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Topic ClosedAmerican (Continents, not country) War on Drugs

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Poll Question: How do you feel on the Drug War policies enacted by American countries
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Direct Link To This Post Topic: American (Continents, not country) War on Drugs
    Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 03:40
As we all know, many North and South American countries have created "Wars" on drugs, fighting to get rid of the shady business and what it supplies.

However, there are many people who object to this idea (Including me), due to the millions of dollars spent on it, the lives lost, and simply the fact that prohibition never works. So, I wanted to conduct this poll to see who is of a like mind.

Discussion and debating is encouraged!
Anyone who has ever looked into the glazed eyes of a soldier dying on the battlefield will think hard before starting a war.

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 04:37

I think marijuana, and only marijuana, should be legalized - but it should be heavily regulated, at least as much as alcohol. No consumption in public, special responsibilities for the owners of venues where it is consumed, special licensing for distributors, caps on permissable THC levels, and so on.

All the others, especially the physically addictive drugs, should be vigorously pursued. Many decry the war on drugs as a complete failure, but it hasn't been an entire failure - the crack epidemic of the late 80s, for instance, was considerably mitigated by aggressive law enforcement and has since abated quite a bit (though crack hasn't completely vanished as a social problem and centres of heavy infestation still exist in some urban centres). But I think the enforcement effort has to go hand-in-hand with a public health initiative to offer addicts free treatment, at least, in those countries that actually have a public health system (which probably rules out the US, among others).

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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 06:16
From what I read recently, cigarettes alone cost the US $193 billion a year. Here's a article on it. Though this isn't where I saw that it cost the US $193 billion.
 
Why pick on tobacco even more?
According to data from R.J. Reynolds, total tobacco taxes in 2007 were $22.4 billion. The company is outraged about that, but consider this November 13 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Smoking in the United States causes 443,000 deaths annually and costs $193 billion.”
 
Now this is something that doesn't impair the mind at all. If much heavier drugs are even allowed to be regulated, I doubt they'll pay themselves off even in the long run. Besides, we get enough deaths from irresponcible people though alcohol, whats going to happen when we add more things to the list in impairing people's abilities? It's not a matter whether they do it themselves, it's when they start putting other lives at risk.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 06:22
Originally posted by edgewaters

I think marijuana, and only marijuana, should be legalized - but it should be heavily regulated, at least as much as alcohol. No consumption in public, special responsibilities for the owners of venues where it is consumed, special licensing for distributors, caps on permissable THC levels, and so on.

All the others, especially the physically addictive drugs, should be vigorously pursued. Many decry the war on drugs as a complete failure, but it hasn't been an entire failure - the crack epidemic of the late 80s, for instance, was considerably mitigated by aggressive law enforcement and has since abated quite a bit (though crack hasn't completely vanished as a social problem and centres of heavy infestation still exist in some urban centres). But I think the enforcement effort has to go hand-in-hand with a public health initiative to offer addicts free treatment, at least, in those countries that actually have a public health system (which probably rules out the US, among others).



Quite a bit? Some yes, but not quite a bit. It simply has been relegated out of mainstream media. But, it still is a huge problem in most US urban centers.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 06:25
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

From what I read recently, cigarettes alone cost the US $193 billion a year. Here's a article on it. Though this isn't where I saw that it cost the US $193 billion.
 
Why pick on tobacco even more?
According to data from R.J. Reynolds, total tobacco taxes in 2007 were $22.4 billion. The company is outraged about that, but consider this November 13 statement from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC): “Smoking in the United States causes 443,000 deaths annually and costs $193 billion.”
 
Now this is something that doesn't impair the mind at all. If much heavier drugs are even allowed to be regulated, I doubt they'll pay themselves off even in the long run. Besides, we get enough deaths from irresponcible people though alcohol, whats going to happen when we add more things to the list in impairing people's abilities? It's not a matter whether they do it themselves, it's when they start putting other lives at risk.


The Netherlands seem to be doing quite well without all those "deaths" related to drugs like we have here with irresponsible Anti-Drug campaigns. Prevention isn't a relatistic goal, making people aware is far more suitable. Germany, and some other countries have decriminalized it, and it gets people out of jail. No reason to jail a kid with pot the same amount of time as a career criminal.

The War on Drugs costs more than it prevents.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 08:21
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

Now this is something that doesn't impair the mind at all. If much heavier drugs are even allowed to be regulated, I doubt they'll pay themselves off even in the long run.


Well, here we get into the question of what defines how "heavy" a drug is. How much it affects one's health isn't correlated to how much it impairs the mind. Psilocybin mushrooms impair the mind quite severely, far more than, say, crack cocaine, but even frequent users do not seem to suffer the kind of health effects that tobacco smokers do. Nor are they addictive - while tobacco is thought to be nearly as addictive as heroin.

Not that I think psilocybin should be legalized, I'm just pointing out that health costs and mental impairment are totally separate issues. Even among legal drugs this is quite true - tobacco has no signifigant mental impairment, and is less widely used, than alcohol, yet the health costs of tobacco blow alcohol out of the water.

I'd define the "heaviness" of a drug by principally two things - how addictive it is, and how physically dangerous it is. Mental impairment is really only relevant so far as it causes mental illness or automobile accidents.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 08:33
Originally posted by es_bih


Quite a bit? Some yes, but not quite a bit. It simply has been relegated out of mainstream media. But, it still is a huge problem in most US urban centers.


Yes, quite a bit. It's still a problem, no doubt ... but crack cocaine related hospital admissions are down about 75% since the height of the epidemic in '87. Crack violence also dropped signifigantly in the early 90s, and has stayed at much lower levels than in the late 80s ever since.

On the other hand, its not 100% certain that enforcement is responsible. There are other explanations - cultural changes, the legalization of abortion in '73 resulting in a smaller demographic for the drug by the early 90s, etc
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 16:06
Well, here we get into the question of what defines how "heavy" a drug is. How much it affects one's health isn't correlated to how much it impairs the mind. Psilocybin mushrooms impair the mind quite severely, far more than, say, crack cocaine, but even frequent users do not seem to suffer the kind of health effects that tobacco smokers do. Nor are they addictive - while tobacco is thought to be nearly as addictive as heroin.

Not that I think psilocybin should be legalized, I'm just pointing out that health costs and mental impairment are totally separate issues. Even among legal drugs this is quite true - tobacco has no signifigant mental impairment, and is less widely used, than alcohol, yet the health costs of tobacco blow alcohol out of the water.

I'd define the "heaviness" of a drug by principally two things - how addictive it is, and how physically dangerous it is. Mental impairment is really only relevant so far as it causes mental illness or automobile accidents.
I believe it is true about cigarettes and it's addiction.
But my point is, you legalize drugs, and not only will the people who did it before now continue more often, but alot more people will likely try it as it's something legally new. Even if both of those don't happen, which I'm sure they would out of human nature, thats going to add to the costs of the US. that 193 billion dollars isn't even counting what alcohol costs the US in healthcare and the economic cost of people not going to their jobs which I believe is how they got the number 193 billion for cigarettes.
 
If cigarettes can't even pay themselves off without a drastic tax increase and hope that the same smokers continue the habit, which the cost would make that unlikely, then how will drugs pay themselves off? Everytime the tax goes up on cigarettes, the number of smokers fall, and this is the same drug that you and I compared to heroin.
 
And on the case of the Netherlands, they seem to be heading the way of banning the drug. They are putting further restrictions on the drug. At one time you could by 30 grams, then it became 5, now some towns are making it 2 grams to getting rid of the "Coffee Shops" all together. One city has now made it illegal to keep it within school grounds since the legalization has made it too easy for students and those under 18 to get a hold of it. They aren't moving towards more freedom of it, but are starting to move away from it.
 
It's also interesting to note that it's actually illegal in the Netherlands, they just have blind eye policy that allows it.
 
No reason to jail a kid with pot the same amount of time as a career criminal.
This is based on how we handle it following the laws established. The whole criminal system has been argued in need to be changed. This is one of the reasons.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 18:21
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

I believe it is true about cigarettes and it's addiction. But my point is, you legalize drugs, and not only will the people who did it before now continue more often, but alot more people will likely try it as it's something legally new.


I don't think so. If the drug in question is widely available, people will use it regardless of its legal status or the potential legal consequences. The biggest factor is simple availability, so the law is only able to curtail use to the degree it is able to curtail supply. In the case of a popular drug that can be easily produced locally, the law has little ability to do this.

If cigarettes can't even pay themselves off without a drastic tax increase and hope that the same smokers continue the habit, which the cost would make that unlikely, then how will drugs pay themselves off?


But you're presuming that all narcotics are like cigarettes in terms of health costs, which simply isn't true, even on an individual level.

Everytime the tax goes up on cigarettes, the number of smokers fall


True, but part of the problem with illegalizing a drug is that you can't tax it anymore. Only if you can reduce supply are you really going to make an impact on consumption levels - in some cases, the illegalization of a popular substance has actually increased consumption, the prohibition of alcohol and marijuana being classic examples.
 
And on the case of the Netherlands, they seem to be heading the way of banning the drug. They are putting further restrictions on the drug. At one time you could by 30 grams, then it became 5, now some towns are making it 2 grams to getting rid of the "Coffee Shops" all together. One city has now made it illegal to keep it within school grounds since the legalization has made it too easy for students and those under 18 to get a hold of it. They aren't moving towards more freedom of it, but are starting to move away from it.
 
It's also interesting to note that it's actually illegal in the Netherlands, they just have blind eye policy that allows it.


Both phenomena are not due to the Dutch experience with decriminalization, but because the Netherlands is under pressure from the EU, not to mention UN conventions on narcotics, to harmonize its drug laws with the rest of Europe. 
 
No reason to jail a kid with pot the same amount of time as a career criminal.
This is based on how we handle it following the laws established. The whole criminal system has been argued in need to be changed. This is one of the reasons.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 18:44
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

I believe it is true about cigarettes and it's addiction. But my point is, you legalize drugs, and not only will the people who did it before now continue more often, but alot more people will likely try it as it's something legally new.


Only if law enforcement is making a meaningful impact on supply. If a drug is already widely available, widely used, and easily produced locally by amateurs, its legal status is going to matter little in terms of consumption levels. Illegalization can actually increase consumption levels, as witnessed with the prohibition of both alcohol and marijuana, because there are such tremendous economic incentives for producers.

If cigarettes can't even pay themselves off without a drastic tax increase and hope that the same smokers continue the habit, which the cost would make that unlikely, then how will drugs pay themselves off?


You're presuming that all narcotics carry the same health effects as cigarettes, which is simply not the case. Potential taxes are also much higher per unit, because most recreational drug users are not addicts; they aren't purchasing a unit every day or two and can afford to pay a much larger percentage of the cost in taxes. Marijuana, for instance, is no more expensive to produce commercially than tobacco - but users generally pay 40 or 50 times more by weight. That could almost all be tax, and still leave producers with profits far exceeding tobacco. Imagine the tax on cigarrettes rises such that a pack (25 cigarrettes is about 25 grams) rises to a cost of about $200, the entirety of that increase being tax. That's a massive revenue windfall, with the individual end user paying dozens of times more in taxes than a tobacco user does, yet probably incurring far less in health costs - especially considering he is probably doing so already to some degree.

There are also other cost recoveries. Keep in mind that illegalization has costs too, which easily run into the billions - not just the obvious ones, like pay for police officers, court costs, the costs of incarceration and so on, but also the destruction of careers and job losses associated with imprisonment, criminal activity - violence and death - associated with black market trade, and so on.

And on the case of the Netherlands, they seem to be heading the way of banning the drug. They are putting further restrictions on the drug. At one time you could by 30 grams, then it became 5, now some towns are making it 2 grams to getting rid of the "Coffee Shops" all together. One city has now made it illegal to keep it within school grounds since the legalization has made it too easy for students and those under 18 to get a hold of it. They aren't moving towards more freedom of it, but are starting to move away from it.
 
It's also interesting to note that it's actually illegal in the Netherlands, they just have blind eye policy that allows it.



Yes, but its not because decriminalization has been a problem for the Netherlands. It's because the Netherlands is under pressure from the EU to harmonize its drug laws and enforcement status with the rest of Europe, and because the Netherlands is under pressure to abide by its obligations as a UN member - which puts it under the terms of the United Nations Convention Against Illicit Traffic in Narcotic Drugs and Psychotropic Substances.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 19:27
I don't think so. If the drug in question is widely available, people will use it regardless of its legal status or the potential legal consequences. The biggest factor is simple availability, so the law is only able to curtail use to the degree it is able to curtail supply. In the case of a popular drug that can be easily produced locally, the law has little ability to do this.
There's a saying I think that holds true, "Out of sight, out of mind." Granted alot of adults still smoke pot, but many are introduced to it in their teens and usually begin to use because of peer preassure. It's now just considered a part of growing up, and I believe that is true because the act of using it is looked down upon. I think it holds a stigma of immaturity, atleast through examples I've seen of many people who associate with their child hood who have once used it. When it becomes a normality, seen in shops, and on the street, that effects our culture. And when it's ok to have it in moderation, then others will take it as having maybe "just alittle more", and like alcohol become impaired. It is shown that it does slow down your psychomotor skills. Having ease of use, like Tabacco, will only cost the country as a whole, as tabacco does with billions of dollars.
But you're presuming that all narcotics are like cigarettes in terms of health costs, which simply isn't true, even on an individual level.
I'm not saying you are by any means, but it does sound like your one of those who believe that pot doesn't have side effects just as bad of cigarettes towards the lungs. Without a filter like cigarettes I believe it's said the tar in the smoke harms your lungs worse, especially since people who use it are looking for a strong side effect, they hold that bad smoke in longer. Arguements I've heard, but not sure are true if they are worse then cigarettes. But there isn't a reason to doubt that has the ability to cause long term problems on the lungs and only would add another product to offer the consumer that'd cost a country more money and that doesn't pay itself off.
 
True, but part of the problem with illegalizing a drug is that you can't tax it anymore. Only if you can reduce supply are you really going to make an impact on consumption levels - in some cases, the illegalization of a popular substance has actually increased consumption, the prohibition of alcohol and marijuana being classic examples.
Because the know how and ease for people to grow the plant, I doubt street sales of it will stop, and it will probably be made cheaper on the street when the product can't lower it's price due to the high tax that will probably be stamped on it. If there are strong regulations on it, then those looking for a stronger kick will still go to the streets. I'm sure the majority will use the regulated product, but I doubt it will kill off something that has developed as a street culture.
And with that street culture, we have the gangs, when they aren't offering pot, they will just find something else to profit off of. Gang related violence won't end on our streets, prohibition didn't stop it, it only changed. People do it for ease of profit, and profit often makes competition. They'll fill the void with something new. Legalizing one drug of a broader collection of them sold by the same people won't stop crime.
 
Both phenomena are not due to the Dutch experience with decriminalization, but because the Netherlands is under pressure from the EU, not to mention UN conventions on narcotics, to harmonize its drug laws with the rest of Europe. 
I don't know much behind the 30 to 5gram case, but the other ones I mentioned weren't national level rulings, but made by local officials in towns and a city.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 20:40
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

There's a saying I think that holds true, "Out of sight, out of mind." Granted alot of adults still smoke pot, but many are introduced to it in their teens and usually begin to use because of peer preassure. It's now just considered a part of growing up, and I believe that is true because the act of using it is looked down upon. I think it holds a stigma of immaturity, atleast through examples I've seen of many people who associate with their child hood who have once used it.


I strongly doubt that legalization would change social attitudes towards the drug. I would expect that the demographics of users would remain, for the most part, unchanged. Adults who have chosen to cease using the drug haven't done so because they are incapable of procuring it or because they are worried about legal consequences. I don't believe they even quit because of any stigma. Adults cease using marijuana willingly because of changes in lifestyle and outlook, not because they are forced to do so by social pressure or legal consequences.

When it becomes a normality, seen in shops, and on the street, that effects our culture. And when it's ok to have it in moderation, then others will take it as having maybe "just alittle more", and like alcohol become impaired.


I don't know if you've noticed, but it already is seen a normality that is ok to have in moderation. At worst, it's viewed as a harmless adolescent pasttime.

Having ease of use, like Tabacco, will only cost the country as a whole, as tabacco does with billions of dollars.


The ease of use already exists. Nor do I agree that it could cost as much as tobacco.

I'm not saying you are by any means, but it does sound like your one of those who believe that pot doesn't have side effects just as bad of cigarettes towards the lungs. Without a filter like cigarettes I believe it's said the tar in the smoke harms your lungs worse, especially since people who use it are looking for a strong side effect, they hold that bad smoke in longer.


I believe there's probably some truth to that ... however, it overlooks the fact that even the heaviest marijuana user does not smoke 25 to 50 grams of the stuff every day, without pause. It's probably not even possible to do so.

Because the know how and ease for people to grow the plant, I doubt street sales of it will stop, and it will probably be made cheaper on the street when the product can't lower it's price due to the high tax that will probably be stamped on it.
If there are strong regulations on it, then those looking for a stronger kick will still go to the streets. I'm sure the majority will use the regulated product, but I doubt it will kill off something that has developed as a street culture.
And with that street culture, we have the gangs, when they aren't offering pot, they will just find something else to profit off of.


If it's legal, the habitual user looking for a stronger kick will more likely simply grow it themselves. Most people prefer to avoid contact with violent street gangs. People who don't mind associating with thugs will associate with them regardless.


Gang related violence won't end on our streets, prohibition didn't stop it, it only changed.


No, prohibition more or less caused the mass phenomena of gang violence in North America.

Prior to alcohol prohibition, organized crime was very minimal - and certainly was not intertwined with the popular culture. Prohibition brought the law into disrepute and wedded popular culture with criminal elements.

Ending prohibition never stopped that, chiefly because prohibition never really ended; it just changed focus, from alcohol to other substances.


Edited by edgewaters - 20-Jan-2009 at 20:43
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 21:05
Good post edge
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 21:19
And on the case of the Netherlands, they seem to be heading the way of banning the drug. They are putting further restrictions on the drug. At one time you could by 30 grams, then it became 5, now some towns are making it 2 grams to getting rid of the "Coffee Shops" all together. One city has now made it illegal to keep it within school grounds since the legalization has made it too easy for students and those under 18 to get a hold of it. They aren't moving towards more freedom of it, but are starting to move away from it.

Where did you get that idea from? For some reason I and other people I know have noticed that lately foreign media have been reporting that soft drug policy in the Netherlands has been a failure, but that's simply not true. On December 1 hallicunogenic mushrooms have been banned, but in marijuana policy absolutely nothing has changed and neither is there a political discussion about it at the moment.

the 5 gram rule exists since I can remember, at least a decade.
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 21:32
I strongly doubt that legalization would change social attitudes towards the drug. I would expect that the demographics of users would remain, for the most part, unchanged. Adults who have chosen to cease using the drug haven't done so because they are incapable of procuring it or because they are worried about legal consequences. I don't believe they even quit because of any stigma. Adults cease using marijuana willingly because of changes in lifestyle and outlook, not because they are forced to do so by social pressure or legal consequences.
When I say availability would effect how people view it, I say it because like anything in culture, when viewed often through out society it becomes normalized. We see it with new introductions or when things become widely available even with things that were looked down on at some point.
 
Also, there is a stigma on it being associated with immaturity as I hear adults who have used it say they stopped because it was time for them to grow up. Our society, or atleast the American one seems to always view the teen as a adolescent that smokes pot, we see this in our media, especially in family shows. It's a common story of the wise parents who went through similar times trying to grapple on how to confront their kid after finding pot in their dresser.
 
I don't know if you've noticed, but it already is seen a normality that is ok to have in moderation. At worst, it's viewed as a harmless adolescent pasttime.
I don't think I've realy met a person yet that hasn't tried it. But your right, it is seen as adolescent, which means youthful. Like I said, those I've talked to view it as growing up. Alot of business owners won't hire people if they use drugs because it's viewed as a adolescent activity that is considered counter productive. And right now, that is a cultural view point.
 
The ease of use already exists. Nor do I agree that it could cost as much as tobacco.
Not as much as it would be when a corner store in any neighborhood could bring availability to a whole other level. Then it could be all times of day, anywhere you go. Why wouldn't it cost the country just as much? I think it will cost more seeing it also has the potential to effect the motor skills of someone and thus effecting other lives potentially. When it's criminal, I think people are more likely to try and not to be as active then when sober just out of paranoia.
I believe there's probably some truth to that ... however, it overlooks the fact that even the heaviest marijuana user does not smoke 25 to 50 grams of the stuff every day, without pause. It's probably not even possible to do so.
  Admittedly I looked at wikipedia to see what they had on the matter. They said in 2002 a study by the British Lung Foundation showed that 3-4 marajuana cigarettes a day equaled 20 tabacco cigarettes in damage. Though the link to it doesn't work, I'm not sure I could use it as a agruement, but is something that I felt can be brought up.
One thing it seems is that even in the medical world, this topic is contraversial as there doesn't seem to be one answer.
 
No, prohibition more or less caused the mass phenomena of gang violence in North America.
And they continued after. What stopped them was law enforcement, not laws. It was until the Valentine Masscre that people really said enough is enough. Mafia's still exist today, it's lessons they learned from the past that made them go more underground. But they are bigger then ever, and FBI officials are worried on just how much  the mafia groups around the world are starting to join together in a large drug market. Instead of alcohol, they are now bringing unbelievable amounts of drugs to the market. These are American, Italian, Japanese, and even one of the more radical of them, the Russian mafia, all are starting to work together. We just don't see the drive bys we used to because law enforcement changed that. They only adapted, their profiteering still remains, just with a new product.
Ending prohibition never stopped that, chiefly because prohibition never really ended; it just changed focus, from alcohol to other substances.
Many of these substances could never be legalized though anyways. And most of those who sell them still sell pot. I don't see a reason to legalize pot, if anything relax the laws on those found with small amounts. It's still could be a tool to catch the bigger fish in the criminal world anyways.
 
 
Originally posted by Mixcoatl

Where did you get that idea from? For some reason I and other people I know have noticed that lately foreign media have been reporting that soft drug policy in the Netherlands has been a failure, but that's simply not true. On December 1 hallicunogenic mushrooms have been banned, but in marijuana policy absolutely nothing has changed and neither is there a political discussion about it at the moment.

the 5 gram rule exists since I can remember, at least a decade.
I only brought up on the local governments accept the 30 to 5 grams. Here is a news story:
 
and this one I found out from a local news paper recently, but can't find a article online about it. May have something to due with the December ruling you brought up. This article though is dated 2007:

Ivo Opstelten, the mayor of Rotterdam, the second-largest Dutch city, announced this month that he will close all marijuana shops within 250 yards of a school -- nearly half of the city's 62 shops.

"We want to discourage the use of drugs among young people," said Opstelten, a member of the Labor Party. "Studies show soft drugs are detrimental to their health and brain development."

I quoted this because it brings up Rotterdam, and I believe thats the city the article may have brought up.

By the way Mixcoatl, I don't speak on behalf of people of the Netherlands as if I lived there my self, nor do I pretend to. So I'm sorry if I may have come off that way, I was responding to es bih and have remembered reading on recent events in the Netherlands on this issue before it was even brought up in the thread.


Edited by SearchAndDestroy - 20-Jan-2009 at 21:43
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 22:34
Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

When I say availability would effect how people view it, I say it because like anything in culture, when viewed often through out society it becomes normalized.


Too late ... it's already normalized and available to anyone.

Also, there is a stigma on it being associated with immaturity as I hear adults who have used it say they stopped because it was time for them to grow up.


Sure ... but does that mean they wanted to keep smoking it, but couldn't because of what people would think ... or that they'd actually outgrown the drug?

I don't think people quit marijuana because of peer pressure. They actually do outgrow it, and lose interest in using it. There might be a few people who want to keep using it, but stop because they see all their peers abandoning it, but my impression has always been that they're a minority. Most people simply lose interest and desire to use it.

we see this in our media, especially in family shows. It's a common story of the wise parents who went through similar times trying to grapple on how to confront their kid after finding pot in their dresser.


20 years ago on Family Ties, Different Strokes, and the Cosby Show, yes. These are typically regarded as archaic and comically misinformed views on the drug.

Now marijuana in television is more typically featured as a character prop, with little in the way of commentary on its use. The media gives more of a knowing wink than a wagging finger lately ... in fact, there are now primetime sitcoms about suburban marijuana users and dealers:


 
It probably can't get any more normalized than it already is .... that show has won several Golden Globe (best comedy series, 3 times, and 3 best performance) and numerous Emmy awards (eight, altogether) ... the viewership averaged nearly a million viewers ... obviously, it has moved far, far beyond being merely an element of "street culture" and is very much mainstream today.

Not as much as it would be when a corner store in any neighborhood could bring availability to a whole other level. Then it could be all times of day, anywhere you go.


That all depends on how you choose to regulate it. Here in Ontario, you can't buy alcohol in a corner store ... why would you be able to buy marijuana in one? Regulation can set the conditions for sales any way legislators want it to. It may be that only a government corporation would have the rights to distribute it (like alcohol here, under the LCBO and Brewers Retail). Or you could set conditions to the licenses, no sales before 8pm or lose your license. Whatever. Regulation makes these things possible.

One thing it seems is that even in the medical world, this topic is contraversial as there doesn't seem to be one answer.


Well that's part of the issue right there ... there's not sufficient medical evidence to justify imprisoning people and ruining their lives.

Even if there was, couldn't we say the same about alcohol and tobacco? And to draw the line at alcohol and tobacco is ridiculously arbitrary and discriminatory. Why should a violent alcoholic bum suffer no legal consequences for his habit, while an otherwise productive citizen is carted off to jail because he got caught with a baggie of marijuana? Arbitrary laws bring the entire system of justice into disrepute in the eyes of the citizenry, and foster a culture that does not respect the law. The law becomes meaningless when it is not just, and being arbitrary is not just.

Discrimination, though, has been part of the aim of marijuana prohibition since its inception, not justice or a reputable system of law. Its architect, Harry Anslinger, desired to illegalize marijuana because of "its effect on the degenerate races", because it "makes darkies think they're as good as white men."
 
It's still could be a tool to catch the bigger fish in the criminal world anyways.


You could justify any unjust law by saying it could be useful to catch people who couldn't be caught for anything else. 


Edited by edgewaters - 20-Jan-2009 at 23:01
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 20-Jan-2009 at 23:17
Too late ... it's already normalized and available to anyone.
My friend usually gets approached by a dealer for the way he dresses. My other friends had to go through connections. But it always seemed to have to go behind the scenes. So available, maybe, normalized, hardly.
Sure ... but does that mean they wanted to keep smoking it, but couldn't because of what people would think ... or that they'd actually outgrown the drug?

I don't think people quit marijuana because of peer pressure. They actually do outgrow it, and lose interest in using it. There might be a few people who want to keep using it, but stop because they see all their peers abandoning it, but my impression has always been that they're a minority. Most people simply lose interest and desire to use it.
Outgrowing it, whatever you want to call it, your basicly explaining what I said. And I believe thats a cultural thing. I never heard anyone say they've lost desire of using it, I've only heard them say it was time for them to grow up. This is ofcourse personal expierence here. But like I said, it's viewed that way in media too.
20 years ago on Family Ties, Different Strokes, and the Cosby Show, yes. These are typically regarded as archaic and comically misinformed views on the drug.

Now marijuana in television is more typically featured as a character prop, with little in the way of commentary on its use. The media gives more of a knowing wink than a wagging finger lately ... in fact, there are now primetime sitcoms about suburban marijuana users and dealers:
New shows are all about pushing the edge just as the fad with reality tv exploding a few years back. Scandel seems to be something new, with only things talked about in the back room. I believe the show Desperate Housewives started that, and since that show revolves around different families, I believe they have even grappled with this issue. Movies like Meet the Parents even bring up the general attitude of it being used by people who refuse to grow up with the future brother in law.
Because you can find one show, that obviously uses it's name as a marketing tool to show a scandelous name doesn't prove anything. I'd say it shows the opposite in that it was chosen because the name would evoke discussion by people who view it as taboo. Also, it's only shown on a certain channel that you need to get a package in order to view. On top of that, the commercials atleast shown in the US make no reference to the drug, infact I never seen the name of the series with a marijuana leaf until your post. And I have heard about the show for sometime now.
Well that's part of the issue right there ... there's not sufficient medical evidence to justify imprisoning people and ruining their lives.
I agree the way we penalize people needs drastic changes. I'm not sure I'm ready to agree with legalizing it when it can cost billions like cigarettes do in health care cost, and because of production lost(193 billion were costs lost to the US with those two combines, split 50-50 pretty much).
Even if there was, couldn't we say the same about alcohol and tobacco? And to draw the line at alcohol and tobacco is ridiculously arbitrary and discriminatory. Why should a violent alcoholic bum suffer no legal consequences for his habit, while an otherwise productive citizen is carted off to jail because he got caught with a baggie of marijuana?
Well why add gasoline to a fire? You'd do so if you wanted to make a problem bigger. There will be costs from adding more products that impair people's mental abilities. Whats the point of adding more? It's said that pot actually impairs even five hours after use of it. This impairment is said to cause not only psychomotor abilities, not good for driving or operating cars/machines, but also may hinder decision making. I don't see a reason to add more products for more irresponcible people to use.
The bums that use alcohol and end up hurting others do get charged, and steeper charges for being under the influence. But it happens after they hurt someone usually, or atleast put them at risk. Why should we add something else that MAY have the same effect in putting other at risk, especially when it's for recreation and for their own pleasure?
You could justify any unjust law by saying it could be useful to catch people who couldn't be caught for anything else. 
Unjust is holding someone back because of the color of their skin, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, not because they can't do a recreational activity that gives them pleasure. Especially one that can effect others.
 
Granted I enjoy alcohol alot, and I'd be upset if it was prohitted again. But I just don't see a reason to get legalize a drug when it doesn't add anything. And if it's so available as you say it is, and it keeps those people that maybe impaired from leaving their home and harming others, then I don't see a problem with it staying that way at all.
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2009 at 01:46

Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

Too late ... it's already normalized and available to anyone.
My friend usually gets approached by a dealer for the way he dresses. My other friends had to go through connections. But it always seemed to have to go behind the scenes. So available, maybe, normalized, hardly.

People aren't seen as deviant, abnormal, or antisocial for indulging in it. This makes it de facto socially normalized, whether it is normalized de jure or not. Alcohol was illicit and obtained exclusively through illicit channels during prohibition ... nonetheless it was socially normalized.

I never heard anyone say they've lost desire of using it
I find that surprising. Are you in your early or mid 20s by any chance?  Most people who've gotten past early adolescent and young adulthood cease to enjoy the high, in my experience.

New shows are all about pushing the edge
That's because it reflects a social reality of changing values. Shows like Weeds and Desperate Housewives aren't exactly exotic or anything - the characters and settings are suburban and mundane, intentionally so. Audiences can relate to the characters and situations, which is why they are popular. If the shows depended exclusively on their shock value, they wouldn't last more than a season or two, for obvious reasons - shock has a very limited shelf life, particularly when you meter it out in regular, weekly doses. Not to mention that the audience demographics are, I think, probably too jaded to be shocked by the content in the first place.
Also, it's only shown on a certain channel that you need to get a package in order to view.
Showcase, at least here, is part of the basic cable package. Not even digital. Anyone who has cable gets it.
On top of that, the commercials atleast shown in the US make no reference to the drug, infact I never seen the name of the series with a marijuana leaf until your post. And I have heard about the show for sometime now.
They can't show a marijuana leaf in the televised advertisements ... it would be a violation of broadcasting codes. However, the theme is hardly a secret of the show and the imagery is far from obscure. The official homepage goes quite a bit further, note the main graphic on the page: http://www.sho.com/site/weeds/home.do
I agree the way we penalize people needs drastic changes. I'm not sure I'm ready to agree with legalizing it when it can cost billions like cigarettes do in health care cost, and because of production lost(193 billion were costs lost to the US with those two combines, split 50-50 pretty much).
Illegalization also produces billions in lost production, incarceration costs, increased criminal activity, the production of criminals from otherwise law-abiding demographics, the underemployment of educated individuals who acquire criminal records, on and on and on.
Plus there's no evidence that the costs of legalized marijuana would produce the same costs as tobacco and alcohol. The high costs of tobacco and alcohol are predictable, given their far more addictive nature.
Well why add gasoline to a fire? You'd do so if you wanted to make a problem bigger.
If it's a fire that, in principle, demands legal solutions ... then why is any of it legal?
How has marijuana prohibition been any more succesful than alcohol prohibition? And was either sort ever just? Is it the business of the law to be our nanny?
And why does it have to be an all or nothing proposition at all? The degree to which all three substances are proscribed can meet somewhere in the middle. One could impose more stringent regulation of alcohol and tobacco at the same time as relaxing marijuana laws. If the law really can mitigate the social costs of these substances, then there's no reason a balance couldn't be achieved where the social costs remain at the same level.
 
The bums that use alcohol and end up hurting others do get charged
Do they get charged for using or possessing alcohol? No, they get charged for their actions under the influence and/or things like public intoxication. Whether marijuana is legal or not, the same consequences would apply to its users.
If such laws are adequate and sufficient, then there is no need for marijuana to be illegal. 
Unjust is holding someone back because of the color of their skin, nationality, sexual orientation, religion, not because they can't do a recreational activity that gives them pleasure.
The concept of what is unjust is far, far broader than mere ethnic or gender discrimination. In fact, it was around centuries before anyone even considered those things unjust - they are just a recent addition to a much larger concept.
One of the most central issues to the concept of injustice is arbitrariness. Summary justice, such as that practiced by guerrillas, is wrong precisely because it is arbitrary. Likewise, arrests made without charge or indefinite incarceration without trial are also considered unjust because they are arbitrary. Discrimination itself is just one part of the larger concept of arbitrary injustice. 
To say that marijuana is illegal while alcohol and tobacco is not, is very much arbitrary. It punishes a large segment of society for having a certain preference. The law must be equal and fair, and if alcohol and tobacco pose the same problems as marijuana, or vice-versa, they must be treated the same.
If I choose to smoke marijuana rather than drink alcohol, you must provide a reason why I should be more penalized for one than the other. If they are equivalent, then ... the punishment must match the crime, if there even is a crime. 
 
And if it's so available as you say it is, and it keeps those people that maybe impaired from leaving their home and harming others, then I don't see a problem with it staying that way at all.
If the goal is to keep marijuana users from being intoxicated in public, it hardly works. I see stoned kids in public all the time. I live in a university town. But it's not the stoned ones that worry me nearly so much as the drunken ones that spill out on the streets when the bars close. I stay off the street at that hour, and for very good reason - there have been numerous beatings and even several killings. 


Edited by edgewaters - 21-Jan-2009 at 02:23
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2009 at 02:52
People aren't seen as deviant, abnormal, or antisocial for indulging in it. This makes it de facto socially normalized, whether it is normalized de jure or not. Alcohol was illicit and obtained exclusively through illicit channels during prohibition ... nonetheless it was socially normalized.
What word should I use then? Unaccepted, looked down upon? People don't see it in a bright light now a days is all I'm getting at. Normalized to me is something in use every day that people are fine seeing, that isn't something that has to be hidden away and is accepted by the majority as fine to be around.
I find that surprising. Are you in your early or mid 20s by any chance?  Most people who've gotten past early adolescent and young adulthood cease to enjoy the high, in my experience.
I'm 22, but alot of what I'm saying in my expierence is from those in the trades. People my age tend to do it more, but in the trades everyone I've talked to who has families and such have given it up. Don't get me wrong, there are those who still use drugs, and not to further my arguement at all, believe me when I say this. Those who do still use drugs don't have great work, and I think my boss has a idea on which guys to use when we are working in upper class houses. This is other trades though, I don't think my boss would hire anyone that has used drugs.
That's because it reflects a social reality of changing values. Shows like Weeds and Desperate Housewives aren't exactly exotic or anything - the characters and settings are suburban and mundane, intentionally so. Audiences can relate to the characters and situations, which is why they are popular. If the shows were merely getting by on shock value, they wouldn't last more than a season or two.
I don't know about Weeds, but Desperate Housewives is edgy, I don't think anyone can relate to their characters. Their lives are a mess, the neighborhood is perfect ville. The show is about people keeping a image of everything is fine while in the shadows they want to murder each other. Not very relateable in my expierence lol.
Weeds, I can't comment on, but when there were commercials of it on basic capable, they hid all mentioning of drug related topics.
But I think alot of it has to do with leaving stories on characters wide open and not telling the entire story until late in the season. Lost does this, keeps things vague and it seems to be the writting style for all new shows now that are drama.
Showcase, at least here, is part of the basic cable package. Not even digital. Anyone who has cable gets it.
It's a premium here, usually bundled either with the other Showcase channels, or a movie package with HBO, Cinemax, etc...
They can't show a marijuana leaf in the televised advertisements ... it would be a violation of broadcasting codes. However, the theme is hardly a secret of the show and the imagery is far from obscure. The official homepage goes quite a bit further, note the main graphic on the page: http://www.sho.com/site/weeds/home.do[/quote] Not very surprising since it's a website, lets face it, the internet is a very liberal place. But these channels also show sex and nudity, I'm not sure nudity is considered dangerous. Women still can't walk around topless, while other countries allow it. It's just not a social norm here. Though sex is a activity that most people don't mind expierencing. I don't know if this was exactly a fair example to bring up, but it is something that most people expierence and yet it's also only found on the premium channels. 
Perhaps a topic should be made on why it seems violence is more excepted then nudity and soft drugs in society.
Plus there's no evidence that the costs of legalized marijuana would produce the same costs as tobacco and alcohol. The high costs of tobacco and alcohol are predictable, given their far more addictive nature.
Maybe true, I don't even know what the costs are of alcohol on the country. But why add more costs? I doubt it'd pay itself off. Laws from the drug wars need to be changed, like crack getting a heavier sentence then cocaine for instance.
If it's a fire that, in principle, demands legal solutions ... then why is any of it legal?
How has marijuana prohibition been any more succesful than alcohol prohibition? And was either sort ever just? Is it the business of the law to be our nanny?
And why does it have to be an all or nothing proposition at all? The degree to which all three substances are proscribed can meet somewhere in the middle. One could impose more stringent regulation of alcohol and tobacco at the same time as relaxing marijuana laws. If the law really can mitigate the social costs of these substances, then there's no reason a balance couldn't be achieved where the social costs remain at the same level.
I hate to admit it but your making see your arguement, your evil... lol If the government decided it could work after enough studies on all aspects, I might accept it. But the way it impairs I question how that'll effect a normal day in the US.
If I choose to smoke marijuana rather than drink alcohol, you must provide a reason why I should be more penalized for one than the other. If they are equivalent, then ... the punishment must match the crime, if there even is a crime. 
I could have a few beers not be effected. How many joints can you have and not be effected? If you get a buzz from alcohol, it can go away within a hour, but from what I understand from a study, you can be impaired for 5 hours with marijuana with a high amount of THC, the amount that is legal in the Netherlands. I believe it was a Dutch study that found that. Maybe I'm just pessimistic when it comes to this stuff.
[quote]If the goal is to keep marijuana users from being intoxicated in public, it hardly works. I see stoned kids in public all the time. I live in a university town. But it's not the stoned ones that worry me nearly so much as the drunken ones that spill out on the streets when the bars close. I stay off the street at that hour, and for very good reason - there have been numerous beatings and even several killings. 
Once again, another good point.
 
 
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Direct Link To This Post Posted: 21-Jan-2009 at 04:47

Originally posted by SearchAndDestroy

I'm 22, but alot of what I'm saying in my expierence is from those in the trades. People my age tend to do it more, but in the trades everyone I've talked to who has families and such have given it up.

Ah ... that probably explains it. I've kind of noticed that blue collar culture, while it indulges more and apparently derives more enjoyment from inebriants in general, also has much stronger taboos and stigmas attached to them ... kind of ironic.

I don't know about Weeds, but Desperate Housewives is edgy, I don't think anyone can relate to their characters. Their lives are a mess, the neighborhood is perfect ville. The show is about people keeping a image of everything is fine while in the shadows they want to murder each other. Not very relateable in my expierence lol.

It's middle class, suburban, white collar ... your experience is different, so that's not surprising.

Women still can't walk around topless, while other countries allow it. It's just not a social norm here.
It's 100% legal here. But you won't see it, unless you happen to be at Parliament Hill on the night of July 1st. That's the only place I've ever seen it. Social norms usually are much more powerful in terms of inhibiting behaviour than the law is - the law can't be everywhere, but social norms are. 
Though sex is a activity that most people don't mind expierencing. I don't know if this was exactly a fair example to bring up, but it is something that most people expierence and yet it's also only found on the premium channels.
Right ... sex is of course normalized (we'd be extinct if it wasn't), but it's also considered something that you don't openly display in public and you can't just walk up to a complete stranger on the street and ask for it bluntly.  You can't legally buy it or sell it either. Still, its as natural as an act could possibly be.
I could have a few beers not be effected. How many joints can you have and not be effected?
Different sorts of dosages. People just don't consume joint after joint like that. They have one, and wait a few hours. Just like you don't drink hard liquor by the pint, but by the shot. You can have a toke or two from a joint and be unaffected, depending on your tolerance.
If you get a buzz from alcohol, it can go away within a hour, but from what I understand from a study, you can be impaired for 5 hours with marijuana with a high amount of THC
If you consume enough THC, you'll be impaired for a few hours. If you consume enough alcohol, you'll asphyxiate on your own vomit and die.


Edited by edgewaters - 21-Jan-2009 at 04:51
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