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August 2012
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Economist Poll

An interesting online poll at The Economist. The poll is Should drugs like cocaine and heroin be legalised? You vote on a seven-point scale from definitely not to definitely, and you vote by country. You can see a color-coded world map of voting results and check the results of voting within specific countries.

Of course, as an online poll, it’s not at all scientific, but it’s still interesting. Go over and add your vote.

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24 comments to Economist Poll

  • Byddaf yn egluro:

    I voted ‘Definitely’ for Uzbekistan

  • Sorry for OT again, but here’s a recent AP story featured at NPR that tells of Brazil’s drug gangs fighting to keep crack out of Rio. Interesting reading!

    “Rio was always cocaine and marijuana,” [Mario Sergio Duarte, Rio state’s former police chief] said. “If drug traffickers are coming up with this strategy of going back to cocaine and marijuana, it’s not because they suddenly developed an awareness, or because they want to be charitable and help the addicts. It’s just that crack brings them too much trouble to be worth it.”

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      That’s just plain silly. Crack is cocaine. They’re chemically identical. It takes less than 5 minutes to freebase powder. Equipment required is a cooking utensil, 5 cents worth of baking soda, water and a heat source. I used to use a Mr. Coffee drip coffee maker for the heat source and utensil.

      The article is utter hogwash.

      • strayan

        I’m too lazy to clean cooking utensils so I just snort it.

        But yes, same drug, different formulation (for more rapid absorption).

      • which is why the cocaine v crack sentencing disparity was always so weird to me… and the judge says “well sir, I’m giving you 1 year in jail for the cocaine and 99 years for the baking soda!”

        • Francis

          The drug war’s absurdity is rivaled only by its cruelty and destructiveness. Your comment reminded me of this Jacob Sullum piece from a few years back – Seven Years for Bong Water:

          Last week the Minnesota Supreme Court ruled that bong water is an illegal drug. Under state law, a controlled substance includes any “mixture” containing that substance, “regardless of purity.” The consequences of reading that definition literally can be severe. In the case before the court, a woman whose bong contained 37 grams of water with traces of methamphetamine will now be treated as if she possessed 37 grams of speed, which converts possession of drug paraphernalia, a petty misdemeanor punishable by a $300 fine, into a first-degree drug offense, punishable by seven or more years in prison.

          This sort of absurdity has a long pedigree. Back in 1993, I wrote a piece for Reason in which I highlighted the ridiculously unjust results of including the “carrier medium” for LSD (typically blotter paper) in calculating the drug’s weight for sentencing purposes:

          Under federal sentencing guidelines, selling 100 doses of LSD in pure form triggers a minimum sentence of less than a year, but selling the same amount on paper will get you a sentence of at least two years, three months. And if you were old-fashioned enough to drop your acid onto sugar cubes, you will end up behind bars for no less than 15 years, eight months.

      • Windy

        When I smoked freebase it was made with ether (I didn’t make it) it made my body so uncomfortable I wanted to crawl out of my skin. Needless to say, I didn’t continue freebasing coke, and it had the additional (beneficial) result that I no longer enjoyed snorting coke either.

        A couple years later I had a friend die from injecting cocaine that was deliberately adulterated in order to kill the user. Her boyfriend (an old friend of hubby’s who was an usher at out wedding in ’62) was a dealer and she bought the coke from a rival dealer (who left the country hours after the sale) for a birthday gift for him and the death was intended to be his. But she set up his fit and hers, woke him to tell him his birthday present was on the coffee table. Then she shot up her fix before he got out of the bedroom, it was mere seconds later that he heard her choking. He tried to save her life, but was unsuccessful, he was devastated (they’d been together for almost 7 years and he loved her deeply). He had the coke in his fit tested, that is how he discovered the rival dealer was trying to kill him.

        He quit coke that deadly day (tho he kept on smoking pot) and never did it again. Strange thing is, he died on the first anniversary of her death, in a car accident, without a mark on him, his female passenger was beat all to hell but survived the crash.

  • I wonder how Associated Press managed to pick the story up, then. It does sound a bit like “allowing” cannabis while frowning on (butane) hash… Although I must admit I’ve never heard of butane hash being sold on streets.

  • Francis

    I hate the status-quo bias reflected in the wording of that question. The presumption should ALWAYS be in favor of liberty and against the initiation of force. Thus, the real question is “should the state use force in an attempt to prevent adults from using [a particular drug]?” And what’s with the “drugs like cocaine and heroin”? That wording seems a little imprecise, no? Is that just supposed to be a proxy for “really scary and bad” drugs?

    • The term “legalize” really is a bad description of the truth. “Control” would be more precise.

      Prohibition is a bad term too. Its more like “let’s turn lemons into lemonade.”

    • claygooding

      Especially scary is that prohibition takes dangerous drugs and makes them deadly,,,while meth was produced by corporations and pharmaceutical companies there were no walking skeletons that today’s black market produces,,but they have begun producing quality meth again..

    • Francis

      Just to follow up on this point a little more, compare these two questions:

      1. Should drugs be legalized?
      2. Should the state use force in an attempt to prevent adults from using certain drugs?

      With the first question, the focus is on “drugs” and the manner in which legalization would elevate them from a less-favored status (“illegal”) to a more-favored status (“legal”). The question also intentionally ignores the regulations and restrictions that will inevitably accompany “legalization.” In short, the question is designed to put reformers on the defensive. It suggests that we have the burden of proof. In contrast, the second question keeps the focus on prohibition and the state violence that is an inherent part of that prohibition. The question puts prohibitionists on the defensive and suggests that they are the ones who have the burden of proof. The mention of “adults” is included as a reminder that these are the people whose liberty we’re really talking about restricting — notwithstanding the prohibitionists’ constant hysterical rhetoric about “the children.” The “attempt” language is a reminder that prohibition is just that. Prohibition doesn’t magically make drug use disappear; it merely drives it underground. Finally, the use of “certain” is a reminder of prohibition’s hypocrisy. “Drugs” (meaning currently-illicit drugs) isn’t a real category; it’s a political one. Framing the debate correctly is critical to winning it. If you ask the average American the first question, you’re likely to receive an automatic ‘no.’ If you ask them the second question, you might get them to actually think about it. And that’s the beginning of the end for prohibition.

      • Interesting timing on your comment. I think you’re going to really love my post that’s going up later today.

      • War Vet

        What if the question was posited this way for Americans: is it OK that America spent over $3 trillion dollars in one decade keeping drugs illegal –paying for the residue of America’s stance on global prohibition –like sending troops to Iraq and Afghanistan where we are fighting drug money . . . agree or disagree on Iraq and if we should have went: it would have only cost us a few hundred billion dollars if the insurgency didn’t have drug money to fight us and to fight themselves in a power struggle . . . peace makes it easier for us to pull our forces out faster . . . drug money corrupts and wages a war against peace. We went to Afghanistan because of Pakistan’s Taliban (the nation who makes up the majority of the Taliban now living in Afghanistan) and how it created a 9/11 (Massoud’s warnings to us to be on the lookout, which we ignored and couldn’t do anything about when you have drug money covertly slipping into hands, as opposed to much easily traced legal money from taxes or businesses). Do we personally believe a $3 trillion dollar war helped establish our current economic problem? If drug money didn’t exist, what are the odds the U.S. would have made a short war out of things: something we mastered in the 80’s and 90’s . . . how long do people fight when they have not money and no munitions factories and no major roadways and railways to supply themselves with. What if we asked Americans: is it okay for million to lose their job or be underemployed as a consequence to the cost of keeping drugs illegal? What scares parents worse: their child using cocaine or heroin where rehabilitation can still be a factor or their child never getting the chance to experience college because of tuition spikes –spikes growing because of a recession? What scares a parent more: their child smoking pot or their child finally finding a real job 10yrs after college outside the restaurant industry because of this drug war terrorism induced recession? What scares a parent more: their child experimenting with drugs or their child never having the opportunity to save money and retire . . . what’s more important to an adult: someone not using (legal) drugs or the adult losing their retirement to keep people from using illegal drugs? What about this: the price of gas going up because of a drug war recession and no hemp fuel alternatives or someone legally choosing to use cocaine, thus causing the price of gas to go down when legalization reduces our national debt and brings about hemp jobs and hemp fuels. Cause and effect is a bitch when you don’t understand its full complications.

      • Windy

        Francis, I’m going to use that question as a poll at SodaHead and FB.

      • darkcycle

        Right you are, Francis. How a question is framed is critical to the response. That’s why the MMPI uses rephrased repetition of questions. I’m also reminded of the framework outlined in “The drug policy Debate”
        http://www.druglibrary.net/schaffer/debate/debate.htm#Manuals
        They’ve never had to defend their policies. They haven’t had to they’ve made us try to defend something that hasn’t happened yet. They have never been forced to justify their own policies.

  • WarIsOverIfYou'reStupid

    Yes, very soon we will have a completely drug-free country—with the exception of alcohol, tobacco, all prescription drugs, and all the stuff you’ll still be able to buy on street corners, in schoolyards, and prisons—then we can all just cover our ears and eyes while singing: “la la la la la, no elephants in this room!”.

  • claygooding

    We had a motorcycle rally in Seymour,Tx this weekend,,a run for cancer to support breast cancer research,,all was good until the sheriff called in all police,including game wardens and state police and they lined up in their cars behind the crowd and remained in their vehicles or clustered around them,,watching their night vision cameras and aiming their sound equipment at people in the crowd,,all the bikers from out of town left,,thus ending any chance of the rally being repeated next year,,,,

    A possible yearly cash crop for local merchants,,,thrown out the window by the sheriff and the sponsors announced that next years rally will be held in an adjoining county and I hope they make the money Seymour should have made.

    • darkcycle

      Don’t worry, bikers have LOOOONG memories. There was a place in Roslyn, the Roslyn Tavern. The ABATE of Washington spring opener was held there for twenty years. On the first year of the rally, the Ros. Tav. Threw the bikers out as they arrived and refused to seat them for meals. Twenty years later the bikers were STILL riding the fifteen miles from the campsite to Ronald, next town down the line to eat at the Old No#3 (WOO-Hoo Old No#3, try their “Mother Lode Burger”. A heart attack on a bun!). Even after the lowered their beer prices and hung out a “Welcome Bikers” banner. Thousands of bikes used to ride by on meet weekend, and the place was empty. Not even the rats were eating there.

      • claygooding

        My letter to the Sheriff,,going in the paper:

        “”Thank you Bob,,
        Your quick thinking and paranoid reaction to the invasion of the Seymour Rodeo Grounds by bikers saved this community any anticipation of a yearly event that could bring in thousands of dollars to local merchants.

        And I am sure the overtime pay to all your deputies and the other law enforcement agencies will be easy to explain,,,,just tell them the Hells Angels are coming to the coucil meeting and they will forget to fire you.

        I heard Jesse James and Billy the Kid were planning on robbing the rodeo,,will you bring your machine gun to it also?

        If the Hells Angels were to show up at a motorcycle rally for cancer research,anywhere,it would be 2 or three of them bringing a check for a donation,,,please wait until they make the donation before opening fire.

        And the Game Wardens too,,,wow! I am glad we dropped Fish Day,,who knows what terrorist fisherman would show up.””

        Apparently,the guy was told the Hells Angels were coming,,or that’s his story and he is sticking with it.

  • B.Snow

    Sadly, I’m totally NOT surprised they did that…

    I used to live right by there in W-Falls, and IIRC they had a habit/tendency to go overboard (or “overkill”) in their policing efforts.

    Seems like that was the little town out there (may have been Holliday, Munday, or maybe Quanah? there are several tiny/teeny towns out that way) where they had to replace a bunch of the cops because they were illegally snooping on people’s cordless phones w/ scanners. And using that info to bust people for whatever – it was small town=small-time stuff.

    It was long enough ago that Googling isn’t helpful, AND people we’re still using wireless home phones – so that should give you an idea = it was something like (?) 10-12 years ago. (That used to be a hobby for old nosy folks in small towns like that – listening to their scanners for gossip & stuff.

    I actually went up to W-Falls a couple months ago & on my way back home, I remember seeing two – (*Count’em TWO*) club bikers (Bandidos I think – or maybe Hells Angels?) riding. I thought it was kinda odd – because the last time (before that) I saw a group of bikers on the road it was way more than two… And they sure weren’t wearing ‘known’ club colors/jackets – Either way – I happily let them around/by me, and watched them cruise on down the road.

    I’ve never felt terribly threatened by bikers on the road… in a shady bar somewhere = yeah maybe somewhat, but on the road or out prepping for a ride/rally? Nope…