Drug war is pointless

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There are many Americans against the legalization of marijuana and other drugs. Heroin had a big spotlight in the news recently after the death of Philip Seymour Hoffman.

I understand why people want drugs illegal. People say its about “what’s best for society.” Sounds noble, but there’s a big fact that’s apparently not realized: Making drugs illegal does little to control the supply or the consumption. The war on drugs is pointless, and it costs us a ton of money.

There’s also a bigger issue at hand here, and that’s the issue of liberty. Liberty often gets snuffed out in the name of “what’s best for society.” If we look at every issue with that mentality, it becomes very easy to tear down the idea of liberty altogether. Conservatives will laugh at the notion of liberals trying to ban large sodas or supersized fries. What conservatives don’t realize is they support that same philosophy, just with a different product – drugs.

It’s the same reasoning. It’s limiting liberty and personal choice in the name of public health or public good. It’s allowing the government a say in what we consume or how we consume it. Give them a few more years and our freedom-stomping bureaucracy will find a way to ban anything unhealthy altogether for the sake of “the greater good.”

This debate over liberty has carried over into many other issues, such as gun control, gay marriage, national security, health care, civil rights, free markets, etc. Now the question remains: What are the limits of liberty? In my opinion, there should be only two reasons to limit the liberty of personal choice:

• Your actions cannot physically harm another human against their will.

• Your actions cannot take things from another human from which they have ownership.

When liberty becomes too much of a debate, there are few limits as to how much can be taken away. I’ll sum up my thoughts with a quote from Thomas Jefferson: “I would rather be exposed to the inconveniences attending too much liberty than to those attending too small a degree of it.”

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oldredneckman96
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oldredneckman96 02/19/14 - 02:23 am
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Dope?
Unpublished

Pointless? Really? Just what drugs is the writer of this article on? OK let’s play his game, on paper only. Colorado has let pot go from a medical wonder drug to, well, just a drug. It has been just a few weeks and everyone is saying it is a great success. Let’s just watch this “pot” boil for a little while longer. Employers with good jobs will begin to leave the state in search of qualified workers. Unemployed pot heads will become a larger drain on the state. This is not just my unqualified guess, look at other countries around the world that have gone to “pot,” no pun intended. In this country, we have laws that allow us to control commerce. Smoke, drink, eat, snort or do whatever you want, when you sell dope, then the line is crossed. That is the point! We have not had a “war” on drugs, more of a “police” action really. A war would have convicted drug dealers put to death on conviction.

deestafford
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deestafford 02/19/14 - 05:44 am
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Legalizing drugs such as marijuana, heroine, meth, and...

Legalizing drugs such as marijuana, heroine, meth, and whatever else the letter writer wants to consume as part of "liberty" is detrimental to society and will cost much, much more than the "war" (I like the term "police action") on drugs.

Just listen to the lack of intelligence and spaced out condition those who are interviewed smoking pot in Colorado sound. Are those people sounding like they are going to be a contributor or a burden on society? Definitely sounded as if they will be or already are part of the moocher class.

There is no use in taking up time and space refuting the letter writer's "rationale" of comparing liberty with legalization of drugs because it would be like trying to plant seeds on concrete---they just won't penetrate and germinate.

duffstuff
722
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duffstuff 02/19/14 - 06:33 am
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The primary point here is

The primary point here is about liberty. Give the gov. An inch and theyll take a mile.

duffstuff
722
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duffstuff 02/19/14 - 06:54 am
4
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The real focus of this

The real focus of this article is meant to facilitate a discussion on liberty. How do we define it? What should its limitations be and why? "The greater good" is often a slippery slope and thats what i want people to take away from reading this.

duffstuff
722
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duffstuff 02/19/14 - 07:08 am
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Is it really that

Is it really that unreasonable of a question to ask: If the government can tell me i cant injest one thing, as a matter of choice, then why cant they do the same with other things? Its easy to segregate drugs from soda or whatever but have you ever stopped and thought about why liberty is such an important concept? "The greater good" is a dangerous argument against liberty cause with that i could come up with a few reasons to ban almost anything...Think about it.

ymnbde
10024
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ymnbde 02/19/14 - 08:14 am
3
1
history is hard

and the ratio of personal liberty to societal responsibility has been debated and precariously balanced since our founding
even if msnbc makes it sound like it's new and novel, and easy
should prostitution be legal? at what age?
should enticement for prostitution be legal?
what if a young girl, or guy, just needs a few minutes a day to support a drug addiction? (they are addicting, you know. did you know?)
should a childless person pay taxes for schools?
how far into my pocket can a drug addict reach?
how much should i pay for his rehab?
should i have a license to drive? at what age?
who deems it appropriate? should i have a license to consume drugs?
should i pay for the drug addict's grandmother's health care?
the most free people aren't those who simply have a lack of restraint
the most free people are those who have the skills to get along in the world
independent of crutches
when we educate all kids to enable them to make their own way in the world
we can remove more restraints
until then, don't party on, dude

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 02/19/14 - 08:26 am
0
4
There are a number of

There are a number of non-intuitive issues here. First is that issue that legality relates to frequency of use or morality. Tobacco use has been curtailed dramatically in the last 25 years because of an aggressive anti-smoking campaign, and taxes on use. Hardly anyone goes to jail for selling tobacco. Its problem to society is diminishing, and we are dealing with it better each year, without making it illegal. Pot use has NOT been curtailed in the past 25 years, and has NOT risen in Colorado and Washington as a result of its legalization (nor in the 2 dozen other states that legalized its medicinal use). If we want to reduce pots impact on society, we should follow the tobacco lead. Legalize and tax it. Run an aggressive advertising campaign funded by the tax money. Use other tax money to fund rehab for users that need help.

There is really no justification in saying it is better for Georgia to keep pot illegal. Imagine. Tomorrow you wake up to aggressive anti-pot commercials on TV and radio. Pot is legal. All non-violent pot prisoners in jail are released. That's 60% of our prisoners in jail. We save $600 million dollars in the next year. That's 4% of our budget. But wait, we ALSO save 60% of our police costs, or another 4% of our annual budget. We have just reduced government by 8%. And we have simultaneously increased revenues by taxing pot, and taken a FAR more productive stance in combating drug use.

This is a future we CANNOT avoid. We save money AND reduce use AND reduce the impact of pot on its problem users.

corgimom
34079
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corgimom 02/19/14 - 09:14 am
3
4
Sure, make all drugs legal.

Sure, make all drugs legal.

And then all the money you save can go to drug rehabs. They'll be needed.

dichotomy
34435
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dichotomy 02/19/14 - 10:40 am
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I think it is much too early

I think it is much too early to make assumptions of the long term impact of legalization of pot. It is certainly too early to say there has been no change. We've got a couple of test cauldrons now, let's let them simmer 2 to 5 years and see if it's catastrophe or utopia.

As far as I am concerned they can legalize all of the drugs they want......as long as they remove drug addiction....and alcohol addiction....from the list of approved "disabilities" that entitle these lowlifes to draw SSI; and they recognize the legality of shooting to kill those who would steal property to support their habit. If they are paying their own way I could care less if these pathetic people go to their own homes and use chemicals to improve their miserable little lives. But no SSI, and no unemployment or welfare if they lose their job because they fail an employer's drug test. Just because some drugs may be legalized does not mean employers have to employ drug users.....and no smart employer who cares about the safety and productivity of their workforce would.

Bizkit
32989
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Bizkit 02/19/14 - 11:55 am
2
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OldRed what the heck are you

OldRed what the heck are you talking about. Countries with legal pot aren't unsuccessful or filled with dummies. You need to read dude. But I don't agree with the argument of the editorial. With his logic we should give up on the war on HIV-AIDS because it is spreading, and sex trafficking and pedophilia are another war we are losing-so just give up there too. Putting convicted drug dealers to death is a bit harsh considering now society frowns on the death penalty under any circumstance. The Dutch have legalized pot for decades now and they have a lower usage of cannabis than America. Initially the rate went up as did "coffee houses" but then it went down with fewer coffee houses and less pot usage.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 02/19/14 - 12:03 pm
2
3
But that is part of the

But that is part of the point. If you legalize and tax pot, you have generated revenue to deal with problem users. You make it easier to find problem users. Problem users become, well, less of a problem. Another real issue are proxies for pot use. Legal Spice has become relatively common, and emergency rooms are reporting vaso-spastic injuries in healthy young people using Spice. There are no such reports for Pot, because it is unequivocally safer than Spice.

Require drug testing for unemployment and welfare? I suggest you do a cost-benefit analysis and see if that saves you any money, and then see if it complies with the Fourth Amendment. Florida has such a law. Estimates are that it cost them more money, and it is currently the subject of a lawsuit. Georgia already passed a similar law (the "let's spend more on welfare because we can't do math law"), but the Governor is not enforcing it pending legal action in Florida.

I predict Georgia starts drug testing welfare recipients anyway, because it is better to spend taxpayer money testing poor people, and chasing non-violent drug offenders and throwing them in jail, than it is to generate revenue from taxing pot, and using that revenue to reduce use and treat problem users.

Bizkit
32989
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Bizkit 02/19/14 - 12:12 pm
2
2
Past presidents have smoked

Past presidents have smoked pot so I don't think it is a negative stigma nor had a negative impact on their career. People seem to assume that it is low socioeconomic groups or younger that smoke, but this high grade pot is high dollar too so it is doctors, lawyers, judges, police, wall street executives, etc that smoke pot on occasion. I'd wager some people who employed any of you smokes pot on occasion.

corgimom
34079
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corgimom 02/19/14 - 12:58 pm
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2
"Since everybody does it,

"Since everybody does it, (which is untrue), then it should be legal."

Wow, that's some philosophy.

OJP
6948
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OJP 02/19/14 - 01:09 pm
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2
Occasional marijuana use is no more of a problem than

occasional alcohol use is. The real problem is addiction/abuse, not the substance being abused. We need to treat drug addiction and alcoholism as medical issues, not criminal ones.

The alternative is doing the same thing we've been doing unsuccessfully since at least the '80s. The drug war has failed. It's time for a smarter solution to this problem.

corgimom
34079
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corgimom 02/19/14 - 01:27 pm
3
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People don't stop drinking

People don't stop drinking and drugging until they want to.

And all the medical treatment in the world doesn't change that.

Bizkit
32989
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Bizkit 02/19/14 - 02:14 pm
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I wonder about the

I wonder about the "addiction". I know most of the people I knew during the 60-80's smoked pot-none are addicted or do it today-as some are judges, sheriffs, county commissioners, lawyers, school teachers, about every occupation you can think of. Why isn't there a mass addiction from the ole hippie days?

jimmymac
42931
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jimmymac 02/19/14 - 03:15 pm
0
0
POT
Unpublished

I know several people who've smoked pot heavily for years. They are a shadow of themselves and if you knew them you'd agree. It's about the same effect as a chronic drunk and just as devastating to all around them. Casual drinkers and casual pot smokers aren't the problem. It's the ones prone to addition that can't just go easy on it. Legalizing pot will end up with the same number of pot heads as you have drunkards and no country needs more of either.

teaparty
11313
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teaparty 02/19/14 - 06:28 pm
3
2
"Why isn't there a mass
Unpublished

"Why isn't there a mass addiction from the ole hippie days?"
Bizkit, there are mostly old hippies running the democrat party and it is obvious they have brain damage.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 02/19/14 - 05:42 pm
0
1
Pot is absolutely addictive,

Pot is absolutely addictive, and its addiction can cause those who become addicted problems in life. Those people need help to let them take control of the direction of their lives again, just as other addicts do. In the grand scheme of things, however, it is less addictive than alcohol, and MUCH MUCH less addictive than nicotine. And, of course, just like alcohol and tobacco, not everyone becomes addicted.

Pot is also not related in any meaningful way to lung cancer or other cancers, but it does relate to COPD almost identically to tobacco. So it is a significant health hazard, although not as significant as tobacco, and much much less of a hazard than alcohol. Pot also has an interesting relationship with risk. It does make people drive worse, but it also makes them overestimate how impaired they are, so there is not a pronounced accident rate associated with pot use. If you take someone who is drunk and also get him stoned, he will drive more safely (if you believe the driving simulator tests done at Wake Forest). I am NOT saying you should think about driving stoned - don't - you will get in more accidents. I am saying that DUI under pot would be much less of a problem than DUI under alcohol.

Legalizing it can increase revenues, save expenditures on police and jail, and drive resources towards helping problem users. It can also work to decrease overall use by using tax resources to advertise against its use, and to rationally educate children in schools about its use. Or we can do nothing and allow a $1.4 billion dollar illegal industry to continue "as is" in the state. That's $1.4 billion in Georgia alone. Our education budget is $10 billion. Police budget is between $1-2 billion. That's right - pot sales in Georgia cost as much as we pay our state police.

Bizkit
32989
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Bizkit 02/19/14 - 06:32 pm
2
1
Shoot I had several friends

Shoot I had several friends in college in grad school who were brilliant-made straight A's and now very successful scientist. They smoked like haystacks all the time in grad school. Like before class, after class, while they studied, during research and playing around with dangerous reagents. They must have been super-brained to function so "highly". LOL. I use to tell them it would lower their productivity-but they sure proved me wrong. I bet they all still smoke-you are rarely drug tested in academia. I remember a job interview at a college where one of the faculty interviewers was notably "stoned" out of his mind-and reeked of weed. I didn't get the job-but I think I'm thankful. LOL.

Bizkit
32989
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Bizkit 02/19/14 - 06:45 pm
2
0
A drunk or a stoner both can

A drunk or a stoner both can be about as obnoxious as you can get. It's strange the argument is a given that we all need drugs-alcohol, pot, poppy derivatives, cocaine, legal prescribed drugs more powerful than any illicit. There seems an attitude there is a pill for everything-even a pill for attitude. Jeezers. Better living through chemistry-everyone should get a Physicians Desk Reference so they can choose their drugs wisely. Yikes. But truthfully we can't hide from drugs either-they even naturally exist in our foods-like nicotine in tomatoes and egg plant, cocoa-chocolate contains compounds that bind cannabinoid receptors, plants that contain opioids, casein in milk acts like an opioid after digested, etc.

dichotomy
34435
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dichotomy 02/19/14 - 11:07 pm
0
0
"The Dutch have legalized pot

"The Dutch have legalized pot for decades now and they have a lower usage of cannabis than America."

DUTCH....DUTCH......totally different demographic

That is like saying socialism works good in Sweden. Totally different demographic. Won't work here because not enough people will work and contribute to the kitty.

itsanotherday1
45433
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itsanotherday1 02/20/14 - 12:29 am
2
1
"• Your actions cannot take

"• Your actions cannot take things from another human from which they have ownership."

I agree wholeheartedly; but in the U.S we can't do that. A drug addict in the gutter will get picked up and treated at taxpayer expense. If we would suck it up and leave them to their own bad decisions (like welfare in many cases), the problem would resolve itself.

That said, what we've done for 40+ years is not working. Time to try a different plan. My pragmatism says decriminalizing it and using the savings for education and treatment reaps more benefit than fighting it.

WalterBradfordCannon
1487
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WalterBradfordCannon 02/20/14 - 09:04 am
0
0
@itsanotherday, exactly

@itsanotherday, exactly right. Legalizing it does not make it not a problem. It does provide resources do deal with that problem, resources to educate people about the problem, and free resources currently tied up with dealing with the illegal market. Colorado just announced their projections. Over $600 million sales in legal pot this year. Almost $100 million in taxes raised. 40% goes to prevention. 40% goes to substance abuse, and the rest towards public health. The problem is mitigated. They did not even factor in the savings in jail and police costs.

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