Legalising Drugs



  • [split from https://www.forum.thesilverfern.com/topic/2974]


    A very interesting topic that is for sure.

    I really enjoyed this podcast with Andrew Yang a presidential candidate in the US. This bloke speaks way too many truths to get elected. You may not agree with his policies but plenty of them make sense to me.

    Drugs
    I spent 10 years as a Police Officer in NSW. In my time I saw the absolute worst of society and observed some horrific things that will stay with me forever. I truly believe we have fucked up big time in relation to drug prohibition and the justice system.

    This is purely my opinion and plenty of people will think I am crazy. All drugs should be legal and the appropriate frameworks put in place like alcohol. The current prohibition is fucken chaos and leads to enormous amounts of state resources in policing and incarcerating those involved. People will never ever stop using drugs, no matter the penalty. We need to treat the reason why people become addicted and want to escape reality. It is a medical problem, not a legal one.

    I would do search warrants and take part in year long operations arresting multiple people etc etc, do you think this stopped any drug related crime or harm. Zero effect.

    We would target drug users, strip searching them, humiliating them and then remove them from their families and send them to jail where they get minimal help for their mental health and addiction problems. We then release them with minimal support and somehow expect them to be magically cured and integrate back into society with their criminal record.

    Surely generating tax revenue and using these funds for education, support and job creation would benefit society a lot more than the current system.



  • @chimoaus there’s a thread about universal income that discusses that podcast a fair bit . Have you heard the ones with Johann Hari where he discusses the Portugese and Swiss approach to drugs?

    https://www.forum.thesilverfern.com/topic/1313/universal-income/78



  • @chimoaus Great post. I've seen a little of what you're talking about here and totally agree. The war on drugs started by American Harry Anslinger 100 years ago has been a complete failure, except for those pocketing profits from one of the most valuable commodities in the world, as the current legislation exists. The money in drugs is obviously is so high and the connected prison industry is now too big to reverse.

    The perception the non drug using population is peddled is not representative of what drugs actually do. Getting the drugs causes far more damage to society than using them.

    Criminal convictions for drug use represent about 10% of all drug use. That's a lot of drug use not affecting society despite the just say no narrative

    It's like building 4 lane bridges that collapse every year, and then building the same bridge again and again. When one bridge out of 10 lasts a year the authorities laud the bridge building process as a success. Next day another bridge collapses. Build more faulty bridges...

    Just need some hard truth about this issue. The legislation actually destroys more lives than the drugs!



  • @Siam said in Is this thing sustainable?:

    Criminal convictions for drug use represent about 10% of all drug use. That's a lot of drug use not affecting society despite the just say no narrative

    Yeah 100%, I believe the addiction rate of most drugs is way less than you would think, I believe cigarettes are one of the higher ones. The Vietnam war is often cited as an example where the majority of soldiers used Heroin. But when they returned to the US only a small percentage continued using.

    I’m not saying people should run out and start shooting up, I know I wouldn’t even if it was legal. What we need is a legal pathway that offers a safe place for users.

    The Opioid epidemic in the US is just plain fucking bonkers, why they cannot see what they currently do doesn’t work is beyond me. They have to do something different or thousands more people will die.



  • @chimoaus I reckon there's a good argument that legalisation means taxation too. Cuts gangs out, and brings in the scariest bastards in the country, the IRD 😀

    I'm not sure illegality is any serious deterrent, so worth having the conversation. There's also empirical evidence now from the states and Portugal



  • @nzzp said in Is this thing sustainable?:

    @chimoaus I reckon there's a good argument that legalisation means taxation too. Cuts gangs out, and brings in the scariest bastards in the country, the IRD 😀

    I'm not sure illegality is any serious deterrent, so worth having the conversation. There's also empirical evidence now from the states and Portugal

    If you listen to Johann Hari when something is prohibited violence is pretty much the only way to enforce "law". When it is legal you have the Police. You don't see Lion Nathan execs shooting down XXXX owners to take over their company. He also references Al Capone and all of the mafia types during alcohol prohibition, once they legalised alcohol that type of violence pretty much disappeared.

    Something I did read was if you take away drugs from the gangs they will have to find something else to control and sell, not sure what that would be but no doubt they would try and find something.



  • @chimoaus 100%. I heard a woman on Sam Harris agreeing with Hari but giving a warning about the inherent chemical reactions in the brain. I.e. legalizing the supply won't be a universal panacea. That's cool, they're both right.

    It's the fucken waste of lives and money of the supply chain that's fixable.

    Too many murders at the every level of the supply chain.

    Apparently there's something called the "Iron Law", it states that prohibited substances serving size shrink and the potency increases.

    It's incredible that nobody in authority properly references the lessons from alcohol prohibition in the US in the thirties. History is clear, spirits and moonshine. Hard, strong liquor. No 'against the odds' stories about charismatic bearded home brew makers. Nup it was moonshine and top shelf. Hard liquor designed to get you wasted quiksmart. Why ship barrels of beer and wine? The people want a hit. Better profits in a concentrated product.

    It's the same with today's illegal drugs.

    Prohibition stops and the non addicts get to satiate their way through life with lower strength alcohol and the addicts get their neurochemical necessity without having to interact with murderers and gangs.

    Surely the same applies to drugs deemed illegal today. Control the supply, if only to save people or countries. Mexico?

    We can deal with the "living a meaningful life" poor people ( these are the ugly face of drug addiction today) later, with the money we save on overtime DEA cops, helicopters and public attorneys, and jail expenses and advertising campaigns and police time, and customs searches and...well you get the picture, but for now let's eradicate the cost and deaths of the illegal supply chain.

    Cannabis and opiates, easy. Still haven't heard a cogent strategy for meth and coke consumption The speedy drugs that, if properly done, give a great night out. Not properly done, your life is shit, you owe more than you get and lash out at those closest to you. But, still, take the illegal meth/coke dealer out of the equation and overnight you save thousands of lives and run despicable gangs out of business.

    My beloved 19 year old thai nephew's mates all left school at 15. There are no clear paths for working class males to progress up through society for them. Most of them understand their lot in life and will grind out enough 10- 12 hour days to get the holy grail; bank credit.

    A couple of other likely little buggers will cotton on that 10 hours (on call though) of motorbike errands with little bags will get 6 months legit wages in a month, riding the bike to addresses and hanging out with rich and cool fellas.

    Their life expectancies are not measured in decades. Their chance of a shit life, jail really, and a wasted youth are high.

    Decriminalising and controlling drug supply makes these likely little buggers redundant. Good, the money is too good to be able to reason with them. No incentive to strive on the right side of society, but they would if the easy option wasn't there. We'll look after them from there, just taking away his lucrative criminal option is mega helpful.

    The terrible effects of the current drug legislation reaches right down and victimises people all the way down to street level people.

    The Thai women's prisons are filled with good but desperate and poor young mother's trying to get extra money for essentials like nappies and baby formula. These women have never used the drug they're ferrying across town and are predominantly dedicated resourceless mums. Current legislation ( in most countries) locks these women away from their kids childhood. Theyre sentenced to 5, 8, 10 years prison for supply. Yeah, that stops the drug trade eh? Locking up baby's mothers.

    Get fucked with your privileged "they should find something else to do". These women are not criminal scourges on society. There's a convenient buck to be made. Prohibition creates this conundrum

    How much criminal activity do you eradicate if you decriminalise drugs?

    Truth is, I think, there are too many financial kickbacks to authorities for them to change the status quo (come on, the same bullshit "just say no" philosophy that's never worked in 100 years?). Unlike polio, the drug problem has never got better.

    Time to change something that patently doesn't work.



  • @Siam Lots of good points that I agree with.

    I think it would be very difficult to reach those who have strong religious beliefs and those who have been told drugs are evil since they were children.

    You are basically asking people to stop believing what they have been taught from authority for their entire lives.

    Thankfully there are people like Hari who are starting to question the war on drugs and several countries have made some pretty big changes.

    Given how difficult it was to get gay marriage in Australia I can only imagine the opposition to changing drug policy.

    I think the only way forward is if scientists, doctors and academics get together and research the alternatives to the current model. It is only through education and getting the discussion going will any change be made.



  • Visiting the cocaine museum in Bolivia (I think? long time ago.)... i seem to recall reading that cocaine was beloved by all (Freud lost his nose from loving it so much, the Pope was a big fan)...
    until the US of A realised it had such huge economic potential that their neighbours to the south might become genuine rivals... and therefore campaigned for it to become illegal.
    No idea if I'm remembering that correctly, or if it was correct in the first place.
    But if so... legalisation is never going to happen... the US can't allow it. (other than in the controlled quantities used as the base for every single painkiller medication ... another fact my vague memory claims I learnt)

    But yeah, while I sympathise with the cop in Narcos losing his shit with the two users in Bogota airport bathroom... due to all the pain/misery caused by the current production/ trafficking.... that's all down to it being illegal. Legalise it, tax it (but not too much please).


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