Thursday, January 3, 2019

Au Contraire: Drug Legalization Is The Titanic Times The Hindenburg, Part I

Bloghost Borepatch has upped the ante in the recent back and forth on drug laws etc.

From today's offering on the topic on his blog:
"But in the interest of putting my pixels where my mouth is, let me take a stab at providing answers to these questions from the "we should declare victory in the War on Drugs and go home" perspective.  The proposal is that most or perhaps all drugs be decriminalized, offered for sale, and taxed.

Rule #1. Can the person proposing the law state what they think the law will accomplish? This is intended to accomplish five specific things: 

  1. Remove the perceived need to militarization of the police forces, no-knock raids, asset forfeiture, controls on how much you can deposit at your bank, etc.  It's caustic for the Republic and it costs us a lot of money.  It's an anti-tyranny goal.
  2. Improve the purity of the drugs on the market which will reduce overdose deaths.  Food and Drug purity laws would apply and so the heroin that Joe Junkie buys at the local Alcohol Beverage and Drug Emporium wouldn't be the equivalent of bathtub gin.  His gin isn't adulterated (like it was during the Prohibition days) and his smack shouldn't be either.
  3. Lower the price of drugs, by eliminating the risk premium that must exist to cover expected loss from seizure, arrest, etc.  
  4. Eliminate the massive profits that are flowing to drug cartels, which fund a bunch (admittedly not all) of the violence associated with illegal drug use.
  5. Generate a tax revenue stream that can be targeted towards providing detox centers for drug users who want to fight their addiction.

Laws about theft, driving under the influence, etc would fully apply to junkies who commit these crimes, just as they do today.  Peter, Aesop, and Bill are entirely correct that today these are not "victimless" crimes.

Rule #2. Can the person proposing the law state how likely the law is to accomplish the goal from Rule #1? Let's break these down like the five points above. 
1. No doubt some agencies will resist this -police unions, prison guard unions, the DEA, etc will rightly see the reduction of public funding as a threat to them. However this is more of a hindrance to getting decriminalization passed in Congress than in implementation. In any case I don't see any fundamental disagreement between the two camps in this as a goal.  
2. It seems like a no-brainer, as the illegal drug market is replaced by a legal one. It will be safer for both sellers and users, and legalization will probably attract big corporations who know how to mass produce pure products, I'm not sure you'll see Superbowl ads for "The Champagne of heroin" but I don't think you need to for success here. 
3. This seems like an absolute no-brainer. You are eliminating some very costly parts of the supply chain (machine guns, private armies, etc.) Not sure how big this is but it sure isn't zero.
4. We saw this with the end of Prohibition. Today's Al capons are drug king pins.
5. Tax Money is extremely fungible and is often diverted by politicians, but we see tax revenue streams from legal pot in places where it was legalized (e.g. Colorado.)

So there you have it. I may be wrong here, but at least I've shown my work (in admittedly excessive detail). I'd like to see the same analysis from the other camp on what specifically they would do, and whether they expect it would work."

Challenge accepted, and the format is acceptable. But that will be Part II, i.e. the post after this one.
Our entire object in this post will be to demonstrate, Godzilla-like, why Bambi's object is pie in the sky,

delivered on Luft Zeppelin Hindenburg circa May 1937 in Lakehurst, New Jersey.

The proposal was honestly offered, and it gives us no joy to have to demonstrate its flaws in a blazing hydrogen explosion.

1) "The proposal is that most or perhaps all drugs be decriminalized, offered for sale, and taxed."
Okay. So acetyl carfentanil? Garage-cooked, thousands or tens of thousands of times more lethal than heroin, where a dose the size of three grains of salt is LD50 (i.e. a dose that will kill outright 50% of all persons coming into contact with it). Including cops, firefighters, paramedics and EMTs, doctors, nurses, and techs in the hospital, and oh yeah, kids anywhere, from the addicts' homes to the least staff member.
Take a look at the bottom of your everyday shoes, then imagine mine, and those three grains of salt, then tracking miniscule amounts of that residue onto the carpet at home.

And PCP?
Crack cocaine?
Substances so bereft of utility they're in DEA Schedule I.
What could possibly go wrong there?
I mean, besides placing them where others could accidentally or purposely ingest them, or come into contact with them, die, experience flashbacks for life, be date-raped, etc.
Because principles means my right to date rape you trumps your right not to be.

Paint cans are now in locked counters because addicts will huff that too. And cans of air.
It's almost as hard to buy cold medicine as it is to buy a gun in most states.
Next will be baking flavor extracts that are 90-proof. So you'll be getting rid of those legal items? Unlocking them and putting them back on the shelves for kids? Adding to them??

Lay out for me how and why it should be easier to get heroin than Sudafed or Krylon.

2) Aesop, you @$$hole, you're cherry-picking those to bolster your Anti-Drug argument! We'll still ban those drugs, of course.

Ah. I see. So you'll still need a DEA. And ICE. And DHS. And no-knock warrants. And talking drug dogs. And road blocks. And cavity searches. And sealed search warrants. Lots of cops. Toting lots of guns. Kicking down doors. And, of course, Billion$ and Billion$ of dollars to fight that War On Drugs you're totally against continuing for one second longer.

Got it, thanks. Wait, what???

Have no fear, Gentle Reader, we may have decapitated that horse, pulled its living guts out, tied them to a semi-truck axle, and wound them around it in fifth gear, but we haven't yet begun to beat this ex-horsey to death yet.

3) So, you're going to sell drugs? How novel. The cartels will....what??
Sit on their hands and watch you eat their lunch, and rob their pockets?
Because it's the law?
Let's look at how that trick is going to work.
Day One: Joe's Drug Emporium opens in Smallville.
9:02 AM: "Say, this is a nice drug emporium you've got here. It would sure be a shame if it burnt to the ground, and your kids got their knees broken with hammers, and then burglars raped your wife in front of you and sawed your kids heads off while you both watched. Wouldn't it?"
9:03 AM Joe's Drug Emporium announces it's going out of business, forever.
Day Two: Fred's Dope Mart opens for business.
9:17 AM Two men in ski masks rob the store, take all the cash, all the drugs, and shoot Fred in the back, leaving him paralyzed for life.
Day Three: Bubba Joe's Feelgood Corner Pharmacy opens for business.
Learning from Joe and Fred, Bubba Joe has four heavily-armed guards at all times.
This drives up his cost of doing business, so his dope costs double what untaxed illegal dope from the cartels costs. And the cartels flood his neighborhood with it by the ton, to drive him under. Which it does. They can sell ten times his product at half the price, indefinitely, just to drive out competition, like a WalMart eating up all the retail business in a rural county, and crushing the competition from pure capitalism, before they even get to more nefarious schemes.
After that, no one tries to compete with them, because by fair means or foul, they'll drive out all competition.

And that plan to tax the legal distributors? Brilliant. That just ensures that the legal distribution always has an extra cost that the illegal distributors will never face.

The only way for the government to compete with that will become to distribute everything, absolutely free. That won't do anything about legal stores getting robbed, burned down, or their owners getting whacked, but it's the only way possible to compete with cartels on capitalistic grounds.

So now, government dollars by the metric fuckton will go to obtaining and creating and distributing all the product addicts demand, at $0, forever.
How much of that imaginary savings will then go from guns and police to hospitals, mortuaries? And force cutbacks in legitimate government, because the tax revenue from drugs selling at $0 is also $0?

Oh, and the cartels? They're going to try and steal that, too. Breaking laws is what they do.

4) You're going to improve the purity? That's what creates the overdose deaths. Things like heroin have always been cut. It's precisely when someone gets a suddenly pure (or purer) batch than they're accustomed to that they overdose, like putting 100 octane gas in a car designed for 87, it's too rich, and a melt-down occurs. Plus, that illegal distributor can double his product and halve the cost if he cuts a ton of heroin with a ton of milk sugar. So he can cut the price below 100% purity, and double his sales, for a modest investment in milk sugar. And if he sweetens a batch now and again with carfentanil, he may wipe out his clientele, briefly, but that's society's overhead, not his, and his clientele will replicate in a few months, even if he has to give out free samples to get them hooked at first.
And if you try to undercut prices all the way to free, who do you suppose will take all you can deliver, and bring it to that cartel, who will then move it to somewhere where it's not free, especially since you're bringing it in by the ton, like government cheese?
All you'll accomplish is to make America the world's drug export leader, rather than import leader, and with 157 countries who haven't followed insanity by legalizing, you'll simply corner the market on doping the entire world, via the cartel distribution network.

Capitalism 101. Brilliant. You'll feed the monster so much, it'll grow to giant size overnight.
While uniting the world in despising this country. Who knew? (Besides everyone, I mean.)

O, if only there were...books, yes, Books! Books that communicated these concepts in terms even a child could understand...
Oh, wait:

5) The legal market will never be replaced by corporate sponsors, when the profits drop to zero, as they must. The only way to remove the illegal market is drive profits to zero, otherwise, as long as a buck can be made, crooks will be in it, or looking to siphon from it. Including by subverting those very corporations, with every tactic legal and illegal, and taking over. If you make the distribution pipeline ten miles wide and an inch deep, with a 1% profit margin, they'll be there, and in it to the neck. It's what they do. Only now you've given them legal and political cover.
Oh, and addicted so many people no one will be able to work to pay for their habit, or want to.

Shame about society when you trade a nation of farmers and shopkeepers for one of junkies, but that's the society you're aiming for.

And what happens if corporations - being composed of actual human beings - aren't as amoral as all that, and actually have scruples about selling dope to everyone hand over fist, and don't do that only because of government hindrance to the idea?
That concept never occurred to you, did it?

Porn is legal. So tell me, how much of it does, for example, Disney Corp. produce, year in and year out?
How much do they rake in from sales of legal tobacco every year at their theme parks?
And how many legal abortions were performed last year on Johnson & Johnson's corporate nickel?

Corporate America is afraid to offend a flea, and you think they'll grab this tar baby with both hands, ever???

6) You're going to do this without machineguns and private armies? Whose will be eliminated?
And what are the dwindling numbers of non-drug-using citizens going to be buying in droves, to protect themselves against the predations of literal armies of people high as a kite, everywhere, 24/7/365, and paying taxes on their dwindling earnings to fund this scheme?
You're actually going to kick off the war we're not fighting on drugs now, taxpaying sheep against government drug-distributing official cartels.

Oh, and the drug cartels? Guess which side they'll pitch in to help? Or did you imagine they'll snap their fingers, say "O, nuts, we're over!" and just walk away, sulking?
And what of their operations in all those other countries? Especially when your citizenry can now make the same pallets of cash money illegally smuggling your free American drugs into them?

7) "Some" resistance? You're kidding, right?
You think free drugs is going to produce less domestic abuse, DUI, public intoxication, and 57 other felony and misdemeanor crimes???
You're going to need to institute and construct the Escape from New York Federal Penitentiary on Manhattan, just to contain all the new criminals you'll create.
So much for legal drug utopia.

Tell me, in your experience, are there less crimes committed at bars than libraries, or more?
Show your work.

And then, un-drugged America will unite and smite the Scoobie Doo Drug Legalization Mystery Machine so hard, and so fast, you won't even leave a grease stain where you used to be. They'll burn you and this scheme out with fire, and if that isn't enough, they'll nuke you, twice, until the rubble glows. Then they'll go after your family, and make sure you watch them torn limb from limb in front of you before they end you.

And the next silly simpletons who pop up and say "drug legalization" will be burnt at the stake, at a public party, for the next 500 years.

You're going to fight them on that? Who're you going to recruit? The 7 people who think this could or should ever work? Plus an army of junkies? You're recasting yourselves in the role of Britain in China's Opium Wars, except your army will be all addicts.

And the country that follows will be so draconian on drugs ever after the five addicts left alive in the shadows will look back longingly at the silly, hamstrung, and utterly ineffective "War On Drugs" days with fond memories of a kinder, gentler time, before possession of one syringe would get your arms cut off.

Other than that, Mrs. Lincoln, how was the play?

I understand that was an honest attempt to explain the concepts, and I applaud the courage, while regretting the necessity of stuffing that three-point attempt.
But as Google tells me the Chinese say,
哦 哇
所以 许多 失败


FiftycalTX said...

Hi there. Aren't you in Kalipornistan? Didn't your lovely shithole state just legalize "recreational maryjunana"? How many instances of cartels killing "legal" drug sellers has there been? How many robberies of "legal" drug sellers has there been"? Has the price of dope gone down on the street? I understand Gov. Moonbeam thought there would be 6000 "legal" drug sellers but only got about 597 cuz the bureaucrats couldn't figure out how to hide the payoffs fast enough. So what is next for the "golden shower" state? Legal smack? Not that I doubt your ASSesment much, but my state has not even broached the "medical" MJ horizon yet. PS, why are you still there? You could make $75K+ part time in Texas.

Aesop said...

1. Yes.
2. Yes.
3. They are now regulated like porn stores, and have become meccas of criminal behavior. Neighborhoods and communities can't regulate them out of existence fast enough.
4. Apparently not. The cops simply have to assume all weed is legal. Enforcement has dropped to zero while illegal importation has skyrocketed.
5. Ask your toothless banjo-playing kinfolk who've moved here to vote this horseshit into being.
6. Probably
7. Because it isn't hot and humid as fuck, nor snows, ever, except at the ski resorts, where that shit belongs.
8. I make double that here, now, thanks. And patient ratios.
Texas was a lovely place to visit. And a 16 hour drive, across.
Someday, when I have the time, I'd like to drop in and visit the Alamo, and a few other things.
It's also purpling up faster than CA did, and in 5-10 years, you'll be California, and not from "Californians". But from the f**kheads from 48 other states who'll move there just to screw it sideways, just like they've done here.
Hey, sometime when you're bored, look up where Charles Manson was from.
Or any other fruitloop falsely associated with being "Californian".
(Nancy Pelosi, call your office.)
{Hint: Not CA. And not TX.}

Anonymous said...

I'm not sure that the war on drugs can ever be won, humans being what they are. That said, I agree with decriminalizing pot, but no others. I did smoke pot occasionally until I wanted a security clearance to keep my job. That at 26, 40 years ago. Never did it again. I have talked to people that are genuinely helped medically by the various compounds in pot. Why should they be penalized and criminalized because some people use it and commit crimes. My same thoughts apply to firearms. Why deny them to non-law breakers. A lot of people smoke pot medicinally and recreationally and never commit crimes. Do you support taking away everyone's guns because some people use them in crime? I really am perplexed on this issue. Obviously I don't have answers for this, but it seems stupid to arrest an 80 year old grandmother because she uses CBD cream for her arthritis. Happy New Year

Beans said...

We're experiencing the same purpling as Texas here in the formerly Gunshine State of Florida (thanks, Rod Scott, you feckless RINO bastige.) We now have mandatory voting rights restorations to non-violent felons who have 'completed' their sentences. Joy.

As I mentioned in my response to Borepatch, the average druggie is actually more interested in less 'pure' drugs, preferring theirs cut with some nasty stuff, like some of the fentanyls or formaldehyde or other such garbage because the additional zing makes them feel 'more' as their receptors get burned out. The pure stuff is 'okay' but the adulterated stuff is 'Wow!!!'

I watched this from the staff ass(istant) seat in the local Forensics lab, and then at the local HIDTA office. Tracking dealers and users as they went through the system, from case creation to arrest to prosecution to whatever adjudication bullscat that let them get away with almost murder to not paying their fracking restitution to finally fucking up so many times the courts just threw their hands up and let the scoff-laws off to being rearrested and watching the cycle continue with them, then tear into their families, their children, creep into their parent(s) if any, and watching the slow decline of a whole half of a city.

And I reiterate. Anyone caught with drugs should get two choices: Full prosecution with no plea bargaining or reduction of sentence; OR Swallow/ingest/inject all drugs person is caught with right there, right then, with no medical backup or support, and if they survive, a free and clear ticket. One way or another the dealers and heavy users that drive the dealers will be either dead or imprisoned (and I fully support a Devil's Island style prison for these malcontents) and the low-level users will either graduate to heavy use and end up in prison or dead, or finally clean up their pathetic lives.

If it's war with society they want, it's war they'll get! (I'm going full mangalore with this comment...)

Unknown said...

Dope addicts don't think rationally, it is a bad assumption to think that they do. They only think of their next fix and how to procure it. And they become quite good at doing that. But when their avarice fails them, they turn to the nasty down low, anything-in-a-pinch. That is when an improvised cocktail such as cough syrup, boiled down (reduced) energy drink, and mom's prescription drugs come into play. Those idiots are quite inventive when it comes to creating a new cheap high.

One of my nephews has probably done it all. I know he's already been admitted to several psych wards and 5150 holds. That is not to mention the stream of visits to the ER or helicoptered to the same because the local threadbare hospitals (plural) did not have the capability for treatment. All this and more before age 20. When he was age 14 I said to myself that he will likely die before age 21. There are a few more months before I have proven wrong. But it still looks like a sure bet.

Times my nephew by several million. There is no way to legalize out of this. Strict enforcement is a viable way. The courts, et al mollycoddle the 'misunderstood' accused. Correcting society at large by making morals fashionable is the best way.

My idiot brother, the father of said nephew, once bragged to me of how his sons were raising themselves. I was appalled. He was proud. Therein lies much of the problem; jackass parents. And that's when they are even in the picture. Too, Affective parenting begets huge problems.

Anonymous said...

I don't know the right answers. I do know that what we are doing today is not working.

Several people mentioned Portugal has done legalization? Can someone point to some information in english?

This may be a problem that Federalism may be able to answer. We can try several different potential solutions in something resembling isolation. It would take some imagination, and for the nanny state federal government to stay the f-bomb out. Which means most solutions will not be tried, unless we stupidly enact them across the board, like that failure called Obamacare.

To try some parts of Aesop's solution, we would need to change a lot of federal laws and policies starting with EMTALA(?), and even US Supreme Court decisions like you can't use capital punishment for heinous, but not sufficiently "bad" crimes like rape. Absent a revolution, I don't see his solution ever being implemented.

The foreign war on drug cartels? How many times will some poor campesino get wacked accidentally or on purpose? The gringo hate will be through the roof. Maybe a workable model for this would be like Col. Tom Kratman's "The Lotus Eaters." Precisely targeted, Completely unconstitutional and the sheer bloody mindedness will freak out 90% of America and the entire EU.

Could we legalize all or most drugs? I personally think it would be a complete freaking disaster.

My personal opinion is that we have enough states with legal pot. Want to toke up?, move! I think in twenty years we will realize that supposedly safe and legal marijuana is neither. I think it will cause incredible harm to teens and heavy smokers. Let's give Colorado, California, and all the other states a chance to prove us right or wrong. Federalism in action.

There are a lot of drugs that should never be legalized. Methamphetamine for one. The types of horrifically evil crimes committed by meth heads is nightmare inducing.

I remember reading Cosmopolitan Magazine in the early 1970's. Cocaine was completely non-addictive and a very safe party drug according to their experts. That was because no one could get any except on rare occasions.


Unknown said...

Anonymous @ 8:09

The 'war on drugs' won't be won until it is actually seriously fought. There must be harsher consequences for substance abuse rather than the glad handing usually offered by the courts and counselors. Sympathy for addicts is misplaced when it influences policy.

Anonymous said...

I'd like to hear more from Glen Filthie about Vancouver and their "Safe Injection " sites?

Someone else mentioned the Netherlands, and the degradation of the cities after drug legalization?


Unknown said...

Most of us have heard of the strict policies in Singapore. Does the world hate Singapore for it? No. Even if it did, tough nuts.

If the USA enacted serious anti-drug laws and strict enforcement of same, the world would know that the USA means business and don't get high in the USA. Besides, who gives a rip what the EU or the rest of the world thinks? They already despise us, let's give them another reason while we clean-up our country.

Unknown said...

RF, I believe that Los Angeles, San Francisco, and Seattle have such places for addicts to shoot up. Portland, OR may also. The results in those cities are the evidence of degradation.

Anonymous said...

Serious addicts need to be institutionalized; there's no other way to protect the public from them. Unless you just shoot them.
Anyone that offers my grandkids drugs, even pot, is going to find themselves in the hospital or worse. As a recovered user, I know the recidivism rate hovers above 80% and always will.

I actually have no problem with drug addicts killing themselves. I just have a problem with their tendency to kill others around them. It's a contagious lifestyle that is almost impossible to change.
Penalties need to be much more severe, draconian. And please, stop feeling sorry for the junkies. They would shoot you for a cigarette.


AB.Prosper said...

Singapore is very unlike the US other than they speak a form of English, you can't use it as a model.

The US can't pass a budget much less a balanced one , won't or can't control its borders, doesn't have incentives for sable family formation and has albeit indirectly basically taken every opportunity to increase the profitability and demand for drugs should not be fighting a "war" on them.

Since everyone here wants less drug abuse you have to make policies that will make that happen which means a budget for rehab and law enforcement , border and import control, divorce reform, should start the ball rolling

Give it a few decades and the social misery should reduce demand and at that point a war can work without turning the US into more of a police state.

If you want easy mode, allow fairly safe drugs, old school ditch weed, shrooms, qat , X, LSD and the like sold at below cartel prices at State package stores. You'll still get junkies but less of them using hard drugs and old school potheads and I've met plenty were pretty harmless.

The other option is to triple down and suspend that pesky Constitution and go to actual war footing. After you kill or send to labor camps I don't know 20 million people or so if the republic survives, you might reduce use. Some.

Otherwise we'd be better off doing nothing at all and just saying "You want to kill yourself, fine." We will still have to incarcerate any with contagious diseases or who commit crimes but that is war on epidemics and theft which is manageable

. As ASM826 put it at Borepatch "The Republic will survive addicts and alcoholics."

It already has multiple times. Also as a bonus its a morally consistent policy,you belong to you basically Roe V Wade for bodily sovereignty

All that aside there won't be any policy changes for a minimum of two years. Because the President is going to be impeached no matter what by the House, though not removed by the Senate and all funding bills originate in the House he has no incentive to ever cooperate.

If President Trump is reelected and the political makeup stays similar , expect little or nothing for 6 years minimum and by that time even more states will go pro legalization at least for weed.

Chip Anderson said...

I have considered how I could contribute to this conversation but I see many of the arguments that I have are already posted and rejected by Aesop and others for various reasons. In my humble opinion, all drugs should be legally available to any adult who cares to obtain them.

I know that it is difficult to obtain quality explosives, even good old fashioned dynamite. The same goes for fully automatic firearms and heavy weapons. Are they out there and owned by civilians, yes they are. I suppose that you could compare this situation to drugs.

There are quite a few drugs that just anyone can go out and purchase through legal means, the same as firearms, including machine guns, electric Gatling guns and explosives. There are some drugs that cannot be purchased legally through any means by a regular Joe, the same as with certain weaponry. The trick is to find a medium that society will tolerate and the individual will find acceptable.

We live in a republic where the constituted government has long been seeking to break its restraints. The founders of our republic were well studied men who upon declaring that all men were born equal under their creator had to decide how to hold things together.

They already had government and knew well the nature of men. The thing was, quis custodiet ipsos custodes. Knowing that whatever government they created would tend towards tyranny, they decided to craft a government that watched itself by dividing it into parts that would, though human nature, be jealous of their prerogatives and as equally divided in power as could be.

Along with these built in restraints, the powers granted this government were few and limited. The goal being the prosperity of themselves and their posterity in liberty. This implies individual restraint and the notions of that restraint to be common among the people.

As the notion of individual restraint declines among the populace, tyranny finds it easier to rear its head. Hence, a bullet to the the head if you are caught smoking crack. Yes, Swiftian and all that but there is a problem that needs addressing as I believe you see.

I have been trying for sometime. My peers have been arming up and setting up strongholds for some time now. They do not think all is lost yet but to see them doing so makes me grieve for the future of our nation for they are all astute men.

Aesop said...

Unfortunately, your religious opinions do not comport well with human nature and reality.

Other than that little problem or two, great stuff.

"Our Constitution was made only for a moral and religious People. It is wholly inadequate to the government of any other." - John Adams

Given that you don't have A, why would you be surprised that you now require B?