What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby ice on fire » Fri Apr 22, 2011 8:49 am

Thought provoking questions. Will get back to you on them. I will say right now, I would not want all 'hard'(cocaine, herion etc) drugs legal. Pot maybe for medical purposes.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Zappanalé » Fri Apr 22, 2011 10:47 am

a) What would be the method of distribution? Drug shops in town, or drug clinics? Do we only supply to existing addicts? What if a non-addict wanted to try heroin, or cocaine for example? What are the terms and conditions of the legalisation, I.e. free to use wherever and whenever, must use in own home, etc etc

First, no one is saying "100% legalise drugs". To my knowledge, no one ever has. No one is even saying "Let's make all drugs available to whomever wants them". That doesn't happen wit prescription drugs after all.

Method of distribution: Whatever is most applicable to the drug in question. See Transform Foundation, who put together all the different methods of distribution and regulation and what sort of drugs they were most relevant for.
Just as alcohol is treated differently from paracetomol, heroin will be in a different class to LSD.


b) Is it something that could be used with the intent of weaning people off drugs?

Maybe. Education in the same way we educate about tobacco? The criminal law has turned out to be basically the worst possible deterrent, so hey, let's give it a shot.

c) What happens to the existing underground element who are currently making a living dealing drugs? Assuming they get priced out of business, where do they go? What do they do? Will crime be driven up in other areas to compensate?

Impossible to say. Many drug dealers have jobs on the side. I know the two pot dealers I know do.

d) This question has intentionally been left blank.

GTFO

e) Is it a better solution than the current one of banning everything and then attempting to police it? You know, cost wise, and logistically?

It can't not be. We've constantly failed to police drugs using criminal law for about a century now. We're seeing exactly the same things happen as happened to booze in the US prohibition, and that period was taken as the hight of stupidity.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Elessar » Fri Apr 22, 2011 11:21 am

Yup, legalise the whole lot, tax them proportionately to their cost to society, have compulsory counselling or similar for the harder drugs (funded through the aforementioned taxation) and have some very strict laws about their misuse (e.g. violence while on drugs, driving while on drugs, etc.). Either they should all be legal, or alcohol and tobacco should be illegal. The current situation is completely illogical.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby JLP » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:29 pm

If they were legalised, how would people pay for them? Would they be funded through the NHS or would people be expected to pay as they do for tobacco and alcohol?
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby JLP » Fri Apr 22, 2011 1:44 pm

PTRACER wrote:They'd pay like with tobacco and alcohol, but hopefully they would be able to do it much cheaper than underground drug dealers and also much purer. It would need to be far more appealing to buy through a government-run clinic, for example, than a druggie in a dark alleyway.


That would make sense but what about those who cannot pay? In my home town, many heroin users appear to be of lower social classes who more than likely would not be able to afford legally available drugs. Would they get them free or would they still turn to crime to fund their habit?
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby JLP » Fri Apr 22, 2011 2:27 pm

PTRACER wrote:I suppose that's a good point - a lot of drug addicts are using crime to fund their habits. I'm not sure what the answer would be to that one. I guess they'd still be turning to crime for the money, but then we're talking about people who are probably spending £75, £80, £90 a hit and who knows how much cheaper the government could provide it for? After all, these people are probably on benefits too, if it's cheap enough maybe they wouldn't need to turn to crime.



Considering the furore that happens whenever a cancer drug is turned down because it is too expensive, and that does happen, I just cannot see drugs being available on the NHS. Whilst it might make socio-economic sense, it could be political suicide.
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Elessar » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:16 pm

PTRACER wrote:Well no, I strongly disagree - heroin etc. shouldn't be made available on the NHS, regardless.


It kind of already is...


PTRACER wrote:Going MASSIVELY off-topic, cancer drugs are only made expensive by the drug companies because taking them and not taking them is going to be a matter of life and death, and they expect people to pay out a huge amount of money to choose life.


Some cancer drugs are really expensive because they are really expensive to make, e.g. herceptin, which people love to make a song and dance about because it might give 20% of patients an extra 6 months but the nasty evil NHS won't fund it, choosing to fund cheaper treatments with better efficacies instead, the bastards.

But yes, pharmaceutical companies do have some very questionable practices. One of their favourites is buying companies that have amazing new drugs, and then those drugs disappear, never to be heard of again, because a drug that only works if it's taken every day for life is much more profitable than a one-off injection.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Elessar » Fri Apr 22, 2011 5:18 pm

JLP wrote:
PTRACER wrote:They'd pay like with tobacco and alcohol, but hopefully they would be able to do it much cheaper than underground drug dealers and also much purer. It would need to be far more appealing to buy through a government-run clinic, for example, than a druggie in a dark alleyway.


That would make sense but what about those who cannot pay? In my home town, many heroin users appear to be of lower social classes who more than likely would not be able to afford legally available drugs. Would they get them free or would they still turn to crime to fund their habit?


There are all sorts of ways of controlling that, none of which require much imagination. Perhaps make it so that drugs can only be paid for by credit card, instantly creating a paper trail which can be followed to reduce or prevent drug-related crime.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Sir Didymus » Sun Apr 24, 2011 9:51 pm

Interesting points so far. A genuine question, though - if everything was legalised, do you think usage numbers would rise or fall? Whilst those who really want it will seek it out now regardless, and this can be even more dangerous as a result, would making it as easy to access as alcohol not encourage more people to partake, and possibly develop habits far greater than nicotine cravings?
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Zappanalé » Sun Apr 24, 2011 10:02 pm

Each experiment with decriminalization of even de facto legalization of narcotics has led to a reduction in usage rates, See Drug Decriminalization in Portugal from Cato Inst.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Sir Didymus » Mon Apr 25, 2011 12:51 am

Who would decide who qualified for the right to buy it though? This isn't as simple as letting it all go through.

Personally, I have a love/hate relationship with drugs. I accept the whole argument about tobacco/alcohol, don't smoke, do drink spirits but can live without them, and have never taken anything else beyond medication or over-the-counter stuff. I have no problem with it being out there and I have no problem with artists I'm interested in taking them, but when it comes to my loved ones I have a really hard time accepting it - mostly because previous experiences knowingly seeing others under the influence has been mostly negative.

I've known a few straight-cut people at various points in my life, and whilst I chose to drink occasionally, and can indeed drink a lot of people under the table when I do... I can see the benefits of their argument with more clarity than I can those for narcotics. I'd sooner give up alcohol than take anything stronger, personally... life is much more wonderful and heartbreaking and memorable and mesmerising and addictive when sober anyway.
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby y2marmar » Wed Apr 27, 2011 5:16 pm

PTRACER wrote:I suppose that's a good point - a lot of drug addicts are using crime to fund their habits. I'm not sure what the answer would be to that one. I guess they'd still be turning to crime for the money, but then we're talking about people who are probably spending £75, £80, £90 a hit and who knows how much cheaper the government could provide it for? After all, these people are probably on benefits too, if it's cheap enough maybe they wouldn't need to turn to crime.



That's a good point actually. I'm not saying that they should be legalised, but that's a good point. If they were cheap, and more available.

But it would need to be very heavily controlled, to avoid a surge in drug related crimes/offences
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Isolde Jane Holland » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:04 pm

All drugs were legalised in Portugal some years ago, with the result that severe drug use there has declined by thirty percent. Wholly illogical and unexpected, but there you go. That alone would be sufficient motivation for me. Then you factor in that it would diminish the power and horrible violence of the cartels -10,000 people killed since 2005!!- and the money we'd save not pursuing and incarcerating offenders, and the money we'd get from taxes.

Plus, there's an undeniable racist element: I forget the actual numbers, but it's something like blacks/hispanics commit 30% of drug offenses but make up 70% of the people imprisoned for it.

For the record, I've never used an illegal drug in my life. If I could wave a magic wand and make all of it disappear, along with tobacco and alcohol, I'd do it. But I don't have a magic wand. This seems like the next best thing.
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Zappanalé » Tue Oct 04, 2011 6:34 pm

All drugs were legalised in Portugal some years ago


Partial truth- decriminalization is different from legalization. Under the former, which portugal has, the possession of drugs is illegal but not criminal. Instead it's a sort of Administrative offence, like minor traffic offences. So they can order you to go to rehab, get medical services, small fines, etc, but not send you to jail or impose criminal sanctions. I'm pretty sure criminal sanctions exist for supply, trafficking, etc, but aren't 100% on that bit
 
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Re: What happens if we 100% legalise drugs?

Postby Isolde Jane Holland » Fri Oct 07, 2011 8:07 pm

Zappanalé wrote:
All drugs were legalised in Portugal some years ago


Partial truth- decriminalization is different from legalization. Under the former, which portugal has, the possession of drugs is illegal but not criminal. Instead it's a sort of Administrative offence, like minor traffic offences. So they can order you to go to rehab, get medical services, small fines, etc, but not send you to jail or impose criminal sanctions. I'm pretty sure criminal sanctions exist for supply, trafficking, etc, but aren't 100% on that bit


Thank you, Zappanale. In a way that's even better, since we'd reap a lot of the benefits, yet avoid the moral conundrum of appearing to approve. Look how entrenched big tobacco is! I've been watching the new Ken Burns documentary Prohibition on PBS and it's pretty much reinforced everything I've thought for several years. What a mess! Fascinating programme; some bootleggers were so barefaced that one guy even sponsored a baseball team and called them The Bootleggers. And one of the most famous bootleggers, George Remus, was a lifelong teetotaller. He also insisted that his agents and employees never carry guns, even though "rum-running" could be extremely dangerous. So much for my notion that all bootleggers were violent thugs.

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