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'Demon drug' propaganda doesn't cut it anymore
The Providence Journal ^ | May 10, 2006 | Froma Harrop

Posted on 05/10/2006 7:31:03 AM PDT by cryptical

America's war on drugs is actually a Raid on Taxpayers. The war costs an estimated $70 billion a year to prosecute, and the drugs keep pouring in. But while the War on Drugs may have failed its official mission, it is a great success as a job-creation program. Thousands of drug agents, police, detectives, prosecutors, judges, anti-drug activists, prison guards and their support staffs can thank the program for their daily bread and health benefits.

The American people are clearly not ready to decriminalize cocaine, heroine or other hard drugs, but they're well on their way to easing up on marijuana. A Zogby poll found that nearly half of Americans now want pot legal and regulated, like alcohol. Few buy into the "demon drug" propaganda anymore, and for a simple reason: Several countries have decriminalized marijuana with little effect on public health.

Americans could save a ton of money doing the same. The taxpayers spend almost $8 billion a year enforcing the ban on marijuana, according to a report by visiting Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron. State and local governments consume about $5 billion of the total.

The war on pot fills our jails. America arrests 755,000 people every year for marijuana infractions -- the vast majority for possession, not dealing. An estimated 80,000 people now sit behind bars on marijuana offenses.

The Bush administration stoutly supports the campaign against marijuana, which others think is crazy. Compare the Canadian and American approach to medical marijuana: The Canadian Postal Service delivers it right into the mailboxes of Canadian cancer patients. The U.S. Justice Department invades the patients' backyards and rips out cannabis plants, even those grown with a state's blessing.

The Bush administration isn't going to last forever, nor is the patience of Americans paying for and suffering under the ludicrous war on marijuana. Surely letting sick people smoke marijuana to ease their discomfort -- 11 states have approved such, including Rhode Island -- would be a good start for a more enlightened drug policy.

For the drug warriors, however, this toe in the water seems a foot in the door for eventual decriminalization of pot. That's understandable. Relaxing the rules on marijuana would greatly reduce the need for their services.

Remember the Supreme Court case two years ago, when Justice Stephen Breyer innocently suggested that the federal Food and Drug Administration be asked to rule on whether marijuana had an accepted medical use? Well, the FDA has just ruled. In a total lie, the FDA said that no scientific studies back the use of marijuana for medical purposes. Actually, the prestigious Institute of Medicine issued its findings in 1999 that marijuana helped patients for pain and for the relief of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

The federal government "loves to ignore our report," John Benson, a professor of medicine at the University of Nebraska and co-chairman of the committee that wrote the Institute of Medicine" study, said after the FDA issued its "advisory."

The Drug Enforcement Administration, which feeds off the drug war, plays a big part in stopping this and all future efforts to reach educated opinions on marijuana. Lyle Craker, a University of Massachusetts authority on medicinal plants, wanted to grow marijuana for the purpose of evaluating its possible medical uses. The DEA said no, insisting that he use marijuana from a University of Mississippi lab. The DEA knows full well that the UMiss pot is low-quality and therefore useless for study.

The drug warriors' incentive to keep the game going is pretty obvious. But what's in it for taxpayers?

Miron's Harvard study looked beyond what the public pays to enforce the marijuana laws. It also investigated how much money would roll in if marijuana were legal and taxed like alcohol. The answer was over $6 billion in annual tax revenues. Do the math: If government stopped outlawing marijuana and started taxing it, its coffers would be $14 billion richer every year.

We could use that money. For example, $14 billion could pay for all the anti-terrorism port-security measures required in the Maritime Transportation Security Act of 2002.

More than 500 economists of every political stripe have endorsed the Miron study. Growing numbers of Americans are beginning to agree with them: The war against marijuana is an expensive failure -- and pointless, too.

Froma Harrop is a Journal editorial writer and syndicated columnist. She may be reached by e-mail at: fharrop@projo.com.


TOPICS: Crime/Corruption; Culture/Society
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1 posted on 05/10/2006 7:31:06 AM PDT by cryptical
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To: cryptical

Great! Another WOD thread. I'm getting bored with the immigration threads.


2 posted on 05/10/2006 7:33:43 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: cryptical; Wolfie; traviskicks

WOD bump


3 posted on 05/10/2006 7:33:51 AM PDT by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: cryptical
A Google search of "Froma Harrop" makes clear that she's a proud member of the Fellow traveler's Club.
4 posted on 05/10/2006 7:36:16 AM PDT by Gay State Conservative
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To: rhombus

Well, there's always the evolution threads for real entertainment.


5 posted on 05/10/2006 7:37:41 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: rhombus
It's interesting that many of the same people that support the war of drugs support letting illegal aliens invade our country.

Go figure.

6 posted on 05/10/2006 7:38:06 AM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: mlc9852
Well, there's always the evolution threads for real entertainment.

Have you ever tried a neo-Confederate "I hate Lincoln" threads. Those are a real hoot.

7 posted on 05/10/2006 7:42:07 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: cryptical
The Bush administration isn't going to last forever, nor is the patience of Americans paying for and suffering under the ludicrous war on marijuana.

As did the Clinton, Bush-41, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, and (ta-da) Roosevelt administrations.

As ludicrous as the continued war on pot is, its 69-year history cannot be placed solely at the feet of the current presidential administration. IIRC, it was a Democrat (FDR) in the White House when Bureau of Narcotics chief Harry Anslinger testified before Congress about how cannibis (a long accepted part of the physicians' pharmacopia until 1937) made white women have sex with black jazz musicians.

8 posted on 05/10/2006 7:42:12 AM PDT by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: William Terrell
It's interesting that many of the same people that support the war of drugs support letting illegal aliens invade our country.

Very interesting and timely observation. And very indicative of the Democrat party line.

The reverse needs to happen: weed - si, wetbacks, no!

9 posted on 05/10/2006 7:43:58 AM PDT by bassmaner (Let's take the word "liberal" back from the commies!!)
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To: bassmaner
As did the Clinton, Bush-41, Reagan, Carter, Ford, Nixon, Johnson, Kennedy, Eisenhower, Truman, and (ta-da) Roosevelt administrations. As ludicrous as the continued war on pot is, its 69-year history cannot be placed solely at the feet of the current presidential administration. IIRC, it was a Democrat (FDR) in the White House when Bureau of Narcotics chief Harry Anslinger testified before Congress about how cannibis (a long accepted part of the physicians' pharmacopia until 1937) made white women have sex with black jazz musicians.

Agreed. Next they will be blaming Bush for the weather...oh...never mind.

10 posted on 05/10/2006 7:44:34 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: cryptical

11 posted on 05/10/2006 7:44:57 AM PDT by Fighting Irish
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To: bassmaner
The reverse needs to happen: weed - si, wetbacks, no!

No way. We don't need their stinking weed. We can grow our own.

12 posted on 05/10/2006 7:45:41 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: cryptical
relief of nausea and vomiting caused by chemotherapy.

When I was going through chemotherapy, my oncologist informed me of this use and was not judgmental..

13 posted on 05/10/2006 7:47:02 AM PDT by ncountylee (Dead terrorists smell like victory)
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To: rhombus
If everyone would just mail their pot to me, I'd keep it locked up in a safe location, and bang, our nation's drug problem would be over. We'd need no War on Drugs.
14 posted on 05/10/2006 7:48:21 AM PDT by Hemingway's Ghost (Spirit of '75)
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To: rhombus

If we can't or won't control illegal immigration then how can we expect to control illegal drugs. Bet that illegal drugs are being carried by illegal immigrants crossing the borders.


15 posted on 05/10/2006 7:49:28 AM PDT by dhs12345
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To: cryptical
The taxpayers spend almost $8 billion a year enforcing the ban on marijuana... State and local governments consume about $5 billion of the total... The war on pot fills our jails.

Say no more, that's the key to the whole question. Marijuana would already be legal if not for the fact that hundreds of thousands of cops, prison guards, bureaucrats, judges and lawyers derive their livelihood from keeping it illegal. Jobs for the boys.

-ccm

16 posted on 05/10/2006 7:51:53 AM PDT by ccmay (Too much Law; not enough Order)
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To: rhombus

LOL - have never seen one of those threads but I'll keep a lookout. Sounds like fun.


17 posted on 05/10/2006 7:53:52 AM PDT by mlc9852
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To: mlc9852

Wake and Bake!


18 posted on 05/10/2006 7:56:10 AM PDT by Wolfie
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To: William Terrell

William Terrell wrote:

> It's interesting that many of the same people that support the war of drugs support letting illegal aliens invade our country. <

Yeah, sure.

For example, William F. Buckley and all those pro-illegal-immigration ideologues at the National Review. Not to mention the notorious left-wing economists Milton Friedman, Thomas Sowell and Walter Williams. Or the socialist former Secretary of State, George Schultz.


19 posted on 05/10/2006 7:56:22 AM PDT by Hawthorn
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To: dhs12345
If we can't or won't control illegal immigration then how can we expect to control illegal drugs. Bet that illegal drugs are being carried by illegal immigrants crossing the borders.

No doubt lots is carried across the border. I doubt these people would be considered "immigrants" though. More likely just import/export traders. Smoking domestic, could reduce that trade.

20 posted on 05/10/2006 7:58:18 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Hemingway's Ghost
If everyone would just mail their pot to me, I'd keep it locked up in a safe location, and bang, our nation's drug problem would be over. We'd need no War on Drugs.

I was going to ask for your address but I figure I'll just check the FBI files instead. :-)

21 posted on 05/10/2006 7:59:51 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: William Terrell
It's interesting that many of the same people that support the war of drugs support letting illegal aliens invade our country.

The same people who've pushed and profited from the WoD are also pushing federal control of individual consumption or outright bans on everthing from tobacco and alcohol to Big Macs and video games. They even consider gun ownership a "health care" issue worthy of bureaucratic oversight.

22 posted on 05/10/2006 8:15:01 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: cryptical
A Zogby poll found that nearly half of Americans now want pot legal and regulated, like alcohol. Few buy into the "demon drug" propaganda anymore, and for a simple reason: Several countries have decriminalized marijuana with little effect on public health.

The last time I checked, "nearly half" is not a majority, and an opinion poll is not an election. If pot were "regulated like alcohol", then the random "sobriety" police check points would have to include field urine tests for the presence of THC. If marijuana were "regulated like alcohol", the Federal and state taxes would soon make dope even more expensive than it is right now. More expensive dope would lead to (you guessed it) illegal "bootlegging", requiring more BAMTF (Bureau of Alcohol, Marijuana Tobacco and Fire Arms) Agents to insure that the Tax Man gets his cut.

Of course, the same drug lords who control pot and other drugs today will find ways to run the bootlegged pot operation (meaning that the crime and violence associated with drug trafficking would continue, legalization proponents arguments to the contrary notwithstanding). Now, the dopers would get to smoke their extremely expensive legal weed (or their less expensive, but illegal bootlegged weed) in the privacy of their own homes (much as they do right now), but once they hit the streets they would be subject to the same "public intoxication" laws as the average alkie. So what has anyone to gain from "regulating marijuana like alcohol"? Nothing, really.

23 posted on 05/10/2006 8:23:55 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: cryptical
If more folks were aware of the outright lies that have been told in the last 60 odd years there would be more outrage.
Ignorance is a politician's best friend.
24 posted on 05/10/2006 8:26:12 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: pawdoggie
The last time I checked, "nearly half" is not a majority, and an opinion poll is not an election.
Do you believe America to be a democracy where a majority of the populace make law instead of a Republic where elected representatives make law?
Do you believe that the rights of a minority should still be protected despite the majority's stance?
25 posted on 05/10/2006 8:29:36 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: philman_36
Do you believe America to be a democracy where a majority of the populace make law instead of a Republic where elected representatives make law? Do you believe that the rights of a minority should still be protected despite the majority's stance?

As to your first question, we are a democratic republic with representatives. The current representatives are, in the main, dead set against MJ legalization, so it will remain illegal, for now. I didn't locate the "right" to dope in the Constitution, that must have been the "lost" Bill of Rights Amendment the Founders forgot to put in 'cause they were all stoned on that hemp Thomas Jefferson was growing.

26 posted on 05/10/2006 8:45:22 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: pawdoggie
Now, the dopers would get to smoke their extremely expensive legal weed...
What makes you think the price would increase to the point of being "extremely expensive"?
27 posted on 05/10/2006 8:46:31 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: pawdoggie

Some insouciant Merlots with a hint of oak are expensive and they aren't bootlegged very often.

There are lots of taxes on gas and not too many people brew their own in their basement.

I want to see the drug lords wearing suits & ties, getting raped down their last Centavo in a Vendor Cubicle in Bentonville by a Walmart buyer over the price of Sam's Choice Wacky Tabacky.


28 posted on 05/10/2006 8:54:04 AM PDT by Utahrd
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To: rhombus

F*** NAFTA.

We need them to grow it & send it up here so we can put a 15% customs duty on it.


29 posted on 05/10/2006 8:55:40 AM PDT by Utahrd
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To: Utahrd
We need them to grow it & send it up here so we can put a 15% customs duty on it.

What and put our own farmers out of business? The tobacco companies are all set to go. But seriously, I don't see why we can't buy both imported and domestic.

30 posted on 05/10/2006 9:01:09 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: pawdoggie
As to your first question, we are a democratic republic with representatives.
Close, we're a Constitutional Republic. We're supposed to be tied down to the Constitution, not the whims of "a majority". In your "democratic republic" your "majority" aspect carries weight. In our Constitutional Republic it doesn't.
The current representatives are, in the main, dead set against MJ legalization, so it will remain illegal, for now.
Ah, yes..."for now". And the tide is slowly turning. Those same currently elected representatives are supposed to be looking out for everyone's rights, not just those of "the majority".
I didn't locate the "right" to dope in the Constitution...
Just like you can't find the prohibition of "dope" in the Constitution itself either, right?
...that must have been the "lost" Bill of Rights Amendment the Founders forgot to put in 'cause they were all stoned on that hemp Thomas Jefferson was growing.
Okay, I'll play. Nothing has been "lost", it's just been ignored. The Ninth ("The enumeration in the Constitution, of certain rights, shall not be construed to deny or disparage others retained by the people.") should've covered such things yet it's ignored. It would've been impossible to write down every right the people were to retain.
As to TJ growing weed, yes, he grew it. As to the FF being stoned on it...they sure were some smart guys for a bunch of stoners.
31 posted on 05/10/2006 9:01:12 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: philman_36
Now, the dopers would get to smoke their extremely expensive legal weed... What makes you think the price would increase to the point of being "extremely expensive"?

If you read the rest of my post, you'd find that "regulating MJ like alcohol", as the author suggested, would include taxing it. Since this would be a "sin tax" (like gambling or alcohol), it would be a hefty tax.

32 posted on 05/10/2006 9:02:24 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: philman_36; pawdoggie
Now, the dopers would get to smoke their extremely expensive legal weed... What makes you think the price would increase to the point of being "extremely expensive"?

There's a limit to how expensive it could ever get since anyone can grow it in their basement with a few "grow lights". However, I expect that would be the exception. I can make my own beer and wine too but when I'm having a party I go to the liquor store.

33 posted on 05/10/2006 9:04:01 AM PDT by rhombus
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To: Utahrd
Some insouciant Merlots with a hint of oak are expensive and they aren't bootlegged very often. There are lots of taxes on gas and not too many people brew their own in their basement. I want to see the drug lords wearing suits & ties, getting raped down their last Centavo in a Vendor Cubicle in Bentonville by a Walmart buyer over the price of Sam's Choice Wacky Tabacky.

Everybody in the traditional moonshining areas knows that there's more profit and less risk in growing Wacky Tabacky than in bootlegging booze. A good Merlot is (presumably) more expensive because of the time and care it takes to produce it, which is another reason why it's not "bootlegged". Any Walmart buyer who tries to rape a Drug Lord should be prepared to meet his "lil friend" (and his Maker). Then again, I don't think any drug lords will be shopping at, or selling to, Wal-Mart.

34 posted on 05/10/2006 9:08:46 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: pawdoggie
If you read the rest of my post...
I did read the rest of your post. And I'm obtuse...?!
Since this would be a "sin tax" (like gambling or alcohol), it would be a hefty tax.
You have no way of knowing that. You're making a guess, a supposition. Since you have nothing to measure such action against you have no way of knowing what the price will do or what the taxes would be.
Furthermore, taxes haven't slowed down the sale of beer and it isn't "extremely expensive" even with the taxes on it so I don't see the comparison as valid.
35 posted on 05/10/2006 9:12:25 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: cryptical
The ludicrous part is that voters consistently vote for drug warriors. They apparently like the drug war or they wouldn't vote that way.

I can't think of a single antiWOsD candidate who got elected to national office or to high state offices. Politicians realize that taking a pro-pot stance means a drubbing at the ballot box, so regardless of their personal stands, promise to get tough on dope to save the kids, then authorize billions to jail potheads to get reelected.

The tide will turn when a candidate states that his platform is for decriminalization or even legalization, and the votes pour in. When that platform is recognized as a vote magnet, then things will change, not before.
36 posted on 05/10/2006 9:15:20 AM PDT by DBrow
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To: pawdoggie
No distillation process to growing pot.

It grows wild and can be planted almost anywhere.

One row of pot plants in a vegetable garden would supply the gardener and his neighbor with enough pot for a year. Very few people know how to make their own booze. Anyone can plant a seed.

The "bootleg" argument is bogus...as is the tax argument for basically the same reason.

The only profit in producing pot commercially would be for the hydroponic growers.

37 posted on 05/10/2006 9:15:36 AM PDT by KDD (A wink is as good as a nod to a blind horse.)
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To: pawdoggie
BTW, I liked this little Wikipedia snippet...
Democratic Republic
The reasons why countries call themselves Democratic Republics are also very different from case to case, but the common denominator seems to be that all these countries were created as a result of a revolution or war of independence against a domestic or foreign regime that was widely seen as tyrannical, oppressive and undemocratic. Thus the new country gave itself the title of "Democratic Republic" in order to reflect the idea that a dictatorial regime had been overthrown and a new, democratic one was put in its place.
And yet even the FF didn't call us a Democratic Republic despite the tyranny and oppression of King George.
An aside...here is the Constitutional republic page. The key is this...constitutional law that limits the government's power over citizens.
Nothing like that in your democratic republic is there.
38 posted on 05/10/2006 9:21:50 AM PDT by philman_36
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To: rhombus

Oh, yeah... If they weren't so busy busting drug dealers, we all know all those cops, judges, and prison guards could be laid off... 'cause we all know how crime plummets when drug laws aren't enforced! Seen Oakland's crime rate, lately?

Murder rate in "Twin Cities":

Dallas (D) 20.2
Ft Worth (R) 8.7

Tampa (NP, leans R) 8.7
Miami (D) 17.9
Orlando (R) 8.3

New York (R) 7.0
Los Angeles (R->D) 13.4
Chicago (D) 15.5
Philadelphia (D) 22.2
Baltimore (D) 43.1

Omaha (R) 4.9
Kansas City, KS (D) 25.3

Providence (R) 9.6
Boston (D) 10.5

San Diego (R) 4.8
Los Angeles (D) 13.4
Anaheim (R) 1.0
San Jose (D) 3.4

Jersey City (R -> D) 9.6
Newark (D) 30
Trenton (D) 21


39 posted on 05/10/2006 9:27:46 AM PDT by dangus (eal)
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To: DBrow
The tide will turn when a candidate states that his platform is for decriminalization or even legalization, and the votes pour in. When that platform is recognized as a vote magnet, then things will change, not before.

And we have a federal agency (the ONDCP) who's job it is to make sure that things don't change.

40 posted on 05/10/2006 9:35:02 AM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: pawdoggie
Since this would be a "sin tax" (like gambling or alcohol), it would be a hefty tax.

I see this notion all the time, so-called conservatives advocating for new high taxes on a product.

Kind of reveals where they're at, if you know what I mean.

41 posted on 05/10/2006 9:44:09 AM PDT by cryptical (Wretched excess is just barely enough.)
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To: rhombus
We can grow our own.

Miegs County Gold?

42 posted on 05/10/2006 9:46:07 AM PDT by ArrogantBustard (Western Civilisation is aborting, buggering, and contracepting itself out of existence.)
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To: cryptical
Since this would be a "sin tax" (like gambling or alcohol), it would be a hefty tax. I see this notion all the time, so-called conservatives advocating for new high taxes on a product. Kind of reveals where they're at, if you know what I mean.

No. The impetus in my scenario would come from the usual suspects, the Left, where taxes are concerned (as would the inevitable "product safety" lawsuits, and other litigation).

43 posted on 05/10/2006 11:35:49 AM PDT by pawdoggie
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To: bassmaner; Abram; albertp; AlexandriaDuke; Allosaurs_r_us; Americanwolf; Americanwolfsbrother; ...
"More than 500 economists of every political stripe have endorsed the Miron study. Growing numbers of Americans are beginning to agree with them: The war against marijuana is an expensive failure -- and pointless, too."





Libertarian ping! To be added or removed from my ping list freepmail me or post a message here.
44 posted on 05/10/2006 12:27:50 PM PDT by traviskicks (http://www.neoperspectives.com/gasoline_and_government.htm)
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To: bassmaner
Harry Anslinger testified before Congress about how cannibis (a long accepted part of the physicians' pharmacopia until 1937) made white women have sex with black jazz musicians.

"Their Satanic music, jazz, and swing, result from marijuana use. This marijuana causes white women to seek sexual relations with Negroes, entertainers, and any others."

"The primary reason to outlaw marijuana is its effect on the degenerate races."

"Marijuana is an addictive drug which produces in its users insanity, criminality, and death."

"Reefer makes darkies think they're as good as white men."

"You smoke a joint and you're likely to kill your brother."

"Marijuana is the most violence-causing drug in the history of mankind."

Harry J. Anslinger
Director, Federal Bureau of Narcotics
.
45 posted on 05/10/2006 1:10:12 PM PDT by mugs99 (Don't take life too seriously, you won't get out alive.)
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To: Hawthorn
As far as I know, Buckley is against the war on drugs. I don't know where the other folks you mentioned stand.

46 posted on 05/10/2006 1:46:37 PM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: tacticalogic
The same people who've pushed and profited from the WoD are also pushing federal control of individual consumption or outright bans on everthing from tobacco and alcohol to Big Macs and video games. They even consider gun ownership a "health care" issue worthy of bureaucratic oversight.

I think some of them may actually be drug dealers.

Due to the drug war the price of these chemicals and herbs are artificially high, making them a very profitable market item.

Those that deal in them become millionaires.

It's reasonable to figure that they would want their stock in trade to remain that profitable, which means keeping it illegal.

Therefore, it's probable that they will use some of those millions to lobby legislative branches and put out propaganda to keep the drugs illegal, and some of their time to continually argue for the war on drugs.

How many are here on FR I don't know, but I'll bet there are more than one.

Just a thought.

47 posted on 05/10/2006 1:57:21 PM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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To: William Terrell
I think some of them may actually be drug dealers.

One of the biggest proponents of government control of anything you do that can be remotely construed to be "health related" is the Robert Wood Johnson Foundation - a "philanthropic" subsidiary of Johnson and Johnson.

48 posted on 05/10/2006 2:38:16 PM PDT by tacticalogic ("Oh bother!" said Pooh, as he chambered his last round.)
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To: William Terrell

William Terrell wrote:

>>As far as I know, Buckley is against the war on drugs.<<


Correct. And I misread your original post. A sincere apology for my sarcasm.

>I don't know where the other folks you mentioned stand<


They also have critcized the GWOD.


49 posted on 05/10/2006 2:46:14 PM PDT by Hawthorn
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To: tacticalogic
Right. The biggest drug dealers in America. But they're "legal", doncha know.

50 posted on 05/10/2006 3:05:35 PM PDT by William Terrell (Individuals can exist without government but government can't exist without individuals.)
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