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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Fri Apr 20, 2012 12:41 am

Your right it could be much more or much less, the point is the authority remains with the States and not "the people" as a whole.

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Re: Drug use

Post by drainey on Fri Apr 20, 2012 9:11 am

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Re: Drug use

Post by drainey on Fri Apr 20, 2012 10:14 am

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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:09 pm

drainey wrote:Ok, I changed my mind, drugs cannot be legalized for this reason:

Mow the Lawn NSFW kinda
Too funny cant wait for more in this series!

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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:46 pm

OK I finally typed up the entire transcript from my speech in my public speaking class. It was delivered orally so the writing is not very technical but more conversational in style. Also because it was for a class it had some specific requirements like "previewing main points" and "restating main points" that feels a little unnatural to me but I had to so it. Ill try to include pictures so you can see what my power point showed as well. Feel free to comment, critique, or praise!


Legalization of drug use in the United States of America: Why the “War on Drugs” cannot be won.

In 1972 Richard Nixon declared “we must wage what I have called a ‘total war’ against public enemy number one in the United States, the problem of dangerous drugs.” With this statement the “War on Drugs” was born. Ten years later, many of us will remember how Nancy Reagan’s “Just Say No” campaign dramatically increased awareness of the dangers of drug use. Because of the real problem many in our country have with the misuse of these substances, it is easy to see the benefit of these types of awareness programs. While I would offer nothing but praise to those who bring to light the danger of drug use to our children, a problem arises when our acceptance of that message leads to unthinking agreement with the implied message slightly under the surface. You see, when we learn how dangerous drugs can be it is almost natural for us to simply take for granted the fact that it is society’s best interest to criminalize them. After all, if drugs hurt people and making them illegal means less people can use them – why not? While this seems both logical and noble at first thought, I have learned through a closer look at the evidence that it is neither. To the contrary, the most logical and noble action regarding drugs would be to legalize its use. We will see how this is true by learning how prohibition laws violate our civil liberties (the Constitution), have failed in the past, and lastly, how they harm the very people they are supposed to be protecting.

As we begin to discuss any mater of legislative policy the most appropriate place to start is the Constitution. This is what it looks like, for those of us who haven’t heard it talked about in a while.



The constitution is the final authority on all federal laws in our country. It was designed by our Founders to set up a government where the power resided with the people. To make sure this would be the case it was designed with a principle in place known as “enumerated powers.” We see it in the very first sentence of the constitution when it states, “all legislative powers herein granted shall be vested in a Congress” To put it simply, according to the Constitution, the Federal government has no (zip, zero, nada) power over the citizenry except the places power is specifically “enumerated” or “granted” by the people. The Ninth Amendment further solidifies this by stating, “The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.” In other words, just because certain rights have been specifically given to the government this doesn’t give the government the right to encroach on any other areas of the people’s lives. The 19th century British philosopher John Stewart Mills summarized the proper role of government perfectly with his “harm clause.” It says, “Over himself, over his own body and mind, the individual is sovereign' and 'The only purpose for which power can be rightfully exercised over any member of a civilized community, against his will, is to prevent harm to others. His own good, either physical or moral, is not sufficient warrant.” In other words the government should have no right to protect you from harming yourself.

Let us imagine a world in which the government could prevent you from doing things that are harmful to yourself. In that world surely it would be appropriate to outlaw not only smoking and alcohol use but perhaps extreme sport and maybe rock climbing. Noble prize winning economist Milton Friedman puts it this way, “Drug prohibition laws are exactly as strong and as weak as laws that would prohibit overeating.”

While there is clearly no constitutional authority for prohibiting drug use we can also look to history to see why criminalization of drugs is a bad idea. It is of great benefit when we can examine an issue outside of the arena of theory and actually look to history to see how a policy has worked. In our discussion we can look to a time when the States of the United States actually passed an amendment that prohibited one of our countries most popular drugs: alcohol.

Alcohol was prohibited for sale by the 18th amendment in 1920. Let’s look at this graph to see how prohibiting alcohol affected the country. As you can see we got a moderate decline and use but a sharp increase in homicides.



So what did America decide after it’s so called “great experiment”? The 18th amendment was repealed by the 21st amendment in 1933. This is the only amendment to the constitution in our country’s history to be repealed. Why was it repealed? Mainly because America learned that when you make a product illegal it forces it onto the black market and raises up a complete criminal enterprise that did not exist before the prohibition. Think Al Capone and company. Listen to what August Vollmer who was the President of the International Chiefs of Police said at the end of prohibition era about the continued illegality of drug use: “Stringent laws, spectacular police drives, vigorous prosecution, and imprisonment of addicts and peddlers have proved not only useless and enormously expensive as means of correcting this evil, but they are also unjustifiably and unbelievably cruel in their application to the unfortunate drug victims. Repression has driven this vice underground and produced the narcotics smugglers and supply agents, who have grown wealthy out of this evil practice and who by devious methods have stimulated traffic in drugs” Don’t miss what he is bringing to light. The very fact that drugs are made illegal is the fact that raises the price to such an enormous level as to make the drug trade appealing. I can illustrate this point with a simple question: When was the last time you heard of someone getting shot over a bottle of Jack Daniels? What many realized in the 1930’s is that it didn’t make sense to create a situation with just a moderate drop in usage and a huge spike in crime.

Many might be able to overlook the fact that prohibition laws are clearly unconstitutional and have failed in our country’s history if it were not for one other small factor: they don’t work! Furthermore, they actually harm the communities and people they are designed to protect. Understand this if you do not get anything else said this morning: THE ENTIRE INNER CITY GANG MOVEMENT IS FUELED BY THE SALE OF ILLEGAL DRUGS. All the violence, shooting, theft, recruitment of youth into the criminal world, turf wars are all activities fueled directly by the sale of illegal drugs. When alcohol was legalized the entire “organized crime” world simply shifted to other substances that were still prohibited. If you legalize drug use in America you don’t give the criminal element (cartels and gangs) a product to shift into. So that is the number one way in which drug prohibition fails, in attempting to protect people it creates a violent inner city that countless numbers of people are subjected to, most of these not even users themselves.

The second way in which drug prohibition fails hurts those it is meant to protect is it turns non-violent “offenders” into violent criminals. Jeffrey Miron of Havard university says it this way “drug prohibition relates in a causal effect of raising of the homicide rates and the incarceration rate.” So how does this play out? First it draws teenagers into a life of “anything goes” gang life due to extraordinary amount of money that is to be made. Secondly, in introduces non violent people who were simply participating in an activity that was harmful to themselves into a prison system with violent offenders where they in turn learn to become violent people themselves. To take a father of three out of a home because he was using marijuana (or any other drug) and place him in a prison is reckless. You’ve now created a single mother of three, children without a father figure, and a reduced household income that will further encourage the draw for those children to enter the illegal market themselves. Viscous cycle indeed.



The last way that drug prohibition harms the communities it is meant to protect is what it does to law enforcement. According to the L.E.A.P. (Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) state and local authorities alone spend 25 billion annually on enforcement of prohibition. That is 25 billion dollars that could be spent protecting communities from violent crime. This doesn’t even take into account the additional 15 billion the Federal government spends every year. While these dollars are staggering it pales in consideration to the loss of life of our brave police officers fearlessly fighting a battle that cannot be won.

So as we have learned this morning, prohibition is unconstitutional, it has been proven ineffective in the past, and it hurts those it is meant to protect, so what would a United States without prohibition look like? First the bad- drug use would very likely rise marginally. Now for the good: Drug crime would all but disappear. Gangs would shrivel up to next to nothing due to a lack of marketable product. Homicide rates would fall dramatically. Our prisons would have 300,000 additional cells for real criminals. Our civil liberties in this area would be restored. There would be a drastic improvement between citizen / police relationships. More police would be free to capture those who truly threaten public safety like rapist, murderers, and drunk drivers. Sounds like a good trade to me.



While I know it will be impossible for one to change their mind on long held beliefs after a ten minute talk I do hope that these points will at least make you more aware of the central arguments discussed.

Its not that those against prohibition are for this:






We are for this:







We are not for this:







We are against this:







And we are certainly not for this:







Were just so absolutely opposed to this:








I close with one last thought from sociologist Thomas Sowell - “The difference between a policy and a crusade is that a policy is judged by its results, but a crusade is judged by how good it makes the crusaders feel.”

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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Sat Apr 21, 2012 4:59 pm

OK and my last post for now. Your hero and mine, on the issue.

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Re: Drug use

Post by Spinks on Sun May 06, 2012 4:07 pm

I hope I don't get flogged for replying to an older thread, three weeks since last post.

Yes, prohibition creates crime. The war on drugs is lost.

Suppose that all street drugs, with no apparent medicinal value, are suddenly "legalized". What next? The same drug dealers that sell crack and marijuana today also sell Lortab, Xanax, Morphine, etc. As far as the law is concerned, they are all considered to be "controlled substances". The only way to stop the illegal sale is to devalue the product. How is this done?

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Re: Drug use

Post by XianSmitherman on Sun May 06, 2012 5:42 pm

Alright, finally out of school so I can get back to this. Because of the enormity of this thread, it's going to take me a while to get back through it. A WHILE. So don't whine if I'm not immediately getting back to everything. I'm starting at the end and going back.

Bill: Let the flogging begin. Prohibition creates crime. Legalization creates even more crime. In the Netherlands, a.k.a. the Shangri-La of drug legalization, they are closing down marijuana outlets, known as “coffee shops," because of the nuisance and crime risks associated with them. What used to be thousands of shops have now been reduced to a few hundred, and some cities are shutting them down completely. (So much for free market solutions).

Arrests also increase. The same four Australian jurisdictions that have
removed criminal penalties for home production of small quantities did the same with respect to possession. Though the South Australian system has a rather elaborate name, Cannabis Expiation Notice, it is very similar to what we call decriminalization. A police officer issues a notice that a fine must be paid in return for non-prosecution; the offender offers a guilty plea. If the fine is paid, no criminal record will be generated. The most striking finding about the shift was that police officers, now relieved of the burden of taking the offender through formal booking procedures, made many more formal arrests. The number of arrests more than doubled from 1987 to 1994. Since many of those arrested did not pay their fines, the result was an increase in the number of individuals being incarcerated annually for marijuana offenses, albeit now indirectly for their failure to pay a fine.

And I'm not 100% sure what you're asking as far as the last paragraph goes, so I'll wait until further clarification to comment.

That took a while so I'll do more tomorrow.

Tomorrow's topic: Joel's Folly Smile

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Re: Drug use

Post by Spinks on Sun May 06, 2012 10:08 pm

XianSmitherman wrote:Alright, finally out of school so I can get back to this. Because of the enormity of this thread, it's going to take me a while to get back through it. A WHILE. So don't whine if I'm not immediately getting back to everything. I'm starting at the end and going back.

Bill: Let the flogging begin. Prohibition creates crime. Legalization creates even more crime. In the Netherlands, a.k.a. the Shangri-La of drug legalization, they are closing down marijuana outlets, known as “coffee shops," because of the nuisance and crime risks associated with them. What used to be thousands of shops have now been reduced to a few hundred, and some cities are shutting them down completely. (So much for free market solutions).

Arrests also increase. The same four Australian jurisdictions that have
removed criminal penalties for home production of small quantities did the same with respect to possession. Though the South Australian system has a rather elaborate name, Cannabis Expiation Notice, it is very similar to what we call decriminalization. A police officer issues a notice that a fine must be paid in return for non-prosecution; the offender offers a guilty plea. If the fine is paid, no criminal record will be generated. The most striking finding about the shift was that police officers, now relieved of the burden of taking the offender through formal booking procedures, made many more formal arrests. The number of arrests more than doubled from 1987 to 1994. Since many of those arrested did not pay their fines, the result was an increase in the number of individuals being incarcerated annually for marijuana offenses, albeit now indirectly for their failure to pay a fine.

And I'm not 100% sure what you're asking as far as the last paragraph goes, so I'll wait until further clarification to comment.

That took a while so I'll do more tomorrow.

Tomorrow's topic: Joel's Folly Smile

I'll address the coffee shops in the Netherlands. Let's compare them to businesses that are licensed for on premise consumption of alcohol. Some of these types of alcohol retailers attract the criminal element which results in felonious assaults, both sexual and violent in nature, and/or murders. Because of these types of establishments Tuscaloosa County Alabama will not approve an alcohol license for on premise consumption within this jurisdiction. Does this mean that all such establishments are bad? No, there are several such businesses within the City of Tuscaloosa that operate without such incidents. My point is that the type of clientele creates the atmosphere. Not the business itself.
Prohibition creates crime. The Federal Bureau of Investigation was created in response to the organized criminal elements that rose out of alcohol prohibition. It not for prohibition, Al Capone would have never been more than a local crime boss. However, with the aid of prohibition Capone became a national problem because of the overwhelming public desire for an illegal substance.

Your Australian example is flawed. Simply streamline the arrest process for any crime and officers will make more arrests for said crime because they simply have more time to do so. Based on your description of the Australian process for handling minor marijuana infractions I must compare it to our society's traffic citation. A person receives a citation for a traffic law violation. The offender signs the citation, which is a promise to appear in court or pay a fine. Paying the fine is a guilty plea. If the offender doesn't follow through with his promise to appear or pay a warrant is issued. Then law enforcement must find the offender and incarcerate him. The small town that I used to work for had a population of approximately 5,000. At any given time the small city would average about 1,000 warrants for failure to appear in court. That's one fifth of the population that hasn't paid their fine and must be arrested for the same.

The last paragraph.

As it is now, we have legal and illegal drugs. Illegal=crack cocaine, marijuana, heroin etc, Legal=Lortab, Xanax, Oxycontin (a legal form of heroin) etc. Under the law they are all considered controlled substances. Possession of crack cocaine is the same as the possession of a Lortab without a proper prescription.
The legal drugs can be obtained by receiving a prescription from a doctor. The illegal drugs must be obtained through other means. All of these are commonly abused and sold through illegal markets. Drug dealers that sell crack cocaine also sell drugs such as Lortab, Xanax and Oxycontin because they can make money on all of it. The most logical way to stop the illegal sale of drugs is to take the profit out of it. How would we remove the profit from the product in order to minimize those willing to sell? Without a drug dealer on the corner there is no one to sell the addict his product. That, in theory, will make it harder for the next generation to get hooked.

And then there's meth. Meth is addiction driven verses money driven. A meth dealer sells enough meth to make enough money to cook more meth for him to use. Cook, use, sell, repeat. Meth is made from common household items. Ephedrine and pseudo-ephedrine are required to manufacture meth. That is why you have to swipe your driver license when you buy certain cold medicines. This makes it harder for meth cooks to obtain the amount of pills needed to manufacture meth. That just made the cooks come up with a more efficient method, called shake and bake or one pot cooks.

We have to change the way that we fight the war on drugs. We are losing.


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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Mon May 07, 2012 6:55 pm

Spinks wrote: The only way to stop the illegal sale is to devalue the product. How is this done?
Exactly the same way as every other drug. Complete regulated legalization. The only reason that prescription drugs have any "street" value at all is that there are certain people that want them that have their access restricted. The most sensible policy would be one that doesn't restrict access to adults and thereby bring the price of the item down forcing the gangs out of the business.
The perfect analogy is alcohol. I love the alcohol comparison for so many reasons. First, most people would agree it is one of the most dangerous drugs in our country. Secondly, we have seen exactly what happened when it moved from an illegal substance to a legal one. Almost all of the gangs were forced out of the market because there was no profit left to be made. Again, when was the last time you saw a rite-aid and a CVS in a street corner shoot out over "turf". The same would be just as laughable 20 years from now regarding any substance that our government ceased to prohibit.

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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Mon May 07, 2012 7:04 pm

XianSmitherman wrote:

Though the South Australian system has a rather elaborate name, Cannabis Expiation Notice, it is very similar to what we call decriminalization. A police officer issues a notice that a fine must be paid in return for non-prosecution; the offender offers a guilty plea. If the fine is paid, no criminal record will be generated. The most striking finding about the shift was that police officers, now relieved of the burden of taking the offender through formal booking procedures, made many more formal arrests. The number of arrests more than doubled from 1987 to 1994. Since many of those arrested did not pay their fines, the result was an increase in the number of individuals being incarcerated annually for marijuana offenses, albeit now indirectly for their failure to pay a fine.

Tomorrow's topic: Joel's Folly Smile

Decriminalization is a band-aid on a bullet wound. The solution lies in controlled legalization not decriminalization.

Also when my folly is discussed please give specific responses for the constitutional arguments as really the rest are secondary arguments until that is addressed, unless of course your advocating an amendment for prohibition of drugs (which ironically was required to prohibit alcohol but for some reason isn't regarding drugs.)

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Re: Drug use

Post by Spinks on Mon May 07, 2012 8:35 pm

JoelKizz wrote:
Exactly the same way as every other drug. Complete regulated legalization.

This makes sense. This could be done the same way that the State of Alabama regulates hard liquor. Every drop of hard liquor that is legally sold in Alabama is sold by the State of Alabama. A tax is placed on the liquor in the beginning. This tax fully funds the agency that regulates and distributes the alcohol. This same tax also partially funds the Department of Mental Health, Department of Human Resources and contributes significantly to the State General Fund. Do the same with controlled substances. Tax it, regulate and fund the agency that will deal with it. There will still be those that illegally sell narcotics but on a much smaller scale. There will also be areas that continue to prohibit the legal sale of narcotics.

There are always unforeseen consequences for everything. How many more people will try crack or powder cocaine because they don't have to risk arrest for purchasing or possessing it? How much more addiction will society see because of legalization?

Also, before any of this can happen, the federal government will have to allow the states to exercise their sovereignty as provided by the 10th amendment. The Commerce Clause will have to be reigned in by not applying it to everything that the federal government wants to control. If the federal government doesn't let the states regulate narcotics we will see nationwide what is currently happening in California. State laws allow the sale and consumption of marijuana for medicinal purposes while federal law prohibits all of the same. We have the federal government increasing taxes on the dealers and growers by classifying them as narcotic traffickers. Also, copious amounts of marijuana must be involved before the federal government will even consider prosecuting. While at the same time as little as 5 grams of crack can bring federal prosecution in some jurisdictions. 10 grams of heroin can bring a life sentence in the federal system.


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Re: Drug use

Post by XianSmitherman on Wed May 09, 2012 10:48 pm

I'm addressing Bill's question and then I'll get to the rest next week since this is my one week off and I'm relaxing and building a Lego model. This takes a lot of my time.

But the thing is that when prohibition was repealed and bars started opening again, they didn't have to shut them down in the thousands, like in the Netherlands. Different effects, same clientele.

The Australian example is perfectly valid. It would be invalid if it were to be streamlined, but you know as well as I do that such a thing wouldn't happen. Not how bureaucracy works.

You're comparing drugs that are meant to correct chemical imbalances in the brain to ones that are made for the specific purpose of creating imbalance. And I agree that taking the profit out of it will lead to less drug dealers, but your system actually makes it easier for the next generation to get hooked. These are '89 numbers from the National Drug Control Study, but the point is the same: "Drug traffickers, by contrast, are involved in crime for profit alone. An average gram of cocaine now sells for $60 to $80. The free-market price would be roughly 5 percent of that - $3 or $4. If legalized drug sales were heavily regulated and taxed to restrict availability and maximize government revenue, then a gram of cocaine might sell for $30 or $40. In that case, criminal organizations could still undercut legal prices and turn a substantial profit. In truth, to destroy the cocaine black market entirely, we would probably have to make the drug legally available at not much more than $10 a gram. And then an average dose of cocaine would cost about 50 cents - well within the lunch-money budget of the average American elementary school student. In short, legalizing drugs would be an unqualified national disaster. In fact, any significant relaxation of drug enforcement - for whatever reason, however well-intentioned - would promise more use, more crime, and more trouble for desperately needed treatment and education efforts."

Joel, I'll get to your stuff next week.

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Re: Drug use

Post by Jeremyshall on Wed May 09, 2012 11:47 pm

As a side note, Joel, I enjoyed your speech.... How did you do in the class?

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Re: Drug use

Post by Spinks on Thu May 10, 2012 12:58 am

XianSmitherman wrote:I'm addressing Bill's question and then I'll get to the rest next week since this is my one week off and I'm relaxing and building a Lego model. This takes a lot of my time.

But the thing is that when prohibition was repealed and bars started opening again, they didn't have to shut them down in the thousands, like in the Netherlands. Different effects, same clientele.

The Australian example is perfectly valid. It would be invalid if it were to be streamlined, but you know as well as I do that such a thing wouldn't happen. Not how bureaucracy works.

You're comparing drugs that are meant to correct chemical imbalances in the brain to ones that are made for the specific purpose of creating imbalance. And I agree that taking the profit out of it will lead to less drug dealers, but your system actually makes it easier for the next generation to get hooked. These are '89 numbers from the National Drug Control Study, but the point is the same: "Drug traffickers, by contrast, are involved in crime for profit alone. An average gram of cocaine now sells for $60 to $80. The free-market price would be roughly 5 percent of that - $3 or $4. If legalized drug sales were heavily regulated and taxed to restrict availability and maximize government revenue, then a gram of cocaine might sell for $30 or $40. In that case, criminal organizations could still undercut legal prices and turn a substantial profit. In truth, to destroy the cocaine black market entirely, we would probably have to make the drug legally available at not much more than $10 a gram. And then an average dose of cocaine would cost about 50 cents - well within the lunch-money budget of the average American elementary school student. In short, legalizing drugs would be an unqualified national disaster. In fact, any significant relaxation of drug enforcement - for whatever reason, however well-intentioned - would promise more use, more crime, and more trouble for desperately needed treatment and education efforts."

Joel, I'll get to your stuff next week.


I googled the closing of marijuana coffee shops in The Netherlands. I could only find that tourists are not allowed in the shops because the municipalities can't handle the volume of traffic created by high numbers of marijuana seekers. Can you point me in the right direction to verify your numbers?



I said that your example is flawed, not invalid. Also, you described a streamlining of the process by stating "police officers, now relieved of the burden of taking the offender through formal booking procedures". A normal arrest, as I know it, can take 2 to 3 hours of an officer's time from initial contact with the suspect to filing paperwork with the court. Compared to about 15 minutes when issuing a citation, or notice as you described it. Taking an offense that requires an actual custodial arrest and reducing it to issuing a citation is streamlining at its finest.

Yes, I'm comparing drugs that are used for medicinal purposes to those that are used for recreational purposes because under current law, they are all the same. There are different schedules of drugs within the law that classify them according to their use which is what you are referring to, I think. They are all "controlled substances" which makes the illegal possession of one the same as another.

After telling me that bureaucracy doesn't "work that way" you've used information from a bureaucratic study? Who decides that the people that concluded the study are right anyway?

It's not my system. It's just a system. A theory. I'm open to any good idea. The war on drugs has been lost to this point. All options should be on the table. Education, treatment, taxation, eradication, incarceration and any other method should be considered. I just don't have a hardline position on this. Sorry




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Re: Drug use

Post by XianSmitherman on Thu May 10, 2012 5:44 pm

From this report: http://www.whitehouse.gov/sites/default/files/ondcp/issues-content/directors_cal_chiefs_remarks.pdf

And I agree with your basic premise there at the end. I don't believe the status quo is good enough, but I don't believe complete legalization is the answer either.

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Re: Drug use

Post by JoelKizz on Thu May 10, 2012 10:35 pm


"Director of National
Drug Control Policy"

I haven't read the report yet but one comment out of the gate is that when someone is addressing matters that can be very subjective, it is hard for me to believe they are being intellectually honest when their job depends on them coming down on a certain side of an issue. This doesn't mean his points aren't valid, I just struggle to believe he was impartial while gathering his data.

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