Open Thread

Some nice takes on the prohibitionists who contributed to the U.S. News Debate Club:

bullet image Dr. Kevin Sabet’s Kinder Gentler Drug War by Russ Belville

Reading the supporting pieces from Dr. Kevin Sabet and David Brooks makes me wonder if we’re talking about the same Drug War that has killed 60,000 Mexicans, arrested 850,000 American pot smokers, and done nothing to combat actual drug problems. […]

When he advocates all these Kinder Gentler Drug War axioms like “treatment” and “prevention”, always bring it back to the personal, casual pot smoker. Does a person who smokes a joint once a year at Willie Nelson’s Texas Jam need a mandatory 12-month drug treatment program? Should the government send SWAT teams into people’s homes in the middle of the night to prevent them from smoking a joint? He’ll try to play the “we don’t actually do that to casual users” card, which you can either follow up with concrete examples of people this has happened to (easy enough to Google) or by asking “Why not? Are you conceding that some people can be marijuana users without being abusers? And if so, why does the law treat them like abusers?”

bullet image A Comically Dishonest Defense of the Drug War by Scott Morgan

My favorite part is Kevin Sabet’s attempt to make the drug war sound about as wholesome as a hug from a nun, which he accomplishes by pretending no one ever gets arrested for doing drugs.

Seriously, just take for example this one item from Sabet’s list of things he likes about the drug war:

Intervention: If individuals do start to use drugs, we know that brief interventions (by doctors, coaches, parents, faith leaders, or others) do a pretty good job at stopping the progression of use from non-dependence to addiction.

Others!? Really, Kevin? By “others” did you by any chance mean “cops with machine guns, battering rams, drug sniffing dogs, and flash bang grenades? Cause if you wanna talk about intervention…well that’s who’s been intervening. When the government hears you might have MARIJUANA in your basement, they don’t send a “faith leader” to talk to you about it.

bullet image Governor Christie Calls ‘War on Drugs’ a Failure

He says the right thing about the war being a failure, and it’s good to see yet another major figure (who isn’t a “legalizer”) say so. He doesn’t, however, have the right solution — mandatory treatment for all first-time offenders.

bullet image
Singapore scraps mandatory death penalty for drug couriers

Singapore is to change its law so that convicted drug couriers no longer receive a mandatory death sentence.

The deputy prime minister, Teo Chee Hean, told parliament on Monday the government will seek to give judges the discretion to instead award life sentences to drug couriers if they co-operate with authorities or have a mental disability.

Wow! What a wellspring of enlightenment! They’re looking to move up in their status to merely grossly uncivilized.

bullet image Mike Riggs on 3 Accounting Tricks the Obama Administration Uses to Hide the Cost of the Drug War

Interesting piece on just some of the deception used.

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23 Responses to Open Thread

  1. Bruce says:

    Power corrupts, what uncorrupts? Begging, Pleading, Letter writing, Diplomacy, along with Yelling, Banging on and Breaking things do not appear to work. More unfunded research required.

  2. Paul says:

    I think Russ Belville messed up, the supporting pieces in US News & World Report were from Kevin Sabet and David EVANS. (not David Brooks)

  3. Well, I am gonna tell ya something. If the prohibs try to turn this marijuana thing over to rehab and treatment through the prosecution and drug court brain washing of the pot smokers they are all going to start sounding like Sabet. Ballpark 95% of pot smokers do not need rehab or have a problem.

    Anything to keep the prosecutions of pot smokers flowing.

  4. allan says:

    that phrase – psychopharmacological McCarthyism – keeps coming to my mind, it just fits so many, so well. Gov Christie wears it like a coat of many colors. For Sabet of course it’s a flag, a belief system and a way to stay employed. Watch out Kev-Kev… pot smokers, like that elephant in the room, don’t forget.

    The drug war reminds me of that old joke:

    Q – how do you get flies out of the kitchen?

    A – you put a bucket of shit in the living room.

  5. Dante says:

    Over and over again, the polls show that We The People strongly favor an end to the drug war. Just as often, our elected leaders reject an end to the drug war.

    People, use your vote this coming November to get rid of any politician who still supports ANY PART of the drug war.

    Let’s all send a message even the idiots in Washington DC will understand.

    Vote Out The Drug Warriors!

    • claygooding says:

      DC and most state capitols need to flush the entire legislature and roto-rooter their bureaucracies,,we need an oil change bad in our government.

  6. Duncan20903 says:


    The article linked below isn’t that interesting, but the venue is very interesting IMO:

    U.S. Attorneys Crack Down on California Medical Marijuana Dispensaries

  7. Duncan20903 says:


    It makes no difference which substance is painted as the “gateway” the entire theory is a patently absurd post hoc ergo propter hoc logical fallacy. Still, it gives me a warm fuzzy to notice that there are people putting the free pass extended to drinking alcohol under a microscope. I’m still looking for an answer to the question: “what’s the gateway substance to Alcoholics Anonymous?” To date I haven’t seen a single sycophant of prohibition even attempt to answer that question.

    Alcohol not Marijuana Triggers Drug Abuse in Teenagers
    If you want your kids to stay away from drugs, then you might want to keep teenagers off alcohol because a new study says that long term drug abuse is likely to occur due to alcohol, not marijuana, use.
    By Amber Moore
    July 11, 2012

    • Francis says:

      I’ve always thought that alcohol made more sense as an actual “gateway” drug. It impairs judgement and increases risk-taking behavior. How often do people decide to try “hard” drugs for the first time while under the influence of alcohol, e.g., maybe they’re at a party where those drugs are being used by others?

    • Francis says:

      BTW, I was thinking about making an addendum to Francis’ Law: while drug warrior claims regarding cannabis are the complete opposite of the truth, they can almost always be applied accurately to booze. Booze, unlike cannabis, really does cause cancer and kill brain cells. It actually does play a huge role in vehicle fatalities. Its abuse actually can make you fat. Reefer Madness might be a myth, but “alcohol psychosis” is very real. Drinking booze while you’re pregnant really can harm your child. Alcohol, unlike cannabis, IS addictive, so much so that it’s possible to die from withdrawal in extreme cases. So would I be surprised if alcohol turned out to be a true “gateway” drug? Not in the least.

      • claygooding says:

        That is what pisses me off the most about prohibition,,I am tired of being persecuted for being intelligent enough not to use booze.

  8. Servetus says:

    More surveillance technology – a new laser scanner is being marketed whose makers claim it can detect single molecules of anything at a distance:

    “Within the next year or two, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security will instantly know everything about your body, clothes, and luggage with a new laser-based molecular scanner fired from 164 feet (50 meters) away. From traces of drugs or gun powder on your clothes to what you had for breakfast to the adrenaline level in your body—agents will be able to get any information they want without even touching you. And without you knowing it.”

    One thing about an instrument as allegedly accurate as In-Q-Tel’s laser scanner is that it’s subject to failure due to random contaminations.

    One can imagine a patriotic American citizen walking into an airport with a small, plastic snuff box, one holding a gram or two of pollen hash. The snuff box is opened, an innocent looking sneeze ensues that sends pollen throughout the airport, and voila! Instant sensor overload.

    Simple, direct, and there’s no practical way to completely remove the pollen contamination in the airport if the hash has been properly dispersed.

  9. claygooding says:

    “”He says the right thing about the war being a failure, and it’s good to see yet another major figure (who isn’t a “legalizer”) say so. He doesn’t, however, have the right solution — mandatory treatment for all first-time offenders.””

    Governor Christie is the “new” drug warrior,,speaking out of one side of his mouth about the failure of the war on drugs while still maintaining and even increasing the war on marijuana.

    He has used every possible excuse to keep mmj laws voted in by the people of his state being enacted and even after 3 years,it still has yet to be implemented.

    He is under investigation now because of his connection to his election manager/long time friend and their ownership of a bunch of halfway houses,,making money off the prison industry out-processing the people getting out of prison that Christie probably put in there when he was a prosecuting attorney,,scumbag from the word go.

    • kaptinemo says:

      Actually, there’s nothing new about this; McCaffery used to do the same thing under Clinton. In fact, that’s when the ‘paradigm shift that isn’t’ began.

      That’s when the prohibs realized the public’s tolerance for ‘law n’ order!’ was starting to be eroded by the cost of all that ‘law n’ order’, so to try to deflect the inevitable criticism, they began to talk up ‘treatment’ for those who don’t need it, as the intended targets – cannabists – were easy meat. They tried to reinvent themselves, when the old Biblical injunction stands: By their works, ye shall know them.” And they are still the same old DrugWarriors; mouths full of honey, hands full of murder.

      But nothing can change the fact that it’s getting harder and harder to justify spending money on the DrugWar and not on, say, kid’s school lunches, food stamps, or housing, or elder care or…well, you get the idea. And so does the public, when you’re that blunt.

      • thelbert says:

        substance abuse free environment has changed their moniker to students and family enrichment. i could use some family enrichment, but i doubt this money burning organisation is going to make my family any richer. weasels burning money are not going “save america” or any other country.

  10. Byddaf yn egluro: says:

    Amy M. Schreiner of the Department of Psychology at the University of Central Florida recently led a study that looked at 33 existing meta-analyses of cognitive impairment experienced by heavy cannabis users. The goal of the study was to determine whether the negative effects of cannabis use, such as memory impairment, attention, and executive functioning issues persist after use has stopped.

    Thirteen of her studies included users who had abstained for 25 days, while the others had shorter abstinence periods. This allowed her to review a number of factors contributing to the negative symptoms. For instance, those experiencing withdrawal may have had additional problems with anger, irritability, anxiety, or even depression as a result of stopping their drug use. However, when Schreiner examined all of the variables and reviewed all the studies, she was unable to prove that the residual effects of cannabis caused cognitive impairment.

    When Schreiner looked at studies that included heavy cannabis users evaluated during states of extreme intoxication, she found some statistical impairments in memory, learning, and attention. But she was unable to provide evidence of long-lasting impairment. Specifically, the participants demonstrated no significant cognitive deficiencies once the intoxication period ended. Additionally, Schreiner found no symptoms of impairment in the individuals who had abstained for 25 days. In conclusion she said, “These results fail to support the idea that heavy cannabis use may result in long-term, persistent effects on neuropsychological functioning.”

Schreiner, A. M., Dunn, M. E. (2012). residual effects of cannabis use on neurocognitive performance after prolonged abstinence: A meta-analysis. Experimental and Clinical Psychopharmacology. Advance online publication. doi: 10.1037/a0029117

  11. Peter says:

    Tetrapak heir:

    “Prince Charles, with whom Hans Kristian Rausing is said to be on first-name terms, has described him as “a very special philanthropist” because of his support for drugs charities.”

    Funny how rich and famous junkies get lauded by the likes of prince charles when he wouldn’t deign to piss on the rest of us

  12. Peter says:

    “Pete’s Couch” in prohibitionist ad from 2006…. guess you probably saw it at the time?

    • Matthew Meyer says:

      I think Michele Leonhart was mad at Pete, or something.

      • allan says:

        it was a case of them having the couch first… but they abused it. We, being the responsible citizens that we are… appropriated the couch from them.

        It was a very clandestine operation and I’m not free to disclose the names of those who, in a daring early morning raid (and yes, we stopped for coffee and donuts)(rrrrr… they stopped for coffee and donuts), absconded w/ the ONDCP’s couch, tied it to the top of a rusty VistaCruiser and stealthily brought it here to the REAL Pete’s place. Of course it was modified at some point to hold virtually an uncountable number of potatoes.

        I DARE say no more…

        • darkcycle says:

          Better not tell ’em what we …er…they, left in the ONDCP offices in place of that couch… I wonder if they got that smell out yet, or if they had to rip that whole carpet up and throw it away…

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