Sunday, June 20, 2010

The Portugal Experiment

In 2001 Portugal decriminalized the possession of illegal drugs.
Did the world come to an end?
The BBC reports on the modest success story.

Perhaps this brave country will step up again, defy the United States and international treaties, and just legalize all drugs.


  1. Excellent video, excellent all the way around. Now how the heck do we get the U.S. government to pay attention and to Legalize all drugs.

    It's so sad that the war on drugs continues. I've lost all faith in government and look at them as being the ones who are crazy and out of touch.

  2. Your right Lea it is very sad.

    Even medical use seems to be a hard issue to convice people.
    I have asked two prominent politicians here in the UK, simply about medical marijuana - both said they didnt want to see patients arrested, but they didnt know enough about the subject to commit to legalisation of medical use.

  3. It's very hard to change the status quo until there is huge catastrophy - such as the BP oil spill, or until public opinion is so deafening that legislators cannot ignore it - such as the civil rights movement, etc.
    Fortunately, the status quo for the legalization of marijuana IS changing. I'm not sure if other drugs will ever get the same attention, but my hope is that people will see the results of the precidents that exist, like Portugal and wake up.

  4. It's very hard to change the status quo until there is huge catastrophe…
    The catastrophe is here and now, just not visual like the oil gusher at the bottom of the sea, or commandeered airplanes flying in to sky scrapers, etc… But like Enron, GM, and the others who played fast and loose with accounting, our own govt. has continued to hide the truth from us. Transform reported on a similar game a few days ago.

    This month's cover story of TIME reports:
    And massive shortfalls in public pension plans loom as well.

    Just as ugly is the issue of public-employee pay and benefits. The mess in New Jersey is just an extreme example of a widespread problem: many state and local governments have made the mistake of courting the votes of public employees by fattening salaries and benefits, all the time imagining that pension-fund investments could only go up.

    The Pew Center on the States, a nonpartisan research group, estimates that states are at least $1 trillion short of what it will take to keep their retirement promises to public workers. Two Chicago-area professors recently calculated the shortfall at $3 trillion. According to Pew, half the states ran fully funded pension plans in 2000, but by 2008 that number had dwindled to four.

    I heard Neill Franklin describe the costs of paying for car rentals for a drug task force, for one month (I think that's the time frame), and it was ~ $250,000. (I think I have that right, it's on a video where Dean interviewed him I think.)

    It's remarkably shortsighted to force us to pay to hire a ton of law enforcement, then what happens when they want to retire? People will consider $10 packs of cigarettes "the good old days." A $5 gallon of milk will seem cheap. Every cup of coffee will cost $25.

    Drug prohibition is not saving us from anarchy and chaos, it's accelerating its arrival!

    I despise those who say "we're a nation of laws" and point to the Evil Religion of Hate (Drug War) as an example of laws preventing societal breakdown. The fact is those people are the "men (and women) of lawlessness" as touched on in the Bible. Their self-righteous Pharisaical behaviors have created crimes out of things that are not crimes, and have spawned the black market, its violence, its lawlessness, etc…

  5. I am reminded of something I read a while ago. The sheer stubborn ignorance of this guy (a cop) is astounding. He will get exactly what he wants! He will continue to have his job. But since his attitude is "economics will have to take a back seat" he will just have to live with the fact his efforts have been in vain, and cost him his retirement.

    Of course this is ironic given he also claims that drug policy reformers, "have no clue what is going on in the real world and probably never will, so don’t tell us what we should or should not do." Adding more hypocrisy to existing hypocrisy is that he is doing the exact same thing he accuses, he is telling us what we can't do, namely use something far safer than alcohol for relaxation, worshipping God, pain relief, etc…

    But at the rate the U.S. is going, one has to wonder what jobs will be left for him to work at since he's forcing our country to burn through billions and trillions of dollars of his (imagined) retirement funds.

  6. Please excuse me William for hogging this Portugal thread with talk of money, but this just came up:

    Obama to guarantee McChrystal a 4-star pension

    $12,475 per month, before taxes, according to Pentagon estimates based on his 34 years of service …

    Maybe I'm just an anti-war extremist, but that sounds crazy. I don't think people who are paid that kind of money should be referred to as "servants."


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