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Tuesday, May 03, 2005

War on drugs


Marijuana arrests account for almost half of all drug arrests in the United States, which spends $4 billion a year to catch, prosecute and incarcerate offenders, according to a report released on Tuesday. 'Since 1990, there have been 6.2 million arrests for marijuana possession and an additional one million for marijuana trafficking. As of 2002, marijuana arrests comprised 45 percent of all drug arrests,' the report by The Sentencing Project said. The Washington think tank, which promotes alternatives to imprisonment, said daily use of the drug by high school seniors nearly tripled to 6 percent from 2.2 percent during the years 1990 to 2002. Meanwhile, the street price of the drug has fallen in real terms and its purity has increased.
We are losing the 'war on drugs' because, as in the case of Prohibition, too many of our citizen's don't believe that drug use, especially marijuana, is especially immoral. I will certainly concede that over use of marijuana is stupid, and quite possibly dangerous. Over doing a whole lot of things is stupid and dangerous. That doesn't mean that everything in life should be regulated by the government.


Blogger honestpartisan said...

Not to mention the law enforcement resources all those arrests cost (cops, court systems, prisons . . . ) Pretty luxurious in an era where there's a war on terror.

5/03/2005 04:44:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

So if everyone went out and robbed banks, or assaulted people, or committed murder on a regular basis, then the amount of money and time spent prosecuting those crimes would become too great.

Leave out the "victimless crime" argument in relation to cannabis. There are reports (I have personally not yet seen the scientific studies or reviews thereof) that regular cannabis use can adversely affect such functions as reaction time almost as severely as alchohol. The big danger (as reported, unconfirmed) is that regular use creates a permanent state of impairment that can take a period of weeks to dissipate.

No, until such time as there is cogent scientific evidence that cannabis and its derivatives do not affect long term health, until such time as scientifically supported limits and roadside testing for cannabis impairment is proven and made legal, the use of this drug must stay illegal. Not criminal necessarily, but certainly not legalised.

If the law and justice is so easily dismissed as a "luxury", one has to wonder what exactly "honestpartisan" is fighting for.

5/03/2005 10:34:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

Typically, one doesn't consider a person as being a victim of themselves in relation to crime.

If I were to whip myself, as certain religious zealots do, I would not be a victim of assualt, but if I were to whip someone else I would be assaulting them.

So in that sense, marijuana use is a victimless crime.

As I said in the post, it may be dangerous and unhealthy and stupid to use pot. That doesn't mean it should be illegal.

I certainly believe in enforcing our laws. I think that one of the most abused things is a law that is 'rarely' enforced. However, just because I think we should enforce laws certainly doesn't mean that laws cannot be changed.

5/04/2005 03:14:00 AM  
Blogger The probligo said...

That last sentence, Dave, is what should have been said.

There we differ. I DO NOT want to change the law on cannabis. I am actively campaigning against EVERY attempt to legalise recreational use in this country. My opposition is based upon -

None of the proposals include controls, such as minimum age.

Those controls (as confirmed by liquor and cigarette age limits) are ineffective.

Quite frankly, there is enough of a drug problem in our society with (as happened in Kaitaia last year) the likes of sports coaches handing out tokes as player awards to their rugby teams. Nine and ten year olds yet!!

Medicinal use I am open minded to...

5/04/2005 01:31:00 PM  
Blogger Katinula said...

I happen to believe that marijuana use should be de-criminalized and the probligo just made my point for me. How do we make something illegal when there are no scientific studies showing the long term adverse affects, or better yet, how those effects affect anyone but the user. We have scientific studies showing those for cigarettes and liquor, yet these are still legal, and argueably, more dangerous. Also, you can't legislate common sense. Because coaches (or other random jack-asses) are giving out tokes to their teams, doesn't mean marijuana should be illegal, no more than it means that an IQ pre-requisite for coaching should be instituted by law.
Bottom line, its a waste of money and honestly, money better spent treating drug addicts.

5/04/2005 01:47:00 PM  
Blogger honestpartisan said...


Law enforcement cannot be everywhere. To a large extent, enforcement of the law can only work if most people voluntarily follow the law and respect the law.

If there is something which in a great many of people's lives is victimless and harmless and easy to use without getting caught, then it erodes the trust in the law that widespread uncoerced compliance is based upon.

And prosecutors certainly can exercise discretion.

Widespread noncompliance with a law is not the only reason not to have a law. But it is a factor.

And, in a era when we have pressing law enforcement needs, yes it strikes me as a luxury to use police time, personnel, and money, and Court time, personnel, and money, and jail time, personnel, and money on people who aren't harming anyone but themselves rather than on people who aim to do great harm to us. These resources aren't bottomless and, in a lot of cases, it's frightening how woefully understaffed and underfunded they are.

5/04/2005 02:59:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

If you want to see the effects of legalised cannabis, take an evening walk through Amsterdam some time. My daughter did a couple years back.

The experience stopped her recreational use of cannabis (the occasional toke at a party, no more), and any thought she had of legalising it in NZ.

You want scientific evidence of the effects of cannabis? Make a name for yourself and do it - in Amsterdam.

5/05/2005 05:02:00 PM  
Blogger The probligo said...

Or start here perhaps...


5/05/2005 05:07:00 PM  
Blogger Dave Justus said...

From your article: "We're not saying that cannabis is the major cause of psychosis," says Robin Murray of the Institute of Psychiatry in London, who also studies the link between cannabis and mental health. Other factors that cause mental stress, such as emigrating, may have a greater effect, he suggests.

Therefore we should make emigration and anything that causes mental stress illegal as well.

I believe that a lot more than canabis is legal in Amsterdam. Even so, if your daughter chose to stop smoking weed AFTER visiting Amsterdam, it would seem that legalization has beneficial effects as well.

No one is saying that smoking pot is good for you, or even a wise decision to make. I am claiming that the costs (and not just monetary) of illegalization outweighs the benefits of keeping it illegal. Further, I believe people can make their own choices about how and if they want to destroy themselves.

If you show me how making pot legal hurts you, and convince me that that is a greater harm than the militarization of the police, the erosion of civil rights, and the monetary costs of making this substance illegal I will certainly consider your argument.

5/05/2005 05:54:00 PM  

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