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Author: Subject: The Chemical Closet part II
Polverone
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Mind that I am not in any way defending the erosions of civil liberties that have taken place in the last 7 years, but I actually think it helps to keep some historical perspective that goes beyond a decade or so. The US has been much closer to a totalitarian state at some points in the past than it is now. Violent measures were taken under both Woodrow Wilson and Abraham Lincoln to keep the draft working during unpopular wars. Vietnam was worse too in that regard and it's less than two generations removed from the present. Things have been better and they have been worse, but they've never been all that much better.

That doesn't mean that I am satisfied with or complacent about the present, but the past wasn't so golden either. If you want a better place to live you won't find it in a time machine.

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chloric1
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Yes Polverone I see where you are coming from. I do recall hearing about during WWII that having strategic chemicals like potassium chlorate etc. hurt the war effort and they where restricted and many things needed be rationed aside from chemicals. What makes Iraq unique is that they have not done the draft this time despite it is a major war.

I am relatively young (36) and I might not immediatley be able to appreciate what happened one or two generations age but the current situation does seem different though. Unlike Vietnam, WWI Europe, etc the war on drugs, terror, liberties, is not finite but a perpetual cause for stifling oppression and a blank check for preemptive foreign policy. Iraq will fade into history only to be replaced by the next 'terrorist" state,(Iran?)

I will say that that now is the time to cherish because the policies and restrictions are mainly just annoyances for the most part. Alot of us are clever enough to cicumvent these roadblocks. However, I fear for the future as I do not wish anyone has to risk losing life and limb or freedom just based on there hobby of home chemistry.

In the theater of life its nice to know where the exit doors are located.
Sauron
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The late W.F.Buckley Jr., hardly a liberal, was a champion of the decriminalization of drugs, precisely because of the dwindling civil liberties, which apalled him, as well as the absurd economics and the obvious and long term failure to produce positive results.

Sadly no one took Bill Buckley seriously and no one took me seriously when I made the same arguments on this forum last year.

The 40 year war on drugs is a failure, the supply constantly goes up, while the street price just as consistently goes down. The congressional response is to pass more laws, budget more money for cops, and prisons, and strip us of more of out constitutionally guaranteed rights.

It's time to stop and let the drugglies poison themselves as they see fit.

To summarize, all drugs (presently scheduled controlled substances) should be freely available at pharmacies for the asking. This need not be taxpayer subsidized. It should be done by the pharm industry as a pro-bono-publico activity required by law, as part of the cost of doing business. Why?

Because essentially every one of these drugs were introduced by the selfsame Big Pharma corporations.

Heoin from Bayer (as a cold remedy)
Cocaine from a cartel of Merck, Sandoz and a few others - look it up
Amphetamines as anorexics and stimulants by several companies
LSD Sandoz
PCP Parke Davis I think

and so one down the line.

These corporations therefore bear substantial responsibility for the introduction of these substances into society and their subsequent abuse in precisely the same way that British traders led by the East India Company introduced opium to China (as countertrade for tea!) with disastrous consequences including millions of deaths and uncounted addictions and two wars. Read about the founding of Hong Kong sometime.

In return Big Pharma gets permamently immunized, held harmless, quit claimed against all present or future liability.

No taxation on the free drugs.

The black market dries up and blows away. Organized crime looks for something better to do (smuggling Cuban cigars perhaps.) Related corruption of police and judiciary falls to zilch.

All positive outcomes I think.

Drug related crime falls. No one stealing to support their habit. No turf wars. Drug cops have to go do traffic duty. DEA agents have to go kill terrorists. Or do traffic duty. Or join the Park Police and pray someone tries to blow up the Wahington Monument (again). Yes, the snipers who riddles THAT guy were friends of mine too. Old drinking buddies.

No, the churches won't like it and the kneejerk liberals will say we are abandoning the underclasses.

Wake up and smell the P2P, people, We "abandones" those long ago, or they "abandoned" us. Not sure which.

A few caveats:

Anyone who takes the free drugs and tries to sell them is permamently barred from the program and is also jailed.

Anyone who does not get the message and tries to engage in the black market is treated...harshly.

If new drugs are introduced in an attempt to create a new black market, these are simply added to the program.

ALL of this is exempt from FDA oversight.

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kclo4
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I think drugs should be legalized as well for much the same reasons as Sauron.

People should have the right to hurt themselves with whatever product they want.

The war on drugs could easily be won too, but they are letting their weird moral beliefs get in the way, its really not even a hard problem to figure out, I'm sure they have thought of this:

This is how to eliminate almost all of the drugs I believe:

1. Make it legal to buy, use, and process drugs.
2. Make it illegal to grow, manufacture, sell, or trade drugs.
3. Give a reward for anyone who reports a person who makes, grows, or trades the drugs.

In weeks, or months the entire black market I think would be collapsed. Who would sell drugs? Also, what crackhead wouldn't turn a person selling drugs in for a few thousand dollars? Especially when he isn't going to get in trouble for having them.
Sauron
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You are dreaming. Any proposal that maintains essentially any law enforcement component is useless. Any proposal that involves having to pay for drugs, is useless. If people have to pay for drugs they will have to continue criminal activity to subsidize their habits. No. FREE distribution is the only answer.

My proposal allows 99% or more of anti-drug law enforcement to be redirected to other priorities or disbanded.

Nor do I agree with your proposal 3 which turns people into snitches, rats, informers. No need for that. NO black market can compete with FREE drugs. Using Big Pharms to manufacture these removes the QC issue. The drugs will not be adulterated, contaminated, stepped on, whatever. If people die it will be from the drug and not from the incompetence of the cook or avarice of the dealer. Of course the user will be dead either way but after all isn't that what the self-destructive fools want anyway?

Any approach that does not reliably dismantle both the black market and the law enforcement side, is doomed. Any proposal that charges for the drugs or taxes them, is doomed. FREE means FREE.

I predict an initial upswing in usage followed by a drop from attrition and over time a sharp drop from declining interest. Drugs will drop from fashion. The romance will be gone. If it was ever there.

Maybe all those unemployed narcs can be assigned to PROPERLY policing the borders. Swell the ranks of the Border Patrol by a few thousand percent.

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DerAlte
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Sauron said:

 Quote: It's time to stop and let the drugglies poison themselves as they see fit....To summarize, all drugs (presently scheduled controlled substances) should be freely available at pharmacies for the asking.

Hallelujah! At cost +profit, @ < 1/10 (?) of the street price. Wasn't something like this tried in the UK in the 60s/70s? Why did it not work? Dutch laws are more relaxed than in the US, IIRC. How is the situation there?

 Quote: ...in precisely the same way that British traders led by the East India Company introduced opium to China (as countertrade for tea!) with disastrous consequences including millions of deaths and uncounted addictions...

.. which will be the downside. It all depends on whether you believe in personal responsibility or the Nanny State. It also depends upon the k3wl factor of the ignorant (the millions?). Currently legal drugs kill far more people than illegal, in the US.

Prohibition virtually made it essential for all hedonists to break the law - and for some the same is true of the laws today. History has lessons. Remember Reefer Madness? (Laugh). Tell me, how can a weed or plant (Lophophora Williamsoni, eg) be illegal? It does not obey any silly laws made by man, only those of nature. Those laws are the laws that science (= 'knowledge') seeks to find and the ignorant seek to deny.

To deny any substance produced by nature or even producible by man is an abrogation of the freedom of the individual, and as such, against the spirit of the constitution. I believe firmly that the framers would allow every man (or woman) to go to their own personal hell in their own personal handbasket - provided, of course that they do not trample on the right of others, nor harm them in any way (old JC's message).

Bleed away, O bleeding liberal hearts! Bleat away in your pulpit, misguided preacher man (of the not-for-profit variety - the rest are beneath contempt, mere purveyors of commercial Christianity).

Le Chatelier's principle is universal in application. If you apply a constraint to a system, it reacts in such a manner as to oppose that restraint. We need less restraints to reach an equilibrium acceptable to all.

Regards, Der Alte
Sauron
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The present system is doing nothing to protect any stratum of society from these drugs. And it is costing us a lot, not just economically. Nanny = expensive. Fire Nanny.

The US as a society is not much akin to the UK or Holland. So I do not think those experiments really apply.

Nor can direct estimates of deaths from the Chinese experience be apoplied for the same reason.

It is the indirect effects that concern me much more than the fate of the addicts.

Loss of civil liberties
Burgeoning prison populations 90% for drug related crimes
Lastly the economic costs, a distant last in this field.

[Edited on 12-9-2008 by Sauron]

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Panache
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 Quote: Originally posted by chloric1 Have you been seeing more jobs and college coares geared towards Forensic science in the last couple years? I "arrest" my case. (pun intended)

Actually that phenomena has been attributed to the popularity of the CSI and ilk television series. There is a direct correlation, kind of funny though, my god how crap is television.

I assume Sauron you've read 'High Society' a fiction by Ben Elton.

I couldn't agree with your position more Sauron and i have absolutely no hope we will realise anything even remotely like it being considered, i mean ffs they still have abortion as a crime here in australia, i can't bear how stupid my fellow humans are and how incapable they are of separating their emotional experiences with rational decision making.

[Edited on 12-9-2008 by Panache]

Sauron
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One is forced to wonder what parallel effects ALIAS or 24Hrs had (also crap of course) or for that matter X Files.

Goof thing they never made a TV series out of Ghost Busters.

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OMG
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Sauron, you must have some common sense indicating to you that you are being completely ignorant in your idea about making drugs like meth freely available.

The human mind causes behavior that all leads to one goal. Seek pleasure and avoid pain.

If a drug is created that does exactly that, and it is freely available, and not shunned by society, then that would be disastrous.
If even a small amount (say 25%) of the population gets addicted, do you not think that would have a significant impact on... well... everything about that society??
What reason would people have to NOT do meth?

If 25% of the population is addicted, what percentage of the next generation of teenagers do you think would try meth? I'd guess 90%. How many of those you you think would get addicted?

I'm all for natural selection, but killing off 95% of your society just to make it more "immune" to drugs is a little crazy.
Polverone
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 Quote: Originally posted by OMG Sauron, you must have some common sense indicating to you that you are being completely ignorant in your idea about making drugs like meth freely available. The human mind causes behavior that all leads to one goal. Seek pleasure and avoid pain. If a drug is created that does exactly that, and it is freely available, and not shunned by society, then that would be disastrous. If even a small amount (say 25%) of the population gets addicted, do you not think that would have a significant impact on... well... everything about that society?? What reason would people have to NOT do meth? If 25% of the population is addicted, what percentage of the next generation of teenagers do you think would try meth? I'd guess 90%. How many of those you you think would get addicted? I'm all for natural selection, but killing off 95% of your society just to make it more "immune" to drugs is a little crazy.

But the historical evidence is against 95% addiction rates. Before 1908 or so in the United States, opiates and cocaine could be freely sold yet dependency rates were nowhere near 95%. It is also worth noting that habitual use does not necessarily mean the person is going to drop dead or become unable to hold a job. The intrinsic illegality of drugs and the accompanying black-market prices make it much harder to be a functional addict. If cigarettes cost $3/day and employers let smokers have regular breaks to get a fix without shame, but one's illegal drug costs$100/day and must be consumed in utmost secrecy, it's much more likely that the illegal drug user will be a bad (mysteriously absent, thieving, and/or distracted) worker even before you consider differing physiological effects.

It's also premature to presume that free availability of meth or heroin would mean everyone would use such drugs. Cigarettes are even more freely available than alcohol, but smoking rates have been falling for decades. If other drugs were treated like tobacco (warnings on packages, little or no advertising permitted, government propaganda to discourage smoking without actually making it illegal) I think it quite likely that most people wouldn't use drugs with such bad reputations in the first place.

According to the US government's own data, less than 10% of people who have ever used highly reinforcing drugs like heroin, meth, or crack cocaine have used them in the past year. These are obviously people who know how to get such drugs despite prohibition and had an interest in trying them at least once. But most don't go on to become habitual users.

In short, I agree with Sauron's proposal. The drug funding available to organized crime evaporates, a host of threats to civil liberties evaporates, and the DEA and all its inconveniences for chemists evaporate as well.

I do believe that addiction rates would rise. I don't think they would rise overwhelmingly. Neither do I think those addicts would have as negative of social effects as addicts do now. They wouldn't be supporting organized crime with their purchases or resort to theft/prostitution to pay for them. They'd be diminished as disease vectors if they don't resort to reusing needles or selling their bodies. They might still end up with essentially dead-end lives of no productivity, but giving 20 do-nothing addicts a warm cot, soup, and a bucket of crack rocks (or whatever their drug of choice is) is still cheaper than imprisoning a dealer and funding the interdiction apparatus that hunts users and dealers in the first place.

If you still want offer a lifeline for people who have spiraled deep into use and want to reenter the mainstream of society, treat them like alcoholics. On a voluntary basis, provide them vaccinations against their drug(s) of choice (this technology is already in testing) and offer counseling and job searching to help them find something productive to do with their lives. This should be more effective than existing treatment programs, which include many people who are forced there by the courts and have little personal interest in changing.

[Edited on 9-12-2008 by Polverone]

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Sauron
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I am so very pleased that Polverone, who is a thoughtful and in all ways moderate individual, has seen fit to give my ideas a second look.

The narcs won't like it any more than the enforcers of the idiotic Volstead Act liked reversing that one, either. In fact it has long been argued that the Harrrson Act creating the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was mostly make-work for the soon to be out of work (and mostly corrupt) anti-bootleg agents. That bureau evolved into the BNDD then into the present DEA over about 45 years.

Sorry, OMG, if you think I am ignorant for thinking outside the box. But inside the box is nothing but dysfunctionality. The present (and past) approaches to drug enforcement are and always have been ineffective. The only period when heroin smuggling into the US dropped to zero was 1941-1945, when shipping routes were inoperative due to World War II. Every addict in the country went cold turkey. So, would you care to propose a world war to repeat this side effect? Problem is the next one would be thermonuclear. Overkill, wouldn't you agree?

But never mind me. I'm ignorant.

The rehab industry won't like my ideas either. They have an obvious vested interest in the status quo. They also have such an outstanding exemplary record of near total failure that it is downright breathtaking, and in order to match their unperformance one must look to the equally abyssmal record of law enforcement at all levels in order to come close.

Ignorance is bliss. "Stupid is as stupid does." - F.Gump

---------------------

The real hurdle is translating this idea into a real political movement. I am not a member of NORML and do not really know much about it but my impressions are that, despite its having been around for decades and being reasonably large in membership and reasonably well funded, NORML has been highly ineffective at political action. As a case in point my own brother in law (now deceased) ran for governor of Louisiana on the NORML ticket and got all of 50,000 votes. In fact he was an embarassment to my family. Anyway my point is that NORML is WAY ahead of us and they are getting nowhere fast. Perhaps the lesson is: don't build an organization on a member base of drug users if you want to get anywhere with your agenda.

Bill Buckley might have signed on, and indeed was the inspiration for a lot of my premises. But he's dead. So is Barry Goldwater. No faction of the Republican Party that is in any way beholden to the Christian Right would go anywhere near this. And I doubt either major party would want to buck Big Pharma.

The Libertarian Party appears impotent.

So I fear we are a LONG way off from even starting to actualize this idea. But, it is better than having no idea at all. What's the old line? "A journey of a thousand miles begins with a single step."

That was Confucious. He was ignorant too.

[Edited on 13-9-2008 by Sauron]

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woelen

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You do not take into account the cost, associated with illness due to excessive use of free drugs. Who takes care of all those (very) sick people? When their bodies are almost ruined, they will ask a lot of medical care. All those people have to be taken care of.

When drugs becomes free, I expect a large rise in addiction, and also a large rise in costs of medical care.

[Edited on 12-9-08 by woelen]

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Polverone
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 Quote: Originally posted by woelen You not take into account the cost, associated with illness due to excessive use of free drugs. Who takes care of all those (very) sick people? When their bodies are almost ruined, they will ask a lot of medical care.

Will they? Maybe there are some drugs that continually degrade the body until the addict can tell his body is almost ruined, and then repent of drug use and seek care, but I don't think this happens commonly. Some drugs (like morphine and related compounds) are safe in controlled dosage for long term use, but can be acutely lethal if the dosage goes up too much or if the addict's tolerance declines from a few days without use. Stimulants like cocaine can damage the heart, but this is not something that requires expensive chronic care. The user may live a fairly normal life or may have a heart attack, but won't end up in a hospital bed for months either way. Marijuana may bring out latent schizophrenia but its only physical health burden is (possibly) lung cancer, like tobacco.

I could be wrong, and I will humbly accept corrections if I am. It is hard for me to find quantified scholarly data about the chronic and acute physical effects of drug use. Lethal incidents, like a fatal heroin overdose, or untreatable chronic problems like persistent visual distortions after heavy LSD use, are downsides of drug use but they don't actually increase the health care burden. Hepatitis and AIDS patients are heavy chronic users of health care, and overrepresented among drug-using populations, but this is related to social factors and not caused by the consumption of illegal drugs.

[Edited on 9-12-2008 by Polverone]

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Sauron
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woelen, the US does not have socialized medicine or free health care. Drug users like anyone else, either have health insurance, or they don't. If they don't and get sick, and can't pay for health care, they die. If their sickness is a consequence of what is a lifestyle choice (drug use) what is different about that and the lifestyle choice to be a homosexual and engage in unsafe sex (for example) or the lifestyle choice to smoke 5 packs of cigarettes a day or the lifestyle choice to be an acute alcoholic?

None that I can see.

We already have health care costs associated with drug use and contaminated adulterated drugs. We already have health care costs associated with AIDS transmission by needle sharing among IV drug abusers who refuse to get the message.

I say, by eliminating the cost of incarceration, the cost of maintaining massive law enforcement efforts at drug control that have never worked, the country can save a great deal of money - billions of dollars, likely tens of billions - and that is a lot more than the sorts of costs you are hypothecating.

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ScienceSquirrel
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 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron woelen, the US does not have socialized medicine or free health care. Drug users like anyone else, either have health insurance, or they don't. If they don't and get sick, and can't pay for health care, they die. If their sickness is a consequence of what is a lifestyle choice (drug use) what is different about that and the lifestyle choice to be a homosexual and engage in unsafe sex (for example) or the lifestyle choice to smoke 5 packs of cigarettes a day or the lifestyle choice to be an acute alcoholic? None that I can see.

Quite right.

One of ther leading causes of death among the current American population is obesity and the diseases caused by it.

A huge proportion of the population is morbidly obese, in some areas as much as 60% of the population.

Land of the Free though
Sauron
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Quite right! Pass the bangers and mash, please.

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kclo4
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wait.. Why wouldn't my way work?
I think it would get rid of all incentive to make and sell drugs, and be cheaper then what they are doing now.

Legal to have.
Illegal to sell.
Reward for those who turn in the dealers.

Incentive = Risk/Reward.. doesn't it?
Sauron
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You obviously are naive, and you also have not read my posts carefully.

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kclo4
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I'll agree with the last part of that.
Panache
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 Quote: Originally posted by Sauron You obviously are naive, and you also have not read my posts carefully.

Evian spelt backwards is naive, Reality Bites.

The fact that sincere considered counter arguments can be made against legalisation and free supply does not address the necessity to shift the current status-quo in social thinking and policy in relation to the prohibition of drugs.

I think society would benefit from all those suburban dead-head obese australians losing some weight because they shift their addiction temporarily to an amphetamine or a something. This is obviously an emotional oversimplification however at least their gardens would be well tended.

I imagine KFC and the like does not share this stance however they are just as insidious as the fabled (because i never knew one) drug-pusher of the 70's getting his customers addicted to heroin. Their tactics in creation of their menus, marketing to the vulnerable and unnerving inflexibility to improve their impact on public health is immoral and despicable, however its legal, so somehow less despicable and immoral than the same behaviour in a drug syndicate.

I say let the playing field be leveled, why make one illegal and the other legal, it can't get worse than it is presently. And it is preposterous to think that because cocaine is available at the corner store i will likely become a crack addict or that my neighbour will. The reality is that it is available at the corner store and i and my neighbour are not crack addicts. However it supply is illegal, meaning corruption and crime has a backer.

The argument that selling drugs be illegal but not using them is naive because its just transposing one illegal behaviour for another, thus not reducing all the key social parameters that make up the basis for the argument like incarceration rates, corruption, police spending etc etc. It would also be almost impossible to write decent legislation for, i mean 'i'm not selling drugs your honour i'm supplying them free just charging for delivery' x1000 variants on that theme comes to mind.

raiden
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As above
Sauron
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kclo4:

I am reluctant to have to repeat myself. Your proposal is to narrow the WOD to only the supply side. That does not eliminate the law enforcement structure, nor the supply side. It leaves both in place unchanged. LE has proven highlky ineffective at dealing with dealers/importers.manufacturers and cartels. A lot of money is wasted in the effort and a lot of civil liberties are lost. A lot of people rot in prison and cost us more money.

Y9u also want to turn a large segment into professional rats for pay and we are supposed to pay for that. I say there ought to be fewer rats in the world not more.

In short your proposal in ineffective and costly and fails to address the real issues in any meaningful way. I conclude therefore that you do not clearly and fully understand or apprehenmd the problem, hence you are naive. In some ways naivete is an admirable state, it suggests innocence (or perhaps dullness) as opposed to my own cynicism and world-weariness. But, unfortunately, it is not a very helpful state of mind when trying to come up with practical and effective solutions to complex problems.

In order to roll things back and restore civil liberties lost to the useless WOD we must junk the law enforcement approach to it almost entirely.

We must also create a condition which effectively neutralized organized crime interest in drugs (organized crime defined to include traditional mafias, drug cartels and all drug syndicates that operate above a local level.)

Decriminalizing drugs completely and making them freely available is the ONLY way to achieve these ends. The state should not be involved in their manufacture, or distribution, I already outlined how to force the corporeations who introduced essentially all of these drugs in the last 150 years to do that pro-bono. Fuck Bayer, Fuck Merck, etc. In return they are forever freed from all liability. They created these messes. Give them the job of cleaning them up.

These proposals are elegant, balanced and comprehensive. The WOD GONE. The Nanny State dealt a death blow. The criminal justice system unburdered and left to deal with real criminals. Nine out of ten prisons closed. Organized crime paupered.

What the WOD has taught us is that the supply of drugs exists because of the permanent and apparently insatiable DEMAND for drugs. Presently the supply is a for-profit illegal enterprise worth billions annually. The society (government) spends billions vainly trying to shut this down. This has consistently failed.

I say: REPLACE the for profit supply with a free supply thus shutting down the criminal supply. You can't shut down the DEMAND. Feed the demand, deny the profits to the gangsters/drug profiteers. FORCE the original drug profiteers to make the stuff and give it away. The demand is thus satisfied, the black market withers and dies. The enormous overhead of the WOD is saved.

For sure at the expense of the people who are the demand side but I say those people are lost anyway and have been for a long time and will be in the future no matter what we do. Let's get out of the business of engaging in a pyrhhic struggle to protect people from themselves, who don't want to be protected and who constantly strive with considerable success to defeat that protection.

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OMG
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I would agree that decriminalizing drugs that do no more harm to you than alcohol, tobacco, caffeine, salt, etc etc., would be the way to go. Even just legalizing marijuana would be a very good start and save society a lot of wasted resources.

I disagree with legalizing drugs that the human mind cannot easily resist and cause significant deleterious alterations to peoples behavior.

In the end its all about the money anyway. Obviously the powers that be keep things the way they are because it is most profitable for them. If it was more profitable to legalize drugs then they would surely do it. That's the thing about democracy, it's set up so over time the most greedy and weaselly people have the most power.
Sauron
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Mood: metastable

No, it's not about the money. It's about trashing our rights and liberties for a lost cause. And you want to continue the lost cause with partial measures.

The WOD and drug laws are protecting no one. Every 11 year old school attending child has access to just about any drug you care to name in every corner of the nation, whether it is white suburbia, the inner cities, or the rural heartland. So who is being protected? No one is. What you propose is vanity in the name of making yourself feel like you are doing good. Nothing more. A meaningless exercise devoid of effect. Give your high horse a rest.

Sic gorgeamus a los subjectatus nunc.
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