This thread is for a completely pragmatic discussion of mechanisms, not the morality of any proposed mechanisms. If you want to discuss morality I believe there are enough threads and blogs and movies and songs and albums and college dorm rooms and national legislatures and state legislatures and local barrooms and acrimonious shouting matches in suburban living rooms to occupy your time on the subject.
(That bolded statement above will be ignored entirely.)
I’ve become a bit curious about something I haven’t heard from the pro-prohibition side of the debate: How do you plan to accomplish it? How do you ban a substance people want to take?
My example of how current methods are factually ineffective is, as alluded to, weed. We’ve had … call it seven decades now, seven decades of fairly concerted effort on the part of Federal and state authorities to stop people from smoking parts of a specific plant. And it hasn’t worked.
Point One: If there was a sizable deterrent to marijuana use, pot wouldn’t be attractive enough to maintain a population of users.
I’ve never heard anyone claim cannabis is better than sex. Hell, I’ve never heard anyone claim anything for weed that make it sound better than masturbation. Compared to heroin or meth, pot sounds like finishing a crossword puzzle as opposed to getting the Nobel Prize in Fucking Supermodels While Being A Living Deity.
On a purely factual basis, it isn’t easy to get physically addicted to weed. It isn’t like alcohol, where there’s a sizable population of terminal wet-brains who’d die if they went off the sauce without medical intervention. You can get habituated to weed, but you can get habituated to Mentos. Habituation is a possibility for any substance, and coffee is more physically addictive than marijuana. There’s just not that element of compulsion to weed, at least for the majority of users.
Point Two: We are trying. We’ve been trying. Hard.
So we put users in prison. We put dealers in prison. We put growers, mules, and all of their associates in prison. We put a hell of a lot of people in prison, in point of fact. And we still have enough weed that when Montana allows medical marijuana you can walk around Missoula and find stores with neon pot leaves in their windows like that. Montana is only cosmopolitan compared to the real hoppin’ places like Wyoming and Alaska.
We also blanket schools and TV and other media with one-sided information meant to scare the kids away from weed for good. Other drugs get mentioned, too, but weed is always in there, always being called dangerous and harmful and illegal and everything else. Whether this information is accurate doesn’t really matter, because it doesn’t work.
So we haven’t been able to ban pot, which should be the easiest drug it’s possible to ban. It isn’t very strongly addictive. It isn’t nearly as pleasant to use as the other drugs we’ve outlawed. It is against Federal law, which is the supreme law of the land. If we could ban anything, pot would be it.
So what mechanism am I missing? What technique should the government be using that would make it possible to ban the consumption of a drug (not necessarily weed) people actually want to use?