Will: How about legalizing hard drugs to put the cartels out of business?

posted at 12:11 pm on April 12, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

The argument that full drug legalization would destroy the cartels’ economic foundation isn’t new or really news; libertarians have made this case for many years.  The fact that conservative columnist George Will has begun to argue it might be.  In yesterday’s column, Will reviews a new study on the subject, and concludes that legalization is probably inevitable anyway — and the damage to the cartels might be worth it:

Dealers, a.k.a. “pushers,” have almost nothing to do with initiating drug use by future addicts; almost every user starts when given drugs by a friend, sibling or acquaintance. There is a staggering disparity between the trivial sums earned by dealers who connect the cartels to the cartels’ customers and the huge sums trying to slow the flow of drugs to those street-level dealers. Kleiman, Caulkins and Hawken say that, in developed nations, cocaine sells for about $3,000 per ounce — almost twice the price of gold. And the supply of cocaine, unlike that of gold, can be cheaply and quickly expanded. But in the countries where cocaine and heroin are produced, they sell for about 1 percent of their retail price in the United States. If cocaine were legalized, a $2,000 kilogram could be FedExed from Colombia for less than $50 and sold profitably here for a small markup from its price in Colombia, and a $5 rock of crack might cost 25 cents. Criminalization drives the cost of the smuggled kilogram in the United States up to $20,000. But then it retails for more than $100,000.

People used to believe enforcement could raise prices but doubted that higher prices would decrease consumption. Now they know consumption declines as prices rise but wonder whether enforcement can substantially affect prices.

Kleiman, Caulkins and Hawken urge rethinking the drug-control triad of enforcement, prevention and treatment because we have been much too optimistic about all three.

And cartels have oceans of money for corrupting enforcement because drugs are so cheap to produce and easy to renew. So it is not unreasonable to consider modifying a policy that gives hundreds of billions of dollars a year to violent organized crime.

Will notes that the intermediate position of legalizing only marijuana would only cut a quarter of cartel revenue, and would be insufficient to bring down the drug rings that deliver harder drugs to the US.  That’s certainly true, but it’s a lot easier to legalize marijuana, for a few reasons.  One, it’s more socially acceptable and is likely to face much less opposition.  It’s also less toxic than other intoxicants — in fact, it’s less toxic than alcohol.  It’s nearly impossible to overdose while smoking marijuana, even the stronger varieties, while alcohol poisoning directly results in a number of deaths each year (not indirectly, as in traffic deaths, but in actual cases of poisoning). More to the point, though, legalizing marijuana would allow it to be cultivated within the US, where enough could be grown that would more or less eliminate the need to import it.  That would reduce or eliminate the issues of border security and import taxes, at least to the extent that either apply to marijuana.

These conditions don’t apply to other drugs.  Even methamphetamine, which could be easily manufactured in the US, is very toxic and dangerous to produce.  Cocaine and heroin would almost certainly have to be imported, and while the cartels might be able to convert to legitimate businesses, importation of these drugs would necessarily involve heavy government regulation and taxation.  That would make them more costly to produce and sell.  Even in legalized forms of recreational “drug” use, such as cigarettes and alcohol, taxes create an underground economy in both that routinely runs into the billions, and is a chronic problem for law enforcement.  That’s also organized crime, and it can become violent at times as well.  We might find that legalization provides two economies, and the law-enforcement costs might not drop all that dramatically when it comes to cocaine and heroin even when we allow the trade.

Curiously, Will only nibbles at the core of the libertarian argument for legalization, which is that (a) adults should be allowed to choose for themselves whether to imbibe in intoxicants, and (b) the costs of legalization are far outweighed by the benefits of rolling back decades of encroachment on civil liberties in the name of fighting the “war on drugs.”  Those are both compelling arguments, even if one disagrees about the cost-benefit analysis, and not just for libertarians.  I’m skeptical about the idea of legalizing cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine, but I’m equally skeptical about government enforcement that requires me to provide photo ID to buy Sudafed while no one bothers to check my ID when I identify myself at the voting booths.


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You’re wrong as usual, but in any case, a beer or wine a day is a lot more healthy than a joint or a dose of meth.
NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Even if you are right and that is debatable it is none of your business to regulate how a person decides to damage himself. Conservatives are SUPPOSED to believe in individual freedom. Sort of odd to watch the conversation go here…not much advocacy for freedom.

And what is worst about this is that you are willing to tolerate all the losses of freedom that all of us non-druggies have had to endure because of this darn dumb drug war. The government has used this as an excuse to do some horrible things to innocent people…thanks.

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

The war on drugs as practiced in this country violates the 4th Amendment.

Amendment 4 – Search and Seizure. Ratified 12/15/1791.

The right of the people to be secure in their persons, houses, papers, and effects, against unreasonable searches and seizures, shall not be violated, and no Warrants shall issue, but upon probable cause, supported by Oath or affirmation, and particularly describing the place to be searched, and the persons or things to be seized.

In many cities, half of all warrants are executed at the wrong address. Honest citizens have been brutalized, traumatized and even died of heart attacks because some junkie gave the wrong address to the police in exchanged for special treatment.

I see one of two fixes for this:

1. Since warrants must be supported by “Oath or affirmation”, bring perjury charges against law enforcement officials for applying for false warrants.

or

2. Make it the government’s business to control what goes on in the streets but not in our homes unless a victim is ready to swear under oath that they were harmed by what we did behind close doors.

Laurence on April 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Ya right like there is no black market for cigarettes.

meci on April 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Yes, there is…they are bootlegged from North Carolina (where taxes are low) to New York (where taxes are high) and the tax stamps forged. Multi-million dollar business.

nazo311 on April 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Last night actually, but it was with baked ziti. Close enough the way I make it.
~(Ä)~

Karl Magnus on April 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM

You smoke while you eat, or was it part of the dish? Oh, and do you have a beverage recommendation to go with that meal? ;)

Dee2008 on April 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

And thus ends every socon argument against drug legalization when all else has failed.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

I actually am open to drug legalization.

It’s just that the dope addicts can’t put forth a coherent plan for it. It’s always just lashing out like lunatics at anyone who questions how it would be implemented.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Maybe we haven’t been fighting the drug war effectively enough….ever thought of that? Maybe punishments for selling and using drugs should be more severe? Maybe if we taught morality and God in our schools, there wouldn’t be any customers for the drug dealers?

nazo311 on April 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

There really are people that think this way. Fascinating.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

There is another country that both prospered and enjoyed liberty without experiencing all these troubles, all while these drugs were legal. You might have heard of it: The United States, and not that many years ago.

jamesjtyler on April 12, 2012 at 12:47 PM

When you had to plow a field or parish, there wasn’t a lot of time for recreational drugs. You leave out all the Great Society programs that allow millions to live unproductive, boring lives, for whom recreational drugs are a welcome distraction. Now we’ve got Obamacare that will throw $50K of someone else’s (a producer’s) MONEY at every addict who finds he/she can’t just say no. This ain’t Abe Lincoln’s America anymore.

shuzilla on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Hmmm… people steal from others all the time. If we made just taking things that don’t belong to you legal, it would lower the amount of petty thieves sitting in jail. Of course, if you’re a Democratic president, I guess you can get away with it even if it IS illegal.

I know! People take money for killing other people all the time – if we just made killing people legal, we’d put hitmen and wetworkers right out of business!

People drive over the speed limit all the time, often for the sheer thrill of going fast. Why don’t we eliminate speed limits – that would certainly remove the emotional motivation.

Say, this is fun!

psrch on April 12, 2012 at 12:41 PM

1) In your examples enforcing the laws is not costing the federal government billions of dollars a year
2) Enforcing speed-limits and preventing stealing isn’t fueling gang violence
3) Enforcing speed-limits and preventing stealing does not fill out prisons up with non-violent offenders.
4) In your examples the laws actually remedy the social ills that the laws intended to remedy. People steal less now that it is illegal. People drive slower when there is a speed limit (most of the time). People have not stopped doing drugs even though they are illegal. This is the nature of addiction, addictive people don’t behave rationally to punishment as behavioral studies have shown. This doesn’t apply to stealing because most people aren’t addicted to stealing except in the rare case of a kleptomaniac.
5) Finally the crimes you listed deal with direct quantifiable harms to others, while drug use among healthy individuals only poses harm to the individual himself. In the case of an addict, it will pose direct harms to others,but wouldn’t it be more prudent to either 1) prosecute those crimes directly or 2) get that person help rather than sending him to prison?

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

And then lets not go into the damage this has done to police work…

Or do you think that they have a magical intuition that allows them to catch criminals without the help of neighbors? Well since most criminals live in areas where there is drug use, none of the neighbors are willing to turn in the murderers because they all hate the cops for hassling them about stupid drug laws.

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

It’s just that the dope addicts can’t put forth a coherent plan for it. It’s always just lashing out like lunatics at anyone who questions how it would be implemented.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

I don’t get what the healthiness/harmfulness of drugs has to do with that…? How about we just allow people to do what they want with their lives, and live with the consequences of those actions?

I feel like there should be a country founded on that idea, somewhere…

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

It’s just that the dope addicts can’t put forth a coherent plan for it.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Something about killing too many brain cells….?

Dee2008 on April 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 12:54 PM

conservatives do believe in individual freedom, but its NOT absolute. the list of disgusting degenerate behavior that would have to be allowed under your standard is too long to begin listing.

chasdal on April 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

Maybe we haven’t been fighting the drug war effectively enough….ever thought of that? Maybe punishments for selling and using drugs should be more severe? Maybe if we taught morality and God in our schools, there wouldn’t be any customers for the drug dealers?

nazo311 on April 12, 2012 at 12:53 PM

I’m 95% sure this is a troll…

rndmusrnm on April 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

When you had to plow a field or parish, there wasn’t a lot of time for recreational drugs.

shuzilla on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Yes there was time and after a hard days work Peasants enjoy getting out of their heads. That’s how many of these drugs were originally discovered.

lexhamfox on April 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

In many cities, half of all warrants are executed at the wrong address.
Laurence on April 12, 2012 at 12:55 PM

show some supporting evidence for that claim.

chasdal on April 12, 2012 at 1:01 PM

It’s just that the dope addicts can’t put forth a coherent plan for it. It’s always just lashing out like lunatics at anyone who questions how it would be implemented.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:56 PM
I don’t get what the healthiness/harmfulness of drugs has to do with that…? How about we just allow people to do what they want with their lives, and live with the consequences of those actions?

I feel like there should be a country founded on that idea, somewhere…

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 12:57 PM

That ship sailed a long time ago, unfortunately.

We are already forced to support multiple generations of layabouts. Pardon me if I am concerned that legalizing meth might perhaps generate more of them.

Scrap welfare and food stamps first and then we’ll talk.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

conservatives do believe in individual freedom, but its NOT absolute. the list of disgusting degenerate behavior that would have to be allowed under your standard is too long to begin listing.

Go ahead and try…prostitution? So we don’t outlaw being a slut but we do outlaw taking money…but we don’t outlaw having someone buy you dinner or a trip to the beach to get laid.

Trying to legislate morality is stupid as hell. Live the example and show others why it is a good idea to not be a slut, druggie, or to be into bestiality.

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

conservatives progressives do believe in individual freedom, but its NOT absolute. the list of disgusting degenerate behavior that would have to be allowed under your standard is too long to begin listing.

chasdal on April 12, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I’ve heard that same statement plenty of times, just with reference to different “disgusting degenerate” behavior.

Like, you know, keeping the money one earns and not feeling guilty about it.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

I actually am open to drug legalization.

It’s just that the dope addicts can’t put forth a coherent plan for it. It’s always just lashing out like lunatics at anyone who questions how it would be implemented.

1) Cut the “dope addicts” crap, not everyone who opposes the drug war is a druggie
2) The neoprohibitionists don’t have an exit strategy after pissing away billions of tax payer dollars. Why shouldnt the onus fall on them?
3) For a plan, see Portugal.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Maybe Will needs to read the Whitney Houston autopsy!

Many people look at todays violence and forget that the underlying problem would be far worse.

Freddy on April 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Scrap welfare and food stamps first and then we’ll talk.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:02 PM

I share the concern, but it just sounds too similar to me to “well, we subsidize healthcare, so we should make eating too much unhealthy stuff illegal”.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

What would happen if we legalized drugs? Nothing.

DFCtomm on April 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

What would happen if we legalized drugs? Nothing.

DFCtomm on April 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

I agree with you but links to Time? Just bad form, dude :P

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

A minor point, but this:

Cocaine and heroin would almost certainly have to be imported

isn’t necessarily true. Both are just derivatives of plants that grow naturally, and can be grown anywhere. Realistically, for any commercial mass production, coca plants would probably have to be grown mostly indoors, but opium poppies can grow even outdoors in the US.

WhatSlushfund on April 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Many people look at todays violence and forget that the underlying problem would be far worse.

Freddy on April 12, 2012 at 1:04 PM

How would it be worse? The vast, vast majority of drug related violence is not people getting high and going on murderous rampages, it’s turf wars by drug dealers, robberies of house where drugs/drug money is stored, etc. I work in a courthouse and I don’t think I have ever seen a case of someone getting high and just going crazy violent. I’m sure it happens, but 99.99% of drug violence is drug war related, not drug related.

JaHerer22 on April 12, 2012 at 1:07 PM

For a plan, see Portugal.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Cut the “dope addicts” crap, not everyone who opposes the drug war is a druggie

That was a cheap shot, sorry.

The neoprohibitionists don’t have an exit strategy after pissing away billions of tax payer dollars. Why shouldnt the onus fall on them?

Whatever your opinion of it, the voters support it. California couldn’t even pass Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana. If it couldn’t pass there, where’s it going to pass?

Portugal? There’s a country to model ourselves after right there.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Because its not the job of government to save people from themselves, if we aspire to live in country with some degree of freedom.

firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Sure. But should I be able to market spray paint cans without the paint part?

I know its touchy between useful and abuseable. I buy MEK (methyl Ethyl ketone) because it allows me to wipe latex paint off of finished wood, even years after painting. I buy mixed xylenes as my last resort solvent. Both are not good to be breathing.

tomg51 on April 12, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Ok, lets:

Have drug users sign a legally binding contract, where they forgo all welfare benefits, free medical treatment even at emergency rooms, said contract part of the public record so employers who may not wish to hire hard drug users may do so.

Deal?

Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 1:13 PM

I share the concern, but it just sounds too similar to me to “well, we subsidize healthcare, so we should make eating too much unhealthy stuff illegal”.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:05 PM

If you’re going to institute a libertarian initiative such as legalizing drugs, does it make sense to implement it on top of a social-welfare state?

Worst of both worlds. Drink or drug yourself silly, your government check is safe and we’ll also take care of the children you conceive while frying your brain.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

its not the job of government to save people from themselves, if we aspire to live in country with some degree of freedom.
firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Right – it’s the government’s job to tax the working non-druggies to death to pay for the treatment of the dead weight druggies.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Drugs should remain illegal and alcohol should have never been made legal again. Both have contributed to the moral decline of this nation.

nazo311 on April 12, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I’m guessing you think dancing should be banned next.

OR are you suggesting Sharia Law be put into place in the US?

Freedom means sometimes people get hurt.

ProfShadow on April 12, 2012 at 1:16 PM

Whatever your opinion of it, the voters support it. California couldn’t even pass Proposition 19, which would have legalized marijuana. If it couldn’t pass there, where’s it going to pass?

Portugal? There’s a country to model ourselves after right there.

Of course the voters don’t support it, the government has fed them lies about drug use since “reefer madness”.

And Portugal has the most liberal (small l) drug policy in the world, and it’s worked wonders. I don’t have time/space to detail it hear but I suggest you look into it yourself with an open mind

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:20 PM

I think there are two good solutions for the drug war, neither of which legalizes hardcore street drugs. First, allow people to grow and consume any plant they want to on private property. Most dangerous street drugs are derived from less harmful plant precursors, and allowing drug users access to these plants would greatly reduce demand for the more harmful derivative drugs. Second, decriminalize all drug possession, so that even someone with a truckload of cocaine faces nothing more than probation. This will reduce the risk of drug dealing, and thus the price of drugs and their profit margin. While, as Will points out, this might increase demand, the increase would be countered by legalizing precursor plants. Then, the decrease in price would do far more to harm cartels than it would to harm users and society at large. This would also allow police to monitor known dealers as probationers, so that they’d have fewer privacy rights, and the dealers themselves would be better able to rejoin society as law-abiding citizens without felony convictions and prison time in their pasts.

EricW on April 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

If you’re going to institute a libertarian initiative such as legalizing drugs, does it make sense to implement it on top of a social-welfare state?

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Excellent point, which points out the “big lie” of these so-called “libertarians”.

They should be working to dismantle the welfare state, and only after that start the conversation of drug legalization. That all they only really care about is the drug legalization part, shows where their true interest is.

Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

It might be because I lean Libertarian… but Ed I think your analysis is spot on. I worry about what it means to legalize “hard drugs” as a society… but my commitment to freedom and responsibility push me towards the decriminalize and legalize crowd. Great post Ed.

therambler on April 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

If you’re going to institute a libertarian initiative such as legalizing drugs, does it make sense to implement it on top of a social-welfare state?

Worst of both worlds. Drink or drug yourself silly, your government check is safe and we’ll also take care of the children you conceive while frying your brain.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

It doesn’t make sense to implement much of anything on top of a social-welfare state. That’s the part that’s the problem, not the fact that one could (hypothetically) smoke weed and resort to the welfare state/drink and resort to the welfare state/do any other Government-Deemed Unhelpful Action and resort to the welfare state for support.

Problems caused by big government are often the ones we “need bigger government to fix” (according to the libs, of course – i.e., more bank regs to fix the problems caused by the CRA and similar laws). At some point, the chain’s gotta be broken, and we have to say no to “solutions” by force of the state.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

Yup, the damage that our society has taken from the”war on drugs” dwarfs what harm would come from having a few hundred ODs per month.

Nathan_OH on April 12, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Not really. Once those that OD died off, we’d be doing fine.

Amazing that for centuries we didn’t have drug laws and we did just fine. Even Christians have a sip of wine. Indians did a little peyote.

The problem isn’t the drug. It is people abusing the drug and causing harm to others.

Just like firearms.

NB: I don’t do “drugs” other than what’s prescribed by my physician. I do have a couple of drinks a week. And now I know that’s why I’m able to solve problem, apparently Drinking & Proble Solving.

Maybe we need more Conservatives (we Libertarians imbibe already!) drinking to help solve the problem(s) of Obama and his crew.

ProfShadow on April 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

If you’re going to institute a libertarian initiative such as legalizing drugs, does it make sense to implement it on top of a social-welfare state?

Worst of both worlds. Drink or drug yourself silly, your government check is safe and we’ll also take care of the children you conceive while frying your brain.

This statement has overreaching implications. We currently allow a wide array of activities that tether individuals to the state. We could ban cheeseburgers and lottery tickets, they make people fat and poor and dependent on the government. A more conservative solution would be to trim the welfare state rather than banning anything that could potentially grow it.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:24 PM

That would make them more costly to produce and sell.

Well, sure, but this is a bit like saying “There’s little point in moving from the surface of the Sun to Miami, it’s still going to be hot.” The profit margins today are staggering, upwards of 10,000%.

Drug Crazy by Mike Gray is probably the best reference on this subject, lots of input from law enforcement as well as good statistics.

TallDave on April 12, 2012 at 1:26 PM

Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Excellent point.

Amazing that for centuries we didn’t have drug laws and we did just fine.

For centuries we didn’t hand out checks to drunks and addicts.

If you drank too much or coked up to much to work, you simply starved to death. End of problem.

NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:28 PM

I had a tooth pulled Tuesday, and I am currently using Motrin and Vic0d1n for pain control. If I popped three Vics, jumped in my car, and plowed into a bus full of nuns, the laws governing the sale and usage of V1c0d1n ensure its manufacturer will hold no liability for my abuse of their product. I would have had to go against my doctor’s prescription, and if I had no prescription, I would have had to break laws and violate the terms under which this drug is lawfully purchased in order to get intoxicated enough to be a threat to myself and others.

These laws and regulations that in essence make V1c0d1n available for my pain-control needs must be stringently enforced. If they are not, manufacturers will have little or no protection from liability for the actions of the drug abusers. Without this legal protection, the manufacturers will simply make useful drugs that are prone to abuse unavailable to the general public.

Sekhmet on April 12, 2012 at 1:31 PM

Portugal? There’s a country to model ourselves after right there.
NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:09 PM

Well, since we are well down the road to modeling their debt crisis why not also follow all it’s EU liberal policies? What could go wrong?

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:33 PM

If you’re going to institute a libertarian initiative such as legalizing drugs, does it make sense to implement it on top of a social-welfare state?
NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Excellent point, which points out the “big lie” of these so-called “libertarians”.
They should be working to dismantle the welfare state, and only after that start the conversation of drug legalization. That all they only really care about is the drug legalization part, shows where their true interest is.
Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 1:21 PM

Yup, as I noted, why should working people get stuck with the tab for supporting and treating druggies?

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

Trying to legislate morality is stupid as hell. Live the example and show others why it is a good idea to not be a slut, druggie, or to be into bestiality.

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

Criminal law is all about morality. The “legislating morality” retort is ignorant piffle.

Quartermaster on April 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

Yup, as I noted, why should working people get stuck with the tab for supporting and treating druggies?

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

The error in your logic is that we pay for it already.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The reasoning is solid. We all know that legalized crude oil eliminated cartels and violence surrounding that commodity.

BocaJuniors on April 12, 2012 at 1:43 PM

Tell ya what, dopers:

First get rid of the welfare state so we’re not paying for your useless hide, except when you cause an accident by being under the influence, because that will be often enough.

Then we can talk about legalizing hard drugs.

Criminal law is all about morality. The “legislating morality” retort is ignorant piffle.

Quartermaster on April 12, 2012 at 1:39 PM

I’ll say. A society that doesn’t “legislate morality” at some level gives the green light to every kind of depraved behavior man can invent.

MelonCollie on April 12, 2012 at 1:44 PM

The error in your logic is that we pay for it already.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

The error in your logic is, we’re well aware of that, and we don’t want to pay more.

We’re saying, first fix it so we don’t have to pay for it at all, then we can talk about legalization.

Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 1:45 PM

Two Words…Needle Park
Switzerland tried this epic failure.

Failed so bad that they had to scrape and remove 10 inches of topsoil from the entire park and treat and destroy it as toxic waste.

If you were to legalize it, wouldn’t you still have prohibitions to some extent. Or will we allow 12 year old boys and girls to shoot heroin? Who will pay all of the health care costs once the addict population increases by a factor of ten?

It is not a war (War on Drugs). If it were, we as a nation would do everything in our power to stop the cultivation, supply and sale of drugs. It is a crime and a social problem all wrapped in one that threatens to tear down the social fabric of our country. Some like to say that the fight against drugs have failed as though it is and end all proposition. No one asks a Homicide Detective why murders are still taking place or legalize murder.

As for George Will…He is still a fop and as much of a conservative as Kathleen Parker.

Natebo on April 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

Yup, as I noted, why should working people get stuck with the tab for supporting and treating druggies?

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

The error in your logic is that we pay for it already.

RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

So we need a debtors prison to work off the economic damage a drug abuser does to himself to pay off the treatment and taxes he would have paid had he been productive instead of wasted. ? /?

tomg51 on April 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM

Does anyone know how much it costs taxpayers to keep drugs illegal? Federal law officials, state law officials, local law officials, retirement for officials, jails and prisons, court costs, etc. All those costs to keep me from using heroin with a cocaine chaser. Violation of my rights, imo.

Karmi on April 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM

Two Words…Needle Park
Switzerland tried this epic failure.

Failed so bad that they had to scrape and remove 10 inches of topsoil from the entire park and treat and destroy it as toxic waste.

Natebo on April 12, 2012 at 1:49 PM

0_0

I read about that boondoggle many years ago and couldn’t believe the stupidity. Yeah, let’s ‘free’ needles to hopeless junkies, that’s really gonna solve the problem. Did it really turn out that bad?

MelonCollie on April 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM

tomg51 on April 12, 2012 at 1:50 PM

IMHO we need to bring back debtors prison in some form so the ill-behaved can’t simply walk away from their latest escapade and stick taxpayers with all the costs b/c they have as much money as sense. (ie: none)

MelonCollie on April 12, 2012 at 1:56 PM

Yup, as I noted, why should working people get stuck with the tab for supporting and treating druggies?
whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:38 PM

The error in your logic is that we pay for it already.
RightisRight on April 12, 2012 at 1:40 PM

Nope – the only error here is in your thinking that such a disastrous situation be legally instituted as the required status quo. What’s next – passing laws requiring drive-by shootings? (With all of these things being paid for by working people, of course.)

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

The reasoning is solid. We all know that legalized crude oil eliminated cartels and violence surrounding that commodity.

BocaJuniors

You are right, but your reasoning is wrong.

Yes, allowing MJ production here and legal sales under certain conditions, would help defund crime cartels that exist to import it.

Maybe you noticed, or maybe not, but with increased US oil and gas production here lately, we are importing less foreign oil.

firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 1:57 PM

All those costs to keep me from using heroin with a cocaine chaser. Violation of my rights, imo.
Karmi on April 12, 2012 at 1:53 PM

I think it’s a sad commentary that being a crack addict is considered a noble goal to which a person should aspire.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 2:01 PM

Problems caused by big government are often the ones we “need bigger government to fix” (according to the libs, of course – i.e., more bank regs to fix the problems caused by the CRA and similar laws). At some point, the chain’s gotta be broken, and we have to say no to “solutions” by force of the state.

thirtyandseven on April 12, 2012 at 1:22 PM

That’s Obama’s whole lying economic argument in a nutshell.

Chutzpah isn’t murdering your parents and begging for mercy, it’s killing them and then framing them for the crime.

ebrown2 on April 12, 2012 at 2:02 PM

The free man owns himself. He can damage himself with either eating or drinking; he can ruin himself with gambling. If he does he is certainly a damn fool, and he might possibly be a damned soul; but if he may not, he is not a free man any more than a dog.-Gilbert K. Chesterton

ebrown2 on April 12, 2012 at 2:04 PM

I smoke neither tobacco nor weed. I never liked the idea of putting inedible stuff into my mouth. Yet, I will vote for an support any politician who stops, or at least firmly promises to stop, the War on Drugs idiocy. Even if this politician is Obama. Eat it, socontards.

Archivarix on April 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

PierreLegrand on April 12, 2012 at 1:03 PM

keep pushing your pretty woman view of prostitution. dont mention pimps, violent johns and drug addiction which plenty of times is what gets a woman into that life anyway. do you really think prostitutes screw for money because they like it? your pathetic.

chasdal on April 12, 2012 at 2:09 PM

I’m 95% sure this is a troll…

rndmusrnm on April 12, 2012 at 1:00 PM

I’ve been posting here for years…
Sorry you don’t like what I have to say….

nazo311 on April 12, 2012 at 2:10 PM

I’ve been saying this for years… Legalize all but the most extreme drugs. The number of people doing extreme drugs is relatively small when compared to the number of people who do casual drugs like marijuana.

If we made our own drugs here in the US the people overseas who import it here would lose a large percentage of the profits they gain from selling it and would then lose their ability to ruin the countries they operate in.

Look at places like Columbia where cocaine is predominately made… They are having rebel and supplier wars that spill over into the street and make gang activity increase as a result. Also look at the gang activity that goes on here as people fight over turf wars…

Legalizing it is the way to go.

SauerKraut537 on April 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I’m wondering how the legalization could work. Do I go to 7-11 and get my pack of Lucky Highs? Complete with the tax stamp of course. I mean it’s friday night lets take some LSD, have a few drinks and play scrabble with the kids. With rampant irresponsibility and moral decline in todays society legalizing drugs seems like the last thing we need to do. The Netherlands tried this approach and found more and more people becoming a drain on resources, chronic homelessness, and increased costs in national health services. If you legalize drugs you would transfer the cost of the War on Drugs to other portions of the government which would need to eradicate the effects of wide scale drug use. More children born of crack users, more destruction of the family unit, more healthcare problems. In our society to think that we would just let them die or wipe our hands of the problem would not fly. We would just have more of our citizens not being productive and requiring money for the cost of it from responsible citizens.

buckeyerich on April 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

I would assent to legalization if and only if it coincides with the end of the welfare state. Period. If people are on their own and free to make choices–hooray. But when those choices land them in my back pocket–hell no.

TexasDan on April 12, 2012 at 2:13 PM

I would assent to legalization if and only if it coincides with the end of the welfare state. Period. If people are on their own and free to make choices–hooray. But when those choices land them in my back pocket–hell no.

TexasDan on April 12, 2012 at 2:13 PM

This.

Plus I want the legal right to, if anyone sells drugs to my kids, I can shoot them in the face without prosecution.

Rebar on April 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Archivarix on April 12, 2012 at 2:07 PM

Potheads are nothing but common criminals. Period. Like all criminals they are justified, and rather smugly so, in their choice to break the law and smoke pot. Very few people get up in the morning and think to themselves, “I think I’m going to committ a crime today.” No, the shoplifter is justified by his hunger, and the guy bumping off his grandmother is justfied because she was going to cut him from her will next week.

And just like common criminals they display a naked contempt for the law. But their greatest contempt is reserved not for the law itself but for people who obey and support that law, as can be seen in these comments. It’s not the potheads themselves, creating the demand for the drug, who are the problem. No, it’s the chumps who defend the law and support law enforcement who are the real culprits. It’s the non-user who has blood on his hands, not the user. Denial… Egypt… Etc.

Now I’ll admit that I am a recreational crustacian user. Every now and then I indulge myself with a lobster. However, if I was bombarded with news reports that the folks who made sure that lobster got on my plate were murdering police and mayors in some other country, knocking off reporters and innocent witneses, and basically taking over, I know without hesitation I would forego the lobster for the time being. Others would, too. And that would result in the lobster trade collapsing on its own.

Well, why doesn’t pot work that way? When recreational pot smokers recoil at the violence committed in their name and forego weed until the cartels evaporate, why do the cartels remain? Simple. A**holes keep smoking the stuff, regardless of who gets hurt insuring their supply. Yet these are the people who want to lecture ME on how many people die as a result of the war on drugs? Seriously?

Pot is addictive. Or else users would be turned off by the whole “drug trade thing” and seek alternative pleasure.

Now, about addicts. Addicts lie. They lie to the cops. They lie to their co-workers. They lie to family and friends. They lie to their childern and their wives. Most of all, they lie to themselves. And as Merlin said in the movie “Excalibur,” lies kill.

Will’s proposition is worthy of discussion. But there are so many people compelled by their addiction to comment on how wonderful life would be when drugs are legalized without giving a damn about unintended consequences, made liars through their addictions, that Will’s point really cannot be debated in an honest fashion.

shuzilla on April 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Legalize all but the most extreme drugs.
SauerKraut537 on April 12, 2012 at 2:11 PM

The problem with that view is that no one feels their drug of choice is “extreme” and all addicts can rationalize their drug use. Besides that, you also run into the “who’s to say?” problem, the whole “one man’s terrorist is another man’s freedom fighter” type argument.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

I think legalizing the prompt assassination of drug dealers by armed citizens would work better.

J.E. Dyer on April 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Even methamphetamine, which could be easily manufactured in the US, is very toxic and dangerous to produce.

Thought it would be nice to finally be able to buy as much decongestant as I’d like, so that I don’t have to go to a pharmacy every 10 days to keep up with my allergies.

But since even that’s not legal, I’m not sure what I’m priorities are exactly.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM

Maybe with Rmoney™ at the helm, we will get one of those compromises he’s famous for. Something like, sure drugs can be legal for the ones of you that don’t have a drug problem.

Bmore on April 12, 2012 at 2:29 PM

For those of you who are a bit older and are legitimately concerned about the effects that legalization would have on the youth, I would just like to say that in high school it was far, far, far easier for kids to get access to marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy than it was to get a six-pack of beer. Unlike liquor shops, drug dealers don’t ask for ID.

Lawdawg86 on April 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

Occupy Wall Street would have been so much _____?_______ with legalized drugs.

tomg51 on April 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

The drug trade is joined at the hip with the human trafficking trade. Legalizing drugs would just legitimize the drug cartels and give them even more money to sell people.

rotorhead on April 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Pot is addictive. Or else users would be turned off by the whole “drug trade thing” and seek alternative pleasure.

Umm, no, in part because not all pot smokers smoke pot from Mexico. California’s already made it easier to get American pot if that’s your preference.

Now, about addicts. Addicts lie. They lie to the cops. They lie to their co-workers. They lie to family and friends. They lie to their childern and their wives. Most of all, they lie to themselves. And as Merlin said in the movie “Excalibur,” lies kill.

shuzilla on April 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Give me a break. I’m not even arguing that pot isn’t addictive (it is, though it’s not a chemical addiction, it’s emotional), but so is caffeine. Are you worried about caffeine addicts lying to you? What about cig smokers? The latter is FAR more addictive than either of the other drugs I’ve mentioned here. So please, explain how cig smokers are killing anything but their own lungs.

I often argue with those who want to pretend pot is completely harmless. It’s not. But you are way to far in the other direction.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Your tax money is already paying to feed, house, clothe and provide medical care for drug users. It is called the emergency room and prison.

A huge % of the prison population is non-violent drug offenders.

Keep building more prisons and wasting tax money chasing a ghost. I’d rather police work be focused on violent felons, rapists, insider traders, illegal aliens and congress.

spec_ops_mateo on April 12, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Occupy Wall Street would have been so much _____?_______ with legalized drugs.

tomg51 on April 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

“more like Woodstock”

Lawdawg86 on April 12, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Look the mess is because it is not legal? The government won’t allow it, so George figures that if we legalize it, it won’t be a problem anymore–sorta like abortion?

But now the government has decided to attack the very act of children being born (AGW prevent mode)and also motherhood itself.

So after watching Obama’s agenda, I’d bet the cartels will soon be smuggling in children and maybe even a priest or two when Obama isn’t looking….then there will probably be “virtual conscience programmimg software, that we can smuggle in from China that would suit the management style that America seems to enjoy….

Way to go George – and they tried to tell us Oxford no longer taught clear thinking processes.

Don L on April 12, 2012 at 2:37 PM

You’re wrong as usual, but in any case, a beer or wine a day is a lot more healthy than a joint or a dose of meth.
NoDonkey on April 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

A beer or wine a day may be healthier than a joint (which, for those of you not in the know, is a lot more than one dose). But three beers or wines a day is far unhealthier than three joints a day.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Pot is addictive. Or else users would be turned off by the whole “drug trade thing” and seek alternative pleasure.

No, its not physically addictive.

But someone with an addictive personality can become addicted to anything, whether it is MJ, gambling, shopping, food, television, internet, etc.

firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Sure George. The Cartels just love paying taxes.

Something like this passes, they better pass an ancillary bill that says I get to snuff anyone who threatens me or mine while they are expanding their universe.

GarandFan on April 12, 2012 at 2:42 PM

Now, about addicts. Addicts lie. They lie to the cops. They lie to their co-workers. They lie to family and friends. They lie to their childern and their wives. Most of all, they lie to themselves. And as Merlin said in the movie “Excalibur,” lies kill.

shuzilla on April 12, 2012 at 2:16 PM

Lots of people lie. Perhaps you are in favor of mandatory ten year sentences for people who lie. After all, lies kill, according to a spurious Hollywood reference you chose to make.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

For those of you who are a bit older and are legitimately concerned about the effects that legalization would have on the youth, I would just like to say that in high school it was far, far, far easier for kids to get access to marijuana, cocaine, and ecstasy than it was to get a six-pack of beer. Unlike liquor shops, drug dealers don’t ask for ID.

Lawdawg86 on April 12, 2012 at 2:30 PM

I’m sorry, but I’ve never bought this argument. If you have facts, I’ll listen, but this doesn’t even pass the sniff test.

To buy alcohol, you only need to know someone who is 21+ and willing to “corrupt” a teen. To buy drugs, you actually need to know a dealer, or at least know someone who knows a dealer, and unlike liquor stores, they don’t generally advertise themselves.

How many teens are likely to know someone older than 21? 100%. How many are likely to know a dealer? I have no idea, but there’s no way it’s 100%. Besides, if it were that easy to buy drugs already, then why would drug users want legalization, considering it’ll bring new taxes and thus make their drugs more expensive?

Or to put it another way, let’s say we’re both dropped in a city where we know no one and have no ID (and presumably can’t pass for 21 without one). If I’m in charge of getting liquor, and you’re in charge of getting the drugs, who would you put money on to be finished first?

I’m not trying to argue that it’s all that difficult to get drugs if you really want them, but there’s just no way that you can convince me that underage drinking is harder to accomplish.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

But three beers or wines a day is far unhealthier than three joints a day.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:38 PM

Doubt that. Maybe 5 or 6 glasses to 1 joint. Inhaling smoke is not healthy, but moderate drinking can actually be good for you, even if done every day.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Ya right like there is no black market for cigarettes.

meci on April 12, 2012 at 12:50 PM

Not one where thousands of people are dying over, while funding criminal organizations capable of subverting entire nation-states.

So, are you in favor of continuing to fund drug cartels to the tune of a hundred billion dollars per year?

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:48 PM

Doubt that. Maybe 5 or 6 glasses to 1 joint. Inhaling smoke is not healthy, but moderate drinking can actually be good for you, even if done every day.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:45 PM

Three drinks a day isn’t moderate drinking… it is a path to liver failure. And three joints a day isn’t that bad for you, if you take them in form other than joints (water pipe, vaporizer, oral intake, etc)

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:50 PM

Your tax money is already paying to feed, house, clothe and provide medical care for drug users.
spec_ops_mateo on April 12, 2012 at 2:36 PM

Where we disagree is that you want to make such a guaranteed tax-payer subsidized “right”.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 2:50 PM

I think legalizing the prompt assassination of drug dealers by armed citizens would work better.
J.E. Dyer on April 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

Tempting! but —
a lot of those assassinations would fall into the trial-by-hysteria bucket that is so popular these days.
Instituting a limited round of appeals plus certain execution for convicted dealers might be a feasible alternative.

AesopFan on April 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

To buy alcohol, you only need to know someone who is 21+ and willing to “corrupt” a teen. To buy drugs, you actually need to know a dealer, or at least know someone who knows a dealer, and unlike liquor stores, they don’t generally advertise themselves.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

No. To buy alcohol, kids need to know someone 21+ who is willing to break the law. Drug dealers, by definition, are willing to break the law. And while liquor stores have law enforcement overseeing their operations, drug dealers have no such limitation.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

I think legalizing the prompt assassination of drug dealers by armed citizens would work better.

J.E. Dyer on April 12, 2012 at 2:19 PM

And when your next-door neighbor thinks you are dealing drugs?

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:53 PM

To buy alcohol, you only need to know someone who is 21+ and willing to “corrupt” a teen. To buy drugs, you actually need to know a dealer, or at least know someone who knows a dealer, and unlike liquor stores, they don’t generally advertise themselves.

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

No. To buy alcohol, kids need to know someone 21+ who is willing to break the law. Drug dealers, by definition, are willing to break the law. And while liquor stores have law enforcement overseeing their operations, drug dealers have no such limitation.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:52 PM

JohnGalt summed it up. I will add, and again this is just speaking from my experience in a suburban public school (I graduated in the 00s), that its students who are pushing drugs to other students. This is why they are so easily obtainable, relative to alcohol.

Lawdawg86 on April 12, 2012 at 2:58 PM

Besides, if it were that easy to buy drugs already, then why would drug users want legalization, considering it’ll bring new taxes and thus make their drugs more expensive?

Esthier on April 12, 2012 at 2:43 PM

Once again, the dearth of understanding of basic economics amongst my colleagues on the Right depresses me.

Legalization, even with new taxes, wouldn’t bring the price of drugs up… it would bring them down. It would bring them down because the overwhelming share of the price of black market drugs in this country goes to pay what is known as a “risk premium”; that is, someone engaged in drug dealing, particularly at the higher levels, face enormous risk of going to jail or being killed by competitors, and thus want to be compensated for both that risk, and the costs of offsetting that risk (lawyers on retainer, security, police payoffs, etc). Get rid of the risk premium, and whatever taxes a legislature puts on drugs will be puny compared to the corresponding price cut.

Unless, of course, legislatures put grossly excessive taxes on the drugs in question. In which case, you will see black markets pop up, to take advantage of tax differentials between jurisdictions, like you see with the NC/NY tobacco markets. But even there, the vast majority of people buy their tobacco (or drugs) from the legitimate market, and simply pay the tax as the cost of having the benefit of dealing with normal businessmen, as opposed to criminals.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 3:00 PM

The discussion here on the intertwining of the welfare state and the consequences of drug abuse demonstrate why it is so hard to “control” a society from some central politburo.
Individuals who hurt themselves and others with their unwise choices make life miserable, dangerous, and sometimes deadly; does that necessarily imply that it is the job of the government to forestall those choices or to mitigate the consequences?
Our laws generally fall between the extremes of “do nothing” and “do everything”; our political arguments are generally over where to draw that line.

AesopFan on April 12, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Individuals who hurt themselves and others with their unwise choices make life miserable, dangerous, and sometimes deadly; does that necessarily imply that it is the job of the government to forestall those choices or to mitigate the consequences?
AesopFan on April 12, 2012 at 3:13 PM

Well, somebody always get stuck with paying for cleaning up all the druggies messes. And what with crackheads not usually known for their wealth & sense of responsibility guess who’s tagged “it” when it comes time to pay the bills.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Well, somebody always get stuck with paying for cleaning up all the druggies messes. And what with crackheads not usually known for their wealth & sense of responsibility guess who’s tagged “it” when it comes time to pay the bills.

whatcat on April 12, 2012 at 3:19 PM

That’s the case under prohibition also. It’s just that the cleaning up of the mess usually involves cops, prison guards, parole officers, and other members of Public Employee Unions. That’s a helluva pricey way to clean up the mess that occurs even when you make drugs as illegal as you can in this country.

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 3:24 PM

George Will has been on hard drugs for years. He’s so drugged-up that he thinks he speaks for GOP/Conservatives.

lhuffman34 on April 12, 2012 at 3:29 PM

“Trying to legislate morality is stupid as hell.”

I’ve always found that statement to be rather lacking logically. Let’s take a simple example that doesn’t sound on its face as though it has anything to do with “morality.” Let’s look at laws against speeding.

Why do we have laws against speeding? Obviously, because we intend to make the roads safer for people. But then, on what basis do we believe that “safer roads” better? Well, it has to do with our valuing health, which is an extension of the value we place on the lives of others. I believe we’d all agree that someone who speeds recklessly speeds is less concerned with other peoples’ safety than with his own perceived need. So it’s pretty obvious that whether we’re conscious of it or not, speeding involves a valuation or devaluation of human life and health – which, by definition, is a moral issue.

Thus, enacting and enforcing speed limit laws IS legislating morality, albeit indirectly.

Furthermore, isn’t breaking the law a moral issue in and of itself? Else why do we say that ‘good’ people don’t go around being scofflaws? If breaking the law is legislating morality, then, logically, the only way to ensure that there are no morals being legislated is to pass no laws whatsoever.

ALL law ‘legislates morality’ in some form or fashion.

psrch on April 12, 2012 at 3:32 PM

Why do we have laws against speeding? Obviously, because we intend to make the roads safer for people. But then, on what basis do we believe that “safer roads” better? Well, it has to do with our valuing health, which is an extension of the value we place on the lives of others. I believe we’d all agree that someone who speeds recklessly speeds is less concerned with other peoples’ safety than with his own perceived need. So it’s pretty obvious that whether we’re conscious of it or not, speeding involves a valuation or devaluation of human life and health – which, by definition, is a moral issue.

Its less out of morality, and more to prevent someone from harming others.

Its not inherently immoral to drive fast, in just increases the risk of injury, especially to passengers and other cars on the road.

However, its not also inherently criminal to drive fast. Got your own patch and land and want to build your own road? Have at it, you can drive as fast as you want.

And lets not be pollyanna-ish about speeding laws either, these are often much more about revenue generation than anything else.

firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 3:37 PM

And when your next-door neighbor thinks you are dealing drugs?

JohnGalt23 on April 12, 2012 at 2:53 PM

Who cares? The point here is to eliminate drug criminals, right? It doesn’t matter what the consequences are, as long as we define away the category of crime that’s frustrating us.

There is no such thing as regular, recreational, consequence-free use of hard drugs. Societies where it’s tried always enlarge their hopeless, helpless underclass. Between now and meeting my maker I can probably manage to avoid being in neighborhoods that are run down and made hopeless and unlivable by drug use, but there are millions of young and poor people who can’t.

J.E. Dyer on April 12, 2012 at 3:38 PM

Its less out of morality, and more to prevent someone from harming others.

firepilot on April 12, 2012 at 3:37 PM

Wanting to prevent some from doing harm to others is making a moral judgment.

J.E. Dyer on April 12, 2012 at 3:40 PM

As a free market system, medical marajuana works pretty darn well.

The federal government doesn’t distort the market with taxation and regulation. Quality is excellent and prices are reasonable. You get the product in a prescription bottle at the clinic, rather than in a plastic bag from some shady character in the local park.

MichaelGabriel on April 12, 2012 at 3:41 PM

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