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Economics 101 Tells Us That the War on Drugs is a Complete Failure: Prices Are Going Down, Not Up
Carpe Diem ^ | July 6, 2012 | Mark Perry

Posted on 07/06/2012 4:52:57 PM PDT by BfloGuy

From the New York Times article, "Numbers Tell of Failure in Drug War the War on Peaceful Americans Who Voluntary Choose to Use Intoxicants Not Currently Approved of By U.S. Politicians and Government Officials":

"When policy makers in Washington worry about Mexico these days, they think in terms of a handful of numbers: Mexico’s 19,500 hectares devoted to poppy cultivation for heroin; its 17,500 hectares growing cannabis; the 95 percent of American cocaine imports brought by Mexican cartels through Mexico and Central America.

They are thinking about the wrong numbers. If there is one number that embodies the seemingly intractable challenge imposed by the illegal drug trade on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, it is $177.26. That is the retail price, according to Drug Enforcement Administration data, of one gram of pure cocaine from your typical local pusher. That is 74 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago.

Prices match supply with demand. If the supply of an illicit drug were to fall, say because the Drug Enforcement Administration stopped it from reaching the nation’s shores, we should expect its price to go up.

That is not what happened with cocaine. Despite billions spent on measures from spraying coca fields high in the Andes to jailing local dealers in Miami or Washington, a gram of cocaine cost about 16 percent less last year than it did in 2001. The drop is similar for heroin and methamphetamine.

These numbers contain pretty much all you need to evaluate the Mexican and American governments’ “war” to eradicate illegal drugs from the streets of the United States. They would do well to heed its message. What it says is that the struggle on which they have spent billions of dollars and lost tens of thousands of lives over the last four decades has failed.

Most important, conceived to eradicate the illegal drug market, the war on drugs cannot be won. Once they understand this, the Mexican and American governments may consider refocusing their strategies to take aim at what really matters: the health and security of their citizens, communities and nations."


TOPICS: Government; Politics; Society
KEYWORDS: constitution; drugs; drugwar; statesrights; tenthamendment; warondrugs; wod; wodlist; wosd
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I don't use drugs. I don't like the use of drugs. My nephew [age 26] spent several years in jail for heroin use and died of an over-dose just this February.

Nonetheless, the "War on Drugs" hasn't done a thing to stop the use of them. In fact, as the post points out, the price of drugs is collapsing because the supply is so great.

Can conservatives admit that "The War on Drugs" is, perhaps, a bigger flop than the Democrats' "War on Poverty?"

Or should we continue to "create jobs" by throwing more money at it and feeling really good about how we're helping society?

1 posted on 07/06/2012 4:53:05 PM PDT by BfloGuy
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To: BfloGuy

The only price going up as a result of the War on (Some) Drugs is the cost of lost liberties.


2 posted on 07/06/2012 4:56:44 PM PDT by Yashcheritsiy (not voting for the lesser of two evils)
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To: BfloGuy

Don’t worry, once they’re legalized and the government attempts to regulate them then the cost will go back up. Do you think that if the government starts dispensing heroin and meth rations that the cartels will all die? There will just be a new ‘war’, a capitalist competition war between the government dispensaries and the cartels. The supply will simply increase more, which is a good thing I guess.


3 posted on 07/06/2012 5:01:56 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: BfloGuy

A little secret for you:
The cartels will always win because they operate globally outside of all laws & we’re trying to fight them from within the confines of a lawful civilization.
Legalizing drugs will not stop the encroachment of their lawlessness into our world. It will only hasten it.


4 posted on 07/06/2012 5:06:12 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: BfloGuy

My niece was hooked in methamphetamine. BAD! After her third trip to the joint, she got serious and has been clean for over 10 years now. I’m happy she’s not dead. I’m not a big fan of “rehab” because I’m convinced it doesn’t work. She made me eat my words. So okay, it worked once.


5 posted on 07/06/2012 5:06:12 PM PDT by FlingWingFlyer (ObamaCare is only the beginning. It's all downhill from here.)
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To: BfloGuy

How hard would you work if you knew that success would mean you are out of work?


6 posted on 07/06/2012 5:07:39 PM PDT by kempster
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To: brent13a

If it’s easier to operate within the law, there will be no room for cartels. After all, where’s the cartel for rice or wheat?


7 posted on 07/06/2012 5:09:42 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: BfloGuy

The other thing to note is that a theocratic police state - Iran - can’t control its drug problem.


8 posted on 07/06/2012 5:10:21 PM PDT by Strategerist
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To: kempster

So by that reasoning we shouldn’t be fighting islamism? It’s still an encroaching threat that we barely have at bay. By your logic we should disband the military and just let the islamists have their way because we’ll never win.


9 posted on 07/06/2012 5:11:54 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: BfloGuy

Most folks beleive keeping drugs illegal doesn’t stop anybody from getting them, but also believe that far more people would use them if legalized.


10 posted on 07/06/2012 5:12:43 PM PDT by umgud (No Rats, No Rino's)
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To: MetaThought

What planet do you live on? “Easier to operate within the law” means nothing. It’s always going to be CHEAPER to operate outside of the law....that’s how the drug cartels have gotten so big and powerful.
Government ran legalized drugs would be a bloated expensive disaster just like any other federal dept. is.


11 posted on 07/06/2012 5:15:11 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: Strategerist

How many drugs are imported into Iran via illegal border crossings versus the US? Last time I checked Iran has its border sealed up like Fort Knox. How many SA cartels operate in Iran? I’m going to guess its zero. How many of its own people does Iran murder versus drug gangs murdering iran’s citizens? I’m pretty sure Iran kills way more of its own people. I don’t think it’s a good comparison.


12 posted on 07/06/2012 5:19:49 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: BfloGuy

You are wrong. The war against drugs IS working.

Thanks to that war, heroin and cocaine are not for sale at the local convenience store. Heroin and cocaine are not handed out like Slurpees at Seven-Eleven. Heroin and cocaine are not sold like hot dogs at the corner of most streets. Heroin and cocaine are not passed out by vendors at baseball games. Heroin and cocaine are not served at soccer team parties after the championship game. Heroin and cocaine are not placed on your tray by airline stewards. Heroin and cocaine are not everywhere — thanks to our brave policemen and parents and those non-libertarians who support them.

You are WRONG. End of debate.


13 posted on 07/06/2012 5:20:05 PM PDT by heye2monn
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To: brent13a

As I said. Where are the alcohol cartels? Where are the rice cartels? They don’t exist.

If the government doesn’t (a) overtax (cigarettes in NY) and (b) overregulate (unscheduled prescription drugs) then there’s no point in having a black market or a cartel.


14 posted on 07/06/2012 5:20:30 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: heye2monn
You are incredibly wrong.

Legalizing does not mean advocating. Think cigarettes and soccer games.

BTW, for the most part, “brave policemen” is an oxymoron.

15 posted on 07/06/2012 5:24:04 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: MetaThought

The Cartel armies are incomparable to the old time mobsters. The Cartel armies are infinitely larger, more global, more resourceful, and infinitely more vicious than any moonshine running gang ever was.
What the heck does rice have to do with anything? There aren’t any ‘rice cartels’ because you can’t get high on rice. That’s a nonsensical non sequitor.


16 posted on 07/06/2012 5:28:19 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: brent13a

Have you ever experienced any serious alcoholism cases? Nasty. Hard liquor should be banned also.


17 posted on 07/06/2012 5:32:08 PM PDT by wrencher
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To: starlifter

So if you’re not advocating drug usage by legalization exactly what should the stipulations be for purchasing legalized drugs?


18 posted on 07/06/2012 5:32:20 PM PDT by brent13a (Glenn Beck is an a$$hat.)
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To: MetaThought

Archer Daniel Midlands and Cargil.


19 posted on 07/06/2012 5:37:25 PM PDT by razorback-bert (I'm in shape. Round is a shape isn't it?)
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To: brent13a

Don’t tell me you are naive enough to believe that your tax dollars are being used for something other than moving paper from one desk to another and putting a good face on it? Really?


20 posted on 07/06/2012 5:38:44 PM PDT by kempster
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To: brent13a

You can’t get high off rice, but people do eat lots of rice right, you might even call them addicted.

Cartels exist because they make large profits from trafficking in substance X. Now, if you can get substance X cheaper/simpler from elsewhere, then there will be no scope for smuggling/trafficking.

It’s irrelevant how many guns they have or how vicious they are. If there’s not a large profit to be made, they don’t really have a reason to exist.


21 posted on 07/06/2012 5:42:08 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: BfloGuy

I don’t use drugs either including the liquid type

Trying to talk sense to way too many on this site is frustrating

They learned NOTHING from PROHIBITION


22 posted on 07/06/2012 5:42:48 PM PDT by uncbob
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To: razorback-bert

Well, sure. But they don’t usually dismember people to make a point, and they are no doubt better, generally speaking than your average cartel.

Their brand of evil is more subtle.


23 posted on 07/06/2012 5:45:40 PM PDT by MetaThought
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To: BfloGuy

I believe “The War on Drugs” to be in reality a war on rights, particularly property and legal rights. Just ask yourself how compromised the 4th amendment has become because of it.


24 posted on 07/06/2012 5:47:07 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: starlifter

soccer games don’t have cigarettes?


25 posted on 07/06/2012 5:59:11 PM PDT by heye2monn
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To: brent13a
So if you’re not advocating drug usage by legalization exactly what should the stipulations be for purchasing legalized drugs?

Why should there be any? I mean look at Sudaphed, great stuff, but it's legal and "stipulated" ... but all that stipulation means is that you can *never* stock up with it when it's on sale, and that you can't buy bulk "for the year." IE it is only a hassle and a burden.

If someone wants to kill themselves -- mind you most don't really want to kill themselves -- then we cannot keep them from it unless we violate them, forcing them to eat and drink, keeping "dangerous things" out of their reach, and otherwise invalidating them as individuals.

I'm not advocating for the use of drugs; what I am doing is dissenting the government's involvement. It should be friends, family, his church, his doctor... but not "the government." Shirking our fellows into relying on the government is saying, in action not word, "I don't care enough to help you."

26 posted on 07/06/2012 5:59:43 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: MetaThought
You can’t get high off rice, but people do eat lots of rice right, you might even call them addicted.

Ever have rice wine? Perhaps not 'high' but it alters your mind as much as any other alcohol.

27 posted on 07/06/2012 6:01:51 PM PDT by OneWingedShark (Q: Why am I here? A: To do Justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with my God.)
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To: heye2monn
heroin and cocaine are not for sale at the local convenience store. Heroin and cocaine are not handed out like Slurpees at Seven-Eleven. Heroin and cocaine are not sold like hot dogs at the corner of most streets.

You need to get around more.

28 posted on 07/06/2012 6:08:18 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: heye2monn
Depends. In California they probably do. :)
29 posted on 07/06/2012 6:09:44 PM PDT by starlifter (Pullum sapit)
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To: brent13a
The cartels will always win because they operate globally outside of all laws & we’re trying to fight them from within the confines of a lawful civilization.

Which is why Calderon and Obama folded, and gave deed to Arizona to the Sinaloa Cartel.

30 posted on 07/06/2012 6:10:03 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: umgud
but also believe that far more people would use them if legalized.

Yeah.... I've just been itching to try out 'bath salts'.

31 posted on 07/06/2012 6:13:15 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: OneWingedShark
Perhaps not 'high' but it alters your mind as much as any other alcohol.

When we deal with WHY people will do anything to ALTER THEIR MIND, even if it kills them, we can then begin to solve the drug and alcohol addiction.

Until then, it's just a game for the ruling elite to make money.

32 posted on 07/06/2012 6:19:08 PM PDT by UCANSEE2 (Lame and ill-informed post)
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To: UCANSEE2

What convenience store have you bought cocaine from?


33 posted on 07/06/2012 6:20:51 PM PDT by heye2monn
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To: umgud
Most folks beleive keeping drugs illegal doesn’t stop anybody from getting them, but also believe that far more people would use them if legalized.

Here's an angle most drug warriors probably haven't thought of: maybe a huge part of the reason that addicts are such a problem is BECAUSE the drugs are illegal. An alcoholic can buy his booze out in the open. and drink out in the open, and be drunk out in the open (at parties and whatnot without the same stigma as being whacked on coke). Therefore it would be much easier to identify the alcoholic's problem, and, perhaps more importantly, it would be easier for the alcoholic to admit to having a problem.

With illegal drugs, however, the user already has to do the drugs in secret, or only among certain people, and may feel afraid to admit he has a problem and ask for help because he'll have the stigma of an illegal drug user (aka scum of the earth, dope-head, criminal, etc.). So the drug user either tries to overcome the addiction on his own, or lets himself be swallowed by the addiction, because the illegality of it forces him into the underground.
34 posted on 07/06/2012 6:39:02 PM PDT by fr_freak
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To: BfloGuy

We have to have a war on drugs because we can’t just let people do whatever they want because they might do something I don’t like /sarc


35 posted on 07/06/2012 6:41:28 PM PDT by muir_redwoods (Legalize Freedom!!)
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To: brent13a
We are are pursuing the war on drugs to its tragic conclusion even to the threshold of destroying the Bill of Rights, thoroughly corrupting the administration of justice, over populating our prisons, destroying huge portions of succeeding generations, mortally threatening respect for the rule of law, breaking families apart, engorging government, depleting the treasury, and actually making addiction to drugs more widespread.

The idea that taking the profit motive out of drug distribution would not put the cartels out of business is absurd. However, to raise the question as you do whether one is willing to accept open distribution, or very open controlled distribution, of extremely dangerous drugs is legitimate because half measures will not prevail over the drug cartels because they will not eliminate the profit motive.

That means that those of us who advocate the legalization of drugs must be courageous enough to advocate the legalization of the most deadly drugs and the most addictive drugs. It does no good to stand for the legalization of pot only. The profit motive must be withdrawn from the trade and that means the profit motive for all drugs. That implies easy access at reasonable prices below prices which are profitable for cartels to operate for adults of extremely dangerous and extremely addictive drugs. There is no way around that.

The situation we have today is similar: we have easy access at reasonable prices (but prices nevertheless inflated because the drug is illegal so the trade is profitable for cartels) by adults or children to extremely dangerous and extremely addictive drugs.

I want the choice. I am a conservative I want the choice vested in me as an individual and not taken away from me and invested in a government. I want the power to choose to be free of drugs and at the same time to be free of the threat of being mugged so that some addict can pay for his habit by robbing me. I want to be free of the threat of home invasion. I want to be able to enjoy free access to the public square. Therefore, I am willing to tolerate others making the wrong choice and addicting themselves because a dangerous, addictive substance is relatively easy and legal to obtain. My belief is that fewer people will make that choice because there is no incentive for addicts to push drugs to fund their own habits. Presumably, addicts will have access to cheap drugs and will have no need to resort to crime or violence to satisfy their habituation. The government chronically makes the wrong choices for us, it deprives us of freedom of choice, it exposes us to violence, it creates a black market and actually supports prices within that market.

I want to end the moral hazard of drug abuse. If an adult citizen of the United States makes a choice to use hazardous drugs let's him alone bear the consequences as much as possible-to the degree that he alone bears the consequences for abusing alcohol. Let not society, by rendering the choice illegal, shift the costs and unanticipated consequences onto those of us who choose not abuse drugs. Let the government stop making me collateral damage in its war on drugs.

The degree to which drugs by their very nature cause collateral damage to family members and other members of society should be reduced because the incidence of drug use falls when there is no financial incentive to push drugs. If not, if the rate of consumption stays the same, we have at least gotten our Bill of Rights back.


36 posted on 07/06/2012 6:49:46 PM PDT by nathanbedford ("Attack, repeat, attack!" Bull Halsey)
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To: heye2monn
Read this...

The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people.

Which section of the Constitution do you believe delegates to Congress the power to regulate intrastate drug policies?

37 posted on 07/06/2012 7:04:27 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: brent13a

How much does your department get from fedgov in terms of money and weapons to fight drugs?


38 posted on 07/06/2012 7:06:50 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: nathanbedford

Why is it so hard to make so many “conservatives” see this? Knee jerk reactions. How many people in Mexico must die, how many US people imprisoned and lawyers enriched? What is freedom when the govt. has its tentacles in every bank account, and now all your medical records, monitoring your every movement via cameras, groping you whenever they choose. USA, home of the free? Right......

When will people resist? Certainly not before their TV stops working. Whose fault is it? Most might ask the mirror. For all the anger directed at Obama, the losses have been accumulating for decades now.


39 posted on 07/06/2012 7:21:11 PM PDT by wrencher
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To: uncbob
Trying to talk sense to way too many on this site is frustrating

If you really want to get to a prohibitionist, start talking about pension reform and budget cuts and cancelled union contracts.

They understand the bottom line.

40 posted on 07/06/2012 7:22:06 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: BfloGuy

The cartels have figured out that they can smuggle drugs by mixing them in with potential voters and watching the Democrats suck them across the border by capillary action.


41 posted on 07/06/2012 7:30:04 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: Ken H

intrastate? Hard drugs pour across borders into our local friendly Seven Elevens. Crime gangs crossing borders to slaughter each other (and yes there will be gangs) And we couldn’t stop that? What are you smoking?


42 posted on 07/06/2012 7:42:11 PM PDT by heye2monn
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To: heye2monn
Hard drugs pour across borders into our local friendly Seven Elevens.

A little while ago, you posted:

Heroin and cocaine are not handed out like Slurpees at Seven-Eleven.

You've got some schizo Seven-Eleven's out there.

43 posted on 07/06/2012 7:50:01 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh, bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: heye2monn
intrastate? Hard drugs pour across borders into our local friendly Seven Elevens. Crime gangs crossing borders to slaughter each other (and yes there will be gangs) And we couldn’t stop that? What are you smoking?

You sound like Nancy Pelosi - 'Are you SERIOUS?' Be that as it may, answer the question put to you. It's a very simple one.

Which section of the Constitution do you believe delegates to Congress the power to regulate intrastate drug policies?

44 posted on 07/06/2012 7:59:41 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: BfloGuy
If there is one number that embodies the seemingly intractable challenge imposed by the illegal drug trade on the relationship between the United States and Mexico, it is $177.26. That is the retail price, according to Drug Enforcement Administration data, of one gram of pure cocaine from your typical local pusher. That is 74 percent cheaper than it was 30 years ago.

I remember it being $30-50 a gram 30 years ago. Is that what Obama paid?

45 posted on 07/06/2012 8:13:06 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: brent13a; Strategerist

Muslims have always been big drug users. Iran has no interest in getting rid of drugs in their society. They count on their population being on drugs to control them.


46 posted on 07/06/2012 8:19:45 PM PDT by <1/1,000,000th%
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To: <1/1,000,000th%
I remember it being $30-50 a gram 30 years ago.

The ONDCP says the price for 1 gm of pure cocaine in 1982 was $590 v the $177 today.

http://www.briancbennett.com/charts/fed-data/cocaine-prices.htm

47 posted on 07/06/2012 8:58:55 PM PDT by Ken H
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To: OneWingedShark
I believe “The War on Drugs” to be in reality a war on rights, particularly property and legal rights.

I believe you are correct.

The 'war' is also a means of wealth redistribution, and a source of money laundering for the 'elites' some of whom are in our government.
48 posted on 07/06/2012 8:59:25 PM PDT by hedgetrimmer
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To: brent13a
By your logic we should disband the military and just let the islamists have their way because we’ll never win.

How is it LOGICAL to assume as you have done that the Marines and Armed forces have inferior intellect, worse firepower, and poorer strategic abilities than some cavemen out to get 72 virgins after they die?

49 posted on 07/06/2012 9:01:12 PM PDT by JimWayne
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To: heye2monn
Thanks to that war, heroin and cocaine are not for sale at the local convenience store. etc.

The war on drugs has nothing to do with this. This is achieved through a simple law not permitting them to sell drugs. There is a difference between a simple law such as the one on preventing liquor sales to minors and the war on drugs. The term 'war on drugs' also includes millions of dollars funneled away by corrupt politicians and their cronies in the name of fighting the war on drugs. Most of these politicians are RINOs who are supported by frightened conservatives who have been told that the only way to prevent a proliferation of drugs in our society is if we give them the money to fight the war on drugs.

50 posted on 07/06/2012 9:07:22 PM PDT by JimWayne
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