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Thursday, July 09, 2009

Legalize It - Part 1

Legalize it, all of it.

Let me make very clear that I do not advocate most drug use; I think that using some drugs is generally bad. I have never used “recreational” drugs in my life, ever. I think our society would be better off if many drugs didn’t exist; but they do, and there is a demand for them, so they continue to be manufactured and sold.

Prohibiting and controlling drugs does not stop some people from having the desire for them, that is unlikely to go away; as long as these desires exists there will be a demand and market for them, and some folks will be willing to meet that demand, whether it's legal or not.

Self-Ownership

Do you believe that you own yourself? If you truly own yourself, then you are free to keep yourself as fit or as fat as you want. If you truly own yourself, then you are free to put into your body what you want, be it apples or marijuana.

The principle here is self-ownership; you own and are in charge of yourself. Because of this, you are responsible for yourself (provided that you have the mental capacity to be) and are free to make good or bad choices, provided that those choices don’t violate the liberties of other people. Using harmful drugs is generally a bad choice in my opinion, but it is one that you have the right to make as it harms yourself directly, just like eating too much fatty food or listening to your Ipod at full volume all day.

Obviously, there are social consequences of using drugs and the possibility of becoming addicted; you may be ostracized from friends and relatives, if you have people financially depended on you they may be negatively affected. There will be indirect effects on people from your actions no matter what you do, these cannot necessarily be controlled or measured, that’s why the focus is on the actions you can control; your own.

Legalize Marijuana

It’s harder for the general public to hear the message of “legalize ALL drugs”, it’s not something that is often heard, therefore I will focus on the legalization of marijuana, though the arguments for it’s legalization will apply to other drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth etc.

Though is has been shown that there are medicinal benefits to marijuana, the reason for it’s legalization is still based on the principle of self-ownership, but I will look at some of the common arguments for and against it, while still holding the self-ownership principle as the main reason for why it should be legalized.

Decriminalization of Marijuana in Canada

Think of the waste that goes into policing drug users. 30,000 people in Canada charged ever year. That means that every one of those people were dealt with by police, then entered into the system, paid fines, court dates, etc. The amount of bureaucracy needed to deal with this is staggering. Now, all of those people have criminal records. They will have a harder time getting a job, crossing borders, finding suitable housing, etc., all because they choose to put something into their body. That is not good for them or good for the rest of society as they may end up drawing on welfare or other socialized programs becasue of the lack of opportunities a criminal record may bring them.

So the point comes up, then why do them? As a non-marijuana user I cannot answer that, other to say that people have been suing this substance for many years, and it's illegal nature has not dettered many of them or halted the drug trade. To some folks the risk is worth it.

Every April 20 at the Legislature here in Winnipeg, you will find thousands of people lighting a blunt in open protest of the illegality of marijuana, yet there aren’t swarms of police coming down to break it up. Yet they will spend time going after people in their homes, on the street, etc. Why this inconsistency? Even the police realize that possessing marijuana is not a serious enough offense to warrant shutting down this peaceful protest. This seems like an inconsistent, hypocritical position.

The problem isn’t the police, it is the law, and the beaurocrats that make the law.

The Government are Drug Dealers

Speaking of hypocritical positions, even though growing, possessing and distributing marijuana is illegal, the Canadian government continues to do it to this day.

Health Canada looking for marijuana grower

Government pot is grown in an abandoned mine in Flin Flon, Manitoba, and used for medicinal marijuana. The use of marijuana for medicinal purposes has been well established, and Health Canada recognizes and approves its use.

Health Canada - Medical Use of Marihuana

Health Canada grants access to marihuana for medical use to those who are suffering from grave and debilitating illnesses.

Yet, you aren’t allowed to grow your own medicine if you so choose, the government has to do it for you and give you a piece of paper that allows you to have it. Why is the goverment in the medicine business? Is there Province of Manitoba brand ibuprophen? No one else is allowed to provide this approved medicine, only the government.

This is another government monopoly like Manitoba Lotteries and MPI, making the bearuocracy larger, demanding tax money to grow pot.

I wonder how someone who is against the legalization of marjiana would feel knowing that they are paying to grow and distribute it.

Prohibition

What would happen if pot was legalized? We can look at history to find out. In the early 1900’s alcohol manufacturing, distribution and possession was made illegal all over North America.

Prohibition_in_the_United_States

Prohibition_in_Canada

When something is outlawed, it creates a black market for that product or service. When something is in the black market it inherently becomes more dangerous because it needs to be under the radar of law enforcement. It becomes the product of gangs and organized crime, and prices get very high, and violent crime surrounds it. This is what happened with alcohol prohibition; people didn’t stop drinking, they just had to do it underground. Once alcohol prohibition ended, so did the violence and crime surrounding it’s manufacture and distribution. Do we currently see turf wars or gang crime with alcohol distribution? No, it went away when prohibition went away. The same thing would happen if the prohibition against marijuana was ended.

Let’s look at this realistically. If marijuana wasn’t prohibited, how would people get it? Likely the same way people get alcohol and tobacco; large companies will grow and sell it and you can buy it at the corner store. Plus, you will have companies selling “home growing kits” so you can grow your own. You won’t need to buy it on the street under threat of arrest and the prices would be lower because there will be a large, safe supply and legal ways of obtaining it.

If people could choose between a drug store or a thug on the street, where would they be likely to go to buy marijuana?

Arguments Against Legalization

If murder wasn’t on the books as being illegal, would people murder each other? Laws don’t dictate behavior, marijuana is illegal right now yet people still use it, the law doesn’t stop that. If it was legalized, people who were going to do it will still do it, and people who weren’t going to do it won’t. There is a taboo in doing something illegal, and once that taboo is gone, then a small part of the thrill is gone.

In September 2007, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse reported that marijuana use in teens have gone up (opens PDF).

(marijuana use)use is reported by 17 per cent of students in grades 7 to 9, about 29 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds, and almost half of 18- to 19-year-olds

Would arresting 50% of Canadian teens do them any good? How would that help them in life? It won't stop them from using the drug, just put them into the legal system and make it harder to move forward with a productive life.

Let’s look at a place where pot is less restricted, Amsterdam and some of Australia. The usage of marijuana in those areas is actually lower than that of the U.S.

Marijuana Prohibition Has Not Curtailed Marijuana Use by Adolescents

This report shows that the prohibition of marijuana in the United States has not curtailed adolescent marijuana use.

                 United States   The Netherlands

Total Population      31.1 [a]           28.5 [b] 
Young Adults          47.3 [c]           45.5 [d] 
Older Teens           38.2 [e]           29.5 [f] 
Younger Teens         13.5 [g]            7.2 [h] 

To say that legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in use is not what the evidence shows.

In March 2009,the Cato Institute put out a report about the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal.

Evaluating the policy strictly from an empirical perspective, decriminalization has been an unquestionable success, leading to improvements in virtually every relevant category and enabling Portugal to manage drug-related problems (and drug usage rates) far better than most Western nations that continue to treat adult drug consumption as a criminal offense.

You can see the policy forum and presentation of this report at the Cato Institute website.

Also, to call marijuana a “gateway” drug is misleading. Using marijuana does not mean that you will then use, cocaine, heroin or other harmful drugs. It is most of then the first one that people will use because it is the most common and least expensive. Calling marijuana a gateway drug is like calling beer a gateway drink that means you will start misusing alcohol and more potent drinks, it is not necessarily true. Most people first encounter beer, it is less expensive than harder drinks so it is naturally what would be encountered first.

As for sending “conflicting messages” to young people, I say, let them make up their own mind. The message we can send is that some things are good for you, some things are bad, you choose which you’d like to do. In fact, I wouldn’t call marijuana “bad”, no more than I would call having a beer “bad”. I’m going to teach my children to choose for themselves, no conflicting message there.

The argument that marijuana is harmful doesn’t stand up either. Yes, it can cause some harm to the body, but if we were to outlaw things that were harmful then perhaps we should be outlawing salt, butter, etc. By this reasoning, anything harmful to an individual should be prohibited. Well, then here are a few other things that should be banned then.

If we truly own ourselves, then we are the ones that choose what we can and can’t put into our bodies. If we choose to harm ourselves with drugs, or salt, or getting fat, then that is also our choice.

I welcome any comments or corrections.

Please keep comments on topic and cordial. Insults and ad hominems may result in deleted posts.

Posted by Freedom Manitoba on July 9, 2009 in Marijuana reform | Permalink

Comments

No. Never.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-09 11:27:41 AM


Hear, hear!

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-07-09 11:29:07 AM


With all the issues that face Canada today, rising unemployment, a war in Afghanistan, immigration, health care, etc. I find it amusing that about the only subject that "libertarians" can come up with is legalization of marijuana. The quality of the scribblers on the WS is declining at an alarming rate. There is no one who can right a decent article on economics, history, technology, etc. Keep up the pot legalization articles and soon the only person reading and responding will be Matthews.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-07-09 11:37:23 AM


There is no one who can right

Opps. Looks like I can't either. Bwahahahahahaha

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-07-09 11:41:24 AM


Stig,

Does it really surprise you that libertarians are pre-occupied with individual rights?

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-07-09 11:55:17 AM


A few questions if I may;
Assuming pot is legalized, what is the libertarian stance on defining impairment? Marijuana traces remain in your body for as long as a couple of weeks. In the oilpatch where drug testing is the norm any identifiable trace is grounds for a suspension or even termination of employment. Do you propose to rescind workplace policies on drug use? What is your stance on driving while buzzed?
Is it the position of legalization proponents that pot usage does not result in a level of impairment? If proponents concede that impairment can be a result how do they propose to set a definitive and quantifiable benchmark for identifying said impairment?

Posted by: BoomNoZoom | 2009-07-09 11:56:59 AM


There is no one who can right

Opps. Looks like I can't either. Bwahahahahahaha

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-07-09 11:41:24 AM

"opps"? still can't. ;)

yeah, i know. i pick the low fruit.

Posted by: shel | 2009-07-09 11:57:32 AM


@ The Stig

//With all the issues that face Canada today, rising unemployment, a war in Afghanistan, immigration, health care, etc//

I'll get to those eventually.

@ Boom No Zoom

//Assuming pot is legalized, what is the libertarian stance on defining impairment? //

I don't know if that's a libertarian issue per se, but a medical one.

//Marijuana traces remain in your body for as long as a couple of weeks.//

That does not mean that someone is intoxicated for that period of time.

//Do you propose to rescind workplace policies on drug use?//

It is up to the business owners to set their own standards.

//What is your stance on driving while buzzed?//

Not a good idea.

//Is it the position of legalization proponents that pot usage does not result in a level of impairment?//

The evidence is that a lot of use can lead to impairment.

//If proponents concede that impairment can be a result how do they propose to set a definitive and quantifiable benchmark for identifying said impairment?//

That would be up to health experts, not bloggers.

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-09 12:14:42 PM


Legalization of one drug will lead to the same for others, which is totally unacceptable. Your so-called "individual acts" DO have broader consequences. It is the duty of society, in light of past experience, to act for the common good.

Don't like it? Then stop doing drugs. It just may be a good idea.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-09 12:18:28 PM


/Legalization of one drug will lead to the same for others,//

So? I am for repealing all drug laws.

//It is the duty of society, in light of past experience, to act for the common good. //

What is society and what is the common good?

Posted by: Scott Carnegie | 2009-07-09 12:23:57 PM


I agree with the post but as Stig alludes, the freedom to smoke pot is less important to me than say, selling wheat to the highest bidder, packing a gun, observing property rights, speaking freely, directly engaging in services with a health care provider, having choices in schooling, etc. Besides, the cultural baggage that comes with the pot legalization crowd is sometimes hard to take (and I used to play in a rock band and inhale!).

I have reservations about full legalization as an addendum to the welfare / nanny state as opposed to a logical but minor component of abolishing that monstrosity.

Posted by: John Chittick | 2009-07-09 12:24:39 PM


~BoomNoZoom

the libertarian stance on defining impairment is the same as with any legislative system. this issue would be worked out in legislation (there is an unavoidable amount of arbitrariness in defining any form of impairment, including alcohol).

libertarians don't promote negative rights (in this case, a potential for immediate danger or harm to another). workplace safety legislation as it stands is sufficient, and driving while impaired is an obvious immediate danger.

"If proponents concede that impairment can be a result how do they propose to set a definitive and quantifiable benchmark for identifying said impairment?"

currently, the means for drug testing for immediate results is swabbing, if i'm not mistaken. other than that, as with any new issue, the problems with benchmarks must be worked out, via technology and legislation.

...again, libertarianism stresses that no one has a right to negative rights (violence, coercion, fraud, immediate danger to others).

Posted by: shel | 2009-07-09 12:29:26 PM


"libertarians don't promote negative rights"

Yes they do. I don't know any libertarian who prefers a system of positive rights, to a system of negative rights. I think you might have your negative-versus-positive definitions messed up.

Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-07-09 12:35:16 PM


//Does it really surprise you that libertarians are pre-occupied with individual rights?// - Mike Brock

No, Mike, what's surprising is your preoccupation with an individual freedom that causes harm to non users visa vie increased taxation to compensate for higher instances of welfare, property crimes, healthcare, food banks, state-run housing, homeless shelters and other "social programs" that we're already roped into paying for...

Scott used the Netherlands as an example... Ok, lets look at some numbers...

According to the OECD, a married individual earning the average wage, with 2 kids, in Canada, pays 21.5% income tax. The same individual, living in the Netherlands pays 29.1% income tax.
http://moneycentral.msn.com/content/Taxes/P148855.asp

Understand that: Here in Canada we pay only 74% of what they do in the Netherlands when it comes to taxation.

Looking at that, can one of you so-called "libertarians" please tell me how it's in my, or even your own, best interests to emulate their social policies?

I think the dopers should absolutely have the freedom to do whatever the hell they want but with their "freedom to be them", I should also have the right to be free "from" them.

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2009-07-09 12:37:21 PM


Stig,
Does it really surprise you that libertarians are pre-occupied with individual rights?
Posted by: Mike Brock | 2009-07-09 11:55:17 AM

I quite honestly don't believe that the self proclaimed "libertarian" scribblers on this blog are libertarians at all, but single issue organ grinders.

Posted by: The Stig | 2009-07-09 12:38:22 PM



'Marijuana never kicks down your door in the middle of the night,
Marijuana never locks up sick and dying people,
does not suppress medical research,
does not peak in bedroom windows.

Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.'

March 2007 The Lancet reports that as far as drug prohibition goes, 'the exclusion of alcohol and tobacco...is from a scientific perspective, arbitrary.'

'Scientific evidence overwhelmingly indicates taht cannabis is substantially less harmful than alcohol and should be treated not as a criminal issue but as a social and public health issue.'

March 1972 Nixon-ordered Shafer Commision recommends decriminalization, finding that 'neither the marihuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.' Nixon ignores the report.

The USA Drug War, brought to you by a disgraced USA Presidential Drunk. The Irony.

Posted by: jeff franklin | 2009-07-09 12:47:15 PM


"I think our society would be better off if many drugs didn’t exist; but they do, and there is a demand for them, so they continue to be manufactured and sold."

This is the most durable excuse for legalizing marijuana. But there is a demand for sex with children, too. Do we legalize that, as well, provided it's consensual?

"But wait!" I can hear you say. "A child cannot give informed consent to sex!" True. Nor can a child give informed consent to ingest psychotropic hallucinogens that may affect their mental development.

The fact remains that teenagers are the single largest target of drug pushers, as they are the group most likely to experiment. It makes no sense to protect kids from one, but not the other.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 12:48:48 PM


If you want more articles on other issues then write them stig.

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-07-09 12:57:55 PM


The child sex trade has VICTIMS.

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-07-09 1:01:22 PM


Since the Drug War exists primarily because of the Americans, and since the Americans aren't about to change their position about illegal drugs, coupled with the fact that 80% of Canadian exports go to the U.S., it behooves me to ask, "Since we are in a world wide recession does it really make sense to goad the Americans into sealing off their border with Canada by legalising marijuana or any of the drugs they don't want in the U.S.?"

Assuming the individual right to self medicate for pleasure is more important than food and shelter is why Libertarians don't get many votes at election time.

It should be a comfort to Libertarians that Darwin was correct about survival of the fittest.

Posted by: Speller | 2009-07-09 1:02:24 PM


The Drug War must be prosecuted as vigorously as if the drug dealers and customers were child molesters. No mercy, no negotiations. Jail them all.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-09 1:05:18 PM


"Do you believe that you own yourself? If you truly own yourself, then you are free to keep yourself as fit or as fat as you want."

We do not own ourselves; we have sovereignty over ourselves. In our society we may not legally sell ourselves, nor may we consent death upon ourselves, although suicide and attempted suicide are no longer punished. Please do not reduce us to the status of chattel, even self-owned chattel, in order to push your agenda.

"There will be indirect effects on people from your actions no matter what you do, these cannot necessarily be controlled or measured, that’s why the focus is on the actions you can control; your own."

A despicable cop-out motivated by self-indulgence. The fact that your actions affect other people gives you a duty to choose your actions carefully, and leaves you liable to consequences if you don't, and someone else suffers for it.

"It’s harder for the general public to hear the message of “legalize ALL drugs”, it’s not something that is often heard, therefore I will focus on the legalization of marijuana, though the arguments for it’s legalization will apply to other drugs like heroin, cocaine, meth etc."

You may not shirk the harder points of your basic argument for the sake of expedience or convenience. Every argument you made in favour of marijuana can also be made in favour of crack. It is both, or none. No cop-outs.

"Think of the waste that goes into policing drug users. 30,000 people in Canada charged ever year. That means that every one of those people were dealt with by police, then entered into the system, paid fines, court dates, etc."

And how many speeding tickets were issued in the same year? For that matter, what is the average penalty for simple possession, compared to the average speeding ticket?

"As a non-marijuana user I cannot answer that, other to say that people have been suing this substance for many years, and it's illegal nature has not dettered many of them or halted the drug trade. To some folks the risk is worth it."

So we increase the risk.

"Speaking of hypocritical positions, even though growing, possessing and distributing marijuana is illegal, the Canadian government continues to do it to this day."

Actually, it's a private company contracted by the government. The government also controls the legal distribution (for medicinal and research use) of opiates, amphetamines, barbiturates, and other controlled substances. They also control the distribution of military hardware. This is not hypocrisy. This is sound policy based on need versus risk.

"To say that legalizing marijuana would lead to an increase in use is not what the evidence shows."

Marijuana was never legal in Holland, except under controlled conditions in select shops. Patrons were required to be adults and to finish the product on site--no dope-in-a-doggy-bag. These shops are in the process of being closed, by the way. To argue that making something easier to do will result in fewer people doing it is such backward logic as to defy intelligent thought.

"In March 2009,the Cato Institute put out a report about the success of drug decriminalization in Portugal."

The Cato Institute is a partisan think-tank, as the overly laudatory and effusive language in its report demonstrates. Science is supposed to be the dispassionate collection and parsing of data, not a pulpit from which to preach social policy.

"Also, to call marijuana a “gateway” drug is misleading. Using marijuana does not mean that you will then use, cocaine, heroin or other harmful drugs...Calling marijuana a gateway drug is like calling beer a gateway drink that means you will start misusing alcohol and more potent drinks, it is not necessarily true. Most people first encounter beer, it is less expensive than harder drinks so it is naturally what would be encountered first."

This argument has also been debunked. You cannot reliably correlate two data sets if one of the sets has a value approaching 100%. Almost everyone drinks alcohol occasionally. You cannot say that people who drink alcohol are four times more likely to do other drugs, because four times 90 percent is 360 percent. The fact remains that over 20% of hard-drug users also use or have used marijuana, compared to only five percent of the general population.

"As for sending “conflicting messages” to young people, I say, let them make up their own mind."

And I say otherwise. You should avoid statements of personal conviction like this in debate, Scott. It's the easiest thing in the world for you to say, "I feel X." And also for me to say, "Well, I don't." What does this exchange prove? Nothing.

"The argument that marijuana is harmful doesn’t stand up either. Yes, it can cause some harm to the body, but if we were to outlaw things that were harmful then perhaps we should be outlawing salt, butter, etc. By this reasoning, anything harmful to an individual should be prohibited."

No, the standard is whether the good a substance does outweigh the harm it does, and more importantly, whether it harms people other than the immediate user. In this case, butter, salt, cars, and even alcohol all make the grade. Marijuana does not.

P.S. If you raise touchy subjects, expect touchy remarks. You chose to stir the pot, so you don't get to slam down the lid if you don't like the bubbling froth that surges forth. At least, not without damaging your own credibility.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:07:29 PM


"Does it really surprise you that libertarians are pre-occupied with individual rights?"

Their obsession with this one over all others is highly questionable. Very little on here anymore about private property, gun control, lower taxes, or the human rights abuses. Some but not much. And of all the rights Canadians are losing practically every day, you latch onto this loser and then cling to it with more than the hold of a drowning man.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:11:09 PM


Shane "The fact remains that teenagers are the single largest target of drug pushers, as they are the group most likely to experiment. It makes no sense to protect kids from one, but not the other."

This is not true. You are a liar

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-07-09 1:17:57 PM


"I'll get to those eventually."

Ha!

"I don't know if that's a libertarian issue per se, but a medical one."

So in other words, you don't care about the actual consequences of the enactment of your principles. The fact that you have them is reason enough to base law on them. This remark betrays the fact that you have not devoted nearly as much thought to this issue as you should have.

"That does not mean that someone is intoxicated for that period of time."

The other side of that coin is, "It doesn't mean it doesn't, either." Marijuana is fat-soluble, and your brain is 35% fat. And what's more, that surplus pot can be dumped into your system any time you start burning fat. So if you go for a drive after taking a jog, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. And so might the other drivers.

"It is up to the business owners to set their own standards."

And tough darts to the employees and customers who deal with companies who don't bother, eh? You really haven't thought this issue through at all, and it shows. I recognized this from the first by the righteous tone of your posts, but thanks for illustrating so graphically for others to see.

"Not a good idea."

But legal, as far as you're concerned?

"The evidence is that a lot of use can lead to impairment."

One joint cuts your motor response time by two-fifths. Two joints will cut it by two-thirds. Exactly how much is a "lot"?

"That would be up to health experts, not bloggers."

And the health experts have maintained for the last 70 years that on the whole it would be better for dope to remain illegal. There have been a few contradictory reports released but nothing in them has convinced me that their authors knew any better than their fellows.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:20:13 PM


"So? I am for repealing all drug laws."

Yet above you skirted that issue by focusing only on marijuana.

"What is society and what is the common good?"

Don't get philosophical on us, Scott. Society is the human condition and the common good is that policy which brings the greatest benefit to the greatest number of people. Legalizing powerful psychotropic hallucinogens because uniformed cops give you the willies does not qualify.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:22:09 PM


The other side of that coin is, "It doesn't mean it doesn't, either." Marijuana is fat-soluble, and your brain is 35% fat. And what's more, that surplus pot can be dumped into your system any time you start burning fat. So if you go for a drive after taking a jog, you may be in for an unpleasant surprise. And so might the other drivers.-mathews

What a pile of shit, did you dream this up yourself or did Randy White tell you that?

Posted by: DrGreenthumb | 2009-07-09 1:35:19 PM


"This is not true. You are a liar."

Scott's own statistics back my claim, smart mouth. Now back yours. Right now. And no excuses. After that self-righteous little snit you'd better have some pretty fucking impressive data.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:37:42 PM


I can't believe that so many social conservatives claim that they are libertarians. When So-Cons claim there are positive rights and negative rights the only want rights that are convenient to them. So-Cons have more in common with left-wing radicals than with libertarians. Whether tyranny is enforced by the Church (which what these mock libertarians really want) or tyranny enforced by the state (for the common good) are opposite sides of the same whacky coin. What it boils down to though is tyranny is tyranny.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-07-09 1:41:54 PM


Sure, Doug. Restrictions on getting stoned violate every basic right there is. The skies reel. The oceans boil. The stars wink out. Repent, ye neocons, for the end is nigh, and thou art the authors of this universal holocaust.

What with all the real rights that are under attack today, you "libertarians" pick this dud to push? I'm beginning to wonder if, for some, libertarianism is just a convenient philosophical front for legalizing drugs, the way religion can be a convenient justification for a war whose true motives are far more vulgar and base. Whoever came up with this losing strategy should be shot and pissed on; it is richly deserved.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:54:26 PM


"What a pile of shit, did you dream this up yourself or did Randy White tell you that?"

I'm sorry, was that supposed to constitute a rebuttal?

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 1:58:16 PM


P.S. Actually, it turns out I may, in fact, have made a mistake--when I said the brain was 35 percent fat. According to sources I just consulted, the true figure is more like 60 to 70 percent.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 2:02:53 PM


//Whether tyranny is enforced by the Church (which what these mock libertarians really want)// - Doug

I'm sorry but missed the theocratic arguments you seem to be referencing. Care to provide a link or maybe some quotes to back your assertion?

//I'm beginning to wonder if, for some, libertarianism is just a convenient philosophical front for legalizing drugs// - Shane

BINGO!!!!!

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2009-07-09 2:15:28 PM


I'm sick of it!!!!!!!!! I like pot. You like beer. Who's correct on this? It's insane.

The millions should not need a buffer like medical marijuana to get smoke.

The intolerant squares (that enjoy a drink) say they just want medical marijuana to get high. And saying it's medical is an excuse. Well so what. I will never touch crack, coke, or meth. And it's never been gateway drug for me or any of my successful adult friends.

I get high once every 2 weeks. Why do I have to have excuses? This whole thing pisses me off.

Why not make donuts and soft drinks illegal? They make you fat and give you diabetes. And everyone knows one donut leads to another.

I like pot. So what. Am I a sinner? Have I hurt anyone? Have I stole anything?

You like a drink. I like a puff. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE? Just legalize it, tax it, regulate it. AND END THE CRIME AND VIOLENCE CREATED BY KEEPING IT ILLEGAL!

Think about that the next time your watching the big game sponsored by Budsiwer with a beer in your hand, kids, in the room, and waching a Budwiser commerical. What a bunch of *%*^$& hypocrites!

Posted by: Legalize Educate Tax | 2009-07-09 2:16:05 PM


"What with all the real rights that are under attack today, you "libertarians" pick this dud to push?"

You know what, I agree drug prohibition should end.

I also agree with Shane. Why the heck are we always beating the same drum? The government seems to constantly be inventing new ways to erode our freedoms, and the WS writers just seem to want to sit around drooling over Marc Emery. Most marijuana advocates *don't even vote for the libertarian party*. In fact the majority of people who I know are pot users if they even bother going to the polls invariably vote for the 'bad lifestyle choices without consequences' socialist NDP. To them, libertarianism is 'immoral'. Hah!

Posted by: K Stricker | 2009-07-09 2:16:25 PM


Shane,

You totally miss my point. What happened to everyone being responsible for their own actions. I am what I consider a classic libertarian. I don't advocate the use of drugs myself and I don't do them, I really don't care if someone want's to do drugs or not.
Even though people think I'm conservative because of the way I live, I just find it is the right way for me to live. I think anyone should be able to live the way they want and other people should just mind their own business.

Posted by: Doug Gilchrist | 2009-07-09 2:18:49 PM


Shane,

"So we increase the risk."

And that's why prices are higher and drug addicts are forced to commit crimes to get their drugs. It's also why only the criminal element will sell drugs. The consequences of increasing the risk is more violence, which has massive detrimental effect on society, something you claim to want to avoid.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-09 2:25:14 PM


Richard,

You are entirely right. Under a welfare state, the price of removing drug laws would unfairly penalize those who do not use. But that's not a logical argument against drug legalization, but against the welfare state. Legalization is the right thing to do, so is rejection of the welfare state. We should be fighting for both.

If you were to argue that we need to repeal the welfare state before drug legalization, then I would agree with you.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-09 2:28:43 PM


"And that's why prices are higher and drug addicts are forced to commit crimes to get their drugs."

I thought marijuana was not addictive.

"The consequences of increasing the risk is more violence, which has massive detrimental effect on society, something you claim to want to avoid."

Using this logic, no amount of law enforcement will prevent anyone from doing anything, ever, so better to have none.

You're assuming a linear correlation throughout the spectrum. But in truth most such things are more likely to look like a bell curve; there is a tipping point.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 2:30:06 PM


Scott Carnegie: "If murder wasn’t on the books as being illegal, would people murder each other? Laws don’t dictate behavior, marijuana is illegal right now yet people still use it, the law doesn’t stop that."

Obviously making something illegal can never stop it from happening altogether. But it seems pretty obvious that if the government no longer punished people for killing each other - more people would kill each other.

Similarly, even anti-prohibitionists should recognize the likly that legalizing drugs will increase drug use.


Shane Matthews: "No, the standard is whether the good a substance does outweigh the harm it does, and more importantly, whether it harms people other than the immediate user. In this case, butter, salt, cars, and even alcohol all make the grade. Marijuana does not."

That sounds like difficult determination to quantify. Consider all the deaths and shattered lives that result from irresponsible alcohol use. I'd like to hear your reasoning for why the "good" done by this substance outways the bad.

Posted by: Ben Hicks | 2009-07-09 2:30:28 PM


//I think anyone should be able to live the way they want and other people should just mind their own business.// - Doug

And therein lies the problem... While the dopers are doing their thing, the rest of us have to shell out to cover the expenses of the consequences ie; welfare, state funded housing, healthcare, food banks, homeless shelters, rehab clinics, etc...

If the way you live costs me money, in the form of tax dollars expropriated, I have a vested interest in the outcome...

Sorry but I just can't get behind a movement that'll result, in the long run, in further expropriation of property from innocent taxpayers.

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2009-07-09 2:44:26 PM


"I'm sick of it!!!!!!!!!"

Tough.

"I like pot. You like beer. Who's correct on this?"

I am.

"The millions should not need a buffer like medical marijuana to get smoke."

Marijuana should not be sold as medicine at all, until it passes the same approval process every other drug, even those sold over the counter, must pass.

"The intolerant squares (that enjoy a drink) say they just want medical marijuana to get high. And saying it's medical is an excuse. Well so what."

So it makes you a selfish dirtbag who would rather funnel money to criminals than give up a completely empty and useless luxury. People like you used to gawk at the Roman games.

"I will never touch crack, coke, or meth. And it's never been gateway drug for me or any of my successful adult friends."

How do we know?

"I get high once every 2 weeks. Why do I have to have excuses?"

Because you break the law to do it, and are willing to bankroll murder to do it. Now, I have a question for you: If I decide to hang you tomorrow, today, why should *I* need an excuse? My act, at least, will be motivated for concern for someone else besides myself.

I'll understand if you find that concept incomprehensible. You are, after all, only an emotionally juvenile pot smoker, and cannot be expected to know better.

"This whole thing pisses me off."

Boo, hoo.

"Why not make donuts and soft drinks illegal? They make you fat and give you diabetes. And everyone knows one donut leads to another."

They don't stone you out and make you crash your car, though, do they?

"I like pot. So what. Am I a sinner? Have I hurt anyone? Have I stole anything?"

If you buy blood pot, you have: 1) Become an accessory to murder. 2) Contributed to the crime in our streets. 3) Demonstrated extraordinary, even murderous selfishness. 4) Demonstrated a criminal mentality and contempt for the law. 5) Demonstrated you don't give a shit about any of the above.

Are you a sinner? You're a fucking running sore.

"You like a drink. I like a puff. WHAT IS THE DIFFERENCE?"

"You like sex with adults. I like it with kids. What's the difference?" Don't play the moral relativity game with me, boy.

"Just legalize it, tax it, regulate it. AND END THE CRIME AND VIOLENCE CREATED BY KEEPING IT ILLEGAL!"

Like someone who has no trouble bankrolling armed and dangerous criminals is going to suddenly start buying legalized pot whose price, thanks to exorbitant sin taxes, will be triple what he's used to paying.

"Think about that the next time your watching the big game sponsored by Budsiwer with a beer in your hand, kids, in the room, and waching a Budwiser commerical."

It's "Budweiser," genius. You also misspelled "watching" and "commercial." WHAT did you say you were "successful" in?

LET, thank you for dramatically proving two of my long-running contentions: that marijuana smokers are extremely selfish, and that through their freakiness and generally abysmally poor education and personal habits, remain the single largest PR obstacle to legalization. Seriously, I couldn't have asked for better.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 2:44:51 PM


Doug, the fact that everyone is responsible for his own actions strengthens, not weakens, the case for exacting consequences from those who behave irresponsibly. Taking powerful psychotropics and passing money to gangsters when you know the potential consequences of both is pretty damned irresponsible.

The good old boys used to think there was nothing morally bad about drunk driving, either. Even went so far as to insist that they were more careful after a couple of drinks. Yet even after all the information about drunk driving that has come to light, you see marijuana smokers today making exactly the same excuses.

Posted by: Shane Matthews | 2009-07-09 2:48:14 PM


Great article!!!

Posted by: Darryl Wolk | 2009-07-09 2:57:11 PM


Shane,

Of course pot is addictive. I have never argued otherwise. But I was referring to harder drugs. My apologies. I have yet to see someone commit a crime to get pot.

"Using this logic, no amount of law enforcement will prevent anyone from doing anything, ever, so better to have none."

No Shane. You are absolutely wrong on this and it bears repeating that you still have no comprehension of libertarian ethics. Violent acts need to be punished. Actions such as theft and murder for example. Non-violent ones should not. Consuming drugs is not a violent act.

I'm not sure what you mean by assuming a linear correlation, I'm simply saying that demand does not fall because of prohibition and that violent ensues because criminals will supply the drugs instead of law-abiding citizens. As a rule, I don't believe in linear correlations.

Posted by: Charles | 2009-07-09 3:02:19 PM


//If you were to argue that we need to repeal the welfare state before drug legalization, then I would agree with you.// - Charles

I've been arguing that aspect for a long time Charles but it falls on deaf ears here at the Shotgun... They would rather promote prominent NDP supporters like Marc Emery...

In my mind, their current stance isn't "libertarian" at all unless they first come up with a way to ensure that legalization doesn't have a negative impact on innocent taxpayers...

Posted by: Richard Evans | 2009-07-09 3:02:31 PM



In September 2007, the Canadian Centre on Substance Abuse reported that marijuana use in teens have gone up (opens PDF).

(marijuana use)use is reported by 17 per cent of students in grades 7 to 9, about 29 per cent of 15- to 17-year-olds, and almost half of 18- to 19-year-olds"

Is this what you are talking about Shane? This data does not show the amount of sales to the child. Only that they have used it. Ten kids to one joint probably.
Remember that 18 and 19 year olds are adults.
So, here goes.
17% of 7th -9 grade + 29% of 15 to 17 year olds=
About 683988 people (I'm also using 29% for your benefit Shane)
Now according to the world drug report, 16.8% or 5660592 people do. we will minus the 683988 from that leaving us with 4976604. It looks like 7.27 times more sales or cannabis are to adults.
I would also like to note that i was solely looking at adults who us cannabis compared to children who use all drugs. I know that you will correct my math if i had made any mistakes. Go fuck yourself. You are a fucking liar.

Posted by: howard roark | 2009-07-09 3:03:48 PM


"In my mind, their current stance isn't "libertarian" at all unless they first come up with a way to ensure that legalization doesn't have a negative impact on innocent taxpayers..."

Fact: Richard Evans is a crypto-liberal. He trashes conservatives at liberal blogs.

Explanation, Richard; we'll have to do it here since your blog doesn't allow comments anymore.

This better be good.

Posted by: Heroic Conservative | 2009-07-09 3:09:54 PM


You pro-drug people say how good drugs are for people and society. Alcoholics and smokers don't say that - they warn people away from it, by act if not word. Your carelessness and contempt for others more than justifies any measures against you. Serves you people right.

Posted by: Zebulon Pike | 2009-07-09 3:16:20 PM


Richard Evans:

"And therein lies the problem... While the dopers are doing their thing, the rest of us have to shell out to cover the expenses of the consequences ie; welfare, state funded housing, healthcare, food banks, homeless shelters, rehab clinics, etc..."

Consider that, under the status quo, those things are paid for anyway.

Furthermore, we are paying police to investigate and prosecute drug crimes - not to mention the costs associated with keeping large of criminals behind bars on drug related crimes. Furthermore, consider the costs of financing organized crime around the world by forcing banned substances on the black market.

It seems to me that it would probably be cheaper on tax payers to end prohibition when all the factors are considered

Posted by: Ben Hicks | 2009-07-09 3:23:34 PM


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