So who the hell does support drug prohibition?

The Mat-Su valley in Alaska is full of the fuckers. They’ve just moved on from pot to meth labs, but they came there to grow illegal quantities and to sell to users. Now that they’ve moved to meth and coke, the stuff is coming in from south of the US border, creating nothing but problems for enforcement agencies and citizens. And if that’s not a problem in other states, the fact that federal enforcement has to be ramped up in those areas because it’s, you know, against federal law, should make writing your tax check a little more painful.

The opposition in Washington state came mainly from three sources: sellers of medical marijuana, the drug dealers, prison guard unions. The first might be surprising, but they see themselves out of business and the opposition of the other two groups is obvious. I guess some of the churches were opposed and then there were people who legitimately thought there would be an increase in potheads driving. Maybe they are even right, but not enough to overcome the damage done by prohibition.

[quote=“, post:3, topic:640557”]

[li]lawyers who defend people on drug charges.[/li][/QUOTE]

I would be very surprised if Procrustus didn’t represent the vast majority of criminal lawyers, even those who practice exclusively in the drug crime area (who are vanishingly rare anyway). There are always more clients in criminal defense practice.

If you look at Pew, a substantial chunk of the public still isn’t 100% down with pot. The people least on board vote the most. Support is recent. Policy is slow.

I’ve really never bought the ‘special interests did it’ explanation.

Sounds good to me, since it would translate to less meth, heroin, and cocaine on the streets, provide less incentive for a black market, and make it easier for people to get help for addictions.

Have we learned nothing from the opium wars? It doesn’t matter how harsh the penalties get, it just makes the black market more lucrative and encourages more people to out there pushing the product. If you want to deal with the problem of addiction, either treat or maintain, and destroy the black market.

For the record, I am not a fan of drugs like heroin and cocaine, and my dog in this race is a brother that OD’d when I was a teenager.

There’s one question I never seen answered. Let’s say they do legalize drugs, who’s going to manufacture them? I don’t exactly see the cartels forming companies like “Zeta-Pharm.” At least with alcohol, Coors and Budweiser survived Prohibition.

Oh, a couple more questions. Since these drugs are, well, drugs, does that mean they would have to follow the same route for other drugs for approval? Does that mean animal trials, human trials, etc? Wouldn’t that also entail removing all products until approval is given? If so, think about it. You’ve might have given them government a new way of prohibiting drugs. After all, you need funding to all this, that doesn’t mean you’ll get it.

As just one data point, in my day pot was the predominant drug, and frankly really the only available one. Today my daughter’s high school has at around 5 arrests a year for heroin use and distribution. The drugs they have access today are certainly more potent than the ones we had access to. That’s the public school, the private Catholic high school seems to have more of a problem with cocaine.

I’m pretty sure that Pfizer, Merck, Lilly, etc. can operate a drug lab more efficiently and cheaper than the current clandestine labs.

Just as Target, Walgreens, Wal-Mart, etc. could distribute and sell them at retail cheapet than the street dealers. Even the municipal liquor stores could sell them more efficiently.

There’s a large population out there which supports drug prohibition because they’re coming from a point of view that nobody has any business using any substance to make them feel good. Now, some of them might say alcohol’s okay, because it’s legal, but more than a few of them would also support alcohol prohibition, even with the evidence of the utter failure of the 18th amendment.

Of the people I’ve encountered who hold to this mindset, they seem to have a very simplified way of dealing with the problem. Addiction isn’t the problem. Addiction is just a made-up word used by bleeding hearts and psychologists and liberals to let moral weaklings escape the consequences of their sins. All drugs are bad, all people who take drugs are bad, and there are no good reasons to take drugs. If someone uses a drug, they are a bad person, and they should be punished.

I’ve tried walking a few people through a kind of Socratic inquiry, and it always came down to any drug=worst possible drug, all reasons for taking a drug=depraved immorality, a justifiable reason for taking a drug=lying liars working the system or trying to milk pity from bleeding hearts, legalizing/regulating/taxating any drug (except alcohol and sometimes even then)=letting America be taken over by Satan.

Every now and then, there would be someone who could grudgingly consider the idea of legalization with the exception of a particular type of drug, and without fail, they’d either been addicted to that drug, or someone they knew had, and there’d been terrible consequences. Pointing out to them that legalization would have minimized the harm done by that particular drug by ensuring unadulterated product, safe buying and use, research into addiction, and available treatment for addiction was met with a blank stare of “you don’t understand, this is different.”

However, I’ve found these attitudes are predominant in Baby Boomer generations and older, while it’s a minority viewpoint in Gen X or younger.

Except that after the first lawsuit was settled, the government could never price its supply cheaply enough to compete with the black market.

I completely don’t get why prison guards would be against legalising hash. On the contrary, I’d have expected them to be passionately in favour. A bunch of totally baked prisoners would be way more amenable and less aggressive.

What am I missing?

Why would the government be supplying the drugs? Alcohol and tobacco are manufactured and sold by private companies through the entire United States. I’ve only heard of one state (Oregon? Washingto?) which handles all sales of alcohol. Even then, the suits filed in relation to both these substances accused tobacco manufacturers of fraudulently stating that tobacco use was safe and then manipulating the levels of nicotine in order to addict more people. Bars have been sued for negligently providing alcohol to people who then drove under the influence.

Also, once a substance is legalized, the consumer can then sue the dealer directly, and the dealer has none of the protection today’s black market provides. The consumer isn’t vulnerable to arrest and prosecution for using, but merely a fine for not paying the relevent taxes.

People who have violent tendencies are not ‘chilled out’ by marijuana use. On the contrary, the slightest thing tends to set them off.

I have no cite to back this up. Just my own personal experience. In my younger days, I had a few friends that were… uh… ‘of questionable character’. Get these guys stoned and they are more than willing to get violent in situations that don’t even come close to calling for it.

A sharp contrast to my spoiled rich kid college buddies that would much rather sit on the couch playing video games while stoned.

And at least two manufacturers are doing just that for methamphetamine. One markets Desoxyn, and the others manufacture the generic. Marinol, a THC-like drug, is available as an appetite stimulant for people with cancer and AIDS. Cocaine is legal as a local anesthetic for certain kinds of surgery. So, yeah, the stuff is already being manufactured by drug companies.

Having drug companies manufacture the stuff makes a lot of sense. The drug would be manufactured in a quality-controlled environment at a known strength using a known process and known ingredients, thus reducing complications from impurities, overdoses from drugs that are too strong or withdrawal from drugs that are too weak, and other health-related nastiness.

Instead of having the drugs available at a drugstore, I’d require that they be prescribed and distributed through clinics similar to methadone clinics. These clinics, which would be supported by insurance, would be tasked with the safe administration of drugs. This would include using sterile needles; observing patients actually taking the drugs so that someone can’t crush and snort a pill; and performing routine health checks to monitor for health problems. These clinics would also offer rehabilitation services if the patient wants them, and services for families. Finally, patients would be given maintenance doses to keep them out of withdrawal, not enough to get high.

It’s far from a perfect system because there is the risk of diversion by staff and by patients. But it’s a lot better than what we’ve got now.

Even if legal it would be allowed in prison. Consider alcohol as an example.

Fewer prisoners = fewer prison guard jobs.

If drug companies had their way, there would be NO OTC drugs. You’d need a perscription to get an asprin.

Well, I’m ambivalent about legalizing marijuana. I don’t mind so much if it’s illegal as long as the penalties are reasonable and fair. Prison time for small amounts is not reasonable.

OTOH, making it legal is fine with me as long as it has reasonable restrictions like alcohol. Age requirements, driving restrictions, limits on using in public, etc.

But going beyond MJ – most other drugs I can think of should remain illegal.

Why shouldn’t I support drug prohibition? I don’t use drugs. The legalization won’t make my life any better, and could make it worse. When 18 year old (or younger) kids can walk into a convenience store and pick a couple vials of crack off the shelf? Then get into a car and drive? Should a surgeon be able to shoot p with heroin the day before and perform surgery the next day? And so street drugs are now legal - does that mean I’d still need a prescription for my migraine meds? Make it hard to get. Make it illegal. And punish the people who willfully break the laws.


Some people just think freedom is a value worth working for, even dying for. All those people who think Bloomberg is out of line for banning large sodas should also be offended if the government bans use of a plant that some people enjoy.