Words of Advice:

"If Something Seems To Be Too Good To Be True, It's Best To Shoot It, Just In Case." -- Fiona Glenanne

"Flying the Airplane is More Important than Radioing Your Plight to a Person on the Ground
Who is Incapable of Understanding or Doing Anything About It." -- Unknown

“Never argue with stupid people, they will drag you down to their level
and then beat you with experience.” -- Mark Twain

"Everything is easy if somebody else is the one doing it." -- Me

"Eck!" -- George the Cat

Monday, October 18, 2010

Legalize Pot

Let's just do it.

Does anyone think that the War on Drugs, which is now in its 40th year (since Nixon declared it) is winnable? Does anyone seriously think that it ever will be?

40 years ago, the most common drug was pot. Cocaine was hugely expensive. Heroin was the drug of hard-core losers; if you knew someone who was using smack, you pretty much knew that you'd hear in a year or two that they were dead. LSD was in use as speed.

Now, 40 years later, cops have converted from six shot Smith & Wesson Model 10s to Glocks and Sigs. SWAT teams have become common and the SWAT goons roll out on everything beyond writing parking tickets. Civil liberties have taken a huge hit, especially among minority populations. The incarceration rate has gone from one person in a thousand in 1970 (which was roughly the incarceration rate for the previous fifty years) to five times that.

(Edit: New image added much later as the old link failed)

States and the Federal government have gone on a prison-building spree. Soulless bottom-feeding corporations have sprung up to both imprison people under appalling conditions and otherwise suck money from the families of those in prison.* And for all that, drugs are as plentiful, if not moreso, than they were in 1970.

The so-called "War on Drugs" is where the GI Generation, the Silent Generation and the Baby Boomers have proven themselves to be utter imbeciles compared to the generations before. When the Missionary Generation brought in Prohibition to try to stop the rampant abuse of alcohol, it proved to be an utter failure. Prohibition brought an astonishing rise in the amount of organized crime. Fourteen years later, the Missionary and Lost generations realized that Prohibition was a failure and ended it.**

We are now 40 years into Nixon's War on Drugs. Collectively, across this nation, we have probably spent trillions of dollars on drug enforcement, adding police, giving them new shit to play with, building prisons and locking up people.

What good has this done? What utility has been gained trying to use the hammer of law enforcement to stop people from using drugs?

The game is not worth the cost.

Let's legalize pot, first. If we legalize pot, than all of the criminal distribution network, from the growers who are making battlefields out of our wilderness parks to the goofball on the street who sell it, will be cut out of the game. Let's grow it, distribute it and sell it, legally. There is no reason why we can't tax pot the way we tax alcohol and cigarettes.

Sure, there will be social costs to legalizing pot. There will be stoners who would rather scrape together crap-ass work and stay high all the time, but they are already out there. There probably will still be some illegal distribution of legally grown pot, just as there is with cigarettes. Those who abuse pot and hurt people an be handled the same way that such is handled for alcohol use.

But trying to stamp out drug use by outlawing drug use has not worked. It is time that we, as a nation, realize that.***

* Look into what it costs to make a collect call from a prison. It is very high. States get a cut of that, which amounts to a hell of a tax on the families of convicts.
** Though they did try to stamp out drug use, sowing the seed for our current mess.
*** I don't use drugs. I don't smoke. My alcohol consumption rate is about two drinks per month. Thanks for wondering.


XR650L_Dave said...

Alles in ordnung.

Everything is exactly as desired by those in office/power.


montag said...

Two points against legalization.

1. The WOD has gotten the populace used to the idea of a war without end, amen.

2. Too many people have too much invested in the war to give it up.

Nangleator said...

A tool to keep minorities down will never be willingly given up.

Just like prostitution. It can be abolished tomorrow. Don't even have to add any new laws; just remove one. Make prostitution legal... for the prostitutes. Keep it illegal for johns and pimps. And perhaps add some reward money for anyone who wishes to drop a dime on a pimp or john. Anyone who had direct knowledge of the crime, yet wasn't capable of incriminating themselves, because what *they* did wasn't illegal. The crime would disappear like a popped soap bubble.

But, no. Prostitution is here to stay, too.

Anonymous said...

I posted along these lines in Badtux's blog last week, in relation to his post on California's Proposition 19, but the dialogue (or rather, competing monologues) is going on everywhere - especially up in my province in Canada, where the putative value of the crop is measured in the billions and we have a considerable amount of gang violence and murder associated with the drug trade (okay, "considerable" for Canada equals "Tuesday" in many parts of the USA, but it still upsets us).

I don't believe the hype about how legalizing marijuana will magically make all the violence and mayhem associated with its illegality go away overnight. Repealing Prohibition didn't make the Mob go away. Since last year Mexico has decriminalized the possession of small amounts of drugs for personal use (marijuana, cocaine, heroin, ecstasy, etc.), putting the legal stamp on what has for some time been a civic fait accompli. Yet the violence within Mexico itself, far from all of it tied up with supplying the USA with drugs, gets worse every week.

What would legalization change? Well, your revenue streams for sure, and we'll probably have a few more slow, hungry and stupid stoner people around. (Yeah, sure, you can point out all kinds of people who have smoked or do smoke and continue to function and prosper, but so what - I can produce an even longer list of great drunken writers, politicians, musicians and scientists, but that doesn't establish alcohol's bona fides in and of itself. And for every Willie Nelson you trot out, there's a hundred 30something losers still toking up in their room above the garage.) Dope will still be a product in demand, and people (currently, people involved in organized crime) will compete to supply that demand, and be aggressive in, well, let's call it "securing market share".

I suppose if you're comfortable with the idea of your government selling you more harmful and addictive substances than this, and most people are, why not go all the way. To make this work, government would have to step in to be the biggest and baddest dealer on the block.

When you think about it, pot is actually a fabulous method of social control for government to get into. Yes, pot smokers don't make a fraction of the trouble drinkers do, but most of them don't get up to much of anything but shambling around looking for snacks and more pot. Ideal if you want your population to be quiescent, socially and politically disengaged, law-abiding zombies.

norbit said...
This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.
Comrade Misfit said...

Nangleator, the government doesn't sell alcohol. Or tobacco. But it regulates and taxes both.

Do you disagree with the premise that the War on Drugs has, to date, been a failure?

If you accept the premise, then is it not also true that it is insane to keep following the same failed policy?

Legalization is not a panacea, true. But I cannot see how legalizing pot (and yes, eventually all other drugs) will be any worse. Drug dealers, right now, fight over turn and sales with weapons. Liquor stores do not.

BadTux said...

Besides, marijuana prohibition is no longer a tool to keep minorities down, because the majority of marijuana users today are white middle class people. Minorities use crack, heroin, meth, whatever, but not marijuana, at least, not in any disproportionate amount. This ain't 1938 and the beaner menace don't play no more.

Frankly, from everything I've seen and heard, marijuana is less harmful than alcohol. You can die from drinking alcohol, and hundreds of young people do die from alcohol overdose every year when they drink too much at parties. You can't die from smoking marijuana -- to get enough THC in you to OD, you'd have to smoke several times your body weight in MJ during the course of a day. There simply is no medical reason to keep the stuff illegal, only bullshit reasons. And this penguin has little truck for bullshit. Make it legal, treat it like alcohol (complete with sobriety tests for drivers and carding of kids who try to buy it), and be done with this crock of bull.

- Badtux the Non-Tokin' Penguin
(Note: I don't smoke, drink, or use any drug other than an OTC allergy medicine. I just am tired of paying taxes for bullshit that serves no useful purpose).

Ruckus said...

Of course you know that it is actually worse than paying taxes for bullshit that serves no useful purpose. As you have pointed out on your own blog and others have on blogs such as this the greatest cost is the destruction of our values. Not the bullshit ones like "being free of the scourge of drugs", but the real freedom from repression that we are losing bit by big bit everyday.

Allan S said...

Have you good folks ever heard or a weed fueled riot after a sporting event? I thought not. Those riots are fueled by beer and misplaced team pride. Throw some joints at a rampaging mob and in 30 minutes it will disperse because they all got the munchies.

Also, in my humble opinion, any athlete who tests positive for the stuff should be congratulated for being able to perform, not punished. I'm sure most of us know the weed is NOT a performance enhancing drug in any way, stretch or form...lol

Nangleator said...

Comrade Misfit, I was unclear. I approve of your post 100%.