Drug War

Tonight: Nick Gillespie Debates Former DEA Head Asa Hutchinson on Drug Legalization

I'm taking part in an Intelligence Squared debate in New York City tonight.


I'm taking part in an Intelligence Squared debate in New York City tonight. Here's the proposition:

It was 1971 when President Richard Nixon declared a "war on drugs." $2.5 trillion dollars later, drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago, and thousands of offenders are successfully diverted to treatment instead of jail. And yet, 22 million Americans-9% of the population-still uses illegal drugs, and with the highest incarceration rate in the world, we continue to fill our prisons with drug offenders. Decimated families and communities are left in the wake. Is it time to legalize drugs or is this a war that we're winning?

If you're in New York, come on out and buy a ticket. Or livestream it right here.

I'll be joined on the legalization side by Georgetown Law's Paul Butler and we'll be duking it out with former Drug Enforcement Administration head Asa Hutchinson and the Manhattan Institute's Theodore Dalrymple.

NEXT: Philly Plans Eminent Domain To Displace Private Projects With City Ones

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  1. Is there anything quite so magnificently putrid as a DEA-head-turned-homeland-security-plugger?

  2. Great shot of “Early Nick.”

    1. Oh yeah? If that’s Nick, then where’s The Jacket? That thing came with him from the womb.

  3. drug use is half of what it was 30 years ago

    I’m not buying what they are selling.

    1. Yep, sounds like bullshit to me. Didn’t a poll here recently report 12% of people having used MJ alone in the last year?

      1. Yes, and don’t we have to add a little error variable here for the folks that just might want to avoid publicly admitting that they are using ‘illegal’ drugs? Come on.

    2. Come on, at $2.5 trillion that’s a steal!

    3. My thoughts exactly. I would love to see the source for that, because I am calling BS here.

    4. By “drug use” they probably mean the schedule 1’s like heroin, crack; I doubt they count all of the benzo’s, ambien, painkillers etc. that people are taking since they’re made by Big Pharma not some dude cooking it on his stove.

  4. The 9% statistic is easily the most BS statistic I’ve ever seen. It’s impossible to get a true stat on how many people are using drugs, but I can guarantee you that WAY WAY WAY more than 9% of the population is smoking dope.

    How can they argue this is a meaningful statistic?

    1. Sparky and I were wondering about this yesterday.

      Practically everybody I know smokes weed. Apparently nobody he knows does.

      The only conclusion I could draw is that I hang out with much cooler people than him and that he’s a lame nerd who hangs out on the internet all day playing WoW and commenting on Youtube and Yahoo! articles.

      1. Does no one do coke any more? Am I so out of touch that I’m the only one?

        1. Not worth it.

          You mean I can pay ludicrous amounts of money to get all keyed up for a couple of hours at most?! Where do I sign up!

          Ecstasy & mushrooms are where it’s at on value for the dollar.

          1. You must buy shitty, meth-doped coke, JJ, because the good stuff has a euphoria kick that other shit can’t touch.

            1. I like to sleep. Coke keeps me up all night. Therefore I don’t use cocaine.

            2. Yeah, only thing I would not take again.

              And by not take again, I mean, almost certainly would take again but would actually regret it a few hours later.

              1. The only thing I regret is coming down, nicole. I think you understand what I mean when I say that based on your statement here.

            3. Meh. Still totally not worth the money. It can be fun from time to time, but I find its main effect is to make you want to do more coke for no particular reason.

              1. I find its main effect is to make you want to do more coke

                Chasing the tail of the dragon.

              2. Unless you are on mushrooms. Coke is fucking great if you are on mushrooms.

        2. Coke is for strippers, gays, and 80s nostalgists.

          That Guy: [Starts contorting violently] My bones!
          Fry: Oh, my God! His boneitis!
          That Guy: I was so busy being an ’80s guy, I forgot to cure it!
          [Contorts some more]
          That Guy: My one regret is… that I have… boneitis.
          [Dies in a hideously contorted manner]

          1. “This isn’t a business plan…this is an escape plan!”

            “So long, suckers!”

          2. I concur with Warty (but that should just be assumed, ne’?).


            1. I never bothered to do it, but my friends who have done it say that this is an accurate representation. And this.

              1. So a bunch of lightweights who have obviously only done “coke” which was probably 90% meth or haven’t done it all, know nothing about the real deal.

                COLOR ME SHOCKED.


              I don’t enjoy that buzz, but it can be hilarious to watch a coked up moron at a party attempt to conceal his inability to function normally.

              1. I don’t enjoy that buzz, but it can be hilarious to watch a coked up moron at a party attempt to conceal his inability to function normally.

                Very true. I just prefer mellower experiences. Even on x, I don’t go clubbing or anything, just chill out.

                1. Coke is all set and setting, like everything else. I find it pleasant, although a little pot on top of it does smooth out the rough edges.

                  It doesn’t fundamentally change you. Do drug does. The guy whose a total asshole when coked up? He’s just better at hiding it when sober.

                  1. Yeah but I’d prefer he keep hiding it.

                    I don’t give a shit what somebody’s Platonic “true self” is…all that matters is how they act on the outside.

                    You could desperately wish to rape small boys your entire life, and as long as you never do anything to act on that, or support anyone else who does, you’re no different from anybody else in my book.

                    So if you know that coke or whatever brings that out, then stay the fuck away from it.

                    1. Of course, Jimbo. But the “drugs made him do it” idea is all part of the prohibition narrative, and therefore important to always delineate. It’s really no different than the tard-logic of “if no one had a gun we’d all be peaceful” nonsense of the anti-RKBA crowd.

                    2. Oh well sure SF, I wasn’t disagreeing with that. Just adding my own 2 cents. Which are worth less than 1 cent.

                      I try to stay away from it b/c it was the only time I committed domestic violence against some chick I was dating at the time, but whose name escapes me now.

                      All I remember is that she always had her nose in a fucking book.

                  2. The guy whose a total asshole when coked up? He’s just better at hiding it when sober.

                    This is true, but then coke has also been the only drug that ever led to a domestic violence situation in my own life, so I’m not exactly missing it either.

                    1. I’m kind of stunned that there are two domestic violence references regarding coke, from both sexes, on this thread. You guys care to explain a little more?

                    2. I assumed JJ’s was a joke about mine.

                      Mine involved a roommate/friend, not a boyfriend, who had long-term problems with drinking and an excellent supply of dr-approved drugs, and finally discovered coke. Nightclubbing, scene at the club (induced by someone else finishing the coke, natch), scene on the way to the car, scene on the way home (all of which involved other people so I wasn’t alone with him until everyone was dropped off), followed by scene in the kitchen, dishes thrown, me getting hit, getting him in bed and then escaping to my boyfriend’s apartment (he was out of town at the time).

                      And yes, my roommate got his ass kicked for this. Also, he now has cancer and I’m feeling super guilty that I should go visit him. We were BFFs before this.

                    3. (I was sober/probably on benzos only at the time)

                    4. That’s a lot of scenes. I detest scenes with every fiber of my being, so I applaud you for your capacity to not just walk the fuck away. Why was he mad at you, though, if you didn’t finish off the coke?

                      And what did getting hit entail? Sorry if I’m asking for too much detail, I’m just curious.

                    5. Oh, he was mad at one of our friends, he wasn’t mad at me at all, just totally out of control and I was the only one left around. I got back-handed into a doorway–not super dramatic, I think I was more surprised than anything else at the time but pretty rattled to think of it after. I had witnessed him literally tear in half the jacket of the friend he was mad at a few minutes earlier, and he was a lot bigger than me of course and, you know, on coke.

                    6. It sounds like coke really isn’t for him. You should have punched him right in the taint. Backhanding your friends is bad etiquette.

                    7. Yeah, he was a much better babysitter than babysittee, if you know what I mean.

                    8. Also, he now has cancer and I’m feeling super guilty that I should go visit him.

                      No, you shouldn’t. Fuck that guy.

                    9. Come on, we’re obviously selling alcohol short.

                      Who doesn’t enjoy getting drunk and knockin around the wife a little bit.

                      It helps keep her in line, too.

              2. “I never sleep, I don’t know why. I had a roommate and I drove her nuts, I mean really nuts, they had to take her away in an ambulance and everything. But she’s okay now, but she had to transfer to an easier school, but I don’t know if that had anything to do with being my fault. But listen, if you ever need to talk or you need help studying just let me know, ’cause I’m just a couple doors down from you guys and I never sleep, okay?”

                1. +1 popcorn house.

          3. Clinton had a form of boneitis.

          4. Don’t you worry about coke, let me worry about blank.

        3. Does no one do coke any more?

          Pepsi, “The Choice of a New Generation.” (16 ounces or less.)

      2. Yeah, at least half the people I hang out with on a regular basis smoke weed. And the other half has at one point, they just rarely do now. The people I know who haven’t are in a definitive minority.

        This stat has to be complete bullshit. And seriously, how many people are willing to admit on a survey that they break a law that could land them in jail on a regular basis, no matter how “anonymous” sounding said survey is?

      3. Apparently nobody he knows does.

        That he knows of. It is unwise to advertise illegal activity. Especially if you own a dog.

        1. Especially if you own a dog

          Yes, for ruffies sake, best to keep it zipped.

          Has anyone thought about starting a business to sell dog life insurance in CO and WA?

          1. Yes, someone thought of that, started a company named Veterinary Pet Insurance Company and then sold it to a large insurance company for a few millies.

            Might have to check the fine print to see if murder by police is covered though. Probably not.

        2. I know enough people that I know for a fact have never smoked pot, myself included. The only hard drugs I’ve taken were the Percocets which I had an actual prescription for. I hate those things, made me feel like I was gonna puke while my head wouldn’t stop spinning.

          1. Then give them to me, asshole!

            1. True story. I got a prescription for percocet after minor surgery. Didn’t even bother getting it filled.

          2. Not sure if you’re serious, but yes, they do sell pet insurance. Might have to read the fine print to see if murder by police is covered though.

            It’s at petinsurance.com, of course. Where else?

      4. he’s a lame nerd who hangs out on the internet all day playing WoW and commenting on Youtube and Yahoo! articles

        Your words cut me deep, but I will not cry. At least I can live happy knowing that Epi is locked up in your basement.

        1. Not right now! Oh shit he’s coming for m

        2. You know I love you Sparkles ; )

    2. I never touch the stuff, but I feel like I’m in the definite minority among my peers who have at least tried it and do so on an occassional to regular basis.

      1. I don’t use any of it either. I don’t see why it’s any of my business what Episiarch puts up his nose. As long as it isn’t kittens. I love kittens.

        1. As long as it’s not dicks. The second he tries to put my dick up his nose again, I’m calling the fucking cops.

          1. kittens is our code for dicks.

            1. You too!? I thought we were being creative (sad face).

          2. “Close the dick gate!”

          3. No guy ever said “Stop snorting my dick or I’m calling the cops.”

        2. Vaporized kitten dust is the best high of all time! I thought that all Libertarians knew about that?

          It surpasses the natrual rush that you get from shooting puppies out of a cannon. It’s even better than harpooning baby seals and then roasting them alive like a big marshmallow.

          Don’t even get me started on running down nuns in an oversized SUV while listening to death metal and drinking moonshine out of a jug.

          1. Dogshit sliders are pretty good too. Oh why won’t the congreess act to save us?

            1. New and disturbing trend!!!

            2. Congress wants to save us, evil Rethuglicans will not allow them to.

          2. Kitten cannon is where it’s at.


            1. Hey! I can’t find a single kitten to load into my cannon!

          3. How does it compare to orphan tears?

          4. Vaporized kitten dust is the best high of all time!

            Nonsense. The best high of all time is snorting the cremated remains of your Cambodian child slaves off of your diamond encrusted monacle while drinking the blood of your virgin sex slaves from your top hat. Every true libertarian knows that.

            1. If you would have included any mention of the fine porridge made from ground proglodyte bones, we would have a thread win there.

              1. D’oh! I knew I was forgetting something!

            2. I prefer the rush of powdered adrenal glands extracted from the poor

  5. Tomorrow: Nick Gillespie’s house is raided by a SWAT team based on an anonymous tip.

    1. And then we find out that Dunphy is really a DEA operative here to try and get some of us radical Libertarians to admit to our dope smoking ways.

      Regardless, all of us have already made Big Sis Butchies domestic terrorist list just by signing up at H&R, so this dope smoking stuff is small taters really.

  6. If you lose to somebody named “Theodore Dalrymple,” you should be banished to National Review.

    1. It’s a nom de plume. His real name is Anthony Daniels.

      1. You mean C3PO is a WoD supporting douchenozzle? 🙁

  7. ‘Michael Phelps smokes pot and won 14 gold medals’ is one of the better anti-warrior anecdotes available.

    1. “But he could have won 15.”

      1. 15.4 if his medal count was decimated.

      2. He probably could have won 420.

    2. Tim Lincecum smoles pot and won two Cy Young Awards and World Series.

      I’m sure he’s asked Bruce Bochy not to pitch him when they travel to Colorado to play the Rockies.

      1. I smoled pot a lot in college. But then I broke my collarbone. 🙁

        1. Smoling is just the first step that leads to snorling and shooling up.

          1. “Smoling” is when you liquefy the pot and then take it as an enema. NutraSweet says it’s the tops.

            1. I spent that whole week trying to convince people that I was the color aquamarine and that I could cure shingles just by laughing.

            2. I’ve heard of sherry enemas before, but that’s a new one.

              1. I really don’t see why you wouldn’t be able to administer alcohol-extracted THC with an enema.

                1. I don’t think Linecum butt smoles; it completely throws your rhythm off on your wind-up.

                  Not to mention all the ruined underwear.

            3. I think John McAfee is a fan of that method, so I have heard.

      2. Yeah, and until they won the series, Tim was having a down-year.

        If it wasn’t for the pot, he’d have won 25 games with a 0.97 ERA and gone at least 7 innings every start.

      3. Doc Ellis pitched a no-hitter on LSD back in 1970. Now that’s impressive.

  8. I ask drug warriors “Do you believe in self ownership? You know, the idea that people own their own bodies.” to which they immediately respond “Of course!”

    I follow with “How do you square that with punishing people for ingesting unapproved chemicals? If a person’s body is their own property, what right do you have to tell them what they may or may not ingest?”

    The response to that is usually a dodge, a personal attack, or something about how drugs are bad on a moral level. They’re bad because they’re bad. M’kay?

    1. It’s for The Children, you heartless savage ruined by the devil’s lettuce.

    2. All ‘illegal’ drugs are bad, MmKay? Our Drug Czar, the Lyincunt, has spoken.

    3. They’re bad because government healthcare, mumble mumble.

      1. That’s up next.

  9. Nick- ask him, “Is this country a better place because of the drug war? If so, describe in detail your reasons for making that assertion.”

    Ask him how he likes being Nixon’s handmaiden flunky.

    1. If only there were some kind of example of having prohibition leading only to violence against innocent bystanders and black markets supplying the product, and not really doing anything to keep people from using the prohibited product.

      The example would be even more poignant if it could be taken from our own history here in the U.S.

      I can’t for the life of me think of one, though.

  10. If this is a WAR then you guys are TRAITORS! And you know what we do with traitors…

  11. After all these years, this is the first time I’ve noticed that Phelps is pulling from a ROOR. A man with taste, cheerio good sir.

  12. I wind up agreeing with Dalrymple (who’s on the con side) and disagreeing with the black guy on the pro side!

  13. I thought the moderator was about to say, “We have 4 debaters, 2…of whom make any sense.” One guy on each side is a flop.

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