there, tros?

    Reminds me of my friend who lived in Africa, talking about how they bought their weed from the police. They even went so far as to pull over a police cruiser so they could ask the cop to sell them a bag. It worked.

    So, to sum up, if you need to score, just look up the nearest CIA office.

  31. “Smoking (tobacco) only kills like 1/3 of all users”

    What fraction of its users does weed kill?

  32. Tros,
    Put your tin foil hat back on, take a big ole toke and chill. The CIA does enough bad shit in the real world that it doesn’t need you laying on the development of free-base cocaine, the development of diamorphine or the invention of amphetimines at it’s feet.

    Sorry kid, you’re not the one.

  33. “Smoking (tobacco) only kills like 1/3 of all users”

    The other 2/3 live forever? Or is your statistic akin to alcohol-related traffic accidents which we already know includes accidents that occur within 25 feet of empty beer cans on the side of the road.

  34. “Smoking (tobacco) only kills like 1/3 of all users”

    What fraction of its users does weed kill?”

    Probably less but I don’t know. That said, I am firmly convinced weed is not nearly as bad for you as smoking or drinking. I really don’t understand how the drug got such a bad rap. It kind of makes me wonder if the whole thing isn’t just the booze industry putting out lies to keep out the competition.

  35. “The other 2/3 live forever? Or is your statistic akin to alcohol-related traffic accidents which we already know includes accidents that occur within 25 feet of empty beer cans on the side of the road.”

    I am not saying ban tobacco. Really. I don’t know how many people it kills. I just know that people know the stuff is not good for you and plenty of people have quit, so you really don’t have much of a gribe if you smoke all your life and end up dying of lung cancer.

  36. Would you prefer I called it Ciudad Juarez? Tell me how they are allowed to operate with impunity when you can see the boss mansions from downtown El Paso? This what you people are bitching about. Nasty drugs. Oh noooooo my children! Oh nooooo my wallet! Why don’t you wake the fuck up and ask yourself why they have been letting happen for the past forty years when its RIGHT FUCKING THERE.

    They could probably turn on the nearest artillery piece Stateside and hit the place from there. They want that shit to keep coming in to the country because it keeps poor people in the gutter and rich people like you worrying about getting lynched by the poor people.

  37. BTW soon I will be marketting tros brand designer tinfoil hats for your consumer pleasure guaranteed to protect against CIA mind control and facilitate beneficial alien encounters for your merchandising pleasure

  38. I think people who abuse drugs are moraly inferior.

    Questions for John!

    What do you mean, “morally?” Does that mean that every alcoholic was morally inferior until they kicked the habit? Was Chief Justice Rehnquist morally inferior until he was hospitalized? Does a person who smokes until he gets cancer morally inferior?

    And do you actually believe that nicotine, alcohol, and opiates aren’t addictive? If so, what is your opinion based on?

  39. tros, I am dumber for having read your posts

  40. “I really don’t understand how the drug got such a bad rap.”

    Because they’re associated with brown people and many of us in America are scared of brown people (although the opium scare is realted to Chinese immigrants who are technically yellow, I suppose, but you get the idea).

    “As a stimulant to crime the drug [marijuana] is probably as important as cocaine, certainly far more so than opium or any of its derivatives, and narcotic-control agencies will be put to a severe test in routing out this traffic.”

    Quoted, approvingly, by Harry J. Anslinger during Senate testimony in 1937.

    70 years and the drug warriors still haven’t routed the traffic. Maybe in the next 70 years the “narcotic-control agencies” can pass the “severe test” but I doubt it.

  41. ” I really don’t understand how the drug got such a bad rap”

    It was that William Randolph Hearst fella.

  42. The drug got a bad rap because it is bad. Period. Of course all of these drugs are bad for society. It just so happens banning them is worse for society.

  43. Of course all of these drugs are bad for society.

    On the contrary, people who don’t use drugs responsibly are bad for society.

  44. That is bullshit and you know it. I know dozens of “responsible” pot users that would never hurt another soul. It just so happens they are the laziest, least ambitious bunch are granolas that inhabit God’s green earth. Thay can’t be good for society. It just can’t be.

  45. Of course all of these drugs are bad for society.

    No they’re not. When people misuse them, then those people can do things that are bad for society. Most people use drugs in ways that make them happy and that’s good for society.

  46. “That is bullshit and you know it. I know dozens of “responsible” pot users that would never hurt another soul. It just so happens they are the laziest, least ambitious bunch are granolas that inhabit God’s green earth. Thay can’t be good for society. It just can’t be.”

    Are all the coloreds in your world lazy too?

  47. How about this idea; hold people responsible for their actions.
    A most sensible idea that I agree with 100%, but it would never fly in a socialist country like the U.S. because it’d impede the flow of O.P.M. (so to speak).

    Know any crackheads, John?
    Since you didn’t ask me, I’ll answer:

    Changing to the past tense…yup, quite a few, at least a a dozen, and a few dozen more who’ve used crack, including myself.
    The crackheads stop without treatment when the costs (money and/or social) become prohibitive;
    most are also drunks, and their ‘cure’ typically comes in the form of a drunken car accident.
    The others, including myself, mostly didn’t like it much in the first place.

    I realy don’t buy it that they [crackheads] couldn’t help themselves.
    I don’t believe in addiction either. ‘Tis nought but a feeble excuse.

    FWIW:
    “Romancing Opiates: Pharmacological Lies and the Addiction Bureaucracy” (Theodore Dalrymple)
    http://www.manhattan-institute.org/romancingopiates/
    “Using evidence from literature and pharmacology and drawing on examples from his own clinical experience, Dalrymple shows that addiction is not a disease, but a response to personal and existential problems. He argues that withdrawal from opiates is not the serious medical condition, but a relatively trivial experience and says that criminality causes addiction far more often than addiction causes criminality.” (from Amazon).

    Reminds me of my friend who lived in Africa, talking about how they bought their weed from the police.
    Same as in Mexico.

  48. Dainty, regardless of your personal experience, tens of millions of Americans use marijuana the same way most people use alcohol, which is responsibly. They’re not lazy and unambitious.

    All the regular marijuana users I know are active and/or productive. Carl Sagan was a regular marijuana user. Francis Crick, too. Jefferson and Madison wrote of the pleasures of it in letters.

  49. Drugs are bad, mmm-kay.

  50. That is bullshit and you know it. I know dozens of “responsible” pot users that would never hurt another soul. It just so happens they are the laziest, least ambitious bunch are granolas that inhabit God’s green earth. Thay can’t be good for society. It just can’t be.

    Am I allowed to call this person a nazi? I’m kind of fuzzy on this the language gestapo should post their rules someplace visible.

    Anyway, the reason we granloas have been lacking in the ambition department is that stupid motherfuckers such as yourself have been running the government. The good news is that there are now more of us than there are of you. Your government is not recognized by the majority of people in this country. We are finished shitting all over the planet. We are going to make things better now and drag you stupid fucks kicking and screaming out of the hellhole you’ve made for us.

  51. Wow, it’s been a Drug War Blogapalooza lately.

    How about this idea; hold people responsible for their actions. If you work and pay your bills and do not harm anyone, who cares if you are using drugs?

    Because, John, drug use affects others around you, and society at large, indirectly. Take smoking. No one wants to allow anyone to smoke anymore. Even if you whistle past the second hand smoke arguments, you’ve got the general healthcare costs to the individual smoker which burden society. Let’s talk about trans-fats. Same deal. Advertising of candy to minors. Sweet cereal to children during morning cartoons. The fat tax. The banning of “cheap alcohol” sales in so-called “impact areas”. We turned the corner to a consumption-regulation based nation some time ago. Yes, it started with the drug war against what are easily categorized as “narcotics”, then its cancerous tentacles of prohibition grew into almost every corner of life– “public health” being the clarion call for every politician of EVERY stripe.

    We’ve got large numbers of people who claim to be against the Drug War(tm)– that being defined as SWAT teams raiding a pot-smoker based on a few seeds found in his trashcan etc., but sit in their voting booth, and pull the “yes” lever for every petty ban upon which they have the opportunity to vote.

    Why? I’m not sure. I have some ideas, though. There’s a heirarchy to most people’s political beliefs. Smoking = Big Tobacco/Corporate evil. Plus, smoking can be directly linked to increased healthcare costs on a mainstream segment of the population. Smoking ban: good. Trans-fats; Big Food/Corporate evil. As our society continues to grow its government Healthcare Industrial Complex, anything which causes sickness or health problems which the public perceives (and rightly so) to be paid for by public monies is now fair game for regulation or outright ban by the public sector. The list goes on. So what’s with heroin, pot, cocaine…?

    Because they’re not legal to begin with and legalizing them would place public officials in a flawed, logical space-time-continuum feedback loop which would force them to face drugs, and drug-use health effects in the same public-burden light. This, in turn would force a new regulatory framework upon the now legal drugs, and you’d immediately start seeing bans or effective bans due to the public health threat of these formerly illegal substances. Bottom line: We’d be right back where we started. So why bother?

    I have some indirect proof of this by the fact that some local marijuana advocates quietly admitted that legalization of pot could “ruin” the culture because it would inevitably become corporatized. Pot = Big Marijuana/Corporate evil… Then you’ll see unlikely coalitions forming to, at minimum, put dramatic restrictions on pot use because of the “public health” risk. You think you’ve seen politicized studies from the government on tobacco smoke? You ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet until you start getting studies on pot if it were actually legal.

    Keep ’em illegal, it’ll all really be so much easier.

  52. You think you’ve seen politicized studies from the government on tobacco smoke? You ain’t seen NOTHIN’ yet until you start getting studies on pot if it were actually legal.

    Who cares, so long as it’s legal and people can demonstrate to themselves that the government lies and doesn’t actually care about your health. I can’t tolerate people within the cannabis culture who want to keep it below ground. These people are inevitably a status quo of some sort, otherwise they would be advocating for change.

    Yes, the drug war and public health are the two jaws of the leviathan about to clamp shut on us. You can blame every idiotic fabrication the media calls a “problem” or “epidemic” on the drug control regime. I don’t think we’re going to stop talking about this until we fix it, no?

  53. Looks like I’m too late; we’ve already moved into ad hominems (homina?).

    Alls I was gonna say was that “The War on Drugs” is more than policy; it’s dogma bordering on religion. And I think the gubmint is too invested to be able to say, “Welp, we’ve changed our minds on drugs.” Something like the idea of “too big to fail.”

    Whatever.

  54. Kleiman is a one-man Wickersham Commission–dithering about whether Prohibition is good or bad.
    Or he’s the Democrats dithering about whether to end the war in Iraq.

    Ditherers just want to be loved by all sides. Reality be damned.

  55. Of course it is bad for society for people to smoke pot, we’ve got so much production loss. We really gotta step up progress and get as much particulate pollution into the atmosphere and consumer by-products into the land-fills as we can! No sense wasting one more second being a “lazy granola”, there’s work to be done, we haven’t completely trashed the entire planet yet.

  56. And I think the gubmint is too invested to be able to say, “Welp, we’ve changed our minds on drugs.” Something like the idea of “too big to fail.”

    Here’s my honest, non-flippant opinion on the drug war. No sarcasm. Cross my heart:

    The only real modification to the Drug War(tm) that I believe any of us will see in our lifetime, is a quiet deprioritization of drug crime (read drug use) by local police organizations.

    This way, they avoid the federal juggernaut which always threatens to cut off some monies if a state “legalizes that which shall be banned”. No state will touch legalization of anything because if there’s one drug that EVERYONE in the public sector is addicted to, it’s money. They’re so addicted to it, they don’t even call it money, the call it “monay”.

    So if states can start making the decision to drop drug enforcement priority without jeapardizing their respective supplies of the greenback narcotic- this could be the beginning of some meaningful change. At minimum, even if it never gets past that initial change, it’ll be a change well worth the price.

  57. .. dream on, folks .. ain’t never gonna happen ..

    .. we used to talk about the days when pot would become legal back in the ’60s .. 40 years later we’re still talking about it and we’re no closer.. face it.. no politician is going to commit suicide by suggesting that we make this country a bit more free..

    .. ain’t gonna happen .. take that to the bank ..

    .. Hobbit

  58. Pot is more popular and more legal (or less illegal) now than it was in the 60’s. I think it’s possible that more and more cities will move to decriminalize it in the decades ahead.

    We can hope.

  59. ad hominems

    the only place I’ve ever seen this phrase used is in libertarian circles. it seems to be quite the in thing to tell somebody in a LP related discussion.

    “ooooooooooh, you resorted to ad hominem attacks!” Therefore, of course, anything they say is worth nothing, no matter how true it might be.

    what’s wrong with telling a fucking idiot they’re a fucking idiot, when they happen, in subjective fact, to appear to be a fucking idiot?

    screw the LP debate society. Dont break the arbitary rulez!

  60. what’s wrong with telling a fucking idiot they’re a fucking idiot, when they happen, in subjective fact, to appear to be a fucking idiot?

    Because it essentially says, “I’m not here to learn anything or try to convince you that you’re mistaken about something.”

    Even if you’re making a good point worth making, once you’ve called someone “a fucking idiot,” you practically force them to stop listening to that good point.

    Dont break the arbitary rulez!

    I don’t think that’s an arbitrary rule. I think that most people accept it as something to avoid in constructive conversation.

    Of course, if you’re not interested in constructive conversation, then the internet is mostly on your side, I think.

  61. I think that most people accept it as something to avoid in constructive conversation.

    That is because you are teh lame and you know you want to call them idiots but you just say it to yourself and then tell us not to say it on the comments you flame puritan.

    p.s. this website ruelz your face ha ha ha

  62. Aye. and what good is driving off the wee little ones? It becomes a bit of a sandbarrier, no?

  63. Well, Im afraid your weee boatsmen got caught up in the legal processses we would call rule of law. now back in the day there was a process called integrity. for all the claims to make sense they had to measure up against the royal measure. Alas, some wish to disagree. I submit this to you.

  64. The tick watches back

  65. Radical/practical

    Here in Pennsylvania the .gov has offered us a new budget with a $ 900 million tax increase. Including a cigarette tax increase that will make tobacco taxes amopunting to a 36% tax on a $ 4 pack of butts.

    Using my own handi-dandy US Illicit drug market value calculator I find that Pennsylvania has a $ 6 billion retail black market for ‘illicit’ drugs. Legalizing and taxing that $ 6 billion at the same rate as tobacco is now taxed would give Pennsylvania $ 2.16 billion in new revenue.

    At the same time the combined state and local governments spend well over $ 250 million a year to enforce and impose the untaxed status of this retail market.

    Rendell’s budget “loaded with new levies”

    Exactly how do drug warriors define radical and practical?

  66. “amopunting”

    LOL!

    A great new word that has as yet not been properly defined.

    SHOULD HAVE BEEN: “amounting to”

  67. what’s wrong with telling a fucking idiot they’re a fucking idiot, when they happen, in subjective fact, to appear to be a fucking idiot?

    In libertarian circles if someone IS a fucking idiot it would be an Objectiv[ist] fact.

    That is all.

  68. tros, that was hilarious.

    You were joking, weren’t you? (See? I’m giving you the benefit of the doubt!)

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