Drug Policy

Dealing With Drugs at the L.A. Times

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This week I'm debating drug policy with the Heritage Foundation's Charles Stimson in a Los Angeles Times "Dust-Up." Monday's posts dealt with the distinction between decriminalization and legalization, and yesterday's posts addressed the conflict between federal and state governments regarding the medical use of marijuana. Later today there will be an exchange on the subject of politicians' drug use. Thursday's posts will focus on drug-trade-related violence, and on Friday we're supposed to lay out our visions of an ideal drug policy.

Update: Part III is up now.

NEXT: Erase Your Porn

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  1. I look forward to Friday’s post.

  2. A free and healthy society requires as much freedom from government intervention as possible. It should create conditions under which members of society can reach their potential. Keeping dangerous drugs illegal is a reasonable, necessary and common-sense response to a serious problem.

    How telling.

  3. Sadly, this is not a debate. My Sully puts forward reasonable arguments and Mr Stimson responds with “war on drugs” drivel.

  4. A free and healthy society requires as much freedom from government intervention as possible.

    Freedom is drug free, let freedom ring!!!

  5. And finally, there is the issue of morality, which you artfully sidestep. As a society, we tolerate certain vices. But there comes a point where, based on our collective experience, we draw the line. People who use illegal drugs are more likely to commit crimes, have children out of wedlock, be depressed, become mentally unstable and be less productive members of society. A moral and just society cannot encourage this type of behavior.

    Yeah, Jacob. His argument about morality is *so* strong and supported that *surely* you must have “artfully sidestepped” it. Surely you lose because you can’t rebut that your policy choices would *encourage* people to have babies out of wedlock and commit crimes!
    Think of the children, Jacob!

    / dripping with sarcasm

  6. Ideal drug policy: All drugs are legal, anything you do to your own body is legal. Members of society who abuse drugs and abuse their own bodies reap the consequences, thus creating an incentive for the majority to not abuse drugs.

    I hate that common sense has become counterintuitive.

  7. In Mississippi, its Budweiser and Jack Daniels that causes crime and out of wedlock babies.

  8. Jacob, you should be all like yeah take this dust -up… YOUR NOSE!

  9. Pinette –
    The “we need to make drugs illegal or everyone will do them” argument is the stupidest argument ever for the W.O.D., but it’s also the most frequently used. I mean, how the hell are you going to convince me to use meth? I’d really like to have someone explain to me how I’m going to become drug dependent if we end drug prohibition.

  10. People who use illegal drugs are more likely to commit crimes, have children out of wedlock, be depressed, become mentally unstable and be less productive members of society. A moral and just society cannot encourage this type of behavior.

    So, depression, mental illness, and becoming a single parent are now considered immoral? Seriously? I have heard people make the case for the last one of these (I don’t agree), but WTF?

  11. Jacob, rip this guy a new asshole. He’s a fucking moron who is every bit as dishonest as the DEA and the ONDCP. From his first sentence

    Two points: First, there is no difference between decriminalization and legalization.

    he reveals himself as a liar or a fool.

  12. Heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine and marijuana are illegal because they are dangerous, addictive, destructive drugs that ruin lives. You cannot seriously argue that there is no difference between a person who has a glass of wine with dinner and a person who uses heroin, coke, meth or marijuana everyday. The wine drinker is, arguably, improving his health — if you believe the current medical literature — but the drug addict is destroying his mind.

    He’s also using two tactics here that are pretty common to the drug war camp. First, even though Sullum deals exclusively with marijuana, Stimson immediately conflates marijuana with meth, cocaine, and heroin. In the same step, he then states that marijuana is dangerous, and dangerous even after its immediate effects have worn off, which have never been shown in any serious study, while discounting alcohol’s negative effects, which are well documented.

  13. I mean, how the hell are you going to convince me to use meth?

    How about if I were your doctor, and I prescribed it to you? I don’t think that was illegal until the 70s or 80s.

  14. How about if I were your doctor, and I prescribed it to you? I don’t think that was illegal until the 70s or 80s.

    You’re assuming all prescriptions are obeyed. Even Mr. Stimson would disagree with that.

  15. But Thomas was in the minority, and because we live in a country of laws, we must follow the law as the court has interpreted it.

    So if Congress enacted a law saying that all Muslims are to be deported, we should follow that?

    AARGGGHHHH

  16. So if Congress enacted a law saying that all Muslims are to be deported, we should follow that?

    AARGGGHHHH

    Yes.

    If we disagree with the law, we can petition our elected representatives, and express our disagreement at the ballot box.

  17. Charles “Wow, I can tie my shoes!” Stimpson said:

    From 1982 to 1992, illegal drug use by young adults dropped more than 50%. Why? In 1982, President Reagan rolled out his national drug strategy.

    Uhh, have you ever heard of crack?

    Jacob,
    I feel sorry for you. You were offered a chance to debate someone and wrote a piece based on fact and logic, while your opponent spouted talking points, and bad ones at that.

    I’m sure you are as disappointed as I am that a forum like this is being wasted on what amounts to an ONDCP advertisement. But the real disappointment is that much of the readership will be swayed by Stimpson’s emotionally-targeted points.

    One quick question: How is it you’ve not disappeared in a black Suburban in the night by now? I imagine you’ve become a thorn in a lot of powerful people’s sides.

  18. Good stuff, Jacob. Great thinking and clear writing.

    Episiarch: That was the same reaction I had, except my mental example had Jews instead of Muslims.

  19. That was the same reaction I had, except my mental example had Jews instead of Muslims.

    But had I used that, I would essentially be Godwinning the thread.

  20. Episiarch: That was the same reaction I had, except my mental example had Jews instead of Muslims

    I thought the same thing, but didn’t want to Godwin the thread. But now that the seal is broken, how different is Stimpson’s assertion that one must follow the law because it’s the law, from WWII German soldiers’ excuses that they were just following orders? Or any different from the Bible is true because the Bible says so?

  21. The War on Drugs serves no purpose other than to identify socially acceptable targets to hate.

  22. First, there is no difference between decriminalization and legalization.

    Holy crap. Could he have possibly have written anything to convey “I’ve got my head up my ass” any quicker or more effectively?

    I guess he could have actually written “I’ve got my head up my ass” but still.

  23. Warren, why did you make this guy so stupid?

    Seriously, then there’s no difference between felony and misdemeanor, either, eh Stimson?

  24. Seriously, then there’s no difference between felony and misdemeanor, either, eh Stimson?

    There’s no difference between justice and regicide, either…

  25. He’s got it backwards, too.

    The more addictive a drug is, the more dangerous it is to prohibit that drug. It’s the withdrawal plus the artificial restriction of supply (illegality) that make addicts desperate.

  26. How about if I were your doctor, and I prescribed it to you? I don’t think that was illegal until the 70s or 80s.

    It’s not illegal now. It’s a Controlled Substance. Doctors can give it to you, it’s called Desoxyn.

  27. Holy crap. Could he have possibly have written anything to convey “I’ve got my head up my ass” any quicker or more effectively?

    I guess he could have actually written “I’ve got my head up my ass” but still.

    No, had he written, “I’ve got my head up my ass,” it would come across as charming and modest.

    He did, in fact, identify the location of his head in the most forthright way possible.

  28. Ok, I’ll have a coke.

  29. People who use illegal drugs are more likely to commit crimes, have children out of wedlock, be depressed, become mentally unstable and be less productive members of society.

    Because obviously drugs cause these things. It couldn’t possibly be that people who are depressed or mentally unstable would be more likely to use drugs, or that people who are socially dysfunctionally would be more likely to use drugs.

    Seriously, its exactly the same mindset as the gun controllers. Moral responsibility and causation resides in animate objects, not people.

  30. Give ’em hell, Jacob!

  31. one must follow the law because it’s the law

    “One has a moral responsibility to disobey unjust laws” — Thomas Jefferson

  32. Holy shit your debate partner is a douchebag!

  33. That might be the fastest I’ve stopped reading something in my life. (Stimson’s article)

    We all should be forced to behave because we don’t want the President to be on heroin at 3 a.m.?

    I thought the Clinton ad was a joke. Now it’s policy?

    Fuck this guy, fuck this guy really hard with a steel-barber dildo.

  34. steel-barber dildo

    huh?

  35. Leave Taktix alone when he’s angry, dude in the back row, he meant “steel-barbed.” But now that I think of it, a life-sized barber, made of steel, would hurt just as much.

  36. From 1982 to 1992, illegal drug use by young adults dropped more than 50%. Why? In 1982, President Reagan rolled out his national drug strategy.

    I’ll call his bullshit and raise him using the Government’s own numbers.

    FWIW, Brian Bennett’s site is a veritable treasure trove of government refutation WRT the WOD.

  37. FWIW, Brian Bennett’s site is a veritable treasure trove of government refutation WRT the WOD.

    Thanks Kwix. I’ll spend some time going thru the site.

  38. Here’s the point: He chose to abuse alcohol and lived. If he had chosen, say, heroin, he would probably be dead.

    OMNEGWTFBBQ
    I keep telling myself that nothing a drug warrior says will surprise me, no matter how divorced from reality, and yet. What sends me running for the bottom of the scotch bottle, is not that they say it, it’s that they don’t get crucified for saying it. This guy should be unemployable by next week for saying something so grotesquely stupid as that. He’ll probably get an award from some parents group.

  39. Politics is funny to me. Sometimes I start to think that maybe I’m not right, that there are just two principled sides of every debate and things even out on their own and it’s not worth fighting about these things.

    Then I hear someone on the other side of something like this. I wish every journalist would just make it their only goal to eliminate bullshit from our country’s debates. Don’t try to solve anything (which they don’t), just clean up the debate. Then the dumbest ones would fall apart on their own. Almost like a “free” “marketplace” of ideas where the dumb ones didn’t take hold. But this relies on society being reasonable.

  40. and on Friday we’re supposed to lay out our visions of an ideal drug policy

    Free markets, personal responsibility, truth in labeling (if labeled at all)

  41. And did he seriously just try to paint a scenario where the President of the United States is high on heroin late at night? Come to think of it, I’m worried the President might be up late unable to peel himself away from computer Solitaire, or Ebay, or Lost DVDs, or anything else that can be addicting. Better ban casual use of all of them.

  42. “Ultimately, each candidate had to recover from his experimentation of drugs or abuse of alcohol to become a viable contender for president. The reason is quite simple: Americans don’t want to elect a known alcoholic or a drug addict as president, but they are willing to consider a candidate who overcame an addiction or made a bad choice as a youth and learned from those experiences.”

    Yet, by law, someone is allowed to be a known alcholic and run for president. However, if the same person was a known pot smoker and wanted to run fro president, he/she would have to worry about being incarcerated for choosing a different mind altering substance.
    Is this really the foundation that the drug prohibition crowd rests their logic on – that we have these laws in place to protect Americans and America from a president that may want to shoot up heroin at 3am?
    I would have figured that at some point between that idea forming in someone’s mind and then those thoughts appearing on a computer screen, the person would relaize “Nah, I can’t use that as an argument. It doesn’t make any sense”.

  43. Surely this guy isn’t the best debater the prohibitionists have to offer. I mean, I’m as convinced as anyone that drugs ought to be fully legal, but there must be better arguments for prohibition than what this guy puts forward, right?

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