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10 Euros

Via Twitter, a thoughtful skit attributed to Mark Adam Harold, a City Councillor in Vinius, Lithuania:

We stand around a table. A guy from the mafia stands with us. You take out your wallet. While we are discussing legalisation of marijuana, you have to give the mafia guy ten euros. We keep going. The only way to end the discussion is to agree to legalise marijuana, then the mafia guy has to leave the room and you don’t have to give him money any more. Then, you can put your money in a box called “schools and hospitals.” Then, maybe you will understand why you should stop defending the mafia and start arguing for legalization and taxation.

It’s not so hard to understand.

And yet, we still get the moronic argument that it is up to the drug user to “stop the mafia,” such as in this piece last week by Mario Berlanga in the NY Times: Want to Make Ethical Purchases? Stop Buying Illegal Drugs

That’s why Americans must recognize that every time they buy illegal drugs they reward the cartels. […] We can shatter the misconception that recreational drug use is a victimless crime. We must put an end to the hypocrisy that allows people to make purchases based on their concerns about the environment, workers’ rights or animals — but not about killing people in Mexico.

Tom Angell responded to that piece with a letter in today’s Times:

There’s no doubt that much of the money spent in the illegal drug market goes into the pockets of very dangerous people and organizations, as Mr. Berlanga effectively argues. But trying to shame users into quitting, as the government has done in the decades-long failed war on drugs, hasn’t ever been an effective way to diminish the drug trade.

Only legalizing and regulating drugs can strip drug profits from organized crime, just as ending Prohibition took the booze market out of the hands of the gangsters who controlled the trade for part of the last century.

A growing number of states are legalizing marijuana and putting sales into the hands of responsible, regulated businesses that create jobs and pay taxes. Changing laws and supply chains in this way is a much more realistic solution to the problems Mr. Berlanga points out than persuading millions of Americans to abstain from using drugs.

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27 comments to 10 Euros

  • jean valjean

    The Berlanga article is totally disingenuous.
    “If cartels continue to have an incentive of that magnitude, our governments will never be able to put an end to the violence.” Where did this “incentive” come from? From the very same government through prohibition. He says “Go for legal vices if you must.” Well, that’s the whole fucking point isn’t it? The Coors cartel are not sending out hit men to to eliminate the Budweiser gang. They are legal and can use the courts to settle arguments.

  • Frank W.

    “Legalizing and regulating” my ass. The OLCC now requires customers to BUY plastic zip-lock bags for all weed purchases. It’s not incentivizing me to do anything law-abiding. Lower the sin tax? Nosiree, there are hungry bambinos to feed!

  • Mouth

    How does every American drug user quitting, solve Russia’s drug problem? Yet currency from any country can still buy bombs and train people how to fly and pay for their 18 month stay in America.

    Every time a cop does his job in America, he’s enabling the 1961 U.N. Single Laws to go on worldwide. If America was to legalize weed, then many nations would follow suit shortly after and it would be the stepping stone to ending other drug prohibitions.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    The sycophant of prohibition asserts that “drug users” are responsible for the crimes of organized criminal syndicates because the users send them money by buying their product. If the users would stop doing that the cartels would wither away and die from money deprivation.

    The cannabis law reform advocate points out that establishing a well regulated retail distribution chain and domestic production would take that money away from the foreign criminal interests.

    The prohibitionist declares that it will not deprive the cartels of their income because the criminals would replace that cash flow by just switching to other criminal profit centers.
    So if everyone quit buying their product the crims wouldn’t be able to replace the same cash flow by just switching to other criminal profit centers?? Neither consistency nor continuity are the strong suit of the typical prohibitionist.

    ——————-

    I must have invited over 100 of these idiots to have a friendly discussion of the controversy over a glass of bathtub gin at their local Capone’s Speakeasy. Not a single one has even bothered with the RSVP. It’s just 0lain rude. I’m even going to pick up the tab. I mean, where else can you get a gallon of gin for a lousy $6?

    Bring your kids! ’cause Capone’s never cards!

  • Tony Aroma

    Mr. Berlanga made a great argument in support of legalization, and he apparently didn’t even realize it

    If you use illegal drugs, even just occasionally, please reconsider. Lives are at stake. Go for legal vices if you must.

    Exactly! Legal vices don’t cause all the problems associated with illegal ones, so make the vices legal.

  • Servetus

    The thing about making moral choices is that morals have little or no impact on people if they don’t believe their best interests lie in being moral—according to the prevailing definitions of morality, which often tend to vary in social time and space. Legislating morality is a lot like legislating a mandate that everyone floss their teeth every day—some will, some won’t; but if they don’t floss, it’s their teeth, and they make their own choices about their teeth in a free society. Ordinarily, one can’t necessarily change someone’s moral conception of something by making it legal or illegal.

  • kaptinemo

    “Explanations exist; they have existed for all time; there is always a well-known solution to every human problem — neat, plausible, and wrong.” – HL Mencken

    Mr. Berlanga handily demonstrates Mencken’s observation. That this man has graduated from a business school is particularly worrisome.

    Perhaps Mr. Berlanga would like to address his comments to the major banks of the world? Using his logic, if the banks could be persuaded to give up the practice of money laundering, there wouldn’t be anywhere near the amount of crime and corruption that is literally endemic in the banking world.

    You wouldn’t have anywhere near the number of banks, either.

    Anyone that has followed the fiscal aspects of drug prohibition know there is a historical connection between banks and prohibition. The banks in Hong Kong were largely created to handle the proceeds of the opium trade even after the Crown declared it illegal. The pattern remains extant to this day.

    Indeed, it was acknowledged way back in 2008 by no less than both the head of the UNODC and former head of the ONDCP that it was the proceeds from drug money laundering that partly allowed the crooked banks to remain afloat long enough for their equally crooked handmaidens in the US legislature to bail them out. To think the practices stopped after the banks received their taxpayer-supplied windfall is to engage in fluffy-headed fantasy.

    I suspect that Mr. Berlanga remains blissfully unaware of this aspect of drug prohibition and how it negates his (pathetically sophomoric) theory. But then again, given history’s propensity for proving prohibitionists wrong time and again, and their demonstrated inability to learn from the process, the gaps in their reasoning ability become obvious.

    Mr. Berlanga thus demonstrates another truism: That is it better to keep your mouth shut (and fingers off the keyboard) and keep people guessing as to whether you are a fool, than it is to open your mouth (or hit “Send”) and remove all doubt.

  • Servetus

    The drug treatment mafia is on the prowl for new victims:

    6-OCT-2016 — At least 30 percent of people in the criminal justice system have PTSD symptoms, prior studies have shown. The high proportion of juvenile offenders with PTSD and co-occurring drug/alcohol problems demands a rethinking of current approaches to substance use treatment, Davis said. These juvenile offenders may require ongoing care that includes trauma and family therapy as well as community-based services.[…]

    Davis and his co-authors examined the social-ecological determinants of 1,350 young people’s entry into drug treatment, focusing on four factors – teens’ behavior/traits, parental dynamics, peer influences and neighborhood characteristics.

    “When you look at these factors separately, you will find what you want to find,” Davis said. “But when you consider all of these factors together, things look quite different. Parental factors, oddly enough, had no influence on risk for treatment entry, while associating with deviant peers, being diagnosed with PTSD and having emotion-regulation problems increased these youths’ risk of entering treatment the most.”

    Okay, interesting, but no one mentions the drug (marijuana?) consumption is likely to be self-medication for PTSD. Then the authors take this beaten and prescribed path:

    The study’s findings suggest that clinicians can expect the majority of young offenders who need substance abuse treatment will have experienced serious emotional or physical trauma. Exposure to chronic stress alters brain chemistry and functioning, making children susceptible to many problems, neuroscientists have found.

    AAAS Public Release: https://www.eurekalert.org/pub_releases/2016-10/uoia-dyw100616.php

    The conclusion? Adolescents with PTSD, be they delinquents or not, need substance abuse treatment, not cannabinoids. Classic, clinical, connivance from the Journal of Substance Abuse Treatment in a veiled attempt to demonize all cannabis connoisseurs and patients needing marijuana-based medicines by discussing it within the context of juvenile crime. The banality of bureaucratic evil can sometimes be overwhelming.

    • DdC

      At least 30 percent of people in the criminal justice system have PTSD symptoms, Caused by the criminal justice system.

    • kaptinemo

      Long time Couchmates will recall that as far back as 1999 people like Gen’rul Barry McCaffrey were reading the demographic shift writing on the wall and began stumping for the ‘kindler, gentler’ DrugWar via ‘treatment’ to keep the gravy train trundling along. Where do you think Sabet got the idea for his (fraudulent) ‘Third Way’ approach?

      Needless to say, McCaffrey, like his ONDCP predecessors, sought to cash in on the vehicle of the ‘solution’ he came up with after leaving ‘public service’ by starting a company that did virtual, online ‘treatment’. I shit you not.

      Shameless frauds and hucksters, anything to make a dime off of the misery of those who never did them any harm. Dante’s Eighth Circle of Hell awaits such reprobates.

      • DdC

        I still remember some fondness for the ole days Kapt. When news was more intermittent and even Hemp was still pushed as a back door means to legalize. Sometimes it seems we’ve come so far and then some times it seems like we’ve been here before. Singers faces change but the song remains the same. We’ve always pointed out the profits are the motive. I just have to wonder if America deserves Ganja? Too stupid to learn from their own mistakes. To afraid to open their eyes to see what’s really taking place. I am tired of tossing life preservers to suicidal idiots cursing the light, dwelling in ignorant darkness, proudly.

        Czarbarry Cashing in on Wars, all sizes.
        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/761
        forbes.com: General McCaffrey is the President of BR McCaffrey Associates LLC (a private consulting firm). He is also a member of the boards of McNeil Technologies Inc. (our partner in Global Linguist Services LLC), Global Linguist Services LLC and several other private companies. On July 7, 2010, effective immediately after the completion of the Merger Barry R. McCaffrey resigned from their respective positions with DynCorp International.

        “War will exist until that distant day when the conscientious objector enjoys the same reputation and prestige that the warrior does today.”
        John F. Kennedy

        A Tail and Three Assholes
        Turner, DuPont, Bensinger

        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/627
        After his resignation, Turner joined with Robert DuPont and former head of NIDA, Peter Bensinger, to corner the market on urine testing. They contracted as advisors to 250 of the largest corporations to develop drug diversion, detection, and urine testing programs.

        “We can’t be so fixated on our desire
        to preserve the rights of ordinary Americans.”
        – Bill Clinton

        US: McCaffrey’s Brain On Drugs
        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/599

        The voters in this country
        should not be expected to decide
        which medicines are safe and effective.
        — Drug Czar Barry McCaffrey

        If people let government decide
        which foods they eat and medicines they take,
        their bodies will soon be in as sorry a state
        as are the souls of those who live under tyranny.
        — Thomas Jefferson

        Ganja 4 PTSD & Depression
        http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1632

  • Whale-Red Dood

    I’m in DWR heaven. Kap and Servetus back-to-back, Duncan in top form, you guys rock.

  • Whoops, My Bad

    A Drug-War lament. Turned my best friend into a Zombie yesterday.

    Kev’s a baby-boomer with decades and decades of toking experience. He quit for 3-months (pre-employment drug testing) when he moved back to CA and he now has the tolerance-level for cannabis of a new-born babe.

    He had two-puffs of some modest 16% THC Super Lemon Haze and then I ruined his afternoon by adding a nice dollop of BHO on top of his third puff. It wasn’t a stealth move without his knowledge, just a stupid move on my part.

    I have never seen someone that high on cannabis inhalation. He looked messed up and he had significant trouble walking. He wasn’t agitated or complaining of being too high but he was incapacitated, no doubt. He looked like someone in a psych-ward loaded up on thorazine.

    I was recently taught the conservative cannabis mantra “start low, go slow.” My buddy’s experience certainly reinforced that in a powerful way. I also forgot that CBD can help reduce the activity of THC.

    CBD is a dimmer-switch on THC psychoactivity (i.e., a negative allosteric neuromodulator of CB1 receptor) and I had some CBD-dominant herb and tincture that would have helped him come-down that I totally forgot about.

    It was a good lesson and reminder for me of just how powerful cannabis can be with those with a low tolerance. Don’t turn your friends into Zombies!

    With CA poised to join the ranks of legal cannabis this topic of “too-much” is going to be in the news as feed for prohibitionists. Dispensaries should require nubes to purchase CBD as a starter-kit.

    • Daniel Williams

      I dunno, Whoops. Kev’s experience may be anecdotal.

      I’ve been consuming cannabis on a daily basis since 1970. And, like Kev, took a 90-day sabbatical: Army basic training and AIT, January thru March of 1975. But I didn’t notice any appreciable difference once I got back in the saddle, so to speak. And over the last 20 odd years I’ve been a low-quantity consumer of high-quality weed, where 3 or 4 good puffs every afternoon does the trick. Maybe I’m easy, but being a teetotaler all my life may also be a factor. (As may be the fact that I’ve been an aficionado of psychedelics since 1970.)

      I’ve visited Colorado twice since legalization, where my 3 or 4 puffs a day routine went by the wayside, vaping distillates and gobbling edibles like a kid with a free pass at the Bunny Ranch. I found the experience quite enjoyable and certainly not overwhelming or debilitating. Which is why I suggest Kev’s ordeal may be anecdotal.

      In any event, I don’t believe medical dispensaries or recreational retailers (if there is a difference) should require nubes purchase CBD starter-kits. (We don’t require 21 year-olds to start out drinking beer before working their way up to hard liquor, right?) Education is key, with no more than a ‘buyer beware’ caution at the point of purchase.

      • NorCalNative

        I don’t see any references to any scientific studies on Danny. So that makes your very interesting story JUST as anecdotal as my friend’s

        The medical fact that CBD is a dimmer switch on THC psychoactivity (negative allosteric neuromodulator of the CB1 receptor) is a BFD for cannabis consumers that may not have the drug superpowers that some like me and you possess. Plus, there’s at least 5 known polymorphisms of the CB1 receptor. We’re not all equal.

        I do think your “buyer beware” is a better suggestion than mine. Perhaps my authoritarian impulse there was clouded by the idea that cannabis consumers that have achieved a level of uncomfortable and excess psychoactivity could benefit from CBD in the ER.

        The point I want people to understand is that CBD can help tame THC for those who may need it. In fact, I’d highly recommend the excellent published work of Ethan Russo a neurologist called “Taming THC.”

        • Daniel Williams

          I agree that my experience may be anecdotal (and said as much). But the two experiences are direct opposites, so there’s that. And I certainly didn’t mean to infer CBDs have no value. They do.

          Set and setting is the gold standard for a satisfying LSD (or other psychedelic) experience and, to a lesser extent, works for cannabis use. And in my 46 years of cannabis use and knowing 100s of users, I can count on both hands the number that were ‘cannabis only’ users: Most experienced stoners drink with their weed. And most casual smokers usually need a little booze to get their courage up – often with predictable results.

      • darkcycle

        My experience is similar to Kevin’s, I have to say. After leaving College with my degree I took a series of jobs that strained my ability to keep a straight head, even when straight. High-stress and high exposure….if I had been caught using my entire career would have ended right there. Plus I was dealing with addicts and drug users on a daily basis, and they (we) have highly refined hypocrisy detecters. To avoid having to lie face to face with people who needed to be able respect me, I quit.Stayed quit for a decade until I started having stomach and weight loss issues. When I started again, a joint of leaf was enough,and since I never forgot how to grow a pot plant, when I grew my first plant after starting, it weighed in at 1.02 Oz….and lasted me three months! Obviously, that didn’t last long, but that first time back in the saddle a couple of tokes from a joint had me nearly catatonic!

        • Daniel Williams

          A decade is considerably different than 90 days. And tho it seemed the right decision to make, at least at the time, it is not insignificant that the repercussions of your decision negatively affected your health.

        • darkcycle

          I hear that. It certainly did affect me negatively. I also suffered badly from my PTSD during those years.

        • Servetus

          Research on PTSD to date shows progress and needs more research:

          7-OCT-2016 — Is this mountain lion in a zoo, or your backyard? You’d respond differently to it depending on how your brain processes the context in which you’re encountering it. But a new theory of PTSD suggests that people with that condition have disrupted context processing — which could lead to the kinds of symptoms and responses they exhibit.[…]

          AAAS Public Release: What’s really going on in PTSD brains? Experts suggest new theory

    • Duncan20903

      .
      .

      So you’re friend should learn his lesson and stick with synthetic urine…or even better just say no to ULOs.

  • kaptinemo

    Apologies if this has already been presented here.

    Forwarded to me by a long-time, internationally-known psychologist friend: Cannabis for post-traumatic stress disorder: A neurobiological approach to treatment By Bryan A. Krumm, MSN, RN, CNP, BC

    Of course, (honest) researchers already knew from the (crushingly voluminous amount of) anecdotal information that PTSD treatment with cannabis is highly effective. Here’s much of the scientific reason as to why.

  • Duncan20903

    .
    .

    I think there’s a good possibility that the jack booted thugs in Massachusetts have shot themselves in the foot: Drug cops raid an 81-year-old woman’s garden to take out a single marijuana plant

    Bad move this close to Election Day. I would advise the Massachusetts cannabis law reform advocates to beat this one until the horse dies, then beat it some more.

  • jean valjean

    How the alcohol industry is trying to buy the vote in Massachusetts (with the aid of Kevin Sabet) and how the MSM gives this corruption of democracy a pass:

    ” In another edible offense, although of a different nature, Dr. Kevin Sabet recently showed up at a PBS-hosted forum to speak against Question 4, and in the process lied to the audience about the psychoactive nature of candies in his possession. Predictably, the local Fox affiliate botched the story, making it appear that stoners had stolen the drugs to get high and not to expose hypocrisy and possible criminal activity.”

    http://www.alternet.org/deception-dirty-dealing-duplicity-low-down-campaign-marijuana-illegal-massachusetts

  • DdC

    Booze Butts and Suicidal Drugs $aveding the Kidlets.
    Profits treating misery they create…

    Robin Williams: What Nobody Will Talk About!
    Published on Aug 15, 2014
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/sreply/1128
    Information has come to light and the mainstream media has as usual failed to ask some incredibly relevant and important questions. Why isn’t anybody talking about possible SSRI usage? Why isn’t the association between SSRI usage and Parkinson’s disease being discussed?

    Drug Worriers preferred methods of treatment…
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/1945

    The Assassins of Youth: DARE † FRCn PDFA
    http://endingcannabisprohibition.yuku.com/topic/505
    Partnership for a Drug-Free America Sources of Funding from 1988-91 as extracted from Federal Tax Returns (figures are approximate) by the Washington Hemp Education Network, also from the Los Angeles Times:

    LIQUOR FIRMS

    Anheuser-Busch
    Joseph E. Seagrams & Sons, Inc.
    Coors Brewing Co.
    Hiram Walker-Allied Vintners, Inc.
    Stroh Brewing Co.

    TOBACCO COMPANIES:

    Brown & Williamson
    RJR Nabisco, Inc.
    RJ Reynolds
    Lorillard, Inc.
    American Brands
    Phillip Morris

    PHARMACEUTICAL FIRMS

    J. Seward Johnson, Sr. Charitable Trusts $1,100.000
    Du Pont $25,000
    Proctor and Gamble Fund $120,000
    Bristol-Myers Squibb Foundation $115,000
    Johnson & Johnson $100,000
    Merck Foundation $85,000
    Hoffman-LaRoche $75,000

    OTHER COMMERCIAL DRUG MANUFACTURERS

    ☛ NORML’S EXCELLENT ADVENTURE
    WITH THE “PARTNERSHIP FOR A DRUG-FREE AMERICA”
    SPECIAL REPORT – ATTENTION: TELEVISION STATION MANAGERS

    ALCOHOL:
    INTOXICANT OF CHOICE OF THE COUNTER COUNTER CULTURE

  • Hope

    So good to see your comments and thoughts, Kaptinemo.