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Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

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  • Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

    Eighty years ago we had prohibition, and after 13 years we ended it for a good reason. Its unjust for the government to tell people what they can and cannot consume so long as it doesn't harm anyone else. If that weren't enough, the harm to the economy and the mobsters caused more problems than prohibition was supposed to solve. So why, so many years after we supposedly learned this lesson, is marijuana still illegal?

    Before i get to the more important aspects of this, i want to put to rest some silly stereotypes. A lot of stereotypes about weed keep perpetuating its stigma, when in reality it isnt so bad. Weed is not chemically addictive, no deaths have been caused by an overdose of marijuana, and not everyone that smokes it is completely apathetic about everything else in their life. Anyone that knows me here probably knows i smoke, but i do it in moderation, generally 2-3 weeks over the course of a year. Im not addicted to it in the least bit, and i have high grades in school. I care about things in my life other than 'getting the next fix'.

    There are 4 main reasons why weed should be legal. 1) We're supposedly a free country, 2) Kids will be safer if its legal, 3) The economy and society will be better, and 4) The hypocrisy in the legality of alcohol and tobacco, and illegality of marijuana.

    I basically went over my first reason in my first paragraph. The second reason, that kids will be safer, is hard for a lot of people to stomach because they cant get their heads past the idea that weed is "bad for you". I was talking to Bommando about Australia's view on marijuana a few weeks ago, and i was surprised by how thoughtful and clear headed their view is. They teach their kids to not smoke, BUT they also tell them safe habits in the event that they do smoke. Some may say "But this encourages the kids to smoke!". Those people must be ignorant of how kids think because they are more inclined to do something if there is a certain stigma about it or they are told not to do it. More importantly, its a fact that kids will smoke no matter what. Its gonna happen, get over it. So wouldnt it be wise to teach the kids about moderation and other safe habits so as to keep the majority of kids ok?

    The US education on marijuana and drugs is horrible. All D.A.R.E. does is tell kids "Drugs are bad! Dont do them!". Well how? They did not tell me about moderation. I am lucky as hell i had an older brother to teach me about moderation, or else i would be smoking everyday and i would be one of those stereotypical apathetic teenagers. Its sad how many other kids are getting screwed because they dont know safe habits, and its even sadder that some kids do drugs that actually are harmful, such as heroin or crack. They are told as kids that weed is bad for them, and when they find out that it isnt so bad, they figure most drugs are like that.

    Marijuana impacts the economy and society as well. This video, though fairly old, describes this much better than i could ever explain. There were many deaths during prohibition due to the black market, and making it legal destroys the black market, and consequently all the crime and death surrounding it. As for the economy, a free market and the freedom of the consumer is best as the video describes better than i can.

    Finally, the hypocrisy behind what is and is not legal in the states gives me headaches. Why are alcohol and tobacco legal when they kill more people, and in alcohols case, kill other people? But marijuana, which is safer to the individual than are the other two and, when compared to alchohol, kills fewer innocent people, is illegal. It begs the question, what the F?

    I particularly want to hear from the people that are for marijuana remaining illegal. Why do you feel that way? Were you just raised with a bias against it, or do you have a real reason with your own research behind it?

  • #2
    Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

    Allow me to join in :]

    LEAP - Promotional video for Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.

    Milton Friedman - Brilliant discussion with one of the greatest. I know that Santa already posted it, but it's one of my longtime favorites. If you only watch one thing on YouTube, it should be this.

    Penn and Teller - If you can't handle the serious discussion featured in the previous two links, this is for you. Careful - Penn and Teller use naughty words.

    Reason Magazine - No anti-prohibition reading list is complete without one of the oldest and most consistent opponents to prohibition.


    Drug prohibition is probably the US government's worst policy since slavery.
    Last edited by Nikolas; 03-17-2007, 04:02 AM.
    A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

    "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

    Comment


    • #3
      Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

      I'm just going to throw a couple thoughts into this thread real quick before I go catatonic in front of my monitor while playing Project Reality for the next several hours.

      I have never taken any illegal drugs in my entire life. I have never smoked one puff off of a cigarette, and I've had two beers. Ever.

      I could not care less what other people put in themselves. If you want heroin, crack, marijuana, beer, go for it. I really don't care and I don't think it should be illegal. Who cares if someone wants to put bad stuff (not all of it is bad, but most of it is) into their body? That's their decision, not yours or mine or the Government's.

      That is all.

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      • #4
        Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

        Originally posted by Santa
        Weed is not chemically addictive

        Let's clear this one up quickly.


        Addiction is (commonly) characterised as falling into one of two categories, physical addiction and psychological addiction.


        Psychological addiction is behaviour driven. It is a desire to experience the feelings and undertake the behaviours associated with a practice. This sort of addiction is very rich, and thus hard to definitively categorise. Cravings, depression, insomnia and feeling run down or irratable, including strong changes in mood are all signs of psychological addiction.

        Physical addiction is driven by the body's physical response to the withdrawal of the addictive agent. The reason for this is that the drug has such a pronounced effect upon your neurobiology (see tolerance) that when you stop taking the drug your body is in a different state to what it was in before you took it. This can also cause rebound effects.


        At this time there is no scientific evidence to suggest that marijuana is physically addictive, because there is no hard evidence to support the presence of any withdrawal syptoms. However there is a lot of anecdotal evidence to suggest the presence of tolerance to taking marijuana, indicating that there is the potential for a mechanism which may produce physical addiction.


        Stating that weed is not chemically addictive is inaccurate. There is no strong evidence either way (unless something substantial has been published in the last couple of years).

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        • #5
          Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

          Originally posted by squirrel
          If you want heroin, crack, marijuana, beer, go for it. I really don't care and I don't think it should be illegal. Who cares if someone wants to put bad stuff (not all of it is bad, but most of it is) into their body? That's their decision, not yours or mine or the Government's.
          I feel that this opinion is misunderstanding many facets of the knock-on effects that drugs can have. In fact one of Santa's leading arguements is that marijuana has fewer knock on effects than alcohol, so why should one be banned and the other not?


          There is a strong link between illegal drugs and other forms of crime. Someone who is addicted to herion will go to many lengths in order to raise the cash needed for their next hit, including burglary and mugging. Here we have a strong link. It's not enough to say "they are only doing it to themselves" when that activity causes the individual to behave in a way that is harmful to others. Similarly someone who is drunk is in a state of mind that is far less self-prohibiting and far more ego-driven, and is thus far more likely to take risks, which includes acts of violence and vandalism.

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          • #6
            Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

            The fact that it is harder for kids to buy cigarettes than it is to buy marijuana is testament to the fact that legalization and regulation would be beneficial.

            If drugs were legalized, then the profit center is gone. With that incentive gone, the criminal network that goes with the distribution of drugs will be gone. Once the illegal distribution is gone, then the government can easily tax and regulate who has access to the drugs (ie, no minors).

            Once the criminal element is taken out of the drug business, then the associated crime that goes with it will be reduced. This in of itself is a large discussion.

            As squirrul said above, I myself have never taken drugs or smoked (although I do drink), and I am in agreement that the government should stay out of people's lives.. That is what being free is all about -- the freedom to do whatever you want as long as it doesn't hurt others.

            3) Support game play in a near-simulation environment. Where the focus of play would not be solely on doing what it takes to win, but doing so utilizing real-world combat strategy and tactics rather than leveraging exploits provided to players by the design of the game engine.

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            • #7
              Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

              I'm pretty certain that all recreational drugs will remain illegal so long as it is profitable to keep them illegal. The reason the prohibition was lifted was a simple matter of economics as well. None of this has anything to do with concern for the youth or you. The government could care less what you're addicted to. Case in point: Ciggarettes. Alcohol and Ciggarettes are far more deadly than most illegal drugs yet they are advertised and marketed. Then there is the ever so sinister pharmaceutical industry...

              At the end of the day it's all about the dollar. Freedom now has a price tag and I'm pretty sure that's being outsourced these days too.
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              • #8
                Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                Tobacco profit centers are in the US. Marijuana profit centers are south of the border. Opium profit centers are in Asia. Which of these 3 plants do you think will be legal in the US?

                Also Tybalt, Re: slavery - No.
                In game handle: Steel Scion
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                • #9
                  Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                  The DEA is the profit center of illegal drugs in America. The ammount of money and property seized each year is HUGE! This is why there are more drug offenders than violent criminals in the penal system.

                  Marijuana profit centers are not entirely south of the border either. Just as alcohol prohibition forced guys like Al Capone to begin brewing their own goods rather than importing them (like the rum runners) so to is the marijuana industry in the US beginning to follow suit. I can see marijuana maybe (and that's a huge maybe) becoming legalized one day for this very reason.
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                  • #10
                    Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                    Originally posted by Atomic Dog View Post
                    The DEA is the profit center of illegal drugs in America. The ammount of money and property seized each year is HUGE! This is why there are more drug offenders than violent criminals in the penal system.

                    Marijuana profit centers are not entirely south of the border either. Just as alcohol prohibition forced guys like Al Capone to begin brewing their own goods rather than importing them (like the rum runners) so to is the marijuana industry in the US beginning to follow suit. I can see marijuana maybe (and that's a huge maybe) becoming legalized one day for this very reason.
                    AD, your theory is nice and all, but studies have shown that the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana would be MUCH more profitable than anything we get from seizures of funds and drugs annually. I'm not going to post links, but a quick google search for terms relating to the subject yielded over 500 pertinent, professional studies on the matter.

                    According to a very well put together study, marijuana totals 35.8 billion dollars in cash crop value per year (and increasing). The state by state index of expenditures in seizures and disposal of it totals 24.1 billion dollars annually (again, increasing). Remember that most drug enforcement agencies (state or federal, as well as local law enforcement) offer sizable rewards leading to the seizure of marijuana. For example, in orlando, you can recieve a $5000 reward for a tip leading to the successful seizure of 1 or more pounds of marijuana (1 pound of marijuana ranges in street price from 800-2400 dollars). Ergo, if the police only net one pound, they just lost $2600+ on one operation, not counting manpower and disposal costs.

                    At that rate, the US annually makes a profit of 11.7 billion dollars from the seizure of funds and marijuana.

                    The regulation and taxation (if equivalent to tobacco taxation) would yield a net profit of 74.2 billion dollars. Basic math tells you that 74.2 is a lot better than 11.7 in the billions of profit column.

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                    • #11
                      Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                      From my limited understanding on the subject marijuana and cocain form the foundation of the Mexican economy as well as several South American countries. If either of these drugs were legalized their economies may very well collapse. That would be the end of our cheap imports which would cost us a great deal of money to offset. So if I understood correctly then marijuana and cocain are illegalized to prevent an economical collapse of our neighbors.

                      We all know that recently 2 border agents were imprisoned for shooting a drug smuggler in the ass. The smuggler in question was granted immunity and has entered the country illegaly several times since. In my mind, if the U.S. is serious about their drug war they would have awarded those 2 border agents rather than imprison them. The DEA falsified claims against them to ensure they'd be locked up and so far there is no pardon on the horizon. There is something deeper to the "War on Drugs" than meets the eye. And I hold firmly that at the bottom of it all is the almighty dollar.
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                      • #12
                        Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                        Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
                        For example, in orlando, you can recieve a $5000 reward for a tip leading to the successful seizure of 1 or more pounds of marijuana (1 pound of marijuana ranges in street price from 800-2400 dollars). Ergo, if the police only net one pound, they just lost $2600+ on one operation, not counting manpower and disposal costs.
                        Hold on there fella. Why does it sound so much in your calculation above like the police are selling that pound of marijuana after they seize it?

                        I was always working under the assumption that they smoked it.

                        Otherwise, I believe your numbers. ;)
                        Peace through fear... since 1947!

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                        • #13
                          Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                          Originally posted by Wulfyn View Post
                          There is a strong link between illegal drugs and other forms of crime. Someone who is addicted to herion will go to many lengths in order to raise the cash needed for their next hit, including burglary and mugging. Here we have a strong link. It's not enough to say "they are only doing it to themselves" when that activity causes the individual to behave in a way that is harmful to others. Similarly someone who is drunk is in a state of mind that is far less self-prohibiting and far more ego-driven, and is thus far more likely to take risks, which includes acts of violence and vandalism.
                          Violence, vandalism, and burglery are all illegal. If someone breaks those laws, whether they be intoxicated or not, whether they are trying to get money for their next hit or not, then they can be arrested. The legality or illegality of the drugs they choose to be on will not effect the legal status of their crimes.

                          Furthermore, there is good reason to believe that the muggings, burgleries, and other crimes associated with drug addiction would be less severe - much less - were those drugs legal. There are two reasons commonly cited for this, and you can watch the interview with Friedman for a better synopsis than I will be able to give, but the general gist is that 1) Illegality pushes people to harder drugs, and 2) Illegality increases the costs of drugs, thereby forcing addicts to "procure" more money through theft and other illicit means.
                          Last edited by Nikolas; 03-17-2007, 12:18 PM.
                          A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                          "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                          Comment


                          • #14
                            Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                            Originally posted by Ferris Bueller View Post
                            AD, your theory is nice and all, but studies have shown that the legalization, taxation and regulation of marijuana would be MUCH more profitable than anything we get from seizures of funds and drugs annually. I'm not going to post links, but a quick google search for terms relating to the subject yielded over 500 pertinent, professional studies on the matter.

                            According to a very well put together study, marijuana totals 35.8 billion dollars in cash crop value per year (and increasing). The state by state index of expenditures in seizures and disposal of it totals 24.1 billion dollars annually (again, increasing). Remember that most drug enforcement agencies (state or federal, as well as local law enforcement) offer sizable rewards leading to the seizure of marijuana. For example, in orlando, you can recieve a $5000 reward for a tip leading to the successful seizure of 1 or more pounds of marijuana (1 pound of marijuana ranges in street price from 800-2400 dollars). Ergo, if the police only net one pound, they just lost $2600+ on one operation, not counting manpower and disposal costs.

                            At that rate, the US annually makes a profit of 11.7 billion dollars from the seizure of funds and marijuana.

                            The regulation and taxation (if equivalent to tobacco taxation) would yield a net profit of 74.2 billion dollars. Basic math tells you that 74.2 is a lot better than 11.7 in the billions of profit column.
                            I suspect that one major miscalculation in this study is that they assumed the same prices for drugs if they were legal? That would provide us little benefit; they must not be taxed to their current exorbitant prices if we want to alleviate some of the negative criminal aspects which currently accompany drug addiction.
                            A policy of freedom for the individual is the only truly progressive policy. -F.A. Hayek

                            "$250,000 a year won't get me to Central Park West."

                            Comment


                            • #15
                              Re: Did we learn nothing from prohibition?

                              Out of curiosity, let's say we began to treat currently illegal drugs like we do cigarettes or alcohol. Would you also support doing the same for Morphines, Antibiotics, Birth control, and any other drugs currently legal for medical use, but requiring a prescription?

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