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What drugs should be legal?(35 posts)

What drugs should be legal?ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 6:11 AM
Started this discussion a bit with Doug down below, but was interested in what the rest of you think. Do you agree that alcohol and nicotine should remain legal? What drugs that are illegal should be made legal? Pot? Heroin? LSD? All of them? What do you think of the war on some drugs? Is it worth it? Should it be escalated? How many of you that think all illegal drugs should remain illegal have ever taken one or more of these drugs? If never, do you drink alcohol or smoke cigarettes? discuss...
seems more like a non-cycling discussion...mr_spin
Jul 2, 2002 6:18 AM
Pot, yes. It's no big deal, and certainly no worse than alcohol.

Heroin, definitely not.
LSD no.
Coke, no.

The war on drugs is a huge waste of time and money.
re: Well since you asked.....cyclejim
Jul 2, 2002 6:20 AM
There is one drug that I would most definitely legalize before I would legalize alchohol and that is marijuana.

From personal experience I believe that the potental destructive effects that alcohol can have on individuals, families, and society in general are far worse than those of marijuana. I don't use either one by the way. =)
Aside from all the standard "freedom speeches",STEELYeyed
Jul 2, 2002 6:36 AM
what reasons have you heard that any mood altering,or impairing
substance should be legal?
Aside from all the standard "freedom speeches",ishmael
Jul 2, 2002 8:07 AM
the question should be why make them illegal? We should start with the freedom and need a good argument to have it taken away, dont you think?. Weighing the pro's and con's I'd say legalize them all, monitor there use, and stop the huge profits of drug trafficing. I used to smoke pot everyday, it never hurt anyone but me. These days I'll ocassionally eat a browney (better for the lungs), I still love getting really stoned and riding around at 2 in the morning when the streets are all my own.
well if alcohol and tobacco are legal.....Spirito
Jul 2, 2002 6:45 AM
make them all legal. alcohol and nicotine account for 98% of all drug related fatalities and injuries.

the amount of money and time wasted by authorities on trying to control and police other drugs (evidently wasted) could be far better spent on education, training for those on welfare and proper studies on the effects of all substances (which should be made public).

the best drug is passion but should people choose to use others then they should be made aware of what it does. it takes away the criminal element and also allows for a more consistent substance (perhaps fewer fatalities). you would find over time that the real #'s of users would decline.

keeping them illegal and contolling subtances will never stop people - take a look. some drugs may be positive for some occasions but most people figure out quickly that positivity is better for all occasions.

dont even get me started on governments and drugs especially in the US of A.

people will do what they want - yes even your kids - that it isnt legal has never stopped anyone.

to quote from Withnail and I "apart from personal use - i couldn't care".

what do i like? - above all a good book/film or cooking for the other. jumping on a bike. seeing something beautiful. seeing another person's strength of will and courage. ive tried it all at least twice and i know where happiness and peace is found - me :-)

ciao
All of thempmf1
Jul 2, 2002 6:49 AM
There was an interesting article in the Atlantic Monthly some years ago where the author (I forget who) made a very convincing case against legalizing all drugs. If they were lagalized and sold through existing institutions like liquor stores at reasonable prices, then the criminal element who distributes and sells them would immediately go out of business. Crime rates would drop considerably. Instead of a crack addict robbing someone for drug money, they could more easily afford their drugs. How many winos are out there mugging people? Not many because their habit is cheap. Think of the savings in police costs, jail costs, etc. The war on drugs costs billions and isn't being won.

Would this lead to a nation of addicts? How many of you have tried alcohol? Did you get addicted. What about cocaine? Even if it were $5/gram, would you get addicted to it? A small proportion of the population may get addicted, but its likely that it is mostly the proportion who is already addicted, or would become so leaving the system the way it is. A tiny fraction of the savings could be used to set up generous treatment programs for addicts who want to quit. As it is now (at least what I see in DC), methadone programs have months long waiting lists.

Makes sense to me, but I'm just a heartless economist.
All of themJekyll
Jul 2, 2002 6:58 AM
Precisely. And, most social issues are argued in a vacuum but as luck would have it this particular issue has an exceptional historical example. Its hard to argue with regard to human behavior because it requires a series of assumptions regarding human nature. But here we only need to roll back the clock to the early part of the last century. We are proving daily to be as effective in the "drug war" as we were in ridding the world of alcohol during prohibition. We are also daily encouraging the same type of criminal activity that created the likes of Al Capone in the 20's. All of this because some seem to "know" what's better for others and allege to have the capacity to thread the needle between "legal" drugs and their "illegal" counterparts. Silly.
Boozepmf1
Jul 2, 2002 7:08 AM
Alcohol is so socially accepted in so many cultures and for such a long time that prohibition was doomed to failure from the start. Tobacco is pretty much the same story. Its not so true with currently illegal drugs. I don't know if our drug laws are a fair comparison to prohibition. Its not really on the same scale. Then again, the drug laws we have do not work.

I am opposed to laws that tell people how they should live their lives, when those actions only affect the person practicing the banned behavior. If it hurts an innocent third party, that's another issue.
BoozeJekyll
Jul 2, 2002 10:02 AM
I'm not sure about that - many drug laws were precisely targeted at particular cultures in which their use was rather excepted. I think the example holds. While studies rather non-conclusively show that alcohol use did decline rather marginally during prohibition - they also show that those who drank actually drank more on average. Like you said in your original post - vectoring a very small part of the money currently wasted on the "drug war" toward treatment and education would have far better social benefits that it currently does in its use for hopeless attempts at prohibition.
Decriminalize. Grow your own.Outlaw pharmacutical fraud.nmfnn128
Jul 2, 2002 7:24 AM
Just for funDougSloan
Jul 2, 2002 7:29 AM
I'll take the other side.

Drugs, particularly powerful ones like LSD, heroin, etc., have the capacity to kill people. Further, they kill people who may expect to have merely a "recreational" experience. Many drugs are unpredictable in their effect, potentially being safe one use and dangerous another.

Legalization of a substance usually assumes that the user has the ability to understand and control the use. For alcohol and tobacco, this is usually true. For more powerful drugs, it may not.

Sometimes we do need protection from ourselves. There are thousands of examples, if you think about it. We control the quality of food, as we may not have the means to test it; we regulate speed on highways, not merely for the benefit of others; we have doctors and pharmacists to dispense beneficial medications that require knowledge of their effects, interactions, and potential abuses; heck, we even ban attempts at suicide.

The inability to control something, I think, is not a sufficient argument to permit that something. All that means it that we give up, not that the something ought to be legal. With the same reasoning, we should then legalize all "victimless" activities presented defined as crimes (prostitution, drug use, gambling, etc.), as enforcement costs would be reduced. Legalize everything and no police or courts would be needed at all, right?

The strongest argument to me, though, is what the effect upon those close to me would be if legalized. While I would do everything possible to persuade my son never to take drugs, if they are illegal I have an "extra" powerful argument to help keep him from them. If they were legal, he might well overdose on his first experiment with heroin, and I'd be pounding on the legislature's door to demand laws banning the drug to help other parents avoid the same tragedy. I'd be heartbroken that I exchanged my love of libertarian philosophy for my son's life.

Doug
Just for funpmf1
Jul 2, 2002 7:49 AM
OK, but are you more likely to over-dose and die from something you buy in a baggie from some guy on a street corner, or from a legalized source that is policed by the government for proper dosage and purity? Drugs on the illegal market can vary widely in potency -- who knows what its cut with, or how many times. If it were legalized, these things would be standardized.

Are you more likely to get sick and die from drinking some prohibition bathtub gin, or from the gin you buy at the liquor store?

Controlling the quality of food is in the public good. The benefits far outweigh the costs. This argument is not so convincing with illegal drugs.

As for banning suicide, in the case of mental illness, yes we want to protect someone from making a mistake. In the case of some poor cancer victim dying a painful death, I'm not so sure.
btwcollinsc
Jul 2, 2002 8:01 AM
LSD wont kill anyone. You may die while on LSD, running around crazy with vivid hallucinations, but it will not be the LSD that kills you.

Speed limits are a revenue generating system. The "enforcement costs" are exactly why the system is in place. Prostitution and gambling really should also be legal, who am I to say someone cant pay to f*ck someone or get f*cked, or in the latter, pay to f*ck themselves. But those, I guess, are separate arguments.

As for your son, legality wont stop him. Education, however, certainly will.
LSD?ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 8:14 AM
I dont think i've ever read anything that says LSD is physically addictive or even all that dangerous--at least not physically...mentally it might be very dangerous, but even then the most problems from LSD seem to be the stuff that gets added to it (stricynine, etc)--another problem with street drugs is you don't know what you are getting or how pure they are. LSD doesn't strike me as a drug with a large potential for abuse as heroin or cocaine do--who would want to be that wacked out all the time? I'd even venture to say chronic abusers of LSD are pretty rare.
Yes, LSD and Mushrooms...Wayne
Jul 2, 2002 8:41 AM
are not addicting and I don't think there are any known physically harmful affects from the drugs themselves. Actually the desire to use them decreases over time. I don't know anyone who uses either more frequently than they did when they first tried them if they continue to use them at all.
On the other hand......Len J
Jul 2, 2002 8:39 AM
"Drugs, particularly powerful ones like LSD, heroin, etc., have the capacity to kill people. Further, they kill people who may expect to have merely a "recreational" experience. Many drugs are unpredictable in their effect, potentially being safe one use and dangerous another"

This could be solved by legalization as there would be regulation on consistancy of potency etc similar to tobacco.

"Legalization of a substance usually assumes that the user has the ability to understand and control the use. For alcohol and tobacco, this is usually true. For more powerful drugs, it may not. "

I don't think that the many users of tobacco & Alcohol who have tried to quit but can't would agree with you. Both are powerful drugs in and of themselves.

"The strongest argument to me, though, is what the effect upon those close to me would be if legalized. While I would do everything possible to persuade my son never to take drugs, if they are illegal I have an "extra" powerful argument to help keep him from them. If they were legal, he might well overdose on his first experiment with heroin, and I'd be pounding on the legislature's door to demand laws banning the drug to help other parents avoid the same tragedy. I'd be heartbroken that I exchanged my love of libertarian philosophy for my son's life."

I certainly agree with the feelings of fear you express, however I don't think that the risk is any more than it is with alcohol. Drinking was illegal for me before I was 21 yet it never stopped me. When I think of all the kids I've known who have died as a result of underage drinking, I am staggered. I don't think the risk increases if you legalize drugs. Face it Doug, kids can get anything they want now, trust me on this, my kids have shown me how easy it is.

The real issue IMO is do we concentrate our efforts on the supply side or on the demand side. The "War on drugs" concentrates 95% of it's efforts on the supply side while only directing 5% on educating and reducing the demand for drugs. As long as the demand is there, the supply will come from somewhere. I would much rather have controlled supply with significant resources put into education, methadone clinics, rehabs & counseling as opposed to the joke we have now. Legalization would also generate additional tax revenue which could be used to enhance these programs. I believe that the "War on drugs" is a fatally flawed effort.

Let's concentrate on the demand side for a change.

Len
drugs are not hard to find--the key is educationColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 8:51 AM
i think if your son wants to try heroin it wouldn't be too tough to find--legal or not. the key is education and telling kids the truth. heroin kills and is extremely addictive. a lot of addicts have little control over their habit once they get addicted. they will steal or do pretty much anything to avoid withdrawal. doesn't matter whether you are a rock star with tons of money to support your habit or a out of work junkie...heroin will ruin you if you do it enough--pretty much a black and white thing. the problem gets to be where politicians and the like equate something relatively harmless like pot alongside heroin. kids are not stupid. they will try pot and say "what was all the fuss about"? they might take this to mean that they have been lied to all long about ALL drugs and try somthing way more harmful like heroin--only to find themselves addicted and ruining their lives in the process. we owe it to our kids to tell the truth about drugs and not just issue a blanket statement saying "drugs are bad" and "just say no".
hey doug....Spirito
Jul 2, 2002 9:24 AM
if your son is loved, educated honestly and openely to the effects of all drugs, and if you share with him your wish for him to not waste his life from abusing them them he will easily understand. love conquers all - it may sound cliched but is the biggest truth.

it doesn't take much wisdom to realise most drugs used without caution have an ill effect - i have had close friends die because they couldn't talk to their parents about them due to their illegal nature and society "washing their hands" their hands of the problem. i have had many more friends die from legalised drugs available to anyone and taxed by the government - this makes me even more bitter.

ingnorance, closed minds and institutional lies kill people - drugs are just the trigger.

life is a gift given and is treasured by those who understand its beauty. those who dont value it cant be forced to as being human is about learning how to make choices.

im really into legalise them all as otherwise its wastefull of government resources and hippocritical of society. or take the opposite route and treat alcohol and tobacco the same way that illegal drugs are. this attitude of you can take one but not the other is pointless and far more damaging in my view.

i dont need any of them to live and enjoy - but i feel that everone would be a lot wiser and more intuitive were they given a choice. then again my father introduced me to liqour and pot when i was barely twelve - having tried them i never saw what the big deal was and still dont to this day. my father no longer drinks and rarley smokes pot and its me thats laughing at him for doing so. i also came from a country where i could call the police and prosecute my neighbour for jumping the backyard fence to steal my pot plants. personal use within the confines of one's own home was not illegal. possesion of more than 3 ounces and selling them was. buying the tools and equipment and seeds was made available to anyone over the age of 18 with a drivers licence. i was shocked when i came to the states and thought it was lawless that in some states i could buy a gun yet couldn't buy a beer or smoke a joint. what is more dangerous?

curiousity had me taste all of what was offered and on the whole there was nothing that i thought i couldn't do without. i had some cool times but they were more about experiencing new things and the youthfull exuberance that came with it. i feel better for having tried and more helpfull to those around me who may be interested as i will always tell them the truth so that if they are interested they may do so in a safe fashion and know what to expect.

i have never stole, cheated or been charged with any criminal convictions. i have probably done more drugs than most convicted criminals. i have always had a job (in fact self emloyed) and have always been trusted by those around me and looked upon with maturity and levelheadedness. i have had drugs sitting in my house untouched for more than 1 1/2 years and have yet to have a drink since christmas day.

if you brought down the mystique of it all then it would be even less attractive. an ex-girlfriend grew up in a tent in the rainforest. drugs that were considered illegal by the rest of society were a daily part of life to her as a child in single digit years. when i met her she was 18 and the most sober and mature person i had ever met at such a young age. she wouldnt even take an aspirin and had never touched a drop of alcohol in her life (still to this day). of course this isnt the case with everyone but it would not be far from the majority either. she pursued a liufe of music and is has mad ean international career of it being a fine cellist.

the illicit nature of illegal drugs make them into more hoo-hah than they really are. this is so backward and antiquated and produces more harm than good. once upon a time sex before and outside of marriage was considered taboo and illegal yet th
part 2Spirito
Jul 2, 2002 9:25 AM
the illicit nature of illegal drugs make them into more hoo-hah than they really are. this is so backward and antiquated and produces more harm than good. once upon a time sex before and outside of marriage was considered taboo and illegal yet the modern world has grown to accept and be more mature and tolerant. we have learnt its a beautiful thing but it can be destructive - same with all drugs legal or otherwise - they can be interesting but if not treated with caution and made aware of its effects it can be damaging.

there are many more important things than all drugs (legal or illegal) - it doesnt take much of a human to make that distinction. being young doesn't necessarily make you none the wiser. as a child i was made aware that i shouldn't touch power cords and outlets, play with fire, swim in the deep end without supervision, cross the road without looking, ride without a helmet, talk to strangers and to not use drugs if i didn't know how to, what they were or the person who provided them. i understood why and it made sense. they are all life lessons and should be the same for all children. i understood - i dont see why your kids shouldn't.

ciao
Well put. Thanks. ....Len J
Jul 2, 2002 9:30 AM
You can't legislate either maturity or morality.

Len
Just for fun, read. (at least the last paragraph)128
Jul 2, 2002 11:14 AM
Libertarian Party Brochure

The Libertarian Party asks:
SHOULD WE RE-LEGALIZE DRUGS?

Should We Re-Legalize Drugs?
Libertarians, like most Americans, demand to be safe at home and on the streets. Libertarians would like all Americans to be healthy and free of drug dependence. But drug laws don't help, they make things worse.

The professional politicians scramble to make names for themselves as tough anti-drug warriors, while the experts agree that the "war on drugs" has been lost, and could never be won. The tragic victims of that war are your personal liberty and its companion, responsibility. It's time to consider the re-legalization of drugs.

The Lessons of Prohibition
In the 1920's, alcohol was made illegal by Prohibition. The result: Organized Crime. Criminals jumped at the chance to supply the demand for liquor. The streets became battlegrounds. The criminals bought off law enforcement and judges. Adulterated booze blinded and killed people. Civil rights were trampled in the hopeless attempt to keep people from drinking.

When the American people saw what Prohibition was doing to them, they supported its repeal. When they succeeded, most states legalized liquor and the criminal gangs were out of the liquor business.

Today's war on drugs is a re-run of Prohibition. Approximately 40 million Americans are occasional, peaceful users of some illegal drug who are no threat to anyone. They are not going to stop. The laws don't, and can't, stop drug use.

Organized Crime Profits
Whenever there is a great demand for a product and government makes it illegal, a black market always appears to supply the demand. The price of the product rises dramatically and the opportunity for huge profits is obvious. The criminal gangs love the situation, making millions. They kill other drug dealers, along with innocent people caught in the crossfire, to protect their territory. They corrupt police and courts. Pushers sell adulterated dope and experimental drugs, causing injury and death. And because drugs are illegal, their victims have no recourse.

Crime Increases
Half the cost of law enforcement and prisons is squandered on drug related crime. Of all drug users, a relative few are addicts who commit crimes daily to supply artificially expensive habits. They are the robbers, car thieves and burglars who make our homes and streets unsafe.

An American Police State
Civil liberties suffer. We are all "suspects", subject to random urine tests, highway check points and spying into our personal finances. Your property can be seized without trial, if the police merely claim you got it with drug profits. Doing business with cash makes you a suspect. America is becoming a police state because of the war on drugs.

America Can Handle Legal Drugs
Today's illegal drugs were legal before 1914. Cocaine was even found in the original Coca-Cola recipe. Americans had few problems with cocaine, opium, heroin or marijuana. Drugs were inexpensive; crime was low. Most users handled their drug of choice and lived normal, productive lives. Addicts out of control were a tiny minority.

The first laws prohibiting drugs were racist in origin -- to prevent Chinese laborers from using opium and to prevent blacks and Hispanics from using cocaine and marijuana. That was unjust and unfair, just as it is unjust and unfair to make criminals of peaceful drug users today.

Some Americans will always use alcohol, tobacco, marijuana or other drugs. Most are not addicts, they are social drinkers or occasional users. Legal drugs would be inexpensive, so even addicts could support their habits with honest work, rather than by crime. Organized crime would be deprived of its profits. The police could return to protecting us from real criminals; and there would be room enough in existing prisons for them.

Try Personal Responsibility
It's time to re-legalize drugs and let people take responsibility for themselves.
Just for fun, include the last paragraph. d'oh.128
Jul 2, 2002 11:39 AM
Try Personal Responsibility
It's time to re-legalize drugs and let people take responsibility for themselves. Drug abuse is a tragedy and a sickness. Criminal laws only drive the problem underground and put money in the pockets of the criminal class. With drugs legal, compassionate people could do more to educate and rehabilitate drug users who seek help. Drugs should be legal. Individuals have the right to decide for themselves what to put in their bodies, so long as they take responsibility for their actions.

From the Mayor of Baltimore, Kurt Schmoke, to conservative writer and TV personality, William F. Buckley, Jr., leading Americans are now calling for repeal of America's repressive and ineffective drug laws. The Libertarian Party urges you to join in this effort to make our streets safer and our liberties more secure.
just making an argumentDougSloan
Jul 2, 2002 12:22 PM
I'm basically on the libertarian side. Since no one was making the other argument, I thought I'd jump in.
yes that was noted....Spirito
Jul 2, 2002 4:16 PM
i also cant vouch for how i would feel if i were the father of a child. id imagine that i would probably be less lassez fair as i am now.

i dont think id have the balls to sit down with my son and say here try some of this. i would think however, that spending many days riding with him/her if they were keen on bicycles would be a nice way to show a better recreation. which i imagine yourself doin somehwere down the road.

its never a cut and dried argument and neither can we live i a dessert island ethically.
Just for funvitusdude
Jul 2, 2002 11:42 AM
I appreciate your concern, but I prefer not the have my government 'protect me from myself'. I'll do that job myself.
With all due respect.look271
Jul 2, 2002 12:26 PM
And God forbid this should happen to your son, or my daughters for that matter, chances are far greater that their lives would be cut short driving drunk or getting in an accident caused by a drunk driver.
lots of wrong info there...-JC-
Jul 3, 2002 12:47 AM
Hi Doug,

I realize you are posting this for the sake of debate but most of your points are wrong.

LSD doesn't kill anyone. It is hard to overdose on herion and most other recrational drugs. Overdoses are not caused by addicts trying to get "higher." They are caused by the unknown purity of the drug taken. There are less than 5000 overdose deaths a year. Compare that to alchaol and cigaretts.

I'm not sure I understand the "control the use" argument. Does a pack-a-day smoker control the use?

I don't necessarily disagree with your "protection from ourselves" arguement but what we need protection from is very subjective. There are many people who think those who bomb down mountain roads on 23mm tires wearing nothing but a little lycra need protection from themselves.

The inability to control something isnt a prima face reason for liberalization. However if control involves violation of sacred principles or a vast expendature of resources that outweighs the benefits of criminalization then perhaps the laws should be reconsidered?

You sure are worried about herion Doug. You should really worrey about E. Your kid is far more likely to do it and it does appear to have lasting effects on brain development and cognition.

You sound like a good parent who provides a stable caring environment for your kid(s). Unless addiction is in your family I don't think you have too much to worry about.

Best,
JC
re:All of themdzrider
Jul 2, 2002 7:38 AM
They should, however, be distributed by the state in an environment exactly like Motor Vehicles. Let people wait in lines and fill out forms and put up with rude, unhelpful and condescending workers before they get their drugs. Then they should be required to use them on site and hang around on metal chairs in a utilitarian environment with no televisions or stereos.

In stead of dressing up ex-junkies and sending them out to try to scare kids with addiction horror stories, you could show kids the lines and the forms and bored people doing nothig in an inhospitable environment and make drugs as unappealing as possible.
get them at the post office between 12-2pukka
Jul 2, 2002 7:53 AM
no one would bother, unless you really needed to get stamps as well
LOL - classic!Jekyll
Jul 2, 2002 10:06 AM
sorry...thought i posted this on the "non-cycling" forum....(nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 8:05 AM
re: What drugs should be legal?vitusdude
Jul 2, 2002 11:38 AM
Make them all legal and end the 'war on drugs'.
Interesting...not one reply supporting the war on drugs (nm)ColnagoFE
Jul 2, 2002 12:09 PM
re: What drugs should be legal?Starliner
Jul 2, 2002 5:28 PM
I support legalizing growing and possessing pot; and substantially decriminalizing heroin, LSD and cocaine, but not to the extent that they could be commercialized.

As for the war on drugs, I would shift the war's focus away from "on drugs" and redirect it to "on abuse". I'd also rethink the "war" theme because I don't think it's too effective of an approach.

Currently I drink alcohol (50% wine 45% beer 5% hard liquor) a few times a week, occasionally smoke pot, and have never smoked cigarettes on a habitual basis. In prior years I was habitually similar with my drinking, maybe with a few more binges thrown in, and heavier with pot use in my late teens and up thru the mid-20's. Tried LSD once and liked it at around 20; cocaine a few times over the years and was mildly underwhelmed; never heroin.

Everybody is different, and I think it is important to know yourself vis-a-vis these things - your limits, your frequencies, your relationships with any of them. You gotta be able to walk away from them, which is a problem for many. I frequently go on the wagon for some reason or another, which in the back of my mind I know I also do just to remain clear with myself. I guess that's part of what being an adult is all about (I'm 48).