Stupid Government Tricks

You may have heard recently that the UK government had a study come out (after they tried to suppress it) that basically showed that enforcement has no significant effect on drug use — that the drug war is not only destructive, but ineffective.

Tougher Drug Laws Don’t Work, Finds “Supressed’ UK Government Study

The report – the government’s first evidence-based study into drugs policy – was not released without incident however, as Liberal Democrat drugs minister Norman Baker accused his Conservative coalition partners of “suppressing” it.

“The reality is that this report has been sitting around for several months,” Baker told the Guardian. “I’ve been trying to get it out and I’m afraid that I believe that my coalition colleagues who commissioned the report jointly don’t like the independent conclusions it’s reached.”

Here’s another article discuing it in the Western Morning News: Fear and loathing in the War on Drugs

I’ve often spoken of prohibition as being like using a sledge hammer. This article had another nice analogy:

The War on Drugs is a bit like using a chainsaw to get rid of facial hair.

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23 Responses to Stupid Government Tricks

  1. divadab says:

    Tories are authoritarian twits. Imagine pulling a Nixon over forty years after the event. Schaffer was right. And this most recent study is also right. The War on (some out of patent protection) drugs is a war on good sense.

    It’s embarassing the leadership in the UK recently – first Blair and now this Cameron cad. What’s happened to Britain’s elite? Collective head injury? I suppose they do drink rather a lot……..

  2. When it comes to stupid government tricks, I assume the USA to be the leader of the pack. We have led the way on drug war.

    Now that it has become painfully obvious to all that the war on drugs is NOT the way, will we still lead on a global front, or are we destined to drag our tail between our legs and follow in shame? Washington wise up. Its time to lead again. End the Federal suppression of marijuana. End the war on drugs once and for all.

    Stop selling chainsaws.

  3. Duncan20903 says:


    “Government is the entertainment division of the military industrial complex.” ~~ Frank Zappa

  4. darkcycle says:

    It’s a tradition. Going all the way back to LaGuardia. Prohibitionists want very specific results, and if they don’t get what they want, they will pretend it doesn’t exist.

  5. Servetus says:

    The British government’s response to the latest drug report is purely reactionary, what Corey Robin referred to as “the felt experience of having power, seeing it threatened, and trying to win it back.”

    The Old Guard’s gurus are gored, flayed, and nailed to the Internet wall. Prohibitionists find themselves deserted by Millennials. Old age is taking its usual toll. The morality of public health turns out to be a moral panic, devoid of health issues, filled instead with misinformation and hypocrisy. Victims of the drug panic are demanding compensation, if not justice. And there are a lot of them. Not just the drug POWs themselves, but the relatives, friends and acquaintances of drug war victims have suffered.

    Prohibitionists need to plan for the inevitable. Now may be the time to stock up on supplies, and buy that second home in Paraguay. I hear the Bush family owns a large ranch there.

  6. Ned says:

    Something I never see mentioned by leaders in anti-prohibition movement is what that study confirms by other research. Prohibition is absurdly inefficient. Take a 24 period in a defined region, and imagine (because it’s impossible to know) how many drug misdemeanors and felonies occurred, ALL of them, every incident of possession, sales, distribution, and production. Every joint lit and shared, every wholesale transaction, EVERYTHING. It’s all prohibited crime. Then consider how much of that activity was actually caught by police. As a percentage of the total, the number is teeny tiny. something way under 1%. Like 1/10th of 1% or probably even less. How can such an absurdly inefficient policy be remotely defensible.

    Then look at rates for real crimes, like armed robbery, rape, murder. Those acts are far less frequent and solved at far higher rates. They make sense to pursue in every way, of course, but even in terms of efficiency they do. I’d love to see this question posed to a drug warrior at a congressional hearing. So, Mr. Warrior, what percentage of ALL drug violations do you catch on any given day? Remember this is a zero tolerance full prohibition where every single act no matter how small is a crime. What could he possibly say? Well, lies certainly, but if held to real facts by the questioner, then what.

    If it weren’t so ridiculously inefficient, maybe prohibition would have made progress in quelling all that activity, as it is, it mainly props up prices and profits while mildly limiting competition.

    • Steve says:

      > … How can such an absurdly inefficient policy be remotely defensible?

      > … props up prices and profits while mildly limiting competition.

      There you go. Prohibition is all about the money. The money, though, is about much more than drug prices, drug profits and drug competition.

      Good thing we had these drugs policies around to enable sidestepping congress with respect to US support for the Nicaraguan Contras, and wrt weapons for the enemy of our friend in Iraq. Good thing they were still around when it came time to implement mass surveillance. Don’t forget that everything is part of the grand scheme, and in the grand scheme of things, drugs policy is still useful theater and diversion.

  7. jean valjean says:

    I might even vote for the Lib Dems if they keep this up. Both Conservatives and Labour have drunk the drug war koolaid and are never going to rock the prohibition boat. A lesson applicable to third parties in both UK and USA.

  8. .

    And now for something completely different: In the Wisconsin Gubernatorial campaign Democrat candidate Mary Burke has accused Republican candidate Scott Walker of using marijuana to entice young voters away from voting for her and/or just to confuse the public. Perhaps Ms. Burke is just trying to differentiate herself from the Libertarian candidate Robert Burke?
    Pro-weed ads prompt blunt exchange between Walker and Burke campaigns

    • primus says:

      If you are, indeed ‘a man with 3 buttocks’, one would assume you have two anuses (ani? anui?), one between each pair of cheeks. If so, is one for solids, the other for venting, or are they each multi-purpose? How do you manage to use the toilet? One at a time? Sounds complicated. Either way, it must require extreme concentration and muscle control. Also, props to your tailor.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        It’s all explained in the linked interview primus. Just click on my single use screen name. I’ve got to presume that you’re not a big fan of Monty Python, eh?

        • primus says:

          I am a fan. I was raised on Carry On movies and other British humour by my English Mom. I appreciate all those British comedy shows except for Fawlty Towers. I have and will watch anything Python (Monty) put out, even though I have seen all of them several times over the years. My favourite MP movie is Life of Brian followed closely by Meaning of Life, then Holy Grail. Didn’t like Jaberwocky or Live at the Hollywood Bowl.

  9. Nunavut Tripper says:

    Complications of abusing gateway drugs.

  10. Duncan20903 says:


    I thought that when the Feds didn’t get their desired results they just fired the researcher for breach of contract? (see: Tashkin)

    But more seriously, DC aren’t you forgetting about The Indian Hemp Drugs Commission Report completed in 1894? . You know, I’ve never actually read more than a few pages of that report. Now you really can’t blame me when you consider that the report is “comprised of some seven volumes and 3,281 pages.” The link above is not to the report but to a synopsis of the report written by Tod Mikuriya, M.D. (If anyone isn’t familiar with Dr. Mikuriya, IMO you might find some people who are more credible on this issue than he is but you’re not going to find more than a handful. You may also end up channeling Diogenes and sleeping in a barrel.) So does everyone know that Dr. Mikiyura came to be such a staunch advocate of medicinal cannabis because he was on the Shafer Commission? He didn’t have a big role serving as a consultant, but it’s what shaped the rest of his personal life. That’s per his own words:
    Dr. Tod Mikuriya: The Lost Interview, Berkeley, California, 2004
    It appears that politicians who like prohibition suffer from a congenital brain defect that prevents them from understanding that research scientists who qualify for inclusion on a blue ribbon panel just aren’t going to produce results to order. It has to be some kind of brain defect considering how many times that they’ve tried to do just that and failed miserably.

    • cannabis_policy_wonk20903 says:


      Well I’ll be an uncle’s monkey, I just found a 1931 report produced by the Federal government while looking for the link to the 1894 study. It debunks one of the more annoying pieces of hogwash perpetrated by the prohibitionist parasites and their sycophants. The one where they rewrite history and claim that use of drinking alcohol declined substantially when our Country was bearing the burden of the stupidity of the 18th Amendment. Of course we know that prohibitionists are easily played for chumps by people dressed in lab coats who speak in somber tones of authoritative gravitas. But still it really is frustrating to not be able to disprove nonsense claims, e.g. prohibition works, even a little bit. Here the evidence has been sitting there at the Schaffer Library of Drug Policy for the entire time I’ve been looking.

      Report on the Enforcement of the Prohibition Laws of the United States National Commission on Law Observance and Enforcement (The Wickersham Commission Report on Alcohol Prohibition)
      Dated January 7, 1931

    • darkcycle says:

      You are correct, the Indian Hemp commission report had actually slipped my mind. It’s a very OLD tradition….
      As for the Wickersham commission report….nice work, Duncan your obsessive-compulsive disorder comes through for us once again. That lil’ gem will get used for sure. It sure is good to have an ob-comp around who doesn’t flip out about the mess on the couch and environs.
      Here, have a canna-butter cookie. I still have some left from dosing those trick or treaters.

      • primus says:

        DC: I know you’re kidding. You know you’re kidding. Couchmates know you’re kidding. The problem is, THEY don’t know you’re kidding. I can see it now; They gloat on their blogs about dosing children at Hallowe’en with canna-butter cookies. I just don’t think it’s a good idea to joke about that.

        • Duncan20903 says:


          You can take this with a grain of salt if you like but if we ever do have occasion to see any children fed edibles on Halloween night the most likely suspects would be the “people” sitting on the other side of the table. That just could have possibly been a severe body blow to cannabis law reform coming so close to Election Day. I can’t say that I have ever met a prohibitionist, whether parasite or sycophant, who was unwilling to bald faced lie in order to maintain the embrace of the absolute stupidity of the absolute prohibition of cannabis. They’re just not honest people.

          For about 4 days leading up Halloween I’ve had this really sick feeling that there would be at least one or perhaps even more prohibitionists would hand out infused candy to the urchins in order to sabotage tomorrow’s vote.

        • darkcycle says:

          Ah, humor is truly dead.
          No dosed kiddies turned up on halloween, Primus. And I posted that Nov. 3rd. That should under no circumstances require a snark disclaimer.
          But if you insist…. /snark/

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