Drug War

How to Profit by Expanding Freedom

The case for drug legalization


Spending huge sums of money and getting no results to justify the expense: That's the relentless, and accurate, Republican critique of President Barack Obama's efforts to revive the U.S. economy. But it also describes a policy staunchly supported by Republicans as well as Democrats decade after decade: the war on drugs.

When the government lays out hundreds of billions to keep unemployment from rising above 8 percent, only to see it hit 10 percent, the obvious implication is that the policy didn't work. But when the government lays out tens of billions to reduce illicit drug use and finds that it has increased, the obvious implication is one that eludes almost every politician in America.

A few weeks ago, the federal Substance Abuse and Mental Health Services Administration (SAMHSA) published the latest chapter in a long-running horror tale. In 2009, it found, nearly 22 million Americans used illegal drugs—a 9 percent increase from the previous year and the highest rate since the survey began in 2002.

That happened even though federal, state, and local authorities have been expanding enforcement efforts against drugs. Since 1981, Washington has gone from spending $1.5 billion a year to spending $17 billion a year.

How does the administration explain the jump in illegal activity? You guessed it: Our policies are way too permissive. Commenting on the rise in marijuana use, Gil Kerlikowske, head of the White House's Office of National Drug Control Policy, insisted that "all of the attention and the focus of calling marijuana medicine has sent the absolute wrong message to our young people."

What message does he mean? Presumably, that cannabis is not as destructive as commonly portrayed by ONDCP and others. What makes the message particularly troublesome is that it happens to be true. Marijuana is not entirely without risks, but compared to such legal alternatives as tobacco and alcohol, it's an alley cat among mountain lions.

The government has been using police and prisons to convey the opposite message, with pitiful results, for a long time. Each year, nearly 1.7 million people are arrested for drug violations, of which 758,000 are for mere possession of cannabis. About half a million people are serving time in prison for drug offenses.

But these harsh policies don't seem to inhibit growers, dealers, and buyers. They persist in finding ways to do business no matter what. The Vancouver-based International Centre for Science in Drug Policy points out that over the past 20 years, weed in the United States has gotten 58 percent cheaper, in inflation-adjusted terms.

Falling prices indicate the stuff is getting more abundant and available, notwithstanding all the cops collaring stoners. The vast majority of high school kids say pot is easy to get.

You might assume that more lenient policies would guarantee an epidemic of drug use. In fact, the Netherlands, which has all but legalized weed, has fewer potheads than we do, particularly among young people.

"Globally, drug use … is not simply related to drug policy, since countries with stringent user-level illegal drug policies did not have lower levels of use than countries with liberal ones," concluded the World Health Organization.

None of this is new, but it has fresh relevance because of budgetary pressures that have forced citizens to ask what on earth the drug war is accomplishing. Californians, whose state government is in a bottomless fiscal hole, will vote next month on an initiative to legalize cannabis. One big selling point is that it could yield a $1.4 billion windfall to state coffers.

What is true for the Golden State is true for the other 49. In a new study for the libertarian Cato Institute in Washington, Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron and research associate Katherine Waldock estimate that, nationally, legalizing and taxing marijuana would save $8.7 billion in enforcement costs and harvest $8.7 billion in revenue.

Instead of lavishing money arresting and incarcerating recreational drug users, the drug users would provide funds for the rest of us. Most of them would be more than happy to do so in exchange for the freedom to indulge their habits. And the evidence suggests that we would not even see an increase in drug use.

Substance abuse is known to impair clear thinking and good judgment. But it's the people pushing harsh drug laws who seem to be lost in a fog.


NEXT: Proper Treatment

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. “Substance abuse is known to impair clear thinking and good judgment.”

    Chapman proves his own point.

    1. How insightful. Care to elaborate?

      1. No need, it’s nearly tautological. Note Chapman doesn’t say “substance use,” because he can’t without being laughed out of the room. When will reason stop carrying this chode?

        1. Huh? You realize this is all based on a throwaway joke Chapman made at the end of the column, yes?

        2. “When will reason stop carrying this chode?” Never they’re fucking idiots. And you were right to not capitalize reason!

        3. P.S. – it’s spelled choad.

  2. From Wiki:

    The first Opium War was the beginning of a long period of weakening the state and civil revolt in China. In 1842, China’s population was 416,118,200, of whom 2 million were drug addicts, and in 1881, of a population of 369,183,000, 120 million were addicts.


    1. Another success in the WOD, given that Opium was first banned in China in 1729.

    2. And the Chinese government was actually more concerned about the silver flooding out of the empire than they were about the addicts themselves.

  3. Every one of these points can also be applied to heroin.

    1. Plenty of people do it already.

    2. If someone wants it, they can get it, no problem.

    3. Putting these people in jail for non-violent drug offenses is a waste of taxpayer money.

    4. It’s not as bad as tobacco or alcohol.

    Alright, maybe that last one isn’t too true. But the point is, when anti-drug people say that marijuana legalization is simply a way to open the door to total legalization, how are they wrong? The same arguments apply.

    Don’t we logically have to legalize all drugs, for the same reasons we currently want to legalize marijuana? Or are we going to continue the War against (some) Drugs?

    1. Nobody here disagrees with you. I’d love to see all nonviolent activities made legal.

      1. I’d love to see all nonviolent activities – decriminalized. Fixed.

    2. Well if legislators and regulators would legislate and regulate based on science, fact and empirical data rather than emotion, rhetoric and the politics-driven need to show the base that they are “taking a tough stance” and “doing something”, then no, it would not necessarily lead to the legalization of all drugs.

      Each should be considered based on the facts of the particular drug.

      For example, if there were some chemical substance that when taken converts 96% of the people who take it into raving lunatics with murderous intent, regardless of what kind of person they were before they took it, and there were scores of cases in which perfectly ordinary, peaceful and law-abiding citizens took this substance and then went on a killing rampage or something, then yeah, I could get behind doing something about that.

      If there were a chemical substance that is undetectable and has a lethal dose only very slightly higher than the dose necessary to get high, so that it is extremely easy to overdose without even knowing it, maybe there could be a legitimate case made for some controls on that.

      Pot is about the least dangerous way to get high, as far as I know. Heroin carries other risks – e.g., if you’re injecting it, you can get an infection at the injection site or in your blood; if you’re using a dirty or shared needled, you can get HIV or hepatitis, etc.

      So yeah, if some actual critical thought were applied – a lofty goal for legislators, I know – then I see no reason why there could not be different levels of control for different drugs.

      The extent to which pot is made “legal” does not automatically have to be the same level to which every other drug is made “legal.”

      Heck, just look at alcohol and tobacco now. They’re not regulated exactly the same. And even if pot is decriminalized or legalized somehow, it won’t be regulated exactly the same as beer – although it arguably is less dangerous than beer.

      1. So yeah, if some actual critical thought were applied – a lofty goal for legislators, I know – then I see no reason why there could not be different levels of control for different drugs.
        Uh, under the Common Law, I own my body. Control of a drug is still someone else claiming jurisdiction over my bloodstream. I didn’t give anyone that jurisdiction. “Might makes right” sucks, whether it’s here or North Korea.

        1. Well, the government isn’t controlling your body, but rather what you put into your body. If all diabetics were forced to take insulin by government mandate–and you were a diabetic–then you would have a case about owning your body under Common Law.

          I’m surprised Congress hasn’t already swooped in and regulated and taxed the flow of drugs under the ever-growing Commerce Clause.

      2. Spot on, Barely Suppressed, spot…on!

      3. “Well if legislators and regulators would legislate and regulate based on science, fact and empirical data rather than emotion..”

        Then they wouldn’t get elected. So sad..

    3. Alright, maybe that last one isn’t too true.

      Actually, it is. Heroin and alcohol have very comparable rates of addiction, acute overdose, under-the-influence crime, cumulative bodily harm, etc. Tobacco poses little risk of overdose, but has a much higher addiction rate and does more damage to the body over time than any other recreational substance out there.

      Eliminate the prohibition risks — dirty needles, possibly dangerous adulterants, unpredictable purity, outrageous prices — and heroin is really no more pernicious than alcohol.

      1. heroin no more pernicious than alcohol? Ludicrous. One becomes physically dependant on heroin much more quickly and with much fewer doses over time than with alcohol.

        Alcohol can make you physically addicted just like heroin, and just like heroin, the withdrawal can kill you. That’s a little factoid most people don’t know. But it takes a shitload of drinking over a long time to get to that level.

        1. …from what I understand

        2. One becomes physically dependant on heroin much more quickly and with much fewer doses over time than with alcohol.

          Citation needed. The majority of heroin users never become addicted. The rate of heroin addiction is very close to that for alcohol. Haven’t you read Saying Yes?

          But it takes a shitload of drinking over a long time to get to that level.

          Again, you’ll have to show how heroin is any different.

        3. “…and just like heroin, the withdrawal can kill you.”

          Heroin withdrawal cannot kill you; alcohol withdrawal can.

          Get your facts straight, sir. I used to do a metric shit-ton of heroin a day.

          1. I didn’t even realize I was replying to you, Edwin. Let me revise…

            You’re fucking retarded. Do some research before you interject into the adults’ conversation.

    4. 1. Plenty of people do it already.

      “Plenty” is sort of meaningless. I don’t know anyone who has used heroin, do you? However, most of my friends and several family members (including my boomer parents) have used weed, and gone on to live perfectly productive lives.

      2. If someone wants it, they can get it, no problem.

      I certainly know where I can get weed. No idea where to go for horse, and don’t want to know.

      3. Putting these people in jail for non-violent drug offenses is a waste of taxpayer money.

      No argument.

      4. It’s not as bad as tobacco or alcohol.

      But heroin has more in common with alcohol and tobacco in that it is addictive. There are zero pot addicts. None. Despite the government propaganda. No overdose cases either. (People OD on alcohol all the time however).

      Don’t we logically have to legalize all drugs, for the same reasons we currently want to legalize marijuana?

      Not necessarily the same way. You could make hard drugs available in a clinical setting. Treating hard drug use as a (manageable) illness.

      1. There are zero pot addicts.

        It might not be a clinical case study, but my college roommates were definitely addicted. It’s nowhere near as strong as other drugs like alcohol, tobacco, smack, or crack, but it still takes hold of someone who finds the need to unwind with marijuana on a daily basis, much in the same way porn addicts have to keep going back to pornography. One of my roommates grew increasingly paranoid unless he was stoned.

        I don’t think it’s the drug itself that causes the addiction, but more like an addiction to the state of mind the drug helps attain. I liken it to adrenaline junkies or even shopaholics. We shouldn’t declare a war on extreme sports or purchasing things on credit (although this one might help the economy) just because people become addicted to those things, and we shouldn’t have a war on drugs in the current sense now.

        But you can’t say pot isn’t addictive, either.

        1. yes, there is physical addiction and psychological addiction. Drugs like cocaine and heroin are physically addictive – your body ends up needing them to function properly. Once addicted to heroin, you need to keep taking it to remain alive. Withdrawal from heroin is highly fatal.

          Pot can be psychologically addictive, like you describe.

          1. This is just a mushy and poor use of the word “addiction”. You can smoke pot for a week and stop, and nothing bad will happen at all. The word to use is habit-forming; which covers all sorts of things, even porn and wanking. Being “addicted” to these things is just a sign that you’re a bit of a loser. Do we need laws against harmless losers? I think not.

          2. Can’t stress this enough. Heroin withdrawal (like any opiate withdrawal) is not fatal. It cannot kill you.

            Get that? You cannot die from heroin withdrawals. Okay?

            Once more – you cannot die from heroin withdrawals.

            1. Edwin,

              Stop propagating the myth that heroin withdrawal can kill you. It can not.

              Opiate withdrawal sucks, but is not deadly.

              Alcohol and benzodiazepine withdrawal on the other hand, can be fatal.

  4. I could not disagree more. This is timely, as I’ve already written on this subject on my own blog. No space here to rehearse the argument, but he omits the enormous decline in abuse during the 1980s. Check out my logic here: http://consvltvs.blogspot.com/…..ences.html

    1. Just Say No!

      How are you distinguishing use from “abuse”? And no, I’m not clicking through to your fever-dream blog.

      1. I clicked and what is presented is a rambling, incoherent, piss poor excuse for a logical argument.

        His basic “argument” being that since we live in a welfare state we cannot expect autonomy and freedom of past times when the government was smaller…or something about people getting free dope. Also some ravings about “radical individualism”.

        Following some quiet masturbation and crying, consultus soils his cliff notes version of enlightenment philosophy, and leaves us with this turd:

        When the burden of that care includes high costs like lifetime welfare, the importance of self-reliance is heightened. The state may?indeed, must?take action to discourage self-destructive behavior despite the overall paradigm of liberty. After all, a government-subsidized parasitism is not liberty. It is merely license.

        You’re trying to hard, and seem out of your depth. Joke.

        1. So in other words, the state already intervenes in a lot of ways, which causes problems, so the state should intervene some more. How about just having the state stop intervening?

          1. Shhh. Two wrongs = right.

            1. Isn’t the proper equation to describe the situation two wrongs = left?

              1. I think it’s three lefts = right.

          2. Two Wrights=airplane

        2. Ahh…being rude and scatological. How could anyone refute such reasoning?

          1. Let us know if you find a way.

          2. Cosultus, I am not going to waste my time doing a point by point refutation of your argument. I believe that I provided a concise summary of your argument.

            It is just that when you take away the speculation, fabrication, mind reading, and not to mention the platonic onanism, your stance is a specter. An absurd specter at that.

            If someone else wants to waste time reading your post, and takes exception to my interpretation, then I would gladly debate whatever point they would like to make.

            1. If someone else wants to waste time reading your post

              That’s a big fucking “if” right there.

            2. capitol l, you’re still just slinging mud. Here’s this anyway.

              Liberty works when people do what they please and then take the consequences. But the U.S. isn’t like that anymore. Nobody wants to take the consequences of bad decisions. The Left has persuaded everyone that protection from bad decisions is an entitlement.

              So, after you legalize pot, lots of people will toke responsibly, but lots won’t. If we could just leave them to work it out for themselves, fine. I’d be okay with that. But what’s more likely is that the Left will see another opportunity to engage state power under the guise of “helping people.” For them, the Left will push for Betty Ford clinics at state expense. After all, [sing this part], “it’s not their fault they’re dependent.” Once you have a guaranteed source for “treatment” (i.e., lifestyle), why would anybody stay off the weed? Why toke responsibly? Anyone who has the itch for getting high all the time will, uh, not exactly worry about working. Why should he? So that’s welfare PLUS Betty Fords. At some point, the WoD will seem cheap.

              In the meantime, California becomes a Mecca after Prop 19 is approved, drawing the free-spirits from every other state in the union.

              Good luck to them.



  6. Portugal has opted for decriminalization as opposed to legalization. This is a compromise which has many pros and few cons.

    For one, it allows for a societal and legal framework in which recreational users are distinguished from abusers based on rational standards.

    Secondly, it is a good first step towards thinking about the affects of drug use on the individual rather than on society in general.

    1. Decriminalization does nothing to remove the black market distribution apparatus and the violence associated with it.

      And as a practical matter, the left has a hard-on for taxation and would never consent to an end to the war on drugs unless they could use it to fund some of their pet programs.

    2. But we need the TAX REVENUE!!!

    3. Unless “decriminalization” also applies to production, trafficking, etc, it’s leaving some major drug war problems unaddressed. Don’t get me wrong, it’s better to get a ticket than to be arrested, but decriminalization is a half-assed platitude, not a workable solution.

      1. But it’s still better in terms of lessening the negative effects of the drug war, no?

        And what libertarians don’t get is everybody understands that drug laws don’t actually completely stop people from using drugs. But it does lower the usage rate, and, presumably, the addiction rate. That is, there are plenty of people who will end up not even trying drugs who otherwise would if they were legal. Or people who don’t get to chance to try them often enough to get addicted, where theyt otherwise might if drugs were legal.

        So lowering the usage rate by restricting the supply and raising the price still does what prohibitionists want drug laws to do. But on the other hand, decriminlization can save us money from our prison systems and policing. I guess you could say it’s the best of both worlds, to a prohibitionist.

        If I’m not mistaken, even the Netherlands still arrests the higher-up drug distributors, even though they tolerate pot on a day-to-day, on-the-streets basis.

        1. If I’m not mistaken, even the Netherlands still arrests the higher-up drug distributors, even though they tolerate pot on a day-to-day, on-the-streets basis.

          Yep, and they have stubborn organized crime problems as a result.

          1. but less bad effects of various forms of drug prohibition, like I said, no?

            Indeed, their marijuana usage rate among teens is lower than here

            1. Oh, like I said to begin with, decriminalization is certainly better than aggressive criminal prohibition. Without a doubt.

              Criminalizing production and large-scale distribution, though, has a very head-in-the-sand quality that doesn’t make a whole lot of sense.

              1. by your standards

                but it does to the standards of (a lot of) prohibitionists

                And, like I constantly have to remind you guys, the vast majority of people are not libertarian, and don’t care about your “logical consistency”

                1. Sooooo….because statists prefer hypocritical half-measures, I should too? Thanks for the reminder.

                  I’d vote for decriminalization if given the chance, but I don’t have to look at it as the ultimate solution.

            2. Well, I’m certainly not a statist, and I rarely advocate “hypocritical half-measures,” but if one can get people to stop thinking about helping “society” and start thinking about helping “individuals,” can it be all bad?

              Politics is the art of the possible. Decriminalization is a good first step on the road to legalization — and it just might be possible, no?

              1. Yeah like I said, I’d vote in favor of decriminalization over maintaining total prohibition in a heartbeat. But it’s just a beginning, and isn’t really a very good system.

  7. If you don’t like drugs, don’t use them.

  8. What evidence says drug use will not increase? Didn’t some Scandinavian nation just ban foreigners from coming there to buy drugs because it creates so many problems? Anyway, I’m not sure that what applies to small homogenous Scandinavian nations applies here. And at this point, things are not looking so good for them. There is some evidence that drug use in increasing there and creating a larger population of people who don’t work.

    Even if drugs were legal, people who wanted them would have to buy them. Where would they get the money from? I hope that tax dollars would not be spent on this.

    What most of us want is a society of peaceful people most of whom will not commit crimes, who go to their work everyday although in most cases the work is not very interesting, who will not want to attack their neighbors for reasons of class or ethnicity or religion, and who will be able to cooperate with each other to build a library or park. We want people who on voting day will not machine gun the voters or bomb the polls. To get to all this is not easy. It sounds like nothing, but a lot of cultures can’t do it. A lot of hard work must be done in terms of instilling values and attitudes that create all this. Sobriety is a large part of it. So is a certain amount of sexual repression. It matters that a child has a father and a father can claim his child for instance.

    Some divergence has to be tolerated. But even in a free society, tolerance is limited. We expect that most won’t take advantage of the freedom to indulge in anti social actions. I can do everything, but I won’t is the mantra of the free. Libertarians, like liberals, are always messing with the I won’t part. Libertarians think drugs should not be banned by the government. Okay. But libertarians also want to interfere with private morals. Libertarians should stick to the “it’s none of Uncle Sam’s business” aspect and not preach that society needs to accept this or that.

    The more a society demands of its people in terms of discipline and restraint the less it can afford to have them high. It is not good to be high. That is why neighborhoods where a lot of people are high a lot of the time don’t like drug usage. There is nothing liberating about a woman who is on crack who neglects her children or a man who can’t work because of drugs. There is nothing liberating about the messiness and lack of self control and the stupidity of drug users. To those who witness it, it is horrible and disgusting. The Libertarian can say, regardless of all that, it is none of the government’s business. But libertarians go further and try to argue that drug taking is not that bad or that it even has some benefits or that it should not be strongly discouraged. The reason that so many are opposed to libertarianism is that they associate it with license.

    Libertarians always make a big deal out of the alcohol comparison. Yes, it is inconsistent. Society (in the west, because some other cultures, such as the Islamic don’t have drink) long ago made a compromise with alcohol when it was seen that people insisted on some drink. So libertarians look at this compromise and seems to argue, if at thanksgiving dinner, the family has a toast of wine, perhaps the family should also have a toast of cocaine. Supposedly it is all the same. This is not true and, in any case, there have to be limits. We limit drugs to alcohol, moderate usage, we hope. We draw the line at other drugs. All drugs need not be treated the same.

    Just as in Islamic societies where homosexuality is punishable by death, it is nonetheless tolerated. Some people are drawn that way and it is not worth the bother to stamp it out totally. That would be cruel also. Also if prevented from doing what they want, perhaps those who engage would do worse (from the viewpoint of the non homosexual part of society). So homosexuals are often left alone. Then once in a while for some reason the authorities decide to prosecute and some are punished. I am not arguing this is just. Obviously from a western viewpoint it is wrong. But it is an example of how how society treats things it does not like that nonetheless it has to put up with from some of its members. So we tolerate alcohol. We discourage drunkenness with various degrees of success. We don’t need to start tolerating other drugs in the same way.

    1. Weaksauce. Just a random list of unsubstantiated fears and equivocations. Marijuana is objectively safer than alcohol in every possible way, and has been used for medicinal and recreational purposes for over 5,000 years. As long as you’re willing to defend the hypocrisy of legal alcohol and illegal cannabis, you have no leg on which to stand.

      In fact, I wish that just once a Drug Warrior would come out and advocate a return to alcohol prohibition. That person would at least deserve intellectual engagement.

      1. Even if drugs were legal, people who wanted them would have to buy them. Where would they get the money from?

        Now *that* is a damning argument.

      2. hypocrisy is necessary. without it, there is no civilization, or at least no liberal civilization.

        we have age limits for drinking. some people would say if an eighteen year old can drink, then why not a seventeen year old and you can bring it down to toddlers.

        people have to live in groups and groups have to have rules and enforce the rules. if no one obeys the rules then the group disappears. but then a new group emerges based on the new “no rules” which quickly turn into old fashioned rules because otherwise the new group will fail just like the old group. the group can be like a suburban community in MD or it can be like the groups in Somalia or Congo. but groups with rules there must be.

        again, you do the same libertarian thing arguing that drugs are good. I have a right to have a group that thinks drugs are bad. You have your own druggie group and I wil have my group. If you want me to leave you alone, you have to leave me alone. but instead you try to make me do as you and take drugs.

        1. Please don’t breed.

        2. “you try to make me do as you and take drugs.”

          You fail. No one wants you to do anything but live your life the way you choose best and take responsibility for it. All we ask is the freedom to do the same.

        3. No, no. We will never ask you to do drugs. You obviously have too hard a time with reality as it is. I’ll make a concession on your behalf: It should be legal for anyone but a retard to use drugs. Happy now?

        4. You’ve got problems. My personal Drug Administrator has been dispatched to your location with a syringe full of china white. Do not resist when he arrives.

        5. aw crap. Now the commies are here, too? (what’s *with* these people? Did somebody stumble into a nest of them or something?)

          Nadia. People do not have to “live in groups”. One person- or some people, smoking dope does not mean that everyone has to do so. Hyposcrisy is only “necessary” in old Soviet Union. Go home. You’re lost.

          1. dogs, are you saying that you by yourself can provide yourself with everything, including the computer and the internet? all the things that you use, what makes others provide them for you? if you say money, how is the money made available? do you personally know and pay all the people who enable hot and cold running water to come to your house?

            as for hypocrisy, since liberalism is built on ideals which no one can attain, we must all pretend to some extent.

            1. nanda, are you saying that you surrender all jurisdiction over your own body so that people can print money and install basic plumbing?

              What if a chemist came up with a drug that made “society” work better? Would mandatory dosing be justified?

            2. Correct me if I’m wrong- I kinda get the impression that you might not be local (to the US) or maybe you’re “new”. Because you seem to be under the impression that when something is made “legal”, everyone is then obligated to engage in it. There are some things that yes, you cannot do yourself. But that has nothing to do with the things you choose or choose not to do. No one “dictated” that drugs are “good”- only that we should be free to make that choice ourselves.

              1. who is making the choice for whom? If I belong to a church that does not want its members to take drugs, I can tell them not to. a libertarian should not interfere with that and should not propagandize against my rules. that is what leaving people alone means.

                real libertarianism means the government can never pay for an abortion. it would also mean, I suppose, that citizens could opt out of paying for military action we didn’t like or police action. that would quickly put an end to the state.

                1. Where the hell are you getting this stuff? Individual opt-out from democratically established services is not part of the libertarian platform.

                  a libertarian should not interfere with that and should not propagandize against my rules. that is what leaving people alone means.

                  Total incoherence here. First of all, I doubt any libertarian gives two shits about whatever cult you belong to. More importantly, libertarianism is about a legal environment of freedom, not a total lack of advocacy and conversation.

                  Doesn’t beating on straw men get tiring after a while?

                2. that would quickly put an end to the state.

                  Oh noes, you would be so sad, having nothing to fellate, and all.

                  Nanda, you are a fucking joke.

                  Could someone please argue the status quo without sounding like a mentally deficient sockpuppet.

                  Are you people even real?

                  1. sorry. Pot has been more or less “mainstream” for almost 50 years. Some people never get high regardless of whether their friends/ family members do it or not- just because they don’t feel like it (I guess)
                    It probably couldn’t hurt to educate the hell out of people who haven’t before (like there’s any credibility left, after the WoD), but other than DUI or getting high at school or work, or if you have some reason you need to be ultra alert, what more is there? Social mores go a lot further in dictating/ restraining behavior than actual laws, imo.

                3. you are. You make the choice for yourself- or if it’s against your religious beliefs, don’t do it.

                  (I’d ask how abortion got into this but…don’t explain)

        6. instead you try to make me do as you and take drugs.

          I can’t wait for the libertarian revolution when we can finally strap the straight edgers, like nanda, down to tables and shoot them full of heroin!

          We’ll use them as dope slaves to do our personal bidding!


          1. I’m intrigued with what you are saying and would like to see the brochure. LOL

    2. “It is not good to be high”

      Can we discuss this over a joint?

      1. And it is not high to be good!

        ** giggles **

        1. Wow, I mean, it is high to be good!

          ** giggles **

    3. who will be able to cooperate with each other to build a library or park

      Fundamental cornerstones of a free and prosperous society….unlike the rights to one’s body and property.

    4. @nanda

      Citation needed.

    5. Just as in Islamic societies where homosexuality is punishable by death, it is nonetheless tolerated.

      Tolerated eh?

      1. all gay people are not persecuted all the time. many live out their lives without being bothered. the time may come when they get unlucky and get noticed for some reason. then they are in trouble. I am not recommending this. I am just saying that all societies turn a blind eye to things that are officially off limits. this thing is bad, but we won’t do anything about it right now.

      2. In nanda’s defense, Jorj, you are citing the Washington Post.

        1. Merely the first thing to pop up on Google.

    6. nanda: Well said. You get it. Thanks. Hope someone else gets it, too.

      1. Calvina Fay gets it.

      2. How is it that two incoherent ramblers understand each other so completely? Or is it just that they agree that their straw-men libertarians are ‘teh evil’?

    7. “We discourage drunkenness with various degrees of success”

      ok Now I’m getting curious. Who is “we”?

      1. you is we. unless you encourage people to become drunks

        1. It really depends how hot she is.

        2. Not me. Or at least, not necessarily. lol In what country are you? (whatever another person does is their business. It would nice if what I choose to do would be mine- whether that’s funding a war, buying health insurance, eating enchiladas & chocolate cake 7 days a week or smoking dope in my free time)

          Uh no. I don’t drink myself.

    8. In a free society the government has no right to tell any adult what they can and cannot put into their own bodies.

      If someone wants to inject themselves with paint, the government has no legitimate interest in stopping them via force.

      Whether or not a substance is dangerous doesn’t make a difference. This is a matter of freedom.

  9. of course marijuana is safer than alcohol. That is, marijuana compared to a lot of alcohol. But that isn’t the only way to drink alcohol. The typical European one glas of wine during a meal, just for the sake of the tasty wine, is frankly good for you heart-wise, and is certainly better if you take into account the sociological effects pot has on a person. And by sociological effects, I mean the effects on your lifestyle, as in, the Frenchy drinking his one glass of wine probably has a better lifestyle than, say, the lazy, gluttonous, unmotivated, distracted guys on the movie Half Baked.

    And on another point, why doesn’t alcohol’s social acceptance matter when comparing alcohol to marijuana? Again, this is comparing more than just purely physiological affects. Are we not social animals? Aren’t there activities you’d call “unhealthy” because they’re weird, and not a lot of people do them? Things that would make you think a guy weird?

    1. Taking one toke is no different than taking one drink. Ever heard of a one-hitter? Just a little pinch to take the edge off, no different than one glass of wine.

      Aren’t there activities you’d call “unhealthy” because they’re weird, and not a lot of people do them? Things that would make you think a guy weird?

      First of all, marijuana has been used around the world for 5,000+ years. Millions of people use it ever day. It’s not exactly “weird”.

      And what exactly to normative standards have to do with prohibiting private behavior, anyway? I can do plenty of very weird, very legal shit any time I want to. It’s “weird” to collect one’s own semen too, but it won’t get me arrested.

      1. ehhh… No. The proper comparison would be one joint versus one drink. One serving, if you will. And nobody smokes just one puff on a regular basis. On the other hand, there are plenty of people who drink just for the taste with a meal, especially in Europe.

        As to the 5,000 years comment. Please. Marijuana has been used on and off for 5,000 years. Same with opium and opium products. But nothing has gained as widespread social acceptance and practice as alcohol and tobacco.

        And indeed, what does it have to do with banning behavior? Did I even mention that? I was adressing the whole healthiness claim.

        1. Edwin, you freak, the comparisons are fucking arbitrary anyways, twit.

        2. Whoops… that is to say, that drugs like marijuana and opium products only formed subcultures, and remain on the fringes of society. Not very fringe for marijuana, but still on the sidelines none the less

          1. Withdrawal from heroin is highly fatal.

            Read this from your post above, your credibility is now in the negative range.

            1. What? WTF are you talking about?

              1. Just pointing out that someone who makes statements as ignorant as:

                Once addicted to heroin, you need to keep taking it to remain alive.

                has no credibility in a drug policy debate.

                1. uhh…. except that it’s true. You become PHYSICALLY DEPENDANT on heroin. Heroin withdrawal has a HIGH RATE OF DEATH if not weaned off with methodone.

                  So WTF are you talking about?

                  1. Whoops, just wikipedi’ed it – it’;s alcohol wthdrawal that’s likely to be fatal. My bad. I had them confused.

                    But heroin addiction is a physical dependency. And you do crave it like a motherfucker and get all fucked up during withdrawal.

                    1. I’ve tried a number of the different ‘controlled substances’ in my younger days and as far as I’m concerned cannabis should be (at least) decriminalized. It is by FAR the least harmful or deleterious, to include alcohol and tobacco (IMO). As far as the other, ‘harder’ drugs – they can just stay illegal.

                    2. Thank you.

                      Finally some fucking reasonability on this site.

                    3. You’re an idiot.

                      Just to make sure everyone knows, I’ve called you out on your assertion that “heroin withdrawal is fatal” every god damned time you said it above.

                    4. It took him awhile to Google his own bullshit.

                    5. Well sure. It’s much easier to come onto a message board and spew bullshit around. Now checking your facts and forming a cohesive argument–that, sir, takes some work.

          2. that is to say, that drugs like marijuana and opium products only formed subcultures”

            Uh.. Probably because it’s outlawed, forcing the market and ‘culture’ of it underground?

        3. And nobody smokes just one puff on a regular basis.

          I smoke one puff on a very regular basis. Great way to get a little mood lift without killing my stash or getting too stoned. I don’t know very many people who burn down an entire joint themselves regularly in one sitting.

          But nothing has gained as widespread social acceptance and practice as alcohol and tobacco.

          Which makes smoking weed “weird” how, exactly?

          1. come on man, you’re smarter than that. Don’t play stupid to try defend stupid like these other puds do.

            My “weird” comment was about activities and social acceptance in general.

            1. My “weird” comment was about activities and social acceptance in general.

              I honestly don’t understand where you’re trying to go with it though. Supposedly smoking pot is “unhealthy” because it’s weird. I think we need to establish the “weird” part before we even get to the highly questionable “unhealthy” part.

      2. I don’t know man, your bodily fluids probably have enough thc in them to be considered schedule 1 narcotics.

        1. Shit, that’s true. Bastards are probably raiding my sperm stash as we speak.

  10. The flaw in Chapman’s article is that it implicitly assumes laws are written by philosopher-kings who care only about the welfare of their people, and the people care more about the workings of government than the doings of Lady GaGa or pennant races.

    1. Very true, Bob.

  11. Legalize all drugs, not just pot.

  12. The war on drugs failed because it’s a war on one side of the problem, the suppliers. If you want it to succeed, enforce the laws against drug use, laws we already have. But politicians are seldom fighting against vocal minorities. As to the statistics from Netherlands, not answering truthfully to a poll is as legal as drugs over there.

  13. Ideally alcohol and tobacco would be illegal, but it’s not politically possible to outlaw them.

    Legalizing more drugs will only make things worse.

  14. Netherlands: Dutch marijuana has nothing to do with the impact of policy on drug use. The Netherlands is a different culture.

    Also, Dutch marijuana use was lower before toleration (it’s NOT legalization).

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.