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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:12 PM
Original message
Let's End Drug Prohibition
DECEMBER 5, 2008

Let's End Drug Prohibition
Most Americans agreed that alcohol suppression was worse than alcohol consumption.
By ETHAN A. NADELMANN
WSJ

Today is the 75th anniversary of that blessed day in 1933 when Utah became the 36th and deciding state to ratify the 21st amendment, thereby repealing the 18th amendment. This ended the nation's disastrous experiment with alcohol prohibition.. But let's hope it also serves as a day of reflection. We should consider why our forebears rejoiced at the relegalization of a powerful drug long associated with bountiful pleasure and pain, and consider too the lessons for our time. The Americans who voted in 1933 to repeal prohibition differed greatly in their reasons for overturning the system. But almost all agreed that the evils of failed suppression far outweighed the evils of alcohol consumption.

(snip)

Supporters of prohibition blamed the consumers, and some went so far as to argue that those who violated the laws deserved whatever ills befell them. But by 1933, most Americans blamed prohibition itself. When repeal came, it was not just with the support of those with a taste for alcohol, but also those who disliked and even hated it but could no longer ignore the dreadful consequences of a failed prohibition. They saw what most Americans still fail to see today: That a failed drug prohibition can cause greater harm than the drug it was intended to banish.

Consider the consequences of drug prohibition today: 500,000 people incarcerated in U.S. prisons and jails for nonviolent drug-law violations; 1.8 million drug arrests last year; tens of billions of taxpayer dollars expended annually to fund a drug war that 76% of Americans say has failed; millions now marked for life as former drug felons; many thousands dying each year from drug overdoses that have more to do with prohibitionist policies than the drugs themselves, and tens of thousands more needlessly infected with AIDS and Hepatitis C because those same policies undermine and block responsible public-health policies. And look abroad. At Afghanistan, where a third or more of the national economy is both beneficiary and victim of the failed global drug prohibition regime. At Mexico, which makes Chicago under Al Capone look like a day in the park. And elsewhere in Latin America, where prohibition-related crime, violence and corruption undermine civil authority and public safety, and mindless drug eradication campaigns wreak environmental havoc.

(snip)

Why did our forebears wise up so quickly while Americans today still struggle with sorting out the consequences of drug misuse from those of drug prohibition? It's not because alcohol is any less dangerous than the drugs that are banned today. Marijuana, by comparison, is relatively harmless: little association with violent behavior, no chance of dying from an overdose, and not nearly as dangerous as alcohol if one misuses it or becomes addicted. Most of heroin's dangers are more a consequence of its prohibition than the drug's distinctive properties. That's why 70% of Swiss voters approved a referendum this past weekend endorsing the government's provision of pharmaceutical heroin to addicts who could not quit their addictions by other means. It is also why a growing number of other countries, including Canada, are doing likewise.

Yes, the speedy drugs -- cocaine, methamphetamine and other illicit stimulants -- present more of a problem. But not to the extent that their prohibition is justifiable while alcohol's is not. The real difference is that alcohol is the devil we know, while these others are the devils we don't. Most Americans in 1933 could recall a time before prohibition, which tempered their fears. But few Americans now can recall the decades when the illicit drugs of today were sold and consumed legally. If they could, a post-prohibition future might prove less alarming. But there's nothing like a depression, or maybe even a full-blown recession, to make taxpayers question the price of their prejudices. That's what ultimately hastened prohibition's repeal, and it's why we're sure to see a more vigorous debate than ever before about ending marijuana prohibition, rolling back other drug war excesses, and even contemplating far-reaching alternatives to drug prohibition.

(snip)


Mr. Nadelmann is the executive director of the Drug Policy Alliance.

http://online.wsj.com/article/SB122843683581681375.html
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 05:22 PM
Response to Original message
1. Yes, lets do that. K&R
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question everything Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:44 PM
Response to Reply #1
2. I wonder whether we will ever see a connection with drug laws
and the increase in crime.
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ZombieHorde Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Mon Dec-08-08 07:50 PM
Response to Reply #2
3. It seems logical to me that legalizing drugs would automaticly reduce crime.
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Rebubula Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 12:44 PM
Response to Reply #2
7. We already have
Of course, it happened when they put the prohibition laws into place.

Removing this will reduce crime - if nothing else, college age kids (and people my age) will stop getting arrested for smoking a natural herb. I have seen too many friends (used to follow the Dead and Phish) lose years of their lives at the alter of the drug war.
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RainDog Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 04:44 PM
Response to Original message
4. it would definitely get some people to start spending money
didn't humboldt co. offer to loans millions to gov ahnuld not too long ago?

the industrial applications alone make it worth dealing with all the fear factor that has been created.
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bemildred Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Wed Dec-10-08 05:36 PM
Response to Original message
5. Drug prohibition laws create crime by their very existence.
That is sort of what they do, they make things that were not illegal against the law. Prohibited drugs were all pretty much medicine - some for thousands of years like hemp and opiates - until the government declared them to be illegal, and they still are medicine. Just because something is subject to abuse, that doesn't necessarily mean it ought to be expensive or illegal for everyone. Drug abuse is a medical problem, a mental health problem, but it ought not be a legal problem. The criminal justice system is not a good solution to social problems, and it subverts the criminal justice system to use it to avoid dealing with social problems in more appropriate ways. It is very expensive to throw people into jail, such measures ought to be reserved for situations where the harm is great, and one ought not do great harm by making something a crime.

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lame54 Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 11:27 AM
Response to Original message
6. I'm with you - watch this...
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Tutankhamun Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 01:43 PM
Response to Original message
8. K&R #5 (off to greatest)
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Soylent Brice Donating Member (1000+ posts) Send PM | Profile | Ignore Fri Dec-12-08 03:25 PM
Response to Original message
9. Agreed. K&R
Edited on Fri Dec-12-08 03:25 PM by Soilent Brice
some people could really benefit from toking up and chilling the hell out.

on edit: to late to Rec, just saw this post. sorries.

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