Drug War

End the War on Drugs

Drug prohibition turns police officers into enemies to be feared rather than allies to be welcomed.

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In this month's issue, we draw on decades of Reason journalism about policing and criminal justice to make practical suggestions about how to use the momentum of this summer's tumultuous protests productively. Check out Damon Root on abolishing qualified immunity, Peter Suderman on busting the police unions, Sally Satel on rethinking crisis response, Zuri Davis on restricting asset forfeiture, C.J. Ciaramella on regulating use of force, Alec Ward on releasing body cam footage, Jonathan Blanks on stopping overpolicing, Stephen Davies on defunding the police, and Nick Gillespie interviewing former Reasoner Radley Balko on police militarization.

"Critics of prohibition need to guard against the temptation to merely tinker with the drug laws."
Jacob Sullum
"The Fixers"
December 1991

Louisville, Kentucky, police officers did a lot of things wrong when they killed Breonna Taylor, an unarmed 26-year-old EMT and aspiring nurse, during a fruitless no-knock drug raid last spring. But the litany of errors that led to Taylor's death would be incomplete if it did not include the biggest mistake of all: the belief that violence is an appropriate response to peaceful conduct that violates no one's rights. If politicians did not uncritically accept that premise, which underlies a war on drugs that the government has been waging for more than a century, Taylor would still be alive.

The March 13 raid followed a sadly familiar pattern. Plainclothes police officers break into someone's home in the middle of the night and respond with reckless, overwhelming force when the residents have the temerity to defend themselves. After such incidents, we usually say that confused, bleary-eyed people—in this case, Taylor's boyfriend, Kenneth Walker—mistook the cops for criminals. But the reality is that the cops in situations like this are criminals, or would be but for the war on drugs.

Drug prohibition legalizes conduct that otherwise would be instantly recognized as felonious, including assault, theft, trespassing, burglary, kidnapping, and murder. It makes police officers enemies to be feared rather than allies to be welcomed.

The Louisville City Council responded to Taylor's death by banning no-knock raids—a welcome step of questionable relevance, since the cops who raided her apartment, notwithstanding their no-knock warrant, banged on the door before breaking it in and claim they identified themselves (a point disputed by Walker and by Taylor's neighbors). The police chief responded by initiating the termination of the officer who "displayed an extreme indifference to the value of human life" when he "wantonly and blindly fired 10 rounds" into Taylor's apartment.

If judges did not routinely rubber-stamp search warrants, police investigating drug dealing might be less likely to invade the homes of people who are not actually drug dealers. And if cops were better trained in the appropriate use of deadly force, they might not fire wildly into an apartment building when the victims of such home invasions exercise their Second Amendment rights.

But reforms like these do not address the fundamental problem. When politicians insist on using force to prevent consumption of drugs they don't like, bad things happen, starting with the violence that is required to enforce their pharmacological prejudices.

That problem goes far beyond the cases, such as Taylor's, that are highlighted by Black Lives Matter. When a middle-aged white couple is killed in a drug raid instigated by a black narcotics officer who lied to obtain the search warrant (as happened in Houston last year) or a white 19-year-old is fatally shot by a white police officer during a marijuana sting (as happened in South Carolina several years ago), those outcomes are just as senseless and heartbreaking as the death of a young black woman gunned down by white drug warriors.

Drug prohibition also fosters violence by creating a black market in which there are no legal, peaceful ways to resolve disputes. A 1989 analysis of New York City murder cases, for example, found that, contrary to the impression left by politicians and journalists at the time, "crack-related" homicides were not committed by people under the influence of crack. The vast majority grew out of black-market conflict.

The black market that generates violence also generates artificially high profits, since traffickers can earn a risk premium by supplying contraband. According to a RAND Corp. estimate, Americans alone spend about $150 billion a year on marijuana, heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. The worldwide value of illegal drugs may be three or four times as high.

Profits from that business strengthen murderous criminal organizations and foster corruption throughout the law enforcement system. In one recent case, a Drug Enforcement Administration agent had a drug trafficker buy a $43,000 truck so he could seize it for his own use. In another case, a Customs and Border Protection agent was paid by drug traffickers for 10 years to facilitate smuggling. In yet another case, police officers in Philadelphia and Baltimore had a sideline in selling the drugs they seized. And then there's the perennial problem of correctional officers who smuggle drugs into prisons.

As it did during national alcohol prohibition, that sort of corruption tends to undermine respect for the law. So does the sense that police are arbitrarily targeting a small percentage of lawbreakers for arrest and punishment, especially when enforcement has a racially disproportionate impact.

In New York City during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, annual arrests for the lowest-level marijuana possession offense, which had averaged fewer than 2,500 under the two mayors who preceded Giuliani, skyrocketed after 1996, peaking at more than 50,000 in 2011. Blacks and Latinos, who together represented about half of the city's population, accounted for 84 percent of the possession arrests that year.

On its face, the surge in pot busts was puzzling in light of the fact that New York legislators supposedly decriminalized marijuana possession back in 1977. But possessing marijuana that is "burning or open to public view" remained a misdemeanor. Defense attorneys frequently complained that cops were manufacturing misdemeanors by patting down young men, ostensibly for weapons, and pulling out joints or bags of weed, which were then exposed to "public view." Another technique was asking people to hand over whatever contraband they were holding, at which point they could be charged with a crime.

When you combine such trickery with the routine hassling of young black and Latino men that prevailed under the "stop, question, and frisk" program, it's not surprising that police are widely viewed as the enemy in many neighborhoods they're supposed to be protecting. And the disparities seen in New York are seen throughout the country: Nationwide, black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people, even though they are only slightly more likely to be cannabis consumers.

The FBI recorded more than 660,000 marijuana arrests in 2018, more than nine out of 10 for simple possession. While people arrested for possessing small amounts of marijuana usually do not spend much time behind bars, they suffer long-lasting ancillary penalties that make it harder to obtain an education, earn a livelihood, and find housing.

Police in the United States reported a total of 1.7 million drug arrests in 2018. At any given time, nearly half a million people are incarcerated in U.S. jails or prisons for drug offenses. Drug offenders account for almost half of federal prisoners and 15 percent of state prisoners.

Arresting all of those people for actions that violated no one's rights unjustly deprives them of their liberty and impairs their life prospects. It also hurts their families and communities. And it frequently entails draconian penalties, including sentences of years, decades, and even life, for nonviolent offenses. A man named Andy Cox, for instance, is serving a life sentence in federal prison for growing marijuana for recreational consumers, which is now a legal business in nine states.

Prohibition obviously makes drug use more dangerous by exposing people who violate it to the risk of violence and arrest. It also makes drug use more dangerous by creating a black market where quality and purity are unpredictable, which is not typically a problem with legal drugs.

As the government succeeded in driving down opioid prescriptions as part of the recent crackdown on pain pills, for example, the upward trend in opioid-related deaths not only continued but accelerated. That was not a coincidence, since the crackdown drove nonmedical users from legally produced, reliably dosed pharmaceuticals toward highly variable black-market substitutes.

The emergence of fentanyl as a heroin booster and substitute has magnified the risks faced by illegal drug users. That phenomenon is also driven by prohibition, which pushes traffickers toward more-potent drugs because they are easier to smuggle. Just as alcohol prohibition drove a shift from beer and wine to distilled spirits, drug prohibition has driven a shift from opium to heroin, and now from heroin to fentanyl and fentanyl analogs, which are even more potent.

By raising drug prices, prohibition encourages injection, the most efficient route of administration. And by obstructing access to sanitary injection equipment, prohibition fosters soft-tissue infections and the spread of blood-borne diseases such as AIDS and hepatitis.

One thing that's especially notable about these burdens is that the people who bear them are not, by and large, the people who benefit from them. Prohibition makes life worse—in many cases, a lot worse—for people who defy it. Those harms supposedly are justified by the goal of protecting people who are deterred by prohibition from bad choices they might otherwise make, a tradeoff that is morally dubious even if you accept paternalism as a legitimate rationale for government intervention.

Which is not to say that the burdens of prohibition fall exclusively on people who like illegal drugs. Everyone else pays too, in the form of squandered taxpayer money, diverted law enforcement resources, theft driven by artificially high drug prices, and eroded civil liberties.

For decades the war on drugs has been the most important factor encouraging the Supreme Court to whittle away at the Fourth Amendment's ban on unreasonable searches and seizures. Among other things, the Court has blessed pretextual traffic stops, warrantless rummaging through our trash, warrantless surveillance of private property by low-flying aircraft, mandatory drug testing of public school students, search warrants based on anonymous informants who may or may not exist, and searches triggered by a police dog's alleged "signal."

The war on drugs is also the main excuse for the system of legalized theft known as civil asset forfeiture, which allows police to take cash and other property they claim is connected to drug offenses.

We could avoid these disastrous consequences if the government respected the individual's right to control his own body, including the substances that enter it. The government would still have a role, as it does with alcohol, in enforcing laws against fraud, protecting the public from reckless behavior such as impaired driving, and defending parents' authority by imposing age restrictions on drug sales. But it would otherwise leave adults free to make their own choices.

 

NEXT: When will Justice Ginsburg's papers be available?

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  2. That the current national discussion never brings up an end to the war on drugs shows us how our media and our politics have lost their way.

    1. The House could have taken at least a symbolic step in the right direction by passing the MORE act, but they caved to law enforcement and commercial drug treatment business lobbying.

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    2. No, it should remind us that perhaps we do not recognize the mercenary and manipulative agenda of media and politicians. Why would they ever want to “solve” a social problem, especially one that provides so much value, in the form of clicks and votes?

      1. And that’s exactly it. The war on drugs creates the juicy issues that let the establishment left pretend it cares about blacks. It’s the ultimate crop when you’re vote farming minorities.

      2. Agree, but this is one of those stupid articles that actually keeps the arguments for the drug war alive because it paints this idiotic panacea ‘if only we would just make all drugs legal, all our societal problems would be solved’. Yeah, that’s always an argument… and then to reduce homicide convictions, make homicide legal. Any shithead can poke massive holes in such pie in the sky articles. At least acknowledge the problems and the inevitable consequences, which aren’t just everyone goes home and lives a happy life.

        Victimless crimes? You mean not counting the 70K people that die of overdoses per year? Or the half million who are homeless or the several million kids being raised in homes where they are neglected. Few have a problem with the guy who just wants to smoke a little weed or even kill himself in an abandoned building, but let’s not suggest there are no victims. Fuck, I say give them free needles and unlimited supply, but wall them in and let them kill themselves and then set it on fire.

        Takes all the profit out of it so drug dealers will just give up and go get a job at Target? Fuck that shit. That’s where you start to lose rational human beings. Fact is that there have and always will be black markets for people to profit from. And if they can’t find a black market today, they will invent one tomorrow because that’s where the bigger money is.

        This article makes so many claims about how everything would just work out great, none of which it bothers to support. It’s like listening to sociology professor drone on how to fix the world, yet sociology has never fixed a thing. As a matter of fact, several of the claims here are actually proven false by the data we already have out there. Despite about 8 years of legal pot in Colorado, the black market trade in pot has never been bigger. We were told it would all just evaporate.

        A few people still residing in mom’s basement will then suggest that we also do away with ALL regulation of the drug industry… yeah, and THAT is how we get rid of black market [same idiots who previously said we should just regulate it and tax it]. While we are at it, let’s go ahead and give the pharmaceutical industry carte blanche. Fuck consumer safety, just take some stuff.

        Nobody is going to take the argument to ditch the war on drugs seriously until the proponents of that argument realize and start to acknowledge that dealing with addiction and consequences are serious issues. Unilateral actions, whether it’s creating the war on drugs or just eliminating that same war altogether will always have consequences, many of which will be dire.

        1. And if they can’t find a black market today, they will invent one tomorrow because that’s where the bigger money is.

          You make a good point. ALL black markets should be eliminated not just drug markets. Not too many people are smart enough to get to this realization like you have . Good job.

        2. I find this overgeneralizing of the slippery slope argument appalling. It’s not about convictions or enforcement as much as it is making the juice worth the squeeze. Homicide laws are worth enforcing because it is clearly wrong for persons to take the life others. Can’t say the same thing about narcotics laws now can we? People need to be free to make their own choices as long as they are not directly affecting others with those choices.

    3. The only reason there is a “War on Drugs” is that our stupid, crooked, fascist governments at all levels are allowed to arrest people for doing something that is TOTALLY THEIR BUSINESS and NONE of the government’s. BTW: My only “drug” is beer and insulting stupid assholes who think the “WOD” is doing anything more than criminalizing what should be a person’s choice, not the governments.

      1. The only reason there is a “War on Drugs” is that our stupid, crooked, fascist governments at all levels are allowed to arrest people for doing something that is TOTALLY THEIR BUSINESS and NONE of the government’s.

        The same is true for how I earn a living, what contracts I make with my employer, and how much I get paid. Yet our government interferes massively in that, prices me out of some markets, and takes away half of my earnings. And if I don’t comply, I am stripped of my property and get thrown in jail.

        Fix that first, then we can talk about drug legalization.

        1. Why do you have to decide what order to do things in? That’s what keeps anything from getting done.

          1. If you try to combine the individual choices available under libertarianism with the safety net of a high tax social welfare state, you end up with a society that can’t function at all. Libertarian individual choices can only exist in a society in which individuals have to bear the unpleasant consequences of bad choices themselves without a social safety net provided by government.

            As a practical matter, we mostly get politicians that are either for lower taxes or care about drug legalization; given those choices, most voters will prefer the former.

            1. wait, are you suggesting these nanny state drug laws are actually PREVENTING people from using drugs?

              Hell, it’s easier to get illegal drugs than alcohol, even in high school.

              1. wait, are you suggesting these nanny state drug laws are actually PREVENTING people from using drugs?

                Prevent? No. But it sets a cultural and legal norm, which probably does reduce drug use substantially. It also permits the state to intervene when people do use drugs.

                1. good god what is wrong with you?

                  1. A better question is: what is wrong with you? If people get libertarian freedoms but government protects them from the economic and personal consequences of their choices, you don’t have a libertarian society, you have a left wing utopia.

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            2. Talk about a false dichotomy…

              1. History and experience shows that it’s not a “false dichotomy”.

                1. no, you are absolutely delusional

                  1. You are absolutely delusional if you think that you can have a progressive welfare state while at the same time not have the state constrain the choices of citizens.

                    You’re also absolutely delusional if you think that average voters in a progressive welfare state give a f*ck about the issues you seem to care about, or that drug legalization is some kind of stepping stone to a libertarian society.

                    I’m not stating my preferences here, I’m simply stating facts.

                    1. While I understand the sentiment NOYB2, you’re wrong here. There is no dependency between drug prohibitions and the welfare state, or our confiscatory personal tax system. At least not like there is with open borders, where uninvited guests get state aid payments and education for just showing up.

        2. “The same is true for how I earn a living, what contracts I make with my employer”

          Not at all. The contracts you make with your employer constitute the freedom of the employer, not the freedom of the jobseeker who has to take what he can get. As Richard Pryor once said, “minimum wage means that they would pay you even less, if they could get away with it.” As long as you mischaracterize the rights of employers as being the rights of employees, you will perpetuate the power of the wealthy over the rest of us,

    4. Yep. It shows that it’s about control not about actually fixing anything.

    5. That the current national discussion never brings up an end to the war on drugs shows us how our media and our politics have lost their way.

      No, it just shows that voters don’t care. And voters really don’t care because the vast majority of voters don’t take drugs, don’t attack police, and don’t carry around large wads of cash. And they (we) understand that the promised benefits of drug legalization won’t materialize and that government will use changes in drug laws only to fleece them for more taxes and expand government power.

      That’s why many people like myself, who in principle believe that drugs should be legalized, don’t care about this as a political issue.

      The biggest issues I care about is: lower taxes, fewer regulations, and fewer wars. Anything else is small potatoes in comparison.

      1. Well, then the selling point for ending the War on Drugs should be saving the tons of money spend on police, courts, and prisons.

        1. Well, then the selling point for ending the War on Drugs should be saving the tons of money spend on police, courts, and prisons.

          Do you seriously think that a massively powerful constellation of special interests is going to give up their money and power? Given current political reality, any attempt to reform drug laws will just be hijacked.

    6. “That the current national discussion never brings up an end to the war on drugs shows us how our media and our politics have lost their way.”
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  5. Will the War on CV-19 (and future health panics) be worse than the WOD? Look at Australia for a model of what’s to come here.

    1. They gave up their guns. Gun sales here are off the chart.

      1. Yes, but I’ve become a little disillusioned with fellow Americans lately. The vast majority of Americans are now living under the direct edict of a know-nothing governor who tells them they must hide their face and stop earning a living, and they are complying without question, even though there’s little to no enforcement threat. It’s “just what we do” now.

        I don’t have any more faith that there will be any substantial number of Americans who will go toe to toe with armed forces that show up to take their guns and ammo, despite the Internet Rambos out there who declare that they will fight the good fight to the bitter end. Bullshit!

        1. Who says the armed forces will be on that side of the issue?

  6. “The government would still have a role, as it does with alcohol, in enforcing laws against fraud, protecting the public from reckless behavior such as impaired driving, and defending parents’ authority by imposing age restrictions on drug sales.”

    So Statism Lite? Tastes great? Less filling?

    1. Right; “protecting” and “preventing” are not good verbs for the government to use in a free society. The law should hold people responsible for the consequences of their bad choices and that’s about all.

  7. Drug prohibition legalizes conduct that otherwise would be instantly recognized as felonious, including assault, theft, trespassing, burglary, kidnapping, and murder.

    The law isn’t the law if it’s not respected and the more laws you have the more likely it is that some people won’t respect one or more of them. You can either go the jack-booted thug route and impose more laws on those who don’t respect the laws or you can recognize there are limits to what government can do and leave people free to do as they please. Guess which route the government is going to take when it’s run by people who don’t recognize any limits on what the government can do? That’s the whole problem with government, it tends to attract exactly the sort of people who shouldn’t be trusted to run it. People who just want to leave other people alone have no interest in government.

    1. Too bad we do not have some fundamental document listing rules to limit the power of government.

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      2. Too bad that document contained the seeds of leviathan.

        1. I like Anne’s reply more.

          1. Good for you.

      3. Unfortunately it doesn’t contain a prohibition on government initiating force.

        1. Not until brainwashees develop the cojones it takes to cast Libertarian spoiler votes. Losing that hand in the till brings out true looter party values: the craving for someone else’s money! Put that in jeopardy and poof! It’s gone like in 1932.

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  10. Sure, avoid mere tinkering. No sense making improvements when we could keep all the problems before us intact to contemplate.

    1. The improvement is end prohibition. Note that ending prohibition does not mean ending law enforcement against criminal gangs or black markets. It also doesn’t mean your employer has to employ you if you’re a user. It means stop harrassing people who buy. Set up ways to open legal shops. And improve drug addiction treatment.

      1. But it hasn’t been ended. Some of the tinkering has worked, though. Tinkering has gotten broader coalitions behind it. And of course that’s true not only regarding drug laws, but many other issues.

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  12. To pivot to a big standard appeal for drug legalization that sounds as though it were written by wrote is a weird pivot on the weekend of Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s death. It’s also a really boring read.

    1. bog standard*

      Fucking autocorrect.

    2. rote*

      Fucking autocorrect. -_-

  13. Yeah, systemic racism isn’t the main problem. Obviously there are some racist cops, but police using excess force for the situation is not limited to any one race. Drug Prohibition has had the same impact on gangland crime and police corruption as Alcohol Prohibition did, and they skipped the part where a Constitutional amendment is required. Now with many states legalizing marijuana, the criminal apprehension industry is looking for a War on Human Trafficking, even if it’s just mostly plain old prostitution, the world’s oldest profession.

    LeBron James is trying to get people to vote to stop police mistreatment of black people, but he neglects to mention that almost every city where these incidents occur is managed by Democrats and have been for decades, Democrats who are too deferential to police unions, who are too accepting of police misconduct and working too hard to keep officers on the street who are psychologically unfit for that duty. But then “Vote Republican” would probably confuse too many people.

    1. Exactly this. We have a police accountability problem that won’t be fixed if we attack it like a racial problem.

      1. You’re only saying that because you’re racist.

  14. Continued curbing of the drug wars (like diminution of abusive policing) will be a predictable consequence of conservatives’ fading influence in elections.

    1. It’s like you’re not even trying anymore. Sad.

    2. Excellent analysis. A major reason I’m excited to vote for Biden is his lengthy record of libertarian attitudes on drug issues.

      #BidenHasAlwaysOpposedMassIncarceration

      1. Man, even OBL gets into ripping on Kirkland!

        1. One boring parody deserves another.

      2. Seriously… Neither party platform has all of what I want, but I’m surprised by all the pro-GOP comments here. The party of intrusive immigration policy, giant military-industrial complex, endless wars, Christian Fundamentalism, corporate-crony-capitalism, ever-rising deficits, moral policing, sex & drugs puritanism….

        Not very libertarian.

        1. Yeah, the commentariat has gone downhill. A few of the conservative-leaning libertarians here had no problem with Reason during the Obama years, but complain endlessly that Reason has a liberal agenda now that a Republican administration is in power.

          Someone said some of the conservatives here came to the site when Reason acquired Volokh.

          They also seem to be attracted by the almost complete lack of moderation by the Reason staff. They can hang out here and bitch about Reason and liberals, and insult anyone who makes any comments critical of Trump, and know that there won’t be any consequences.

    3. Honeybuns, the war on drugs is a progressive thing, not a conservative thing.

      1. Tell me which GOP-controlled states have legalized recreational marijuana, again?

        1. GOP voters simply don’t care about drug legalization.

        2. Well in Michigan is was by referendum. I don’t feel like looking up other states, because I’m high, but I feel like that was the case in most, if not all states?

          And not that it matters, but we had a Republican governor at the time.

          1. And other than some relatives, every person I know that will be voting for Trump voted to legalize it.

  15. black people are nearly four times as likely to be arrested for marijuana possession as white people

    Of course, but try convincing black people to end the drug war. They’re not interested. Why? Because many benefit from it from profiting off the black market, or employment in the criminal justice, medical and ‘treatment’ systems. And the BLM revolutionary types (white and black) despise the law and just want the police to round up rich people. They actuall benefit from bad laws to create widespread contempt for it as justification to empower their lawless stasi forces.

    What’s the solution? Pushing very gradual changes like rescheduling pot from class I -> IV, reducing mandatory minimums, etc. And people need to see that they have employment (or retirement) options outside the war on drugs. It will take time.

    1. It’s Saturday, but if it were Monday, you’d need to be prepared to have dozens of replies calling you a racist. Luckily all the liberals are at the farmer’s market today wearing masks like good little boot lickers.

      1. What he posted was kinda racist. Black people don’t have a monolithic view on any matter, including ending the War on Drugs.

    2. Prohibition began and ended pretty much instantaneously with the XVIII and XXI Amendments. Since the Drug War is but a continuance of Prohibition, there’s no reason it couldn’t work similarly. In fact, look on the bright side: since Prohibitionists felt no need to obtain a Constitutional Amendment to underpin the Drug War, there’s similarly no need for the lengthy, difficult process of repealing an Amendment, either.

      As for economic opportunities? The printers are in overdrive, and it looks like we’re entering a Depression. Unemployment will be a problem, no matter what. Sound money should concern us all a lot more than someone’s ability to sell a dimebag here and there. The economic fallout from our delusional largesse will affect every part of the licit and illicit economy.

      But try convincing ANY American that ending the failed Drug War is a vital step on the path to a return to a truly limited, Constitutional government. It’s not just black people who need to be convinced, and it sure as hell isn’t primarily black people who profit from the Drug War. The biggest profiteer – by far – is the state and it’s enforcement apparatus.

      The Drug War was started by Republicans, but quickly became a fully bipartisan endeavor. It remains that way, to this day. Too many Americans are concerned with their team wielding the bludgeon for a few years, Constitutional government be damned!

    3. Kind of like “Peace in Our Time”?

  16. The war on drugs is also the main excuse for the system of legalized theft known as civil asset forfeiture

    It is fascinating to me that Reason keeps obsessing about issues (drug laws, civil asset forfeiture, police abuse of power, etc.) that affect a tiny minority of people while taking the massive system of legalized theft know as the income tax completely for granted. You have to be completely blinded by ideology to have such a warped world view and actually expecting to gather voters with it.

    Here’s the thing: until the income tax is largely gone and government spending as percentage of GDP is down in the single digits again, none of those other libertarian issues are going to be relevant, or politically feasible for that matter.

    1. It’s easier to win when the stakes are lower.

      1. What makes you think that the stakes are low when it comes to drug legalization?

    2. If Drug Prohibition only causes the death of ten thousand or so a year it is nothing to worry about. Children killed in drive bys are not important. Especially since they are mostly Black children. Keep it mostly confined to Black neighborhoods and I don’t care.

      Is that it?

  17. President Trump has blessed the TikTok deal, selling itself to the Oracle/Walmart consortium–with the U.S. getting $5 billion out of the deal for education.

    There’s no thread.

    Protesters have surrounded Mitch McConnell’s home in Louisville, Kentucky, hopping mad because he’s going against RGB’s dying wish–to have the next president name her successor.

    There’s no thread.

    Manny Machado keeps making an excellent case for National League MVP, Cronenworth is practically a shoe-in for National League Rookie of the Year, and Jayce Tingler is looking like a great candidate for Manager of the year in the National League.

    No Padres thread.

    Okay, maybe we shouldn’t expect a Padres thread, but I figured we’d at least get a food thread today.

    1. Those stories are too local.

    2. It’s the weekend.

      1. What an astute observation.

        1. More astute than complaining “there’s no thread” when one is aware there are normally only a few blog posts on the weekend.

          1. It’s Monday morning eastern time. i’M A rocKeT scIEntIsT!

    3. TIkTok is saying the first they heard bout agreeing to the 5 billion was when Trump announced it to the public.

      It’s not clear what legal right he has to demand it as a condition of approval. He used his “do me a favor” line, again, which Trump apologists here assured us during the impeachment hearings is not an officials request.

      1. Stop squawking like a bird Dee!

    4. RGB fans. Make a wish doesn’t work after you are dead. Besides do we have confirmation? Were there witnesses? Did she leave a note in her own handwriting?

  18. The only thing Sullum omits is the way prohibition and its attendant confiscations cause crashes and depressions in our fractional-reserve banking system. The clearest example is the 18th Amendment’s two crashes in 1920 and 1929. Nixon’s Operation Intercept caused a recession as did the abusive Reagan-Bush-Biden laws of 1986 through 1992. Finally, the 2008 Bush Jr asset-forfeiture crash amid grotesque growth in home confiscations removed all doubt–yet both Kleptocracy parties ignore these inductive and deductive lessons and butcher the nation’s economy on the altar of zealotry. –Libertariantranslator

  19. You couldn’t find a stock photo showing a real pair of handcuffs?

  20. While you aren’t wrong, isn’t this basically something every libertarian-ish person agrees on?

    This is like writing an anti (or pro) abortion piece for a Republican (or Democrat) outlet.

    1. Libertarians generally agree that in a libertarian society, drugs would be fully legal. But in a libertarian society, there would also be no income taxation, not government healthcare, no government drug treatment, and a lot of other differences.

      Legalizing drugs while keeping the rest of the social welfare state that we have in place is not consistent with libertarianism, even if many self-proclaimed libertarians might think otherwise.

      1. what nonsense is this?

        Legalizing drugs in the context of current american systems would be a HUGE win for liberty, hands down.

        1. Legalizing drugs in the context of current american systems would be a HUGE win for liberty, hands down.

          Legalizing drugs would do nothing to increase my liberties; nor would it do anything to increase the liberties of most voters. So, in what way would it be a “huge win”?

          1. So by your logic the government could require a prescription for or ban otc drugs and nutritional supplements and it wouldn’t decrease your or most people’s liberties one bit. Now do food.

            1. My logic is that only a small minority of the population takes drugs, and therefore the effect of drug legalization would only increase the liberty of a small minority of people.

              Since almost everybody uses OTC drugs and nutritional supplements, restrictions on those products would affect almost everybody’s liberty, overall a “huge” effect. Ditto for food.

          2. Legalizing drugs would do nothing to increase my liberties; nor would it do anything to increase the liberties of most voters.

            Police Officer, “I smelled pot”

            1. About 20 million people get stopped by police every year, and about 2% of those stopped get searched. So, we are talking about 400000 searches among a population of 330 million. I figure chances of getting stopped and searched are negligible for the average American, and even less so for people who don’t live in high crime areas..

    2. Reason is a general circulation magazine. Go to any Barnes and Noble’s and there is a copy among all the other news/commentary/political magazines. It isn’t read by libertarians only.

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  22. Sally “force is the best medicine” Satel instead of Thomas “Our Right to Drugs” Szasz. Reason is a disgrace.

    1. Szasz on Satel from a genuinely libertarian publication in its time.
      http://www.szasz.com/iol14.html

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  25. 1. No one has ever defeated the laws of supply and demand.

    2. Addiction is a symptom of PTSD. Says Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine Eric Kandel. Dr. Lonny Shavelson found that 70% of female heroin addicts were sexually abused in childhood. Will Prohibition cure PTSD? Or prevent the sexual abuse of children?

    3. Prohibition makes criminal gangs a feature of every city and town. It is not the first time we have had that experience. We can’t learn from it can we?

    4..Addiction is a medical problem. We need to put doctors in charge. Not criminals.

    1. 2. Addiction is a symptom of PTSD. Says Nobel Prize Winner in Medicine Eric Kandel.

      That’s nonsense. What he said is that people who suffer from PTSD frequently become drug addicts afterwards. It’s not surprising why either.

      Will Prohibition cure PTSD?

      No. Neither will drug addiction. In fact, drug addiction makes the problem worse.

      Addiction is a medical problem. We need to put doctors in charge.

      If you legalize drugs, people with PTSD are free to self-mediate with addictive drugs and you have no ability to put anybody in charge.

      1. No one has ever defeated the laws of supply and demand.

      You mean that if you increase the supply and lower the cost of drugs, more people will consume them? That law?

      The arguments people like you are making for legalizing drugs are ridiculous, and are usually coupled to even more government spending and even more government intrusions into people’s lives.

      When you come up with realistic proposals for drug legalization and ways of helping people and saving money as a result, people will take you seriously. Until then, drug legalization is dead on arrival, except for limited legalization/decriminalization of marijuana.

  26. Another typical “let’s look at only one side” argument from ‘reason.’ End the war on drugs to end police abuse? Absolutely. But then what? Do you want San Francisco 24/7 in your backyard? Once again, ‘reason’ has conflated two entirely different things — the war on drugs from a police power standpoint, and the the war on drugs from a human standpoint. Unfortunately, ‘reason’ doesn’t care about being human; it only cares about taking bogus philosophy to the outer limits.

    This comment not approved by Silicon Valley brain slugs.

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  28. Drug prohibition exposes police officers as zombies.

  29. The drug war is just part of the problem. Giving a badge and a gun and law-interpreting authority to cops, along with immunity for the harms they inflict and the crimes they commit, is the bigger problem. The power given to cops brings out the thuggery in the worst of them, and turns the rest into silent co-conspirators. Cops need to be exposed for all that they do, and shamed, fired, or punished for what they do to violate our rights. Body cams for all citizen contacts, video-recorded interviews and interrogations, signed witness statements, etc., will go a long way to weed out the really bad cops.

    PG

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  31. End.
    the.
    Drug.
    War.
    The thinking has been done (finally). Now it’s time for action.

  32. WHY are we not allowed to learn the NAME of the judge who approved this no-knock raid? Or ANY of those judges, for that matter?
    Aren’t judges elected officials (in the US)?

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