Screw weed, legalise crack and smack

Much of the debate regarding the legalisation of certain narcotics argues from a point that drug X (most commonly cannabis) is less dangerous than drug Y (usually alcohol) that is legal, so it would make sense to allow it. I agree, but that also leads to the conclusion that drugs that are more dangerous than whatever is legal right now should not be legalised.

The problem to me is that I don’t see the correlation between legalisation and increased use or damage. Just because something is legal doesn’t mean it is encouraged or more readily available. It could just as well mean the opposite.

Right now narcotics are readily available in most places around the world, without control or regulation. If buying or using narcotis is a criminal act, that’s also a huge deterrent from seeking help.

I also think the vast majority of people agree on what the objetive should be: Minimize drug use and harm from drug abuse. The problem is that most countries pursue policies that seem to have the opposite effect. The countries who have experimented with de-criminalization (like Portugal) seem to have good results and there is a global mobilization by influential people like Kofi Annan and several south American leaders to that effect.

Weed on the other hand is pretty harmless, so it being illegal (while being illogical and counter productive) probably doesn’t do as much harm as the ban on crack and heroin. Would it be a better strategy for harm reduction to drop the weed argument and instead work to regulate the more dangerous and addictive drugs?

Because it’s politics, not logic. You don’t get everything you want in a democracy. So a compromise solution like legalizing marijuana is a positive step even if doesn’t solve all the problems you perceive. Also, marijuana is a gateway drug, for drug trafficers. It represents a significant portion of their income because of it’s widespread popularity, and it distracts law enforcement from the more difficult job of intercepting heroin and cocaine. If marijuana had been legalized in the 80s, which is the way things were heading, the cocaine and crack markets would never have developed the way they did.

The entire problem could be changed overnight by legalizing growing and consuming of marijuana on private property by adults without any other changes in the law. The remainder of drug laws and the future strategy of dealing with drugs would look totally different.

I can’t envision any broader drug legalization scenario that doesn’t start with legalizing marijuana, and if you convinced people to legalize heroin and crack they’d presumably agree to legalize marijuana anyway. The argument with marijuana is not only that it’s more or less harmless, but that arresting and jailing people for it is far out of proportion to the harm it can cause. That proportionality argument is somewhat tougher to make with drugs that are much more harmful.

We’re very, very close to the broad cultural shift that will allow us to legalize weed in America.

We’re much further away from something similar in regards to heroine and other more dangerous drugs.

So no, it wouldn’t make sense to abandon marijuana legalization advocacy, because it’s going to happen WAY before the harmful stuff.

Got it in one. Imagine buying weed at 7-11. There’s other random customers there who can see what you’re buying and how much. There’s several video cameras capturing your purchase. There’s a paper trail. There’s a guy who won’t sell to you unless you show him your government issued ID which proves you are of legal age. How many potheads are going to sign up for this?

Of course making something illegal to manufacture/harvest, possess, market, and purchase is going to diminish both the supply-side and demand-side for that commodity.

Is this a whoosh?

Um…all of them?

I’m not convinced of that. It makes sense intuitively but I don’t see the evidence to support it, and the more I have thought about it the more I disagree.

Isn’t that how it works at “dispensers” in California?

It’s a hypothetical obviously. But I think it’s a pretty reasonable conclusion. Compare marijuana to alcohol and tobacco. Tobacco users outnumber marijuana users by approximately 2:1 and alcohol users outnumber marijuana users by approximately 6:1. The drugs are roughly equivalent in their physical effects so we can assume the difference in their usage is due to the different legal statuses.

No, really, is this thread a giant whooshfest?

Obviously you disagree. Can you tell us what it is you think?

Do you really believe that marijuana and alcohol are equivalent, even “roughly”, in their physical effects? Because other than impairing judgement, that’s where the similarities end for me.

That comparison doesn’t do it for me logically. The reason more people drink alcohol than smoke weed isn’t neccesarily linked to the legal status. Both alcohol and weed are legal to consume in Holland, but alcohol is much more popular.

When alcohol was criminalized in the US, consumption went up (as did harm and crime). When consumption of narcotics in Portugal was decriminalized, consumption of most drugs went down.

It is a somewhat counter intuitive result, but I have yet to see convincing evidence that criminalization decreases either harm or usage. It seems to work in the opposite way.

If it means not going to jail over that dimebag, nor having to hand over the baggie to the cops, I imagine most stoners would sign up for this. Twice.
The bolded part is probably what makes me smile the most, though - what, you think stoners give a fuck about disapproving stares from the squares ? Have you ever met one ? :stuck_out_tongue:

If you don’t see it it’s because you’re not looking. The threat of getting arrested, going to jail, getting ripped off, raped or robbed deters people.

Smoking cannabis frequently can trigger paranoia in people. I’m sure we all know that one guy who lost his mind from smoking too much weed. It is a sad state of affairs when something like cannabis can cause severe mental problems in people, the phrase “too much of a good thing” rings true. When people smoke cannabis routinely they begin to over analyze things and act awkwardly in social situations, I have seen this first hand with myself and others. I’m not condemning cannabis or potheads but to say that all stoners don’t care about criticism/harsh looks etc is a lie.

Where I grew up it was actually easier to get a bag of weed than to buy alcohol underage so I can see a benefit in legalization there. Most people who consume cannabis on a regular basis don’t buy off sketchy street dealers and have their own hook-ups acquired over time.

No it doesn’t. The fact that alcohol gives the lie to the claim that weed is illegal because it’s dangerous says absolutely nothing about cocaine or heroin or anything else.

The decriminalization schemes are different than full legalization, though. Typically, these reduce or eliminate penalties for use and possession while either leaving or even strengthening penalties for production and distribution. This means that even though individual users are generally safe from legal consequences, they still have to go through the cost and hassle of going through illegal distribution networks. In fact, some of the decriminalization schemes are specifically designed to reduce consumption, as lower penalties for users but stiffer for producers raises street prices. Maybe more of the drug gets used in general, but individuals aren’t able to use as much.

(Also, to nitpick, weed is only somewhat legal in a very small part of Holland and alcohol consumption did actually decline markedly during prohibition, despite popular perception)

No I am looking for it, I still don’t see it. But if you see it, I would appreciate if you could show it to me. I know a lot of people think that repressive policies will lower consumption and decrease harm, it makes intuitive sense, but the facts don’t seem to support it. The facts seem to point the other way, that more repressive policies drastically increase harm and may even increase consumption.

One explanation could be that the deterrent from social stigma and risk of punishment is weaker than all the incentives that are created in a black market. You also create multiple “truths”, where the official policy does not correspond with peoples experiences. In my country we basically tell kids that if you ever smoke a joint you’re going to end up with a needle in the arm, giving blowjobs/robbing people and die on a toilet at a busstation. We have among the most repressive policies in the EU.

The result so far is that we have more youths that have tried smoking joints than Holland, where anyone 18 or older can walk into a coffeeshop and buy whatever they want. We have about the same amount of drug abusers as most nations, but ours suffer and die much more frequently. So it hasn’t lowered consumption and it has definetely increased the harm done.