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Discussion of the Week (7/19/2005) - Legalize Pot
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Glistam
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 1:53 am    Post subject: Discussion of the Week (7/19/2005) - Legalize Pot Reply with quote



Discuss.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 8:37 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm mostly for legalization.

The amount of money we spend on law enforcement + incarceration for marijuana offenses is obscene. I heard once that something like half of the people we have in prison are there for marijuana related charges. I don't know if this is true, but if so then that's a lot of money. I think it costs taxpayers something like $50k/year to have a guy in jail.

This really falls under the category of crimes that I don't care about & wouldn't spend a nickel to prevent.

I do worry a bit about pot becoming too popular with kids because of the whole lack of motivation/memory loss problem, but really I think that alcohol is a worse drug by far. If one of the two were to be legal, I think we picked the wrong one.

People don't O.D. on pot. They don't die from withdrawals. They don't even become physically addicted. I have seen a few individuals get perma-baked, but their usage was beyond excessive, and even coffe will kill you if you go overboard.

There is also a gateway-drug argument that has some validity, but I speculate the the reason pot is a gateway drug is because it is illegal. I think if it were legal/socially acceptable then using pot would not be a gateway to other taboo drugs such as X, pills, coke, heroin, meth, etc. because you would not have crossed that boundary.

Also I think the pot is less likely to result in unintended sex than alcohol, which is a serious problem for teenage girls.
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Mongolio
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 9:29 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those were good points, Mishlai.

However, as I learned first-hand at a John Mellencamp concert a few months ago, pot is something you can't just "consume" yourself. Other people have to deal with the immediate physical results (the nasty-ass smoke). I'd never smelled the crap before.

Some of you are probably thinking of the BS flag. I've never done any drugs in my life. I had the equivalent of a fifth of alcohol (TOTAL) before I turned 21. I've never even smoked tobacco. Disgusting habit...

If you want to drink your booze at a concert you smuggled in, more power to you. The only way I'm going to be affected directly by it is if I smell the beer (which is the only alcohol smell I dislike) or you spill it on me.

With pot (or even tobacco), I have to deal with your smoke. Yuk. Take that crap somewhere else. I don't want it.

"Oh, but Mongo, we can do like we do with tobacco now! We can make smoking rooms and such!"

Yeah. That does a lot of good. We still have people smoking just outside of doorways everywhere. I still have to walk through the haze of nastiness.

Do I feel strongly? I guess you could say I do.

How strongly? Well, consider this. In August of 1979 (I was 5 or so), a drunk truckdriver T-boned my mother's parents' car just to the East of Oklahoma City. My grandfather was ejected from the car where he landed diagonally on a curb. Luckily, he was already dead. The truck then ran into the curb where he was. He was bisected from between his neck on the right side and his right shoulder to his left hip. My grandmother was on the side that got T-boned. Double closed-casket funeral.

Do I have a huge problem with alcohol? Nope. I've been drunk 15 or so times in my life. Maybe more (NEVER drove after drinking, though).

I DO have a problem with pot, though.

Ok. I'm done.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 12:29 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Those are also excellent points. I would not be opposed to a law againt smoking pot in public. Smoking in your home or some other private property would be permitted. Penalites would be stiff tickets or something like that.

Driving under the influence would be handled the same as with alcohol, except that the testing would require a blood sample.

I believe that stoned drivers are less dangerous than drunk drivers, although I don't approve of either.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:30 pm    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

I have to agree with Mishlai on all of those points. I have been high (on pot) and drunk (many times). I know which one is more debilitating and it aint dope. Long time use does have its nasty side effects but so does alcohol.
I am a little confused about something Mongo said though. I know this is a touchy subject so please understand I don't mean to offend. You said you're against legalizing pot and you feel strongly about it because of this accident. Yet the cause of the accident was alcohol not pot, right? On that note I think there should be much more severe punishments for driving under the influence. I believe we should never see a case where a guy has killed a kid after getting busted for drunk driving more than once. If the guy can't stay sober on the road, take away his license. Still can't keep off the road, throw his ass in prison.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 2:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

i belive he was saying that despite having a better(or rather, more personal) reason to be against drinking, he is still more against pot. he was making an emphasis statement, not a resoning statement.
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PostPosted: Wed Jul 20, 2005 4:11 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Im one sided on this discussion....just friggin legalize it. Granted I speak for myself and most of my pothead buddies only. I've been a pothead for years, same with my g/f, our best friend/roomy and a lot of my other friends. I come home, I sit down and smoke a bowl or a blunt, and I watch tv/movies, play games, etc. I don't go out driving, I don't go riding my dirtbike/quad, I don't do anything that I could get hurt/hurt someone else while doing.

That being said....I agree with other points made. Sure I might forget where I put my wallet or something, but at least it doesn't kill your liver and shrink your brain/turn your brain into swiss-cheese. It doesn't make you violent like alcohol can, it doesn't impair you/your judgment to the point where you don't even know whats going on, and it doesn't impair your motor skills.

Hell if I were a parent, I'd rather have my kid smoking pot then drinking (if he HAD to be doing one of the two). Whats he gonna do? Forget to do his math homework, forget where he put his books, get lazy and eat all the food in the house. Now get him wasted, and he'd jump of a bridge if his buddies told him to, maybe pickup a gun or knife and hurt himself, fall down the stairs and snap his neck, etc.

*puff* *puff* Anyone wanna hit this? Wink
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Immyls wrote:
i belive he was saying that despite having a better(or rather, more personal) reason to be against drinking, he is still more against pot. he was making an emphasis statement, not a resoning statement.


Exactly.

However, you brought up a good point, Mishlai. I'm not sure why I used that example. I'm not sure why I feel more strongly about pot than alcohol. No real clue. <shrugs>
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:50 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I believe you're referring to the point that Spyder raised - the question of the drunk driving example.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 6:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Doh. You are correct. Got confusitated. Sowwy.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 7:33 am    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

It's all good.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 12:50 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Alright, I guess it's my turn. Many of you have already heard my rant on the subject so this won't be any news to you.

I say legalize everything.

EVERYTHING.

I am no drug user myself; how can I say this? Well, the cartoon above pretty much sums it up. Legal drugs are taxed, and the tax money is used to run programs for rehabilitation for existing users and also for prevention programs for the youth. But, the cartoon only tells half of the story.

The rest of the story is that our drug problem in this country has gotten so out of control for two reasons, both of which I will address in turn. I was going to say "forthwith" right there but I decided that sounded too pretentious even for me.

The first reason is our cultural mores. America was originally settled by a bunch of religious zealots who wanted the fuck out of Europe because their religion wasn't oppressive enough. Five hundred years later, much of the same thinking is pervasive both culturally and in politics. The danger there is simple: we have cultivated an all-or nothing ideal toward everything we do. We are skinny, or we are fat. We are teetotalers, or we are drunks. We are addicts or we are abstainers. We have no grasp whatsoever on moderation. My mom asked me awhile ago how come people in Europe are so skinny. I answered "rigid mealtimes, small portions, and no Biggie Size at the drive-thru." This applies just as much to drug use. In Amsterdam, where cannabis is legal, it is still subject to many rules. Rules that make it nigh-impossible to conveniently become a burnout who is incapable of doing much more than playing Nintendo all day.

The other reason is a simple issue of control. Who is in control of the drugs in this country? It sure as FUCK isn't the government, as the incarceration rate for marijuana-related offenses bear out. Same goes for the number of kids duped with bad acid, or near-killed by bad ecstasy, or selling their asses for heroin. The control is in the hands of the drug cartels outside of this country who produce the stuff and move it into the country, untraced and untaxed, and run their business behind the scenes. Busting pushers won't stop this. Busting users won't either. If the prohibition era taught us nothing, it taught us that in a supply-and-demand economy, if there's a demand, the supply will make itself available. If you build it they will come.

I propose that by legalizing everything, even dangerous stuff like crack and heroin and PCP, we would take the power out of the hands of the producers and put it in the hands of the government. Tax the growers, and enforce strict quality-control rules so that nobody ever dies from a bad dose again. The growers would hate it. The pushers would all go out of business.

But what about the users?

Well, the existing users would pretty much stay the same. They're using now, legalization wouldn't change that. I imagine that with the draconian laws we have in place now gone, there would be a spike in experimental use from people who would otherwise abstain due to fear of legal repercussion, but that spike would be short-lived for the most part, as these people are experimenters, not users. Furthermore, with drugs legal, the illicit draw of doing something naughty would be gone. This can't hurt. True, there may be a few experimenters caught by the allure of drugs themselves who might never have tried using had everything stayed illegal. Well, that's who the rehab programs are for.

The big point I'm trying to make is that most of the actual drug crime in this country, especially violent crime, the killing and ruining of lives, is done by people at the distribution level of the network--pushers. With drugs legal, that entire industry would have the legs kicked out from under it.

Finally, as a culture, we Americans have GOT to get the idea of moderation through our thick skulls. I don't know how to accomplish that--all of our advertisement is geared toward convincing you and I to SPENDCONSUMESPEND as much as possible. Yet, it's the same elsewhere and nowhere else is there such a polarized view on everything. Here a woman can the Virgin Mary or Mary Magdalene. There is no room between them. We are all sinners or saints. This is unacceptable. The sooner we come to accept the broad spectrum of human behavior and the implication that holds, the sooner we'll cure ourselves of the uniquely American disease of All-Or-Nothing.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 4:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree with a lot of Madhatte's social commentary. Moderation is the key to almost everything.

I also agree that the illegal drug trafficking results in violent crime - a serious problem.

I do not, however, want to see all drugs legalized. The discussion of which drugs get the nod and which ones get the ax would be problematic, and I'm not going to get into it here. I think cocaine would cause a great deal of argument, as would Ecstacy. Crack would probably be voted out unanimously.

I could personally live with X, Coke, Acid, Pot, Xanex, and probably some others. I think we could do without Crack, Heroine, PCP. I wish those drugs didn't exist. They're just life destroyers, plain and simple, and I've never heard of a moderate crack user.

There's also the reality that legalizing marijuana will be difficult, and legalizing anything else is politically unattainable for the forseeable future. Kid's die on X, snort their mother's engagement ring a gram at a time, and have a host of other problems with whatever drug you're discussing. The public just won't go for it.

I'd also like to point out, with great amusement, that Madhatte's legalize everything stance falls under the very category of thought that he's criticizing - an all-or-nothing mentality. I say we legalize with moderation.

Sorry for the zing Hatte, it was too good to resist.
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PostPosted: Thu Jul 21, 2005 8:15 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
Sorry for the zing Hatte, it was too good to resist.


'S'alright. I still maintain that the issue is control, and who has it. The only way to take the power away from the producers is to put it in the hands of the government. I don't like drugs and would like to see pretty much everything but booze and pot disappear altogether. That ain't gonna happen. Next best thing is to enforce moderation through legislation. It's the best solution that I can see. I realize it looks like "all-or-nothing" but in reality is's more like there's nothing else to do. Either way somebody loses. I'd just as soon it be the drug cartels if it has to be somebody.
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Glistam
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 1:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I woul djust have to say that I agree with Madhatte, and really have nothing further to add to it.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 4:55 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'll be visiting Europe this fall, and Amsterdam is one of my stops. I'll let you know how the idea is working over there when I get back.
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PostPosted: Fri Jul 22, 2005 6:44 am    Post subject: Re: Reply with quote

Statistically speaking (and yes I do know that you can 'prove' that 99% of adults beleve in the tooth fairy with statistics), yes it is already proven that their system is working. Crime rates are much lower and the cost to the government for just controlling vice banning is significantly lower.
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PostPosted: Mon Aug 08, 2005 3:57 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm with 'Hatte, but I do have some points to add.
First, let me adress two of Mishlai's points.

First and foremost:
Mishlai's wise words on moderation: I think there is a pattern associated with the darker drugs to which you referred. Opium can be nasty stuff, but we have heroine to contend with BECAUSE opium is illegal. If you have to risk life in prison for your illicit trade, you have some truly powerful motivation to minimize your risk by maximizing your profit; not to mention (OK I'm mentioning it anyway) blackmarket trade is a big dog eat little dog industry on a far more corporeal level than other businesses, and maximizing your profit makes you a bigger dog. Heroine is both more compact and more addictive than opium. A smaller package to smuggle and you make more money? Sounds like an irrestable upgrade for your friendly neighborhood cartel (by neighborhood, of course, I mean nowhere near you) and your local pusher. More addictive means (as Hatte can attest) that your customers will beg, borrow, lie, cheat, and steal to get it. That means excellent repeat business because your customers are never quite satisfied. That also means the kind of money certain people are willing to committ large scale violence over. So yeah: down with heroine (although I would argue it should be made available to addicts on a controlled basis; there are two means I think would work: clinics (not just methodone-- apparently it doesn't fill the vacuum of the real thing; addicts eventually go back to H 'cause they want to actually get high on their drugs) and permits for addicts to make their own H from opium in regulated supply for their own consumption subject to inspection-- i.e. they agree to a standing search warrant as long as they maintain their permit), but let's legalize opium and get rid of the reason for heroine's exstence. Down with crack and meth but legalize coke. You catch my drift.

First and secondmost:
Mishlai wrote:
... really I think that alcohol is a worse drug by far. If one of the two were to be legal, I think we picked the wrong one.

Yeah, but what kind of pot do you smoke with fish?

Onwards to the rant from the superdome of the venerable (or at least old, fat, and ADD-having) 'Hatte. I've heard your argument before, and as you know in this I am your choir. I think you've made your argument eloquently here, and I particularly like your commentary on moderation; however, however true that may may be of us as a society, I do not believe that is the central issue of the debate on the war on drugs. I think the issue is symptomatic of two major problems with our society and our government.

Second and foremost:
Our laws do not recognize and we as a body-politic (I stole that word from another thread) do not understand that there is a difference between what you ought to have the right to choose and what you ought to have the right to vote on. What I do in the privacy of my own home is none of your business, neither is what I say or do in front of you in public (i.e. not on your private property, you get to make the rules in your home or place of business) because there is no freedom of speech where there are obscenity laws, and there is no right to the pursuit of happiness where the body-politic gets to decide what makes each of us happy. You get to vote on how fast I can drive on the interstate, because if I try to drive 150mph I'll kill you. Just remember anything you get to vote on is something you don't get to choose. Anything that doen't directly interfere with someone else's life, liberty, or pursuit of happiness falls into the domain of personal choice. I believe this is a key rule of thumb for any successful, free, and happy government and society, and where the distinction is difficult to make, or where the distinction must be ignored for practical reasons, we ought to be wary. Clearly there are grey areas and every rule of thumb has exceptions (OK some don't. "I was generalizing from one example, but then again, everyone generalizes from one example. At least I do" --Steven Brust), but tread lightly on and over this line.

Second and secondmost:
Our government and our laws are like the world's two biggest spiderwebs, interlaced with each other. I think part of the reason for this is the structure and brevity of the central document: the constitution. I have a lot more to add on this point, and I intend to make clear how this ties in to the war on drugs, as well as offer up a couple of solutions, but I want to break up this monstrous post a little. I'll come back to this soon.

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edited for clarity


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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 9:57 am    Post subject: Second and Secondmost: Reply with quote

We pride ouselves as a nation on the simplicity of our constitution, but it is the bane of our existance. As I said before I will attempt to tie this argument to the original issue of this thread, and to offer two possible (though admittedly remote and theoretical) solutions. Now, let me begin. Again.

By not excluding and including power to our various tiers of government specifically enough, and by the dual growth process of legislation and bicameral judicial precedence, we have sprouted a system of laws so large and convoluted that one man could not read all of them in his lifetime. Effectively there are so many laws even the best and brightest of lawyers and justices could not possibly know everything that is either legal or illegal. You might break the law simply by stepping out of your front door left foot forward.

I think that here there is a lesson to be learned for posterity; even if it is only for the posterity of the far-remote future of humanity. I think an overly simple treatise--or any treatise created in a short period of time by several score of elite interested-parties--will lead to an overly complex government.

To take a page from Linux (how appropriate for this board), I recommend the open GPL approach to a new manifesto. I'm not talking about a revolutionary document, nor one that is written with the misconception that its authors know better than history. I'm talking about a longterm conceptual project that pieces together the architecture of a government with an integral and streamlined system of laws. The main idea is that one person begins the work; thereby erecting a structure that is not a monstrosity of spare parts and odds and ends, and which addresses issues of liberty, taxation, regulated market practices, etc. on a very specific level.

This work is then published with a variation on the open GPL clause one finds attached to versions of or publications concerning Linux. The work is picked up by another single person, who, after thoroughly reviewing and gaining understanding of the work as it stands, continues the work by modifying, expanding, or otherwise improving upon the original. The new version is published with the same open GPL clause and documentation on its departure from the origional. Etc. Since different branches of the work may arise, a numbering system may prove useful for classifications of each revision as different schools of thought pursue their ideal system.

What is important is that since these systems are created with reasoning, and making good use of lessons learned both from history and contemporary divisive issues, whatever the final product, it will bear three important properties: It will be logically organized. It will be longer than our constitution, but shorter than the hodgepodge that constitutes the body of U.S. law as we know it. It will contain a built-in realistic means for change and adaptation as new issues arise through the growth of technology, the expansion of population, or by other means foreseeable or unforseeable. Think about it: when was the last time the constitution was amended? Why has it been amended so seldomly? The complexity of the task, and the ineffectiveness of our two-party political system virtually forbid it.

Eventually a version may arise which has popular recognition and support. Eventually an opportunity may arise to actually implement it. Decades from now. Centuries from now. Or not. I think it's worth a shot.

At this point I wish to make two disclaimors:

I do not see this as the path to remedy anything short term. Our government is reform-proof, and if revolution were viable, the nature of power would only bring a more despicable tyrant to bear in place of the deposed quasi-democratic state. We would sorely regret it.

What I am talking about is not the creation of a Utopia. A country without crime is a police state without happiness or freedom. A government without corruption is so riddled with checks, balances, ispectors, and counter inspectors as to be completely useless. There will always be divisive issues. There will always be propaganda. There will always be violence. The ideal I'm looking for is a smaller more streamlined government, with more direct democracy, a real separation of church and state, a managable legal system with fewer frivolous court actions (both civil and criminal), and a solid division between legislated choices and personal choices.

Now, I must again break up this monstrosity. I have offered the first of my two solutions. Later I will offer the other and tie my argument back to the thread. To be continued...

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edited for clarity

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PostPosted: Mon Aug 22, 2005 3:42 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Two things.
Hatte, you mentioned that all drugs should be sold only after quality control checks and such to insure purity. The capitalist mentality will not allow this. There will always be some one willing to make some shady stuff on the side, and he will likely be able to sell it on the street for a cheaper price. If someone is seriously hooked and they need their fix, but are strapped for cash what are they going to go for, the government controlled and certified drugs that they know are "safe" or will they take a risk with the cheaper option?

Ashlad, the legal system already allows for much of what you are wanting as far as I can determine. The constitution itself has not been amended in quite some time, yet the body of state laws and common law has evolved to fit the times. The framers of the constitution intended that it be a flexible document that would be able to fit with the current culture. By leaving these decisions in the hands of more local bodies, it allows laws that can be applied in a liberal area to be different then those that are in place in a more conservative region. The laws reflect not only the changes in culture over the years, but also the changes with respect to regionally differences among the populace. The reversal of the abortion issue in Roe vs. Wade is a good example. What used to be forbidden is now allowed as the American populace as a whole has changed their viewpoint on the issue. A constitutional amendment was not necessary. A ruling of the Supreme Court has to be enforced by all lower courts if I remember my legal classes correctly. I might be off on that point. Even then, you have to fight hard to go against any precedent established by another court in a similar case.
Anyway, I was trying to avoid making an excessively long post so I'll finish this off.
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