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The Truce on Drugs
November 26, 2012 5:50 AM   Subscribe

What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?
posted by Glibpaxman (100 comments total) 19 users marked this as a favorite

 
Same thing that always happens. Double down and "surge."
posted by absalom at 5:53 AM on November 26, 2012 [26 favorites]


We welcome our drug overlords?
posted by GenjiandProust at 6:11 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Puff, puff, pass.
posted by stormpooper at 6:17 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


The war on drugs only now failed?
posted by dfriedman at 6:18 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


You know, as a Kentuckian, I would gladly take "where people are comfortable with sedition and willing to live outside of the law" as a state slogan over our current slogan, Unbridled Spirit -- and DEFINITELY over the prior "It's that friendly!"
posted by MysticMCJ at 6:21 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


People will keep using inane fake issues to fuck over people they don't like. This is politics in the United States: it isn't about doing anything productive, it's about using the state to harm your ideological enemies by any available means and then gloating about it in glossy TV ads.
posted by Inspector.Gadget at 6:23 AM on November 26, 2012 [10 favorites]


What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?

Drones.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 6:25 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?

Whatever the corporate owners of the media, mainly TV, tell us to do.
posted by DU at 6:27 AM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


War on DRUGS? Sorry guys, my bad - I thought you said "War on UGGS" and so I focused my attack on stores that sell footwear. OK, I swear I've got it this time: let's try this again...
posted by wolfdreams01 at 6:28 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


I'm pretty sure that I remember reading similar articles thirty years ago when the war on drugs was just as failed as it is now.
posted by octothorpe at 6:30 AM on November 26, 2012 [7 favorites]


You know, as a Kentuckian, I would gladly take "where people are comfortable with sedition and willing to live outside of the law" as a state slogan over our current slogan, Unbridled Spirit -- and DEFINITELY over the prior "It's that friendly!"

You mean your state slogan isn't "Finger Lickin' Good'?
posted by Mezentian at 6:31 AM on November 26, 2012 [9 favorites]


Really interesting read. I got to this:

underground tapes in which NBA stars urge citizens not to snitch.

and wondered if that's really a thing, and it turns out that it is... although only one NBA star was involved, it seems.

The key point seems to be that targeting people with a history of violence (which turns out to be a pretty small percentage of drug offenders, ~5% according to the Baltimore guy) and ignoring non-violent dealers and users is a much more effective way to reduce violence. Here's my shocked face.
posted by Huck500 at 6:31 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Drones.

I would not feel so all alone....everybody must get droned.

(shameless hustled from someplace...there is a drone manufacturer marketing directly to police departments who want to use them to inspect cornfields from the road for hidden growing ops. can't find the article now, though)
posted by jquinby at 6:32 AM on November 26, 2012


(found it!)
posted by jquinby at 6:36 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Why are things the way they are? The answer most often is money. The war on drugs is highly profitable to certain powerful actors such as big tobacco, big alcohol, and the prison-industrial complex. They're not going to give up easily.
posted by LastOfHisKind at 6:42 AM on November 26, 2012 [22 favorites]


The war on marijuana seems lost in the same way the war on alcohol was lost. Too much public demand, too much public acceptance of its use, and too easy to manufacture domestically.

The war on "drugs", on the other hand, would seem to continue undiminished. When people start talking about "medical crack" and medical "meth" in the same casual way they today talk about "medical" marijuana the war on drugs might then seem to be lost, but I'm not getting that vibe.

Only the Libertarians got this one right and neither the right nor the left are rushing to join the libertarian cause.
posted by three blind mice at 6:43 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Burn Nancy Reagan at the stake?
posted by Sphinx at 6:45 AM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


With outright legalization in Colorado, a swing state the Dems need, the writing is on the wall for prohibition. It's over. Obama won't send in the feds, and many of the medical marijuana states will folow suit with decriminalization or outright legalization in the next election cycle. It will get out the youth vote at the very least.
posted by Slap*Happy at 6:48 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?

Governments do not pursue failed policies. The War on Drugs - like the War on Terror - has been a great success.

You have simply made the mistake of believing that the war's stated aims are its actual aims.
posted by Egg Shen at 6:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [46 favorites]


What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?
posted by Glibpaxman


Can I really be the first to say eponhysterical?!
posted by chavenet at 6:53 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Governments do not pursue failed policies. The War on Drugs - like the War on Terror - has been a great success.

Half of this statement is correct.
posted by OmieWise at 6:53 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Legalizing marijuana is widely considered the best step in any war on drugs, and I would consider any war up to now to be a sham anyway. Even after they wrongly identified pot as a gateway drug, Reagan then enshrined it as one by lumping it with everything else. Organized drug distributors hoping to induce anyone into sampling an imported and highly addictive substance would only need to use simple pot distribution to network the entire public school landscape. Reagan's war on drugs was just another supply-side failed economic plan, about as dumb as reducing taxes and raising spending.
posted by Brian B. at 6:56 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, there's already such a thing as medical amphetamines. They're prescribed for ADHD. Adderall is one such example.
posted by lore at 6:58 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


One thing that isn't mentioned in the (very good) article but needs to be addressed is civil forfeiture and the perverse incentive it creates for the cops to shake down low level users and frame completely innocent people. The legal fiction that civil forfeiture is constitutional because it is the property which is charged, and property has no civil rights as if the human owner of that property does not exist, must be reversed. States which have tried to protect their own citizens from their own cops by making forfeiture illegal have been undermined by the Feds, who come in with the locals and thank them for their "assistance" by kicking back what has been stolen under Federal guidelines. I have a feeling that this history is one of the reasons the governor of Washington greeted the Feds coolly when they tried to set up a conference call after the election.
posted by localroger at 7:04 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


The war on drugs only now failed?

No, it's always been a failure, if your criterion is stopping illegal drug traffic. The drug warriors appear to have lost on the hearts-and-minds front, though, and that could mean the end of the epic law enforcement feast. They may now have to find a new excuse for persecuting the underclass, or even not do it any more..
posted by Kirth Gerson at 7:06 AM on November 26, 2012


In Oregon the "medical" marijuana lobby was powerful enough to keep their monopoly intact. It is always about money. Restrict supply increase profits. We were never as bad as they were back east, thing is you need to regulate and tax provide access to drug of choice meanwhile beef up education and rehab. If you legalized it all you could guide the problem users toward abuser help.
posted by pdxpogo at 7:06 AM on November 26, 2012


The war on drugs is quite successful at disenfranchising a huge percentage of "undesirables" and also represents a massive transfer of payments from governments to the hands of increasingly for profit criminal justice system.

From that perspective it's a great success because it's enabled the state to destroy any political power of multiple targeted groups (minorities, urban and rural poor, etc).

Unfortunately it also comes with the cost of destroying lives.
posted by vuron at 7:06 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


They may now have to find a new excuse for persecuting the underclass, or even not do it any more.

I'm pretty sure it's going to be the former.
posted by thsmchnekllsfascists at 7:22 AM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


The war on marijuana seems lost in the same way the war on alcohol was lost.

In America and Europe perhaps. But the last time I checked it was still punishable by death in East Asia.
posted by FJT at 7:23 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


The most interesting part of the article for me was how the police in Baltimore came to realize it was not a bunch of Kingpins like in the Godfather running the drug trade. Futhermore, picking up EVERY SINGLE DRUG USER was counterproductive to their goals. For them it made more sense to let the small time users and even dealers go and focus on the violent enforcers. But then the author directly compared that to the experience in Mexico where everything does revolve around very centrally controlled drug gangs that are highly violent. In many cases these gangs are actually more powerful than the governments they are in conflict with. Well... what do you do then? No one really knows. But I believe a good first step is lowering the power of the drug gangs by lowering their profits by legalizing drugs and just taking the illegal middlemen out of the equation... at least a bit. I think they would still be there but at least some of their power and profit would be reduced.
posted by Glibpaxman at 7:29 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Given that the war on drugs failed sometime around 1976, I'm gonna keep my money on "the same thing that's always happened."
posted by Apropos of Something at 7:34 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


"medical crack" and medical "meth"

Only in the way that a lobotomy is a medical procedure.
posted by Malice at 7:52 AM on November 26, 2012


The War on Drugs never existed. The phrase was invented to justify feeding cash cows.

The oligarchs can relax. Everybody knows that stoners don't vote very much, and when they do, it's usually for Mickey Mouse, Chucky Cheese, or Ralph Nader.

I believe the emphasis on oppression won't shift all that much. Our rapidly privatizing prison system already has enough momentum to keep itself going, and anyhow, I'm sure we can figure out how to keep it fed if it falters. If necessary, maybe we could reinstate debtor's prisons. No, wait...too many white collars in that demographic.
posted by mule98J at 8:10 AM on November 26, 2012


MetaFilter: At home, you keep a machete.
posted by Splunge at 8:19 AM on November 26, 2012


What Happens Now that the War on Drugs has Failed?

I dunno, the states find another excuse to maintain the racial caste system in the United States?

seriously, as detailed as this article was, it was disappointing that there was no mention of the disproportionate drug profiling and sentencing that communities of color in the US face.
posted by eustatic at 8:27 AM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


I saw a dreadlocked blonde girl, obese and braless

Shawn himself was an obese, friendly guy selling deeply damaging drugs

an obese psychopath named Teodoro Garcia Simental


Could we maybe start the War on Irrelevant Mentions of Weight next? Or at least find this guy a thesaurus?
posted by RogerB at 8:45 AM on November 26, 2012 [11 favorites]


No, wait...too many white collars in that demographic.
sure, that will stop them

ha ha
posted by This, of course, alludes to you at 8:58 AM on November 26, 2012


medical "meth"

People talk about this all the time, right here on metafilter. Some of us even have prescriptions for it.
posted by elizardbits at 9:02 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Remember how when the Cold War ended and the military and their budget shrank down to practically nothing and we had that massive peace bonus to invest in ourselves? Me neither...
posted by jim in austin at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


War on drugs seems like a giant episode of fraud, waste, and abuse; watching actual marijuana be genetically changed is going to be akin to InBev taking over breweries.
posted by buzzman at 9:03 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Medical cocaine and Parkinson's research.
posted by buzzman at 9:04 AM on November 26, 2012


Relevant:
For the past few decades, Kennedy has ridden with beat cops, hung with gang members, and sat on stoops with grandmothers in troubled communities. He has found that all parties misunderstood each other and were caught in a spiral of racialized anger and distrust. He envisioned an approach in which everyone —gang members, cops, and community members — comes together in what is essentially a huge intervention. Offenders are told that the violence must stop, that even the cops want them to stay alive and out of prison, and that even their families support swift law enforcement if the violence continues. In city after city, the same miracle has followed: violence plummets, drug markets dry up, and the relationship between the police and the community is reset....

Kennedy, a self-taught criminologist, was in Madison as a guest of the City of Madison and the Madison Police Department. He is the author of “Don’t Shoot: One Man, A Street Fellowship, and the End of Violence in Inner-City America,” and is the key architect of a crime fighting policing strategy that has not only cut gun violence in some of America’s most distressed neighborhoods and ended open-air drug markets, but has reset the relationship between police and community.


My own community went into a downward spiral in the 1990s, with a sharp increase in both drug sales and violence. There were three gunfire incidents within 50 yards of my home, and at times we had grown adults challenge-fighting in the street, passing out on front lawns, and selling drugs to middle-schoolers in broad daylight. At one point I was attacked on my own property by an out-of-town drug mule (probably), leaving me bloodied and concussed. My local department had long followed the "kingpin" approach of a federally-funded multi-agency taskforce, but this wasn't making our community much safer. The neighborhood where most of this was happening organized and demanded a different approach, and the PD began targeting drug houses and gang activity. It took a few years, and we had our GM plant close (see: Paul Ryan misstatement affair), but the area is about as safe as I can remember it being 20 years ago. One of the more recent interventions was the compilaton of a database of every gang member in town and their affiliations, combined with regular check-ins and, in fact, referrals to social services. Given we actually have a comparatively low gun crime rate, this probably approximates the effect of the focus on gun convictions. At the same time, we began putting pressure on slumlords, focusing on those who chronically rent to people with criminal records (even drug house convictions!) and some who actually take a tenant who's been a problem and just put them in another location they manage. We had an absentee landlord this summer who had allowed their property to become a neighborhood "center" of activity ranging from gang members hanging in the street to selling H to a steady stream of cars, and just sending them an anonymous printout of a news article about the city's efforts in our neighborhood saw an instantaneous eviction and building improvements. They didn't want to be front page news like that guy.

Personally, I support decriminalization, but I really can't abide having a drug house across the street doing deals with cars pulled into my own driveway. I have always said I would be happy with a properly situated dispensary in a business zoned district.

Anyway, the committee I'm on is dominated by people with the mindset that there is some sort of oppositional intentionality here -- that the dealers and other nuisance creators are somehow trying actively to bring our neighborhood down. I don't think, mostly, that's true. But they have that effect in aggregate. There's also scant interest in dealing with the racial disparities issue -- one landlord says he doesn't rent to black people because every single time he does he gets in trouble with the neighborhood. I'd be happier if that weren't the case, but most of the working-class blacks in this very white city live in the ranch-house subdivisions, not our historic/crumbling central city area, and the aforementioned landlord dynamic means we get drug house after drug house, and even a brothel (which was only eliminated, two years of complaints running, after the pimps shot at some other guys using a pellet gun out in the middle of the street). So, two steps up and one step back, but ultimately we feel we're making progress.

medical "meth"

Do people remember that these were therapeutic drugs before they became illegal drugs?
posted by dhartung at 9:08 AM on November 26, 2012 [6 favorites]


When people start talking about "medical crack" and medical "meth" in the same casual way they today talk about "medical" marijuana the war on drugs might then seem to be lost, but I'm not getting that vibe.

Both cocaine and methamphetamine are approved for medical use and have been for decades.
posted by empath at 9:15 AM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


I live in Jefferson County, WA where we had the highest percentage of yes votes on I-502 for the state. I'm very interested in how the persnickety city government of my little town will address the newly created land use of "Licensed Marijuana Retailer". Will they choose to ignore the clear message that marijuana is used and accepted in their community, or will they treat it much as they did with "Adult Uses" and create zoning that makes it impossible to find a location that satisfies the criteria set out.
posted by humboldt32 at 9:27 AM on November 26, 2012


Will they choose to ignore the clear message that marijuana is used and accepted in their community, or will they treat it much as they did with "Adult Uses" and create zoning that makes it impossible to find a location that satisfies the criteria set out.

Compare and contrast with TRAP laws. There won't be much difference.
posted by Talez at 9:38 AM on November 26, 2012


As many have pointed out, the war on drugs was hugely driven by giving some the power to put otherwise law-abiding people outside the law, and to profit from this situation (forfeiture laws, large private prison system). Those forces exist separately from the desire to regulate what people put in their bodies. So we should be trying to figure out where they will try to go once the war on drugs disappears.

My guess is an amped up "War on Piracy". There's already a lot of disproportionate penalties ($10,000 for downloading one song). Start looking for forfeiture laws — "You ran a bittorrent server from your house; the IP police now own your house." It'd also a good idea to replicate the crack-vs-powder-cocaine style distinction, where penalties fall harder on the weaker. I can't imagine how that will work, but I have faith in the system.
posted by benito.strauss at 9:49 AM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


No, no, no! I'm sure we can win this. We just need more cops, more ability to spy on citizens, harsher penalties, tougher judges, bigger prisons, and lots and lots of rhetoric. Lots.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:28 AM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Both cocaine and methamphetamine are approved for medical use and have been for decades.

The whole medical issue is a red herring anyway. Alcohol isn't legal because it's good for cataracts or nausea or something. It's legal for two reasons; because the government has no business telling you what you can consume in the absence of some larger tragedy of the commons type situation (ie widespread abuse of antibiotics leading to resistance) and because the cost of prohibition is much higher than the cost of dealing with people are are alcoholics.

The exact same logic applies to many or most other drugs.
posted by Justinian at 11:37 AM on November 26, 2012 [12 favorites]


The war on drugs is highly profitable to certain powerful actors such as big tobacco, big alcohol, and the prison-industrial complex.

It is most profitable to the current purveyors of the drugs themselves. It also perpetuates the violence. Legalization would shrink their industry by orders of magnitude and eliminate most of the violence. So, no, the war's not gonna stop.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:46 AM on November 26, 2012


the cost of prohibition is much higher than the cost of dealing with people are are alcoholics.


While this is may be true, it really may not be. We largely privatize the costs of "dealing with people [who] are alcoholics," but we socialize the costs of prohibition. So while the cost may be less for the government, I'm not positive that the costs are less for society as a whole, especially when one factors in the social, aggressive, and business costs of alcoholism.
posted by OmieWise at 11:47 AM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


While this is may be true, it really may not be. We largely privatize the costs of "dealing with people [who] are alcoholics," but we socialize the costs of prohibition. So while the cost may be less for the government, I'm not positive that the costs are less for society as a whole, especially when one factors in the social, aggressive, and business costs of alcoholism.

All very interesting, but there is no evidence that the privatized or public costs of alcoholism went down substantially during prohibition, so it's more like do you want to pay for both or just the one.
posted by Mental Wimp at 11:51 AM on November 26, 2012 [8 favorites]


All very interesting...

Who are you, my condescending Uncle?

Yes, mine is not an argument for prohibition. It's an argument for truth in accounting. If you read carefully you'll see that's all it is.
posted by OmieWise at 12:01 PM on November 26, 2012


The oligarchs can relax. Everybody knows that stoners don't vote very much, and when they do, it's usually for Mickey Mouse, Chucky Cheese, or Ralph Nader.

My understanding is that, in states with Marijuana legalization on the ballot, the youth vote was substantially higher.
posted by effugas at 12:03 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm interested, and a little apprehensive, to see what happens here in Baltimore now that Bealfeld has retired. It takes a long to time to change a culture, and I fear the police will drift back to drugs-on-the-table photo-op policing, and away from the apparently very successful violence prevention strategies he implemented. Homicides have begun to creep back up after serious year-to year declines.
posted by jetsetsc at 12:04 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would so totally read that whole article if I wasn't so... so, uh...

Hey, isn't it lunch time?

posted by mmrtnt at 12:06 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


So while the cost may be less for the government, I'm not positive that the costs are less for society as a whole, especially when one factors in the social, aggressive, and business costs of alcoholism.

What about the costs of people murdering each other to buy and sell booze that might or might not kill them or make them go blind?
posted by empath at 12:27 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


Can we please stop with lazy lulzy pothead jokes?

Of the potheads I know, none of them are basement-dwelling Cheetos-gobbling couch fungi. They vote, they work, they contribute to their families and communities. Lampooning them as lazy and apathetic borrows for the same mindset that gave us the War on Drugs in the first place.

Among the people whom I know are regular tokers are: a school teacher, an aerospace engineer, a couple of nurses, a filmmaker, a photographer, a graphic designer, a couple of programmers, a chef, a small business owner, a tenured professor of history, an attorney, etc.

None of these folks are coasting along in a billowing haze of pot smoke. Pernicious stereotyping, even if well-meaning, is erosive to the quality of the discussion the US needs to be having about drugs, crime, incarceration, and civil liberty.
posted by BitterOldPunk at 12:34 PM on November 26, 2012 [34 favorites]


re: Humboldt

still there is bold talk everywhere about becoming what Napa Valley is to wine.

If they really want that, they sure didn't vote for it.

You know the most fascinating thing I learned from this article:

"Cocaine use has gone down in the last few years; from 2006 to 2010, the number of current users aged 12 or older dropped from 2.4 million to 1.5 million. Methamphetamine use has also dropped, from 731,000 current users in 2006 to 353,000 in 2010."

!!!

By my count, that's a 37% drop in cocaine users and a 52% drop in meth users from 2006 to 2010. That seems remarkable to me. Why hadn't I known that?
posted by mrgrimm at 12:53 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I would like to imagine, but am too lazy to do the research, that there is probably a goodly amount of influence from the internet on this.

And I expect that influence to continue.

The internet has led to many people coming in contact with the mores, imaginings and day-to-day lives of others on a massive scale.

We no longer just have TV, radio and print media to tell us who we are as people.

Individuals can find out about others on a one-to-one basis and not have to rely on assumptions and anecdata. You can be chatting with someone from somewhere about model trains or bicycling and not find out for weeks that that person is the supposed racial, cultural and religious opposite of yourself.

People can also organize in an afternoon instead of posting handbills with little pre-cut tear-offs of phone numbers at the bottom and wait for calls.

Although I agree that the trajectory of the "War on File Sharing" appears to be following that of the WoD, it has also seen a huge derailment just last January over SOPA/PIPA. Using that timeline, if the WoD had started in 1968, that would mean it would have been dealt a crippling blow in 1981.

In other words, things might actually start getting better in a lot of different areas of modern life because of advanced, one-to-one communications.

posted by mmrtnt at 12:54 PM on November 26, 2012 [5 favorites]


In other words, things might actually start getting better in a lot of different areas of modern life because of advanced, one-to-one communications.

I think the Mayans said it was supposed to happen in like 24 days.

I think the biggest thing there is that information cannot be hidden anymore. Sure, there's stuff like JSTOR, etc., but people are now going to blog about the results of research for those of us without access to the actual data.

Much of the Drug War (e.g. DARE) is based on fear and misinformation. A free and open Internet is a Counterforce.

All of the people who learned about marihuana from government propaganda are dying out (they were all cocaine addicts, apparently), and the younger generation has access to the real information. What do you think is gonna happen?
posted by mrgrimm at 1:14 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Everyone that says pot is harmless (including myself at one time) has never been touched by marijuana addiction. A year ago, I would have said that pot was harmless but after the past year - I have come to believe that there will always be a small percent of users that it truly is harmful or detrimental to them to the point that they can no longer control it (similar to an alcoholic who needs it to function). This isn't to say that it shouldn't be legal - it should be but marijuana and other drug addictions need to be brought out of the dark corners and made main stream that there is help available. Shift from a prohibition type stance to a rehabilitative to truly help addicts.

However, please don't make the mistake of saying pot is completely harmless - it isn't, the harm just isn't worth the huge cost associated with prohibition (not including the total failure that prohibition has caused on multiple fronts).
posted by lpcxa0 at 1:37 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


No one says it's harmless. Tylenol isn't harmless. Caffeine isn't harmless. The question is how much harm is there, and how can it be minimized? Clearly prohibition is protecting no one from it, and exacerbating it for many others.
posted by empath at 1:47 PM on November 26, 2012 [4 favorites]


However, please don't make the mistake of saying pot is completely harmless

No one used the word "harmless." The article mentions (once?) that many people think it is as anecdotal evidence of social trends, but no one's trying to claim it's totally harmless (though I'm hard pressed to find any major dangers to addiction aside from cost).

However, I will say that even when smoked, marijuana is far less harmful than simple sugar. So for now I would say that eating or vaporizing cannabis is essentially "harmless" (based on the little we know so far) for normal adults.

after the past year - I have come to believe that there will always be a small percent of users that it truly is harmful or detrimental to them to the point that they can no longer control it

Shopping, chocolate, Facebook ... I think cannabis is about on par with those addictions. It doesn't seem to be nearly as powerful as gambling or alcohol addictions, both of which have billion-dollar industries defending our right to drink and throw money away.

Clearly prohibition is protecting no one from it, and exacerbating it for many others.

I think most of us are on the same page there.
posted by mrgrimm at 1:49 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


It's an argument for truth in accounting. If you read carefully you'll see that's all it is.

I understand that, but in the context of the conversation, you seemed to be quibbling with the idea that legalization might be cheaper. I wanted to clarify that that was not the implication of your assertion of uncertainty about the relative costs of enforcement and treatment.
posted by Mental Wimp at 1:53 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Wow (maaaaaan) that NYMAG article drips with east coast hatred and condescension.
posted by telstar at 1:57 PM on November 26, 2012


1. If it can be tolerated, it can be regulated.
2. If it can be regulated, it can be taxed.
posted by twidget at 1:59 PM on November 26, 2012


"Cocaine use has gone down in the last few years; from 2006 to 2010, the number of current users aged 12 or older dropped from 2.4 million to 1.5 million. Methamphetamine use has also dropped, from 731,000 current users in 2006 to 353,000 in 2010."

But they're saying the war on drugs is a failure? Am a little confused here.
posted by Melismata at 2:10 PM on November 26, 2012


But they're saying the war on drugs is a failure? Am a little confused here.


Drug use follows trends like anything else does-- what are the statistics over all?
posted by empath at 2:12 PM on November 26, 2012


Drug use follows trends like anything else does-- what are the statistics over all?

The first things I learned back when I did research on drug use and abuse was that, a) young people are most likely to begin to use drugs, whereas older people who haven't previously are unlikely to start, and b) most "addicts" mature out of drug use. Since the population is aging, drug use goes down over time. Simple demographics often explain temporal trends.
posted by Mental Wimp at 2:20 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


RELEVANT
posted by ninjew at 2:28 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Bealefeld has an obsessive streak, and soon he was pouring over the matrices that predicted violence

Poring. I see this all the time, but usually in publications without editors.

Oh, and yah, the war on drugs is stupid.
posted by scelerat at 2:44 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


Drug use follows trends like anything else does-- what are the statistics over all?

Well, if you follow that link I posted ... illicit drug use in general is slightly up from 2002-2010.

The first things I learned back when I did research on drug use and abuse was that, a) young people are most likely to begin to use drugs, whereas older people who haven't previously are unlikely to start, and b) most "addicts" mature out of drug use.

Huh. This was the most interesting thing to me about cocaine and meth. From the FPP:

'The long boom in American demand for cocaine, the economic fact that shaped the modern traffic, is declining, rapidly, by many measures. According to the federal government’s preferred measure, the National Survey on Drug Use and Health, the number of people abusing cocaine has halved since 2006. No other illegal drug has replaced cocaine: Heroin, far less prevalent, has held steady, and methamphetamine use seems to have peaked nearly a decade ago. “This decline,” says Peter Reuter, professor of public affairs at the University of Maryland and a leading thinker on drug policy, “is very much real.”

Cocaine addicts are aging, and they aren’t being replaced. In the early nineties, the average age of an addict, Reuter says, was about 27. Now it is about 40. Plenty of people are still trying the drug—the rates of first-time use haven’t dropped—but for reasons that haven’t fully been discerned, “they aren’t becoming addicts,” Reuter says. The epidemic has now been waning for fifteen years, long enough to think the trends will last and that the florid paranoia, broken families, and death of the crack-cocaine epidemic will not be a permanent feature of American life but a cultural artifact of the ugliness of the eighties. “It is awful, but many cocaine addicts are dying,” says Jonathan Caulkins, a drug scholar at Carnegie Mellon. It is awful. It also makes new ideas possible.'

posted by mrgrimm at 2:48 PM on November 26, 2012


The stark decline in cocaine use also caught my attention. Perhaps the "War on Drugs" wasnt entirely a failure. Having grown up with programs like DARE all around me I can say from experience that

1. Everything I learned about marijuana was instantly recognized as bullshit. I later went on to verify this bullshit firsthand.
2. But everything I learned about OTHER drugs did make an impact.

As the article says
"Plenty of people are still trying the drug (cocaine)—the rates of first-time use haven’t dropped—but for reasons that haven’t fully been discerned, “they aren’t becoming addicts,” Reuter says"

While many of my peers might try cocaine, heroine, or meth we all went through the DARE awareness program and know exactly what happens when one becomes an addict. And because none of that was bullshit - unlike the marijuana education - first time users nowadays are much more careful about not becoming addicts.
posted by Glibpaxman at 3:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Actually, there's already such a thing as medical amphetamines. They're prescribed for ADHD. Adderall is one such example.
---
medical "meth"
As other people have pointed out, it's not only possible to get a prescription for methamphetamine, it's at least somewhat commonly used as a treatment for ADHD.
While this is may be true, it really may not be. We largely privatize the costs of "dealing with people [who] are alcoholics," but we socialize the costs of prohibition. So while the cost may be less for the government, I'm not positive that the costs are less for society as a whole, especially when one factors in the social, aggressive, and business costs of alcoholism.
Interestingly, Alcohol is actually by far one of the worst drugs in term of social harm. How many other drugs cause tens of thousands of accidental deaths a year? How many other drugs kill thousands of people in the US each year due to overdose? Alcohol actually does cause people to become violent. Certainly moreso then marijuana (which seems like it would reduce violence). I don't know if there are any studies done on which drugs cause the most violence among users, but I do know that studies place alcohol highest in terms of overall social harm (which would include drunk driving and alcohol poisoning).
posted by delmoi at 3:00 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And because none of that was bullshit - unlike the marijuana education - first time users nowadays are much more careful about not becoming addicts.

Well, a lot of what DARE taught about "hard" drugs is bullshit. The materials they produce tend to over-dramatize the chances of addiction as well as the consequences. For example, the program won't mention that most addicts are functional and only a minority get into social and financial problems because of it. It also avoids revealing that most "addicts" fall away from use after a certain age and only a minority keep using into later adulthood.

I think the worst part of such scare-tactic drug education is that in so grossly exaggerating the risks and effects of drug use, many students come to believe that it's all bullshit and that the drugs are harmless. Most kids know some users, and some of them will be high-achieving people who also use recreationally, perhaps very frequently. It is unlikely that they will know many people having serious problems, and those they do know will have been messed up before they started to use. This was certainly the case when I was in school. A natural conclusion to draw is that what DARE is telling them is all just a horror story and can be safetly ignored. More successful programs tend to be more honest and factual.
posted by Mental Wimp at 3:33 PM on November 26, 2012


dhartung writes "At the same time, we began putting pressure on slumlords, focusing on those who chronically rent to people with criminal records (even drug house convictions!) and some who actually take a tenant who's been a problem and just put them in another location they manage."

I'm curious, where do you think people with criminal convictions are supposed to rent? Especially considering something like 1 in 4 Americans have criminal records.
posted by Mitheral at 3:39 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


An interesting link on drug related deaths.

Excluding deaths caused by polydrug use shows that almost all deaths reported as mephedrone deaths, cannabis deaths and ecstasy deaths were misreported in the media. Most were caused by other drugs or mixing with other drugs (such as alcohol). The data in fact shows that there have only ever been two deaths in the UK solely caused by mephedrone (both last year). There were in fact only five deaths solely related to ecstasy and two deaths solely related to cannabis. This compares to 98 deaths solely caused by paracetamol and 157 deaths solely caused by antidepressants.
posted by Sebmojo at 3:43 PM on November 26, 2012 [2 favorites]


two deaths solely related to cannabis
Two people crushed to death by giant bags of weed? The always-authoritative internets assure me that the LD50 for cannabis is something north of 1000 lbs consumed in 15 minutes.
posted by b1tr0t at 4:33 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


Levamisole cutting of cocaine, at what appears to be the source of virtually all of it in the US, has led to a couple of people I know (who weren't problem users) to quit.
posted by flaterik at 4:56 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


And because none of that was bullshit - unlike the marijuana education

A lot of what I remember about how addictive hard drugs supposedly are was bullshit. Not whether they are addictive or not, but that kind of "smoke crack once and you're addicted" BS. Cocaine, heroin, etc --- addictive potential is high, but it's not guaranteed and people often do use them without addiction, something the DARE stuff I remember basically didn't acknowledge.
posted by wildcrdj at 5:18 PM on November 26, 2012


The stark decline in cocaine use also caught my attention. Perhaps the "War on Drugs" wasnt entirely a failure.

First, you can't look at a single drug in isolation; you have to look at overall rates since people may simply switch to other drugs. Second, even if you could look at them in isolation, the war on drugs began in 1971. The stark decline in cocaine use began in 2006. Wouldn't logic suggest that the cause is likely at best tangentially related to the war on drugs?
posted by Justinian at 6:17 PM on November 26, 2012 [1 favorite]


I'm curious, where do you think people with criminal convictions are supposed to rent? Especially considering something like 1 in 4 Americans have criminal records.
Well, clearly we should just kill everyone who's convicted on drug charges. You know, a few months of probation and community service, then- pop, shot in the head. Otherwise they might, like, rent an appartment somewhere.
posted by delmoi at 7:09 PM on November 26, 2012 [3 favorites]


A public university located in one of California's prime pot-growing regions has formed an academic institute devoted to marijuana.
The Humboldt Institute for Interdisciplinary Marijuana Research at Humboldt State University plans to sponsor scholarly lectures and coordinate research among 11 faculty members from fields such as economics, geography, politics, psychology and sociology.

posted by 445supermag at 8:46 PM on November 26, 2012


Mitheral, in my experience the supply of places for them to rent or at least bunk down is far greater than the need. I don't consider it my responsibility to let them rent next door.

We're not talking about everyone with a criminal record. We're talking about people with recent convictions for drug offenses or violence. That's not 1 in 4, and I would like you to tell me what I owe them. Mind you, I still have the shirt laden with my dried blood.
posted by dhartung at 1:25 AM on November 27, 2012 [1 favorite]


medical "meth"

Do people remember that these were therapeutic drugs before they became illegal drugs?


And then, sometimes come around for the full ironic 360 -- Adderal and the like are just amphetamines, after all.
posted by stavrosthewonderchicken at 2:17 AM on November 27, 2012


Marijuana Decriminalization Drops Youth Crime Rates by Stunning 20% in One Year: Arresting and putting low-level juvenile offenders into the criminal-justice system pulls many kids deeper into trouble rather than turning them around.
posted by homunculus at 1:04 PM on November 27, 2012 [2 favorites]


      two deaths solely related to cannabis

Two people crushed to death by giant bags of weed? The always-authoritative internets assure me that the LD50 for cannabis is something north of 1000 lbs consumed in 15 minutes.


I'm sure it refers to two people killed in car accidents who had only cannabis (and no alcohol or other drugs) in their system. To call that sort of accident "cannabis related" is obviously a stretch. (By that measure, there are like thousands of "cell phone related" deaths every month.)
posted by mrgrimm at 2:44 PM on November 27, 2012


It's the metric currently used for alcohol and speed (the velocity kind) deaths. If you had one beer an hour ago and were doing 91 in a 90 your accident report will list both alcohol and speed as contributing factors even if the accident started with a blow out.
posted by Mitheral at 2:55 PM on November 27, 2012


I was good friends at HSU with one of the co-founders of the Humboldt project mentioned above. He posted this video the other day which is quite interesting.
posted by humboldt32 at 8:17 AM on November 28, 2012


Pentagon Wants to Keep Running Its Afghan Drug War From Blackwater’s HQ
posted by homunculus at 11:13 AM on November 28, 2012


Pentagon Wants to Keep Running Its Afghan Drug War From Blackwater’s HQ
posted by homunculus


I thought this was going to be a link to the Onion.
posted by ActingTheGoat at 11:34 PM on November 28, 2012


How about this one: Two alligators, a pole dancer and pot at Olympia area shooting scene
posted by homunculus at 9:44 AM on November 29, 2012


More surreal headlines from Wired's Danger Room: U.S. Ready to Offer Mercenaries $10 Billion for a Drug-War Air Force
posted by Harald74 at 1:47 AM on December 5, 2012


Mother Jones: How The War On Drugs Caused The Fake Pot Problem

Theodore Dalrymple writes in City Journal: On The Legalization Of Drugs
posted by the man of twists and turns at 2:47 AM on December 6, 2012


Obama's Pot Problem: Now that states have started legalizing recreational marijuana, will the president continue the government’s war on weed?
posted by homunculus at 11:52 AM on December 9, 2012


Lewis Lapham: Raiding Conciousness - Why the War on Drugs is a War on Human Nature.
posted by the man of twists and turns at 9:45 AM on December 12, 2012


Outrageous HSBC Settlement Proves the Drug War is a Joke
posted by homunculus at 4:04 PM on December 13, 2012


Geez you'd think they'd at least charge them the amount of the deposits.
posted by Mitheral at 6:36 PM on December 13, 2012


Obama: I’ve got ‘bigger fish to fry’ than pot smokers
posted by homunculus at 1:05 PM on December 14, 2012


While it makes sense the Feds wouldn't waste resources on < 1 oz holding users, a bigger issue is whether they will pursue prosecution of state-level legal growers, dealers, and state officials who regulate the trade. Since regulation and revenue are a big part of the argument for legalization, if the feds make those things impossible the argument could swing back against more innocuous offenses.
posted by localroger at 1:37 PM on December 14, 2012


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