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Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War 

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Old 04-20-2012, 01:09 PM
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Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

http://www.forbes.com/sites/artcarde...-the-drug-war/


April 20 is the counter-culture “holiday” on which lots and lots of people come together to advocate marijuana legalization (or just get high). Should drugs—especially marijuana—be legal? The answer is “yes.” Immediately. Without hesitation. Do not pass Go. Do not collect $200 seized in a civil asset forfeiture. The war on drugs has been a dismal failure. It’s high time to end prohibition. Even if you aren’t willing to go whole-hog and legalize all drugs, at the very least we should legalize marijuana.

For the sake of the argument, let’s go ahead and assume that everything you’ve heard about the dangers of drugs is completely true. That probably means that using drugs is a terrible idea. It doesn’t mean, however, that the drug war is a good idea.

Prohibition is a textbook example of a policy with negative unintended consequences. Literally: it’s an example in the textbook I use in my introductory economics classes (Cowen and Tabarrok, Modern Principles of Economics if you’re curious) and in the most popular introductory economics textbook in the world (by N. Gregory Mankiw).The demand curve for drugs is extremely inelastic, meaning that people don’t change their drug consumption very much in response to changes in prices. Therefore, vigorous enforcement means higher prices and higher revenues for drug dealers. In fact, I’ll defer to Cowen and Tabarrok—page 60 of the first edition, if you’re still curious—for a discussion of the basic economic logic:

"The more effective prohibition is at raising costs, the greater are drug industry revenues. So, more effective prohibition means that drug sellers have more money to buy guns, pay bribes, fund the dealers, and even research and develop new technologies in drug delivery (like crack cocaine). It’s hard to beat an enemy that gets stronger the more you strike against him or her."

People associate the drug trade with crime and violence; indeed, the newspapers occasionally feature stories about drug kingpins doing horrifying things to underlings and competitors. These aren’t caused by the drugs themselves but from the fact that they are illegal (which means the market is underground) and addictive (which means demanders aren’t very price sensitive).

Those same newspapers will also occasionally feature articles about how this or that major dealer has been taken down or about how this or that quantity of drugs was taken off the streets. Apparently we’re to take from this the idea that we’re going to “win” the war on drugs. Apparently. It’s alleged that this is only a step toward getting “Mister Big,” but even if the government gets “Mister Big,” it’s not going to matter. Apple didn’t disappear after Steve Jobs died. Getting “Mr. Big” won’t win the drug war. As I pointed out almost a year ago, economist and drug policy expert Jeffrey Miron estimates that we would have a lot less violence without a war on drugs.

At the recent Association of Private Enterprise Education conference, David Henderson from the Naval Postgraduate School pointed out the myriad ways in which government promises to make us safer in fact imperil our safety and security. The drug war is an obvious example: in the name of making us safer and protecting us from drugs, we are actually put in greater danger. Without meaning to, the drug warriors have turned American cities into war zones and eroded the very freedoms we hold dear.

Freedom of contract has been abridged in the name of keeping us “safe” from drugs. Private property is less secure because it can be seized if it is implicated in a drug crime (this also flushes the doctrine of “innocent until proven guilty” out the window). The drug war has been used as a pretext for clamping down on immigration. Not surprisingly, the drug war has turned some of our neighborhoods into war zones. We are warehousing productive young people in prisons at an alarming rate all in the name of a war that cannot be won.

Albert Einstein is reported to have said that the definition of insanity is doing the same thing over and over again and expecting different results. By this definition, the drug war is insane. We are no safer, and we are certainly less free because of concerted efforts to wage war on drugs. It’s time to stop the insanity and end prohibition.

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Old 04-20-2012, 07:26 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

the government has brainwashed me to hate drugs and drug users. I honestly cant help it but i also cannot help but see the logic behind legalizing it.

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Old 04-21-2012, 02:45 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

If I could run the country starting this moment I would:
Continue with current laws for a year or so, saving all the drugs.
Build government run all-in-one dispensary/rehab/counseling that would sell USDA approved drugs. (Would give lots of jobs for construction and workers)
Pass a law legalizing drugs with a prescription. The prescription wouldn't be given for a need, more to record a person's information. Anyone with a prescription using government aid would have their benefits reduced unless they underwent rehab.
Take all the drugs saved over the year and put them in the dispensaries. This would flood the market with cheap prices, causing many drug dealers to find alternative ways to make money.
Release the non-violent drug offenders from prisons. This would take about 200,000 people out, saving around $40k/year per person (about $8 billion).
Launch a media campaign encouraging people to stay drug free but if they do use, avoid any non USDA approved drugs.
Set up a program that would pay people $100-$500 for turning in their guns, no questions asked.

There would probably be more things I'd do but that's the stuff I came up with in a couple minutes.

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Old 04-21-2012, 06:02 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

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Originally Posted by Brometheus View Post
the government has brainwashed me to hate drugs and drug users. I honestly cant help it but i also cannot help but see the logic behind legalizing it.
By making something illegal, it's been proven not to stop people using it, selling it or making money from it. Prohibition hands control and loadsa cash to criminals. If it were legal, the government would have control and tax the shit out of it. I'm a pot smoker and want it to stay illegal. Can I go to a store and buy tobacco with no additives? No, and that will happen with weed.

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Old 04-21-2012, 08:39 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

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Originally Posted by pbaj12 View Post
$100-$500 for turning in their guns, no questions asked.
You'd be dead within a few weeks. Bribing to disarm.
There are some crazy mofos out there who wouldn't like that at all.

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Old 04-21-2012, 08:42 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

and 500 bucks isn't even enough to buy a Glock 17. People would see that they are losing money and instead keep them.


Then the ones addicted to opiates (for example) would realize that they can just use the power that the gun gives them to rob people thus getting more money for drugs.

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Old 04-22-2012, 01:50 AM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

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Originally Posted by Brometheus View Post
the government has brainwashed me to hate drugs and drug users. I honestly cant help it but i also cannot help but see the logic behind legalizing it.
The logic is we have gone the route of harsh prison sentences, prohibition etc etc and all it has done for us is put a larger percentage of our people in jail than anywhere else on Earth.
Prohibition does not work anywhere, never has never will..... Alcohol should have taught us that.

So here we are, putting guys in jail for smoking pot and footing the bill for it.
Ever see how much it costs to keep a guy in prison for a year? So instead of taxing the hell out of it, controlling the sale of it, we're losing a ton of money on it, and that money is going to the Mexican Cartels.
Make any sense?

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Old 04-22-2012, 04:35 AM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

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Originally Posted by bigmikeymike View Post
You'd be dead within a few weeks. Bribing to disarm.
There are some crazy mofos out there who wouldn't like that at all.
I don't quite understand your logic there. If someone offered me money to buy any of my guns, I would simply so no if the price wasn't good enough. I wouldn't try to kill them for offering.

There are already programs like this, they usually give $50-$200 in gift cards to local stores. They get a turn out of a few hundred to a few thousand guns. You're not being forced to turn anything in, it's purely an option. They don't take any information from you and many illegal guns have been turned in during these events.

Quote:
Originally Posted by bigmikeymike View Post
and 500 bucks isn't even enough to buy a Glock 17. People would see that they are losing money and instead keep them.


Then the ones addicted to opiates (for example) would realize that they can just use the power that the gun gives them to rob people thus getting more money for drugs.
The idea of paying money for unwanted guns is to get them off the street..not to pay people money so they can go buy guns or make more money than the value of the gun. Like I said above, they already have programs that pay less than what I said and they pay in the form of gift cards..and during these events they have up to thousands of guns turned in.
Offering money to people to turn in unwanted guns isn't going to suddenly cause people to realize what they can do with them.

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Old 04-22-2012, 04:54 AM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

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Originally Posted by rob666 View Post
The logic is we have gone the route of harsh prison sentences, prohibition etc etc and all it has done for us is put a larger percentage of our people in jail than anywhere else on Earth.
Prohibition does not work anywhere, never has never will..... Alcohol should have taught us that.

So here we are, putting guys in jail for smoking pot and footing the bill for it.
Ever see how much it costs to keep a guy in prison for a year? So instead of taxing the hell out of it, controlling the sale of it, we're losing a ton of money on it, and that money is going to the Mexican Cartels.
Make any sense?
Actually many prison sentences aren't very harsh. A lot of times you can enter a good plea. I've heard of people who got caught importing weed and they did 1 day in jail for every pound they had. To keep it simple let's say a pound is worth $1000. If you tried to bring in $100k worth of drugs, that's a decent amount of cash..if you get caught you do about 3 months in jail. Average pay for Americans is about $26k/year so doing things by the book doesn't always get you the most money.
Yes, the U.S. has more people in prison than anywhere else. It's sad and we are all footing the bill. A lot of people don't understand that we have to pay for everything too..I don't remember who it was but some guy on death row had heart issues and we had to spend a couple million dollars to give him heart surgery.
Yes, prohibition doesn't work. Much better off encouraging people to not use them, anti-smoking has seemed to work decently.

I did the math not too long ago and it's $40k a year average per inmate in CA. Fun fact, there's some prisons that have contracts that they have to have a high percentage (like 98%) of the prison full at all times.
On top of losing money from taxes/sales, we are spending tons of money to curb the import/export of drugs/weapons/money. Let's see we have about 20,000 Customs and Border Patrol agents make an average $64k a year, there's about $1bil more being spent than needs to be. We can't secure our borders, there's simply too much land.

I still don't think drug legalization has a chance. One way or another our government is making serious money on it. I wouldn't be surprised if they are the biggest cartel out there and if they are, they hate competition. They're the biggest arms dealer and people thousands of miles away in DC don't give a shit about the little guy, as long as they get their money. Check into how the Contras were funded. Or the increase of drug exports from Afghanistan after the war started. We do a lot of shady stuff trying to be the world police...

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Old 04-22-2012, 12:28 PM
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Re: Forbes: "Let's Be Blunt. It's Time to End the Drug War

Quote:
Originally Posted by rob666 View Post
The logic is we have gone the route of harsh prison sentences, prohibition etc etc and all it has done for us is put a larger percentage of our people in jail than anywhere else on Earth.
Prohibition does not work anywhere, never has never will..... Alcohol should have taught us that.

So here we are, putting guys in jail for smoking pot and footing the bill for it.
Ever see how much it costs to keep a guy in prison for a year? So instead of taxing the hell out of it, controlling the sale of it, we're losing a ton of money on it, and that money is going to the Mexican Cartels.
Make any sense?
uhh.. yea it makes sense.. thats why i said "i cannot help but see the logic behind legalizing it"..

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