Uncommon Sense

April 14, 2012

“Legalization is not the answer, Obama said.” Oh, Yeah?

Filed under: Economics,Politics — Steve Ruis @ 4:40 pm
Tags: , ,

Even as the global “war on drugs” trudges into its fifth decade with every sign we are losing, the U.S. is in a state of political denial about recreational drug use. Oh, I realize that President Obama could have said nothing else. If he had said anything else, he would have had zero chance of getting re-elected.

You see, recreational drug use is a moral issue for many. No distinction is made as with the use of alcohol: moderate use is okay, abuse borders on the illegal, any use of recreational drugs is verboten, generally because of the attitude of people whose morality doesn’t stand up to inspection. There, I did it. Gauntlet thrown. The anti-drug crowd’s stand that recreational drugs cannot be legalized is immoral in itself.

Think about the damage done by illegal drug use. The damage done to children whose parents were on drugs when they were in utero is immense. The crime (see Mexico), the killings (see Mexico), and the lost revenue through taxation are immense (see us).

What I would do (were I King) is different. I would have a government lotto. The contest would be to design recreational drugs that have no direct negative health affects (getting dizzy and falling down doesn’t count) and cannot be abused. The prizes would be 150 year patents on the production of the five best drugs. The winner of the prizes would be their only legal producers and these drugs would be sold through drug stores at quite low prices so as to drive down the cost of illegal drugs and put the criminals out of business. These drugs would have government controlled prices and a modest (<10%) tax associated with their purchase.

Drug companies would fall all over themselves coming up with an acceptable drug, find two and they’ll have hit an immeasurable jackpot (think Viagra squared). There are plenty of quite mild euphorics that are available now, the only trick is to make them non-abusable. By that I mean if you take the recommended dose you get mildly high. If you take a little more you get higher. You take even more and . . . buzz kill, either no effect (meaning you wasted your money) or the effect is lessened (you wasted your money and killed your high). All of these behaviors are available in the current pharmacopeia, just not all together in one package.

Think about it. Currently alcohol is legal for those over a certain age (and this I would like to maintain, even for safe recreational drugs, as young people are not entirely in charge of their faculties until they are somewhat grown; for evidence see age and alcohol related accident statistics) but it has negative health effects for those who “overdose” and creates so much distortion of reality that thousands die from car accidents alone because of its effects. Long term abuse of alcohol leads to organ degeneration and early death, preceded by divorce, loss of job, etc., etc.

And this is legal? You betcha! The government represents us and we want a drink now and again. We tried making alcohol illegal and look at what happened. During Prohibition (the experiment was so traumatic, you don’t even have to say prohibition of what) people still imbibed and rampant illegal rum running sprang up. I live in Chicago, the former home of Al Capone, if you need an example of what happened.

Our current recreational drug situation is reminiscent of the Prohibition years. Rampant crime. Prisons full of drug offenders. People doing recreational drugs anyway, etc., etc.

Why not try legalization, but responsible legalization. Create a short list of safe, non-abusable recreational drugs. The drug companies make good money. The government makes good revenue through taxation. The people get mild euphoria safely and without fear of being arrested. Thousands of people (possibly approaching 50%) of those currently in jail for “drug offenses” will not be replaced by new offenders, as safe, inexpensive, legal recreational drugs will drive down the prices of illegal drugs effectively putting the enterprises currently producing and distributing them out of business.

For those who take a moral stand against legalizing drugs, I say “let he who is without sin throw the first stone.”

A Personal Note People reading this will probably think “author is a pot head” or some such thought. Other than enjoying a drink from time to time, I do not use any other recreational drugs. (So, there!)

5 Comments »

  1. I have no views on the whole drugs thing. I like to think I should, but I meet people on both sides of the equation and I honestly don’t know how to feel about it.

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    Comment by Larry — April 14, 2012 @ 5:48 pm | Reply

  2. I am a proponent of legalization of pot, but don’t use it. Even if it were made legal, I seriouly doubt I would ever start. I think the prison statistics for drug use and the potential revenue stream for governments makes sense. I hadn’t thought about the effects of drug use on fetuses before (being a childless man), but that gives me an important angle to consider. Your idea of creating new ‘designer drugs’ is an interesting one, but I would see ‘BigPharm’ pushing out product long before adequate testing was done, just like they do with all the other drugs they release. Like communism, a good idea in principle, but our species greed would destroy it.

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    Comment by eryops — April 15, 2012 @ 1:42 am | Reply

  3. I do support Obama, but will disagree with him on this one. Just as I have not always agreed with everything he has done (i.e. NDAA FY2012). Anyway, sticking to the dope talk here… I, like you, do NOT do drugs. But I would like to see this country slowly ease into the legalization. First, legalize marijuana. And trust me, this is not for selfish, personal usage… I cannot stand the stuff. Tried it on occassion in college.. YUK! Made me feel stupid, ate half a pizza, then fell asleep for hours. Oh, boy. Gee. Wow. So much fun. (NOT)

    However, weed is one of the most consumed illegal drugs in this country. Plus it also provides an enormous amount of people relief when used for [legitimate] medicinal purposes. I know several myself – and some that claim it does, but I think they just like the weed and happen to have some health problems. But one of my dear friends has broken her back and has a mountain of other ailments that I cannot pronounce let alone remember and spell. She must use one of those rolling walker/seat-thingys when she needs to walk or stand for a while. The doc’s have her on all kinds of med’s, strong pain narcotics, etc. But on the side, she prefers weed over the heavy opiates and other sedating Rx’s they have her on. It eases her pain more, doesn’t feel as drugged up, and help her appetite. But what is stopping even the complete passing of pot (meaning no loopholes in growing, harvesting, selling, buying, whatever), is that the pharmaceutival companies will lose a lot of money. Not possibly, but will. Sure they can sell it, but due to the ease of availability, if they charge too much, then people will buy from the streets. So the Rx companies will have to keep the costs down.

    From a recreational point of view, weed is much less dangerous and addictive than alcohol. Plus alcohol can really affect people much more severely and dangerously than weed. I would much rather be on the road with the driver of the car next to me having had recently taken a hit off of a joint than I would if they had finished off a martini or couple of beers before getting behind the wheel. Plus, I’ve never met an angry pot-head.

    My ex-husband (emphasis on “ex”) was (probably still is) a raging alcoholic who is bi-polar – and very abusive. Every night, I’d watch him get drunk on his cheap piss-water beer. When that glazed look appeared in his eyes, I knew it wasn’t going to be a fun night. Without going into the drama, I’ll just say that he was NOT a pleasant person to be around from that point on. He was diagnosed bi-polar and doc tried him on a few different med’s. But as so typical with many bi-polar people, they stop taking the med’s. They don’t like how they make them feel, or some other excuse. I’m no psychologist here, but I tended to believe that what my ex didn’t like was the fact that the med’s were starting to control his mood swings, and that was strange to him and he didn’t like it. So he choose to drink instead. But where I’m going with this is, on a rare occasion, he would take a hit of weed… and actually become NORMAL! In all truthfulness, he was a very nice man when he was stoned. It wouldn’t knock him out. He’d still drink, but actually would slow down. He’d laugh. He’d giggle. And he wouldn’t get mad at me if I happened to, oh, let’s say look at him cross-eyed. LOL… I was always encouraging him to take a hit off his little teeny-tiny stash. But he preferred his beer. And I think he was afraid he may get drug-tested at work, even thought they didn’t do so, especially with him being an exec at the company he worked for.

    So, those are the pluses for society. Now, in trying to keep this from becoming as long as “War and Peace,” I’ll move more quickly – and I’m sure I’m not telling you anything you have not already thought of or are aware of.

    Taxes. Profit. End the marijuana drug cartel. Like you said, Chicago. Prohibition. We learned that banning doesn’t stop usage. Just made it harder to get booze, was probably akin to drinking rubbing alcohol, and the companies made no profit. Just the moonshiners and speak easy’s.

    Just imagine the amount of taxes the gov’t would bring in on legalizing and selling weed….. (sigh)

    Well, sorry to practically write a post on your post. I just feel so very strong about legalizing weed. Then, in time, I’d say at least a decade, legalize a stronger illegal drug. But thanks for posting and sharing your thoughts and opinions. I don’t have much hope that we’ll legalize it even in ten years. But if we don’t voice our opinions and support, then it definitely won’t happen. Well, I’ve reached babbling stage. Time for me to go to bed. Gnite!

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    Comment by Michelle at Motley News — April 15, 2012 @ 2:55 am | Reply

    • Michelle,

      I am not a big advocate of pot, except as an ice-breaker, as smoking anything has almost immediate effects on one’s health. There were some studies that indicated that marijuana’s health risks were higher than those of tobacco, but I haven’t check to see if those studies were paid for by the tobacco lobby. (When I was young, I used to trust scientists, and now I am one and that trust has evaporated in the public health arena.)

      Enjoy your blog; keep up the good work!

      S

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      Comment by stephenpruis — April 15, 2012 @ 9:33 am | Reply

      • Oh, anytime you bring smoke into your lungs, that’s not natural to our bodies. And that’s true when considering medicinal purposes. And honestly, I had not even thought about that. However, in thinking about it now, smoking weed for medicinal is no where near the volume of smoke inhaled as from a cig smoker (like me). For medicinal, I’m sure it was be a couple tokes, or small joint and they’re good for several hours. Whereas with cig’s, again like me – I’m a pro here – now I’m a pack a day (was 2-3 but moving into a non-smoking house helped cut me back, which I needed to do – working on quitting). Plus all the additives and chemicals in cig’s are more dangerous than the tobacco itself.

        I’m sure there are many tests which have been done on the long term affects of weed, but unless it is from a completely unbiased party not being paid by one “side” or another, then I can’t trust the results.

        I have a very difficult time believing that weed is worse than tobacco – at least cig’s as they are made and sold with all the additives and chemicals. I really just cannot believe that. Probably a study funded by Nancy Reagan to assist her war on drugs (kidding).

        Anyway, I just know from seeing my own personal friends with horrible chronic diseases take a hit and they can then actually smile, eat, and take a walk around the block.

        And with my ex-hubbie, he’d take a hit and put away his fists. But if it was no dope and all booze, the fists would fly. And honestly, during the times when he would actually take the med’s prescribed for him by the doc, he was lethargic and would sit there staring into another world. But when he’d smoke weed, he was a part of this world, interactive, happy, laughing (and not “stupid” laughing, but participating type laughing). In other words, he was normal and happy.

        From what I’ve seen, medicinal weed for those who truly need it really makes their lives happy again and tucks their ailments away in a closet for a while.

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        Comment by Michelle at Motley News — April 15, 2012 @ 12:56 pm | Reply


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