Imagine half a million drug dealers out of work...

Quick background: I don’t consider myself to be too well-informed in the way of politics, economics, sociology, medicine, or any other field directly related to the debate over whether drugs should be legal or not, but I tend to agree with the libertarian view of the issue: The government shouldn’t really be trying to control personal morality.

I’ve heard the huge list of reasons to legalize drugs many times, and it always includes some reference to drug dealers making all the money, and the mafia maintaining power. The legalization argument apparently solves that, but I don’t quite understand how. Legalizing drugs won’t make the people go away, and I really doubt that a guy who’s been dealing drugs would jump right in to a “normal” job. Wouldn’t this just lead to a new mafia-controlled industry? What if they switch to something that’s actually immoral? Would murder-for-hire become a HUGE business? Would legalization cut down on organized crime, or just cause a shift in the type of crime?

-Yes, I understand this isn’t really a debate, because I didn’t state MY stance on the topic, but hopefully it will turn into one. If it belongs elsewhere, please move it.

Aw, most of the drug dealers are in Colombia, anyway… not our problem.

The ones that ARE in America are usually, what, 14, 15? They should be in school, dammit!

(Note: This post not meant to be taken seriously)

Most drug-dealers I have dealt with have ‘real’ jobs, though most couldn’t maintain the lifestyle to which they have become accustomed on the money they make ‘honestly’.

So they’d be forced to stop lighting their cigars with hundred-dollar bills… big deal!

The Police Commissioner where I live recently estimated that 80% of crime was drug related. The crimes included assault, break and enter, theft, and so on, and were primarily committed by addicts to obtain cash to buy drugs, not by the dealers.

If drugs were legal, the price and quality could be controlled, reducing or preventing the need for large amounts of money. The theory goes that without a need for this money, addicts would not commit so many crimes, and we would all be better off.

Drugs are a health issue, not a legal issue.

Well, we’d still need people to produce, transport, and sell the newly legal drugs. But instead of hiding a couple kilos in the trunk of a sedan, they could fill up semi trailers.

If drugs were legal, then they would be bought and sold like any other legal thing, with respect to it’s nature.

So, turning to the similar “drug” markets of cigarettes and booze: you don’t see too much cigarette-related crime, and the cases of DWI (a crime which includes the influence of any substance, not just booze) have nothing to do with the distribution and sale of alcohol, but with abuse by the loser. I mean, user.

Decriminalization of drugs is not popular to the masses, because (IMO), it’s “immoral,” and being legal would cause a mad rush of use and abuse by otherwise non-users. While the former is quite hard to debate, the latter has no basis in fact and is fed by fear, IMO.

I don’t smoke right now. Criminalizing cigarettes would have no direct effect on me. I don’t snort, toke, shoot-up, freebase, or anything else (even though I could, if I wanted to). Decriminalizing drugs would have no direct effect on me.

But, decriminalizing would mean you could walk in to your neighborhood CVS and pick up some blow. And because Walgreens next door might also carry it, as well as the tobacconist at the mall, there’s healthy market competition. And since some drugs can be distilled in your basement, you can do it all yourself, grow your own hemp, and no one would bother you. Supply would be everywhere.

You can’t force morality and lessen the demand (we’ve tried, it don’t work), so you have to work supply-side. Having an increased (and legal) supply reduces cost and price (ever notice how illegal activities are always expensive?). When there’s less money to be made, there will be no market for high-profit underground trafficking. Without the need for such dangerous activity, the criminal element would seek other, more profitable ventures.

This is not to say there won’t be distribution hijacks, tobacconist hold-ups, and muggings looking for crack as well as cash, but that’s a crime of theft, something we already deal with. We already criminalize actions done “under the influence,” so there’s no need for additional legislation.

But decriminalization will never be popular with the people, who are at large simply afraid of freedom, and, IMHO, will forever doom the Libertarians to an also-ran status.

Well, that’s a tad idealistic, don’t you think? Legalization won’t result in an immediate disappearance of drug dealers or the drug cartels… after all, they have a LOT to lose if Philip Morris or Pfizer start taking their business.

In addition, a lot of drugs have such negative side effects that you’ll never see them available over-the-counter (heroin, for instance, or LSD). Other drugs would be “dumbed-down” in relation to their street-available counterparts… do you really think E would be available in it’s strongest form, given some of the side-effects it can have on the body? Nah, there’d be a diluted version of E, pot, and coke on the market… stuff so relatively weak (even if it is legal) that there’d still be a healthy black market for drugs.

Well, yeah, I see your point SPOOFE. There will ALWAYS be a black market for things that are controlled in any way. Guns are the perfect example.

Even now, while many drugs are available, many are only through perscription - except on the black market. I believe you are quite correct because even IF we decriminalize drugs, the guv’mint would never allow pure cocaine to be sold at WalMart… only BlackMart.

But that doesn’t explain Bacardi 151. :wink:

I wouldn’t worry about the 8 million drug dealers. They have acquired several skills that could be put to good use in a dug-legal America:


-Security personnel.


-Drug company marketers.


-Addiction counselors

To assume all of these people would just continue to be ne’er do wells is yet another argument the War on Drugs crowd uses to pereptuate the biggest fraud in American history.

May I add . .

. . would we be better off with them still working as drug dealers, or at least try to free them up to do something legal?

“We can’t legalize drugs . . all those drug dealers would stop dealing drugs and cause more trouble! If we keep drugs illegal, that would keep the drug dealers from . . wait a minute. . . I’m confused!”

I must agree that the criminal element will be almost gone WHEN drugs get legalized (:D). The reason it is so profitable is because it is a black market, and the only people willing to take the risks for illegal activities of this sort are the kind who are predisposed to criminality: the “bad” element. With next to no profit available from drug manufacture (I can get into costing later here) the “quick money” artists will need to go somewhere else—like dodging taxes on drugs! At any rate, buying from CVS is a safer bet than Joe Schmoe on the street. Joe can sell and run; CVS ain’t going anywhere.

Specific drugs that should probably be legalized to eliminate crime (IMO)
[li]LSD: no physical side-effects other than some increased blood pressure. No known long-term effects (the chromosome damage was a lie, further research showed). I choose LSD over other hallucinogens for various reasons. Mushrooms can induce vomiting, and both mushrooms and peyote take a long time to grow while LSD is incredibly cheap (I mean, $5 on the street!–imagine what it would be if legal!). As well, hallucinogens have 0 physical addiction. LSD is, AFAIK, the most popular hallucinogen already, so legalizing the others won’t eliminate LSD use anyway. The dose size is also very small compared to, say, mescaline, and since Mesc is very similar to methamphetamine structures I wonder about overdose possibilities. LSD tolerance is HUGE but short term. One cannot go on a tripping binge on LSD as doses cause insignificant effects until about a wekk after use.[/li][li]MDA: from what I understand it is better than ecstacy, though more difficult to illegally manufacture (hence why X came out and became more popular in the first place). Problems with X, however, is that (from my understanding) it depletes seritonin levels. Without the proper nutrients long term X use will cause problems. I assume something similar occurs with MDA (while X is MDMA) since they are almost chemically equivalent (there is one little molecular group changed). I am not clear as to what the body needs for seritonin manufacture, but it is possible that it could be included with the pill so that, given a dose, you also get what you need to replace it. From what I have read, neither X nor MDA are addictive, though long-term use may result in something similar to amphetamine psychosis. :shrug: Most of the dangers from taking X or MDA come from shoddy manufacturing as dangerous chemical analogs, if not properly filtered out, will cuase serious poisoning issues. As with most hallucinogenic drugs, MDa causes an increase in blood pressure.[/li][li]Marijuana. Why this is even illegal still blows my mind.[/li]
I think that’s about it, for me, though I know many people will disagree with me on the LSD issue.

Problems with drug legalization:
[li]Increased use. anyone who argues differently is not thinking right. Drugs are fun as hell. More people would experiment were they legal and find this out.[/li][li]Health risks. Overdosing is not possible (or not known to be possible) with LSD (apart from urban legends) though it is, I think possible with X. Also, as I noted, blood pressure increases with almost all drugs (hallucinogens, stimulants, and those are the favorites out there) and high blood pressure is already a large problem (at least in the US). The drugs that most users would want legalized do have some potential risks involved in taking. I am not sure how to handle this issue, or that it needs to be handled. I think I would rather take the social darwinistic view in that they will take out the bad users, as uncomfortable of a position as it is. Another way around this is to have drug “cards” which are like credit cards but are issued like social security cards to limit drug purchases to a reasonable amount. This probably won’t eliminate overdosing completely, but I think it would help quite a bit.[/li][li]Regulation. This is so sticky since they would come under FDA jurisdiction. However, since it is already known how to manufacture the above drugs easily, and since no one owns existing patents on the molecules (though watch for patents on manufacturing techniques!!) a modest tax should easily cover any of the necessary regulation.[/li]
I’m sure there may be other problems associated with legalized drugs. I think the biggest real issue is that, even if some drugs are legalized, not enough will be to cover the broad spectrum of use and it will not eliminate the criminal element. I listed no highly addictive drugs on purpose because I think they would lead to the highest problems. As well, I listed no stimulants because AFAIK there are no non-addictive stimulants. I listed no depressants because those are easy to overdose on.

So, legalizing drugs eliminate crime? Yes. Would it bring its own set of problems? Yes. Will it happen in a way conducive to actually eliminating crime if it does happen? IMO, not a chance.