Friday, December 05, 2008

December 5th is Repeal Day!

Let’s end the war. Let’s end the war that has lasted over 35 years. Let’s end the war that neither side has a hope of winning. Let’s free the thousands of American prisoners held on US soil. Let’s end the war against ourselves. Like many Americans, Bill Clinton, George W. Bush, and Barack Obama have served on both sides of this war. Let’s end the war on drugs.

Many of this blog’s readers would agree with the slogan “Guns don’t kill people. People kill people.” Well drugs don’t destroy lives. People destroy their own lives. Inanimate objects are not responsible for your actions, be it a gun, a rock of crack, or a Judas Priest album. More people die from heart attacks than drug abuse. Yet we don’t see headlines like “Feds Seize 50 Kilos of Ground Beef.”

Today is Repeal Day. Seventy-five years ago today, the 21st Amendment was ratified, the 18th Amendment was repealed, and America’s favorite drug was legalized. This ended all the alcohol-related violence and corruption that plagued the 1920’s. Alcohol taxes created a new source of government revenue.

There happens to be excise taxes imposed on illegal drugs, but of course hardly anyone pays these taxes. We can create new sources of revenue for cash-strapped state governments while simultaneously lifting a huge burden off of law enforcement and the prison system. Legalizing drugs is the single best thing that Obama can do for the economy.


Phil Marx said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Phil Marx said...

I'll admit that I think that using illegal drugs is usually a poor choice for an individual to make for themselves. But can anyone really say with a straight face that those people are better off now that they are confined to prison? The war on drugs does not help the addict at all.

The second line of B.S. is that "The War" is designed to protect innocent victims, especially children, who might be harmed by these drugs. But that fails to account for the fact that fourteen year old children are drawn into drug trafficking simply because it is an illicit trade. It also ignores the cost to people who happen to live in neighborhoods which are controlled by these syndicates.

The war on drugs is a complete failure. It does nothing to help anyone, but it causes trouble for many. It is based largely upon naiive assumptions and the government's propensity to seek power simply for the sake of having power, rather than to actually do something effective.

Thank you for this post, Robert. I am feeling very Libertarian now this morning.

Anonymous said...

case in point

Phil Marx said...


Im not sure what point you're trying to make here. Amsterdam is seeking to regulate these businesses, not eliminate them. It goes without saying that if any type of vice-related businesses are allowed to operate unregulated or unmonitored, there is a pretty good chance that organized crime will step in there.

Of course, organized crime is also the ones often running these types of activities as they currently exist throughout this country. So I guess the only way to keep them from under the umbrella of organized crime would be to either massively increase the amount of funding we currently devote to shutting them down, or to simply legalize and regulate them.

Either way, the half-assed method we are currently using does not work!

Phil Marx said...

case in point

indy said...

i say go ahead and legalize them. then people will have to start paying taxes on them. after a while the drug price will rise just like food and other legalized drugs have. sooner or later people will want to use the free benifits in their health insurance program to go get detoxed. or the state will start helping people to get clean in rapid numbers. i say legalize them and tax the poo out of them and sooner or later people will stop glorifiying the whole drug trade.

Bob G. said...

We can go ahead and legalize certain drugs...but how do we legitimize the inevitable STUPIDITY that will be practiced by people, which will accompany such decriminalization?

-We have people behind the wheels of cars that don't have the sense they've been born with.
-We have alcoholics that are too lazy to climb OUT of the bottle
-And we've got drug users that practice criminal behavior to get that next high.

I'm just NOT convinced it's in the BEST interest of ALL the people...yet.

You have Oslo, Norway - city with the BEST standard of living ANYWHERE...and a social medical program (liberal heaven)...
And YET, that nice city has the HIGHEST rate of overdoses on ANY street in ANY city.
Go figure.
Guess they never SAW that coming?

Like I say, I'm undecided (because it boils down to PERSONAL RESPONSIBILITY...something many these days LACK in abundance), but in ANOTHER 75 years, maybe we'll NOT be talking about legalizing "harmless" drugs, but rather discussing the legalization of HEROIN...or COCAINE...or METH.
Fortunately, I won't be around to banter.


Robert Enders said...

We can't eliminate stupidity, but we can reduce it through education. Case in point, teen pregnancy is down because kids know more about how reproduction works. Meanwhile, college students overindulge alcohol, sometimes with fatal results, because they don't fully understand what they are getting into. If drugs are legalized, people will have better understanding of the effects and hazards of these drugs. Drug use will go up, but drug abuse will go down.

F6's Editor said...

Once you regulate it you can also restrict the potency of them as well so people only get just enough to satisfy and therefore either increase demand, sales or the black market yet again.

Should it be legalized probably not but it should at least be decriminilized to save the revenue dollars for actual law breakers

Robert Enders said...

Of course demand for drugs is going to go up if they are legalized. Demand for alcohol went up after Prohibition ended. The idea is let people use drugs more safely. If people want to destroy themselves, they already have the ability to do that through legal substances.

Doug H. Chair, LPAC said...

To All,

My personal experience with illegal drug use is extremely limited. I've used marijuana twice, and both times I did NOT break the law.

As I was in Amsterdam on my 2004 vacation I decided to see what all the fuss was about. I'd used the Atkins diet to help loose weight and get into shape. The first time I tried it was a small amount mixed 50% marijuana and 50% tobacco. I was told this is how most Europeans use it. the second time was in a coffee shop where they help me roll my own joint. The second use burned my throat so bad I had to drink six (6) Coca Cola's before I was done. I don't know whether I was more buzzed from the marijuana or all the sugar in the Coke... :(

I used to support drugs being illegal. Then, one day, I asked myself a simple question, "What right does the government have to say what I can and CAN NOT put into my own body?" I have never come up with a good answer to this question.

Alcohol is a drug. We tried to outlaw it and look how crime ran rampant. Millions of dollars poured into crime gangs hands (back when "millions of dollars" was real money).

One of the problems we have in this entire discussion is the fear that if we legalize drugs we will have problems, and I entirely agree. However, we will have DIFFERENT problems than we do today. We will have manageable problems! We won't have the drug dealers have bottomless pits of cash to undermine the system with. We will have greater control of our social problems than we do while drug usage remains a crime.

As I understand it a recent British study reported that the entire civilized worlds war on drugs has actually had an impact. It has reduced drug availability by 0.2%.

If what we are doing isn't working then reasonable people can agree to try a different tactic.

We should strive for the day that every citizen of this earth has education, hope, and self esteem enough to simply choose not to use. I know Utopia doesn't exist, so until it does some people will choose self destructive behavior. We shouldn't criminalize that.



Anonymous said...

"Demand for alcohol went up after Prohibition ended."

" 1914 the per-capita use of alcoholic beverages was 22.80 gallons. In 1934, the first year after repeal, the amount was 8.96 gallons. In other words, the nation had been weaned away from drinking during the nearly 14 years alcohol sales were illegal. And it took years of promotion by the alcohol industry to get consumption levels back up to their pre-Prohibition levels."


fact checks are so much fun!

Robert Enders said...

Anon 14:49
We do agree on two things:
1. Demand for alcohol went up after Prohibition ended.
2. Fact checks are fun.

In this case, fact checks are so much fun that you checked my claim that demand for alcohol went up after Prohibition and you found out that it was true.

I make no claim that legalization of drugs would reduce consumption. But legalization would reduce the harm caused by drugs. People will have better access to information to the effects of drugs. Terrorist groups such as FARC and the Taliban would lose a major source of revenue.