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Thread: Legalising cannabis: the economic argument

  1. #1 Legalising cannabis: the economic argument 
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    Apparently California is going to vote on legalising cannabis.

    http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/world-us-canada-11473231

    The article gives an economic argument for the legalisation of the drug - the first time i have seen this argument used in mainstream media.

    Regardless of whether such legalisation would bring in extra tax revenue and reduce organised crime, should arguments of morality ever be based on economics? To give an extreme example; slavery makes good economic sense (at least in the short term), but no matter how good the financial benefits it will never make slavery right. Or are economic arguments just one more legitimate consideration among many in the moral maze?


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    There are plenty of moral arguments to be made as well.

    A liberal society should tolerate the right of others to engage in any behavior which doesn't harm others.

    Moreover, weakening organized crime would benefit the lives of plenty of people who are victimized by them. The illegality of drugs, and not just marijuana, has allowed drug cartels to upend and brutalized thousands of people from Columbia up to the US-Mexico border. People are dying as a result of the obsession of keeping drugs out of the US, and for absolutely nothing since the government is incapable of keeping those drugs out of the country.


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    i cannot see any way in which drug cartels would profit from the legalization of cannabis.

    right now they have essentially a monopoly on the drug. legalizing it means that they will have a lot of new competition. the competition would drive down prices as the cartels have to compete with new and legal businesses for their current customers, and new customers would (i hope) not wish to get involved with potentially dangerous drug cartels. within a generation the profits that gangs make from cannabis would be almost gone.

    the economic arguement for cannabis is fairly strong. the state and federal government makes millions(despite the federal government considering it illegal) every year from cannabis that's already sold legally in three counties in northern california. making it legal for casual users all over the state would open up new markets for a product that has already been proven.

    the moral arguement is split. there are moral proponents like i_feel_tiredsleepy who think that it's the person's right to do what they want as long as it doesn't harm anyone else. then there are moral opponents who cite how it helps cause cancer, affects the mental capacities of the person(although it has not been proven to have long term effects), and goes against a variety of religious beliefs.

    the opposing side is pretty weak in my opinion because we allow people to smoke tobacco which has the same cancer causing properties, it's the person's choice to use it so the mental/decision making effect is on their hands, and the religious arguement is completely invalid because our constitution explicitly states that the law is not meant to enforce any particular religion.

    in many less socially liberal country i could expect the government limiting what you can and cannot inhale, but not in america. democrats believe in the rights of individuals to their own body, and republicans are against big government telling us what to do; what's better for the government not to have a say in than what's in the air we're breathing? although i think they should stop people from contaminating the air i breath with something that i don't want to breath, particularly the biproducts from burning coal and gasoline.
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  5. #4  
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    i cannot see any way in which drug cartels would profit from the legalization of cannabis.
    As i understand the article i think they are claiming that because it will still be illegal in surrounding states the cartels will profit somehow from this discrepancy. And also legalisation will somehow increase demand which the cartels could cater for. I think that's the argument; which attempts to counter i_feel_tiredsleepy's point about weakening drug cartels.

    Anyway, regardless of how strong any economic argument may be, should such arguments be allowed to influence the moral arguments? In the UK it could be argued that there is an overlap between the arguments as the NHS pays for treatments related to cannabis misuse - legalisation would allow the government, as so NHS, to recoup this money. I don't know the US health system well enough to say if this would hold true in California.
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    well i think you always have to take into account the economic arguement.

    a better economic system that provides more wealth to the average person is a plus in this bill. essentially passing of the bill is supposed to(based on my interpretation of the constitution) be based on whether or not the benifets outweigh the risks and/or downfalls of the bill.

    some people think it's morally wrong to inhale one chemical versus another(can't see why, but i'll accept it), so that's a downfall of the bill. but it also allows people who disagree with those people to do as they like as long as they don't infringe on other's rights(the bill will almost certainly include a clause preventing those under the influence of the drug to use motor vehicles, or weapons, or anything else that they cannot effectively use), so that's a plus to the bill. the economic arguement shows that it will increase government revenues, and with california's government that will most likely equate to a tax cut for most americans rather than increased government spending, obviously a plus in most peoples' minds.

    and besides, this is america. what you think is morally right and wrong should not limit what i'm allowed to do as long as what i'm doing doesn't hurt you. i should be allowed to smoke tobacco and get lung cancer in my own home, or my car(if it doesn't impede my driving), or outside away from public spaces. similarly i should be allowed to use cannabis despite any of your moral disagreements with it. i have a personal disagreement with homosexuality, i could never be gay. but that doesn't mean i have the right to restrict gay marraige. if i_feel_tiredsleepy has a life partner that he wants to marry, i'm sure as hell not gonna get in his way.

    p.s. as you can probably tell i was quite the proponent of good ol' mary jane back in the day
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  7. #6  
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    Quote Originally Posted by i_feel_tiredsleepy
    A liberal society should tolerate the right of others to engage in any behavior which doesn't harm others.
    A liberal person should tolerate other persons, you mean. Society should tolerate that which doesn't harm itself, society. Individuals and societies are different sorts of entity, whose needs/rights are sometimes incompatible. For example patronizing private health care, where public health care exists, undermines the public system (society)... though this behaviour harms no one individual.

    Which do you put first? I guess Americans would put the individual ahead of society.

    ***

    I wonder how regulating cannabis might resolve in the long term? In Canada, we have cigarettes and gambling regulated/taxed and earning significant government revenue. The former is discouraged and basically getting eradicated by attrition. The latter is encouraged; arguably the dumb machine of government now does more harm by this than the profit of gambling revenue offsets. Could marijuana eventually become a source of profit governments depend on?
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    in order to make that much we would have to become in short... a stonerocracy. i think there would be more problems with that than worries about government's economic dependance on the product.
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    It will probably end up like prohibition for a while. Half the fun of smoking weed is just knowing it is illegal, so whether they admit it or not, even weed smokers are tempted to vote against legalizing it so the fun won't be over.

    What interests me about legalizing it is that hemp would become legal along with it. I like that it grows strong fibers without needing to take half a century to reach maturity like trees do. So, maybe we won't always be wanting to cut down all our forests. I'm not sure how reliable all the claims about its great abilities, like being a fuel, and paper substitute are though. At least it makes good ropes.
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    i'm not sure how you would process it, but the leaves do have the same texture as paper if you grow them in the right conditions. and from experience i can tell you that the hemp rope isn't the strongest substitute for other materials in the world, but it is adequate for many purposes and grows in as little as four months rather than a couple decades like many trees.

    bamboo is about as effective as hemp in that respect though.

    i never understood why hemp was illegal, coca leaves were used in coca cola even after cocaine was made illegal(don't know if they still are, anybody know?).
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    i never understood why hemp was illegal...
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legal_h..._United_States




    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    coca leaves were used in coca cola even after cocaine was made illegal(don't know if they still are, anybody know?).
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Coca-Cola_formula

    To this day, Coca-Cola uses a United States license to purify the coca leaf for medicinal use.[2]

    Because cocaine is naturally present in coca leaves, today's Coca-Cola uses "spent," or treated, coca leaves, those that have been through a cocaine extraction process, to flavor the beverage. The coca leaves are imported from countries like Peru and Bolivia, and they are treated by chemical company Stepan, which then sells the de-cocainized residue to Coca-Cola.[3] Some contend that this process cannot extract all of the cocaine alkaloids at a molecular level, and so the drink still contains trace amounts of the stimulant.[1][4] The Coca-Cola Company currently refuses to comment on the continued presence of coca leaf in Coca-Cola.[5][6]

    A court case in Antalya, Turkey mentioned cochineal dye in Coca-Cola, but the company denies it currently uses the dye
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    the article on the history of cannabis laws dealed almost exclusively with the drug itself.

    the only mention of hemp i found was of indian hemp which contained some amount of THC. this was banned along with cannabis itself for obvious reasons(that i disagree with).

    it didn't explain why hemp with little or no THC content that has been purified in a similar manner to the coca leaves in the article you quoted couldn't be used. and if it is in fact legal to use purified hemp, kojax's most recent post confuses me.
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    You're correct. I misinterpreted your question. I mistakenly lumped "hemp" into the general category of "cannabis" when responding. Sorry about that. I think it's likely that I was thinking here in the same manner as the lawmakers did all those years ago... So in response to your question, they probably made hemp illegal for exactly the same reason that I just mistakenly categorized it into the larger topic bucket of "cannibis."
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul

    it didn't explain why hemp with little or no THC content that has been purified in a similar manner to the coca leaves in the article you quoted couldn't be used. and if it is in fact legal to use purified hemp, kojax's most recent post confuses me.
    My understanding is that it is legal in some places, but highly regulated. Growing hemp presents a problem for law enforcement agencies because it's just so easy to put the drug plant in the same field alongside the non-drug plants.

    As you can see from the images here, hemp leaf doesn't look a whole lot different from marijuana leaf. http://www.fotosearch.com/photos-images/hemp-leaf.html
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    They're the same plant, but different strains are used for different purposes. Those grown for drug use have been selectively bred for high THC levels, and those grown for use as hemp have much lower levels of THC and higher fiber levels.
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    Basically, the cannabis is using this resin, which is smelling so nice, to protect itself from sun. This is why it is good to 'stress' the cannabis with lack of water etc... It can be seen that the highest concentration are in the buds and in the flower. It simply protects its baby. Cannabis has a high sense of paternity/maternity.

    My grand father was an horticulturist in France and he was also a very good practical botanist and mycologist. So we spent endless hours in the gardens or in the forest to recognize plants and mushrooms, to know what they do, what they are dangerous etc... Hemp can be found kinda of wild in France, in some places, my grand dad used to say it was cultivated one that came back wild but one of my botanic professor told us it was an indigenous wild variety. I have to say I don't give a damn, but I tend to believe my grand dad.
    This botanic teacher used to pretend that hemlock and chervil are not difficult to recognize. My grand dad refuses to cultivate chervil because of the risk involved. So once, we took both plants and presented it to him and told him to chew the 'chervil'. He refused... :P

    To come back to hemp, it's the same family than hop by the way and you can graft the two if you know how to graft plants. Hemp is naturally containing the resin but not in such big quantity, but during sunny and hot days, it smells very very nice. It tooks only a few push to make it produces a commercial quantity THC. But to get a cultivated hemp with mainly fiber was pretty strong selection. So the cannabis used for drug is more near of the wild variety. I think it is also the same family than nettle as nettle as hop are related. Never tried to graft hemp and nettle. :-D

    Finally, the hemp seeds are used to bait fish. You leave them in water and then throw them in the river or in the sea. It is very efficient. It can be chewed as well, it tastes not that bad.
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    Been doing some research about the criminalisation of cannabis.

    It appears one of the main reasons it was made illegal was economic. In 1924 during the Opiates Conference in Geneva, counties such as Egypt (whose cotton industry was threatened by surrounding hemp industries) and South Africa (whose government associated cannabis (dagga) with black people which equalled bad) managed to get cannabis included as a topic for consideration, amid claims of mania and such. Apparently this was supported by many Western states, especially USA, as pharmaceutical, timber and petrochemical industries looked to monopolise their markets (apparently Ford had already invented a car running on hemp ethanol). Their lobbying power and government influence was greater than hemps. Public servants such as Anslinger (famous for coining 'reefer madness') also associated the drug with black, and therefore dirty, people. Britain abstained from voting at the conference but went along with it for reasons i cannot find.

    I've pieced together this brief history from many sources. If it appears that it's biased towards pro-cannabis that's because the only sources i could find giving histories were pro-cannabis. I could find few anti-cannabis sources, which only list side-effects not giving a history.
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    That's interesting, Prometheus. I'd held a vague suspicion that petrochemical interests had vilified hemp (rope), but now find synthetic alternatives came much later, e.g. polyester in 1953.
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  19. #18 DUH! 
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    legalize cannibis everywhere and put the cartels completly out of business DUH!
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    Any law that exist must do so to protect harm to the functional society it represents. If a law does not do this, or in fact harms such a society, then it ceases to be law. If only the entire country thought so clearly, we'd have much more spartan laws. Not to mention a lot more hemp-fiber cars, paper, and other long-lasting products.
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    darius that's a wonderful social philosophy. i think that's exactly how things should be.

    the problem is, we don't always know what does and does not benifit the society. and people often put what benefits themselves ahead of what benefits the society, so we have lobbyists and large donations to campaign funds for politicians who are willing to bend to corporate powers.

    there are other problems such as when two people both think they know what benefits the society, or when one of the two has a moral objection to actions that clearly would benefit the society.

    in any case, just because the law sucks and there is no logical reason for it to exist, doesn't mean that its repeal is certain in the near future. there will be a lot of moral objection to repeal as well as arguements from ignorance about the drug and the fiber which have been perpetuated by our culture.
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  22. #21  
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    Quote Originally Posted by saul
    the problem is, we don't always know what does and does not benifit the society. and people often put what benefits themselves ahead of what benefits the society, so we have lobbyists and large donations to campaign funds for politicians who are willing to bend to corporate powers.

    Hence why people constantly complain about under-education. If we all knew everything about everything we'd stop voting for dumb laws.



    there are other problems such as when two people both think they know what benefits the society, or when one of the two has a moral objection to actions that clearly would benefit the society.
    It certainly sucks when religion takes the place of knowledge.

    On the other hand, I can understand wanting to restrict mind altering drugs out of a fear that it will undermine peoples' sense of accountability. I was just watching a documentary on Meth, where this fellow with AIDS who lives in San Francisco explained that using meth causes him to lose all of his inhibitions and start having gay sex with people without informing them of his condition, and how the drug prevents him from feeling remorse while he's doing it. (Like somehow he can't be held responsible for potentially infecting people as long as he's on a drug....)

    Clearly cannabis isn't meth. But, somehow we've got to get it through peoples' heads that a drug induced lapse in moral reasoning ability is not the same thing as a lack of moral accountability for one's actions. Then we could legalize everything, and send all the junkies to work camps when they screw up.
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    to compare meth to cannibis is ignorant
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    Quote Originally Posted by exf10x2=
    to compare meth to cannibis is ignorant
    You're right they're not even in the same ballpark. I'm comparing peoples' reactions to them. "Mind Altering" implies freedom from responsibility to one group, and instills fear of others choosing not to be responsible in the other.

    Some people would outlaw beer and cigarettes too if they could.
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    well my approach to cannabis would be the same as society's current approach to beer and alcohol.

    if you do something stupid while you're drunk, it's your fault as long as you chose to get drunk. the only time you are excused from your actions is if you were under the influence against your will. spiking the punch bowl is a lot easier that forcing somebody to smoke, so i don't think there would be much of an issue there.

    you're not allowed to smoke tobacco indoors or close to certain buildings, especially anywhere children could be present. if we did the same for marijuana, then secondhand smoke and influence on minors wouldn't be much higher than it is today.

    also when you're thuroughly impaired from alcohol you aren't allowed to drive a car because you're a danger to society. the same could be done for cannabis if it can be shown that it severely impairs driving ability. from observing some of my aquaintances, cannabis seems to be much less a problem than alcohol in that respect.

    and exf, you're mostly right. cannabis isn't even in the same ballpark as meth, crack, cocaine, or heroine. all of those drugs are extremely addictive, can cause mania or severe relapse symptoms, and can easily be overdosed on. i'm not up to date on street prices for those drugs but to my understanding it costs about 100 bucks of each of those drugs to kill yourself. a comparable amount of marijuana would give you one hell of a night and then one hell of a headache, but would not kill you. you have to smoke something like half of your body weight to kill yourself with cannabis, and that costs well over a thousand dollars, you would actually pass out long before that, one hundred bucks worth could easily make you pass out.

    now, it must also be said that cannabis does have significant mind altering affects, just not as significant as crack, cocaine, heroine, or meth. that being said, i think kojax raises a valid point.
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    mostly right eh hmm try this observe someone on a 4 day meth, heroin, crack, coke binge, then observe someone smoking as much pot as there able to inhale in 4 days, then let me know which is a threat to social responsibility, let me know how valid you think that point is at such time when you have dragged someone detoxing off the floor so there not lying in there own vomit shacking, sweating and pissing themselves because getting to the bathroom isn't availible on the floor where they lye, as there screaming and tearing at there skin, eyes rolling around in there head, like I have said comparing cannibis to any of the above mentioned drugs is ignorant, Point Not Made.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Hence why people constantly complain about under-education. If we all knew everything about everything we'd stop voting for dumb laws.
    Point of order: We do not vote for laws, directly, except in rare cases and on the state level. Rather, we vote for representatives that the media tells us will vote in such and such a manner, and forge ahead blindly relying on a multiple-check system for congress, senate, and the president.

    Oh wait, I forgot about the Feds. That just breaks everything.

    The real question should not be "is substance abuse harmful?", because it is a false choice. Of course abuse of any substance is harmful. A society will learn to adapt, inevitably, through course of the dumber members killing themselves off. The fact we try so hard to protect these dumb individuals makes me sad, given how I meet many of them living off welfare.

    The system, as it is, is sick and warped. There will be no way to fix it, and no way to implement decisive and changing laws, until the people can actually vote for it.
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    darius, proposition 19 in california was one of those "rare cases" that people actually voted on. it failed by only 8% of the population that voted. i'm confident that in either the next oppurtunity or the one right after that for a direct vote, it will become legal. this is because the elderly more conservative population will die off as well as a younger group coming of voting age... it's just a matter of getting stoners to the polls.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Darius
    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Hence why people constantly complain about under-education. If we all knew everything about everything we'd stop voting for dumb laws.
    Point of order: We do not vote for laws, directly, except in rare cases and on the state level. Rather, we vote for representatives that the media tells us will vote in such and such a manner, and forge ahead blindly relying on a multiple-check system for congress, senate, and the president.
    .
    Well, they vote on the basis of their perception of the law-making decisions the two candidates have made throughout their careers, so really they suffer from two layers of ignorance. 1)- Ignorance about what laws should be passed, and 2)- Ignorance about how good a job their candidate has done of passing those laws.

    . Kind of like how evolution ferrets out the weak, the political process ferrets out politicians with spines. The next guy to run against them will make sure and run smear adds about any decision they've made that might offend the public. So, the successful politicians are the ones who vote on the basis of what their constituents will believe they should have done
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    So they voted no? Anyone know a good news article from California on it - i seem only to be able to find opinion pieces.
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    Will the wiki work?

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Califor..._19_%282010%29


    There are also 136 References listed at the bottom.
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    The Congress shall have Power To lay and collect Taxes, Duties, Imposts and Excises, to pay the Debts and provide for the common Defence and general Welfare of the United States; but all Duties, Imposts and Excises shall be uniform throughout the United States.

    grabbed this off of another topic under the politics forum, it was posted by Bunbury.

    now, there are two different interpretations i can make of the last part of this sentence. it can either mean that the federal government is not allowed to make laws that are specific to one part of the nation, or it can mean that when the government makes a general law such as making cannabis illegal even for medical uses then the states cannot ammend or repeal that law within their borders.

    are there any supreme court cases which have clarified the matter? obviously there was the nullification crisis in the early 1800's, but do we still hold to those precedents?
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    Usually the only time the Fed gets to supersede State Laws in a criminal matter is when the Commerce Clause comes into play, and usually that means that a crime has to be occurring over state lines.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Commerce_Clause

    I don't know how well it would apply or not apply to growing cannabis, but it might give them the power they need, since product grown in one state can easily be sold in another.
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    well it must not give them the power because the marijuana industry in northern california(which is still illegal by federal law) is booming. some areas' economies are actually dependant on the drug.
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    This is a very interesting thread and I would like to add my point of view on the subject.

    First I would like everybody to consider why this country has a drug problem. Next please consider why the problem is getting worse. Now consider how this problem is adversely affecting the lives of all of us.

    Answer to 1 & 2 --- Incredibly obscene amounts of money.

    Answer to #3 --- A country that puts more of it's citizens in jail and prison per 100,000 people than any other country in the world. Every city in this country has major gang problems, much worse than during prohibition.

    What's the answer? Find a way to take the money out of the hands of criminals doing business selling drugs. We all pretty much know how to do that, but do we have the will to do it? Politicians won't do it (afraid of losing their jobs).

    What about the question of the government becoming dependent on drug money in the form of taxes? That's very easily handled by using that tax money only for education of citizens about drugs and how users can get and stay clean and also offering users medical services they need. The important thing is to make joining a gang less attractive (okay lucrative), and reduce the number of new users by taking the pushers out of the neighborhoods and education about the consequences of becoming a user. As the number of users starts to tapper off and decrease so will the need for those tax moneys.

    I'm sure only one generation would be needed to see a vast improvement. A good way to get this ball rolling would be to start by legalizing pot and analyzing all aspects of this action and making refinements as needed, then apply it to all illegal drugs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Answer to #3 --- A country that puts more of it's citizens in jail and prison per 100,000 people than any other country in the world. Every city in this country has major gang problems, much worse than during prohibition.
    You know, I could be mistaken, but I think that is mostly just because we have longer sentences, so for the same induction rate, you would have a larger total number of people incarcerated at any given time because of the length of their stays.

    Then there's the entitlement groups. Basically any minority that feels it has been "marginalized" in the past seems to think that because their ancestors didn't vote for the present laws, that they are thereby free of any obligation to obey them. It's a dangerous situation when you consider how much of a nation's law enforcement effort depends on voluntary obedience. If popular consent to the law is lacking, you can't make up for that just by hiring more police.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Answer to #3 --- A country that puts more of it's citizens in jail and prison per 100,000 people than any other country in the world. Every city in this country has major gang problems, much worse than during prohibition.
    You know, I could be mistaken, but I think that is mostly just because we have longer sentences, so for the same induction rate, you would have a larger total number of people incarcerated at any given time because of the length of their stays.

    Then there's the entitlement groups. Basically any minority that feels it has been "marginalized" in the past seems to think that because their ancestors didn't vote for the present laws, that they are thereby free of any obligation to obey them. It's a dangerous situation when you consider how much of a nation's law enforcement effort depends on voluntary obedience. If popular consent to the law is lacking, you can't make up for that just by hiring more police.
    You could be right as far as that goes, but I'd bet my last dollar that I'm right about the drug problem. I believe the drugs are here to stay, the only question is who is going to control the money they generate? The way we are set up to deal with the problem guarantees the criminals will control it and under their control they will do their best to expand drug use.

    As a society we are caught in a catch 22. By that I mean the elected officials can't do what's needed or they will be voted out of office. So they do the best they can and hire more police, build more jails and prisons and run more people through the system where they all get a first class education on how to be better criminals.

    The one thing I know from personal experience is that when you are doing something wrong, you will never make it right as long as you keep doing the same thing hoping for a different result.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    You could be right as far as that goes, but I'd bet my last dollar that I'm right about the drug problem. I believe the drugs are here to stay, the only question is who is going to control the money they generate? The way we are set up to deal with the problem guarantees the criminals will control it and under their control they will do their best to expand drug use.
    Yeah. From an economic perspective, illegalizing drug use is kind of like guild law. We're effectively saying that only this small group of people is allowed to deal in this commodity. (It wouldn't matter what commodity it is. If you do this for any commodity then it becomes profitable.)

    If too much competition emerges in a given region, the gangs will just have a shooting war over who gets to stay and who has to leave. Imagine if the department stores in your home town could do that to each other. Prices on everything would be high, and profits too. You can't eliminate a guild situation by lowering demand either. They just shrink their operations and keep going.
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Yeah. From an economic perspective, illegalizing drug use is kind of like guild law. We're effectively saying that only this small group of people is allowed to deal in this commodity. (It wouldn't matter what commodity it is. If you do this for any commodity then it becomes profitable.)

    If too much competition emerges in a given region, the gangs will just have a shooting war over who gets to stay and who has to leave. Imagine if the department stores in your home town could do that to each other. Prices on everything would be high, and profits too. You can't eliminate a guild situation by lowering demand either. They just shrink their operations and keep going.
    Without drugs in the equation that shrinking of their operations would be quite significant. I'm not sure what the average age is of people using this forum, but my best guess is they didn't have the same front row seat watching it happen that I did.

    I was just entering high school when the Vietnam war started for the U.S. Back then they had a draft for military service. It's hard to describe what it feels like to go through high school knowing you will be drafted and sent off to a very unpopular war. Because of that the stress of growing up was much higher than it should have been. It adversely affected an entire generation of young people growing up in this country. Rebelling was the rule and it didn't take very long before we all knew the government lied about the dangers of marihuana and if they lied about that what else were they lying about.

    This is what set the stage for our current drug problems and the government made one bad choice after another trying to deal with it, and here we are and the government is still making bad choices and the problem is still getting worse.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban

    Without drugs in the equation that shrinking of their operations would be quite significant. I'm not sure what the average age is of people using this forum, but my best guess is they didn't have the same front row seat watching it happen that I did.
    Yeah, that's definitely true. If you legalize it, the guild-status-driven demand vanishes entirely. As it stands now, if people buy less drugs, all that means is some dealers are going to have to get pushed out (shot) in order to keep the supply/demand ratio favorable to the dealers that remain.

    In ordinary economics, there is no option to do that. If you're selling say... skate boards.... and people buy less, then all prices have to drop throughout the area. You can't just approach a few of the other skateboard shops and say "Get out of here. This is my turf!" They'd just laugh because they know they're entitled to be there. The same would be true with legalized drug sales. No turf wars, no favorable supply/demand ratios, no crazy profits.
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    I may be getting a little off topic with this comment, if so forgive me. That lie the government told about marihuana did more to harm this country than almost any other thing they've done. I want to go on record as saying if that lie did not happen and marihuana was not made illegal we would not be in the current drug/gang trouble we are in today.

    Why would a little lie meant to help people cause so much damage? Like any lie the liar always thinks they won't be found out and they almost always are sooner or later. When found out they almost always build more lies to cover up and that almost never works either. So what happens now? Trust is lost and when that happens during a very stressful time being threatened with the draft during a war as you reach high school age makes it 100 times worse. Almost everybody became a little bit outlaw as not very many didn't try marihuana. Now you have a very large young population that doesn't trust the government, that have dabbled in criminal activity. Many of them continue to go to a dealer to buy marihuana and that's a situation made to order in setting the stage for other drugs to be introduced into the population. Then it was just a matter of time for demand to drive up the price and make gang activity a very profitable operation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Many of them continue to go to a dealer to buy marihuana and that's a situation made to order in setting the stage for other drugs to be introduced into the population. Then it was just a matter of time for demand to drive up the price and make gang activity a very profitable operation.
    I like that last point: that basically marijuana dealing places the infrastructure in place for other drug operations. It's a transition drug in more than one way, but if it didn't enjoy the guild status that comes with illegality, it also wouldn't be able to play that role. If dealers had to go straight to cocaine, heroine, or meth in order to get an operation started, maybe they'd be less successful?
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    Quote Originally Posted by kojax
    Quote Originally Posted by Lance Wenban
    Many of them continue to go to a dealer to buy marihuana and that's a situation made to order in setting the stage for other drugs to be introduced into the population. Then it was just a matter of time for demand to drive up the price and make gang activity a very profitable operation.
    I like that last point: that basically marijuana dealing places the infrastructure in place for other drug operations. It's a transition drug in more than one way, but if it didn't enjoy the guild status that comes with illegality, it also wouldn't be able to play that role. If dealers had to go straight to cocaine, heroine, or meth in order to get an operation started, maybe they'd be less successful?
    Very nicely put, that was exactly the way I was hoping you would take what I said.

    I can't tell you how many times I had the following thought. “They didn't learn from prohibition” so now we are doomed to repeat history in an even more damaging way than the first time around.
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    I found this interesting side issue in a Think Big weekly newsletter. I tend to agree with it, but would like to know what others on this forum think.


    The War on Drugs Is Reducing Marriage Rates
    Marina Adshade on December 7, 2010, 8:06 AM

    The "Just Say No" campaign in the late 1980s increased the severity of sentencing for drug offenders in the U.S. Since that time, particularly since the mid-1990’s, incarceration rates have been steadily increasing to the point that the U.S. now has the one of the highest incarceration rates in the world.*

    Over the same period, marriage rates have been falling in the U.S. and falling in some communities faster than in others. Economic theory predicts that an increase in the incarceration rate will disadvantage some women when it comes to marriage and reduce the overall marriage rate. The evidence seems to support that view.

    New research published in The Review of Economics and Statistics shows that growing incarceration has contributed to declining marriage rates. In fact, this paper finds that about 13% of the decline in marriage since 1990 can be explained by male incarceration.

    Incarceration rates vary by socioeconomic class and also by race; in 2004, one in eight black males age 25-29 was incarcerated compared to one in 28 Hispanic males and one in 59 white males. If women search for future husband in their own community—where community is defined over geographic, economic or racial qualities—then some women are more disadvantaged than others. The evidence suggests that this is true. For example, black women are the most disadvantaged—about 18% percent of the decline in marriage rates among black women can be explained by incarceration. Hispanic women are also relatively disadvantaged, with about 10% of the reduction in marriage rates in that group explained by incarceration.
    This effect is biggest for women with little education; particularly women with less than a high school education, but also for women with high school and some college. The only group of women unaffected by the trend is women who have a university degree, but it isn’t that surprising that these women do not draw their partners from the same pool of men who have been affected by the increase in incarceration rates.
    It’s not all bad news for women though; education and employment for women is increasing with incarceration rates, no doubt the effect of women having to become more independent.

    One interesting finding is that divorce rates are also falling because of increased incarceration. The authors seem to think that women are being pickier and are therefore ending up in more stable relationships. I disagree. The logical explanation is that women have fewer outside options and so are more likely to stay in a marriage even when they are not happy. The much bigger problem with women having fewer outside options is that this implies that the men who stay out of prison are getting more say in what happens in the household.

    One thing I would be very curious to know is what happens to the level of prostitution when incarceration rates increase? I would be very surprised if it didn’t increase. A surplus of unmarriable men should create demand for prostitution services. This should drive up the price paid to prostitutes drawing more women (who have been left out of the marriage market) into the trade. Now that would be some interesting research.

    — Kerwin Kofi, Charles and Ming Ching Luoh (2010). “Male Incarceration, the Marriage Market, and Female Outcomes.” The Review of Economics and Statistics vol. 92(3): pp 614-627.

    http://bigthink.com/ideas/25300?utm_...m_medium=email
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