Drug Laws... a hypothetical

(also posted at http://fff.fathom.org/ubb/Forum1/HTML/000274.html )

If a new recreational drug were developed, which could be proven to be completely physically harmless, non addictive, but had a significant mind-altering qualities… would it be legal? I’m talking about a medically useless drug, something purely recreational. I know there is stuff like caffeine and nicotine, but I’m talking about something along the strength of shrooms or meth.

Would it be legal?

I doubt it. The conservative half of the country who have never taken a hallucinogen would claim that it could cause someone to act violently or behave in a criminal way., whether or not it actually did. That’s the problem with the U.S., especially regarding drugs: we trust ignorance better than we trust experience.

Just a WAG, but I have a feeling that the Food and Drug Administration (US)/Home Office (UK) would find “new evidence” that said drug was not harmless at all, probably by cramming unfeasibly large amounts of it into lab rats or by some other pseudo-scientific method. Of course, at least in England, the Home Office could just declare the new drug a “restricted substance” with or without medical evidence that it caused harm.

And within a few months of the declaration of the drug’s illegal status, we would be having random drug tests, black markets, and “Just Say No”-style advertisements. Well, call me a cynic, but there you go.

Opal: Depends on the effects. Certain drugs already come with warning labels. If it’s just a mild euphoric feeling, I doubt it. If it’s full blown hallucinations a la Homer, I seriously doubt it’d stay legal.

In other words, would you want me to pop a few, crank up my dump truck, and come racing through your neighborhood? Or drive by schoolyards?

Nope! It would be a Schedule I Drug! Since (because you said so) it would have the least accepted medical use and (because it is a recreational drug) the greatest potential for abuse.

Other Schedule I drugs, “Those substances with the greatest potential for abuse and the least accepted medical uses”, include: Heroin, Opium, Cocaine, etc.

Just the opposite would be a Schedule V drug.

[sup]Remember this is Florida I’m talking about. I am not sure how the Federal Law works, but I assume it is pretty close[/sup]

Would be nice if such a thing really existed though!

It’d probably be made illegal pretty fast.

Reference LSD and Ecstasy, both of which showed early promise as psycotherapeutic aids, then became popular for recreational use, and were fairly quickly banned. Not to mention peyote, used in religious ceremonies by Native Americans for at least a millenium, then banned when it became popular with the white kids. Reference the aforementioned 'shrooms, easy on both the body and mind, reference marijuana, with a toxicity level so low that the only way you could die of an overdose would be if it fell on you. (hey, you wander into a barn, the owner has a few hundered pounds of pot in bales up there, it could happen…)

All of these substances are, in and of themselves, fairly harmless, except for the puke factor with peyote, and that’s more unpleasant than dangerous, all of these substances have been made illegal.

If a drug like marijuana which has proven medical benefits would be banned, why should we have access to a drug that is purely psychoactive.

Hey, the government has a vested interest in controlling what and how you think, and anything that you could ingest that might alter your thought pattern must not be legally available to the general public.

yep… like GHB it’d be made illegal pretty quick.

Even K, which is FDA approved, is illegal. As is N2O.

It would have to have some positive side effect, like fighting alcoholism (LSD was used for this) or helping you sleep, something like that. I’ve noticed a lot of legal stimulants on the market being advertised as fighting asthma or some strange thing like that.

I’m surprised no one’s mentioned Viagra. Recreation at its core (and dangerous to those with heart problems. Sorry, I couldn’t resist.

Oldscratch,

N20 illegal? You’re having a laugh!

Sorry 'bout that, but genuinely, it’s illegal in the US?

Mind you, having said that, i don’t know what it’s legal status is in the UK. I’ve never seen it on sale in a shop.

Amyl nitrate is mood altering - on a v. short term basis at least - and that’s legal in the UK

N2O is illegal to use for anything other than stuff like whipping cream. Well, and at the dentist.

Except that when I buy it at the store, no-one asks me what I will be using my box of N2O cartridges for.

If I told the 19 year old clerk that I would be filling up children’s party balloons with my N2O and then sucking it down in my back yard, would he be legally bound not to sell them to me?

Kind of tough to enforce the crime of misuse, though it might be on the books somewhere.

Um, I am assuming that one can still buy nitrous cartridges, it has been a very long time.

Yes, N2O cartridges are easily bought, usually through the local porn/novelty shop and sometimes at headshops. The crackers are what I’ve found difficulty finding. In the past, I mean. Whoa, my typing sounds funny. Who hooked up the Wah-wah pedal to my computer?

It is legal in Texas, but you can’t sell to people under 18. (I still remember watching 20/20 and thinking – hey, isn’t that my local headshop? Don’t sell it Larry, it’s a sting!!)

BWAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!

… and then I mentioned it to the owner a few days later. He didn’t even know his store was on 20/20, oddly enough (it was one of those undercover camera things). I think I maybe might have gotten someone a little fired. I didn’t mean to whip up any trouble!

To get back to the OP, I think it would depend on who discovered this new drug and who the first users were.

If it caught on among minorities / poor people / rebellious youth, it would be banned in a heartbeat. OTOH, if the first user happened to be Bob Dole … well, you see how Viagra took off.

Let’s face it, the race and social class of the stereotypical user is probably the main reason alcohol is legal and marijuana isn’t.

Like those people a couple of years back that were licking frogs? How the hell did that get started anyway?

“Dude! I just got a righteous buzz by licking this frog’s ass!”

“Whoa! Sweet dude!”