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  #1  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:04 PM
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Is it time to end the war on drugs?

Bruce Ramsey / Times editorial columnist
Time for a new strategy in the war on drugs

Is it Time to End the War on Drugs?" The King County Bar Association gave that title to a report in 2001, and now has put out a study that answers, yes. The study, "Effective Drug Control," argues that the use of marijuana, cocaine, heroin and other drugs be considered health problems instead of crimes, and that government manage, inform and help people instead of putting them in prison.

Many will scoff at this liberal-Seattle idea, but there is realism in it. Making drugs illegal does not make them go away. You can get them. Kids can get them. Our government conducts "war" on the suppliers, but the supply is created by the demand.

The meaning of our law, says Roger Goodman, director of the bar association's Drug Policy Project, is that "we have chosen to buy our drugs from criminal gangs."

It's a dangerous form of distribution. In illegal markets, quality and purity are subject to error and trickery, which to the user of some drugs may be lethal. Business competition may also be lethal.

These deaths are an effect of prohibition, not of drugs. Jack Cole, the former cop who founded Law Enforcement Against Prohibition, said: "When was the last time you heard of two Bud distributors shooting each other?"

Of course, users of drugs — or of beer — may commit crimes. Drug users ruin their marriages, neglect their kids, lose their jobs, lose their homes and dissipate their health. Others manage it.

Says the 2001 report: "Most youths pass through adolescence without experiencing any significant adverse consequences from drug use." Most of the soldiers who used heroin in Vietnam gave it up later. Bill Clinton smoked marijuana and was elected president.

The law brands all users as criminals. But suppose instead that users who committed crimes were arrested, those who asked for medical help were offered it, and the remaining adult users were harangued, as we do with cigarette smokers, but left to make their own choices.

Different drugs might require different regimes. Some might be produced only for state liquor stores, with advertising forbidden. Some might be available only by prescription. Marijuana might be made legal only if you didn't sell it, or advertise it, or if it didn't cross a state line.

The bar association lays out a spectrum of options between prohibition and a free market. Some are intrusive and all have social costs — but they should be compared with the costs of enforcement, trial, imprisonment and public labeling of the user as criminal.

Suppose the legal penalties ended. Would more people take drugs? Probably at first, because nobody would be going to jail for it. But would we become a society of addicts? Imagine your friends and ask how many would succumb.

Would kids get drugs? Some would, as some do now. But if distribution were aboveboard, the state could try to regulate it — and tax it — as it does with liquor. Which is hardest for kids to get, marijuana or liquor?

Would making drugs legal be a statement that they are good? Not necessarily. Most of us do not approve of cigarettes, pornography or membership in the Socialist Workers Party, yet they are not against the law. We do not ask, "What if everybody did it?" because we know everybody won't.

Seattle has virtually stopped arresting marijuana smokers. Ask yourself: Is everybody smoking it?

We might ask whether the imprisonment of more than 550,000 Americans is doing more harm than the drugs, and whether it is time to reclassify this as a medical problem.

Conservatives who balk at relabeling another behavioral question as a medical problem may want to use a moral term instead. Before the progressives of the early 20th century made the use of certain drugs (and alcohol) a crime, it had a moral label: It was considered a vice.

In the Sherlock Holmes era one might say, "He was a man with no vices," or, as with Conan Doyle's detective, that he had his vices but was not consumed by them. Dealing with one's vices was a matter of character and will. It might require medical help but was generally not a crime.

Bruce Ramsey's column appears regularly on editorial pages of The Times. His e-mail address is bramsey@seattletimes.com

Copyright © 2005 The Seattle Times Company

http://seattletimes.nwsource.com/html/opinion/2002336099_rams15.html

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  #2  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:22 PM
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Is it time to end the war on drugs?

...short answer; well duh, yes.
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  #3  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:24 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by H2O2
...short answer; well duh, yes.
Ditto.
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Old 06-15-2005, 01:25 PM
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We really need more people driving in drug induced stupers.....there aren't enough brain dead people yacking on cell phones and driving as it is.
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Old 06-15-2005, 01:29 PM
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wishfull thinkng maybe.. there are boneheads in DC..
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  #6  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:35 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by mzsmbs
wishfull thinkng maybe.. there are boneheads in DC..

I'm not one of them....I don't even have a cell phone...or a dash mounted DVD player to be watching while I drive like some. And I have seen people with newspapers stretchs across the stearing wheel while they drive..in heavy traffic....I distance myself from those.
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #7  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:36 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
We really need more people driving in drug induced stupers.....there aren't enough brain dead people yacking on cell phones and driving as it is.
Isn't it the people who drive dangerously that is the problem? I mean, if all I did was sit by my fridge, bong in one hand and icecream in the other, that's hardly a danger to daily roadwarriors.
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Old 06-15-2005, 01:39 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
Isn't it the people who drive dangerously that is the problem? I mean, if all I did was sit by my fridge, bong in one hand and icecream in the other, that's hardly a danger to daily roadwarriors.
As long as you weren't having a munchie attack and driving out to the store to satisfy it after you ate all the goodies in your Fridge.
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Old 06-15-2005, 01:40 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
I'm not one of them....I don't even have a cell phone...or a dash mounted DVD player to be watching while I drive like some. And I have seen people with newspapers stretchs across the stearing wheel while they drive..in heavy traffic....I distance myself from those.
Since you're the "boneheaddoctor", does that mean you "treat" the boneheads?
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Old 06-15-2005, 01:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by G-Benz
Since you're the "boneheaddoctor", does that mean you "treat" the boneheads?

Naw..thats too stressfull......I don't have the patience for that.....
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #11  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:45 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
As long as you weren't having a munchie attack and driving out to the store to satisfy it after you ate all the goodies in your Fridge.
So the problem is not the drug per se but rather, the effects it might have on drivers that should concern us. Also with pilots and physicians who are on-duty. Policemen and judges, too. Don't need stoned judges trying to use analytical reason. OTOH, if none of those folks are stoned, then any mistakes they make are the result of their own errors or just chance, not the effect of drugs.

So the problem is not with the impairment itself but rather, when impairment impinges on the rights and safety of others?
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  #12  
Old 06-15-2005, 01:53 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Botnst
So the problem is not the drug per se but rather, the effects it might have on drivers that should concern us. Also with pilots and physicians who are on-duty. Policemen and judges, too. Don't need stoned judges trying to use analytical reason. OTOH, if none of those folks are stoned, then any mistakes they make are the result of their own errors or just chance, not the effect of drugs.

So the problem is not with the impairment itself but rather, when impairment impinges on the rights and safety of others?
The impairment extends far longer than a beer does.....and thats a major issue, real impairment is far longer lasted than the buzz is..
Not to mention the effects of other drugs than pot.
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1983 300D W123
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #13  
Old 06-15-2005, 02:12 PM
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They should make drugs legal, but use of them illegal.

Actually, drug use in a private residence, as I have been told by police first hand is "legal", because they have no reason to go in and arrest somebody for using drugs, until they know someone is using drugs, but they can't discover this without permission to enter. Or some garbage...

Yeah, just let everyone in prison for drug charges out. We'll put them to work for schools, and parks, public transportation systems, homes for battered women and drug rehab centers.That'll teach em Well, actually thats a little brutal, they have a problem, which must be treated, so just stick them on welfare and disability, poor guys. Then they can go down to the liquor store pick up a Hustler and sack of crack and unwind, like they need to, after all those harsh years under torment of the evil prison system.
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Old 06-15-2005, 04:20 PM
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[QUOTE=narwhal]
Quote:
Originally Posted by boneheaddoctor
The impairment extends far longer than a beer does.....and thats a major issue, real impairment is far longer lasted than the buzz is..QUOTE]

BS. The impairment of an alcohol buzz stays in effect much longer than does a marijuana high. I bet you will be the only one who believes that it doesn't.

THe active component of pot THC...stays at measurible levels far longer than Alcohol remains in the system.....and its effects are longer lasting over 24 hours....2 beers do not last that long.

Both slow your reflexes......
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1983 300D W123
1975 Ironhead Sportster chopper
1987 GMC 3/4 ton 4X4 Diesel
1989 Honda Civic (Heavily modified)
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"He who fights with monsters might take care lest he thereby become a monster. And if you gaze for long into an abyss, the abyss gazes also into you." - Friedrich Nietzsche
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  #15  
Old 06-15-2005, 04:42 PM
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Quote:
Originally Posted by narwhal
Hey, remind me to give you a card. Don't you know why they tell you not to talk to the cops, or your statements can be used against you? Cops can "legally" lie to you when questioning, btw.

LEGALIZE IT!

I can't think of one thing that would make this board a more pleasant place than BHD smoking a big hog leg before he begins typing. Hell, it would probably even improve his spelling.

Amen to that! gotta be better than whatever it is he uses.

Is there a limit between a cop lying and causing entrapment? Is there any limit to the lies kinds or types of lies they can employ? This is on the scene, not court.

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