Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

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Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Mar 12, 2009 1:06 pm UTC

How to stop the drug wars
Mar 5th 2009
Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution
Good article.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Garm » Thu Mar 12, 2009 2:16 pm UTC

The legalization of pot, at least, is something that pretty much all economist agree on. The "war" on drugs is so stupid and wasteful.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 12, 2009 3:28 pm UTC

That is a remarkably lucid and convincing article. Thanks for sharing, Heisenburg!
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Indon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:21 pm UTC

Hmm. Evaluating the costs vs. benefits for Americans for such a concept is interesting.

More poor addicts, but those addicts become less hopeless. Plus, the world might perhaps lose a super-ginormous crime network given enough time.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Sharlos » Thu Mar 12, 2009 4:52 pm UTC

I'm not so sure about legalising some of the heavier drugs.

If it's not illegal then how do you stop parents from fucking over their kids by getting addicted and then neglecting them?

Things like pot I have no problem with but I'm yet to be convinced about things like heroin, ect.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:05 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:I'm not so sure about legalising alcohol.

If it's not illegal then how do you stop parents from fucking over their kids by becoming alcoholics and then neglecting them?

Fixed it for you.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:42 pm UTC

Yeah seriously. We don't stop it now.

And if we spent that War On Drugs money on treatment rather than incarceration, we'd be getting somewhere.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Heisenberg » Thu Mar 12, 2009 5:51 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:If it's not illegal then how do you stop parents from fucking over their kids by getting addicted and then neglecting them?

I'm pretty sure Child Protective Services is going to take kids from meth addicts regardless of legality. That's not to say there wouldn't be problems with legalization of hard drugs, but I think the article makes a convincing argument that the money made on taxation and saved on enforcement and incarceration would go a long way towards rehabilitating people and fighting the demand for such drugs.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Indon » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:13 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:And if we spent that War On Drugs money on treatment rather than incarceration, we'd be getting somewhere.


Possibly. Look at the alcohol and tobacco addicts around right now.

Not to mention all of the influence alcohol and tobacco producers inflict upon our government. By legalizing heavier drugs, we're essentially allowing drug cartels to send lobbyists to washington to shape policy.

...I think I found another downside to legalization.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby The Reaper » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:14 pm UTC

I liked this article.

They send lobbyists anyway. The legality of something doesn't prevent people from lobbying for or against laws for it.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:20 pm UTC

Also, finding supply outside of the cartels is extremely feasible.

Personally the only problem I have with legalization has to do with date rape drugs.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:25 pm UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Also, finding supply outside of the cartels is extremely feasible.

Personally the only problem I have with legalization has to do with date rape drugs.

Hmm, interesting argument, actually. Are the traditional date-rape drugs (Rohypnol, etc) of any use for actually getting high? If not, I could see them legitimately remain a controlled substance.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby The Reaper » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:33 pm UTC

Xanthir wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:Also, finding supply outside of the cartels is extremely feasible.

Personally the only problem I have with legalization has to do with date rape drugs.

Hmm, interesting argument, actually. Are the traditional date-rape drugs (Rohypnol, etc) of any use for actually getting high? If not, I could see them legitimately remain a controlled substance.

One of my favorite lines is "date rape drugs are wasted on dates". There's a great many of them, with effects ranging from euphoria to hallucinations. They generally make the date enjoy not realize whats happening, so yes, they work very well for getting high.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Will » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:35 pm UTC

It also depends on what "date rape drug" means. Depending on the definition, alcohol could easily be classified a date rape drug.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby The Reaper » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:38 pm UTC

Will wrote:It also depends on what "date rape drug" means. Depending on the definition, alcohol could easily be classified a date rape drug.

It still makes the date not realize whats happening :)

And alcohol is frequently a date rape drug :\ I guess the only difference is, the date takes it of their own free will, as compared to you having to trick them into imbibing it.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Terebrant » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

Indon wrote:
EsotericWombat wrote:And if we spent that War On Drugs money on treatment rather than incarceration, we'd be getting somewhere.


Possibly. Look at the alcohol and tobacco addicts around right now.

I look at the situation and don't see the money generated going into treatments as EsotericWombat would like.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Xanthir » Thu Mar 12, 2009 8:45 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:One of my favorite lines is "date rape drugs are wasted on dates". There's a great many of them, with effects ranging from euphoria to hallucinations. They generally make the date enjoy not realize whats happening, so yes, they work very well for getting high.

Ah, thanks. I have basically no experience with illegal drugs, so I wasn't sure. In that case, yeah, we should really just stick with what we have - kill the motherfucking rapists in standard criminal court.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Mar 12, 2009 9:04 pm UTC

no doubt it's tricky to excise date rape drugs, but there are some that can be safely outlawed. Liquid ketamine is one example.

Also, I don't think it's entirely unreasonable to retain some of them as controlled substances even if there are non-weaponized uses of them. There would be plenty of alternatives.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Blast » Thu Mar 12, 2009 10:27 pm UTC

I agree that legalization doesn't necessarily mean legalization of everything. I have to wonder if there would be a market (not including current addicts) for crack and meth in a society where cocaine, heroin, and marijuana are legal. I think meth got so popular because you could make it with legal ingredients so it was easier and cheaper to get, and crack was a way to take an expensive drug and make it cheaper while giving a longer high. Not to mention huffing paint/glue.

So maybe the horribly debilitating/addicting drugs are still illegal in the best cost/benefit scenario.

The biggest problem is the public debate over which drugs are okay and which are bad. We can ban roofies because people use them to commit rape, but one of the most prevalent arguments for banning cocaine in the first place was that it caused black men to rape white women, and pot supposedly drove men into homicidal rages. It boils down to: how do we convince the fearful masses that a drug isn't that bad?
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby The Reaper » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:15 pm UTC

Blast wrote:The biggest problem is the public debate over which drugs are okay and which are bad. We can ban roofies because people use them to commit rape, but one of the most prevalent arguments for banning cocaine in the first place was that it caused black men to rape white women, and pot supposedly drove men into homicidal rages. It boils down to: how do we convince the fearful masses that a drug isn't that bad?

The modern masses don't realize the primary reason certain drugs were banned in the first place was that the government at the time was very racist.

As for special-K, horses still need their tranqs for surgery. if not ketamine, people will just take their needs to some other narcotic. it's not changing much.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Heavenlytoaster » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:23 pm UTC

Blast wrote:We can ban roofies because people use them to commit rape


If we can ban things "because people use them to commit crime" we will be banning everything, things like this cannot be justified.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Blast » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:40 pm UTC

The Reaper wrote:The modern masses don't realize the primary reason certain drugs were banned in the first place was that the government at the time was very racist.

Exactly my point. Pro legalization advocates have been yelling this from the rooftops but most people still aren't aware of it. This is an indication of how hard it is to advance the "this drug really isn't so bad" viewpoint.

Heavenlytoaster wrote:If we can ban things "because people use them to commit crime" we will be banning everything, things like this cannot be justified.

True. I should have phrased it more carefully, like:
"We can ban roofies because the overwhelming majority of their use is to commit crimes." (if that's true)
or alternatively:
"We can ban roofies because the demand for roofies for personal use is low enough and the demand for roofies for committing rape is high enough that the cost to society, from loss of individual freedom and the cost of law enforcement, is outweighted by the benefits of making roofies harder to acquire." (again, if that's true)

My main intention is to say that I am open to the idea of keeping some drugs illegal, even though I support legalization of most drugs.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby EsotericWombat » Thu Mar 12, 2009 11:46 pm UTC

Another option would be to mandate that drugs that could be used for those purposes contain agents that make them easily detectable if put in food or drink
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Garm » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:57 am UTC

EsotericWombat wrote:Another option would be to mandate that drugs that could be used for those purposes contain agents that make them easily detectable if put in food or drink


I like this idea. You could couple it with legalization for self only. So you can use a drug but not administer it to someone else. And maybe roofies would make beer turn red. :D
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby BoomFrog » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:59 am UTC

So, at best, currently illegal drugs would become prescription drugs? I mean if Prozac is not over the counter I doubt heroin will be. Or are some people arguing for everything to be available to all? I never hear people make the distinction.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby dubsola » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:39 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:They send lobbyists anyway. The legality of something doesn't prevent people from lobbying for or against laws for it.

Wait, who's sending lobbyists? The cartels? I don't think so. I know there are other organisations who lobby, for example pro-medical marijuana organisations. But I'd say the cartels are pretty happy with the status quo.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Terebrant » Fri Mar 13, 2009 10:59 am UTC

dubsola wrote:
The Reaper wrote:They send lobbyists anyway. The legality of something doesn't prevent people from lobbying for or against laws for it.

Wait, who's sending lobbyists? The cartels? I don't think so. I know there are other organisations who lobby, for example pro-medical marijuana organisations. But I'd say the cartels are pretty happy with the status quo.

If they are happy with the status quo, they would still lobby to maintain it.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Sharlos » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:02 pm UTC

Leagalization of drugs would likely cut drug cartels out of the loop.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby dubsola » Fri Mar 13, 2009 12:58 pm UTC

Sharlos wrote:Leagalization of drugs would likely cut drug cartels out of the loop.

Exactly why they're happy with the status quo. I think it would be absolutely awesome to have fairtrade drugs, and for it to be illegal to sell drugs that come from known human rights abusers.

Terebrant wrote:If [the cartels] are happy with the status quo, they would still lobby to maintain it.

Possibly, but are they doing so? I wonder if anyone knows.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Aikanaro » Fri Mar 13, 2009 1:38 pm UTC

Hmm, so now we just have to start rumors that any politician who opposes legalization is actually on the payroll of cartels....
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Blast » Fri Mar 13, 2009 5:09 pm UTC

BoomFrog wrote:So, at best, currently illegal drugs would become prescription drugs? I mean if Prozac is not over the counter I doubt heroin will be. Or are some people arguing for everything to be available to all? I never hear people make the distinction.

The idea is that making drugs illegal creates a powerful black market that ends up hurting society worse than having legal drugs in the first place. It is fairly cheap and easy to get prescription drugs - especially drugs that are not under patent like Prozac - so the argument for legalizing drugs may not apply.

Having a 'gatekeeper' for medicinal drugs makes some sense, because people's motivation for taking them is to improve their health in some way, and it's generally a good idea to run a plan to improve your health by an expert in that field. Doctors aren't going to prescribe things for recreational use, because that's not their field. It'd be like having prescription beer.

If people are taking drugs to get high, the only logical gatekeeper would be an expert in getting people high.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby EsotericWombat » Fri Mar 13, 2009 6:09 pm UTC

I might not be opposed to a system wherein everything was a prescription, but for certain set of things doctors were authorized to write scrips upon request (though uncovered by insurance) so long as beforehand he gives his patient a full apprisal of the risks involved. But I can see how that can be abused like fuck, so it would need to be set up by someone more knowledgeable about medical ethics than I.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Roĝer » Fri Mar 13, 2009 8:02 pm UTC

I think you would be interested to hear the story from the other side. I'm a student of an international college in the Netherlands, and as you probably know 'soft drugs' are allowed (but not legalized) in the Netherlands. Both alcohol and drug abuse are a serious problem on campus, and a lot of articles in student newspapers are written about it. Some people are addicted to one or more substances. While there is no doubt that this is hurting people's lives, they are free to talk about it, and even taking drugs that are illegal here (such as cocaine) is not a taboo.

Seeing the situation in the United States and other countries around us, I'm pretty confident that banning drugs is impossible in an open society. So therefore it can be assumed that taking away the drugs is not an option. Will prohibiting the possession of drugs, on penalty of imprisonment, keep people from taking drugs? Given the size of the global drugs industry I say not. And I think it's very unfair and counterproductive to punish the people who are usually more victim than criminal.

In the Netherlands, if you are caught with drugs on you outside a coffeeshop, police will confiscate the drugs without further consequences, unless the amount is deemed large enough for dealing purposes. This way people are somewhat hindered in taking drugs, but their lives are not ruined if caught doing so. The sale of drugs in specially designated coffeeshops is allowed, but strangely enough those shops are not allowed to buy the drugs themselves nor is the production of drugs for more than personal use allowed. In these areas we still have a lot of criminality and there is an ongoing debate whether the production of drugs should be allowed and regulated, or the sale of drugs in coffeshops banned. I'm strongly in favour of the first, and if you what damage the criminalization of drugs brings to society, I hope you will agree with me.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby GoC » Sat Mar 14, 2009 8:37 pm UTC

I'd say you should legalize drugs if they meet three criteria:
A. You cannot become addicted with a single use.
B. Should you start taking them it is possible to be weened off them.
C. They do not increase aggression or do anything else that could harm people other than yourself.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby The Reaper » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:11 pm UTC

GoC wrote:I'd say you should legalize drugs if they meet three criteria:
A. You cannot become addicted with a single use.
B. Should you start taking them it is possible to be weened off them.
C. They do not increase aggression or do anything else that could harm people other than yourself.

Anyone can become addicted to almost anything with just one use, provided that use was pleasurable enough for them to want to do it again. Mental addiction is an odd critter.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby PhoenixRider » Sat Mar 14, 2009 10:52 pm UTC

Legalizing drugs will just make it as common as alcohol, and alcohol is pretty common (not that that's a bad thing). With that being said, making such dangerous and addictive drugs legal will only result in failure.

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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby Megatriorchis » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:08 am UTC

PhoenixRider wrote:Legalizing drugs will just make it as common as alcohol, and alcohol is pretty common (not that that's a bad thing). With that being said, making such dangerous and addictive drugs legal will only result in failure.
You forget that alcohol is dangerous and addictive.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby GoC » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:29 am UTC

Megatriorchis wrote:You forget that alcohol is dangerous and addictive.

There must be some sort of limit though.
For instance a super-hallucinaginec drug that reduces anyone who takes it into a mindless zombie who only wants more of it.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby pollywog » Sun Mar 15, 2009 2:50 am UTC

The Reaper wrote:
GoC wrote:I'd say you should legalize drugs if they meet three criteria:
A. You cannot become addicted with a single use.
B. Should you start taking them it is possible to be weened off them.
C. They do not increase aggression or do anything else that could harm people other than yourself.

Anyone can become addicted to almost anything with just one use, provided that use was pleasurable enough for them to want to do it again. Mental addiction is an odd critter.
Whut? It takes weeks for addiction to form. There's a difference between "Hey, that was really nice, I'll do that again" and "Oh me yarm Oh I need that substance to live". I've never heard of anyone becoming addicted to something after just the one use. (I have to base this off of personal experience for now, but I'm going to look for a source later. Wiki didn't turn up much.)

B applies to all addictive drugs. It can be very dangerous to go cold turkey on quite a few drugs, like a really bad alcohol addiction. But there isn't an addiction out there that can't be broken by someone with enough willpower (or straps strong enough to hold them to the bed for a week.)

C is difficult. A lot of drug induced aggression is based on environment and dosage. Look at your family BBQ, where everyone is happy and drinking, and then the nightclubs on a Saturday night, where there's fights every ten minutes and the place is crawling with cops. I say throw something in there about teaching (really teaching) about proper usage, and adequate doses, to make sure things don't go over the top.

GoC wrote:There must be some sort of limit though.
For instance a super-hallucinaginec drug that reduces anyone who takes it into a mindless zombie who only wants more of it.
Hallucinogenic drugs are typically not addictive, and also no such drug exists outside of Haiti, where it is used to create zombi to work in the plantation.

Also, i have a point that I think needs to be made. Not everyone will get addicted to a drug through casual use. I've used cocaine, and I'm not addicted. I'm not addicted to ecstasy, alcohol, marijuana, LSD, or anything that I use recreationally. I have become addicted to drugs that I used irresponsibly, or without thinking of the consequences. I know friedns that used the same drugs, just less often, and are not addicted at all. It's possible to use even very addictive drugs responsible, and not become addicted.
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Re: Economist: Legalization is the Least Bad Solution

Postby william » Sun Mar 15, 2009 3:19 am UTC

Terebrant wrote:If they are happy with the status quo, they would still lobby to maintain it.

Because illegal drug gangs have so much time to go lobby Washington.
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