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Apr. 24 2010 - 12:48 pm | 679 views | 0 recommendations | 39 comments

Drug War ‘Failure’ Is Not An Argument Against The Drug War

Police officer and plain clothes police attack...

Image by AFP/Getty Images via Daylife

About 3,000 Americans died as a result of drunk driving in the year 2007. Meanwhile, about 16,000 Americans are murdered each year, and 1.3 million American women, and 800,000 American men are assaulted by a significant other annually.

These grim figures have not yet resulted in a chorus of people demanding that drunk driving, murder, and domestic violence be legalized. Indeed, if anything, a spike in the incidence of a certain crime typically leads to demands for a crackdown, and ultimately stiffer penalties for the convicted.

Why, then, do Drug War opponents like to point to the “failure” of criminalized drug use as an argument for legalization?

It’s certainly a favorite argument of Drug War opponents – the claim that the Drug War has “failed,” and that therefore drugs should be legalized.  Walter Cronkite, the former president of Brazil, a scribe at commondreams.org, and bassist extraordinaire Sting have all made it in recent years. Here at True/Slant, our own Allison Kilkenny forwarded a similar argument just this week.

Yet the argument makes no logical sense, and is dependent on a flawed understanding of the nature of our legal system.

In the United States, it is understood that prohibitive laws will reduce the incidents of a certain crime, not entirely eradicate it. Only a truly draconian system – a North Korea – aims to completely eliminate any behavior that it criminalizes. Here in the US, we have found a way to strike a balance between liberty and the enforcement of laws. For instance, we will try to catch killers, but we will not subject all American citizens to strip searches to prevent murders from ever happening. We do not consider laws against murder a “failure,” solely because some miscreants continue to kill.

Indeed, when the amount of a certain crime has reached intolerable highs, American law enforcement has traditionally innovated  to bring about a reduction. Consider the oft-discussed – but still breathtaking – reduction in New York City’s murder rate. In the 1970s and into the ’80s, America’s largest city suffered from a high violent crime rate. As the criminologist George Kelling remembers it, the city was “racked with crime: murders, burglaries, drug deals, car thefts, thefts from cars.” Strangely, this did not result in New Yorkers demanding that crime, burglary, and car theft be legalized. Rather, New York implemented the innovative “broken windows” theory of policing, and ultimately turned New York into America’s safest big city.

It seems self-evident that the criminalization of hard drugs has at least done something to reduce their use. Does anyone believe that if heroin and cocaine were available at the corner convenience store, no more people would use them than do now? Part of the reason that drinking is so widespread in our society is that booze is readily available in most places. I know this from my own experience – I drink a lot because the opportunities to do so are ample.

But, even if the Drug War is a “failure” in that many people continue to use drugs, this fact does not constitute a logical argument for the legalization of drugs. Drug war opponents need to find another argument. The biggest “failure” is the case that they are trying so desperately to make.


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  1. collapse expand

    I agree with your logic and think arguments like this are needed should drug policy reform advocates wish to further advance their efforts.

    In my opinion, it’s better to argue for a change in the laws by pointing out the illogicality of attempting to legislate morality by punishing a class of victimless criminals. This makes more sense, I think.

    Appeals for decriminalization with a pitch rooted in greed are also particularly effective … http://trueslant.com/stephenwebster/2010/04/20/dont-legalize-it/

  2. collapse expand

    Ethan; you’re either a troll or mentally deficient. You put up so many Strawmen that you actually constitute a fire hazard.

    Prohibition is a sickening horror and the ocean of incompetence, corruption and human wreckage it has left in its wake is almost endless.

    Prohibition has decimated generations and criminalized millions for a behavior which is entwined in human existence, and for what other purpose than to uphold the defunct and corrupt thinking of a minority of misguided, self-righteous Neo-Puritans and degenerate demagogues who wish nothing but unadulterated destruction on the rest of us.

    Based on the unalterable proviso that drug use is essentially an unstoppable and ongoing human behavior which has been with us since the dawn of time, any serious reading on the subject of past attempts at any form of drug prohibition would point most normal thinking people in the direction of sensible regulation.

    By its very nature, prohibition cannot fail but create a vast increase in criminal activity, and rather than preventing society from descending into anarchy, it actually fosters an anarchic business model – the international Drug Trade. Any decisions concerning quality, quantity, distribution and availability are then left in the hands of unregulated, anonymous, ruthless drug dealers, who are interested only in the huge profits involved.

    Many of us have now, finally, wised up to the fact that the best avenue towards realistically dealing with drug use and addiction is through proper regulation which is what we already do with alcohol & tobacco, clearly two of our most dangerous mood altering substances. But for those of you whose ignorant and irrational minds traverse a fantasy plane of existence, you will no doubt remain sorely upset with any type of solution that does not seem to lead to the absurd and unattainable utopia of a drug free society.

    There is an irrefutable connection between drug prohibition and the crime, corruption, disease and death it causes. If you are not capable of understanding this connection then maybe you’re using something far stronger than the rest of us. Anybody ‘halfway bright’, and who’s not psychologically challenged, should be capable of understanding that it is not simply the demand for drugs that creates the mayhem, it is our refusal to allow legal businesses to meet that demand.

    No amount of money, police powers, weaponry, diminution of rights and liberties, wishful thinking or pseudo-science will make our streets safer, only an end to prohibition can do that. How much longer are you willing to foolishly risk your own survival by continuing to ignore the obvious, historically confirmed solution?

    If you still support the kool aid mass suicide cult of prohibition, and erroneously believe that you can win a war without logic and practical solutions, then prepare yourself for even more death, corruption, terrorism, sickness, imprisonment, unemployment, foreclosed homes, and the complete loss of the rule of law and the Bill of Rights.

    “A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded.”
    Abraham Lincoln

    The only thing prohibition successfully does is prohibit regulation & taxation while turning even our schools and prisons into black markets for drugs. Regulation would mean the opposite!

    • collapse expand

      Dear malcolmkyle: Users have no credibility in this discussion because they are under the influence, and thus psychologically challenged, and therefore cannot think like a normal person. Drug abuse also has been proven to make people’s ability to resist the use insulting language non-existent. If you can’t accept this reality you are a either troll or mentally deficient, or a misguided self-righteous Neo-Puritan, or a degenerate demagogues whose ignorant and completely irrational mind traverses a fantasy plane of existence, with a poisoned brain that is irreparably scrambled into an omelet of by uncontrollable rage and frightened cognitive dissonance.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Leon Kelly; Kindly deal with at least one of the issues I’ve raised (and yes, without cognitive dissonance if you please!). If you’re not capable of this then at least quit defending this failed policy of prohibition. Do you not have a conscience? Are you not aware that prohibition has cost far more lives than the drugs themselves? Are you also not aware that by continuing to support this insane policy you are aligning yourself with the darkest elements within society.

        If you support prohibition then you’ve helped trigger the worst crime wave in history.

        If you support prohibition you’ve a helped create a black market with massive incentives to hook both adults and children alike.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped to make these dangerous substances available in schools and prisons.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped raise gang warfare to a level not seen since the days of alcohol bootlegging.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped create the prison-for-profit synergy with drug lords.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped remove many important civil liberties from those citizens you falsely claim to represent.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped put previously unknown and contaminated drugs on the streets.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped to escalate Theft, Muggings and Burglaries.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped to divert scarce law-enforcement resources away from protecting your fellow citizens from the ever escalating violence against their person or property.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped overcrowd the courts and prisons, thus making it increasingly impossible to curtail the people who are hurting and terrorizing others.

        If you support prohibition you’ve helped evolve local gangs into transnational enterprises with intricate power structures that reach into every corner of society, controlling vast swaths of territory with significant social and military resources at their disposal.

        Like it or not, there has never been, and nor will there ever be, a drug-free society; the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence. Nobody here is claiming that any substance is beneficial for either the individual or society. It is true however that certain substances help the soul heal and relieve pain while others provide short-term relief from a monotonous existence at the risk of possible long-term health problems.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          …the use of addictive or recreational drugs is a natural part of human existence<<< What BS this is!! Users are abnormal and sick. There is nothing normal about poisoning oneself.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
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            Why on Earth is the *least* toxic substance banned? And why on Earth would you expect Americans to tolerate tyranny? Allow me to boil it down for you, Skippy: To keep Cannabis illegal while tobacco and alcohol are dispensed freely would be *MURDEROUSLY STUPID*.

            ANY questions?

            -Richard Steeb, San Jose California

            In response to another comment. See in context »
          • collapse expand

            Leon Kelly; Alcohol is a factor in the following

            * 73% of all felonies * 73% of child beating cases * 41% of rape cases * 80% of wife battering cases * 72% of stabbings * 83% of homicides

            So are you now going to call for a return to alcohol prohibition? You wouldn’t dare would you? For even you must know that prohibiting alcohol in the 1920s not only caused acute murder and mayhem but even increased consumption.

            Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:

            “For the first time in our history, full faith and confidence in and respect for the hitherto sacred Constitution of the United States has been weakened and impaired because this terrifying invasion of natural rights has been engrafted upon the fundamental law of our land, and experience has shown that it is being wantonly and derisively violated in every State, city, and hamlet in the country.”

            “It has made potential drunkards of the youth of the land, not because intoxicating liquor appeals to their taste or disposition, but because it is a forbidden thing, and because it is forbidden makes an irresistible appeal to the unformed and immature. It has brought into our midst the intemperate woman, the most fearsome and menacing thing for the future of our national life.”

            “It has brought the sickening slime of corruption, dishonor, and disgrace into every group of employees and officials in city, State, and Federal departments that have been charged with the enforcement of this odious law.”



            So what on earth are you playing at Leon?

            In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Um, this is a dumb comment. There is no evidence from what was written that malcolmkyle is a user. And unless you can show studies that prove that anyone who uses is “psychologically challenged” (whatever the hell that means, and I have a degree in psychology), then your “argument” immediately falls apart.

        The rest is just insults. Unimpressive.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Well that’s a great argument for those with no need for the truth in their lives. Why is it that you think your fantasy land thinking is valid? The truth doesn’t change because someone gets high, and it’s absurd to simply dismiss the arguments of those on the other side of the table using such a canard. This is particularly true when it’s demonstrable that your outsider’s point of view is more akin to a blind man trying to describe an elephant. In the light of reality your position is a proven failure, with almost a century of supporting evidence to back that assertion. Why is it that you Know Nothing prohibitionists so hate the truth? Did the truth come to your house, kick in your door and shoot your dogs dead? I’ll bet if the truth were to politely knock on your door that you’d call the police and demand it be arrested for trespassing.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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        How many people does alcohol kill in America? How about cannabis? Which one is illegal? Does that make any sense? It’s pure fascist league to use alcohol and think you have the right to order other people not to use FAR safer cannabis.

        And where did that figure of 3000 deaths a year from drunk driving come from? This is what I found on a Centers for Disease Control and Prevention web site:

        •In 2009, 10,839 people were killed in alcohol-impaired driving crashes, accounting for nearly one-third (32%) of all traffic-related deaths in the United States.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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        Nice work, leonkelly, you’ve convinced yourself that you don’t have to listen to a word of what your opponents say. You say “Drug abuse also has been proven to make people’s ability to resist the use insulting language non-existent.” Really? And then in the very next sentence you use insulting language yourself! You’re a trip, buddy.

        You do understand that alcohol is a drug, don’t you? How many people does alcohol kill? What about cannabis? Keep your hands off peaceful cannabis users, and stop forcing people to use killer alcohol to get buzzed.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  3. collapse expand

    Your article raises an interesting question, is keeping murder, drunk driving and assault illegal reducing the number of victims created by these activities? And *if* it isn’t, then why do we keep them illegal?

    Our laws should be based on what can be proven to work and not on unproven assumptions or hyper-moralistic ideology.

    The same question is relevant regarding marijuana. Is keeping marijuana illegal reducing the number of victims created by the plant? If you were to roll up a joint right now, Mr. Epstein, what victims would be created? Anyone at all? And how many victims are created by the prohibition? 800,000 people are arrested every year for possessing marijuana flowers, and 7,000 people were murdered by the cartels just last year in order to protect their drug routes, many of these victims were children, police officers and politicians. Additionally, taxpayers fork out more than $40 billion a year because of the prohibition. That all adds up to a really large number of people being harmed by the prohibition.

    So why don’t we, the victims of this policy, end it?

  4. collapse expand

    Which one of these seems the least like a crime
    A. Getting drunk and killing someone in car crash
    B. Murdering Someone
    C. Beating the ever living sh*t out of your spouse
    D. Relaxing at the end of the day with some herb

    Which crime’s prohibition creates an outlandish profit motive for criminals.
    A. Getting drunk and killing someone in a car crash
    B. Murdering Someone
    C. Beating the everliving sh*t out of your spouse
    D. Smoking Cannabis

    Which “crime” has been committed by over 100,000,000 Americans
    A. Getting drunk and killing someone in a car crash
    B. Murdering Someone
    C. Beating the everliving sh*t out of spouse.
    D. Smoking Cannabis

    Please Mr Epstein, I wish you prohib’s would give it a break on equating the attempt to recognize alternatives to a failed policy with legalizing rape and carnage.

  5. collapse expand

    Consuming drugs is a victimless ‘crime’. Kidnapping, rape and murder are called ‘victim-full’ crimes. How is it you do not understand this very basic notion?

    Does anyone else find it interesting that the I.Q. of the average prohibitionist is going way, way down? I literally cannot find a single intelligent prohibitionist who offers one single argument that doesn’t make a total mockery of even the most basic principles of set theory and logic. Smoking cannabis, snorting cocaine, or shooting heroin are one set of things. Kidnap, rape, car theft (you fill in the blank) are a totally different set of things.

    You are starting with the lemma that drug consumption is a crime which impedes upon other’s rights and liberties. You have yet to prove that. (BTW- lemma is a math word that means assumption since you’re clearly not ‘the swimmiest fish in the tank’).

    I don’t have a lot of time on my hands to post since this druggie mathematician has finals coming up soon. I have been waiting for another ‘colonel dunce’ to come along though. Making a mockery of people like you is just plain fun.

    Welcome to the world of spirited public debate Ethan. At least you come out to play. 99.9% of prohibitionists are loathe to even have public discourse on prohibition. Ever notice how their web sites don’t allow for any public commentary? So, for as long as you can take the heat, I look forward to being part of a growing team which thoroughly crush you, and everything you have ever stood for. Good day to you Ethan.

  6. collapse expand

    Why, then, do Drug War opponents like to point to the “failure” of criminalized drug use as an argument for legalization?

    Because there’s a social cost to the Drug War, it’s not “free”, and if the program to end the use of drugs is not having results in excess of its costs, the program cannot be justified.

    I dunno, strikes me as pretty simple. If the costs of a program are not worth the benefits, the program should be brought to an end.

    Does anyone believe that if heroin and cocaine were available at the corner convenience store, no more people would use them than do now?

    Isn’t the “corner convenience store” the stereotypical place to buy illegal drugs? Strikes me that you’ve not thought this issue through very well.

  7. collapse expand

    “For instance, we will try to catch killers, but we will not subject all American citizens to strip searches to prevent murders from ever happening.”

    Haven’t been to an airport lately, have you?

  8. collapse expand

    There are any number of problems with your argument when viewed domestically, but viewed on an international scale, those pale. The so-called “drug war” is an international offensive, now being tied to the “war on terror” in a way that should make any thinking person’s head ache. I appreciate the devil’s advocate tone of this post, but for thousands in Afghanistan, Columbia, Ciudad Juárez and elsewhere, the folly of the drug war is not so blissfully theoretical.

  9. collapse expand

    What is with this guy? Ethan, really, a scientific report about people obsessively tanning is endangering “notions of individual agency and free choice” but the next four posts are spent in defence of criminalizing individual consumption of a natural product or its chemical derivatives and the inevitable black market regime that comes with prohibition. How do you square that circle?

  10. collapse expand


    Why not legalize, tax and regulate drugs?

    1. Take the 2.6 billion dollar DEA budget and target it towards drug education and rehabilitation.

    2. Regulate harder and more addictive drugs more strictly – i.e. require ID tracking, hinge reception of government social services (food stamps, Medicaid etc…) upon non-use or entry into rehab.

    3. Tax, Tax, Tax.

    The revenue generated plus the savings in not putting users in prison would go a long way to eliminating the federal deficit and many state budget shortfalls.

    The ‘War on Drugs’ will always be a failure. In my opinion, prohibition creates far more problems than (both social and fiscal) than a more common sense regulatory approach.

  11. collapse expand

    The fact that a policy is a failure is not an argument against pursuing it!? What sophisticated logic! Once again, Epstein’s “razor” reads more like a “club!”

  12. collapse expand

    Leon Kelly; Ethan Epstein himself has told us that he uses “too much” alcohol. So you must also consider him to be “abnormal and sick” And do you also think the same of Obama, Kirsten Dunst, Brad Pitt, Jennifer Aniston, Morgan Freeman, Michael Bloomberg, George Clooney, Stephen King, Michael phelps, Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, Steve Jobs, ..ad infinitum …

    The jigs up Leon; find yourself another lost cause!

  13. collapse expand

    I’m going to side with the many here that agree that if the cost of the enforcement itself exceeds the cost of the crime, then we ought to consider why we’re spending the effort at criminalizing the activity. That was one reason why Prohibition failed.

    Incidentally, as a side note to all you anti-prohibition people: The case for repealing prohibition wasn’t as obvious as you might think. Most of the justifications failed to note that the number of fatalities due to drinking dropped precipitously during Prohibition. While I’m almost certain that some of that drop may have been due to data collection artefacts, it still isn’t an explanation that covers the entire effect. Another issue to consider is whether the smuggling would have happened anyway, with different goods.

    Today, if people were to argue that Marijuana ought to be legalized, taxed, and sold, I can’t think of many social obstacles (as long as those who grow it aren’t spraying it down with nicotine).

    Nevertheless, with drug prohibitions no matter what drugs we legalize, there will always be smuggling. For example, we can’t legalize opiates for over the counter sale because they are physically addictive. The costs to society in terms of lost productivity would be unreasonable. I do not expect that most crops for opiates will suddenly give up in favor of growing Marijuana.

    • collapse expand

      Jake; You’re actually totally wrong about there being a drop in fatalities during alcohol prohibition. There was a marked increase in both alcohol consumption and related fatalities. kids were even taking it to school. Here is part of the testimony of Judge Alfred J Talley, given before the Senate Hearings of 1926:

      “One, of the most imposing promises made by the friends of prohibition before the eighteenth amendment was that by abolishing drink crime would be decreased to a minimum. That promise has not been fulfilled. Crime has increased in such amazing proportion that it has become! the dominant consideration of most of the State and municipal governments of the Nation.”

      “I need not quote statistics to this committee, I am sure, to demonstrate that this is the most lawless country on the face of the earth. I go a step further. I assert that prohibition is one of the largest contributing factors to that disgraceful condition, by reason of the conceded, failure or inability of Federal and State authorities to enforce the law; it has created a disrespect for law which, starting with prohibition, has gone all along the line.”

      “Our officials. have tried to enforce this prohibition act and failed. Many have retired, in disgust. Prosecutors have admitted failure and utter inability to stem the tide of lawlessness. Judges have from the bench denounced the law as infamous and a breeder of crime.”

      “Now, the question of intoxication, arrests for intoxication by the police department may help to get a picture of this thing.”

      In 1919 (the first year of Prohibition) there were 6,855 arrests in New York for intoxication.
      In 1920 there were 7,470. I want you to note the progress.
      In 1921, 7,893.
      In 1922 there were 10,885.
      In 1923 there were 13,141.
      In 1924 there were 13,036.
      In 1925,11,011.

      “I want to quote as briefly as possible one of the best qualified men upon the effect on child life in New York City, a statement by Vincent Pizarro, veteran superintendent of the Children’s Society, generally known as the Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Children, who says there is more drinking amongst children than was thought of before prohibition; that they experience a new thing of girls under 18 coming to them as a result of drinking parties; they do not get them over that age, and they are brought into them ravished, generally as a result of drinking parties; that boys and girls who would not have thought about drinking before prohibition are now engaged in it, and that they find that the young girl of 16 and 17 is the one that is most susceptible; that the boys can not go to parties without gin; and that the harm being done in the road houses and night clubs and the speakeasies is appalling.”

      Read more here:

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand

        Beware of these statistics. Public drunkedness could be dismissed within boundaries when the law allowed people to consume alcohol. However, it couldn’t be dismissed when prohibition was the law.

        Of course, as time wore on, the excuses of “he’s drunk, that’s all” wore thinner and thinner. A more interesting set of statistics might be to look at industrial and road accident trends.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  14. collapse expand

    Ethan Epstein; when are you going to deal with any of the points we’ve raised? Or are you just going to hide behind your SockPuppet -LeonKelly?

    As Kramer just pointed out, this whole dangerous debacle is far from just theoretical. Prohibition costs lives and livelihoods at a rate far in excess of what any drug can do, and that even includes one of the most deadly ones, alcohol. Didn’t you tell us yourself that you drink too much? Is that’s what’s happening here Ethan? Do you get drunk before you write all this rubbish? It would go a long way to explaining things!

    • collapse expand

      Two or many) wrongs do not make a right. The premise that drug intake is normal, and not a bad thing because people drink, smoke, or indulge in any other variety of self-destructive behavior is lame and childish. What I find to be quite amazing here is that users are arguing to have their hideous habit mainstreamed for reasons of making the world a better place and saving money is a simple bait and switch. If you dopes want your dope legalized and affordable endorse that. We live in a world where people show up for work bugeyed due to their chemical crutches of anti-depressants. I once stood in a grocery store check-out and watched a young stoned father leave his toddler in shopping cart and drift in his hooch haze toward the sliding doors. Pot may not be as bad as booze, but the exploding plethora of powerful drugs capable of killing people is out of hand. Again, I ask all you pro-dope users: What does the empirical evidence tell us. Where has this been tried and what did it achieve? And what a buncha Hollywood people do with their excess time and money means not a thing.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
      • collapse expand


        Who gave you moral authority to declare this right or wrong?

        I find your attitude that your morality is superior for more hideous than someone smoking a little weed. And you fatuous dismissal of anti-depressants, describing them as a ‘chemical crutch’ both ignorant and demeaning. BTW – where did you get your medical degree? Oh – don’t have one I bet…don’t know sh*t about chemical imbalances in the brain. I would bet you couldn’t even describe the clinical implications of depression.

        You are just a blowhard without a valid point. And no – I don’t use drugs other than what my physician prescribed for me. And WTF does Hollywood have to do with anything?

        You appear to be the one stoned here. Or maybe you are just high on self-righteousness.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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        Four years ago I was diagnosed with cluster headaches. Now I assume you have a lack of medical knowledge so I’ll explain. A cluster headache (also known as a suicide headache)is one of the most painful /natural/ occurring pain a human can feel. Women have said that the pain is worse than natural childbirth. For me, they occur DAILY. At this time, there is NO cure, only symptom relievers. Because of this condition and financial stress involved (doctor visits, medication, etc), I became incredibly depressed, to which I was prescribed anti-depressants. All this medication to “suppress” the pain had wonderful (sarcasm) side effects which left me sick everyday.

        Guess what Leon. I went from spending $1,400 (rounded down) a month for medication that made me sick to $60 a month on marijuana. Negative side effects? None. I’m back in school full time for physics, have an excellent job, and no am no longer depressed. Yes, I still have the headaches, but they are much more manageable now. I can actually walk during an attack.

        However, according to you, I’m abnormal and sick. Who are you to judge me and the thousands, if not millions, of other Americans who suffer as I do? Yes, there will always be the people who truly are abnormal and sick and they need help.

        I would rather “poison” myself with something natural that actually allows me to live a life than all the chemical crap on the market today.

        The best part of all of this? I don’t live in a state which legalized marijuana for medicinal use. So if I get “busted”, I get to go to prison, for what? Wanting to live as close to a normal life as I could?

        Leon, people like you are sick. You condemn everybody for what the worse do. Your self-righteousness reminds me of religion extremists. Hopefully, you won’t go about killing people like me.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
  15. collapse expand

    As many commenters have stated in response to your article, your arguments are without merit. You have not addressed the most important point:

    WHY are these drugs illegal in the first place?

    There is no logical argument for having cocaine, heroine, marijuana, hashish, mushrooms, etc be illegal. None.

    And your question about how much more or less people would use heroine or cocaine if they were available at the corner store is spurious at best. Does it matter if use would be greater or less? People should be allowed to ingest these drugs if they want, the same way they can ingest alcohol and tobacco if they want. As legal as cigarettes are, I choose not to smoke them. I enjoy alcohol, but there are lots of types of alcohol that I have no desire to try.

    If drugs were legalized, REGULATED, and taxed, then they would be made more safe for society. Yes, there would still be illegal activity, as there is still such illegal activity with alcohol and tobacco. However, as has been pointed out by people who research health issues for a living, the majority of the negative effects of things like heroin and cocaine is caused by the substances they are cut with.

    But to cut my comment short, your article is based on the fact that there is a reason these drugs should be illegal. However, you have not provided any justification for the drugs to be illegal in the first place.

    • collapse expand

      Hey davewtf – What kind of odds do you wanna lay down that Ethan won’t respond to your questions. ‘Leon’ however, might. Interesting isn’t it that Ethan has to create a different identity to respond to posters. He knows that public support for prohibition continues to erode. Furthermore, prohibitionists don’t care much for public debate, and would rather use big brother to ram their ideology down our throats. So the exceedingly rare prohibitionist who is willing to write material that is subject to public commentary is hard pressed to find other prohibitionists who will come to his aid.

      So now Ethan has created Leon. ‘Leon’, we know who you are. Most of us have been posting on the internet concerning prohibition for quite some time now. We can recognize the same pedestrian, style of writing that defines your articles in Leon. You prohibitionists generally aren’t the ‘swimmiest fish in the tank’. So you lack the brain power necessary to write in a different voice.

      Just be honest Ethan…you know….like you’re honest about all the drinking you do….and like how you are honest stealing from hard working musicians like myself by purchasing illegal CD’s. Just write and defend your columns as Ethan. You will win more respect that way. All you do by living a lie is dig your own personal hole deeper and deeper. All your do is betray the poor, disingenuous character of your garden variety prohibitionist.

      In response to another comment. See in context »
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        I find it hard to believe that Ethan would respond as ‘Leon’. Leon’s only goal is to annoy those people he responds to. If Ethan is willing to post these poorly written articles, he should at least respond to the comments made.

        In response to another comment. See in context »
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          Of course he ’should’ respond. But he won’t respond. The prohibitionist tends to not have the strong mind and intestinal fortitude necessary to face the sweltering heat he or she finds themselves sweating in. The government of course reduces itself to propaganda mills such as NIDA and DEA position papers. (Why are cops taking formal positions on things btw? Aren’t cops there to simply enforce laws? Since when did we get a fourth branch of government called ‘cops’?)

          At any rate, my money is on Ethan sitting at home, throwing back a box full of Milk Duds, and angrily wondering why a bunch of stupid ‘druggie stoners’ would DARE to engage his brilliant pieces of journalism…I mean, trite little rants. (BTW – My stab at what I am betting he refers to posters as comes from his attempt as Leon to dismiss Malcolm on the basis that he suspects Malcolm is a ‘user’).

          These people are so intellectually impotent that it is pathetic. My contempt for the style of writing of an Ethan knows no bounds. I mean, his scholarship abilities are actually worse than Ward Churchill. At least Ward Churchill wrote as a ghost, and then cited the ghost for his own articles. Ethan however, regularly cites himself as proof several times in an article to ‘prove’ whatever point he is trying to make. Man! You have to really scrap the VERY bottom of the barrel to find that stunning a degree of raw, unfettered ineptitude.

          In response to another comment. See in context »
  16. collapse expand

    It is sheer absurdity to present the choices as being either draconian punishment in an environment of absolute prohibition or totally unregulated and allowing sales reps from the heroin factory to set up promotional displays to hand out free samples in the lobby of the elementary school. But to answer the absurd question of whether there would be more addicts today were it sold at the local convenience store without regulation, why in the world would it be much different than back in the lat 18th century when it was in fact sold over the counter at convenience stores and through the Sears catalog? Estimates for the addiction rate at the time stood at 1 in 400. There were no organized criminal syndicates who view a satchel of disarticulated human heads as a valid messaging system. There were no blood borne viruses from sharing dirty needles.

    You simply have to be cuckoo to think that today’s system is better than any other. To cling to guaranteed failure because of fear that another method might fail is back to absurdity in the extreme.

    BTW, in 2008 the Swis voted by a margin of more than 2-1 to keep heroin legal and provided at government expense to their junkies, after a 10 year trial period. In Switzerland darn near everyone eligible to vote does so, so we can be certain that the people support the success of the Swiss HAT program, and there’s no denying that the Swiss have less junkies and significantly less ancillary problems due to the existence of their junkies. That’s why the Swiss voted the way that they did, and by a stunningly large margin.

    Your arguments are nothing but nonsense in support of guaranteed failure, and this country has stuck with the failure of absolute prohibition long enough to state with certainty that it is a failure. In the meantime tobacco smoking has declined by better than 62% on a per capita basis since 1963 which was peak tobacco use in the US. This was accomplished without making tobacco illegal for adults, and this decline was started with the Surgeon General’s report published in 1964. It’s also well established that tobacco is more highly addictive than heroin, one need only go to a Narcotics Anonymous meeting and count the cigarette smokers to verify.

    It’s time to admit to the glaringly obvious failure of prohibition and to quit swearing fealty to failure because of the results that you think it should bring. The only argument left for your side of the table is your good intentions. I’ve heard that Mr. Lucifer has gotten some of the Obama stimulus money and is using it to build a new Highway to Hell. That means he’s in the market for paving materials, so put your good intentions to their only practical use and sell them to the devil to pave the new road to hell. That’s their one and only practical use.

  17. collapse expand

    “These grim figures have not yet resulted in a chorus of people demanding that drunk driving, murder, and domestic violence be legalized.”

    Oh, come on. It’s obvious why these things are illegal. Is it supposed to be obvious why using weed instead of booze is illegal? It’s anything but obvious. Try obviously bogus, and obviously promoting alcohol related violence.

  18. collapse expand

    it doesn’t seem like the link to “See the T/S Comment Policy” is working

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    About Me

    I'm a writer based in Portland, Oregon. My work has appeared in the Weekly Standard, the American Spectator, the New York Press, The Big Money, sp!Ked online, the Epoch Times, the Daily NK, and others. From 2005 to 2007, I wrote a column on culture and politics for the (alas, now defunct) Seattle-based Internationalist Magazine. In so doing, I filed dispatches from Berlin, Seoul, Paris, New York, and, yes, Reno - among other places. In 2009, I reported on business from Shanghai. I attended Reed College, in Portland, Oregon.

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    Contributor Since: November 2009
    Location:Portland, Oregon