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SSDP Conference, part 5

Drugs for Sale! A Discussion of Post-Prohibition Drug Markets

(l-r) Tim Lynch (Cato Institute), Ethan Nadelmann (Drug Policy Alliance), Moderator Chris Chiles (SSDP Board)

A picture named future.jpg

Tim Lynch is very pessimistic about what seems to be happening so far with the Obama administration, given his early appointments.
He asks a very good question: What will the Obama administration do about the recent case when an FBI officer was killed in a drug raid. It should be self-defense. Will the administration pursue a conviction against the woman who defended her home?
Tim is more optimistic in the medium and long term about overall drug policy reform, in part based on looking at what alcohol prohibition reformers faced. It took less time to reform than they thought it would.
Difference between the alcohol and drug prohibition is that alcohol prohibition was repealed at the federal level and the states kept, in some cases, prohibiting until ready. However, in drug policy, the states and other countries will lead, and the feds will bring up the rear.
He talked about different models for a future policy

  • Full legalization
  • The alcohol model
  • Decriminalization (he talked about the Portugal model of decrim, which I need to analyze further (and is apparently going very well), although it doesn’t change my position that decrim ignores the elephant in the room– the black market)

Good point: If politicians are unable to come up with the courage to change laws themselves, then what they need to do is step aside and let states and other countries do so (serve as the laboratory, so to speak).
Keep the nirvana fallacy in mind when debating — don’t let prohibitionists compare potential problematic legalization options with a nirvana of drug free America. The comparison must be with the horribly flawed realistic situation that exists in our prohibition world.
Nice job by Lynch. Very smart and knows his stuff.
Ethan Nadelmann talked about his early history as a reluctant legalizer and how he moved to the necessity of legalization, then trying to identify a model that would work.
What naturally comes to mind is that:
The best policy is the one that most successfully

  • reduces the harms of drugs AND
  • reduces the harms of drug prohibition

And so he talked about a group he worked with analyzing models from various sides, such as starting with things like the health model on one side and starting with the Supermarket (everything available at any time to anyone) model on the other side and see if there was a way to make them meet.
The question is, should there be some kind of gatekeeper (perhaps in government) to in some way control access.
This is the compromise model that his group came up with.
The Right of Access Model

  1. Everybody has the right to possess and use any drug in any form
  2. Everybody has the right to obtain this substance from a reliable provider who is civilly liable for providing safe and clean substance.

(For more detail, read the linked article)

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