One of the major failures of public policy has been the inability to consider or craft drug policy that actually narrowly targets real problems.
Those who research policy have often pointed out a couple of verifiable facts of drug use and abuse: the vast majority of drugs are consumed by a tiny minority of individuals, and only a tiny minority of individuals are problematic drug users.
Mark Kleiman has noted that only a small minority of drug users (about 3 million) account for about 80 percent of hard drug use. This basic notion is true regardless of the drug (yes, including alcohol).
Numbers are pretty slippery things in drug policy. I’ve heard figures used regarding 1.3% of the population being addicted to drugs throughout various times in history, and I’ve heard number that are higher. Additionally, each individual drug has its own rate of dependency. Public policy also has an impact on problematic use of drugs (in some cases, prohibition increases the likelihood that abuse will occur due to lack of safety and purity standards).
Finally, it’s often difficult to define “problematic” use; national debates rage over the definition of “addiction,” for example.
Whatever the actual percentage, it’s clear that it’s a small minority overall, so for this article, I’ve arbitrarily chosen “seven-percent” for my own literary enjoyment. Use whatever number is comfortable for you.
Let’s take a moment to look at the players. First, we’ll eliminate the sado-moralists (the rabid true-believers like John Walters who care less about the actual cost to society than the enjoyment of punishing those who do things they don’t like) and the profiteers (those who care less about actual cost to society than the money or power they can get from prohibition).
The stated goal of most who advocate some kind of continuance of prohibition (either in its current state, or some “kindler, gentler” or “swifter, surer” version) is to help drug abusers and society from the ravages of drug abuse. Sounds good.
So, assuming that society has the right to impose some kind of coercive judgement or assistance onto those who abuse drugs — for their good and for the good of society (a point that is certainly not in universal agreement) — how should this occur? That is the central question of public drug policy.
One of the huge problems, of course, is that coercive drug policy has tried to deal with the perceived problem of the 7% by imposing itself on the 100%.
This is at best inefficient. It is at its core wrong. And it is usually counter-productive.
- Inefficient: Our police and courts spend way too much time dealing with the 93%, and our drug testing regimes make no distinction between the weekend pot smoker and the alcohol abuser (and, in fact, may even reward the latter).
- Wrong: Anytime you target and demonize an entire class of people for the misdeeds or problems of a subset of that group, you are crossing a serious moral line. It’s discrimination, and also a matter of fairness.
- Counter-productive: The 100% approach to coercive drug policy results in bizarre governmental actions like setting national goals of reducing the numbers of people using drugs. By definition, this can be accomplished most readily by targeting the 93% rather than the 7%.
Any policy that indiscriminately targets a majority of innocent people (from the standpoint of the core purpose of the policy) in order to reach a small minority is bad policy. Period.
Is it hard to craft a policy that only targets the problems? Well, boo-hoo, don’t complain to us about your inadequacies as a policy maker. Start looking for solutions. And to begin with, that probably means looking at targeted regulations within some kind of legalized system.
Recently, Mark A.R. Kleiman and his cohorts talked in the Wall Street Journal about the third choice they promoted, advocating an option other than “the ‘drug war’ and proposals for wholesale drug legalization.” And yet the solutions they discussed had nothing to do with the 93%.
Drug czar Kerlikowske, loving Kleiman’s way out of a “third choice,” jumped all over that and has been heavily pushing this notion of some kind of mythical policy-land where he can disavow the problems of prohibition that he continues to cause and ignore the legitimate facts related to legalization (as he must by law), through semantic games and talk about treatment instead of incarceration.
And again, nothing they do addresses the 93%.
I tweeted a question to Gil and his communications director Raphael LeMaitre:
If you’re moving toward treatment instead of incarceration, what will you do about drug users who need neither?
Transform Drug Policy also asked the ONDCP (without response, so far) about this important paper by Alex Stevens: The ethics and effectiveness of coerced treatment of people who use drugs
This takes it a step further and questions the validity of the “third way” at all, particularly when that involves coercion.
Stevens uses three categories of individuals to explore the ethics and effectiveness of coercion:
- Non-problemmatic drug users (self-explanatory)
- Dependent drug users (meet diagnostic criteria)
- Drug dependent offenders (drug dependent users who have committed other crimes)
The whole thing is worth reading. The conclusion:
This article has argued that it is very unlikely that compulsory treatment can be considered ethical for any category of person who uses drugs, outside of the â€˜exceptional, crisisâ€™ situations allowed for under the UN Office on Drugs and Crime/World Health Organization review.
It has been argued that quasi-compulsory treatment may be considered ethical (under some specific conditions) for drug dependent offenders who have committed criminal offences for whom the usual penal sanction would be more restrictive of liberty than the forms of treatment that they are offered as a constrained, quasi-compulsory choice. It has briefly reviewed research that suggests that QCT may be as effective as treatment that is entered into voluntarily. This may help individuals to reduce their drug use and offending and to improve their health, but it is unlikely to have large effects on population levels of drug use and crime.
So, there may be limited classes out there who could benefit from a program like HOPE, for example, such as Steven’s third category of drug dependent offenders, where their drug dependency is a factor in lawbreaking (other than drug laws).
But such a solution doesn’t address the real problems of prohibition, which negatively affects huge portions of the population.
And, just to be clear, it is a complete cop-out to put the blame on the user. If you were crafting a public policy that imposed sexual abstinence in order to avoid the societal damage of STD’s and unwanted pregnancies, you would be rightly ridiculed and the law ignored as a bad law. The same is true in drug policy.
It is also a cop-out to say that non-problematic users aren’t generally being sent to prison. That wouldn’t be a sufficient answer for any other discriminated group, so why should it be for this one?
If you’re so damn sure that government intervention is necessary to save society from the scourge of drug abusers, then find a policy that addresses it — don’t go after everyone.
You come up with and promote something that is fair and we’ll stop accusing you of intellectual dishonesty. Until then, most drug policy makers and advisors in the U.S. come off like a bunch of hacks with agendas to push who have nothing really to offer dealing with the big picture. The drug policy reform community (the real ones) have already come up with a policy that is fair and addresses the problem of drug abuse — it’s called “regulated legalization with treatment on demand.”
Try it on for size.
And remember, this issue of fairness is only one of the destructive aspects of prohibition.
Coercion. Now, THAT’s something my country can get behind!
I keep forgetting, which Country is yours?
OT but related to coercion, I have a chance to take a weeklong seminar with Justice Alito next semester, but I have to write an essay to get admitted to the class? Any ideas about what I should write?(serious or non-serious). It’s due today at 5 so I need help people!! :p
They don’t want to solve the problem. They work for their corporate masters, so they manage the issue so others may profit off of it.
It never ceases to amaze me. We’ve spent a trillion dollars these past 40 years (with inflation and depreciation, maybe even 2 trillion) on ‘druggies’, vastly more than we have on ‘juicers’.
If I was an alcoholic, I’d be tempted to be outraged! Why do other drug users get so much of the Gub’mint’s money trying to ‘help’ them, but an alcoholic is expected to get short shrift? Are the lives of ‘druggies’ more important?
But then again, an alcoholic does not have to worry about all the ‘benefits’ that accrue to other, illegal drug users, courtesy of government ‘assistance’ regarding drugs; Job discrimination (drug testing), violent home invasion and risk of summary execution of family and pets by steroid-hopping police, arrest, incarceration, lifetime exclusion from social services and political life, etc.
So maybe the drunks are right to be largely silent on the issue; they might not want to attract so much attention AGAIN from the Menckenian ‘uplifters’…after all, we know what happened the last time, don’t we?
Any policy that indiscriminately targets a majority of innocent people (from the standpoint of the core purpose of the policy) in order to reach a small minority is bad policy. Period.
The term is “collective punishment” and it used to be only dished out in prisons and schools, more or less. Such a policy over the entire American free republic of people is asinine. If the American people had known just how wrong it was and what it would lead to they would never have agreed to the so-called DEA “war on drugs”.
When did the American people ‘agreed to the so-called DEA â€œwar on drugsâ€.’ I don’t recall any vote on the subject.
People agree everyday. How many people are in favor of legalizing crack?
I am. I don’t smoke crack but I’ll fight to my death to defend the right of those who do.
I feel like playing devil’s advocate today.
Pete, I think this is the fundamental difference in thought. You assume they accept that it is some subset of the drug using populace that has a problem (of course implying that there is a subset of drug users who can use it without problems). When most of the people i’ve dealt with, who truly believe in prohibition, usually don’t differentiate between use and abuse.
So a policy that targets 100% of users in their mind is targeting 100% of addicts.
And as a side note, it could be argued that your third category of drug users:
Applies to everyone who uses drugs illegally, in that they committed a crime to use drugs. therefore everyone who uses drugs qualifies for compulsory treatment.
I’m not saying this is necessarily right. But until there’s some basic agreement on the size and nature of the problem being dealt with, there really isn’t any possibility of a reasonable discussion on a solution.
But then again I still say it’s more important to convince the people not the politicians. However, it is important to expose the drug policy makers’ ridiculousness.
Kant, the people like Kleiman, et al, absolutely know that the majority of users are non-problematic. They’ve said so. Now, there certainly is the problem that some of those in positions of authority and knowledge who understand the facts and numbers of drug use and abuse often go out of their way to avoid discussing those differences — hence you see the conflation of use and abuse in their work. To address it would be to admit to the problem I’m addressing here. My post is directed at policy makers, not at the uneducated public who has a skewed notion because of decades of propaganda.
Regarding the third category listed by Alex Stevens (not me), here’s the full definition he gives:
The question isn’t whether someone “committed a crime” — to include drug crimes as a reason in a discussion as to whether drug crimes should be crimes just isn’t proper argumentation. The question is about a certain type of drug offender that has been pointed to by drug policy ‘experts’ as being a reason for needing some kind of sanction (the fact that drug offenders steal, etc.).
I appreciate you playing the devil’s advocate and keeping me on my toes, though.
Well, the reason Kleiman et al. give for keeping the framework of prohibition intact is to prevent increase in users(the 100%) and thus abusers(the 7%). So, in their calculus, prohibition is protecting the would-be members of the 7% club from becoming members of the club.
I realize that. But, of course, as you know, that’s not a legitimate reason. Punishing people for what they might become is never a legitimate use of government power.
If they’re so certain that most people other than themselves will succumb (which is not shown in the evidence), then they need to craft policy that addresses that.
It’s really no different than saying that people should be prevented from having sex to keep them from being members of the STD club.
By legalizing marijuana for adult use it would allow police to spend their limited resources targeting on criminals selling drugs to underage users,,instead of having to arrest every person using marijuana.
That would narrow their target down where dealing too school kids would be a very dangerous enterprise.
Yet another excellent reason for guaranteeing the current level of funding for law enforcement as part of the re-legalization process.
They’d also have more time to pursue kiddie diddlers. How can people be in favor of public policy that lets kiddie diddlers roam free with impunity?
“If youâ€™re moving toward treatment instead of incarceration, what will you do about drug users who need neither?”
They’ll continue to receive both, natch.
“If youâ€™re moving toward treatment instead of incarceration, what will you do about drug users who need neither?”
This is a huge elephant in the room for drug warriors and they will have to go on ignoring it for as long possible. Their whole theory of drug abuse falls apart with any acknowledgement that there may be non-problematic drug consumers out there. Keep holding their feet to the fire on this one Pete.
So far in this page scroll, I see no mention of IBOGA, Coca or Opium.
Great Writing…..heavy mon, coercion……yes.
The drug war is Tricky Dick’s revenge. There is a funny demotivational poster of Nixon where he has a mean scowl on his face and it says shut up hippy. Love these drug shows on the teevee where they show some dealer with a television box filled with money and he has a ski mask and voice altering on. They illustrate what a dismal failure the gravytrain known as the war on drugs really is. The bigtime dealers say they pay off border patrol, cops, judges, politicians and let some shipments and mules get caught and consider it a part of doing business.
Discussions of the appropriate means for handling intrinsic drug-use problems presumes prohibitionists act in good faith, that they sincerely desire to eliminate the harm some drugs can cause, as opposed to relying on the persecution and punishment of drug users to preempt future drug-taking behavior. However, if the actual prohibitionist objective is class warfare, one designed to denigrate drug users, there will be no class welfare for the 7-percent, nor the 93-percent. Then itâ€™s a zero-sum game.
Iâ€™m reading an excellent book written by a political science instructor at Brooklyn College, Corey Robin, titled The Reactionary Mind: Conservatism from Edmund Burke to Sarah Palin. In it Robin defines the reactionary response according to a common theme: â€œthe felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.â€
No matter what solution is offered to counter drug mishaps, the prohibitionists seek to maintain their power of intervention over the entire drug taking process. Theyâ€™re control freaks. Itâ€™s like the Catholic Church and sex. In an effort to discourage sex, the Church tries to make it as dangerous as possible by restricting access to condoms, vaccines, birth control devices and therapeutic abortions. Consequences be damned as long as the Vatican retains its petty power over its constituents.
Fear is the motivator for the reactionary. Brain scans reveal reactionary conservatives have an increased volume of the right amygdala, which is a brain center associated with apprehensions and fears. The liberal brain, by contrast, is â€œassociated with increased gray matter volume in the anterior cingulate cortex â€“ a region in the brain that is believed to help people manage complexity.â€ A fully wired reactionary defines their existence against that of their fearful foes as a means of seeking and maintaining social status. If the enemy disappears for some reason, as with the fall of communism, the reactionary is likely to undergo a major identity crisis.
Fear is the best way to motivate and manipulate the prohibitionist reactionary. Itâ€™s clear the reactionary prohibitionists already fear the truth about drugs. They fear a growing and critical public awareness, debate and response to the failures of the drug war. Politicians are beginning to fear political retaliation for promoting the drug war. Stopping the drug war requires adding to their collective fears in ways that cause the reactionary mind to fear the personal consequences of prohibition and drug wars more than they do drugs and drug users.
Neil Peart’s lyrics to Rush’s “The Weapon” come to mind:
We’ve got nothin’ to fear but fear itself
Not pain, not failure, not fatal tragedy
Not the faulty units in this mad machinery
Not the broken contacts in emotional chemistry
With an iron fist in a velvet glove
We are sheltered under the gun
In the glory game on the power change
Thy kingdom’s will be done
And the things that we fear
Are a weapon to be held against us
He’s not afraid of your judgment
He knows of horrors worse than your hell
He’s a little bit afraid of dyin’
But he’s a lot more afraid of your lyin’
And the things that he fears
Are a weapon to be held against him
Can any part of life be larger than life?
Even love must be limited by time
And those who push us down that they might climb
Is any killer worth more than his crime?
Like a steely blade in a silken sheath
We don’t see what they’re made of
They shout about love but when push comes to shove
They live for the things they’re afraid of
And the knowledge that they fear
Is a weapon to be used against them
Abuse = Any Use
Harmful = It exists, unless it’s Tobacco or Alcohol
Treatment = Pay my friends to stay at their place or go to jail..
Addictive = Use it more than once
Zero Tolerance = If we catch you we will hurt you!.
Discussion = We talk, you do as we say
DEA = Brown shirts
Drug Policy = Prohibition
Feel free to add to the list.
The strange guy who sent you that friend request was me, Mike.
Progress = Increased incarceration rates.
Great job, here are a few more suggestions:
“evidence-based” = evidence-blind / profit-based
“balanced approach” = unbalanced approach
“innovative” / “third way” = more of the same
“drug-related violence” = prohibition-related violence
“moderate” = extreme
“extreme” = moderate
“compassionate” = cruel
“enforcement” = state violence
“protecting our communities from drugs” = protecting their own jobs / protecting the alcohol and pharmaceutical industries from competition
“well-funded legalization advocates” = us
Wait a minute. Nobody told ME we were well funded. I’ve been giving fifty or a hunnert bucks when I could afford it. I would have given more if I had known I was “well funded”.
aye… we give and when there ain’t no more we squeak out a bit more. In my case it’s my time that’s been given. And all that I’ve done I’ve done on the same old ‘puter, on dial-up for 25% of my life. There is no excuse for the system that cost me so much, that has me now making a wage I was making at the turn of the millenium. Had the business that employed me (Conde’s Redwood Lumber) not been shut down by prohibitionist zealotry I’d be making a comfortable salary and have a few perks (an occasional new ‘puter and HS internet) as well as spending the money above and beyond what I make now in my community. I’ve volunteered directly in proper drug use management doing RockMedicine for well over a decade working with
There are too many stories like mine – or unlike mine – about the suffering caused by the WO(s)D. Death and families’ subsequent anguish, ruination of career, seizure of property… slow strangulation of the Constitution and our criminal justus system…
For every claim of drug harm there is an at least equal (if not greater than) claim to be made in drug war harm.
Drug consumers are not the problem (see Switzerland’s HAT program), Prohibition creates the most egregious problems and ending it is the solution to those problems.
Pelosi Statement on Recent Federal Government Actions Threatening Safe Access to Medicinal Marijuana
May 2, 2012
San Francisco â€“ Democratic Leader Nancy Pelosi released the following statement today in response to recent federal government actions threatening safe access to medicinal marijuana for those who are seriously ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies:
â€œAccess to medicinal marijuana for individuals who are ill or enduring difficult and painful therapies is both a medical and a statesâ€™ rights issue. Sixteen states, including our home state of California, and the District of Columbia have adopted medicinal marijuana laws â€“ most by a vote of the people.””snipped””
Oh my, who’da thunk it?
i dont suppose by any chance she’s running for re-election?
She’s in the House of Representatives, so yes, constantly, without interruption. The new campaign starts the day after Election Day.
All well and good, but as the old saying goes you cannot convince a man of your point of view when his entire paycheck is derived from denying the validity of your point of view (or something like that).
The only two groups of humans who benefit from prohibition are the drug barons and the drug warriors. Both groups are rich and powerful and have incredible influence over the legislative process.
Prohibition will never end until those two groups are rendered poor, weak and completely without influence over the legislative process. That would require legislators (ie Congress-people) with courage, humility and integrity, and I don’t think they exist anymore.
According to Fox News’ Carl Cameron, Ron Paul has now met the requirements for his name to be put up for the Republican nomination at the convention in Tampa, Florida.
thinking out of the box here how much of a sell out would it be for paul if romney asked him to be vp? could get romney some cred with you ger voters and disaffected obama supporters with paul on board? aint going to happen though too bad
He might be able to get away with asking Rand, but would either one be able to mate with a frickin’ RINO? Maybe if Mitt got them drunk first…
I just found out that Dr. Paul’s supporters are standing over his dead campaign chanting magic words, hoping beyond hope that the dead will rise in Florida. Like I said earlier this evening I’ll buy the champagne, and eat my hat if it happens.
“Wishing for a thing does not make it so.” ~~ Jean-Luc Picard
50% agree that “blacks deserve reparations for the war on drugs”
WOAH! THAT WAS AWESOME PETE!!!! I looooooooooved what you wrote today!! usually i get a little upset with what, rightly so or not, i guess i consider to be something of a pot bias but let me tell you this article it was so awesome and invigorating!! i loved it! you seem like one of those guys, the sorta guy who, i guess, if present about some foolishness or offensive behavior, wouldn’t say much at first, or at second, perhaps not even at third but at fourth offense your the sort to absolutely destroy the offender and humiliate them.
You know the interesting thing here for me is that what you wrote it sort of is similar to an article i read and commented on yesterday over at drcnet org on this subject of compulsory treatment. And there’s also another comment you made in your article that i’d like to ask about in a moment but first i just want to say how in that drcnet org article yesterday in my reply i sort of related my own experience with this issue. It ended up getting kinda long and i wont go into it again if anybody cares to read my personal story about this on the matter its the first comment on that related article over there but in short, essentially, about a year ago i was homeless living in an abandoned warehouse in portchester and sometimes would try to sleep in the heated waiting booths of the metro north train stations because sometimes the cold was too much (naturally the first thing you realize when your homeless, and it does sound poetic, is that the world is a cold place. not necessarily cold in that, mean, selfish, rude, emotional way but physically a freezing place. i would usually go to bed with as many pairs of sox on that i could put on, plus boots, 3 pairs of jeans and over 10 t-shirts and sweaters, a bandana tied over my head and eyes and would still freeze lol) anyway on this night i had on me a semiautomatic switchblade, around 15 “empties” of heroin and a dirty needle – quickly, an “empty” is just basically the small remnants of a bag of heroin sorta like leftovers, some people use up an entire bag, thats fine, sometimes though you will leave the corners or just some stuff and eventually you collect enough of them and maybe get a decent shot out of it. anyway it was mount vernon 1am in the heated booth at metro north, i got arrested. w/o me knowing my fam hired an expensive attorney and w/o getting too into it i have been thru every aspect of this, multi detoxes multi rehabs multi programs multi shrinks multi everything over the years before realizing prohibition is the problem and not loving opiates. along with that comes my personal and encouraged banning of words like addict, addiction etc i see them as weapons of the prohibition regime and i distinctly believe AA/NA/xA any anonymous group to be a modern version of nazi germany, spanish inquisition etc. i am vehemently opposed to the Anonymous organizations and am also active in seeking they be banned. Indeed so ive also read all i could by the so called “Dr H” Francis Moraes of the book the heroin users handbook. so everybody thought id opt for drug court, treatment w/e. fam and their attorney showed up at court before i did, i got their and i was hell bent on going to jail on purpose absolutely no way was i going to give my life over to any program, any monitoring system. absolutely no freaking way and i always could never get the amount of fear these people would rather have 4 years of govt control, programs, prohibition up in their face, which, if they screw up, theyre going to jail, what they feared most, anyway versus 1 year of jail i mean, to me it’s simple math. At any rate it was so funny because i told them all up yours i love opiates screw you and im going to jail no matter what your not pulling this. everybody was pissed. the lawyer was red faced, he promised them he’d get me into treatment, of course like i said, i didnt know he was hired we never spoke before my court date and needless to say he was red faced. he had no idea what he was dealing with. the judge and the DA as well. essentially my 3 misdemeanor case got postponed three times and the DA played chicken with me, trying to get me on a felony charge sayin the 15 empties were felony weight (long story short, hilariously the govt or whoever the mount v police they all call bags of dope “decks” !! decks?! lol! and i guess its like 11 or 12 “decks” and more is a felony, but these were empties, a tricky situation for these idiots!) i had nothing to fear, i knew it was empties but each date they were trying to force me into their system, into their sick, sick, disgusting system. So i basically did all i could to go to jail, at the end of the day they offered me 24 hrs of community service and a plead to a disorderly conduct violation. It was amazing. to think of all the people who got busted for far less than i did and what then came of their lives cause they were so afraid and they jumped at the coerced treatment. I took the deal and at the community service place basically everybody but me was there as a first time pot offender, caught smoking or with a small amount of pot, not a semi automatic knife, a dirty needle and 15 empties and all of them had years upon years of supervision and control in their lives. It’s an outrage.
Now the last thing i want to say here is that again i loved your article and again i really cannot say, and, for the sake of not starting my day off on the “wrong foot” i dont wanna get myself too upset or aggrivated and talk about the Anonymous programs too much but basically i think it’s pretty safe to say that most Anonymous persons side with prohibition, they do tend to be extremists indeed – now, one thing ill always point out to these pieces of garbage is how they are like pre-teen adolescents when they dont get their way or when they’re proven to be wrong. They’ll have a silly catchphrase or dumb saying for absolutely everything. They will be boarderline discussing supernatural things to defend their positions. They whine like little spoilt children when they’re shown to be wrong, when their philosophy is exposed. They LOVE to use the term COP-OUT. Now i was blown away by your use of the word because its true what you said it’s absolutely 100% true and i could just hear these AA opponents absolutely freaking out with what you said, because in essence you know, saying that is a cop out the way that they operate and what their doing (the govt) it is absolutely against these twisted AA folks. Essentially they say we are the cop out artists!! because we can think for ourselves. make our own decisions. not allow things to be dictated to use. We dont sit back and say let go and let god which is basically saying let go let district attorney or judge me and force me to do what you want because im a sheep. What do you say to those people those true cop out artists who should probably be lending their possible expertise towards our cause, towards helping us instead of complicating matters by taking potentially powerful reformists or activists or just good and decent people and twisting them up in the brain to get them addicted to their psychotic groups and their cult like worship of money and material things that replaced their love of things that actually can and do make a person happy as is the function of a given substance?
thank you again and apologize for the length of the comment i doubt a busy fellow such as you has the time to read this whole bit but in the event you do thanks again this article meant alot to me.
CJ,,there is an article about the harms rehab,,or the forms of rehab we practice,but it is about using rehab on youth for marijuana use,,but it could apply too any addictive substance,,the rehab centers do more harm than good and the end results are so poor that they,like your dentist,plan on further maintenance.
When Your Kid Smokes Pot
It is writen by a former “rehab” worker.
” i distinctly believe AA/NA/xA any anonymous group to be a modern version of nazi germany, spanish inquisition etc. i am vehemently opposed to the Anonymous organizations and am also active in seeking they be banned.”
Bit authoritarian isn’t it CJ? I would never presume to “ban” what you choose to put into your body and I would appreciate it if you did not try to control how I choose to handle my own addiction, if that involves meeting with like minded people at AA or NA meetings. If you want to be useful in this argument, try lobbying to ban the courts from coercing attendance at 12 Step meetings. There’s an old saying that AA is for those who want it, not for those who need it. Inevitably those forced by the courts to attend introduce a negative element into the meetings which does not help anyone.
So I recall in 2005 one of the first dispensaries that I set foot in. There was actually some confusing signs and I ended up accidentally walking into the 12 step club next door. They didn’t seem particularly disturbed and it was obvious to me that it wasn’t the first time that it had happened—that day. The guy behind the counter barely looked up from behind his newspaper just said you have to walk around the corner. A number of months later I read about a local politician who found out about the dispensary next to a 12 step club and got all rhetorical demanding a buffer zone be established between dispensaries and “addiction treatment” centers and dispensaries. He actually managed to push through a local law, or zoning code. The dispensary was notified of the new law and did nothing. The city (?) tried to order them out and their lawyer sent them a letter informing them that they were nowhere near an addiction treatment center. 12 step clubs are organized as social clubs. He tried to get the 12 steppers to join in his rhetorical vendetta but they declined, muttering something about the 10th Tradition and they had no opinion on where dispensaries should be located.
Fascists? That was the first time I had the pleasure of using a Volcano, a pleasure that might not have happened that day had that guy not given me directions to the club. Fascists? C’mon CJ, leave the hysterical rhetoric to the prohibitionists. There may be fascists using the 12 steppers for their own ends but the 12 steppers themselves are only barely culpable. I’d forgive them entirely if they’d quit signing attendance slips for those forced to attend.
Weedman’s trial started up,,,what are his chances of jury nullification?
There are no snowball fights in hell. Mr. Forchion would need divine intervention because of his abrasive personality. Then there’s the part about being in a State where they convict people with MS who are cultivating their own medicine.
Maybe a hung jury if he gets a hardcore advocate on his panel.
My guess is that he’ll never open his mouth during the trial.
What in the world makes you even think he’d consider letting someone else speak for him? Did you miss the part where we’re talking about the New Jersey Weedman?
Nice one, Pete! You say you are aiming at policymakers, but of course they do what they do, not in a moral vacuum, but in the context of decades of propaganda. That propaganda has eroded our collective “negative capability”–the ability to imagine different historical outcomes to the processes that have made the present.
An earlier comment mentioned that we never voted on prohibition, but yet it’s got the moral status of the default position. I think that shows that propaganda has been very effective at convincing people that the risks and benefits of the drugs we’ve made illicit have to be weighed very differently than, say, the risks and benefits of cars, mountaineering, or chainsaws.
I think the propaganda has been successfully because it fell on fertile ground, and I see that in cultural terms. You’ve probably seen me make this claim before: the moral outrage about drugs is grounded in the certainty that “jiggling the handle” of this mortal coil to escape the suffering that is our post-Edenic birthright is an offense to the Sky God, an unacceptable capitulation of spirit to matter.
In my view, many people who don’t think of themselves as religious at all are still quite influenced by this perspective. And it’s that influence that allows intelligent people like Mark Kleiman to construct–and be listened to about–policy ideas that so fully disregard the non-problematic drug use of the vast majority of consumers, even of those most “diabolical” substances.
Feds file lawsuits against CA pot growers, sellers
SANTA BARBARA, Calif. (AP) â€” Federal officials have filed three lawsuits against marijuana shops and growers in Santa Barbara, Calif. and have sent warning letters to 10 more in the county.
Here goes another round of millions of dollars enforcement costs,prison costs,etc trying to maintain the prohibition,,but the genie will never go back in the bottle.
apparently its because they made a profit. when did the federal government become so anti-capitalist?
They should be raiding Bayer and Pfizer any day.
When Mr. Brown issued his 2008 opinion as California AG that included the absurdity that the Medical Marijuana Program Act requires collectives or cooperatives to operate as non-profits in California. The fact that there’s no legal definition of “collective” under California law never even made Mr. Brown miss a step.
PS John Vasconcellos agrees with me, but WTF does he know? He just wrote the bill. Obviously, he didn’t know what his intention was.
Holy Shit: Allegations with video have surfaced that Minneapolis Police have been using bribes of food and cash to get people to take drugs. Apparently to observe their behavior. These people are then dropped off in the Plaza with Occupy Minnesota! Who it seems, immediately got wind of strange happenings and started video logging.
why are these guys not facing supply charges?
Are they so incompetent that they don’t even know how to run a proper prohibition on something?
This should be front page news. I caught the story on Russia Today. (Is anybody else my age simply amazed that A: we can turn on the TV today and get a channel called “Russia Today” and B: that that is the only decent place to turn for news of our own country?)
Cinco de Mota
Getting Blunt: Marching for the Legalization of Marijuana
“”Along with the usual festivities of Cinco de Mayo this Saturday is a different kind of celebration, sponsored the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. Beginning at 2 p.m. at Dallas City Hall, expect to see supporters of the national movement to end the prohibition of marijuana. Cinco de Mota, aptly named for the Latin American slang for weed, will last until 10 p.m., with a march downtown beginning at 4:20 p.m.””
Such short notice but I will try to be at the march.
I’ll be joining about a dozen other speakers in Eugene tomorrow. Cinco de Mota indeed… viva la llesca! Legalization, si se puede!
I guess I’m gonna have to wear my peruvian T-shirt – “la hoja de coca no es droga, es sagrada” and make note of the movement to ban pharma ads from TV (there is one actually). I’ll also be invoking my new favorite Obama quote:
From his 2004 debate at Northwestern U in Illinoise.
For years we’ve met in front of the old fed bldg. This year we’re meeting in the Wayne Morse Free Speech Plaza in front of the Lane Co. gummint offices and across from Eugene’s wonderfully eclectic Saturday Market. If you’re around, we’d love to see you, 12:00 noon.
I’m also soliciting comments on which wireless or satellite internet service I should utilize. I’m done w/ dial-up… dog, enough is enough. And I’m rural so I can’t get DSL or cable…
I saw a cartoon of the three monkey’s,,see no,,hear no and speak no but instead it was “Internet down,,can’t get facebook..OMG…I am alone!!!!!!
Medical marijuana – gateway drug
Recal people as 1985+ cir U.S. ‘Education’ man William Bennett and the Challenger Space shuttle’s “O” rings…
A bill legalizing marijuana for medical purposes has passed the Connecticut Senate. The state joins 16 others and the District of Columbia in enacting such legislation.
State senators voted 21-to-13 in favor of the measure early Saturday, after nearly 10 hours of debate dominated by bill opponent Republican Sen. Toni Boucher.
Democratic Gov. Dannel P. Malloy, who has said he supports the measure, is expected to sign the legislation into law.
Texas medical marijuana petition
To provide advanced natural medical care to the people of Texas. Far to long has this war on our health gone on. We want to see a new bill go out to senate and the house and for us, the taxpaying citizens of Texas have a legal way to seek medicine to improve our lives.
Even Tx is rattling swords at Kerli ;<)
Pete — superb post! You’ve done a far better job defending your charges of intellectual dishonesty than your opposition has in defending against those charges, IMHO. I eagerly await Dr. Kleiman’s rebuttal, with the hope that he will endeavor to keep his considerable wits about him this time. I do believe this post deserves a considered response from those whose policy proposals you critique.
I have to agree with you — it is not intellectually honest to argue for policies which include the continued criminalization of a majority of otherwise innocent people in order to reach a small minority who actually engage in the sorts of criminal behavior those policies are ostensibly designed to protect us against.
Your response (in the comments) to the commonly-heard and intellectually bereft expression of fear of increased abuse under legalization is the best I’ve heard yet:
Punishing people for what they might become is never a legitimate use of government power.
I’m going to remember that one, and use it often.
Your list of cop-outs is spot-on, to which I would add one: The commonly-heard defense of prohibition that ordinary users caught in possession are being diverted to treatment programs and mostly only dealers are being prosecuted with jail time. Growing marijuana for any use is classified as “manufacture of drugs”, which is in the same classification with “distribution of drugs”, and so is possession over very small amounts. This goes for other drugs as well. This cop-out also ignores the well-understood fact that the bottom of the black-market distribution chain is commonly user-to-user; friends and family dealing among themselves. I personally know several people who have done prison time for “trafficking” who were actually guilty of nothing of the sort.