The utter futility of drug laws

The underlying justification for most prohibitionists (other than sadomoralists) is that prohibition somehow is responsible for massive reductions in the use of drugs (and therefore a host of imagined societal-destroying maladies caused by drug use). Although you’ll pretty much never find them willing to specifically compare the massive list of prohibition’s costs to this imagined societal value, it’s implied that the reduction in drug use is more than enough to put up with this “collateral” damage.

And yet, of course, no actual evidence has ever supported this view.

And here, yet again, is evidence that refutes it.

Why the Government should take lessons from Peter Tosh

Check out this chart of nine European countries that have had changes in penalties for marijuana use, and the shifts in marijuana use prior to and after that penalty change.:

There are a lot of reasons for fluctuations in drug use in various countries. Legal penalties clearly don’t make a difference.

So, for the 100,000th time, softening drug penalties does not “send the wrong message”, or apparently any message at all. The vapid “drugs are harmful so we should keep them illegal” argument is straightforwardly wrong: some drugs are harmful, but it makes no difference keeping them illegal, except that it gives lots of criminals lots of money, causes crime and damages people health. It’s a strange day indeed when Peter Tosh has a more nuanced approach to government policy than the Government does.

Maybe not that strange.

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24 Responses to The utter futility of drug laws

  1. claygooding says:

    Meatball on adult swim has a better grip on reality than our government.

    They picked the most therapeutic plant on Earth as there poster child for the war on drugs and most of their 16 billion dollar budget is being spent trying to keep it illegal.

    They would like to dedicate more time trying to close down the pill mills and other drugs hurting America more,,,but you know how it is,,

  2. no one rules if no one obeys says:

    Remember these laws are about control not protecting the children, or keeping you safe, or keeping you healthy so you can work and pay taxes it is all about control. The radio just reported a big ‘spice’ crackdown. I prefer nature’s own cannabis sativa so I’m out of the loop on this spice crap. A local high school student took a hit of some and went into coma. I didn’t realize the kids today were so wimpy and soft.

    • PimPomPoon says:

      Yep, it’s not like back in my day; every weekend, we’d freebase our parents medicine cabinet, drop 15 blotters each then spend the rest of the afternoon snorting Trinidad Moruga Scorpion chilli soaked in gasoline – and then do our homework.

      • claygooding says:

        Just out of curiosity,,did you like Texaco better than Gulf,,the oily Gulf gasoline ruins the flavor a good chili.

  3. Servetus says:

    The graphs show that hyperventilating prohibitionist bigots make no difference when it involves the personal and private choices people make in their lifestyles, particularly drug use. What a surprise….

    Seems like the government’s rationale for wrapping its tentacles around our sex organs, CB1 and CB2 receptors, and other related higher brain functions, didn’t turn out as planned. Strange how that works.

    The powers that be in drug hysteria are on the defensive. It’s like Nixon’s ‘peace with honor’ BS. The government can’t admit it lost a war like the drug war without suffering a devastating collapse of government prestige, losing face, like some super-Katrina, but on a far vaster scale.
    Damage control for Nixon was sacrificing additional American and Vietnamese lives for the sake of government PR. So it will be with prohibition.

    We don’t have to be so forgiving when the drug war ends. If we do, the jerks in government will do something like this again. There are an infinite number of drug war variations, both in history and waiting to be implemented under plausible disguises by the next authoritarian or sociopath who accedes to power.

    If the end of the drug war is to make its mark, if it is to be of any value for those who ended it, it must be the war that ended all such wars on private citizens.

    • Windy says:

      “We don’t have to be so forgiving when the drug war ends.”

      Correct, every single person who advocated continuing this drug war atrocity on the people should have their name vilified in every corner of the world, every one of them should be shunned by all. They are dead to us, we do not see them, we do not hear them, we do not sell to them, we do not buy from them, and if they are politicians we do not vote for them, if they are lawyers we do not go to them for legal advice, if they are doctors we do not go to them for medical care, etc..

  4. claygooding says:

    Crackdown on cannabis at Hindu fest
    PN / SAPA / 2,20,2012
    Crackdown on cannabis at Hindu fest

    Police in Nepal said on Monday they had cracked down on members of the public using cannabis at a major Hindu festival where the drug is smoked legally by thousands of holy men to honour a Hindu god.

    India must need US support for something for them to arrest and harass their citizens over hemp at a religious festival that has been happening for centuries.

  5. PimPomPoon says:

    Jack’s playing our tune again

    I actually managed to not mention the dreaded ‘P’ word:

    “Maybe you believe that it’s immoral to use a certain drug, but if you also wish such acts to become/remain criminalized then surely you also have to accept responsibility for the dire unintended consequences of such un-thought-through folly? – These certain plants/concoctions/drugs are then sold only by criminals and terrorists; the huge black-market profits are used to bribe and threaten law enforcement officials; the availability and usage rates tend to go up, the prisons become filled to capacity with easily replaced vendors and smugglers; – this list is actually endless.

    Add to all that the fact that law enforcement and rehabilitation are mutually exclusive. Would alcoholics seek help for their illness if doing so were tantamount to confessing to criminal activity? Likewise, would putting every incorrigible alcoholic behind bars and saddling them with criminal records prove cost-effective? I think we already know the answer.”

    • claygooding says:

      Awaiting his response,if any,,he still hasn’t answered you yet and perhaps he has had enuff of you.

      “”According to research done in 1972 by a commission appointed to investigate marijuana by President Nixon,,the commission projected that most people would find marijuana enjoyable when they were young and “grow” out of it in middle life.

      Of course,,they also recommended legalizing marijuana and for the federal government to remove it from the Dangerous drugs list,,as has every commission appointed by congress since,,if not legalized,the decriminalized.,,but what the hell,,it’s just tax dollars that paid for all those investigations for our congress to ignore.””

  6. darkcycle says:

    He claims legalization advocates sent threatening e-mails to him and his wife? Okay guys, this guy is crazy and potentially dangerous. He’s lying. Time to leave jack alone….I’m sure he took remarks out of context and imagined threatening content where there was none. I’m also equally sure this guy is perfectly capable of trotting those e-mails straight to the FBI, and claiming with a straight face that Cheech and Chong want to kill him.
    This guy is crazy and vindictive enough to take the debate winner’s name straight to the Feds. Jack needs therapy, not convincing.

    • claygooding says:

      Clean on that charge but your right about leaving him alone.

      Is anyone else wondering what the impact of actually belonging to the majority after all these years will change advocates and users attitudes and demeanor in the next period of waiting for this insanity to end?

    • PimPomPoon says:

      Linda Taylor tried that trick quite often.

      If you don’t have the inclination to engage Jack anymore then it’s cool, I don’t always feel like it either, but I’m sure I’ll be returning there quite frequently in future, I feel I have a moral duty to do so.

      Of course Jack is dangerous – Prohibition is clearly the creation of an extremely deluded mind-set, and one that betrays a considerable degree of envy, hate and cowardice. What we are now witnessing – as his beloved, unfit-for-purpose policy goes down the tubes – is a final, desperate, lathered, frenzy of hatred and anger.

      I’m not going to miss that for the world!

      • darkcycle says:

        Malcolm, you have a bit more insulation from a freakazoid like Jack. We here in the States are directy under the thumb of the authorities he would run to. And he really is a litle fish in a small backwater. It just is not worth the potential damage he might do to some of us. I’ll except you from that judgement…besides, in your case, how could you possibly piss them off more? I’m cheering for you even if I choose not to participate! 😉

        • ToParaQuoteGoodOl'Duggie says:

          I used to have a theory that stated, if Jack ever came to the realization that prohibition was a croc’o shit he would instantly disappear and be replaced by somebody even more bizarre and deluded. I now have a new theory which states that this has already happened.

          DC, you may have all the ticket rights.

    • AddyCat says:

      Wow, if by “email” he means “comments on his asinine blog post” and by “threatening” he means “not taking every word he writes as gospel,” then I guess I’m guilty as charged.

      When I read this FANTASTIC book about the psychology of right-wing authoritarians, I thought of Jack:

      RWAs [read: Jack Marshall] score lower on basic reasoning tests (i.e., if X is bad, then making X illegal will make X go away). They disdain out-groups, which include anyone who isn’t like them (i.e., they believe all drug users are irresponsible and immoral, even when presented with contrary evidence). They have such rigid, compartmentalized thinking that they don’t even recognize their own hypocrisy (i.e., alcohol is part of “American” culture because I drink it, so that must mean it’s ok, while Bob Marley and weed smokers do not actually have a culture but a “subculture” akin to child pornography).

      These people will never be convinced with logic and reasoning; the only hope is to force them to associate with people who defy their stereotypes.

  7. darkcycle says:

    Clay, in my experience potheads in general, and legalization advocates in particular, do not threaten people. I know one exception, and even he (who shall be unnamed, but I will let you know he doesn’t post here) is always so vague and general with his attacks, most people don’t get that they’ve been threatened. I do however believe that JACK has convinced himself these were threatening letters. Please use caution rebutting his bullshit. I’m out.

  8. darkcycle says:

    Awesome chart, Pete! I’ll be linking to it starting now!

  9. Futility?!?!

    That cigarette production chart on page 230 of Licit and Illicit Drugs speaks volumes of the drug war’s hidden nature:

    It is ALL about criminal mercantilism:

  10. AddyCat says:

    OMG. I just looked at Jack’s site, and his latest post is about George Washington being the most ethical president!

    Guys, I know he’s dangerous, but people really need to let him know that the beloved GW adored hemp and smoked weed!

  11. thelbert says:

    one reason george washington grew hemp was so his slaves could make their own clothes at little cost to their owner. i’m guessing george’s slaves were eating hemp seed also. very cheap food. if stingy means ethical, then george was quite ethical.

    • Windy says:

      I saw a chart the other day that showed what each of our presidents, going all the way back to GW, were worth in today’s dollars, GW was worth $525 million far more than any of his contemporaries. I also read another article on GW, recently, that did not show him in a very good light, apparently he was NOT a very nice person, found it unsurprising, it seems most of our presidents have not been very nice people. Ron Paul will be one of the very few exceptions.

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