Drug policy that shows us up

Still not perfect, but here are two examples of drug policy that help to drive home just how incredibly horrendous is U.S. policy.

bullet image Netherlands: ‘You will not be arrested for using drugs’: What a sane drug policy looks like

Cocaine alert

Now a truly good policy would have cocaine legally regulated so you don’t unexpected ingredients in your cocaine, but this is far better than what we would do.

bullet image Canada: Canada Begins Prescribing Heroin to Those Already Addicted

Canada has become the first country in North America to implement a medically prescribed heroin dispensing program. Often called ‘heroin maintenance programs,’ these initiatives help heroin addicts who fail to respond to conventional treatment, typically methadone.

This kind of program has been proved effective for years, and yet we still are unwilling to consider anything like it in the U.S.

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43 Responses to Drug policy that shows us up

  1. strayan says:

    From time to time legal products are contaminated (food, pharmaceutical products etc) and need to be recalled. It’s pretty common to see ‘product recalls’ broadcast on TV. Companies want to put things right as soon as possible.

    This doesn’t happen on the black market.

    Another failure of drug prohibition.

  2. cy klebs says:

    Michigan legislature has in spite of rulings enacted screening the poor. The bottom line; Both parties are not enacting these practices. What next, whiz survey lance for a firearm license?

  3. jean valjean says:

    Sorry to go ot quite so soon but I watched Pot Cops for the first time last night. The program focussed on the cops raiding grows in Humbolt county.
    This was a totally biased piece of propaganda. Focussing on the “fun” the cops were having doing overnight stake outs etc, (no mention of the massive overtime payments though). At one point one of the cops referred to growers as “cockroaches” who only come out when the cops turn the lights on. At one point, when it seemed there would not be enough evidence to bring charges, the cops decided that they’d take the kids into care…some “what about the chilluns” talk. The cops kept complaining that the law prevents them from fighting the drug war (nobody goes to jail etc.)
    Needless to say there was no discussion whatever about how the drug laws create dangers to all concerned, including the cops. Programs like these are probably Kevin Sabet’s main source of information on cannabis and prohibition. If the makers had any sense of balance or presenting reality, they would have interviewed some reformers like Ethan Nadelson. I would also be interested to learn how this show is funded (clearly there is a substantial contribution from the tax payer in the form of police time and access.

  4. NorthAmericaPlaysCatchUp says:

    In November 2008, 68 percent of Swiss voters approved the legalized regulation of heroin.


    In many cases, patients’ physical and mental health has improved, their housing situation has become considerably more stable, and they have gradually managed to find employment. Numerous participants have managed to reduce their debts. In most cases, contacts with addicts and the drug scene have decreased. Consumption of non-prescribed substances declined significantly in the course of treatment.

    Dramatic changes have been seen in the situation regarding crime. While the proportion of patients who obtained their income from illegal or borderline activities at the time of enrollment was 70%, the figure after 18 months of HAT was only 10%.

    Each year, between 180 and 200 patients discontinue HAT. Of these patients, 35-45% are transferred to methadone maintenance, and 23-27% to abstinence-based treatment.

    The average costs per patient-day at outpatient treatment centers in 1998 came to CHF 51. The overall economic benefit – based on savings in criminal investigations and prison terms and on improvements in health – was calculated to be CHF 96. After deduction of costs, the net benefit is CHF 45 per patient-day.

    • strayan says:

      Good video about that here: http://youtu.be/Cco4BT-KDK8

      • Irie says:

        The reduction in numbers from the ’90s to present day are incredible, (heroin users, violent crimes related to heroin use, and deaths) related to this program. This is taking thinking to a whole other level. Applause, applause leaders in Switzerland!

        • Duncan20903 says:


          The prohibitionist cohort hasn’t managed to get past the failure of “Needle” Park when the conversation turns to the non-medicinal use of heroin in Switzerland.

          Prohibitionist: Don’t you know that the Swiss have admitted that the “Needle” Park program was a failure and had to be cancelled. [insert gratuitous mention of the Opium Wars]

          Non lunatic: “Needle Park” was in fact a gross failure of public policy and had to be shut down. What the Swiss didn’t do was they didn’t revert to a different gross failure of public policy which they also acknowledge is a proven failure. They kept on looking for a public policy which works. Why is it that the American Ignorati refuses to admit that its favorite failed public policy is in fact a proven, epic failure of public policy and is determined to keep our society stuck in the muck of their preferred political pigpen? [insert gratuitous snark about how Chairman Mao financed the communist revolution by selling opium and opium derivitave products.]

          Here’s some Duncan produced boilerplate to chew on:

          A better idea would be to admit that the absolute prohibition of cannabis is the utter failure that it is and quit assigning the duties of production, distribution, and quality control to organized criminal syndicates.

          With every passing day our lives get worse, less safe and our birthright of freedoms as Americans is chipped away a little more. In the 1930s authorities were able to look at the mess that they’d made with the 18th Amendment and admit that they had screwed up. Prohibition didn’t work then, and it doesn’t work now. The only difference today is that the authorities simply don’t have the strength of character to admit that they’ve failed, and failed miserably so that we can start to repair the damage that prohibition has wrought on our society.

    • Duncan20903 says:


      Whenever I mention the Swiss vote in 2008 I like to point out that Swiss voters were voting to make the 15ish year old Swiss HAT program permanent. The voters weren’t taking a leap of faith in that vote. They had a decade of first hand observation of the policy so they knew exactly what they were doing.

  5. Irie says:

    Granted this is just a clip, and maybe his anti-Nazi ways won’t make him popular with other cops in other jurisdictions, but I think he gets it, I really do.




    Too many similarities, not funny but ironically true.

  6. divadab says:

    Ya the prescription heroin program in Vancouver is a good program but they had to sue the federal government to continue this and a safe injection site (Insite) as the ruling CON party has been trying to shut them down for years.

    This is the same CON federal government that eliminated MMJ patients’ right to grow their own in favor of a regulated oligopoly of for-profit corporate growers.

    The only way to overcome this kind of unjust dominion by reactionary authoritarians is to keep fighting and use the Citizens’ initiative process. And vote Liberal in 2015 in Canada and throw out the CONs!

    • divadab says:

      I’d say vote NDP in Canada in 2015 but they are prohibitionists – their leader, Tom Mulcair, is categorically against legalization of the herb.

      • Nunavut Tripper says:

        Mulcair said if he was in power he would rescind the LP’s growers licences.
        The only choice in Canada if you want some chance at enacting sensible cannabis laws is the Liberals.

  7. NorCalNative says:

    As a business model, killing off your customers is a short-term strategy at best.

    But seriously, what kind of CRIMINAL INTELLIGENCE or STUPIDITY would perpetrate a Heroin-for-Cocaine scheme?

    Insane law enforcement? Street dealer turf war? Some opportunistic but incredibly stupid kids who found someone’s stash? WTF?

    This is a story that I’d really like to know the ending and who was responsible. I suspect this was NOT an accidental act and that intrigues the fuck out of me.

    • Dante says:

      Totally agree. The motive behind swapping heroin for cocaine escapes me. The market does not support it, and when you go against the market – you lose.

  8. Servetus says:

    Amsterdam’s health policies rest on a civilized approach to government, a recognition outlined in the Dutch constitution that defines the government’s role as helping to ensure the health, happiness, and wellbeing of Dutch citizens.

    In international dealings, a country’s national character is judged by how it treats its citizens. A nation that belittles its own people for simple and harmless acts of non-conformity can be expected to mistreat other countries and other people the same way. This idea has underwritten U.S. foreign policy since it was introduced with the Marshall Plan in 1947. Today, it correctly depicts how the United States treats much of the rest of the world, along with other citizens of the world, and it explains the dissension the U.S. experiences in its current foreign relations.

    In the United States, the right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness is mentioned in the Declaration of Independence, not its Constitution. That is unfortunate. The constitutional oversight allows corporatist entities controlling the government to reap huge profits by making war on American citizens and engaging in solutions that are purely eliminationist. Eliminationism is the tool of tyrants – “No man, no problem,” as Joe Stalin liked to say. Unfortunately for governments, it can also be a tool of revolutionaries.

    Ending prohibition and the drug war will make for a more humane country for its citizens. It will encourage civilized and more humanitarian treatment of other foreign peoples and countries. It’s not just about the drugs.

    • Plant Down Babylon says:

      Well spaketh brother.

      Brought joy to my heart to read that.


    • Duncan20903 says:


      From time to time I wonder why the heck didn’t the Founding Fathers include a specific right to privacy in the Bill of Rights. My thoughts are split two ways. 1) The FFs thought that the right to privacy is so cut and dried that they didn’t need to actually spell it out. -or- 2) When considered in its totality the Bill of Rights actually does protect the citizens’ right to privacy because they protected every element that constitutes a right to privacy. I think they weren’t aware of the cohort of people who are committed adherents to the Humpty Dumpty school of sophistry.

      They did include life and liberty in the 5th. I’m sitting here trying to come up words to protect a right to the pursuit of happiness. I often ruminate about how the absolute prohibition of cannabis has severely diminished my pursuit of happiness. But couldn’t it be argued that re-legalization impacts the sycophants of prohibition pursuit of the same? Wouldn’t it impact Ozzy Fudd’s pursuit of happiness if he couldn’t strive to kill the wabbit? That made me remember that only the pursuit of happiness would be protected. It’s not a guarantee that you will in fact get to kill the wabbit.

      Also, it annoys me that they didn’t even mention the pursuit of trivia.

      PS Ozzy is Elmer’s son.

      • Windy says:

        Actually, Thomas Jefferson preferred to use the unalienable right to life, liberty, and property in the Declaration of Independence, but deferred to others by changing it to “pursuit of happiness”. But the right to property IS mentioned in the BoR,in the 4th Amendment.

        • B. Snow says:

          IIRC, This was more a philosophic argument about the phrasing (most of them would have founf the two concepts very closely linked and *nearly interchangeable*, but they didn’t want to appear “shallow” (or whatever this exact term would be?

          They wanted to it to sound less materialistic & avoid the notion that they had anything improper in their lives or behaviors/habits/etc that might be construed as improprietary (?) = Such that they needed to spell out their right to keep it private.

          And, you’re right that most of this would be covered by the 4th Amendment. There was very similar language in writing of the day and that these men were (almost certainly) familar with:
          aka – John Locke’s – “Second Treatise on Government” and therein his views on Both the State of Nature and Property to quote the wiki = to help make my point here and in case of editing

          In the Second Treatise, Locke claims that civil society was created for the protection of property.[12] In saying this, he relies on the etymological root of “property,” Latin proprius, or what is one’s own, including oneself (cf. French propre). Thus, by “property” he means “life, liberty, and estate.”

          Although, I’m (in a way) more a fan of his thoughts on Self-Ownership…

          But,that’s also a very closely connected concept = Locke uses it to anchor his theory that even without government – we would – at the very least own ourselves.

          Which is my foundation for the argument of cognitive liberty- and the right each of us has to seek ‘altered states of consciousness’, And that no one has the right to publically belittle another over such choice as one of selfishness or hedonism = that somehow harms society via some etheric “message” sent to their children, their children are not my concern.
          If they feel a need to isolate their kids from society and/or popular culture – that too is not my problem.

          Nor (IMO) is that a particularly wise ‘parenting strategy’, but that’s a whole other topic… Then again they might dispute that as well, at which point I drop the politeness and pleasantries. And tell them where they can take their opions and shove’em!

  9. DdC says:

    B.C. judge gives absolute discharge for man caught growing 414 pot plants http://metronews.ca/news/vancouver/1228736/b-c-judge-gives-absolute-discharge-for-man-caught-growing-414-pot-plants/ via @vancouvermetro

  10. allan says:

    OT… so why the hell is Mark K Lieman involved in this?

    January 13, 2015
    Medicinal Marijuana and Cancer: An Expert Panel
    Thomas Strouse, MD; Garth Terry, MD, PhD; Mark Kleiman, PhD

    Is he the cancer they will be discussing?

  11. DdC says:

    Uruguay Registers Cannabis Growers’ Clubs,
    Taking Another Step Towards Legal Pot

    Back in the Untied States of Anemica

    “The Catch 22 for cannabis is that, in effect, the government states, “There are no studies that prove cannabis safety, therefore, it should remain in a class of dangerous drugs that are prohibited from scientific study.” Because cannabis has not been studied, it is a Schedule I drug. Because it is a Schedule I drug, it cannot be studied.”
    ~ David B. Allen M.D. 18 Jul, 2014″ Safe Access (ASA) .pdf
    The political repression of the scientific study of cannabis.

    Report: Federal Monopoly Obstructs Medical Marijuana Research

    “Marihuana leads to pacifism and communist brainwashing”
    ~ Federal Bureau of Narcotics Chief Harry J. Anslinger, 1948

    California Cops Are Trained ‘Marijuana Is Not A Medicine’

    “At DEA, our mission is to fight drug trafficking in order to make drug abuse the most expensive, unpleasant, risky, and disreputable form of recreation a person could have.”
    – Donnie Marshall,
    Administrator of the Drug Enforcement Agency (DEA)

    “[Marijuana] is highly intoxicating and constitutes an ever recurring problem where there are Mexicans or Spanish-Americans of the lower classes.”
    ~ New York Times- Dec. 3, 1933 – Pg. 6, Sec. 4.

    “Investigator found abandoned in fields in Iowa and Minnesota between 12,000 and 15,000 pounds of harvested hemp — enough to make thirty billion [Marihuana] cigarettes and to drug the whole population of the United States.”
    ~ THE CHRISTIAN CENTURY – June 29,1938

    “Marihuana influences Negroes to look at white people in the eye, step on white men’s shadows and look at a white woman twice.”
    ~ Hearst newspapers nationwide, 1935

    “I want a Goddamn strong statement on marijuana, I mean one that just tears the ass out of them. You know, it’s a funny thing, every one of the bastards that are out for legalizing marijuana is Jewish.”
    ~ Richard M. Nixon

    “We have spent over a trillion dollars trying to eradicate the world’s most beneficial plant off the face of the earth. Imagine what a better world this would be if that money had been spent on treatment, education and studying the medical benefits of marijuana.”
    ~ Steve Hager – High Times Editor (1988 – 2003)

    “The results of the study are predictable, so no one should be surprised! Not one of the medical schools surveyed had a department of endocannabinoid science or an ECS director. None of them taught the endocannabinoid science as an organized course. Only 21 of the 157 schools surveyed had the ECS mentioned in any course. 21/157 = 13.3% In the United States of America, only 13% of the medical schools surveyed teach the endocannabinoid science to our future doctors.”
    ~ Survey of the Endocannabinoid System in Medical Schools”

    “The anti-marijuana campaign is a cancerous tissue of lies, undermining law enforcement, aggravating the drug problem, depriving the sick of needed help, and suckering well-intentioned conservatives and countless frightened parents.”
    ~ William F. Buckley, Jr.

    “Narcotics police are an enormous, corrupt international bureaucracy … and now fund a coterie of researchers who provide them with ‘scientific support’ … fanatics who distort the legitimate research of others.”
    ~ William F. Buckley, Jr. Requiescat In Pace
    Commentary in The National Review, April 29, 1983, p. 495

    “Not only are we here to protect the public from vicious criminals in the street but also to protect the public from harmful ideas.”
    ~ Robert Ingersoll, then Director of the Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs, in a column by Jack Anderson in the Washington Post, June 24, 1972, p. 31 (Ingersoll became the first director of the DEA in 1974)

    “Ideas are more powerful than guns.
    We would not let our enemies have guns,
    why should we let them have ideas.”
    ~ Joseph Stalin

    “Does not think that the narcotic [Marihuana] can be used here to any extent. If it were being sold in wholesale quantities, somebody would be getting violent,”-
    ~ Chief of Detectives Herbert A. Schultz
    BELOIT DAILY NEWS (Beloit, Wisconsin) Feb. 10, 1938 pg1.

    “There is a point at which the law becomes immoral and unethical. That point is reached when it becomes a cloak for the cowardice that dares not stand up against blatant violations of justice. A state that supresses all freedom of speech, and which by imposing the most terrible punishments, treats each and every attempt at criticism, however morally justified, and every suggestion for improvement as plotting to high treason, is a state that breaks an unwritten law.”
    ~ Kurt Huber,
    The head of “White Rose”,
    killed by the Nazis in 1943.

  12. darkcycle says:

    Sort of O/T, sort of not.
    Center for Cannabis and Social Policy does a great job of sorting through the Nixon Tapes and laying out the actual motives and process behind Nixon’s creation of NIDA and the Controlled substances act.
    Hint (as if you needed one): It was hate, racism, and political expediency. Science and scientists were the enemies.

  13. Mr_Alex says:

    In regards with this, I think the best thing is that for the prohibitionist is relegate them to a religious cult where their opinions and lies are liable for public scrutiny from the public and even the scientific profession itself, they are a cancer to society and will do anything to back up their own lies and agenda to keep prohibition going, there is a article that I have seen on the Internet that illustrates this kind of mentality from the prohibitionists, I believe the time to stop funding these anti cannabis groups should be seriously considered:


  14. NorCalNative says:

    Great analysis on the prohibitionist mindset and why good and decent drug policy is so hard to achieve.

  15. Duncan20903 says:


    It seems that Santa Clause voted against Measure 2 in Alaska. Well that’s just dandy. I’ve had the book I’m writing sitting on the shelf neglected for far too long. Actually he isn’t in the book except for the title: “Santa Clause Is A False God”. I think I’m going to write a chapter just for him. Somebody has to expose the truth about this creep. Why in the world would anyone let the patron saint of prostitutes sneak into their home in the dead of night to ply their children with candy and toys?

    Regulating marijuana on the local level: City, borough governments need to set up rules before the state does to meet community expectations.

    Although Ballot Measure 2 won in most precincts within the borough, there were clear areas of opposition.

    A majority of voters casting ballots in the city of North Pole, for example, opposed Measure 2.

    Is this what some people might call snowballing?

  16. CatchUp says:

    Despite objections from the Spanish central government The Autonomous Community of Navarra have passed a law that legally regulates cannabis clubs. The law was brought before the Navarra Parliament as a Popular Legislative Initiative and with more than the needed 10,000 signatures.

    The law has already been approved, and is just waiting to be published in the Official Gazette of Navarra, and shall enter into force on the same day. Once this happens, possibly next week, the central government delegate for the National Plan on Drugs has promised to give an official response.

    The Autonomous Community of Navarra is the first region in Spain to pass such a law.


  17. divadab says:

    And on the Prohibitionist front, here’s what the Canadian government is wasting taxpayer dollars on: a non-functional link from a paid ad concerning how powerful the dreaded marijuana has become:


  18. DdC says:

    December 7, 2014
    Actually, Thomas Jefferson preferred to use the unalienable right to life, liberty, and property in the Declaration of Independence, but deferred to others by changing it to “pursuit of happiness”. But the right to property IS mentioned in the BoR,in the 4th Amendment.

    Fourth Amendment
    The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

    The right to property is not absolute and states have a wide degree of discretion to limit the right to property in the public interest.

    Forfeiture $quads
    eminent domain
    The power of a government to take private property for public use without the owner’s consent, provided just compensation is given.

    Regardless how it ends, the entire phrase is a series of prerequisites one must have to reach either a chance to pursue happiness or to own property. Can’t Pursue happiness or own property without having Liberty. One can’t have Liberty until one has Life and therefore the prerequisites of Life are also gauranteed. Food, Clothing, Housing, Healthcare, Education and a means of sustaining them or having them sustained.

    “Life, Liberty and the pursuit of Happiness” is a well-known phrase in the United States Declaration of Independence. The phrase gives three examples of the “unalienable rights” which the Declaration says has been given to all human beings by their Creator, and for which governments are created to protect.

    Hemp and Ganja provide the prerequisites for Life. So the government is obligated to let the people grow it.

    High on Hemp
    Hemplastic or Fossil Fools Crud

  19. thelbert says:

    there is no reason for their war on “drugs” except to wage war on nixon’s percieved enemys. the reason for wasting a trillion dollars is a politcal snit by the republicans. no real science behind any of it. just hate. who would have thought that?

    • DdC says:

      Wasting a trillion dollars is not considered wasted by those on the receiving side of it. As long as shadows can be cast to create enough doubt to keep it going. Win or lose prohibitionists stop getting paid. Their money is in keeping the war. Tax dollars or keeping out competition. State by state incremental illness doesn’t stop it. Obama can remove it as a controlled substance. If he lowers it then Fat Pharma keeps the profits and the war on us will continue. Since the gitgo it has always been corporate profits and government taxes paying those to maintain the war. No different today. I seriously have to question their sanity on spending a trillion dollars to keep me safe from Ganja and I’m still a happy toker. Probably better spent elsewhere. Nixon was a Neocon with the Blue Dawgs and Dixiekrats wearing a GOPer title. Like Bidon and Clinton with Krats. Probably Obama but I don’t see him as having much clout. Now they own the Neocongress and most of the Supremest Court. I see no logical way to fight a corrupt system within a corrupt system. Could be why it has lasted 3/4th of a century.

      A very lucrative hoax…
      A Trillion spent on the Ganjawar is a Trillion in the Pockets of Prohibitionists.

  20. primus says:

    not to mention another trillion in law enforcements pockets.

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