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Time To Discuss Drug Prohibition?

kdawson posted more than 5 years ago | from the with-your-remaining-brain-cells dept.

Government 1367

gplus writes "December 5th was the 75th anniversary of the end of alcohol prohibition in the US. The Wall Street Journal has an op-ed which argues that now may be the time to discuss our war on drugs and the drug prohibition currently in place. The article argues that the harm caused by the banned substance must be balanced against the harms caused by the prohibition. As to why Americans in 1933 finally voted to end prohibition, while we barely even discuss it: 'Most Americans in 1933 could recall a time before prohibition, which tempered their fears. But few Americans now can recall the decades when the illicit drugs of today were sold and consumed legally. If they could, a post-prohibition future might prove less alarming.'"

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SMOKE (5, Funny)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026947)

SMOKE

Re:SMOKE (5, Funny)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027185)

ARE YOU SMOKING YET?

Re:SMOKE (5, Interesting)

cayenne8 (626475) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027317)

Heheh..good one.

But seriously....Why is it that it took a constitutional amendment to start prohibition of alcohol, and bring it back...but, other drugs have been taken out of public use by the swipe of a pen?

I wish someone could bring that suit forth...sure would have some MAJOR repercussions if that case could win through the court system....any millionaires out there that have some free time, and want to bring this suit forth?

Dear God Yes (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026965)

And while you're at it, can you get rid of Copyright too? Let's try zero copyright and zero drug prohibition for a period of n years, then do an empirical analysis to determine what harm has resulted and come up with policy that rectifies that harm. Then have another n year trial to determine if that policy is working.

Re:Dear God Yes (2, Insightful)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027019)

Copyright is specified in the Constitution. Drugs? Not so much. Why should drug prohibition require nothing more than a law when alcohol prohibition required a constitutional amendment? Oh, and the original excuses for banning drugs: black folks on cocaine or mexicans smoking marijuana might rape your white daughter.

Re:Dear God Yes (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027043)

Copyright is specified in the Constitution. Drugs? Not so much.

I think you're one of these people who thinks copyright can't be abolished because the Constitution gives Congress the power to create copyright. That power is optional.

Re:Dear God Yes (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027173)

If they have the optional power to do something specified, what kind of power do they have to do something that isn't specified?

Re:Dear God Yes (0, Offtopic)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027235)

Oh dear. This is not constitutional law 101.

Re:Dear God Yes (5, Interesting)

NuclearError (1256172) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027039)

Seriously. Laws used to have "sunset clauses" that would cancel the law a few years after it was enacted unless it was voted otherwise. I understand that some New Deal era laws that are detrimental, like some subsidies, are still in existance because they were not given sunset clauses a few senators threaten to filibuster their repeal. Bringing this sort of policy back to laws would probably do wonders in convincing congresspeople into considering new possibilities.

Or better yet (5, Funny)

kbrasee (1379057) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026969)

Let's just bring back alcohol prohibition.

I wouldn't hold my breath (5, Insightful)

The End Of Days (1243248) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026971)

The war on drugs makes a lot of money for a lot people on both sides of the law.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (5, Insightful)

shbazjinkens (776313) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026981)

The war on drugs makes a lot of money for a lot people on both sides of the law.

As a taxpayer, I disagree.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (5, Insightful)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027061)

You just aren't one of the people on one of the sides that is profiting. Not everyone on both sides of the law could profit, or it would be perpetual money motion.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (1)

Hal_Porter (817932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027095)

Well it's not like you have any say in the matter. Pay up or go to jail.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (4, Funny)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027351)

Wait, what about my $200?

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (2, Insightful)

Truekaiser (724672) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027103)

allot of police districts get most if not all their funding from seized drug money because there are laws in place that allow them to take a portion of the seized money to their by fund said activities.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (4, Insightful)

srjh (1316705) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027109)

As a taxpayer, you're not one of the "a lot people on both sides of the law". Doesn't mean they don't exist, or that they don't have an enormous vested interest in keeping drugs illegal.

Think of it like the broken window fallacy [wikipedia.org] . It's a fallacy that smashing a shopkeeper's window is doing a good thing for the economy, but it's not a fallacy to suggest that there are some people who would benefit from smashing the window.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (5, Insightful)

jefu (53450) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027319)

Hmm. Let's see :
  • Drug offenders do community service. The right organizations profit.
  • Drug offenders go to jail. The guards unions profit.
  • Drug offenders go to jail. The companies that use prison labor (at pennies on the dollar) profit.
  • Drug offenders go to trial. The prosecutors profit (promotions etc).
  • Drug offenders go to trial. The politicians profit (re-election).
  • Drug offenders have assets seized. Police departments profit.
  • Drug offenders are arrested. Individual cops profit (promotions etc.)
  • Drugs cross the border (and are discovered or not). Border patrol profits.
  • Corporations sell equipment to police etc. Corporations, stock owners profit.
  • Drug dealers sell drugs. Drug dealers profit.
  • Drug dealers go to jail. Drug dealers lose. At least until they get out and get their stashed money and continue the process.
  • Drug dealer, cartels spend their money. Lots of people profit.
  • Drug dealers, cartels invest/bank/... their money. Banks (etc.) profit.
  • Drug cartels sell drugs. Drug cartels profit.
  • Drug cartels pay off politicians, law enforcement... Politicians, law enforcement... profit.
  • Drug users hide, go to jail... Drug users lose.

More profit than not, I'd say.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (1, Interesting)

postbigbang (761081) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027361)

I'll agree that there's a profit motive.

But you don't speak about the abyss of drug addiction, the income-sapping expense, the parents of kids that forget parenting while doing drugs, the accidents on the freeway, the madness of things like meth addiction and its incredible debilitating affects on the body.

Or how the drug cartels live in lawlessness just below the border in muderous droves.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (1)

Joelfabulous (1045392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027015)

But holding your breath might make some drugs more effective!

Just remember, you can smoke it, but if you want a shot at the big leagues, don't inhale. :)

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (1)

bogjobber (880402) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027035)

Not too mention that it's a hell of a red herring for politicians too use when reality threatens to ruin their campaign promises. Poverty and crime getting too much to handle? Well, it's those damn drug dealers and users. If we increase their prison sentence, that should fix everything, right?

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027121)

Exactly! As a concerned citizen, I must say that the criminals should not benefit from their crimes. If it takes legalization to take away their market, then legalize it, and regulate its distribution if it actually is dangerous.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027139)

Yes, police officers and departments that operate on both sides of the law can make a lot of money getting kickbacks and seizing property. Don't expect them to support legalization.

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (2, Insightful)

denmarkw00t (892627) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027273)

The war on drugs makes a lot of money GO AWAY. There is no way that anyone is making money from the war on drugs except maybe sellers, and even they don't make much. If you're in a good position of dealing drugs, chances are your day will come and your arrest will lead to much of that ill-gotten $$$ being taken away. On the other side, law enforcement and gov't only lose money fighting the war on drugs. Prison space, personnel to staff these prisons, paying law enforcement agencies to crack down on drugs, SWAT teams, raids, propaganda, etc. The gov't would only stand to benefit from lifting of some prohibition - mainly the taxed and controlled sale of marijuana. I don't agree with lifting prohibition on some other drugs, like cocaine, heroine, and some psychedelics, at least not without proper "training" or preparation. Still, there isn't much good to spending tons of taxpayer money to keep drugs illegal, and we lose more lives to improper (or complete lack of) knowledge about drugs. I know more people who have had bad experiences on drugs because no one told them HOW TO USE THEM PROPERLY who were not deterred from trying them by the "war." All D.A.R.E. did for me was teach me what drugs looked like and gave me a neat bumper sticker (still rockin' it too, from the 80's. Ungh).

Re:I wouldn't hold my breath (2, Insightful)

Frosty Piss (770223) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027285)

The war on drugs makes a lot of money for a lot people on both sides of the law.

Indeed it does. Here's an interesting Web site...

www.NoJailForPot.com [nojailforpot.com]

Yes it's time. (5, Insightful)

Gabrill (556503) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026975)

When the majority of the population can be convicted of a crime at one time or another, then it's proveable that the action is not sufficiently damaging to be a crime. Those RIAA bastards are profiting immorally and should be disbarred! Oh wait, we're onto drugs now? In that case, I maintain my statement.

Last 3 presidents (5, Informative)

olddotter (638430) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027203)

When Obama takes office, I think that makes 3 US presidents in a row that have (at least off the record, but perhaps on tape) admitted to using or been caught using illegal recreational drugs. It does seem to make the laws hard to defend morally.

Re:Last 3 presidents (-1, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027377)

Umm, how exactly does any single person's personal history with drugs have anything to do with how society and government choose to handle their legality?

The Office of the President != the guy who won.
The government ! = the people who we elected.
The law != morality.

Re:Last 3 presidents (2, Insightful)

Iamthecheese (1264298) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027391)

There are two kinds of laws. The first type are those that reflect society's standards and morals, perhaps with delays. The second type of laws are those that reflect tyranny.

Yes and No... (2)

Lord Kano (13027) | more than 5 years ago | (#26026989)

I'll start off with this. I do not use any illegal drugs and have not for the past 5 years. The only illegal drug that I have ever used is marijuana.

I am completely in favor of decriminalizing marijuana and LSD use. I am in favor of using diamorphine(Heroin) for emergency pain relief like they do in europe.

I'm not quite ready to support decriminalizing cocaine, and I am strongly opposed to legalizing methamphetamine.

LK

Re:Yes and No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027025)

I can see weed, acid, as they are generally not harmful to anyone (but the user's mind in the case of acid). And heroin for the purpose it was designed for. But why not cocaine? It's a natural drug, and the users generally seem to be pretty harmless.

Re:Yes and No... (1)

porcupine8 (816071) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027041)

Hell, cocaine is legal for medical use right now. They gave it to my sister when she was TWO to widen her nasal passages after she got a rock stuck up her nose.

That's right, marijuana is Schedule 1 but cocaine is only Schedule 2.

As for non-prescription use, I'm in favor of legalizing anything that's not physically addictive for the majority of the population. Things that are addictive, sure people should just not start if they want to stay healthy, but after a few uses they're not capable of making an informed decision. (Of course, that means nicotine is out, which I do think is how things should be but I know they never will be.) If it's not addictive, though, you're choosing it every time you do it, it's up to you.

Re:Yes and No... (1)

Yvan256 (722131) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027421)

I'm in favor of legalizing anything that's not physically addictive for the majority of the population.

Tell me about it! They're not taking away my internetz from me! No sir!

Hey wait, who the hell are you and who let you in here? HEY! Let goa offfa ofa a mya ea eakyeyboarda ayou daamnd abastaadsard!!!%$@#TW] NO CARRIER

Re:Yes and No... (2, Informative)

blitziod (591194) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027047)

oddly enough cocaine and heroin( in many forms morphine for example) can be proscribed. Cocaine is used in hospitals for surgery to slow bleeding. Grass however can not be prescribed it is NOT scheduled.

Re:Yes and No... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027283)

If by "grass" you mean marijuana, it is very much scheduled: schedule 1, the "supposedly no medical benefits and high potential for abuse but really we'll just stick any crap we don't like like marijuana and LSD in here" category.

Re:Yes and No... (1)

tmosley (996283) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027057)

If you have access to cheap, safe, and high quality drugs, there is no need to make it in home laboratories.

Cocaine isn't much worse than alcohol in terms of behavior changes. Legalize it, and those seeking hard drugs will use it (or heroine) rather than the highly dangerous stuff like meth, or the highly addictive stuff like crack.

What you are advocating is like relegalizing beer, schnapps, and vodka in emergencies because of the bad reputation that bathtub gin has. Legalize them all, and people will use the best stuff (much like gin drinkers today don't make stuff in their bathtubs with methanol).

Elimitate upselling (2, Insightful)

EmbeddedJanitor (597831) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027125)

Marijuana is not that bad (not as bad as alcohol and tobacco). Legalising marijuana. would cut the supply chain to other more destructive drugs.

Like any good salesman, a drug dealer will try to convert a marijuana user to use other drugs that turn a better profit. The good old upsell. Legalising marijuana would break that chain.

Re:Elimitate upselling (4, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027199)

I admit that I'm not particularly knowledgeable about drug culture, but I always had the distinct impression that the people you bought marijuana from were not the type of people who would be selling other drugs. It's a fairly distinct culture where marijuana is generally sourced from a network of friends, not some dealer on the street corner who isn't going to risk his hide for something as unprofitable and unaddictive as marijuana.

Re:Elimitate upselling (4, Insightful)

callmetheraven (711291) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027301)

Like any good salesman, a drug dealer will try to convert a marijuana user to use other drugs that turn a better profit.

This is not the way it works. As a rule, pot users are not interested in converting to stronger drugs, any more than corporate cokeheads are jonesing for a big bongload. You've been fooled into believing the propaganda spread by the gov't, dea, law enforcement. You are forgiven.

Re:Elimitate upselling (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027303)

Like any good salesman, a drug dealer will try to convert a marijuana user to use other drugs that turn a better profit.

I call bullshit, at least in the US. Sure drug culture can encourage experimentation, but if you think dealers calculate profit margins and make long-term strategies to upsell different drugs, you're crazy.

Re:Elimitate upselling (5, Insightful)

Atiniir (1344623) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027369)

I don't know where you buy your weed, but anyone I've ever dealt with has never tried to upsell me to hard drugs. Sure, occasionally someone has had something like mushrooms or what have you to offer additionally, but I've never gone to buy some pot and come home with a nice big bag of coke.

I like to believe that a lot of marijuana users, like myself, are mostly uninterested in hard drugs. I agree with your statement that it's not that bad, I've had far worse experiences with alcohol or over the counter medication.

I agree that it should be legalized, because really, if I want to hang out at my house and get high, that is my business and it's not like me doing that is putting the safety of the general populous at risk. I'm not out on the roads driving drunk, I'm not picking fights with people in bars, where is the harm in smoking a bowl or two and playing some video games, or listening to music, or watching a movie? There are far more productive things that the law could be doing for its people than locking up those of us who like to toke up.

Not to mention the additional waves that drug prohibition creates when it bleeds over into drug testing for jobs that really shouldn't require it. This causes people to not only be viewed as criminals for something that is incredibly common and harmless, but it uses the employer and the power of capital as just another long arm of the law.

Re:Elimitate upselling (3, Insightful)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027407)

I'd mod you up, but I posted somewhere above. I have some friends that smoke up fairly often, and none of them even want to try heroine or coke or anything like that. Nothing past mushrooms really interest any of them. And shrooms are class X felony I think for distribution. Sad really

Re:Yes and No... (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027213)

I'm not quite ready to support decriminalizing cocaine, and I am strongly opposed to legalizing methamphetamine.

If you want to see fewer people using drugs, then decriminalization is the way to go. We're seeing drastic reductions in the number of smokers in the last few years, and nobody had to be tossed in jail to make that happen.

-jcr

Re:Yes and No... (5, Insightful)

himurabattousai (985656) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027299)

And as a non-drug user, I agree. There are many things that I personally would not do, but I would not ever dare insist that no one else be allowed to do them (obvious exceptions like drunken driving and serial killing not included).

The "war on drugs" is nothing more than a pissing contest of moralities. That, and it is a "cure" far worse than the disease it was meant to counter.

Is everyone crazy?????? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26026995)

I've seen Reefer Madness and it still gives me nightmares. Anything that can inspire a movie that bad is terrifying and must be bad for you. Which version of Reefer Madness? Take your pick.

I take a Libertarian POV. (5, Interesting)

liquidMONKEY (749280) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027001)

I'm straight edge. I don't smoke, nor even drink at all, or consume any other substances. (Unless caffeine in Coca-Cola counts.) But, if other people want to consume these substances and fuck their own lives up, hey, be my guest. As long as they don't tread on my right to live a comfortable life. Even if drugs were legalized, it still doesn't mean their carry-on effects, such as murder, drink-driving, et cetera, are legal. And at least it means that if those drugs are available through government programs, it'll be taking away some of that money that drug lords are supposedly making, and pump billions more dollars back into the government. Well, that's my 2 cents worth anyway. I'm sure someone will disagree with me. :P

Re:I take a Libertarian POV. (5, Interesting)

Shaitan Apistos (1104613) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027073)

Even if drugs were legalized, it still doesn't mean their carry-on effects, such as murder, drink-driving, et cetera, are legal.

I think a lot of the crime related to the drug industry relates to the fact that drug entrepreneurs cannot depend on the police to defend their property rights with respect to the goods they sell, and are forced to handle their own security.

I imagine the streets would be safer if one was allowed to make a phone call and report that their entire inventory for narcotics was just stolen and get the police investigating the robbery and trying to return the stolen property.

I'm sure the police would appreciate the irony as well.

Say you legalize everything (-1, Redundant)

smitty_one_each (243267) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027081)

And then you bring in universal health care.
Are you happy about having your pocket picked to rehabilitate those who've turned themselves into potted plants of the sort that they smoke?
Legalize it in, say, Nevada, and see whether everything goes haywire. We certainly can't worsen the baggage Nevada sends to Congress.

Re:Say you legalize everything (5, Insightful)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027219)

Replace drugs with sugar or fat and ask yourself the same question.

Potato chips create more health care costs than any drug ever has.

Re:Say you legalize everything (4, Insightful)

couchslug (175151) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027247)

There was MASSIVE marijuana smoking during the late 1960s/early 1970s with few problems. It was typical to attend concerts where the smoke was a thick fog and security/cops didn't bother anyone about it.

I did plenty of drugs back then, smoked like a freight train, and was around a large peer group that did likewise. I haven't smoked in many years for legal reasons, but strongly favor legalization. Alcohol is a vastly worse social drug in every way, especially with regard to making users aggressive.

IMO we'd be much better off with weed as an alternative social lubricant.

Re:Say you legalize everything (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027295)

Are you happy now having your pocket picked to incarcerate those who prefer to smoke pot than to drink alcohol?

I would absolutely rather my money go to improving lives by treating addiction than to have it go to ruining lives by locking them up.

Re:Say you legalize everything (2, Insightful)

zymurgy_cat (627260) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027307)

And then you bring in universal health care.
Are you happy about having your pocket picked to rehabilitate those who've turned themselves into potted plants of the sort that they smoke?


Well, we're already dealing with effects of TWOD in the healthcare system: addicts who can't get treatment, people shot/stabbed/etc. in the related turf wars, and so forth. I doubt these people are covered under your friendly neighborhood HMO. These people cost the healthcare system since they a) don't pay for ER visits and/or b) use the ER as a primary healthcare service.

Something tells me we could take the money we spend on enforcement and easily pick up the rehab costs for the few people who are addicts. And we would see a large decrease in related crime that would directly contribute to a reduction in ER visits and thus costs that you and I have to bear right now.

Swinging between prohibition and tolerance (1, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027013)

Every 20 years or so for the past several hundred years, societies swing between prohibition and tolerance. One generation tries hard to outlaw substances, then the next generation tries hard to legalize it. In the 80's it was the war on drugs. In this decade it's legalizing dope. It's nonstop back and forth, back and forth.

No, how about... (5, Interesting)

Antony-Kyre (807195) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027037)

No, how about we let it be decided at the STATE LEVEL? Let the individual states decide their own drug laws, not the federal government.

Re:No, how about... (3, Insightful)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027107)

I believe we've all seen that the states are no more capable of doing anything right, not that I'm saying the Feds can.

Re:No, how about... (2)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027325)

I haven't seen that. Each state is different, some are better than others. None are as bad as the Federal government however.

Re:No, how about... (1)

Killer Orca (1373645) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027385)

I haven't seen that. Each state is different, some are better than others. None are as bad as the Federal government however.

What about the recent 3 propositions banning gay marriage in 3 states that all passed? Granted I know one was a citizens initiative but it just shows that the more people involved only leads to more cock-ups, and involving all the senators and representatives would be hugely difficult.

Re:No, how about... (1)

Luke has no name (1423139) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027133)

Whoa, quit that radical thinking! Oh, wait, it's not radical. RTFConstitution. :)

Re:No, how about... (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027189)

And consider it in light of the fact that it was written to replace an earlier government that did not work because it delegated everything to the states.

Re:No, how about... (3, Informative)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027141)

Wisconsin had a lower drinking age than Illinois had, and the result was large numbers of teen driving fatalities as people cross the border to drink. We don't need the same situation happening with marijuana, so we need major changes to be on a national level. Medicinal marijuana can probably be decided by states, but fully legalized use has to be a federal decision.

Re:No, how about... (1)

Walpurgiss (723989) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027237)

The Federal Gov't could do the same thing they do about speed limits. Technically, states are supposed to poll the average speed limit on streets, and every few years, change the limit to fit average use patterns.

Many roads would have higher speed limits than they do from this. The federal government does not directly impose a top speed limit, but they do refuse federal funding for roads if a state raises the limit past 65 (I think 65?)

So they could legalise drugs, but then still keep them effectively banned like that.

In fact, they did that with marijuana before, with the tax act of 1937.

You had to incriminate yourself to get a stamp, and having/selling weed without a stamp was against the law ($2000 fine and up to 5 years). A law created catch-22 intended to essentially outlaw marijuana without really outlawing marijuana.

Hurray. Link to 1937 Marihuana Tax Act [wikipedia.org]

Just remove the federal drug laws, and then decide that any state that does not make drugs illegal is refused funding for whatever they decide to write into the repeal.

Re:No, how about... (1)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027389)

FYI

Out west in a few states such as Arizona and New Mexico (and perhaps other states) the speed limit on interstates is 75 mph since the states are so large and the population is usually congregated around large cities. As one approaches metro areas however the speed decreases proportionally.

 

Re:No, how about... (1)

2Bits (167227) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027393)

Then, are you willing to have border check between states, and have cavity search every time you cross from one state to another? Because that's bound to happen if the drug is legal in one state and illegal in another.

Unconstitutional (5, Interesting)

tukang (1209392) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027051)

If alcohol prohibition required an amendment to the constitution then how was the gov't suddenly able to prohibit another substance w/o changing the constitution?

Re:Unconstitutional (1)

typobox43 (677545) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027207)

It didn't necessarily require an amendment. It was just pushed as one to make it harder to override later.

Re:Unconstitutional (1)

corsec67 (627446) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027373)

Yes, making a law at the federal level to make possessing alcohol anywhere illegal DOES require a constitutional amendment, due to the 10th Amendment [wikipedia.org] . Because alcohol isn't mentioned in the constitution, legislating on it is reserved to the states, or to the people.

Re:Unconstitutional (1)

T Murphy (1054674) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027221)

I believe it is because the only way for the people to write the laws is by voting in an amendment. If congress decides to legalize a drug based on the will of the people, we don't need an amendment to do that.

Re:Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027239)

Because Nixon was a real P.I.M.P. Pimp.

Re:Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027281)

Presumably (ie: I don't know your constitution) the amendment to allow the government to exercise prohibition was left in place. To enact prohibition the government would have needed 2 pieces of legislation: 1. Legalize Prohibition (in the constitution) 2. Prohibit alcohol (just some legislation now that didn't need to be an amendment).

It was likely just the specific prohibition against alcohol that was removed as specific legislation, while (at a guess) the constitutional amendment granting the government more power remained in place.

Can any of you yanks support or refute this please?

This illustrates the dangers in letting lawmakers make more laws. Unless laws are very carefully crafted, they can easily grant more power than the original intent. This can be good (when you can re-purpose an old law to cover a new situation: internet child porn), but they can be very bad (making a minor incident a criminal offense when it is too easily committed by joe public: i.e. copyright infringement).

(Not that law-making need be stopped, but there should be routine audits of laws after an extended period of time).

Re:Unconstitutional (1)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027387)

The 21st amendment will refute that: Section 1. The eighteenth article of amendment to the Constitution of the United States is hereby repealed.

Re:Unconstitutional (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027423)

The current blitz of control seems to hinge on a clause that gives the federal government control over "inter-state commerce". Somewhere along the way they convinced judges that anything that could remotely, feasibly, possibly, indirectly, or motivationally affecting trade between states can be regulated on that basis.

That said, I've never read the details of prohibition/de-prohibition.

Re:Unconstitutional (1)

jmv (93421) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027381)

I don't think it really *required* a constitutional amendment (a law would have been sufficient), but for some reason someone must have thought it would be harder to undo if part of the constitution (I don't live in the US, so I don't know the details).

How about ending the need for prescriptions, too? (2, Insightful)

Kaz Kylheku (1484) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027053)

Wouldn't it be ironic if you could legally go out and get your cocaine fix, but had to get a prescription for some medication that you thought you needed? :)

Bad idea for some drugs (5, Insightful)

Reality Master 201 (578873) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027327)

For stuff like antibiotics, allowing random people to decide what they can take when they want has a definite negative effect on the society at large.

It's a big enough problem getting patients to comply with complete antibiotics regimens as it is. Giving everyone the ability to just pop a few for a couple days when they cut themselves or have the flu or whatever is a recipe for massive, widespread increases in resistant bacteria.

How about removing other laws? (1)

Gothmolly (148874) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027075)

Speed limits, the FCC, the FAA, all that "regulate trade between the States" bullshit that's crept in over the years? Torch the house, and build a new one I say.

legalize cannabis (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027079)

cannabis must be legalized to pay for the bank bailouts and the car maker bailouts with the "sin" tax dedicated to it. I pay what $10 a pack for tobacco here in new york (just paid $90 for a carton of 10 packs of cigarettes on a "discount" today from the local shop).

We have more problems in this world than cannabis stoners sitting on their couch watching comedy central and adult swim on cable playing video games. Methamphetamine, LSD, Heroin, Cocaine, are all worse than cannabis. The least we can do is have cannabis sold in liquor stores to citizens aged 21 or older, and have a huge tax to support social and federal programs. Figure $400 an ounce and $200 tax, that's $600 for an ounce I'd rather have stoners spend legally than having them buying from a drug dealer who also sells the rest of the crap I mentioned plus illegal firearms and prostitutes.

cheers! I'll drink my beer for now...

remember gays in the military? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027113)

Almost the first thing that Clinton did as President in 1993 was to reverse the ban on gays serving in the military, with the "don't ask, don't tell" policy that we still have.

But that change made many conservative voters very angry - that, along with the botched health care reform, energized the Republican base and led to the "Contract of America" Congress in 1994, with Gingrich taking over as House Speaker.

Which in turn led to impeachment proceedings against Clinton over the Lewinsky affair, taking everybody's eyes off Bin Laden and national security, but that's another story.

Pelosi understands this history very well. So don't expect this kind of liberal "values" initiative to occur during the first couple years of Obama's presidency.

Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (5, Insightful)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027135)

Given that alcohol is already legal and is more dangerous than at least the most common recreational drugs, It would make sense to at least legalise other recreational drugs that are on par or less harmful than it (marijuana being the most obvious candidate).

"Hard" drugs like Cocaine should probably remain illegal - it is impossible (or prohibitively difficult, at least) to "use them responsibly" and their health effects are much more marked.

Permitting broad autonomy to people in cases where there is not a clear and strong societal interest otherwise makes sense - broad restrictions on recreational drugs don't have arguments that meet the bar we should be holding up.

(I am not a libertarian, by the way)

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (4, Interesting)

Free the Cowards (1280296) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027257)

"Hard" drugs like Cocaine should probably remain illegal - it is impossible (or prohibitively difficult, at least) to "use them responsibly" and their health effects are much more marked.

Cite? The fact that Cocaine was used as an active ingredient in a popular fizzy drink would seem to speak otherwise. And let's not forget that Cocaine is known because in its native region, the indigenous people used it constantly and they did alright.

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (4, Funny)

Warll (1211492) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027357)

Did alright!? They lost nearly the entire continent! Sure go smoke yourself silly, just don't complain when the non-smoking aliens take over earth. Who knows maybe they'll let us run casinos?

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027395)

As I understand, the earlier forms of the drug were considerably less pure (and hence far less addictive/dangerous). Modern usage of the drug has been a significantly larger problem (although even the indigenous use may have been too hazardous - I am uncertain if any studies were or could have been done on practice at the time).

It is possible I don't know as much on this topic as I should - the main point of my post is the approach we should take to drug regulation. The conclusions we should draw can and should be adapted to actual medical studies and discussions on their broader societal ramifications.

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (1)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027321)

Ok, you've identified a contradiction, that health concerns are unrelated to prohibition, and yet you immediately go on to arguing that certain substances should be prohibited due to health concerns. Don't you think this is a little bit illogical? Shouldn't you immediately come to the conclusion that the prohibition of (some) mind altering drugs has absolutely nothing to do with health concerns?

It's like pondering why the Copernican model of the solar system is prohibited but the Copernican model of coinage isn't.. they both appear to have similar penmanship.

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (1)

Improv (2467) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027415)

You summarise too much. I believe that health concerns are not the primary factor in how prohibition laws were laid out in the United States (accidents of history as well as religious fervor play far too large a role). Suggesting that they be reconsidered and rebased on actual health concerns and societal impact is not self-contradictory.

Re:Reconsideration sounds prudent.. (1)

amRadioHed (463061) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027397)

I don't endorse using hard drugs such as cocaine or heroin, but by keeping them illegal you are keeping violent drug cartels in business. I'd rather people make their own decisions and have access to addiction treatment if necessary.

Better late than never. (3, Insightful)

jcr (53032) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027155)

While we're discussing prohibition, it's worth pointing out that it's always been a tool for expanding government beyond its constitutional powers.

-jcr

Relevance? (0)

owlnation (858981) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027193)

News for nerds? Your Rights online? And this story has exactly what to do with Slashdot?

Should this be on idle? Should this not be on Digg?

Re:Relevance? (0, Troll)

larry bagina (561269) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027409)

slashdot moderators and editors often use illegal drugs.

Regulation smarter than Prohibition (2, Interesting)

domatic (1128127) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027211)

I'm all for legalizing anything one might put in their body using the orifice of their choice. Two things though:

1. I'm still for draconian penalties for anybody who sells heavy dope like heroin or methamphetamine to a minor. Anything crap like that should be heavily regulated in it's sale and taxed heavily but intelligently. The taxes should be just high enough that the bootleg bathtub stuff doesn't look good. Tax evaders can share cells with ones selling dope to kids.

2. Being under the influence should be a crime enhancer rather than an exonerator: "Your honor! It was the crystal meth that made me go crazy with that axe!"

"Fine. I hereby double your sentence for axe craziness"

Ditto for crimes committed for the purpose of obtaining drugs though they should be much more pure and affordable being regulated and with mafias mostly out of the picture. Cheaper pure drugs and delivery devices mean that dopers will be able to hold down jobs and so-forth a bit longer before skid-rowing themselves. And who knows? Dopers with dead end McJobs may have enough brain cells remaining to hold them indefinitely.....just like the alcoholics.

This is only meant to accomplish two things. We don't pack the prisons full of non-violent recreational users and small time sellers and we remove the biggest profit center of organized crime. I don't deny that out-in-the-open drug use won't make apparent new out-in-the-open social problems. I suspect that conspicuously not coddling people who mess themselves up may be be the best deterrent to "having all you can eat".

Easiest way to piss off/rage a Libertarian (0, Flamebait)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027223)

Ask him their stance about the viewing of child pornography, since in a utopian Libertarian society, it's not "harmful" because no children are harmed.

I was banned from the local Libertarian meetings due to the lol responses generated from this simple question. They say children are not harmed in child pornography - DUH - how do you think it was generated?

Libertarians = support pot legalization and viewing child porn

Enjoy

Pain (2, Interesting)

Sanat (702) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027227)

There are a lot of individuals out there in human land that are feeling a lot of pain and turn to drugs (legal or illegal) as well as alcohol to mask their feelings... if only for a time.

It is as if a cosmic force is increasing the pressure on everyone and that time seems to be flying by when in the old days it seemed to pass at a slower rate. Today it is excruciating and tomorrow perhaps more so. When and where can it end... surely not in more drugs.

Escaping to drugs only seems to work for the issues causing the escape are still there the next day... however the pain is becoming so great in today's world that those whom you never believe would use drugs are now turning to them.

Unfortunately I do not know of a solution. But, it does break my heart to see those I love do so. A friend who is a beautiful blond, 20 years old and has the world by the tail was just prescribed Lithium as a way of coping with her emotional issues. Lithium is a poison to the body... what are the pharmaceutical companies and doctors thinking?

In my mind I compare it to the days of sunscreen. Before sunscreen the sun provided us with a source of vitamin D synthesis and then the doctors said the sun caused cancer and so we now use sunscreen. Now the skin cancer is at a unprecedented rate even using the sunscreen. Go figure?

It is as if there is some correlated relationship between Beliefs and Emotions. It is becoming more murky knowing what to believe in and what not to believe.

Re:Pain (2, Insightful)

QuantumG (50515) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027413)

In my mind I compare it to the days of sunscreen. Before sunscreen the sun provided us with a source of vitamin D synthesis and then the doctors said the sun caused cancer and so we now use sunscreen. Now the skin cancer is at a unprecedented rate even using the sunscreen. Go figure?

So you failed science and modern history? Hint: showing your ankles in public used to be an arrestable offense.

Food for thought (1)

BountyX (1227176) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027233)

I've always thought if certain drugs were legalized it would put a lot of criminal organizations out of business. Especially marijuana. Lots of wasted tax money processing marijuana abusers, holding them in jail, etc. I'm not sure about other drugs such as cocaine, herion, and meth. At some point we have to consider if legalizing addictive substances will hurt the common welfare. Amsterdam recently announced a cut back on marijuana cafes and prostitutes due to increased rate of crime within the red light district. I guess it's like Ron Paul said, people want to get high. We can't stop them, but we can certainly regulate it. For exmaple, if marijuana were legalized you can regulate laced substances and THC content restrictions, etc. Anyways, just wanted to share my thoughts =)

You fools! (4, Funny)

shma (863063) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027249)

Don't you know that drugs fund terrorism? That every puff of weed kills 5 innocent victims? And I'm talking about the white ones, not those scary looking foreign victims from the middle east.

I mean, just look at this government ad [youtube.com] ! How do argue with logic like "It's a fact because it's true"?

Suck on that, dope fiends!

One of the biggest fears I've heard (1)

MikeRT (947531) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027267)

is that drug users who commit crimes won't be really punished. I think that's a fair concern because people who drink and drive, and then cause property damage or kill people don't get treated as severely as they deserve. IMO, one of the precursors to drug legalization that advocates need to pursue is that voluntary intoxication cannot be introduced into court except in extreme cases like someone rapes a woman who is passed out.

Aside from those rare cases, if we treated all parties as though their intoxication were no defense of their behavior, I think we would have the legal infrastructure in place to allow for the initial crime problems as the public gets accustomed to legalized drugs.

Ironically, I've found that many of my somewhat law-and-order conservative acquaintances have found this law-and-order libertarian tendency to be disturbing. Not sure why, since personal responsibility should not be thrown out the window just because you're intoxicated unless you can prove that it wasn't by your own doing.

Are you insane? (2, Interesting)

PenguinX (18932) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027313)

Most of heroin's dangers are more a consequence of its prohibition than the drug's distinctive properties.

The data on this subject does a whole lot more than suggest that if people take certain drugs then they become addicted. In this manner, whatever addiction is is irrelevant, the results are damaging and very real. I watched drugs coupled with the stupidity it brings result in a number of poor judgments in my own life as well as several dozen of my friends. Far away from that part of my life now, I am glad that someone somewhere had enough of a moral compass in Government to make certain drugs illegal.

Re:Are you insane? (3, Interesting)

Mprx (82435) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027417)

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rat_park [wikipedia.org]

Addiction is about more than just the drug. Addiction causes real harm, but so does prohibition. Without prohibition we are free to address the underlying causes of drug addiction.

Re:Are you insane? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027419)

It's too bad that some of your friends aren't able to hold their shit together. Why exactly is their lack of responsibility a good reason to curtail my liberties again?

OMFG A TOPIC I CAN RELATE TO! (5, Interesting)

t0qer (230538) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027347)

I live in California. A few years back, the voters passed the medicinal marijuana act, opening the gateways for use by cancer patients. Pot is *almost* decriminalized now.

I say *almost* because my pot dealers (plural) have been a pot dealers all their lives. Only difference now is they got a doctor to give them a pot prescription for "nerves" and instead of having to go through the old network of pot growers, they can pick up a few OZ's from any number of dispensaries here in the bay area. Sells their OZ's off as 8ths for 2x what you paid, and make a nice profit.

Then there is the supplier side. There is no regulation on where a club gets its pot. A few years back, we had a sheriff shot when he stumbled upon a pot farm on Mt Uhminum being run by mexican gangsters. Even though they couldn't find a direct connection to the clubs, many people suspected that that is where the weed was heading.

Did I mention ALOT of the marijuana dispensaries look more like a club or a coffee shop and less like a pharmacy?

Prohibition repeal needs to happen. We waste way to much money on the drug war. Not that i'm complaining about the lack of regulation with the medical marijuana situation in California as it works to my advantage. I am never more than 15 minutes away from multiple suppliers. This is pot I'm talking about though, a drug thought to be fairly benign by a majority consensus.

My fear though is that all forms of lawmakers, city, county, state and fed have all been riding the fail truck for a while now. I could see them doing something like selling out to a special interest drug lord and making laws that on the surface seem like they benefit us, but really only benefit the drug lord.

Some things need to be regulated, others don't. Weed should have no more regulation than beer or tobacco.

Even though the purpose of end drug prohibition would be to un-fuck things, given the track record of our politicians they're going to figure out a way to sneak a fucking in there, somehow.

Going all the way (1)

EmperorOfCanada (1332175) | more than 5 years ago | (#26027353)

Don't stop with the soft drugs but actually go so far as to set up clinics that would give out moderate doses of even the hardest of addictive drugs like meth. The idea would be to clean out the drug pushing business. Then you eliminate a huge source of organized crime's revenue while having a huge opportunity to offer councling services to addicts. Who in their right mind would ever walk into a clinic and say "Hey I would love to start taking meth"? This would be way cheaper than all the police, jails, and break-ins that we presently pay for. My argument is backed up by the evidence of a former crack-head I saw interviewed. He broke into around 1000 cars a year(~3 a day) to pay for his habit. Wouldn't it have been better to just give him the damn stuff?

moOd dBown (-1, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#26027365)

supLport GNAA, [goat.cx]
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