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  1. Epsilon
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    Epsilon Member

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    Drug Legalization: Does Anyone Else Agree?

    Discussion in 'The Lounge' started by Epsilon, Jul 27, 2010.

    The evidence that the prohibition of drugs has been a failure is almost overwhelming; for those interested I'll reproduce some arguments in further posts, but right now I'm just going to assume most of you - like me - know the facts and know that legalization of drugs is the way forward.


    A group of advisors to the UN Council have organised this petition; for a complete and un-biased study of drug usage throughout the world. The "un-biased" is key, as many studies are denied funding or simply ignored if they do not echo the current anti-drug statement; that is, the governments of this world do not want the school of thought that "hey, drugs may not actually be as bad for you as you might think..." to become widespread.

    I for one, on a ground level, support legalization simply for personal freedom. I want to enjoy the pleasures and experiences of drugs - I do frequently anyway - without having to be criminalised for something that does no harm to others.
     
  2. Videodrome
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    Videodrome Member

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    Legalize and Regulate like we already do with Tobacco and Alcohol.

    Now I'd say drug addiction is costly to society, but the War on Drugs is far worse. I think the only treatment for it is rehab and education.
     
  3. garmar69
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    garmar69 Contributing Member Contributor

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    This is one of those subjects that can get out of hand real quick. Personally, I wouldn't use any of the currently illegal drugs regardless because many are so harmful - like meth.

    I do think that criminalizing marijuana is ridiculous but that's a loaded subject also. I know a guy that's spent several years of his life in prison simply for smoking pot (multiple offenses) despite never hurting anyone but himself by smoking it.
     
  4. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    Ok, as Garmer has already pointed out, this is a subject that comes with it's own can of gasoline and a lit match.

    I will let it run for the sake of discussion for the time being.

    **The very second I see it get out of hand I will close the thread without warning or appeal.**
     
  5. dogboon
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    dogboon Member

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    Legalise it, and that will make it easier to regulate and destroy much of the criminal empires based on it. Plus it would be purer. Same with prostitution.

    *Clarification; I partake in neither.
     
  6. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    I'm not convinced the Vienna Declaration is pushing for the right reasons. I mean, yes, if you sanction sterile needles and opiate replacement treatments, you might stem the epidemic of AIDS in sub-Saharan Africa (though given how ineffectively AIDS treatments are dispersed through the population there, I'm skeptical that sterile needles would be transmitted any more successfully, or that they would be used correctly if they were). The other complaint, that the drug economy is unregulated, untaxed and uncontrollable, also seems short-sighted. There may be a minority of people who would continue to use regulated (read: weakened) and highly, highly taxed drugs, but the majority, I suspect, would sustain a black market kept operational by supply from producers and dealers who would rather face the generally ineffective drug busts and operations of law inforcement and FBI/DEA in exchange for being able to continue producing an unregulated and untaxed product.

    The Vienna Declaration draws crucial attention to certain facts about drug use and the public health ramifications, but the 'solutions' it suggests, and the means of reaching them, are severely flawed.
     
  7. Wreybies
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    Wreybies The Ops Pops Operations Manager Staff Contest Administrator Supporter Contributor

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    I agree with this.

    I went to university in a town that was voted "America's 'Greenest' City" five years in a row by the magazine High Times. When I was at university I smoked. A lot. A lot, a lot. And I remember well going to friend's houses and choosing what I wished to buy directly from the living plant.

    Given that marijuana is not a product that has to be processed or that requires anything more intricate than a bit of horticultural knowledge, why would people pay a marked up price for what I am sure will be a much less potent, government approved product.

    I just don't see it.
     
  8. Irish87
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    Irish87 Contributing Member

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    I'm a Libertarian, so I say legalize it all.
     
  9. dogboon
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    dogboon Member

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    May I just say that government merchandise or as we say in Medway 'The Laws ****' is extremely potent. Hybrid Weed is cultivated in government funded allotments which are scattered all over the south-east.
     
  10. natsuki
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    natsuki Active Member

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    I agree with the legalization. Here in Brazil we have lots of problems with drug traficking. Drug addicts are executed by drug dealers, and there are places like in the favelas in Rio, where things get very violent because of illegal drug trade.
    Legalization would help a lot in this case.
     
  11. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    To expand on what Wreybies said earlier:

    As with every thread dealing with controversial subjects, this one will be closely watched. As long as everyone remains respectful toward everyone else's beliefs, the thread may continue.

    FAIR WARNING! In the past, we have simply closed the thread when it gets too heated. This time, whoever takes it to the point that requires it to be closed will also be subject to an infraction.

    We have had a very poor track record with contraversial threads in the past, and this is why we will follow a zero-tolerance policy on this one.

    So please keep the tone respectful at all times.
     
  12. Steerpike
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    Steerpike Felis amatus Supporter Contributor

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    I wouldn't use any of the drugs that are currently illegal, whether they legalized them or not. I won't even take a prescribed med a good portion of the time, unless I really feel it is necessary.

    That said, I favor legalizing drugs, except for ones that have a strong likelihood of making someone go out and hurt somebody else. PCP comes to mind, for example. Doesn't that make people irrational and violent?

    Other than that caveat, I favor legalization.
     
  13. thirdwind
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    thirdwind Contributing Member Contest Administrator Reviewer Contributor

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    Legalization of marijuana is fine, but I can't imagine legalizing something like meth. That stuff is too addictive and severely alters judgment and can even lead to erratic behavior.
     
  14. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    This is the kind of broken logic I was referring to before. Let's explore it more thoroughly.

    Firstly, it's a fact that drug users, dealers and producers are criminals--not necessarily in a derogatory sense, simply in that they are technically breaking the law, and, one may assume, by their own will. So what makes you think that just because a legal system is developed they would abide by it, especially if the result of such a system was a higher price and an inferior product. This would be the case especially in poorer areas like the favelas of Brazil, where the higher cost of drugs would create demand for a black market product. Drug dealers and producers, the real criminals, would have no problem supplying this market with less expensive unregulated product. So, there would be a small group of people (the upper and middle class recreational drug users) who would operate within the confines of the law if given the option to, while the black market continues more or less as it has done in the poorer areas. What's more, there may be an attitude once drugs have been legalised that the problem has been 'dealt with', and those at risk in the poorer areas would recieve even less attention than would've been the case before. Furthermore, by legalising drug use and drug sale/trafficking, you are, for all intents and purposes, saying that it's okay to use drugs, which is likely to lead to a huge increase in use, and then a resulting boom in public health costs and related petty and serious crime (new users turning to theft, prostitution and other criminal activities to pay what is now an even higher price for a fix, especially, again, in poorer areas).
     
  15. natsuki
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    natsuki Active Member

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    You might be right, but the upper middle class represents 62% of the drug users here, they go to the poor areas to buy drugs. I can't be really sure if the legalization would help much, but the situation is already bad...
     
  16. Mercurial
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    Mercurial Contributing Member Contributor

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    I am for legalization. I dont think anyone has the right to tell you what you can and cant put into your body. That's not to say that I would enjoy a free-for-all heroin party for four year olds.

    I think it should be regulated and that laws should be made to uphold responsible usage. For instance, I think it's a very good thing that alcohol and cigarettes have age restrictions on them. When I was younger, I got drunk a lot, and now I am glad that there were age restrictions because even though it didnt stop me, it made it a lot harder for me to get. It's like the tattoo age restrictions --sometimes kids want to do really stupid things, and having those restrictions keeps them from regretting it. I do think that the alcohol age limit should be lowered to eighteen though.

    I do think that all drugs should be legalized. Weed, meth, heroin, all of it. If the elicit temptation no longer exists, most people arent as interested in it. A lot of people turn to drugs and alcohol as a way to retaliate. Just like when you're an adult, the world lets you decide whether you want to go to college, the army, the work force, etc. You can decide whether you want to smoke or vote (or who to vote for) and so many things. You can be smart about things or you can be a real idiot. I feel like drugs shouldnt be any different. Alcohol can kill you just like weed can.

    I think one of the biggest problems holding us back from such a movement would be the actual process of legalization, which is why I dont really complain all that much in the first place. I dont use drugs, so it doesnt particularly bother me on a personal level --just a political one. I wouldnt envy the people who would be faced with the challenge of integrating free will of drugs into our lives. You can only assume that a lot of people would become very excited about the new legalization and light up to their heart's content. And while it's not a big deal if people drink, you cant have the whole world drunk. You know?

    I also dont understand why users are put into jail. It's not very effective, is it? Recidivism rates are through the roof, and all it does is line pockets of people who uphold the drug laws in the first place...
     
  17. Videodrome
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    Videodrome Member

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    Drugs are a problem no matter what. Even now with Alcohol we have addicts who are a danger to themselves and others.

    But I'm not sure our current policies are working. For now with Tobacco and Alcohol we generally pursue a policy of education and treatment for addiction. Maybe for all drugs that's all we can really do.

    Also that's not to say it should be easy for people to do drugs. I think some regulations should remain for people who operate heavy equipment for example. You should still be able to lose your job for using in some occupations.

    As for myself there are somethings I'd be curious to try like shrooms or DMT. However I also respect these substances as being very powerful and wouldn't use them casually at all. If there was such a thing as a licensed legal distributer of psychedelics I would consult them even if it cost more.
     
  18. hiddennovelist
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    hiddennovelist Contributing Member Contributor

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    I haven't given much thought to harder drugs like meth and the like, but I definitely think that marijuana should be legalized.

    And I agree with Merc that if drugs were legalized, less people would be interested in doing it. For a lot of people, doing hard drugs is more about being able to sound tough, like they're so awesome and hardcore because they shoot up. If anyone could do it, it wouldn't be so "cool."
     
  19. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    While I agree with part of this, allow me to counter a few points:

    In places where prostitution has been legalized, the rates of black-market prostitution are very low. Given that both 'industries' offer plenty of room to avoid taxation and regulation, I think it fair to assume that legalization of drugs will not result in the continuation of a large black market. It simply has not happened in similar cases.

    Also, by legalizing it victims of the black-market can seek legal help without fearing repercussions. How many people are beaten by a dealer or some other member of the drug industry and are unable to tell the police, due to fears that they too will be arrested (for admitting they are users)? Legalization removes this risk.
     
  20. erik martin
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    erik martin Contributing Member

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    I worked for several years as a police officer on the east coast. I never saw any good come from prohibition laws of currently illegal drugs. Typically, problems of violence and theft related to these drugs came from the very fact that they were illegal and controlled by gangs and such. I wholeheartedly believe marijuana should be legalized and I even lean toward legalization of harder drugs. Tax and regulate.

    When I was a cop I went on a lot of domestic violence calls, a lot of bad wrecks, a lot stupid disturbance type calls. When intoxication was a factor (Which was a majority of the time.) far and away alcohol was the villain. I never went to a call where someone had smoked too much pot and beat their wife. It isn't just the accessibility of alcohol, but the fact that it causes a greater loss of control than most illegal drugs (Not always and in every case, but a majority, in my experience.) and it is socially perfectly acceptable.
     
  21. Videodrome
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    Wow that sounds tough Erik. I can only imagine the crazy stuff you've seen.


    I do sometimes wonder if legalizing just Pot would help. I mean if some are inclined to try drugs maybe they would be steered more toward MJ then Ecstasy or Meth. They could just be chilling out ordering pizza instead of going crazy from heroin.
     
  22. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Allow me to counter-counter :D

    Trade in drugs and trade in sex aren't quite the same. By legalising prostitution (as has been done here in NZ), sellers of the product (the prostitutes) are able to sell a regulated product in regulated, controlled areas at a price that is market competitive because it is not the subject of a sin tax (only GST or VAT, whatever the system is called where you are). Legalising prostitution offers benefits to buyers, sellers and other stake-holding parties (the locally affected public, the government, etc).

    Legalising drugs would have quite a different effect. The people who profit from drugs are not the local sellers (as prostitutes are), but the people at the source, the ones running drug empires. Local dealers might pull in a decent amount of money, but its still pocket change compared to the overall revenue. If you legalise and regulate drugs, it doesn't offer an incentive to these suppliers to comply. If they can keep revenue high as well as winning customers by selling at a price without an added sin tax, then I think they're gonna do that. Decriminalising it will benefit mostly, like I said before, those upper and middle class recreational users, who are able to pay higher prices in exchange for compliance with the law. Poorer and heavier users are still likely to engage in a black market trade if the cost and risk are the same.

    I agree with your second point, that it would protect that small number of people who are the victim of violent crime by dealers, but I would argue that by legalising drugs like meth, heroine and coke we would see a more significant rise in drug-related violence (which, here in NZ, is already by far the largest type of violent crime).

    I'm not saying legalising drugs is completely without benefit, I just think that with the possible exception of marijuana, the negative effects outweigh the positive.
     
  23. LordKyleOfEarth
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    LordKyleOfEarth Contributing Member Contributor

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    And yet in places like Amsterdam and various unregulated regions (mainly 2nd and 3rd world nations) drug violence is not really an issue.

    I think that the violent drug empires which exist today would be greatly weakened through legalization. Upper and middle-class buyers would, as you pointed out, shift to legalized forms (if for no reason other than social acceptance) cutting a large portion of their revenue. Local grow operations would create increased competition and lower prices further.

    I think that, in a realistic sense, the violent empires would become corporate and play (for the most part) by the rules. Better 40% of all drug sales with no hassle than 100% of nothing and a much more focused police effort.
     
  24. arron89
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    arron89 Banned

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    Here I disagree. As others have mentioned, the majority of the large-scale drug operations are linked to gangs and larger crime rings, as well as (in some cases) human and arms trafficking, illegal prostitution and theft and violent crime. Complying with government regulation will mean opening their operations up to government and public scrutiny, as well as to their competitors--a threat to their empires I don't think they would accept. Local producers may (as they often already are) be targeted by more sophisticated operations with greater capacity, and be forced out of the black market that way, especially if after legalising drugs they come to represent more of the threat to the market share of the larger operations.

    While legalising pot has had no serious ill-effect on Amsterdam, I think the situation would be very different in the USA. Amsterdam is a relatively small city with a population of under 2 million people with a tradition of tolerance towards drug use. The USA, by contrast, shares a land border with Mexico that is (apparently) not easily patrolled or controlled, as well as having major cities along both the East and West coasts, again allowing relatively easy importation of foreign, unregulated narcotics. Where Amsterdam is able to exercise strict control over the production, sale and consumption of pot, the USA has shown over the past three decades that it is unable to, and as a result the systems of drug distribution and consumption are not comparable to Amsterdam's.
     
  25. Cogito
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    Cogito Former Mod, Retired Supporter Contributor

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    Much of the ancillary crime associated with the drug community is a consequence of it being illegal. That allows the traffickers to manipulate prices - lowering them to get more people addicted, then raising the prices to maximize profit.

    A large percentage of property crimes, and of non-pdomestic violent crimes, are committed by drug users to support their addiction. Drug smuggling itself is tied to gunrunning and other violent organized crime in a virtual war against drug enforcement personnel. Decriminalizing drug use would reduce the crimes by drug users, and by lowering demand would reduce the crimes by drug traffickers as well. It would also allow users to seek medical help without fearing arrest, or loss of employment due to criminal records.

    But decriminalization could also increase the number of users, because some people deterred by the criminal consequences would be more inclined to experiment. And treatment, once someone is addicted, is terribly expensive and has a very poor success rate.

    I do feel the medical community is betrter equipped to deal with the problem of addiction than the law enforcement community, but society also needs to be able to compel addicts to undergo treatment under controlled conditions for those who become a burden on society.

    I see no good solution, whether drug use is decriminalized or not.

    EDIT: I forgot to mention that a large percentage of domestic violence crime is also drug-related. It doesn't contribute to the economic issues of the drug crime infrastructure, but it too is part of te tragedy of drug abuse.

    Anyone who believes that drug use is harmless in and of itself is living in a fool's paradise.
     
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