If we legalize all drugs, what happens to the drug-pushers?

Legalization has often been proposed as a method to cut the gangs off at their knees, so to speak. Legalizing drugs would diminish their black-market value as people would likely instead walk into a store and purchase what they need than conduct back alley deals with shady characters. Legalization would also promise safer drugs that are less likely to be cut with hazardous stuff.

This is good and all, but what’s going to happen to the gangs after their primary money source is taken away? Are they going to all find honest jobs and integrate into society? Maybe the meth cook finds employment as a chemical engineer with Exxon? Maybe the dealer gets a customer service representative position with Target?

I know that at least one country has completely legalized all drugs but I can’t remember reading anything about what happened to the former drug pushers. What would happen to the drug pushers, if anyone has any data? If no data, what do you think would happen?

which country?

Criminal organizations often have a lot of money invested in legitimate businesses as well as illegal stuff, so lets not forget that. As an interim, yes, I expect the more savvy crims to hold onto like grim death any source of clean money that they have left - races, gambling, car washes, laundromats, etc. Many of them will still loose everything.

The small time dealers are out of a job the next day.

What happens to them then? I.e. what do they do? This is the main question of the thread.

I was thinking of Argentina.

They’d have to go get jobs I guess.

People losing their jobs because they’re no longer economically viable is a normal occurrence. It’s something that happens literally every day and it’s not some deep mystery that requires a hypothetical scenario about drugs.

(Although a few of them might be able to continue selling drugs, since legal drugs would presumably be taxed fairly heavily, and there are black markets for legal but heavily-taxed products like cigarettes.)

Right, but these aren’t exactly highly employable people with great resumes. If anything I’d expect an increase in property crime … Which leads to the question of whether complete legalization is worth it.

A short term increase in property crime vs. indefinitely wasting money playing whack-a-mole in a futile drug war? I’ll take the former.

Yes it was bit weak of my part, I admit. The small time crooks that specialize in drugs now but have known a public job in their life would likely try to get a normal job. It would make sense for them.

The types that have never known a public job fall on three options. Get a job, get on the dole, get in with the gangster types. The gangster types fall on two options being that they remain useful to the gang or they get out. Not a good third option for the former sort, perhaps.

The types that are in it for the thrills might take up skydiving as a hobby instead. And maybe fail miserably because they are on drugs.

There can be specific retraining schemes for them to become junior executives in the music industry.

Decriminalizing the possession of small amounts for personal use falls a long way short of legalizing everything.

Even if everything were legalized, gang-types would still have protection rackets, gambling, fraud and prostitution to fall back on. While total revenues would fall a lot, there’d still be plenty of opportunities for the criminally-inclined to make a buck.

In my opinion it absolutely is. It is not worth it to throw away our liberties as human beings. Sure maybe for the first year things are wierd all around at the worst? Lots of people choose to party for a year or so. A few more ODs than normal happen to them that knew the risks and partied anyway. A few celebs and politicans get loose on meth and tweet wierd shit.

As far the background peddlers? Because of them returning to earn, unemployment will actually goes down instead of up. Property crime goes down because crack heads don’t risk it with a safe supply. Violent crime between rival gangsters might increase or decrease short term I’m not decided, but long term, I’m betting decrease. Good news all around.

I hold that it is not worth it to instead let puritans walk all over your liberties as a human being. And over your responsibility as one, as well. No sir.

That was also not a jibe at you, InfiniteJest, not at all. All of your thoughts have been provoking and a fine OP to start the dope off tonight. Heh. Actually could I provoke a definition of legalization from you, or what differing sorts of legalization did you mean?

Or have I missed a point of yours not posting that in the first place…

Well, what happened to the gangs in the U.S. after the Prohibition was abolished? Some kept going in a severely diminished capacity and found other routes to exploit, like gambling or hard drugs, while many others disappeared.

Drug crimes : murders are routine because the dealers cannot go to the authorities to settle disputes. The drugs being sold are sometimes contaminated or impure, likely causing significantly more harm to the addicts than the harm clean drugs cause.

Property crimes : The USA is the wealthiest nation to ever exist in all of known human history. It’s citizens are literally swimming in seas of plentiful goods. A thief swiping a little bit in the dead of night is not going to bankrupt the nation. (and it won’t affect specific individuals as long as they buy insurance). Eventually, most of the thieves will be caught and society can even the score.

Most lower level dealers are also users and selling to support their habit. If supplied by the state (as we used to do with heroin in the UK) the need to sell will fall away. Additionally once people are on clean reliable drugs, they are more likely to be able to hold down a real job. In the seventies we supported many heroin addicts- I used to have to arrive by eight am to give one person their injection so that he could get the train to the City to his job in insurance.

Does anyone use the word “pusher” anymore? When I need cannabis, I have to track the dude down, leave cryptic voicemail messages, and work around his schedule. He “deals”, he doesn’t “push”.

/nitpick nugget

Some will move into the newly legalised business of drugs; others will continue to push drugs in the black market. In states where cannabis has been legalised retailers are being hammered with tax. This increases the retail price of drugs. Most customers are always looking for a cheaper option. A black market will continue to exist.

I’ve been wondering what’s happened to the marijuana trade in Washington & Colorado over the past nine months or so. It hasn’t made a lot of press… chances are it’s not an exciting enough news lead to say “Hey, no drug crime occurred. So, the weather…”

When the shades of night are falling,
Comes a fellow ev’ryone knows,
It’s the old dope peddler,
Spreading joy wherever he goes.*