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Mar 24 09 8:27 AM

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http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/24/miron.legalization.drugs/index.html?iref=topnews
 

Economist Jeffrey Miron says legalizing drugs would greatly reduce violence.
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By Jeffrey A. Miron
Special to CNN

, Massachusetts (CNN) -- Over the past two years, drug violence in Mexico has become a fixture of the daily news. Some of this violence pits drug cartels against one another; some involves confrontations between law enforcement and traffickers.
Recent estimates suggest thousands have lost their lives in this "war on drugs."
The and Mexican responses to this violence have been predictable: more troops and police, greater border controls and expanded enforcement of every kind. Escalation is the wrong response, however; drug prohibition is the cause of the violence.
Prohibition creates violence because it drives the drug market underground. This means buyers and sellers cannot resolve their disputes with lawsuits, arbitration or advertising, so they resort to violence instead.
Violence was common in the alcohol industry when it was banned during Prohibition, but not before or after.
Violence is the norm in illicit gambling markets but not in legal ones. Violence is routine when prostitution is banned but not when it's permitted. Violence results from policies that create black markets, not from the characteristics of the good or activity in question.
The only way to reduce violence, therefore, is to legalize drugs. Fortuitously, legalization is the right policy for a slew of other reasons.
Prohibition of drugs corrupts politicians and law enforcement by putting police, prosecutors, judges and politicians in the position to threaten the profits of an illicit trade. This is why bribery, threats and kidnapping are common for prohibited industries but rare otherwise. 's recent history illustrates this dramatically.
Prohibition erodes protections against unreasonable search and seizure because neither party to a drug transaction has an incentive to report the activity to the police. Thus, enforcement requires intrusive tactics such as warrantless searches or undercover buys. The victimless nature of this so-called crime also encourages police to engage in racial profiling.
Prohibition has disastrous implications for national security. By eradicating coca plants in or poppy fields in , prohibition breeds resentment of the . By enriching those who produce and supply drugs, prohibition supports terrorists who sell protection services to drug traffickers.
Prohibition harms the public health. Patients suffering from cancer, glaucoma and other conditions cannot use marijuana under the laws of most states or the federal government despite abundant evidence of its efficacy. Terminally ill patients cannot always get adequate pain medication because doctors may fear prosecution by the Drug Enforcement Administration.
Drug users face restrictions on clean syringes that cause them to share contaminated needles, thereby spreading HIV, hepatitis and other blood-borne diseases.
Prohibitions breed disrespect for the law because despite draconian penalties and extensive enforcement, huge numbers of people still violate prohibition. This means those who break the law, and those who do not, learn that obeying laws is for suckers.
Prohibition is a drain on the public purse. Federal, state and local governments spend roughly $44 billion per year to enforce drug prohibition. These same governments forego roughly $33 billion per year in tax revenue they could collect from legalized drugs, assuming these were taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco. Under prohibition, these revenues accrue to traffickers as increased profits.
The right policy, therefore, is to legalize drugs while using regulation and taxation to dampen irresponsible behavior related to drug use, such as driving under the influence. This makes more sense than prohibition because it avoids creation of a black market. This approach also allows those who believe they benefit from drug use to do so, as long as they do not harm others.
Legalization is desirable for all drugs, not just marijuana. The health risks of marijuana are lower than those of many other drugs, but that is not the crucial issue. Much of the traffic from or is for cocaine, heroin and other drugs, while marijuana production is increasingly domestic. Legalizing only marijuana would therefore fail to achieve many benefits of broader legalization.
It is impossible to reconcile respect for individual liberty with drug prohibition. The has been at the forefront of this puritanical policy for almost a century, with disastrous consequences at home and abroad.
The repealed Prohibition of alcohol at the height of the Great Depression, in part because of increasing violence and in part because of diminishing tax revenues. Similar concerns apply today, and Attorney General Eric Holder's recent announcement that the Drug Enforcement Administration will not raid medical marijuana distributors in suggests an openness in the Obama administration to rethinking current practice.
Perhaps history will repeat itself, and the will abandon one of its most disastrous policy experiments.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jeffrey Miron.

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matt479

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#3 [url]

Mar 24 09 11:03 AM

It isn't like we have this massive amount of historic data demonstrating that prohibition stregthens organized crime.


-wooha

isn't there massive amounts of historical data demonstrating that legalizing a drug can lead to addiction and death?  alcohol & tabacoo being examples.  there goes more money out of my paycheck to pay for additional medicle cost to cover burnout hippies!monkey

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#4 [url]

Mar 24 09 2:13 PM

that would be interesting to have a look at the data of Liquor store owners, shooting it out with each other for control of booze & cigs in a given region.
  
As far as medical expenses go, isn't that part of what the taxes on alcohol & tobacco go toward? jus imagine, how much more revenue the government would get if they could regulate, permit & tax, sales of dope.

how much of your paycheck goes toward drunks & cig smokers, anyway?

WretchedExcess

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#5 [url]

Mar 24 09 2:42 PM

 how much of your paycheck goes toward drunks & cig smokers, anyway?

-kingofkabuki

Probably the same amount that goes to paying for running criminal courts, paying police and prosecutors and building and maintaining and running prisons for people guilty of nothing but possession.

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#6 [url]

Mar 25 09 6:20 AM

It is my recollection that the shooting didn't start until after they made pot illegal.

Who would pay $150/oz for something you can grow in your own backyard.

Most would rather buy it at a retail outlet and pay tax than grow their own.

The legal bueraucracy wants the revenues in their coffers (court costs, fines, attorney fees, new cruiseres, drug dogs, etc.).

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#7 [url]

Mar 25 09 8:05 AM


isn't there massive amounts of historical data demonstrating that legalizing a drug can lead to addiction and death?  alcohol & tabacoo being examples.  there goes more money out of my paycheck to pay for additional medicle cost to cover burnout hippies![image]

-matt479

This may sound harsh but....

Death as a result of overdose will more or less thin the herd.  There will probably be additional medical costs in the short term, but taxes will pay for it until we weed out the weak.

Outside of the natural stuff like weed and shrums, most of the drugs that can be legalize are pretty lethal.  Hopefully the staggering amount of deaths in the beginning will teach the rest of the population a real lesson.

Damn, I sound like a nazi.

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winddog

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#8 [url]

Mar 25 09 9:07 AM


This may sound harsh but....
Death as a result of overdose will more or less thin the herd.  There will probably be additional medical costs in the short term, but taxes will pay for it until we weed out the weak.
Outside of the natural stuff like weed and shrums, most of the drugs that can be legalize are pretty lethal.  Hopefully the staggering amount of deaths in the beginning will teach the rest of the population a real lesson.
Damn, I sound like a nazi.

-wooha

 Sometimes the truth is hard to swallow.

The preceding message is the opinion of Winddog & in no way reflect the opinions of this bb.

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#9 [url]

Mar 26 09 7:49 AM

I love the banner ad for this thread... "Sober College... Not your ordinary rehab..."
Cool.
Very fitting.
Well... here is the thing, if we spent less money incarcerating people for social issues, maybe we can spend more cash on education, prevention, and rehab.
People that actually have problems would be able to use their insurance to get treatment and not have the stigma of a "druggy".
We can spend more money on inner city schools and provide better education that gets them out of the circle of despair.
Locking people up for social issues is just dumb, in my humble opinion. The problem never gets fixed, just a constant band aid over the open wound.
I love how makes its biggest catch the very same day our Sec. of State makes her visit down there.
Anybody else find this more than coincidental?

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#10 [url]

Mar 31 09 9:21 AM

Commentary: War on drugs is insane

  • Story Highlights
  • Jack Cafferty: We spend enormous sums to enforce the laws against drugs
  • Mexican cartels have set up operations in 230 American cities, he says
  • Cafferty: Enforcement doesn't stop Americans from finding ways to get drugs
  • He says there are many other uses for the billions we spend in war on drugs
http://www.cnn.com/2009/POLITICS/03/31/cafferty.legal.drugs/index.html?iref=mpstoryview

By Jack Cafferty
Special to CNN

NEW YORK (CNN) -- Here's something to think about:
How many police officers and sheriff's deputies are involved in investigating and solving crimes involving illegal drugs? And arresting and transporting and interrogating and jailing the suspects?
How many prosecutors and their staffs spend time prosecuting drug cases? How many defense lawyers spend their time defending drug suspects?
How many hours of courtroom time are devoted to drug trials? How many judges, bailiffs, courtroom security officers, stenographers, etc., spend their time on drug trials?
How many prison cells are filled with drug offenders? And how many corrections officers does it take to guard them? How much food do these convicts consume?
And when they get out, how many parole and probation officers does it take to supervise their release? And how many ex-offenders turn right around and do it again?
So how's this war on drugs going?
Someone described insanity as doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result each time. That's a perfect description of the war on drugs.

The United States is the largest illegal drug market in the world. Americans want their weed, crack, cocaine, whatever. And they're willing to pay big money to get it.
The drug suppliers are only too happy to oblige. The Mexican drug cartels now have operations in 230 American cities. That's 230 American cities!
And we're not just talking about border towns, but places such as Anchorage, Alaska; Boston, Massachusetts; Atlanta, Georgia; and Billings, Montana. They're everywhere. And they don't just bring drugs, but violence and crime as well -- lots of it at no extra charge.
They have been able to infiltrate those 230 cities because we have not bothered to secure our borders. In addition to illegal aliens who come here to work and avail themselves of our social programs, we have criminals from Mexico bringing drugs in, taking money and guns back, and recruiting American kids into their criminal enterprises while they're here.
What do you suppose the total price tag is for this failed war on drugs? One senior Harvard economist estimates we spend $44 billion a year fighting the war on drugs. He says if they were legal, governments would realize about $33 billion a year in tax revenue. Net swing of $77 billion. Could we use that money today for something else? You bet your ass we could. Plus the cartels would be out of business. Instantly. Goodbye crime and violence.
If drugs were legalized, we could empty out a lot of our prison cells. People will use this stuff whether it's legal or not. Just like they do booze. And you could make the argument that in some cases alcohol is just as dangerous as some drugs. I know.
Like I said ... something to think about. It's time.

The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of Jack Cafferty.

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#12 [url]

Apr 1 09 8:50 AM


isn't there massive amounts of historical data demonstrating that legalizing a drug can lead to addiction and death?  alcohol & tabacoo being examples.  there goes more money out of my paycheck to pay for additional medicle cost to cover burnout hippies![image]

-matt479

On the other hand we've got plenty of money to lock up drug users in prison, perfect logic.

"They're our next door neighbors and you can actually see Russia from land here in Alaska"

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#14 [url]

Apr 1 09 10:16 AM

I think Matt's worry is that society will fall to pieces if drugs were legalized because they would be much easier to get.  I think it would be a very valid piont if drugs weren't already so easy to get.  I think there would be an initial shock that would be quite damaging to society, but in the long run we would be better off.

As we see in this economic crisis...periods of correction are very difficult.   

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#15 [url]

Apr 1 09 10:21 AM

It's easier for a teenager to score weed or pills than a six pack. How hard have we made it by making it "illegal" except for the fact that people who are addicted can't get help easily because it's illegal, and we spend billions of dollars in prosecuting and incarcerating versus the minimal amount in prevention and rehab?  It’s idiotic that Nixon started this “war” on drugs, nothing good has come about of it, and 60 years later we are trying the same exact approach but expecting a different outcome. Isn’t that insanity?

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matt479

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Posts: 407

#16 [url]

Apr 1 09 10:32 AM

I think Matt's worry is that society will fall to pieces if drugs were legalized because they would be much easier to get.  I think it would be a very valid piont if drugs weren't already so easy to get.  I think there would be an initial shock that would be quite damaging to society, but in the long run we would be better off.
As we see in this economic crisis...periods of correction are very difficult.   

-wooha


more trying to protect myself financial from stupid people.  don't be people!


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winddog

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Posts: 297

#18 [url]

Apr 1 09 12:13 PM

Well I can't explain it,  but I know what you ment Matt.smile

 Only problem is stupid people will get ya every time.sad

The preceding message is the opinion of Winddog & in no way reflect the opinions of this bb.

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#19 [url]

Apr 1 09 12:22 PM

more trying to protect myself financial from stupid people.  don't be people!

-matt479

Think of it as a long term investment.  The market might fall because of the loss of a number of poorly run companies, but those companies will go bankrupt and will be replaced by healthy companies that will bring profit and value to the market.



 Only problem is stupid people will get ya every time.[image]

-winddog

Ain't that the truth

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#20 [url]

Apr 2 09 2:12 PM

Legalize it, yeah.. yeah...
I will advertise it




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