Drug Policy

Drug Policy, from Scratch

A debate in the pages of the Los Angeles Times

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The ideal drug policy would apply to the currently illegal intoxicants the same distinctions we routinely apply to alcohol: between children and adults, between use and abuse, between abuse that harms only the user and abuse that harms others.

Selling drugs to minors should remain illegal. But adults should be free to decide for themselves what goes into their bodies, provided they do not violate anyone else's rights in the process.

Read the whole column at LATimes.com.

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  1. wtf. Did he even read what you wrote? Spend money on education, treatment, prisons, blablabla. He argues by ignoring what you say.

    What’s the matter with Cully, he must be high!

  2. But . . . but . . . you can’t let people have control over their own bodies . . . they might make bad decisions that would cause them harm. So, if they do things that cause them harm we have to throw them in prisons where nothing bad will ever happen to them.

  3. “Drugs in prisons are a big problem.”
    That one always gets me, if the government can not keep people who are in prison from getting drugs, how in the hell are they supposed to keep people on the outside from getting them?

  4. If people are drinking wine and beer for relaxing, and not for the effects of the alcohol, then non alcohol beer and wine would actually be popular. It’s BS. If not for the buzz that drinkers get, they wouldn’t be doing it.

  5. “If people are drinking wine and beer for relaxing, and not for the effects of the alcohol, then non alcohol beer and wine would actually be popular. It’s BS. If not for the buzz that drinkers get, they wouldn’t be doing it.”

    I have never understood the popularity of “Lite Beer” myself. I call it “beer flavoured water”

    Can someone who drinks the stuff explain it to me?

  6. Jacob, how can you stand this discussion? This asshole is accusing you of “sidestepping” while being utterly evasive and not addressing your points at all. He twists himself into a pretzel to basically…call for more of what we’re already doing.

    At least you utterly pwned him, and in an irrefutable way. I guess now that I think about it (after my rage passed) these types of discussions are really very helpful, because they expose the massive pile of bullshit that prohibition stands on.

    So unsurprising that the jerk was a prosecutor.

  7. I haven’t seen such a concentrated dose of stupid in a long time…and I’m grading final exams right now. Honestly, this guy Stimson seems to exist for the sole purpose of making Walters and McCaffrey appear sane.

  8. You should be careful, Jacob. Some might see your arguments as good justification for prohibiting alcohol.

  9. What a great conversation.

    Sullum: Prestigious Scientific Panel A reports no evidence that drug users commit more crimes than anyone else. Survey B shows the same thing, and Governement Study C reached the same conclusion.

    Stimson: OMGZ DRUG USERS RAPE GRANDMOTHERS AND EAT BABIES!!!!!!! WHAT DID YOU SAY, JACOB? I CAN’T HEAR YOU OVER THE SOUND OF MY OWN HEAD EXPLODING!!!!!!!!

  10. Did y’all read some of the commmets in the TA Times website? If this were American Idol, Stimson would have departed after day 1.

  11. There can be no debate because there is no longer even a shred of a “good faith” position in favor of drug prohibition.

    The only excuses are evil or stupidity. You either want to do harm to people (vengence, jealousy, puritinism) or you are not in possession of all the fact (too much ONDCP rotted your brain).

    It’s like debating gravity.

  12. Drugs are bad, mmmkay?

  13. There are, conservatively, fifty regular posters at this site who could have dismantled Stimson. Maybe not as eloquently as Jacob did, but destroying his points would child’s play to your average reasonoid. Cully must be a friggin’ embarrassment to all of the drug warriors out there. He flunks H.S. debate class with that performance. Hell, Juanita* is more convincing and she’s performance troll art.

    *If you are reading this, I’m hot for you Juanita. HOWL!

  14. Stimson makes the argument that (too many) humans can’t handle the currently illegal drugs, that the “social chaos” from legalization would cost more than the perpetual “war” against drugs.

    Disregarding the ethical dilemma of determining what many (on this blog) would consider a basic human right on the basis of a cost analysis, there is probably some hard data on this. I wonder what the per-capita cost of drug abuse in the Netherlands is compared to the p.c cost of the drug war in the U.S.?

  15. Great reading. Whats the current victory tally: Legalization arguments 1,334,635,325 to Prohibitions .05?

    Sidebar: I give the Prohibitionists half of a victory because they did succeed in passing an amendment that later was repealed once it was found that it was a massively stupid idea.

  16. “The ideal drug policy would reduce the demand and supply of illegal drugs — and deal compassionately and creatively with people addicted to those drugs.”

    Is jail time considered ‘compassionate’? He completely disregards the fact that jail time will effectively destroy a persons societal functionality. Ex-cons can (for the most part) expect to make minimum wage for the rest of their lives.
    also, he makes two mentions of ‘reducing demand and supply’ as if attempting to make himself look a little more academic. Doesn’t work. If there’s one thing the drug war proves, it’s that you cannot reduce supply OR demand.

  17. Sully’s argument scrapes at the bottom of the barrel when he attempts to make the claim that people do not drink alcohol to become intoxicated. Quite contrarily, that is exactly the point – but it is commonly understood that intoxication doesn’t imply incapacitation. People consume an amount they judge appropriate given their situation, in the same way people who smoke marijuana may use a fraction of a gram or a fraction of an ounce. It is logically indefensible to ascribe special qualities to alcohol. Its active constituent is a molecule that changes the brain’s function, as do those of marijuana, heroin and cocaine. The distinction between them is not the hard, inviolable line he would like it to be.

  18. Sully has further sullied the already sullied reputations of the Prohibs. What. A. Moron.

  19. PRE-1907 WORLD HISTORY BY SULLY

    The world was hell in the 1800’s becuse drugs could be pruchased on the free market without government intervention. In the 1850’s children as young as 8 years old where shoting up morphine all over the know world. Women & small children had to wear chastity belts constantly or they would be ravaged by dope fiends.

  20. Uuuh, Rob and jackal, I think you both meant “Cully” not “Sully”. The latter having been used earlier in this series as a stand in for Jacob Sullivan.

  21. Notice how this man stays away from marijuana.He likes to talk about ‘hard drugs’.I believe the reason is he knows it’s a fairly harmless plant.You can’t get addicted or overdose,yet more are in jail fir pot than any other drug by far.It also accounts for,by estimate,75% of drug cartel profits.If they took one step and legalized just pot the effects would be enormous.Prisons would empty,arrests would go down and criminals would lose a huge cash cow.Of course this would show,for all to see,the utter failure and waste of the drug war.We can’t be made a fool now,can we?

  22. “Uuuh, Rob and jackal, I think you both meant “Cully” not “Sully”.”

    And my stupid stoned ass, maybe “Cully” was right after all.

  23. This discussion, er, one guy debating in a coherent and logical manner and the other going LALALALA I can’t hear you, reminds me of the period of time just before the Berlin Wall fell.

    Prohibs have had the MSM as their personal lap dog for over 70 years with no one questioning their “authoritah”. Now there are mainstream journalists who are actually asking questions and debating the politics of prohibition and getting “talking points” and scripted responses that only worked when the information flowed in the “correct” direction.

    People are beginning to demand a very foreign concept to the prohibitionists. It’s called freedom and the prohibitionists are gripping and grasping at straws to try and keep the genie from escaping the lamp.

    /Genie is already out.

    //Try scoring liquor after hours and not paying the federal tax.

    ///You can score pot most any time and without a federal tax stamp, even have it delivered to you, not many liquor stores offer delivery.

  24. Stimson provides the same tired, illogical drug-war prescription that cast many thousands into prison, wasted many billions of dollars, bank rolled the criminal takeover of many governments, and destroyed the civil liberties supposedly garanteed us in the constitution. I psoe one question to PC drug warriors: was such destruction worth it?

    How do these nitwits get into positions of power?

  25. I think libertarians need to come up with private mechanism that can take the place of government criminalization of behavior.

    For example, legalize drugs but then require every adult to appoint a legal medical proxy who serves for defined time, say five years. The proxy could be an individual or group depending on the individuals wishes. If the proxy thinks you have drug problem then you would be contractually obligated to stop buying drugs and check into rehab. The only role of the state would be to enforce the contract. The state would never decide whether your drug use was destructive or not.

    There’s a lot to be fleshed out in such a concept but I think we need something like this. People, and I mean all humans, make self-destructive choices that inevitably spill over onto others. Unless libertarians can create plausible non-governmental solution to problems real or imagined, we won’t get far politically.

  26. Shannon Love,Wow,there’s so many things wrong with your idea I don’t know where to start.

  27. Shame on you Jacob. Didn’t your mother teach you it’s unfair to use reason and logic against fear and stupidty?

  28. Honest, decent white people drink alcohol to have sex. Illegal drugs are used by inferior races to seduce white women. Can’t you people see the distinction?

  29. Debate*, you need at least two intelligent people to have a debate. I only read one in that exchange, Jacob.

    *Unless of course you consider it a debate to engage in political discourse with the crazy homeless guy on the street corner.

  30. Shannon Love,Wow,there’s so many things wrong with your idea I don’t know where to start.

    Wow, that was incredibly helpful. I suggest breaking the problem into small pieces. Start with the first sentence and work your way day.

  31. Wasn’t “Stimson” the full name of Stimpy from Ren & Stimpy?

    Just sayin’…

  32. Shannon, You believe that an adult should have a guardian to over see he choices? How about for drinking alcohol or in money matters? I believe you own yourself. Your idea flies in the face of freedom.

  33. I can’t believe this Cully guy used the “3:00 a.m. phone call” analogy and cited the “just Say No” campaign as one that accomplished something.

    I like how this douche bag said he’d do anything for a dying friend. Except of course to allow them to have access to the necessary medication to die in peace and free from pain and agony. The drug war cannot be tempered with humanity apparently.

    You won’t ever get an honest debate with the drug warriors because they have too much to lose and the evidence, logic, and morality is against them.

  34. Most people who drink alcohol do so in moderation and rarely get intoxicated. They drink to relax, usually in a responsible manner.

    Hello? Alcohol “relaxes” people by getting them mildly intoxicated. Pot does exactly the same thing, with the exceptions that it’s far harder to OD on pot than alcohol, and there are far fewer mean potheads. If people want to relax without getting high, they drink ice tea, lemonade, warm milk, etc.

    and the attendant costs will, over time, far exceed the money we spend now.

    Billions a year? We could set up drug treatment centers for everyone who uses on a fraction of what we spend on incarceration alone.

    First, we need to evaluate our existing policies and programs objectively.

    First we need to cure the drug warriors’ terminal EarLock. Evaluations are useless if policymakers have their minds closed.

    Young people need to understand the dangers of illegal drugs through proper educational programs. Programs like the “Just Say No” national campaign in the 1980s helped reduce the use of drugs by young people. That’s a good thing, and we need more of it.

    Does this yahoo have any idea just how pervasive school anti-drug programs are? And how many class hours have been spent on anti-drug messages since the 1980s?

    Addicts need our help. Their numbers have remained the same for decades.

    At last, a clue. What we are doing isn’t working! What can we do? Anything but the same-old same-old we’ve been doing since the seventies!

    [deep breath] Preaching to the choir again.

    I think libertarians need to come up with private mechanism that can take the place of government criminalization of behavior.

    Personal responsibility.

    For example, legalize drugs but then require every adult to appoint a legal medical proxy who serves for defined time, say five years.

    I’ll volunteer to be Shannon’s. Please please please?

    If the proxy thinks you have drug problem

    Define “problem.” The definition might change, depending on whether your proxy was your ex-wife or your dealer.

    then you would be contractually obligated to stop buying drugs and check into rehab.

    Except that a person with a drug problem cannot be expected to fulfill a contractual obligation. That’s part of the addiction problem.

    The only role of the state would be to enforce the contract.

    Back to prison, where the user can get all the drugs he wants.

    People, and I mean all humans, make self-destructive choices that inevitably spill over onto others.

    That’s what civil lawsuits are for. And you’re wrong about the magnitude of the problem, or civilization would have collapsed long ago.

    Unless libertarians can create plausible non-governmental solution to problems real or imagined, we won’t get far politically.

    Most of the time the solution to a real problem is to get the government solution out of the way. All of the time the best solution to an imagined problem is to ignore it.

    Cully must be a friggin’ embarrassment to all of the drug warriors out there.

    Unfortunately this is not true. Actually he is a good representative of the drug warrior mentality. The others are nodding and patting each other on the back because he outshouted Jacob.

    We will never win the poorly named “war on drugs,” just like we will never win the battle against child abuse, domestic violence, murder or other crimes.

    That’s the money quote. As long as smoking pot = child abuse = domestic violence = murder the warriors won’t quit.

  35. This guy Cully disgusts me. The founding fathers would have challenged the son of a bitch to a duel and we wouldn’t have to deal with these so called “warriors.”

  36. You rightly point out that psychoactive drugs are not inherently good or evil, just like a handgun isn’t inherently good or evil.

    The implied logic here, of course, is that handguns are dangerous, edging one’s judgment closer to the evil pole.

    “Remember, kids, guns don’t kill people, psychoactive drugs do.”

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