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The Economist chimes in on the War on Drugs


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#1 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:24 PM

Have to say I agree with almost every point they make. The war on drugs is a colosal waste of time and money. It accomplishes nothing except to make the drug lords wealthy. When I was in school, it was far easier to get a bag of pot at 14 years of age than it was to get a beer. Yet we still continue to throw dollar after dollar at criminalizing personal behavior. Drug trade is as strong as ever, and shows no signs of abating.

How to stop the Drug Wars


In 1998 the UN General Assembly committed member countries to achieving a “drug-free world” and to “eliminating or significantly reducing” the production of opium, cocaine and cannabis by 2008.

That is the kind of promise politicians love to make. It assuages the sense of moral panic that has been the handmaiden of prohibition for a century. It is intended to reassure the parents of teenagers across the world. Yet it is a hugely irresponsible promise, because it cannot be fulfilled.


The production of cocaine and opium is probably about the same as it was a decade ago; that of cannabis is higher. Consumption of cocaine has declined gradually in the United States from its peak in the early 1980s, but the path is uneven (it remains higher than in the mid-1990s), and it is rising in many places, including Europe.

This is not for want of effort. The United States alone spends some $40 billion each year on trying to eliminate the supply of drugs. It arrests 1.5m of its citizens each year for drug offences, locking up half a million of them; tougher drug laws are the main reason why one in five black American men spend some time behind bars. In the developing world blood is being shed at an astonishing rate. In Mexico more than 800 policemen and soldiers have been killed since December 2006 (and the annual overall death toll is running at over 6,000). This week yet another leader of a troubled drug-ridden country—Guinea Bissau—was assassinated.


far from reducing crime, prohibition has fostered gangsterism on a scale that the world has never seen before. According to the UN’s perhaps inflated estimate, the illegal drug industry is worth some $320 billion a year. In the West it makes criminals of otherwise law-abiding citizens (the current American president could easily have ended up in prison for his youthful experiments with “blow”). It also makes drugs more dangerous: addicts buy heavily adulterated cocaine and heroin; many use dirty needles to inject themselves, spreading HIV; the wretches who succumb to “crack” or “meth” are outside the law, with only their pushers to “treat” them. But it is countries in the emerging world that pay most of the price. Even a relatively developed democracy such as Mexico now finds itself in a life-or-death struggle against gangsters. American officials, including a former drug tsar, have publicly worried about having a “narco state” as their neighbour.


Plenty of American parents might accept that legalisation would be the right answer for the people of Latin America, Asia and Africa; they might even see its usefulness in the fight against terrorism. But their immediate fear would be for their own children.

That fear is based in large part on the presumption that more people would take drugs under a legal regime. That presumption may be wrong. There is no correlation between the harshness of drug laws and the incidence of drug-taking: citizens living under tough regimes (notably America but also Britain) take more drugs, not fewer.


Edited by Davidson Deac II, 08 March 2009 - 08:37 PM.


#2 carpanfan96

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:34 PM

I'd have to agree as well, it's proven that it's not helping anything really.

#3 Kevin Greene

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 08:44 PM

I don't see how America could ever discuss legalizing Cocaine or Heroin. The number of addicted vegetables on the welfare line would be staggering, although the Democratic party would enjoy a boost in its voters. :D
Weed on the other hand would be a huge cash cow. Legalized and taxed the money reaped would be tremendous. If it ever came to that I'd hope the penalties for soliciting to minors would be extremely harsh. Very, very harsh.
14 year olds buying pot, that's other kids in school who told you about that right? ;)

#4 Davidson Deac II

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Posted 08 March 2009 - 09:21 PM

I don't see how America could ever discuss legalizing Cocaine or Heroin. The number of addicted vegetables on the welfare line would be staggering, although the Democratic party would enjoy a boost in its voters. :D
Weed on the other hand would be a huge cash cow. Legalized and taxed the money reaped would be tremendous. If it ever came to that I'd hope the penalties for soliciting to minors would be extremely harsh. Very, very harsh.
14 year olds buying pot, that's other kids in school who told you about that right? ;)


I didn't buy pot at 14 (and I am not going to say at what age I would have bought it if I did those types of things :)), but I certainly saw and knew other kids that bought it at 14 and younger.

Irt Cocaine and Heroin, I wonder if it would really be any worse if we legalized it. Did the end of prohibition increase the number of alcoholics? And like I said, we aren't stopping it. Just making it more profitable for those that deal.

#5 Porn Shop Clerk

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 12:59 AM

You seem to miss the point...
Arresting for a joint...?

You're writing tickets man.
My mom got jumped they ran.


Not to mention the diversion of resources away from solving real crimes like theft, murder, rape, fraud...

But people love to blame inanimate objects or fictional deities on their own personal flaws.

And at some point, you have to re-evaluate legislation that does more damage than the supposed offense. And that's for all illegal substances.

#6 Delhommey

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 03:13 AM

The Economist is usually on point.

#7 catfang

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 07:11 AM

Business practice and policy will prevent the legalization of marijuana, until a new test is developed that shows whether a person is currently stoned or if they smoked marijuana the night before.

#8 Matt Foley

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 07:42 AM

We've now had three presidents who fessed up to doing this in their youth, and won anyway. Can we grow up and face reality on this matter?

Liberals want guns banned and drugs legalized.

Conservatives want drugs banned and guns legal.

Keep both legal so that both sides can be happy.

#9 carpanfan96

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 07:55 AM

I wonder if it was legalized, wouldn't that drive the price down and force a lot of these drug cartel's and such out of business. I know some would make it, but a bunch of them would be forced to either ship to a different country or to stop shipping all together. People who want to do it are going to do it anyways, as long as people aren't' doing anything overly stupid like driving while tripping we should be ok.

#10 rodeo

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 08:57 AM

Liberals want guns banned and drugs legalized.


you really know nothing about liberals, do you

#11 Matt Foley

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 09:04 AM

you really know nothing about liberals, do you


I know they are a bunch of homos. Right?

#12 natty

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 10:12 AM

Have to say I agree with almost every point they make. The war on drugs is a colosal waste of time and money. It accomplishes nothing except to make the drug lords wealthy. When I was in school, it was far easier to get a bag of pot at 14 years of age than it was to get a beer. Yet we still continue to throw dollar after dollar at criminalizing personal behavior. Drug trade is as strong as ever, and shows no signs of abating.

How to stop the Drug Wars


That's so very true.

I don't think cocaine or heroin could ever be legalized though. The problem with trying to legalize and tax pot is that it's so easy to grow. I think any tax money gained would be immediately spent on preventing people from growing their own.

#13 dimbee

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 10:44 AM

Thank Nancy Reagan

#14 MyDrunkardNC

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 12:11 PM

I know they are a bunch of homos. Right?


Yes, they are. So do you have a lot of political arguments with the guy who pulls the gerbil out of your ass? :P

#15 LiQuiD

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Posted 09 March 2009 - 12:12 PM

Meat can't wait until he turns 14 and becomes a big boy, maybe then his prepubescent comments will mature and become debate-worthy fodder.

carpanfan: If I were to put money on the outcome of such an idea, I would place my bets, too, on the thought that legalization would make smuggling operations useless and unprofitable and therefore reduce that aspect of organized 'crime'.


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