Drug Prohibition: On It's Last Legs?

Discussion in 'Politics & Religion' started by Rearden Metal, Aug 26, 2010.

  1. Four years into the Great Depression, Alcohol prohibition collapsed under its own stupidity. Today, the Great Recession threatens the 'war on drugs' with an identical fate.

    You can see marijuana prohibition collapsing already. Locally, there's a glut of weed on the market like I've never seen before. Personal use generally results in a non-criminal, civil fine of about $75 these days. And that's in Illinois, a relatively backward state where medical marijuana doesn't officially exist yet. Even if California voters fail to decriminalize in November, weed prohibition is on borrowed time, on a national scale.

    The fate of the reefer-madness marijuana prohibitionist idiots is sealed- They're fucking done. Mark my words, marijuana prohibition is all but over in 2010. (And I'm certainly not someone who's ever been labeled an 'optimist' by anyone, ever.) The only question now is whether it'll only be marijuana that will soon be free of mass political imprisonment and senseless, needless suffering... or if the imminent collapse of prohibition laws will extend to other drugs as well. The following is one of the best articles I've seen recently on the subject: ~RM
    ______

    WE TRIED A WAR LIKE THIS ONCE BEFORE

    by Mike Gray

    In 1932, Alphonse Capone, an influential businessman then living in
    Chicago, used to drive through the city in a caravan of armor-plated
    limos built to his specifications by General Motors.
    Submachine-gun-toting associates led the motorcade and brought up the rear. It is a measure of how thoroughly the mob mentality had permeated everyday life that this was considered normal.

    Capone and his boys were agents of misguided policy. Ninety years
    ago, the United States tried to cure the national thirst for alcohol,
    and it led to an explosion of violence unlike anything we'd ever
    seen. Today, it's hard to ignore the echoes of Prohibition in the
    drug-related mayhem along our southern border. Over the past 15
    months, there have been 7,200 drug-war deaths in Mexico alone, as the government there battles an army of killers that would scare the pants off Al Capone.

    Now U.S. officials are warning that the vandals may be headed in this direction. Too late: They're already here. And they're in a good
    position to take over organized crime in this country as well.

    After decades of trying to stem the influx of illegal narcotics into
    the United States, it's clear that the drug war, like Prohibition,
    has led us into a gruesome blind alley. Drugs are cheaper than ever
    before and you can buy them anywhere. As Mexico's cash-starved
    government struggles to keep up the good fight, the drug barons rake in more than enough to buy political protection and military power while still maintaining profit margins beyond imagining. And what's driving this desperate struggle may be the ubiquitous weed:
    Southwestern lawmen say that marijuana accounts for two-thirds of the cartels' income.

    At last, the spectacular violence in Mexico has captured everybody's
    attention, and in an eerie replay of the end of alcohol prohibition,
    we may at last be witnessing the final act in the war on drugs.

    One hint of a shifting wind came in February, when a state legislator
    from San Francisco introduced a bill to tax, regulate and legalize
    adult use of cannabis. This sort of grandstanding is always met with
    derision, and this was no exception. But then something strange
    happened: California's chief tax collector said that the measure
    would bring in $1.3 billion a year and save another $1 billion on
    enforcement and incarceration. In a state facing an $18 billion
    deficit, suddenly nobody was laughing.

    Four days later Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard, who's no
    legalizer, said that he, too, thinks we should take another look at
    marijuana prohibition. "The most effective way to establish a virtual
    barrier against the criminal activities is to take the profit out of
    it," he told a U.S. Senate subcommittee.

    The next day, U.S. Attorney General Eric H. Holder Jr. announced a
    minor policy shift with enormous implications: The federal government would no longer go after groups that supply medical marijuana in the 13 states where it is legal. The Drug Enforcement Administration had been raiding dispensaries routinely, and dozens of patients and growers are behind bars today despite their legal status in California's eyes. Now that threat has vanished for those who comply with state law. For California, this amounts to de facto legalization.

    At his recent cyberspace town hall meeting, President Obama fielded a question about whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy. "No," he replied as the audience giggled. But that answer sheds no light on his actual thinking. Obama has already called the drug war an "utter failure." And since he himself is an admitted ex-toker, it's hard to believe that he'd cancel some kid's college education over a crime he got away with.

    Of course, resistance to marijuana legalization remains rock solid in
    Washington among those who can't face the failure of prohibition. But that has more to do with politics than science. The Department of Health and Human Services says that there are 32 million drug abusers in the country, but that includes 25 million marijuana smokers. If you strike them from the list, how do you justify spending $60 billion a year in this economy trying to stop 2 percent of the population from being self-destructive? It would be dramatically cheaper to follow the Swiss example: Provide treatment for all who want it, and supply the rest with pure drugs under medical supervision. (continued)
     
  2. Part 2:

    When we erected an artificial barrier between alcohol producers and consumers in 1920, we created a bonanza more lucrative than the Gold Rush. The staggering profits from illegal booze gave mobsters the financial power to take over legitimate businesses and expand into casinos, loan sharking, labor racketeering and extortion. Thus we created the major crime syndicates -- and the U.S. murder rate jumped tenfold.

    Fortunately, the Roaring '20s were interrupted by the Crash of '29,
    and when the money ran out, the battle against booze was a luxury we could no longer afford. Prohibition was repealed in 1933, and over the next decade the U.S. murder rate was cut in half.

    Today it's back up where it was at the peak of Prohibition -- 10 per
    100,000 -- a jump clearly connected to the war on drugs. And anyone who's watching what's going on south of the border can see that we're headed for an era of mayhem that would make Meyer Lansky and Frank Costello weak in the knees.

    Profits from the Mexican drug trade are estimated at about $35
    billion a year. And since the cartels spend half to two-thirds of
    their income on bribery, that would be around $20 billion going into
    the pockets of police officers, army generals, judges, prosecutors
    and politicians. Last fall, Mexico's attorney general announced that
    his former top drug enforcer, chief prosecutor Noe Ramirez Mandujano, was getting $450,000 a month under the table from the Sinaloa cartel.
    The cartel can of course afford to be generous -- Sinaloa chief
    Joaquin Guzman recently made the Forbes List of Billionaires.

    The depth of Guzman's penetration into the United States was revealed a few weeks ago, when the DEA proudly announced hundreds of arrests all over the country in a major operation against the "dangerously powerful" Sinaloa cartel. One jarring detail was the admission that Mexican cartels are now operating in 230 cities inside the United States.

    This disaster has been slowly unfolding since the early 1980s, when
    Vice President George H.W. Bush shut down the Caribbean cocaine
    pipeline between Colombia and Miami. The Colombians switched to the land route and began hiring Mexicans to deliver the goods across the U.S. border. But when the Mexicans got a glimpse of the truckloads of cash headed south, they decided that they didn't need the Colombians at all. Today the Mexican cartels are full-service commercial organizations with their own suppliers, refineries and a distribution network that covers all of North America.

    As we awaken to the threat spilling over our southern border, the
    reactions are predictable. In addition to walling off the border,
    Congress wants to send helicopters, military hardware and unmanned reconnaissance drones into the fray -- and it wants the Pentagon to train Mexican troops in counterinsurgency tactics.

    Our anti-drug warriors have apparently learned nothing from the past two decades. A few years ago we trained several units of the Mexican army in counterinsurgency warfare. They studied their lessons, then promptly deserted to form the Zetas, a thoroughly professional narco hit squad for the Gulf cartel, which offered considerably better pay.
    Over the past eight years, the Mexican army has had more than 100,000 deserters.

    The president of Mexico rightly points out that U.S. policy is at the
    root of this nightmare. Not only did we invent the war on drugs, but
    we are the primary consumers.

    The obvious solution is cutting the demand for drugs in the United
    States. Clearly, it would be the death of the cartels if we could
    simply dry up the market. Unfortunately, every effort to do this has
    met with resounding failure. But now that the Roaring '00s have hit
    the Crash of '09, the money has vanished once again, and we can no longer ignore the collateral damage of Prohibition II.

    Writing last month in the Wall Street Journal, three former Latin
    American presidents -- Fernando Henrique Cardoso of Brazil, Cesar
    Gaviria of Colombia and Ernesto Zedillo of Mexico -- declared the war on drugs a failure. Responding to a situation they say is "urgent in light of the rising levels of violence and corruption," they are demanding a reexamination of U.S.-inspired drug policies.

    Two weeks ago, a conservative former superior court judge in Orange County told the Los Angeles Times that legalization was the only answer, and of 4,400 readers who responded immediately, the Times reported that "a staggering 94 percent" agreed with him.

    This is another pivotal moment in U.S. history, strangely resonant
    with 1933. The war on drugs has been a riveting drama: It has given us great television, filled our prisons and employed hundreds of thousands as guards, police, prosecutors and probation officers. But the party's over.

    Here is a glimpse of what lies ahead if we fail to end our second
    attempt to control the personal habits of private citizens. Listen to
    Enrique Gomez Hurtado, a former high court judge from Colombia who still has shrapnel in his leg from a bomb sent to kill him by the
    infamous drug lord Pablo Escobar. In 1993, his country was a
    free-fire zone not unlike Mexico today, and Gomez issued this
    chilling -- and prescient -- warning to an international drug policy
    conference in Baltimore:

    "The income of the drug barons is greater than the American defense budget. With this financial power they can suborn the institutions of the State, and if the State resists . . . they can purchase the firepower to outgun it. We are threatened with a return to the Dark Ages."

    Ending prohibition won't solve our drug problem. But it will save us
    from something far worse. And it will put drug addiction back in the
    hands of the medical profession, where it was being dealt with
    successfully -- until we called in the cops.
     
  3. JamesL

    JamesL

    +1
     
  4. Ricter

    Ricter

    +1

    Though I don't think it will be anytime soon when your favorite drug is legal.
     
  5. olias

    olias

    I agree
     
  6. Great article.

    Marijuana will become legal first, and then hopefully that gets the ball rolling. The notion that we need the government to make drugs illegal so that we don't all become addicted is absurd. Let us take control of our own lives for fuck sakes.
     
  7. And when all the junkies are out of control because open drug use is legal then what...?

    Tell you what, I'll agree with making all drugs legal if I also get the right to shoot every junkie, stoner or pothead that interferes with my normal activities. Sound fair to you...?

    After all, why should the rest of us normal "squares" have to put up with people that have an “expanded conscience”, to the point where they can no longer differentiate right from wrong?

    Hey, drugs change your perception...! Ironically, drug users think that is a good thing but only because their perception has already been changed. The mind is a tricky thing! It is like saying “Alcohol makes me more sociable/likeable!” In reality, your new charm is only in your mind. Same with most drugs…
     
  8. What makes you think that if drugs were to become legal, all of a sudden we'd have all of these junkies and drug users running around causing chaos? It's your type of thinking that prolongs the "war on drugs" and makes it so costly and ineffective.

    If a person wants to use drugs, they're going to do so whether it's legal or not.

    I'm not saying give drug users full autonomy to do whatever they want...obviously there would still need to be rules and laws associated. I would have no problem if drugs were legal but had the same laws associated with them as alcohol:

    No drugs while driving.
    No drugs in public.
    Put the proper warning labels etc. same as cigarettes.
    Have a legal drug age, same as alcohol.

    I am not a drug user personally, but I have experimented and know my fair share of users. Most drugs are no more harmful than alcohol, some of them (such as marijuana) even less so.
     
  9. Same bullshit they said when trying to keep alcohol illegal.....

     
  10. I've already aired way too much of my own personal business on these boards, but mentioning one more thing might really help someone who needs it, so here it is: I went through a maximum-dose ibogaine trip a few weeks ago.

    Finding Ibogaine providers/sitters I could trust was challenging, and this is probably a significant deterrent to others who might be interested in seeing what ibogaine can do for them. Well, I know who to contact and where to go for ibogaine if you want it. The price is $3,000, and I personally vouch for these people. If you want the <i>safest</i> way to experience ibogaine (with doctors and real medical equipment around just in case) and the 1 in 300 mortality rate scares you, my contacts won't be of interest to you- just visit Dr. Mash in St. Kitts and pay triple what I did. But if you really want to do this and don't mind a bit more risk, feel free to ask me more...
     
    #10     Aug 28, 2010