Norm urges reformers to think about the harms of prohibition that will remain if we legalize only marijuana. He says that although legalizing marijuana a good step in the right direction, it would not, among other things:
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• Stop gangs from selling other drugs to our kids (since illegal drug dealers rarely check for ID);
• Stop drug dealers from firing on cops charged with fighting the senseless war on other illicit drugs;
• Stop the bloody cartel battles in Mexico that are rapidly expanding over the border into the U.S;
• Stop the Taliban from raking in massive profits from illegal opium cultivation in Afghanistan.
Norm is right of course -- the most compelling reasons for ending marijuana prohibition can be just as readily applied to all drugs. No argument there.ReplyDelete
Still though, I think a legitimate case can be made for focusing our efforts on marijuana for the time being. First of all, it is by leaps and bounds the most commonly used illegal substance. It's the lion's share, the low-hanging fruit. We couldn't get rid of all of the evils brought about by prohibition if we were to legalize marijuana, but we would make life a whole lot better for a whole lot of people in one fell swoop.
Plus, it's a foot in the door; a proof-of-concept that can actually demonstrate the positive changes made possible by ending prohibition. This is much more persuasive than all of the statistics and passionate arguments we can muster. If people see that ending marijuana prohibition helped our problems with marijuana, they'll much more readily make the conceptual leap (or LEAP?) to other "harder" substances.
Have to agree with LEAP to push that all illegal drugs be "legalized". It appears that cannabis is well on it way, albeit far too slowly, however LEAP's reasons are solid for ending the drug war on all fronts.ReplyDelete
Every individual involved in law enforcement have better things to do and legalizing all drugs would certainly send them in a new and better direction. Citizens would have their "good" cops back.
"If people see that ending marijuana prohibition helped our problems with marijuana, they'll much more readily make the conceptual leap (or LEAP?) to other "harder" substances."
What if they make the much shorter conceptual leap saying that they knew all along that medical-marijuana was just a stalking horse for outright legalization? Our enemies would use that and beat us with it like a rented mule.
I think we should, at the very least, be pushing Harm Reduction approaches whilst touting MediMar. This would primarily be expanded and liberalized use of maintenance concepts like heroin-maintenance and adjuvant opioids. This would affect the cartel's revenue stream beyond cannabis and has the advantage of being a broader approach.
What if they make the much shorter conceptual leap saying that they knew all along that medical-marijuana was just a stalking horse for outright legalization?ReplyDelete
So what are you saying? You don't think we should legalize pot just because a few reactionary drug warriors can say "told you so"? If public opinion is in favor of legalization -- which it is -- I don't see why that sort of reaction would carry any significance.
When I said above that "they" would be more open to widespread repeal of prohibition after seeing the success of marijuana legalization, I wasn't talking about the drug warrior types. I was talking about your average citizen who wants what is best for his or her family. The drug warriors are a lost cause, but the great majority of people realize the drug war is a failure.
This would affect the cartel's revenue stream beyond cannibas
But their entire "revenue stream beyond cannabis", all put together, is still significantly smaller than their revenue stream due solely to cannabis. Listen, if we only allow medical pot, the marijuana black market will still be huge. Cannabis constitutes a good 2/3rds of the overall profit made by these cartels. So long as you leave that chunk of cash in play for them, all the harm reduction and maintenance programs in the world won't significantly reduce their income (or the resulting violent power struggles). Like I said above, cannabis is undeniably the low-hanging fruit in terms of cartel revenue -- it's a relatively socially benign substance that is hugely popular. It's the obvious starting point.
I agree, of course, that prohibition is a problem no matter what substance you're talking about. But we have millions upon millions of marijuana users in this country, compared to a miniscule percentage of heroin users (well under a million). We should start where it makes the most sense, and then move on from there.
First, for people who come to this post and say, "ok, legalize drugs? How?"ReplyDelete
After the War on Drugs - Options for Control
Now to enter the comment fray a tiny bit…
Both Rhayader and Voltear have valid points, why? Because the world is so darn big not everyone is ready for every reason. This is why so many groups have formed, and why speakers adjust themselves to their audience. Some people are ready for the plain and simple, "legalize it all" message from a human rights standpoint. Some people are more concerned about cartel power. Some people are more concerned about inner-city violence.
Some people just want to be able to smoke their marijuana and be left in peace.
I very much agree with what Rhayader implies, some people are just not going to be convinced, they rake in too much money off of this boondoggle, they have a conflict of interest somehow. But knowing their slander ahead of time just makes us all the more prepared for when it leaves their mouths, accusations like we are pro-drug, or want murder and rape legalized, or that we are using sick people as a front because we can't wait to push their wheelchairs off the dock once drugs are legal so we can partay!
The closest we can get to a one-size-fits-all solution is for abolitionists to be decently versed in the reasons the drug war is doomed to failure from the get-go, being able to compare it to alcohol prohibition, (toss in a few more tidbits here), and last but not least is how we communicate with those who need convincing.
Speaking from experience I know that the more passionate one is about something, the greater the tendency to hog the conversation. But if we are to convince those who need (and are capable) of being convinced, we need to ask questions first, to find out the areas of resistance. In other words it doesn't make sense to talk for 5 minutes about a subject the other person isn't really interested in or concerned about. We have to find out the specific areas where we can make a difference, and that means asking questions first.
Last but not least, another "meta" aspect. To be good shepherds of the conversation we should keep an eye on ourselves to keep from talking too much, and also don't feel afraid to impromptu moderate and cut the other person off if they are going on and on (nowhere).
This has been a public service announcement. :-)
What if they make the much shorter conceptual leap saying that they knew all along that medical-marijuana was just a stalking horse for outright legalization? Our enemies would use that and beat us with it like a rented mule.ReplyDelete
Hm, this sounds a bit like you haven't suffered much abuse at their hands yet. ;-) They have been saying this.
In related news, someone stopped by my website and tried to use a phrase from Paul on me. I only partly addressed it in my reply, but my response was that I will use any reason I can think of, and any reason I can find, to end prohibition.
Each person can lock up their stubborn minds and not share with us what is going on inside. Thus reasons and questions are like keys. Jesus says, and in many places in the Old Testament it says, "I search hearts and minds."
Each person can lock up their stubborn minds and not share with us what is going on inside. Thus reasons and questions are like keys. Jesus says, and in many places in the Old Testament it says, "I search hearts and minds."ReplyDelete
This also underscores a fundamental difference between the abolitionist and the prohibitionist.
We are trying to set free. We are trying to educate.
They are trying to intimidate and incarcerate. Just like the many nations they would not want to live in, those nations hate openness and love imprisoning those who don't think like they do.
So they spend their efforts locking people up in cages and doing their best to lock people up in fear; claiming that legalizing (and intelligently regulating) drugs will ______ (insert terrorist assertion here).