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Cannabis Legalization Effects

Sam_Lowry
Posts: 367
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9/15/2010 1:16:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
Recently I've been having my doubts about Marijuana legalization. Not because of any inherent effect from marijuana itself, but from the consequences and changes in the legal system and society. It's often claimed that the government spends a massive amount of money on marijuana law enforcement, as it is the most popular illegal drug. Therefore, it seems reasonable to assume that making marijuana sale and use as a non crime would cut costs greatly. I've recently come to believe that this is a false assumption. As far as court costs go, it turns out that the majority of costs are fixed and not very reliant upon the number of people processed.

http://www.jfa-associates.com...

Of course, one of the other main sources of cost comes directly in the form of drug enforcement, such as the budget of the DEA. This is where my biggest problem comes from. The DEA's budget is fixed, and the chances of them relinquishing it are slim. In other words, the DEA will switch their primary focus of marijuana to drugs such as Heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine. Sound familiar? This is often the rallying cry of many marijuana legalization advocates; Stop spending money on enforcing harmless drugs like marijuana/mushrooms and focus on "hard" drugs. This is sometimes called the "science based policy".

Now, here is my problem. That kind of position is anything but science based. The false premise that criminalizing dangerous drugs is an effective public policy is still clearly in effect. The more the DEA tries to crack down on "dangerous" drugs, the more dangerous the situation actually becomes. By cracking down on drug dealers, the illicit drug distribution industry becomes more profitable. The fact that the risks are so harsh lead to an increase in willingness to commit violent acts. In other words, if you know you're going to jail for life for trying to move a kilo of dope, you have nothing to loose by killing bystanders or shooting the police.

The higher the price for "hard" drugs, the more likely people are going to commit crimes and mix cheaper drugs together in order to get their fix. Again, the severity of these problems are directly related to the enforcement of drug laws. And this is not even the worst aspect of our mindset toward drug policy. Despite the fact that many people think that there is hope due to the fact that more people want to legalize marijuana, people are actually getting worse. Almost half of the country wants to flat out ban cigarettes. People are saying that Marijuana legalization is the right step toward sensible drug policy. I don't see any evidence of that. If anything, it looks like this may be the start of an even darker period. What percentage of people will need to get addicted to "hard drugs" before we actually begin looking at the efficacy of our drug policy as a whole?

Am I completely off base? Am I being unrealistic? Pessimistic? Does anyone actually see marijuana legalization as a "step in the right direction"? Or am I right in assuming that once this issue is resolved people will become complacent and forget all about the things they claimed to care about during the legalization drive.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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9/15/2010 1:25:40 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
why would punishments necessarily have to become more severe for "hard drugs"?

tbh though, i really don't give a fvck what it does to society.. i just want to be able to best of weed in my local shop at cheap prices :)
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badger
Posts: 11,793
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9/15/2010 1:34:59 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
you didn't say they would lol. the way i see it is that those risks are already in place for drug dealers.. so why would things get any worse? is it that you think drug dealers being more likely to be caught also means drug dealers being more likely to get violent? i'm not really following you...
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Sam_Lowry
Posts: 367
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9/15/2010 1:47:34 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 1:25:40 PM, badger wrote:
why would punishments necessarily have to become more severe for "hard drugs"?

Marijuana enforcement accounts for the majority of the money spent on drug enforcement. That money is not going to magically go away if marijuana is legalized. It will be spent on other drugs still illegal. I'm not talking about punishments, I'm talking about the risks of the industry. Higher risks means higher profits in the black market.

At 9/15/2010 1:36:46 PM, badger wrote:
you'd think the more cops on the job the more successful they'd be...?

When a drug dealer is caught, supply decreases, so profits increase. Increase in profits draw more competitive, more violent entrepreneurs to the market. Cycle continues until the most violent and most cunning drug lords are in power or we run out of people willing to be drug dealers.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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9/15/2010 1:56:50 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 1:47:34 PM, Sam_Lowry wrote:
At 9/15/2010 1:25:40 PM, badger wrote:
why would punishments necessarily have to become more severe for "hard drugs"?

Marijuana enforcement accounts for the majority of the money spent on drug enforcement. That money is not going to magically go away if marijuana is legalized. It will be spent on other drugs still illegal. I'm not talking about punishments, I'm talking about the risks of the industry. Higher risks means higher profits in the black market.

At 9/15/2010 1:36:46 PM, badger wrote:
you'd think the more cops on the job the more successful they'd be...?

When a drug dealer is caught, supply decreases, so profits increase. Increase in profits draw more competitive, more violent entrepreneurs to the market. Cycle continues until the most violent and most cunning drug lords are in power or we run out of people willing to be drug dealers.

yeah i get you now. sounds fair enough, but these most violent and dangerous of entrepreneurs are probably already in the game given the huge profit that's to be made from it as it is... so higher risk might just cut down on their cronies... i dunno? it's hard to tell really, but i really can't see things getting worse.. how could cheap and easily available weed be a bad thing?
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LaissezFaire
Posts: 2,050
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9/15/2010 2:03:38 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 2:01:50 PM, badger wrote:
At 9/15/2010 1:58:04 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
My response: Portugal.

what about it?

http://www.cato.org...

tl;dr: Drug decriminalization (takes away criminal penalties for drug use, keeps them for trafficking and production) in Portugal was successful.
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Sam_Lowry
Posts: 367
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9/15/2010 2:47:25 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 1:58:04 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
My response: Portugal.

They decriminalized everything and didn't have the same level of drug enforcement as we have. I'm worried that legalizing marijuana and spending all that money cracking down on crack or heroin will cause more violence than we currently have. The marijuana industry is massive and easily absorbs the attempts to prevent distribution without causing excessive amounts of violence. Other drug industries are only a fraction of the marijuana market's size and will react strongly to significant crackdowns.

Voting to legalize marijuana is in effect voting to give the DEA 50+ billion dollars to use on cracking down on other drugs. The only way to avoid this is to take a serious look at our overall drug policy. Which I highly doubt will happen in the next fifty years.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/15/2010 9:01:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
So everything you guys are saying begs of just getting rid of the bloody bullsh11 drug laws in the first place. You can't legislate away cocaine. If you have done it before, you will know exactly why; the power cocaine has over the mind is stronger than you can imagine. I urge you to try it; in a controlled setting it can be a good learning experience. You'll be on top of the world like you have never felt before, and then you will come down off the high and start to go into withdrawal; sort of like a hangover but instead of pain it is a deep emptiness that cannot be described. After that, you won't come on DDO sounding naive about what our law-makers should do about the drug-problem; they might as well try to legislate away having sex or relaxing on Sundays.
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J.Kenyon
Posts: 4,194
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9/15/2010 9:05:55 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 2:03:38 PM, LaissezFaire wrote:
At 9/15/2010 2:01:50 PM, badger wrote:
At 9/15/2010 1:58:04 PM, Cody_Franklin wrote:
My response: Portugal.

what about it?

http://www.cato.org...

tl;dr: Drug decriminalization (takes away criminal penalties for drug use, keeps them for trafficking and production) in Portugal was successful.

Lol, I read that whole effing report when I wrote my speech on drug legalization.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/15/2010 9:15:10 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
As far as your article, Sam, it is just another pencil-pusher who can't see past the economic issues at the end of his page to see what the big picture is: regulating drugs is blatantly immoral, ineffective, and futile,. He is just making a concerted effort to discredit what he sees as the most effective arguments against his stance, which is that of the economic sort, because our scholars love arguments that can be quantified in our age of choosing fiscal conservatism over moral judgment. And as far as saying "well, the DEA will continue to take our $50B anyway..." All I have to say is that the DEA is as close to organized crime as it comes in this day and if there is nothing we can do to dethrone them while they sit behing the moralistic argument that "drugs are bad and we fight drugs" then perhaps we as a people are simply not culturally ready to be free at this point in our history.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
badger
Posts: 11,793
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9/16/2010 5:50:13 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
i'd love to try american cocaine. our's is sh1t.. and i've tried the best you'd get around here.. and i still think it's a huge waste of money.
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Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/16/2010 6:03:47 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
When I was in my early twenties I did a random favor for some friends-of-friends in Michigan, and a few weeks later they came back and handed me a chunk of yellow cocaine that was so potent I had to cut it quite a bit just to avoid killing myself. Coke is everywhere around here if you want it; our drug warriors circle the streets as if they are actually doing something about it and people use as much as they want. My friend was just telling me how his job pulled him for a urinalysis and he was getting high all night, and then did a line of coke on the way to the clinic and just pulled out a bag of his dad's urine to use and passed with flying colors. It's funny how people think there is actually something good coming from all this drug hysteria.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Sam_Lowry
Posts: 367
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9/16/2010 6:06:16 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/15/2010 9:15:10 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
As far as your article, Sam, it is just another pencil-pusher who can't see past the economic issues at the end of his page to see what the big picture is: regulating drugs is blatantly immoral, ineffective, and futile,. He is just making a concerted effort to discredit what he sees as the most effective arguments against his stance, which is that of the economic sort, because our scholars love arguments that can be quantified in our age of choosing fiscal conservatism over moral judgment. And as far as saying "well, the DEA will continue to take our $50B anyway..." All I have to say is that the DEA is as close to organized crime as it comes in this day and if there is nothing we can do to dethrone them while they sit being the moralistic argument that "drugs are bad and we fight drugs" then perhaps we as a people are simply not culturally ready to be free at this point in our history.

He actually sounds sympathetic toward marijuana decriminalization/legalization even if he doesn't come out and say it. He just makes the very valid point that it won't save us any money in the sense that most legalizers would have us believe. I mean, he basically says that this report shouldn't stop policy makers from "aggressively pursuing" decrim/legalization policies.

This is the real benefit of decriminalization. Actual financial savings to taxpayers will only happen if police, probation and parole officers are laid off, and, court rooms and prisons closed. This is unlikely to occur simply due to marijuana being decriminalized. But it may halt the ever increasing and expanding amounts of money being spent on the needless enforcement of marijuana laws and force the criminal justice system to re-allocate its resources to more serious crimes.
Rob1Billion
Posts: 1,338
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9/16/2010 9:25:15 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/16/2010 6:06:16 PM, Sam_Lowry wrote:
At 9/15/2010 9:15:10 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
As far as your article, Sam, it is just another pencil-pusher who can't see past the economic issues at the end of his page to see what the big picture is: regulating drugs is blatantly immoral, ineffective, and futile,. He is just making a concerted effort to discredit what he sees as the most effective arguments against his stance, which is that of the economic sort, because our scholars love arguments that can be quantified in our age of choosing fiscal conservatism over moral judgment. And as far as saying "well, the DEA will continue to take our $50B anyway..." All I have to say is that the DEA is as close to organized crime as it comes in this day and if there is nothing we can do to dethrone them while they sit being the moralistic argument that "drugs are bad and we fight drugs" then perhaps we as a people are simply not culturally ready to be free at this point in our history.

He actually sounds sympathetic toward marijuana decriminalization/legalization even if he doesn't come out and say it. He just makes the very valid point that it won't save us any money in the sense that most legalizers would have us believe. I mean, he basically says that this report shouldn't stop policy makers from "aggressively pursuing" decrim/legalization policies.

Victims of drug policy and the citizens that have to pay for their persecution don't need sympathy, they need people who will stand up to unjust practices. The only agreement I have with him is that we shouldn't be concentrating on money any more than we would concentrate on money for say, reducing the amount of times people beat their wives... Whether it saves money is moot. People who don't like drug laws put forth these arguments because they are doing everything they can to get these laws repealed and unfortunately saving money is the only issue anyone is going to care about because druggies are not exactly who everyone is lookign to help when it comes to politics - nor are the families in Mexico who are being terrorized by drug cartels. Does this guy mention putting drug cartels out of business, and what the ramifacations of that will be?

This is the real benefit of decriminalization. Actual financial savings to taxpayers will only happen if police, probation and parole officers are laid off, and, court rooms and prisons closed. This is unlikely to occur simply due to marijuana being decriminalized. But it may halt the ever increasing and expanding amounts of money being spent on the needless enforcement of marijuana laws and force the criminal justice system to re-allocate its resources to more serious crimes.
Master P is the end result of capitalism.
Sam_Lowry
Posts: 367
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9/16/2010 9:56:33 PM
Posted: 6 years ago
At 9/16/2010 9:25:15 PM, Rob1Billion wrote:
Victims of drug policy and the citizens that have to pay for their persecution don't need sympathy, they need people who will stand up to unjust practices. The only agreement I have with him is that we shouldn't be concentrating on money any more than we would concentrate on money for say, reducing the amount of times people beat their wives... Whether it saves money is moot. People who don't like drug laws put forth these arguments because they are doing everything they can to get these laws repealed and unfortunately saving money is the only issue anyone is going to care about because druggies are not exactly who everyone is lookign to help when it comes to politics - nor are the families in Mexico who are being terrorized by drug cartels. Does this guy mention putting drug cartels out of business, and what the ramifacations of that will be?

Not explicitly.

There are several studies that claim serious crimes actually increase as police and the courts pay greater attention to drug crimes.xviii

This is not to say that efforts to decriminalize marijuana should be abandoned. Certainly the nearly three quarter million Americans who are arrested and booked into jail each year see the value of such a policy. There are also many hidden costs associated with marijuana use especially for those nearly 5 million persons on parole and probation supervision who are subject to incarceration if they do what 25 million Americans do on a regular basis – smoke pot.