Visualization of the inappropriateness of criminalization

This infographic on drug use and problematic drug use is nothing new to us, but helps to visually point out how criminalization is a broad sledge hammer that is wrong in two ways: 1. It mostly punishes those who are non-problematic users, and 2. Those who are problematic users need something more helpful than a sledge hammer.


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17 Responses to Visualization of the inappropriateness of criminalization

  1. Randy says:

    “But… but…. but… if people get the idea that drug usage can be benign in their lives, well…. that sends the wrong message…. think of the message to the children….Hitler.”

    I think that pretty well covers the drug warrior response. It’s the confirmation bias of drug warriors that causes them focus solely on the problem users and to ignore the benign usage that is the reality of most drug users. They see what they want to see and ignore the things that don’t play up to their biases.

    Excellent poster.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Sending messages? Is that anything like how a schizophrenic hears voices? This one is (boilerplate) from the “the message I sent was not received or if it was, was not believed” category:

      Often an idiot prohibitionist will ask, “what kind of message does it send the children if we make hippie lettuce legal?” When I hear this I often reflect back to my own childhood. I spent a lot of time watching first run Adam West Batman shows, all the cartoons on Saturday morning, and every month you’d find me waiting anxiously for the mail carrier to bring the new edition of Mad Magazine.

      I don’t know, perhaps today’s youth is different. Perhaps they’re holding their breath while waiting to hear speeches made by their favorite politicians on TV, spend Saturday morning watching re-runs of Congressional highlights on C-Span, and anxiously await their mail carrier to arrive with the latest edition of The Congressional Record. But for some unknown reason, I don’t think so.

      I’ve spent many sleepless night wracking my brain to recall the first time I ever got a message from a politician. Based on that reflection I’m confident that the first message that I got from a politician was sent to me shortly after I first registered to vote in 1980. That message was, “vote for me and send me money.” In the intervening 3.4 decades I’ve gotten thousands of messages from politicians, all of them more or less identical to the first.

      Before worrying about the contents of a message being heard by the “wrong” people, I would think that you would first want to establish if that cohort is even aware that the message is even being transmitted..

      • Crut says:

        Children barely even listen to their own parents/guardians. (Lot’s of variables here)

        This straw-man argument about “sending the wrong message to kids” is based on the wholly ignorant assumption that the kids are listening to anyone outside their small (but ever expanding) circle.

        The thing about any prediction is that it is always a guess. Any idiot can create a prediction that if worded the right way becomes a belief for millions.

  2. claygooding says:

    Would you vote for a candidate that supports ending the war on drugs that is causing law enforcement to become a militarized terrorist organization?

    • claygooding says:

      I don’t know how long MSNBC will run the poll but each of us should have one posted there.

      Post your link so we can share on FB & twit.

  3. Uncle Albert's Nephew says:

    When I was in rehab decades ago the staff baldly asserted that anyone who had used an illegal drug ever is an addict in need of “treatment”. You were willing to break the law ergo you’re an addict. It was that simple to them.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      I particularly get a sense of morbid amusement when the parasites definition of “addiction” is based on local law. For example, that someone is an “addict” if he breaks the law to get high. So that means that most of us American merrywanna “addicts” wouldn’t be “addicts” were we to move to Uruguay but not change our personal custom of enjoying cannabis at all.

      Has anyone noticed that the idiot prohibitionists are already saying that Uruguay is about to reverse it’s decision? For the love of christmas can’t these people even wait until the law is fully implemented before cheering its demise? Yeah, yeah, yeah,l wishful thinking, no doubt.

      • jean valjean says:

        how does that diagnosis work in Co. and Wa. i wonder? i guess you d be a federal addict not a state one.

        • darkcycle says:

          It comes down to “Were you driving with metabolites in your system?” Because if you are arrested for dwi in Wa, you are faced with one, and only one choice: You go to court and lose or plead guilty, you will lose your license for two years and spend from one day to a year in jail, or you “voluntarily” enter treatment, via court diversion. So, Viola! at the click of a handcuff, you’re an addict.

    • Randy says:

      Ah, the old “Use is Abuse” canard from the drug warriors.

      • Paul McClancy says:

        In their eyes, anyone who uses drugs to “alter” consciousness is a drug abuser. Alcohol somehow escapes this because the drug itself is diluted in a beverage. In theory one can imbibe booze without psychoactive effects, but in practice…

        • Uncle Albert's Nephew says:

          They’re not monolithic. The “treatment” industry would bring back the Volstead Act tomorrow if they could. That way they could make “addicts” out of anyone who drinks at all.

  4. mike says:

    In MI. the Medical Marijuana fund has 23.5 million of
    which LEO is wanting 3 million for traning and education.

    How about spending the same on Education showing how
    Cannabis has helped many.

    Why not fund Dr.Sisley’s PTSD study as both AZ. and MI. have PTSD as qualifying conditions for cannabis use.

    IF LEO can get 3 million of the fund money surly the same can be spent showing the benifits of Cannabis
    after 80 years of propaganda against this valuable plant.

  5. Ned says:

    The early prohibitionists saw criminalization as the “no compromise” message on the morality of use issue, also as the strongest deterrent. Their view was that the choice to use was voluntary and so they had no sympathy for those suffering harsh consequences at the hands of the “Justice” system. What they failed to realize is that drug use enforcement is so inefficient, that it gets so few of the users out there on any given day that over time criminalization lost much of its intended deterrent value. It just hammered an unfortunate few out of the total of users at any given point of time.

    Also of course those early Prohibitionists felt use of these unfamiliar substances was by “others”, black and brown people, not white anglo saxon protestants, so the harsh measures that go with criminality were fine to focus on “them”. And hopefully such extreme tactics would prevent white youths from taking an interest in those substances. That actually sort of worked, up till the late 60s. Of course it remains a tool for the white majority to oppress minorities.

  6. allan says:

    speaking of appropriate visualization… there is a commercial running for I think Amer Excess credit cards (might be Chase, but I think AE). Near the opening of comm’l the camera pans a wall and the clock on the wall, what time does it show? 🙂 yep. Honest Scandinavian.

  7. DdC says:

    TransformDrugPolicy ‏@TransformDrugs
    Prof Mark Kleiman takes the WSJ to task on the link btwn cannabis legalisation & dependence:


    Poor Mark… Seems he’s afraid of becoming a SAM lite? Says some things that get me to recheck the author and then has to find a way to collar the people and attach them to spending taxes. Addicted to Regulations? What part of picking a bud and rolling a joint needs taxes spent? How many processing the paperwork and shooting dogs or blowing up babies in their cribs? The family pays for. High tax on top of small quantities high price leaves a majority relying on the underground. Homegrown has obstacles under state law and more in dark age territory. Cannabis in any form is not physically by definition a controlled substance. That is the starting point. Until the corporate profit interest is removed from any regulatory body, there is no priority for citizen safety. FDA or EPA or USDA and especially the DEA. Listing strain, thc content and weight from an Apothicary would be logical and useful. Not punishment based police lobbied crap.

    The entire point made on addiction is a moot point. The number of addicts has no bearing on anything. Too many have walked away from using cannabis to call it addictive. Those who choose to use are choosing. Their choice. But for the sake of argument, so be it. So fucking what? There is no organ damage. Lung or Heart problems. No violent red zone rage. No hairy palms or man-boobs. No missed time at work. No stumbling, slurred words or the smell of fresh vomit. No reckless driving or even an attempt to rob the 7 11 for drug money. No narconon required or even any decent hallucinations. So the word itself serves their hysteria more than the definition of the word. The reality of it is that anyone addicted to just about anything is risking more harm because of the drug worrier demonizing, spreading gossip and the actual flesh and blood punishments. From job loss to forced rehabilitation or even prison. The adulterated street dope is because of prohibition as well as driving up costs. OK, Hi, I’m DdC and I’m a Ganjaholic, sue me! On second thought, Eat Me! Tax Products Not Plants. Remove it as a controlled substance. Regulate bad behavior regardless of what causes it. Driving, ball games or shopping. We have regulations to deal with tangible offenses, the kind with victims. Any compromise with rehashed Anslinger gossip is flat out dysfunctional. Profits and tax incentives wasted on lame propaganda and intimidation. Still demonizing large groups of citizens based on religious superstition and greed. Incremental illness is curable. Obama can if he’s man enough.

    Colleges, Mindful of Federal Rules, Draw Ire by Keeping Stiff Bans
    Although medical marijuana has been legal in Massachusetts for nearly two years, many local colleges are putting out the message to students as the fall semester nears: You still can’t use it on campus, even if a doctor says its medicinal.

    The Drug War Means Never Having to Say You’re Sorry
    Habersham County officials say they do not plan to pay for the medical expenses of a toddler seriously injured during a police raid.

  8. Pingback: Graphic On Drug War |

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