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Old July 4, 2006, 10:56 AM   #1
Glenn E. Meyer
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Drugs! Wow - what a great debate.

I have to give great credit to SWAT. Most gun rags are concerned with stopping power and advertisements. The latest issue has a great and reasoned debate about drug legalization.

That goes far beyond the intellectual depth seen in the rest of the competition.

Both Jeff and Claire make great points - the truth is probably in the middle somewhere but it set the debate. It is incredibly relevant for the gun debate and we see parallels to gun ownership paradigms. Can adults be allowed to have risky things in their lives?

Well done.

I also loved the article about firebeds. I knew nothing about that but have spent evenings huddled around the little fire in the Hill Country here. If I only knew.
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Old July 4, 2006, 11:07 AM   #2
Eghad
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would this mean that the August issue is out
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Old July 6, 2006, 02:08 PM   #3
Denny Hansen
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Thanks, Glenn. The subject is too complex to cover in any article, but we felt both sides of the debate should be represented.

Eghad-
Should be coming to you soon. If it's any consolation, I have not yet received my sub copy yet, either.

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Old July 9, 2006, 01:48 PM   #4
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My thoughts on this subject

I would like to give my side to the debate of whether or not to legalize drugs.
I am against the legalization of drugs. Sorry that this is a long read.
My reasons;
First let’s start with marijuana, which people think isn’t a dangerous drug.
There is a great misconception that just because a drug like marijuana may not be technically “dangerous” compared to the other drugs or possibly may not even have the type of health effects that regular tobacco may have, marijuana still has more of a more overall negative effect on the user.
Now, can a person who only smokes marijuana occasionally live a normal , healthy and productive life? Possibly yes. But here is the clincher. How many people who actually use marijuana or would be given the opportunity to use marijuana legally would use it wisely? Not that many compared to those who would over-use marijuana to the point where they start to become lazy, unproductive, zombies that have no useful role in society.
I have used marijuana a few times and know people who have used it, but I and most others stopped using it and now have responsible lives. Let me assure you that all the people that I know that still use marijuana and use it on a regular basis have been in jail at least once, divorced, paying child support, unemployed, and involved in many domestic disputes.
Oh sure, the marijuana may have little immediate health effects, but the negative effect is has on a person’s mind as far as being responsible, productive and making correct decisions is far too great.
Now let’s compare drugs with alcohol.
Yes, when abused, alcohol is a very dangerous substance. However, alcohol which the majority of drinkers consume in a moderate amount or at least an amount which their bodies can tolerate and drink for the taste of the alcoholic beverage and for social reasons, drug users use drugs for the sole purpose of getting “high”. No crack user or meth user uses those drugs for the taste of the drug and those drugs require only a small dose or hit to have a negative effect on the user whereas alcohol requires most people to consume quite a bit before getting too intoxicated.
In other words, the main reason why those illegal drugs exist is for the user to “alter” his/her mind which only leads to negative circumstances.
I don’t know any regular user of illegal drugs that is a normal, productive law-biding citizen and would become so and use drugs in a responsible or occasional manner if those drugs were to be legalized.
What would happen if more drugs were legalized? We would just have more people with lazy, non-productive, criminal behavior because the drugs are more accessible for people to get hooked on.
Alcoholism is bad enough.. Why feed the society with more reasons for individuals to get dependant on something that only has negative effects?

“The war and drugs is costing too many lives and costing too much money!!” True, but the war on terrorism also costs lives and money and seems ever hopeless, but none of us thinks about quiting fighting terrorists, now do we? Well, maybe if you are a pot smoking, liberal hippie.

I believe there are 3 reasons why anyone would want any such type of drugs legalized and that there is no reason to try to get drugs off our streets and out of our society.
1. They are a drug user themselves.
2. They truly never saw anyone such as friends, family or anyone else who abused drugs and have seen the negative effects that they have.
3. They think that the majority of drug users are “occasional users” that can quit at any time.
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Old July 9, 2006, 03:18 PM   #5
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I think the general thought is that those that want it WILL get it one way or another legal or illegal. Uhh are we talkin about drugs or guns here, I'll have to go back and read the opening post.
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Old July 9, 2006, 04:18 PM   #6
VirgilCaine
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Read my issue cover to cover last night.

My postion on this debate has changed over the years.
My beef with legalization is how do keep it out of the hands of kids? Kids are getting most drugs now and they are illegal. Legalizing drugs for adults will still leave a market to sell to kids whether its legal or not.

I feel that we are not a responsible enough society as a whole right now to handle sweeping legalization.

I can hear it now, " I had me a job til they gone and legalized weed, not my fault, sign me up for my check!"

It seems more and more that folks can't handle being in charge of themselves.
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Old July 10, 2006, 02:08 AM   #7
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There's a lot of griping on Jeff Randall's side about the problems caused by drugs, but very little effort convincing the reader that drug legalization will increase those problems.

I found the half-sarcastic comment near the end -- boosting the drug war by taking all confiscated drugs and dumping them in the nation's prison yards -- beyond tasteless. Violent criminals and addicts would take the drugs, and become even more dangerous to the non-violent criminals and the guards in the same prison. IMO, it's sick that a LEO would have so little regard for non-violent criminals and his own LE brethren.


We don't know what drug legalization would be like, whether it would be better or worse than the status quo. Maybe there would be obvious differences, both good and bad, but still no concensus on whether legalization is better. One thing is certain, though. There is no Constitutional authority for a ban on drugs. Any LEO calling himself a U.S. citizen should recognize that.

Don't even start about how the SCOTUS has declared drug laws constitutional. Why then was there a concensus that we needed an amendment to ban alcohol back in 1919? Most of the social-conservative drug-law advocates also complain about the notion of a living constitution, but only a living constitution could require an amendment to ban ethanol in 1919 and not require an amendment to ban hundreds of chemicals in 2006.

I guess as long as alcohol is legal, the government can ban anything else!
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Old July 10, 2006, 07:00 AM   #8
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I wonder

Drugs or not? Big question.
I ask, would you want to be riding in a plane with the crew stoned out of their gourds?
Would you want to be shooting at the range with everyone else around you high?
Would you want to eat at a establishment where the cooks were stoned?
Would you want to go in for surgery where the surgeon is high?
Would you want to drive if pot was legalized?
If all of a sudden it was legal to do pot,

I think the world as we know it would become a even more dangerous place.
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Old July 10, 2006, 08:50 AM   #9
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tyme,

I'm not a LEO. Was at one time but not anymore. Sorry you didn't appreciate my fully sarcastic remark but I stand by it. As I stated in the article, I really don't care what anyone does as long as it does not harm honest, law abiding citizens. "Harm" includes taking my tax dollars to pay for someone's aftermath of "recreation." There's enough of that happening now.

As long as it's between consenting parties I say we legalize true gladiator fights to the death in public arenas, dueling to settle arguments, and marrying multiple willing wives. If we're going to be a "free" people then lets be free and not just stop it with legalizing drugs. Why not allow private citizens to own nuclear devices? Afterall they're not criminals until they use it to hurt someone, right?

Let's not pick and choose what we want to be free about if that's the real fight. True Freedom means anything goes UNTIL you harm another unwilling participant. So, you want a truly free society?

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Old July 10, 2006, 10:09 AM   #10
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I found most of the arguments against legalization involved problems and concerns that exist when the drug is legal (tobacco for health concerns and alchohol for domestic/physical issues). Yet, there was no call to make cigarettes or beer illegal.
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Old July 10, 2006, 12:07 PM   #11
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Cigs and Beer

They are illegal in a lot of respects, very controlled.

Edit: Just got back from a week in Tahoe. 4th of July was a major money maker for the State of CA.
Many citations issued, people arrested and going to go pay their fines is a few weeks. Main issue drinking and drunk. 647PC is a tremendous money maker (does not seem fair to issue that section for intoxication but they do). Tresspassing is another biggie.

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Old July 10, 2006, 02:40 PM   #12
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Would love to see this concept repeated and expanded to other subjects.

We always did firebeds back when I lead Wolf Patrol in Troop 494 during winter camps. The trick was having your bed inbetween two other guys--toasty.
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Old July 10, 2006, 04:01 PM   #13
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It's all about personal responsiblity...

Quote:
I wonder
Drugs or not? Big question.
I ask, would you want to be riding in a plane with the crew stoned out of their gourds?
Would you want to be shooting at the range with everyone else around you high?
Would you want to eat at a establishment where the cooks were stoned?
Would you want to go in for surgery where the surgeon is high?
Would you want to drive if pot was legalized?
If all of a sudden it was legal to do pot,

I think the world as we know it would become a even more dangerous place.
Replace the word "stoned" with the word "drunk" or "tripping". Certainly anyone on any intoxicating substance can be a potential danger regardless of whether it is illegal or not. Would I want my pilot to be high or drunk? Certainly not, and most work places obviously frown upon their employees being intoxicated. Would I want my surgeon to be under the influence while I'm under the influence (of anesthetics)? $^%& NO!! I believe that every person should take personal responsibility for their actions, and not delegate governments to take care of things that they should be managing on their own. That being said, for law enforcement officials to even state that they'd rather lock up a violent criminal instead of a stoner is a rather big statement. I believe that the Netherlands took a more progressive step when they decided to pursue hard drugs such as cocaine, meth, etc. and allowed marijuana to fall under the category of soft drugs such as alcohol and tobacco. Cannabis is a plant that has been used throughout much of human history, and it has only been within the last century or so that it has been villainized as an evil plant. In the end if someone really wants to do something they will do it regardless of law. It all boils down to personal responsibility when people use any sort of substance be it legal or otherwise.


Epyon

P.S: I am a firm believer that people should be allowed to do as they please in their personal life as long as they are not detrimental to any who are unwilling, and as long as it's not making them detrimental to society in general. So if someone wants to drink away the night away or smoke a blunt, that's up to them, so long as they're not harming others around them why should it matter?
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Old July 10, 2006, 04:06 PM   #14
tyme
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Jeff,

Why are you so certain that drug legalization will increase the incidence of drug abuse, abused/abandoned minors, and drug-related crime?

Why do you completely ignore the constitutionality issue?

Quote:
"Harm" includes taking my tax dollars to pay for someone's aftermath of "recreation." There's enough of that happening now.
"Harm" also includes taking my tax dollars to pay for harassment and incarceration of many harmless drug users.

With the billions of dollars we wouldn't be spending on the drug war, we could do a lot to compensate citizens for any "harm" caused indirectly by legal drugs.
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Old July 10, 2006, 04:28 PM   #15
Jeff Randall
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tyme,

You're missing my point and avoiding others that I made in my post. I'm for everything as long as it doesn't harm or cost me, or any other innocent people.

You've already answered your Constituional question in your own post, so no need me going there.

So, now you want to take tax dollars that we're blowing on the "war on drugs" and distribute it to victims? Well, that's about as bad as taking tax dollars and helping those who inflict harm upon themselves (such as drug users). Those are MY tax dollars and I don't agree with using them for welfare without MY consent (even though it's already happening). Why not take the property of those who inflicted the damage and give it to those they victimized?

Is this debate about true freedom or simply freedom for someone to use their recreational drug of choice? If it's only about the latter then everyone's missing the point even though they scream "freedom" and use the alcohol analogy.
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Old July 10, 2006, 08:10 PM   #16
Eghad
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What have all my tax dollars accomplished in the war on drugs?

Are there less drug dealers today than when the war on drugs started?

Has overseas drug production been wiped out?

There is an economic incentive to sell drugs. As long as that economic incentive is there the drug cartels and dealers have more economic power than some government agencies. The kid on the corner sees the dealer riding in an expensive car with a big wad of cash and everything he wants. Seems like the harder we fight they still make more money.

The war on drugs has even reached into our everyday lives. When I want to go buy some stuff for my runny nose I have to put my info in a book. Look at the havoc the power of confiscation has wrought in some peoples lives not to mention individual rights. Even here in Texas the war on drugs has been a disaster with some task forces cooking up evidence. For some few in the law enforcment community it has simply been a means to increase thier powers. We even had a sherrif arrested years back in a neighboring county running his own meth labs.

If your a boxer going into the ring against the same guy time and he beats you over and over...its probably time to come up with a new strategy.
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Old July 12, 2006, 12:24 PM   #17
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As an Alcohol and Drug counselor, I have had plenty of time to think about this issue and I have seen the horrific effects that addiction can have on individuals, their families, friends, and communities.

First it needs to be recognized that Alcohol is the single most destructive drug for individuals and for society. I do not mean that it is worse than Cannabis or Heroin or Meth, just that it is the most abused drug in our society and that it negatively effects more people than any other single drug.

Second, I do not believe that there is any real rational way to draw distinctions between addictive drugs - as in drug A is worse than drug B and/or Drug C. All such rankings - i.e. hard drugs and soft drugs are mostly superficial. Addiction is addiction - it doesn't matter much what the name of the favored drug is for an individual who is addicted. The progression and the prognosis is the same.

Third, Cannabis is more accepted socially than Nicotine (though not legally). Alcohol is the drug most accepted and honored by society. Heroin and Meth are not accepted - yet opiate based prescriptions and amphetamine based ADHD or ADD medications are accepted - though they are often abused. The point being that as a society we refuse to take an honest look at drugs and addiction.

Fourth, the war on drugs has not worked for generations - I see the grandkids of individuals I worked with when I first started. Has drug use and addiction really been impacted by a drugs legal status? I don't see it.

Fifth, individuals who believe that the legalization of drugs won't lead to increased usage and increased rates of addiction are kidding themselves. Legalization will lead to greater availability and exposure and thus more experimentation, usage, and addiction.

Sixth, legalization would not take the financial motivation/incentive out of drugs dealing - but it would take out most of the violence associated with drug dealing - just like the end of prohibition ended the gang wars over alcohol dealing. You'd just have legal dealers/retailers selling drugs in addition to alcohol.

Seventh, legalization would probably not lead to a major increase in DUI or on the job usage - as those laws would remain enforced and as employers get more and more strict on drug/OH use on the job.

Eight, I don't think there is any simple or good solution. Our society does not do a good job of holding individuals responsible for their behavior and teaching individuals to become adults. We have a lot of 20, 30, 40, and 50-year-old children running around. Legalization of drugs in general would lead at least in the short term to even more problems with addiction - at least for the next 15 to 25 years.

Nine, drug bans, at least to me, seem to be unconstitutional.

Ten, I don't have a nice neat answer for the political decision on legalization or not. Probably the best way to go about it is to push education, then decriminalize drugs gradually and move towards legalization - with a concurrent push as a society towards allowing/requiring individuals to accept personal responsibility for their lives and behavior.

Sadly, regardless of what political decisions are made - legalized or not - I do not fear ever having to worry about being out of a job.
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Old July 12, 2006, 12:33 PM   #18
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Quote:
Let me assure you that all the people that I know that still use marijuana and use it on a regular basis have been in jail at least once, divorced, paying child support, unemployed, and involved in many domestic disputes.
Which is the cause and which is the effect? Hard to know, isn't it.

Is marijuana bad for you? Probably. How many people do you know who have serious drinking problems who have also been divorced, unemployed, serious health issues, etc?

I've met more than few people that got liquored up and then got stupid and aggressive. In contrast, people who smoked dope generally just chilled and dozed off.

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Old July 12, 2006, 02:28 PM   #19
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+1 to mack59

I love your strong and valid points. And I whole heartedly agree, with many of the things you stated. I used to work in retail, and selling alcohol and cigarettes to people, I would notice some would just come in repeatedly on the same day buying more six packs and twelve packs. Along with absurd amounts of tobacco. I also understand that many of those people that have those addictions are usually those with little education, and work blue collar jobs. I have also been unfortunate to work in towns where the majority of my customers always wanted "a glass rose and a brillo pad". Sad to see how people let themselves waste away and trash their bodies with reckless abandon, but that's their personal choice, and so long as they don't harm me or anyone else I'm not going to confront them about it.

On the same token though, I have known people who do drugs (some legal, some not) who are still productive to society, some are musicians who also work jobs during the day and play in bars and clubs at night. Others are art students who use them as a form of helping their creativity. And then there are also the graduates I know who have done it since high school, and yet are successful in their life. Go to just about any university these days, you'll even see organizations like NORML and students talking about marijuana rather casually. In the end, it really does boil down to personal responsibility. I've seen burnt out stoners who dropped out of high school working dead end jobs, yet also know college graduates who smoke the same thing the deadbeats do and are still able to pay bills on time, and raise their kids. I've met cokeheads who I would never want to meet in a dark alley, but I also know one who is a few years away from starting his own construction company.


Epyon


P.S: I don't want people to get the impression that I hang out with people like this all the time, I do have my share of straight edge friends too who don't smoke drink or do anything, however I would like to state that everyone has their vices. My vice consists of sitting on my fat butt all day and crusing through the mean streets of the internet.
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Old July 17, 2006, 09:25 AM   #20
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Quote:
I believe there are 3 reasons why anyone would want any such type of drugs legalized and that there is no reason to try to get drugs off our streets and out of our society.
1. They are a drug user themselves.
2. They truly never saw anyone such as friends, family or anyone else who abused drugs and have seen the negative effects that they have.
3. They think that the majority of drug users are “occasional users” that can quit at any time.
I support legalization with some controls and,
1) I don't do drugs. I can't say that's always been the case, so I guess you could say I have actual hands on experience there.
2) I have had a few close friends die from overdoses. Had the drugs been legal, its possible that they would have known they were taking a lethal dose, and still be alive today. I have also seen the negative effects manifest themselves in other ways. Legalizing drugs doesn't make them a good thing, but keeping them illegal isn't helping anyone either. Treatment for addiction is very hard to get unless you can afford it, I'd rather see the money we waste trying to rid society of drugs, and put it towards trying to help people who have been hurt by them.
3) If you believe some the statistics compiled by treatment professionals, most drug users arw occasional users, and quit on their own. Growing up when and where I did, almost everyone I knew was at least an occasional user, yet only a small percentage ever wound up getting into trouble, they just outgrew it.

We have been trying for decades to rid society of drugs, yet with all the efforts, we haven't even been able to prevent kids from SELLING them, let alone using them.

The war on drugs was lost a long time ago.
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Old July 18, 2006, 02:25 PM   #21
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Alot of good points here. Let me share my experiences from when I was a little less mature.

In high school I smoked pot. The worst that happened to me was that I fell asleep in class. The people who drank got into far more trouble than the stoners. I stopped on my own after high school.

When I got into college I started snorting Ritalin. Man it was great high. Of course it was expensive and as stressed as I was in college, I just couldn't handle it. I was also having problems with my bipolarisim (Family history of mental disease, not from drug use.) from the stress so I more or less stopped snorting. (Again, on my own.) It would be kinda nice to be able to get a snort of it on a day off without going to jail.

Today, the only drug I use is gunpowder.

There are two types of drug users. Those who control the drug use and those whose drug use controls them. The second type is the one that makes the news. You never hear about the first kind, about peole like me, who dabbled in it and then moved onto other things or continued to use in moderation. Making it legal would help the person who has a problem get help. It would also allow the government to monitor purity and ensure safe dosing.
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Old July 20, 2006, 07:34 PM   #22
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crazy

I'm not advocating any type of drug use, BUT, anyone who thinks marijuana is worse for society as a whole than alcohol must not have been around much. I have not used marijuana in over 22 years because of my job. But, given the choice between marijuana and alcohol, it is my very firm belief that marijuana is MUCH less harmful than alcohol. I find it hypocritical that many of the same people who advocate our drug laws are the first to support their right to smoke tobacco, drink alcohol, eat McDonalds. etc. etc. etc. I'm not for criminalizing those things either, but anyone who truly believes marijuana users should be jailed is in my opinion not familiar with the facts, and is not logical when it comes to defining what society has the right to tell me to do with my body. The same people who would be appalled if the government told us what we couldn't eat because it would make us fat and have heart attacks, should be just as appalled that the government would put me in jail if I smoked marijuana in my own home and didnt harm anyone. The logic of people who are proponents of our drug laws is analogous to the logic of the anti-gunners in that both groups ignore the right of the responsible individual for the "perceived" good of the whole. Just as gun law advocates (wrongly) believe that by banning guns we will all be safer, drug law advocates believe the war on drugs stops addictive personalities from destroying themselves. Addictive personalities will destroy themselves regardless of the laws. The drug war has merely made it financially lucrative for evil people to sell drugs and make a huge profit. Meanwhile, society pays the cost for prisons and enforcement which seem to have little deterrent effect as a whole. The bottom line is that we already went through this with prohibition. This is the same thing. It aint going to work, we are spending tons of money for nothing, we make criminals out of otherwise harmless people, we create a lucrative business for truly evil people, and in the end we are allowing the government to trample our rights. Unfortunately there is a whole segment of law enforcement employees who depend on those same laws for job security. Oh well. Think I'll go have another drink.

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Old July 21, 2006, 06:56 PM   #23
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This is a great thread. As usual with most controversial topics people are on opposite sides of a pretty tall fence. My 2 cents:

1. When I was in high school, 25+ years ago, pot, LSD, cocaine and speed (all illegal) were much easier to get than alcohol. My 23 year old son told me through his high school years that this was pretty much the same. Go figure. Illegal substances are easier to get than controlled legal substances. You force something into the black / illegal market, the sellers and users are automatically criminals. They know this so there is nothing to lose.

2. The analogy between alcohol and drugs is relevent. Prohibition did not work and was the driving force behind the exponential growth of organized crime in this country. It also gave rise to increased police powers to "protect us." From what? Ourselves?

3. If you believe that the outlawing of drugs prevents you or your loved ones from potentially abusing them, I would suggest that is a personal rather than societal problem. You must also take that thought, logically to gun control. More control...less crime.
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Old July 22, 2006, 02:36 PM   #24
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The war on illegal drugs is NOT about;

The war on illegal drugs is NOT about....

....Just marijuana..... Cocaine, crack, meth, heroine, and all those fancy little colored pills with all the exotic names etc, etc are all part of the game also and are the more lethal drugs. Marijuana may be a less lethal drug, but it isn't the ONLY drug in the war. Marijuana is just the start to bigger and badder things. Marijuana is just a teaser to get people to start on the harder drugs. If you take away marijuana, you help take away people's craving to want those harder drugs.

....If YOU can handle drugs. We don't care if YOU can handle marijuana or did coke or acid a few times and are living happy ever after to tell about it. If drugs didn't have a negative effect on so many other people, no one would complain in the first place.

....Being legalized because alcohol is legal. If you think alcohol is bad, then why add more to the list which will destroy our society? If you want alcohol to be illegal, then work on that and don't make more drugs legal because you think alcohol is worse.

....It isn't about marijuana vs alcohol as I stated before, marijuana is just part of the war and alcohol isn't an excuse to bring in more drugs and chemicals in our society.

....Being legalized because it costs too much of our government spending. Dig a bit deeper in our government spending and you will find that the war on drugs doesn't even compare on all the truly worthless spending that our tax money goes to.
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Old July 22, 2006, 05:00 PM   #25
Rich Lucibella
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Join Date: October 6, 1998
Location: South Florida
Posts: 10,164
Quote:
If you take away marijuana, you help take away people's craving to want those harder drugs.
By this same analytic cause/effect logic: I can demonstrate that 92% of people who have smoked pot actually got started only after being exposed to milk in their younger years. That's pretty damning evidence against the dairy industry, don't you agree?


Let's chill the rhetoric a bit.
Rich
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