After the War on Drugs

blueprintTransform (UK) has, this morning, released their much-anticipated report: After the War on Drugs: Blueprint for Regulation.

The entire 200+ page book is available for free download at their site as a pdf file (there’s also an executive summary available).

Steve Rolles and the Transform staff have done a superb job. I haven’t read the whole thing in detail yet, but what I have read (and I’ve skimmed it all) is outstanding. It isn’t the end of the discussion — it’s the beginning. And appropriately, it doesn’t say “this is what we must do with this drug,” rather it says “here are some options that could be effective based on empirical data that already exists.”

The report recognizes that it will be a process and one that is adjusted based on a variety of factors. It discusses the full range of regulatory options that exist between prohibition and free market.

Rolles also clearly demonstrates, in a wonderful passage on page 6, that calls for regulated legalization are not radical, but rather that prohibition is the radical model.

This publication is a must-have, and the perfect counter to the prohibitionists who claim that we want 10-year-olds to buy heroin in shrink-wrapped packages in machines outside the convenience store.

It’s a shame that we don’t have any public policy analysts in this country who would have the ability to create such useful models for discussion, rather than just saying we shouldn’t discuss it.

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22 Responses to After the War on Drugs

  1. bobreaze says:

    This is my response to an ignorant article by Bill Lewis. Here is a link so you can respond if you feel like it. Please critique my response so i can be better prepared for the next anti legalization article i see.

    Bill Lewis: Splendor in the grass, as the Left Coast takes lead

    Mr. Lewis

    Your article is very uninformative and full of misinformation. While you are entitled to your opinon I want to share mine. Marijuana is safer than alchol. Alchol is a poison there are many deaths caused simply by consuming to much alchol. There are no deaths reported from just the consumption of Marijuana. Also Alchol makes people reckless and can cause violent behavior. Marijuana causes people to become more passive and decreases aggressive tendencies. Most peope your self included belive that all marijuana consumers are lasey people however I belive your perception is flawed. Before getting a job where i have to voulantarily give up my right to privacy for better pay. I consumed marijuana regularly however I did not become lasey the opposite happend I would clean the house and do chores. Not to say there weren’t times that i did just sit and enjoy myself. The consumption of marijuana does not cause laziness that is a habit learned by people.

    The problem with marijuana is the fact that more damage is caused by it being illegal. in 2008 800,000 arrest where made that dealt with marijuana. Of these arrest 80% where for possession. People who wish to keep marijuana illegal claim that no one goes to jail for marijuana. This is a false claim many simple possession charges do lead to going to jail where the person either has to bail themselves out or sit in jail till someone else can. The reason this happens is marijuana is illegal. Even if it is only a misdomenor offense an officer can still take you to jail to be processed. After that there is court and in my state paraphanalia charges commonly accompany most marijuana possession charges. The cost of an officer arresting and a court convicting a marijuana user for simple possession is astronomical. Add in the criminal history that will follow a person around and it is easy to see that the harm that comes from using marijuana is not even from the consumption of it but from the legality of it.

    The arrest of marijuana offenses cause cops and justice resources to be used less effectivley. I personaly would rather see cops solve more violent crimes and rape cases than arrest more marijuana users. This is the other cost of prohibition and the drug war more resources are used to stop drug use than are used to solve homicides, rape cases, theft, and violent crimes. If police did not arrest 800,000 marijuana users in 2008. Chances are there would have been more violent offenders caught, rapist off the streets, and more killers arrested. However for cops its easier and safer to arrest a marijuana user than to pursue leads to these other more devistating crimes. The benifit of legalization of marijuana would free resources so that our citys can be safer.

    While you may belive that marijuana is a funny thing and causes people to become lasey. I see the laws against it as a waste of our countries resources. They have brought about harms to a marijuana user that go beyond cruel. So i belive it should be legalized so that our cops can begin fighting serious crimes that acctually harm people. Instead of policing what i put in my body and do with my free time.

  2. chris says:

    bobreaze: did you actually read that article? It doesn’t really say anything or give a strong opinion one way or the other.

  3. bobreaze says:

    Indeed i read the article while mr. Lewis does not say specificly he is against the legalization of marijuna. He does crack so many jokes that his point of view becomes apparent.


    Of course, there is that small problem of trying to actually accomplish a task, any task, while under the influence. Music creation might flow well, on occasion, but it’s really not a good idea to be buzzed while, say, operating heavy machinery or driving a school bus. Flying an airplane is also not recommended. You might overshoot your runway or something.

    obviously he belives marijuana users are not responsible and lazy. Therefore i decided to grace him with a respone on why marijuna users want legalization. I stated that while marijuana does cause relaxation laziness is a habit learned and marijuana does not cause it.

  4. Duncan says:

    I spend a lot of time doing an impression of a worthless couch potato pothead, but in point of fact was a lazy slacker years before I had occasion to try cannabis. IMO slackers like to consume cannabis, it isn’t cannabis turning them into slackers.

  5. Hope says:

    Duncan. That’s funny, but I bet you’re right. It certainly rings of the truth, and if it rings of the truth, it very likely is the truth.

  6. FiddleMan says:

    bobreaze: You are right about the jokes.
    It is very hard to take any article seriously when its authors keep making really stupid jokes.

    Bill Lewis’ article – “Splendor in the grass, as the Left Coast takes lead” really doesn’t say anything about anything, and sort of resembles a “stand-up” comedy routine.

    You asked for a critique to your response:
    I found it to be a good, informative response. However, I believe that it is time to stop using Harry Ansliger’s derogatory slang term for Cannabis (“Marijuana or Marihuana”) and call Cannabis by its proper name. People have heard all of their life that “Marijuana” is bad – so let’s call Cannabis by its correct name!

    Legalize Cannabis Now!

  7. DdC says:

    Good observation…

    “a-motivation [is] a cause of heavy marijuana smoking
    rather than the reverse”

    Dr. Andrew Weil
    (Rubin & Comitas Ganja in Jamaica, 1975)

    What No One Wants to Know About Marijuana
    ~ Dr. Andrew Weil
    The Natural Mind
    (last half of chapter four pg. 86-97)

    Because marijuana is such an unimpressive pharmacological agent, it is not a very interesting drug to study in a laboratory. Pharmacologists cannot get a handle on it with their methods, and because they cannot see the reality of the non-material state of consciousness that users experience, they are forced to design experimental situations very far removed from the real world in order to get measurable effects. There are three conditions under which marijuana can be shown to impair general psychological performance in laboratory subjects. They are: giving it to people who have never had it before; giving people very high doses that they are not used to
    (or giving it orally to people used to smoking it); and giving people very hard things to do, especially things that they have never had a chance to practice while under the influence of the drug.

    Under any of these three conditions, pharmacologists can demonstrate that marijuana impairs performance. And if we look at the work being done by NIMH-funded researchers, all of it fulfills one or more of these conditions. In addition, the tests being used by these scientists are designed to look for impairments of functions that have nothing to do with why marijuana users put themselves in an altered state of consciousness. People who get high on marijuana do not spontaneously try to do arithmetic problems or test their fine coordination.

    If a marijuana user is allowed to smoke his usual doses and then to do things he has had a chance to practice while high, he does not appear to perform any differently from someone who is not high. continued…

  8. bobreaze says:

    Thank you for the critique i thought about using cannabis however decided against it. While using the proper name cannabis is a good thing especially since it braks the link to a racist propagandist. The name marijuana is here to stay for better or worse. Most common people only know of cannabis by its deragatory name and do not even relize it was outlawed by a power hungry racist with the backing of greedy corperations. So while it is good to refer to cannabis properly the link between the name marijuana and its origins have practicly disapeared to every day citizens. So while yes the name marijuana is degrading to us more educated citizens. we must move past this to educate the general populace that the plant cannabis also known as marijuana is a safe recreational substance. that it can be used responsibly by adults and should be regulated similar to alchol and tobacco. so that children will not have as much access to it and so our federal agents and officers can pursue more dangerous criminals.

  9. R.O.E. says:

    I hear these prohibs always saying” It makes you lazy!”

    I say ,ya so freaking what, since when did it become ILLEGAL to be lazy? Its a habit/choice that is my buisness,who are they to make it seem I have no right to be lazy?

    These people really need to stop trying to regulate peoples choices or habits. Its none of their damn buisness!

  10. Joel Jackson says:

    Hey Pete – the link for the Transform PDF looks to be broken.
    Here is an updated link:

  11. Pete says:

    Thanks, Joel. They changed the address since early this morning when I grabbed it. Fixed now.

  12. kaptinemo says:

    When someone uses the ‘lazy’ epithet to describe the effects of cannabis, I always ask, “How do you define ‘lazy’?” Because when you corner them, you find that there are as many definitions of ‘lazy’ as there are grains of sand. But the one that the prohibs always seem to associate ‘lazy’ with is ‘productivity’.

    As in ‘mindless exhaustive wage-slavery for someone elses’ benefit’.

    In this country, corporations have been allowed to rise nearly omnipotent over the citizenry…exactly as Lincoln feared they would:

    “I see in the near future a crisis approaching that unnerves me and causes me to tremble for the safety of my country. . . . corporations have been enthroned and an era of corruption in high places will follow, and the money power of the country will endeavor to prolong its reign by working upon the prejudices of the people until all wealth is aggregated in a few hands and the Republic is destroyed.“– U.S. President Abraham Lincoln, Nov. 21, 1864 letter to Col. William F. Elkins (Emphasis mine -k.)

    Take a look around. Corporations and their boundless greed have brought the world economic system to near collapse, and even in that collapse, their greed is not sated, for they seek to gain ever more power by the chaos they’ve sown. And all this is no small part due to having been granted ‘personhood’ despite the fact that judge who ruled in that case so long ago DID NOT rule that way.

    And in order to maintain their ascendant position in American society, they have sought to insert themselves into our private lives via drug testing. For if anything is an indicator of a strong sense of self-hood, it’s a sense of self-sovereignty. And the ability to place anything you like into your body definitely illustrates that self-sovereignty. Which is a direct challenge to the corporate ideal of workers as self-abnegated fungibles.

    In other words, slaves. And good slaves never, never, never talk back to Massa.

    Unless and until a resurgence of unions take place in this country, it is likely that this trend will change, unless we have drug legalization…which is why corporations are the greatest financial supporters of so-called ‘anti-drug organizations’. Can’t have the wage-slaves gettin’ all uppity, now can we? Might hurt the profit margin if they refuse to work themselves to death like The Horse in Orwell’s Animal Farm. Why, they might even tell the slavedri- uh, er, the ‘manager’ to do something anatomically impossible with his quotas!

  13. kaptinemo says:

    Sorry, I meant that ‘this trend is NOT likely to change, unless we have drudg legalization…’

  14. kaptinemo says:

    That’s “…unless we have drug legalization…” Damn, I’m tired.

  15. bobreaze says:

    intresting qoute from Lincoln. it is sad that 2 of our greatest presidents Washington and Lincoln left warnings about the stability of our democracy. These warnings however were not headed and now we have the two things they fear the most in full swing. If your wondering waht it is Lincolns statement about corporations and Washingtons statements about political parties. When these two combined they have practicly stopped the democratic process in our nation.

    To go against the statement in the movie wallstreet. Greed is not good it is the root of all suffering for mankind.

  16. R.O.E. says:

    I totally agree Kaptinemo.

  17. Chris says:

    How come so few of these comments are about the book? I read up until section 3 earlier..

  18. R.O.E. says:

    Because Chris, its a choice.

  19. Hope says:

    As I recall Eisenhower left us warnings, too, about what industry could do to this country, to it’s people, to our freedom and our futures. Specifically, I believe he admonished us, as a nation, to beware of the “Military Industrial Complex”.

  20. Hope says:

    Chris, I’m not all up to download a two hundred page PDF. Might be the problem with some other folks, too.

    It would be nice to hear what people think that have read it and had the nerve to download it, and learn more about what it says.

    Eventually I’ll get the nerve to download it, probably.

  21. Steve Rolles says:

    Hi – yes it would be great to hear comments on the book for the the DWR regulars! (this thread seems to have been hijacked by something interesting but unrelated to the post)

    Hope: there is an exec summary also available from the link peter provides.

    look forward to hearing from y’all

  22. Hope says:

    I like the way the ideas are set up in sets of straight forward ideas that start at one extreme and go, in about five increments, to the other extreme.

    For instance as regulation ideas that go from the first, most restrictive idea, like pharmacies, to the least restrictive, but regulated, possibility of being sold over the counter. Regulated like alcohol and tobacco are in the in between ideas.

    It’s very well done, of course.

    So far, it looks like a policy makers guide extraordinaire to the options open to governments besides radical prohibition.

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