A Righteous Rant

And for those of you who think I am being too hard on the libertarians, let me point you to this righteous rant (the issue is also mentioned here at Reason):

This is what happens when you declare “war” on American citizens. You dehumanize them. And you instill an ends-justifies-the-means, win at all costs mindset in your “warriors.” This mindset infected the entire narcotics unit at Atlanta PD. You’d have to be awfully naive to believe the problem is limited to Atlanta.

Officers Junnier, Smith, and Tesler are going to prison. But you could make a good case that they were only responding to incentives. A lot of other people have Kathryn Johnston’s blood on their hands too, people with names like Bennett, Gates, Walters, Souder, Tandy, and Meese. They’ve been ratcheting up the war rhetoric of drug prohibition for 30 years. It boggles my mind that I’m “known” for this issue. For this to even be an issue, we had to have reached the point where most of America is now accustomed to the notion that state agents dressed in battle garb can and will tear down the doors of private homes in the middle of the night for nothing more than mere possession of psychoactive substances. And most of the time, they do it under the full color of law.

***

These cops were evil. But they worked within an evil system that’s not only immoral on its face, but is rife with bad incentives and plays to the worst instincts in human nature.

And he is 100% right. It is absolutely insane that he is one of only a vocal few who are loudly saying this. It just makes no sense.

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47 replies
  1. 1
    Zifnab says:

    And he is 100% right.

    Well, yeah. This time. I’m looking for someone who is 100% right all the time. *sigh*

  2. 2
    Tonal Crow says:

    The War on Drugs is a part of a larger War on Liberty, which seeks also to criminalize erotica, gay sex (and, for that matter, gays themselves), and writings and art critical of (certain) religions.

    The common denominator is a form of neo-Calvinism that posits that we’re all sinful worms who deserve Hell, but that, deep down, feels that Hell doesn’t exist, and which therefore seeks to impose "divine judgement" (that is, Hell) on earth by doing as much as possible to deprive us of pleasure.

    If there is a Hell, it’s surely peopled by adherents of that "faith".

  3. 3
    El Cid says:

    I would like to point out that this is a fairly common , defense of civil liberties and of reasonable restraint on the government use of force, applied to a particularly brutal and inexcusable violation of those principles.

    This is a classically liberal-left position (at least for much of teh 20th Century), and that libertarians often make such impassioned defenses of sanity in restraining government domination of the citizen puts them in common with the same ones of us who are defending the role of our government in helping us more efficiently and justly deliver health care.

    But in this country for the last 30 years, people making non-right-libertarian arguments for civil liberties and against drug wars (i.e., not based on opposition to government itself and not committed to a private economy justification for narcotics trading) were dismissed as too liberal, soft on crime, not serious about the War on Drugs. Democrats either did or were convinced that they had to meet and exceed the Republicans’ ‘law & order’ rhetoric for crackdowns on ordinary drug use.

    This is part of what really frustrates me when the sane and reasonable is sidelined out of the Democratic Party based on what is considered ‘mainstream’, centrist, sufficiently conservative for America, etc.

  4. 4
    pacato says:

    When you’re right you’re right, even if you might be wrong about other things.

    William Burroughs wrote this in his last journals before his death, published as Last Words: "You co-creators, get in there and resist the idiotic and evil War Against Drugs. The people back of this nonsense are basically evil, as far as the human potential is concerned. They have infected the planet with an idiot fear, like the witch-hunts of the Middle Ages."

    It’s good to see someone as prominent as the speaker of the California senate raise the issue and propose that marijuana at least be legalized and regulated. Prohibition does more damage than the substance ever has or will.

  5. 5
    Mnemosyne says:

    Officers Junnier, Smith, and Tesler are going to prison. But you could make a good case that they were only responding to incentives.

    You could say the same thing about the financial crisis and the perverse incentives that were set up there. And even further back — who cares if Grandma Millie goes bankrupt when it means a few more bucks for the company?

  6. 6
    DougJ says:

    I have a theory about libertarians, which is that the libertarian position is the only sensible one on a variety of issues, such as drugs, imprisonment, and law enforcement. Intellectually and practically, it makes a ton of sense to be wary of putting people in jail for consensual crimes, imprisoning massive proportions of the population, and ceding too much power to government law enforcement. But the government uses scare tactics to make people go along with these things anyway.

    Libertarians could and should spend nearly all of their time on these issues.

    The trouble is that women are hardly ever libertarians. And when you have any kind of an all-male group, you’re going to have a lot of batshit craziness, regardless of whether or not your positions make sense or not. So in the end libertarianism is mostly doomed to batshit craziness even though it’s right about a lot of things and there are plenty of smart libertarians.

    A corollary to this is that the craziness of libertarianism as a movement in no way implies the craziness of any individual libertarian.

  7. 7
    Robin G. says:

    It would be very nice if all the money from the War on Drugs was turned around into effective, safe rehab programs. Seems to me that if you’re trying to prevent drug addiction, that’s the more effective way to go. But then, what do I know.

  8. 8
    wilfred says:

    Well, well. Finally, the right ox to gore. Of course all this heartfelt pontificating can easily be applied to any number of other issues, all of which start with the joint processes of dehumanization and war.

    Dehumanization is its own incentive, btw; historically that’s always been the case.

  9. 9
    c u n d gulag says:

    The stupid war on drugs has arguably been our costliest.
    In the late ’70’s and early into the middle of ’81, I was teaching in a maximum security prison in NY through the college I was attending. Back then, this program allowed prisoners to get BA’s, BS’s, and Masters Degree’s in a variety of fields. This made them much more employable when they got out than today’s inmates.
    Now this is just after the draconian Rockefeller laws were put into effect in NY State. I knew guys who were serving huge sentences for drug possession, or intent to sell – for small amounts, too.
    They frisked us professors going in. But they never frisked us coming out. Well, at the end of each semester, the inmates would give favored teachers with the only thing they could give – bongs, pipes, hits of acid, pot, you name it. If they ever frisked the teachers on the way out the way they did the way in, we might still be in there with them… Not every teacher partook, of course.

    Reagan, of course, ended this great program (the education part, not the gift-giving), and prisoners now have little to educate them while they’re in there except for the criminal techniques learned from others.
    What a waste of humanity…

  10. 10
    The Other Steve says:

    Prohibition does more damage than the substance ever has or will.

    We’ve been here before.

    The Civil War brought with it a lot of morphine addicts. This led to a growth in Opium dens.

    For a while the police tried to crack down on it, but it didn’t work.

    Finally they turned to education, pointing out the damage these drugs did, etc. This worked, and basically the problem went away.

    Until kids "discovered" drugs again 100 years later.

    The problem is education has to be intelligent and accurate. Anything less because riduculed and makes the problem worse. On top of prohibition which naturally encourages crime and people to buck the system, our current drug policy is dumb.

  11. 11
    The Other Steve says:

    @Robin G.:

    It would be very nice if all the money from the War on Drugs was turned around into effective, safe rehab programs.

    Wouldn’t that be paying people for their own bad behavior? Where’s Santelli when we need him?

  12. 12
    Zifnab says:

    @El Cid:

    But in this country for the last 30 years, people making non-right-libertarian arguments for civil liberties and against drug wars (i.e., not based on opposition to government itself and not committed to a private economy justification for narcotics trading) were dismissed as too liberal, soft on crime, not serious about the War on Drugs. Democrats either did or were convinced that they had to meet and exceed the Republicans’ ‘law & order’ rhetoric for crackdowns on ordinary drug use.

    There was a reason for that, though. The drug trade was tied very closely to the crime rate. Generally speaking, all politicians are against "crime" in whatever form it takes. And when you’ve got one crime – drug abuse – encouraging other crimes – theft, vandalism, assault, murder – its easy to overreact.

    It wasn’t like everyone just rolled out of bed one morning and decided, "Crack is bad. We should probably get rid of it." The temperance movement, in one form or another, has been around since the founding of the nation. And its been around for a reason. Drugs are bad, m’kay? Alcohol is a form of poison. Nicotine is a highly addictive lethal chemical. THC causes memory loss and reduces cognative functions. Heroine and cocaine will give you a fucking heart attack.

    That doesn’t mean you should get 40 to Life for doing a line of blow, but letting people open up McWeed stands on every street corner doesn’t seem like a good idea either.

    Go back to New York or Chicago in the ’80s and look up the wages of the drug culture. Poverty, sickness, disability, death. People complain about smokers now. Think about how they increase health care costs or how they’re always taking "smoke breaks" and reducing productivity or how they mess up the air and yellow their own teeth and skin. Now imagine that with crack.

    The enforcement scheme currently sucks. But I wouldn’t go off the deep end and just start legalizing everything. That way lies madness.

  13. 13
    Tsulagi says:

    I have a theory about libertarians, which is that the libertarian position is the only sensible one on a variety of issues… The trouble is that women are hardly ever libertarians… So in the end libertarianism is mostly doomed to batshit craziness

    That’s funny.

    Wonder if I could use that same deductive reasoning when the SO goes all feminazi on me? “Sweets, since men are hardly ever feminists you’re just coming up with batshit craziness.” That would go over well.

  14. 14
    Bobby Skittles Jindal says:

    Wow, I would never have figured out that the "war on drugs" very often violates civil liberties and rights had I not read this libertarian rant.

  15. 15
    DougJ says:

    “Sweets, since men are hardly ever feminists you’re just coming up with batshit craziness.”

    I think there’s some truth to that but less than with groups of men.

  16. 16
    Napoleon says:

    @DougJ:

    And when you have any kind of an all-male group, you’re going to have a lot of batshit craziness, regardless of whether or not your positions make sense or not.

    You mean like the He-Man Woman Haters Club?

  17. 17
    Dave says:

    @Zifnab:
     
    You definitely have a point. I think the legalization and regulation of marijuana makes sense. It should be on an equal footing with booze. You could probably throw hash in there as well.
     
    But legalizing coke and heroin?? I’m with you; I’m not comfortable with that. Those drugs can kill you on the spot and are addictive as hell. We should ease back on the criminal penalties and spend more on education to fight those.

  18. 18
    kay says:

    @The Other Steve:

    Maybe, but it would pay off almost immediately. When they do these raids ( where I live we have a dedicated force: the MAN Unit, multi-area narcotics) they take the parents to prison and that leaves the kids. It costs. A lot. The sentences are long, and most states have a time limit: X amount of prison time = permanent loss of parental rights. It’s drop-dead, by statute. Bye-bye to the kids. Compare the cost of all that to 30-60-90 in treatment. One is cheaper.
    The collateral cost is stunning, in funds expended, let alone the human cost. I think people just don’t realize how far the ripple goes.

  19. 19
    Keith says:

    To those advocating legalization of drugs, please remember the following words: "Rush Limbaugh, law-abiding citizen". What kind of message does that send to children?

  20. 20
    Carnacki says:

    I’m going to get T-shirts made saying "My side is winning the war on drugs" and then I can sell them to the cops who suck up overtime dollars while often committing crimes under the auspices of the law and I can sell them to drug dealers who continue to make a lot of money providing people with what they want.

    Of course the reality is no one is winning and it should never have been called a "war" in the first place. Still, I don’t think it was called a "war" on alcohol, but the results of prohibition were similar. But the militarization of the police has been occurring for decades and should concern all of us. Gov. O’Malley in Maryland has asked for legislation to require police departments to record when they use their SWAT units. You know Republicans are going to use that against him as being "soft on crime" and many Democrats will play along with them out of fear of getting hit with the same.

    I know a man who was sentenced for federal CCE and given a 30 year sentence by a judge whose hands were tied even though the man was never caught with more than 4 pieces of crack cocaine. 30 years. The disparity of the sentences between powder and crack cocaine in the past is another crime perpetrated by our own government on the people and both parties joined on that. That’s changed, but not retroactively.

  21. 21
    Mike in NC says:

    The common denominator is a form of neo-Calvinism that posits that we’re all sinful worms who deserve Hell, but that, deep down, feels that Hell doesn’t exist, and which therefore seeks to impose "divine judgement" (that is, Hell) on earth by doing as much as possible to deprive us of pleasure.

    On the BJ sidebar, there’s a list of "Blogs We Monitor and Mock as Needed". First on the list is one called "Calvinists 4 Conservatism", which claims to be about "Christian Reconstructionists Making Palin President and Assisting Her Agenda". Apparently not satire, so therefore pretty frickin’ insane. If these people ever get the power, we are truly and forever screwed.

  22. 22
    El Cid says:

    @Zifnab: I disagree that legalization of personal recreational drug use would lead to madness. The statement that legalization / decriminalization would lead to madness either (a) falsely characterizes our current situation as other-than-madness or (b) is madness itself. That, however, is a completely separate discussion.

    Yet there is a freakishly weird tone to your comment, as though anyone discussing the idiotic and fake ‘lawnorder’ cult of politics of the last 30 years is somehow simultaneously unaware of the actual situations being experienced around the country in a variety of settings, particularly involving poverty and crime.

    Please do not suffer from this delusion. Quite a number of people do quite clearly recall a good bit of the circumstances of crime and illegal narcotics sales from, say, the 1980s, and yet in no way conclude that this in any real fashion justifies the punitive and martial over-reaction that a political movement encouraged.

    And the arguments pushed for decades about the causes of crime and the effects of punitive over-reaction are completely bunk. They are treated as the product of sober science responding to quell social disorder, but they’re absolute bunk.

    On of the best anti-drugs / anti-crime programs you could bring to an inner city, if you just had to choose one, would be to bring good earning jobs in such that the young could find better earning jobs than street drug-dealing, which reportedly pays less than minimum wage with much higher risk.

    That’s what happened in a few inner cities under a Clinton-led effort to bring manufacturing back to selected cities; the young and African American crime rates and unemployment plummeted in direct relation to the availability of jobs, despite two decades’ worth of pseudo-sociology on the Culture of Poverty and inherent lack of black values on work and legality.

    But that’s a reasonable response — that doesn’t give psycho-sexual thrills to the Bill Bennetts of the world.

  23. 23

    The ONLY justice you get in this country is the justice you can afford. Jesus! You think OJ was acquitted of murder because a black jury didn’t want to send another brother to prison? That is a fucking joke. OJ got off because he was rich and famous. He could afford the best attorney’s money can buy. Fast forward to these days when OJ’s broke as can be and guess what? He’s in prison.

    Our justice system is a motherfucker for anyone caught up in it. But if you are not wealthy, or have access to other people’s wealth (think Scooter Libby), and it will chew you up and spit you out.

    As far as the cops go I believe since they have special protected status (i.e. kill a cop and you get the needle) they too should be held to a higher standard. These guys should be executed.

  24. 24
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Zifnab:

    Drugs are bad, m’kay? Alcohol is a form of poison. Nicotine is a highly addictive lethal chemical. THC causes memory loss and reduces cognative [sic!] functions. Heroine [sic] and cocaine will give you a fucking heart attack.

    Some substantial corrections. Alcohol (in moderation) is likely beneficial, unless you go overboard. Most people avoid that. Nicotine is not "lethal" in the usual forms; its LD50 is ~0.5-1.0mg/kg; a 50kg (110lb) person would have to smoke most of a pack in an hour to die of nicotine toxicity. (Assuming ~1.6mg/cig of absorbed nicotine (http://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pubmed/8848540 ), 20 cigs/pack, and 2 hr half-life). THC’s effects (such as they are) are, apparently, reversible on abstinence. http://www.nida.nih.gov/testim.....imony.html

    Heroin and cocaine can be addictive (as can be heroines, I am told) but you’ll need to provide some substantiation for "give you a fucking heart attack".

    Facts are your friends.

  25. 25

    It must be awfully uncomfortable for Radley Balko, having to haul around those enormous brass balls everywhere he goes. Tough on the lower back, I imagine.

  26. 26
    Waingro says:

    Gore Vidal wrote about the insanity of the drug war in fucking 1970, so I’m not inclined to give libertarians extra credit for penetrating insight.

    "Will anything sensible be done? Of course not. The American people are as devoted to the idea of sin and its punishment as they are to making money-and fighting drugs is nearly as big a business as pushing them. Since the combination of sin and money is irresistible (particularly to the professional politician), the situation will only grow worse."

    I’ve been a fan of Vidal and Chomsky for a while and I’m enjoying mainstream finally catch up with them regarding imperialism and the institutional dysfunction of our country nearly thirty to forty years later.

  27. 27
    TenguPhule says:

    @Tonal Crow

    PCP. Meth. Ice.

    Never let them be legal.

    Never.

  28. 28

    @Zifnab

    Heroine and cocaine will give you a fucking heart attack.

    Yeah, if you take a massive enough dose of either you’ll die. So fucking what? If you take 8 grams of Tylenol in a 24 hour period you’ll fuck up your liver something fierce, that’s 16 extra strength Tylenol, which sounds like a lot, but if you’ve ever been in chronic pain and can’t get other painkillers that are less toxic, such as Oxycontin, due to the stupid fucking war on some drugs, then it’s not so much. So obviously, since acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver toxicity in the United States we should require a prescription for its use and have the DEA harass doctors who write too many, as defined by the DEA, scrips for it.

  29. 29
    garyb50 says:

    I just wonder what it takes to finally turn the corner – for everyone to realize the War on Drugs to be a ridiculous, counter-productive thing?

    Are they just worried about unemployment now?

  30. 30
    Tonal Crow says:

    @TenguPhule:

    PCP. Meth. Ice. Never let them be legal.Never.

    On the principle that every adult should be able to determine what she takes into her own body, I lean strongly toward complete legalization. If you want to convince me otherwise, you’re going to need some damned good science showing a strong likelihood that a significant percentage of users will, as a direct consequence of using, act violently toward others. Got some cites for that?

    [P.S. to blog admin: blockquotes of material containing line breaks just do not work.]

  31. 31
    Cris says:

    @DougJ: I have a theory about libertarians, which is that the libertarian position is the only sensible one on a variety of issues, such as drugs, imprisonment, and law enforcement. […]Libertarians could and should spend nearly all of their time on these issues.

    … and learn which issues to stay away from. The hardcore Libertarian position is a fine example of a foolish consistency. They see these clear examples where less government interference is better, and decide that’s a good approach for everything.

  32. 32
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    THC causes memory loss and reduces cognative functions.

    This chronic pot smoking DFH who pulled a 3.71 GPA in college (in my late 40’s after over 30 years of smoking pot), made the Honor Roll, Dean’s List, President’s List, National Honor Roll and frat boy would respectfully disagree with this statement. Getting baked and getting an edumacation in computers, programming, networking and such seems to go hand in hand for some of us. While my finals passed in a cloud of smoke, at the same time I smoked my finals. ;)

    In 1967, the Department of Motor Vehicles in Washington state performed a study of driving impaired. The test subjects were divided into three groups: straight, pot smokers and drinkers. Pot smokers scored the highest, straights were a close second and the drunks were dead last.

    If this is impairment then I will take all I can get.

    Oh, and regarding the cops? I hope they get what they deserve while they are in prison. Murdering a 92 year old lady in the name of "justice" and the War on Drugs is just sick. They deserve the worst for this crime and our system will not deal it out to them.

    Let the inmates do it. If it is good enough to let the inmates eat each other then the same should apply when a cop goes to prison. They made the mess, let them sleep in it.

  33. 33
    Zifnab says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    This chronic pot smoking DFH who pulled a 3.71 GPA in college (in my late 40’s after over 30 years of smoking pot), made the Honor Roll, Dean’s List, President’s List, National Honor Roll and frat boy would respectfully disagree with this statement.

    And my ex-roommate drank like a sailor and pulled a 4.0 in UT Business. Kudos to both of you. I’m sure he won’t have to worry about cirrhosis ten years from now, either.But marijuana remains a harmful substance all the same.

    @Wile E. Quixote:

    So obviously, since acetaminophen is the leading cause of acute liver toxicity in the United States we should require a prescription for its use and have the DEA harass doctors who write too many, as defined by the DEA, scrips for it.

    Again, I’ve got serious issues with the system. But keeping the DEA out of your doctor’s office is a far cry from over-the-counter Oxycontin. I’m simply making the argument for government drug regulation in general. I’m certainly not defending hyper-zealous prosecution of hyper-zealous drug laws.

    @Tonal Crow: Indeed they are. And while the effects of THC are "reversible", that’s a far cry from "harmless". Hell, knife wounds are reversible, but I’d like to think you’d want to discourage people from stabbing themselves.

    Nicotine is not "lethal" in the usual forms; its LD50 is ~0.5-1.0mg/kg; a 50kg (110lb) person would have to smoke most of a pack in an hour to die of nicotine toxicity.

    And yet tobacco accounts for 435,000 deaths in 2000. So yeah, totally harmless.

    Again, I’ve got a serious issue with how drug crimes are enforced and hold no affection for how America handles drug abuse, but its simply obnoxious to claim that these substances are harmless.

    I’m ambivalent as it is on legalized alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. I can’t find any compelling reason to legalize the distribution of harder narcotics, steriods, or amphetamines.

  34. 34
    Tonal Crow says:

    @Zifnab:

    And yet tobacco accounts for 435,000 deaths in 2000. So yeah, totally harmless.

    Tobacco, used in the usual quantities, is toxic. Nicotine, though it can create dependency, is not toxic when used in the usual quantities. Smoking’s harm arises from components other than nicotine.

    Again, I’ve got a serious issue with how drug crimes are enforced and hold no affection for how America handles drug abuse,

    Good so far…

    but its simply obnoxious to claim that these substances are harmless.

    Some of "these substances" *are* basically harmless to people who use them in moderation. And some (e.g., alcohol) are even beneficial to such users. Please, let’s use science to determine substances’ properties.

    I’m ambivalent as it is on legalized alcohol, tobacco, and marijuana. I can’t find any compelling reason to legalize the distribution of harder narcotics, steriods, or amphetamines.

    I’m foursquare against the Nanny State telling me — on pain of prison, no less! — what I can take into my own body. Yeah, *my* body, not the State’s body. The State’s first responsibility is to protect us from *unconsented* harm. It is not to force us to live our lives as its Nanny Guardians consider "best." If I wanted that crap, I’d vote for Jindal.

    Hell, knife wounds are reversible, but I’d like to think you’d want to discourage people from stabbing themselves.

    Sure, let’s discourage them by showing them that it’s stupid behavior. But let’s not send them to prison for doing it.

  35. 35
    El Cid says:

    Some perspective on claims regarding THC, from the 2004 literature review article "Pharmacology of Cannabinoids" by Franjo Grotenhermen in Neuroendocrinology Letters, Nos. 1/2 Feb-Apr Vol.25, 2004.

    Toxicity

    The median lethal dose (LD50) of oral THC in rats was 800–1900 mg/kg depending on sex and strain [51]. There were no cases of death due to toxicity following the maximum oral THC dose in dogs (up to 3000 mg/kg THC) and monkeys (up to 9000 mg/kg THC) [51]. Acute fatal cases in humans have not been substantiated. However, myocardial infarction may be triggered by THC due to effects on circulation [52, 53]. This is unlikely to happen in healthy subjects but in persons with coronary heart disease for whom orthostatic hypotension or increased heart rate may pose a risk.

    Adverse effects of medical cannabis use are within the range of effects tolerated for other medications [47, 48]. It is controversial whether heavy regular consumption may result in longterm impairment of cognition [54, 55, 56], but irreversible impairment seems to be minimal if it exists [54, 57]. Early users who started their use before the age of 17 presented with poorer cognitive performance, especially verbal IQ compared to users who started later or non-users [58]. Possible reasons for this difference may be (1) innate differences between groups in cognitive ability, antedating first cannabis use; (2) a neurotoxic effect of cannabis on the developing brain; or (3) poorer learning of conventional cognitive skills by young cannabis users who have eschewed school and university [58].

    Long-term medical use of cannabis for more than 15 years has been reported to be well-tolerated without significant physical or cognitive impairment [59]. There is conflicting evidence that infants exposed to THC in utero suffer developmental and cognitive impairment [60]. Marihuana can induce a schizophrenic psychosis in vulnerable persons [46, 61] and there is increasing evidence that there is a distinct cannabis psychosis [62].

    Now, for the heck of it (since I find it amusing), no toxic levels were found, but the same calculations from the 2004 review above were from the 1973 published reports and more discussion can be found in the summary of the Report of the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse, formed in 1970:

    At present it is estimated that marijuana’s LD-50 [level of dosage concentrated enough for a 50% likelihood of death, a common measurement limit when discussing general toxicity] is around 1:20,000 or 1:40,000.

    In layman terms this means that in order to induce death a marijuana smoker would have to consume 20,000 to 40,000 times as much marijuana as is contained in one marijuana cigarette. NIDA-supplied marijuana cigarettes weigh approximately .9 grams. A smoker would theoretically have to consume nearly 1,500 pounds of marijuana within about fifteen minutes to induce a lethal response.

    For this reason, researchers apparently have not found a single case of death caused by marijuana or THC overdosing. The same cannot be said for nearly any of the common substances we know as nutrients, vitamins, alcohol, or medications.

  36. 36
    Zifnab says:

    @Tonal Crow:

    I’m foursquare against the Nanny State telling me—on pain of prison, no less!—what I can take into my own body. Yeah, my body, not the State’s body. The State’s first responsibility is to protect us from unconsented harm. It is not to force us to live our lives as its Nanny Guardians consider "best." If I wanted that crap, I’d vote for Jindal.

    If you want to wander out into the woods, dig some ‘shrooms out from under a log, and get high as a kite, I agree. That’s your business.

    That said, I am not comfortable with issuing business licenses to McShroomies. I’d rather not have Budweiser heroine frogs dancing across my screen during the Super Bowl. The fact that there are no crack dealers in my neighborhood does not strike me as a bad thing.

    Sure, let’s discourage them by showing them that it’s stupid behavior. But let’s not send them to prison for doing it.

    Again, I couldn’t agree with you more on the issue of the actual legal end. Throwing people in jail for using drugs makes absolutely zero sense unless you’re in the private prison business.

    Frankly, I’m a big fan of the speeding ticket approach. A $200 fine for marijuana possess per 6 oz. Class C Misdemeanor offense. If you’re stupid enough to get caught smoking, the government reserves the right to punish you. Put it back in the range of minor in possession rather than grand theft auto / aggravated sexual assault.

    And, of course, open the drug up to full medical application. I’ve got absolutely positively 0% problem with any drug used in a medical application if it can break the standard FDA approval process. And given that they approved Phen-Phen and Vioxx, that’s a damn low bar.

  37. 37
    El Cid says:

    I’d rather not have Budweiser [heroin] frogs dancing across my screen during the Super Bowl.

    That’s awesome! ROTFLMAO.

    Of course, the target audience for those hypothetical ads may already be seeing those ads anyway, when all the rest of us don’t.

  38. 38
    Blue Raven says:

    @Zifnab:

    Frankly, I’m a big fan of the speeding ticket approach. A $200 fine for marijuana possess per 6 oz. Class C Misdemeanor offense.

    You really want people being fined for doing something that is significantly less dangerous than driving over the speed limit? No, Zif, this is where I tell you to fuck the hell off and quit telling me it’s the government’s business if I smoke something my ancestors cultivated for centuries.

  39. 39
    Ronzoni Rigatoni says:

    Jon:

    Years ago I drove "Journalist" Haynes Johnson around to help him write an "in-depth" series for the Washington Post re the "War-on-Drugs." I was one of the senior members of a "crack" Customs Enforcement Team based in Miami, so I knew where we stood. "What’s the solution, Rizzo?," he asked. "Legalize it, " sez I. "Legalize it all. This is as futile as trying top stop the Mafia from smuggling booze during Prohibition. Have we learned nothing?"

    The puff piece that followed drove it home to me that Mr. Johnson and his mentors and colleagues are and were all full.of.shit.

  40. 40
    Radon Chong says:

    @Conservatively Liberal:

    Oh, and regarding the cops? I hope they get what they deserve while they are in prison.

    This is a big pet peeve of mine. Why the fuck does pretty much everyone in our entire culture think the crimes of assault, rape and murder are just fine when done behind bars to and by convicted criminals? I mean, yeah, I hate the cops that shot that woman, and I think it is a great injustice that they are getting off as easy as they are, but I don’t want them to be repeatedly subjected to brutal beatings and forced sodomy for the next 5-10 years, which is what I assume you were talking about.

    (I’m not trying to flame you personally, ok? I rant like this in real life, too, when someone makes a flippant joke about prison rape, and it happens all the time. But if rape is a crime outside of prison, then it is a crime there too. And nobody thinks it’s cool to joke about rape victims deserving it, do they? So why the fuck is prison rape so hilarious?)

  41. 41
    El Cid says:

    @Radon Chong: Some sizeable portion of our culture is more than happy that when we sentence people to prison that we are not, in fact, simply sentencing to remain behind bars in a guarded environment, but are sending them away to be preyed upon in a criminal, beastly environment, and then for some reason people are often surprised that when people leave prison they somehow aren’t some paragon of upright individuals who have been scared straight.

  42. 42
    Conservatively Liberal says:

    @Zifnab:

    Excuse me if I dismiss your citing of ‘research’ by the same government that has to justify its War on Drugs. I wonder if their research information includes the 1936 Army study that "proved" the deleterious effects of imbibing the evil weed. Ignore the fact that the ‘research’ was done on 36 men, 35 of whom were "Negro" and all who were "disciplinary problems" for the Army. After all, you gotta get your study group from somewhere, right? Why not use a handy group to make your point? Saves research time and money, just what a conservative loves!

    I prefer to use more credible sources for research and information, all readily available via teh Google and only requiring a little bit of intellectual curiosity to pursue. You do have to watch out for pro-legalization promoters who are a just as zealous as their conservative counterparts in their use of ‘research’ data, but extremists are to be found on all sides of any issue like this. Still, there is overwhelming evidence that marijuana is not the evil substance it has been declared to be.

    El Cid points this our quite well in #35 above.

    @Radon Chong:

    I don’t subscribe to ‘prison justice’ but I know more than a few cops and they think it is just great. Some California prison guards I know think it works quite well for getting rid of (or punishing) "scum". Until it is eliminated, if it’s good for the goose then . . .

  43. 43

    @Zifnab

    But marijuana remains a harmful substance all the same.

    You’re actually stupid enough to believe a NIDA study about the effects of marijuana smoking? Normally I’d ask if you were high, but you’ve just confirmed that you’re stupid. Believing anything NIDA says about marijuana smoking is like believing anything that Oily Taint says about Obama’s birth certificate. NIDA will never, ever report honest scientific results about marijuana, they’re too tied in with the ONDCP to ever do that.

  44. 44

    More of Zifnab’s stupidity.

    That said, I am not comfortable with issuing business licenses to McShroomies. I’d rather not have Budweiser heroine frogs dancing across my screen during the Super Bowl. The fact that there are no crack dealers in my neighborhood does not strike me as a bad thing.

    So, then you’re obviously lobbying to stop giving business licenses to T.G.I.Fridays, Chile’s and all of the other franchise restaurants who not only serve liquor on their premises but promote its consumption by advertising "happy hours" where they serve up booze at at reduced prices to people so they can have a few drinks after leaving work but before driving home. Also how would the Budweiser [heroin] frogs be any worse than the Budweiser frogs we currently know and love, you know, the ones that encourage you to drink alcohol, a legal drug whose users cause 16,000 traffic deaths every year and which kills any number of binge-drinking idiots on college campuses?

    Oh, and would you stop bringing up the goddamned crack dealers already? I mean your arguments are lame and stupid enough as it is without you bringing up the stupid goddamned crack dealers strawman. Shit, I’d rather have a crack dealer on the corner than one of those POS mom and pop stores that makes its money by selling malt liquor and fortified wines.

    Frankly, I’m a big fan of the speeding ticket approach. A $200 fine for marijuana possess per 6 oz. Class C Misdemeanor offense. If you’re stupid enough to get caught smoking, the government reserves the right to punish you.

    If you get caught drinking alcohol should the government also punish you? If not why? What’s the huge bug up your ass about marijuana? How is someone getting high on marijuana any worse than someone getting drunk? Some of the meanest, ugliest and stupidest behavior I’ve ever seen was on the part of drunks, I have yet to see anyone who was smoking dope behave as badly. I’d take an Amsterdam coffee shop full of stoned American tourists any day of the week over a British bar full of drunken soccer fans, and yes, I’ve been in both.

  45. 45
    TenguPhule says:

    If you want to convince me otherwise, you’re going to need some damned good science showing a strong likelihood that a significant percentage of users will, as a direct consequence of using, act violently toward others. Got some cites for that?

    I could, would you accept them or dismiss them as anti-drug propaganda?

    If you’re going to argue for the legalization PCP, Meth and Ice, I’m not sure what’s going to get you to really change your mind.

  46. 46

    […] 26, 2009 by Robin G [Note: this post was brought around by a recent Balloon Juice discussion. I wrote three or four replies that I intended to put up there, but I wound up getting too angry […]

  47. 47
    Tonal Crow says:

    @TenguPhule: If you have scientific authorities, cite them, and we can discuss what they’ve found.

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