Skip to comments.Stumbling Down the Slippery Slope: First Legalized Weed Then Prescription Smack?
Posted on 02/15/2010 2:12:42 PM PST by Michael van der Galien
In December I had a great discussion with my friend Mary Grabar about marijuana legalization, the role of government, and the counterculture. The debate, collected and republished at FrontPage, can be read here and here.
One of NRBs friends, Donald Douglas who blogs at American Power, took note of the debate at the time and cautiously took Marys side. Now Donald was kind enough to alert me to a post hes written today about heroin dealers in California.
Donalds point: if marijuana legalization is allowed (and it practically is in California all you need is a doctors note) then heroin legalization will follow.
Donald doesnt really support this argument very well; its more a hunch or a fear of his than something he can credibly defend. (Slippy slopes tend to be this way.) But this is blogging, not an academic thesis, so Im not going to hold that against him too much.
But, heres an answer to the idea of across-the-board decriminalization: So what if heroin, crack, LSD, crystal meth, and every life-destroying addictive chemical under the sun were legalized and regulated ala alcohol and tobacco?
Conservatives who argue that we need to continue spending billions of dollars every year in the fight against human nature are forgetting a simple point that theyre always so good at pointing out when leftists trot out their socialist entitlement schemes: when the government forces its way into the picture to try and fix a problem chances are the end result will be the creation of three new, worse problems. Government just is very ineffective at actually solving problems. It is the problem as some guy once said.
(Excerpt) Read more at newsrealblog.com ...
We all may need it before this “Bad Trip” ends.
In a perfect world people should be free to take it or leave it.
I believe that if everything were legalized, the unintended consequences could be horrific.
What about all the second and THIRD hand smoke?/
There would also be a lot of self cleaning of the gene pool.
I don’t think you’d have the same negative consequences in terms of second and third hand smoke as tobacco. There has not been a single instance of cancer attributed soley to marijuana use, in addition to this, the vast majority of medical users vaporize their medicine so as to not inhale any tars or resins.
The Tyra Banks Show is defending potheads right now.
The one thing I never see mentioned in these posts concerning legalization of mind-altering and addictive narcotics: ‘legalization’ confers on these products a tacit public approval of their use.
Let me give you an example of what that might entail. When I lived in Spain the personal possession of marijuana and hashish was decriminalized (1982).
The result was a crime wave. Children as young as 7 and 8 years old were breaking into vehicles and residences to steal cash and/or property to fence - all in an effort to get money to purchase pot and hash. There was even one case I personally knew of where a gang of children beat a man to the ground and stole his wallet. Of course the law stated only adults were to possess and use said drugs, but the reality was considerably different than the original intent.
I cannot imagine the U.S. population legalizing heroin. The misery that would cause - and it doesn’t just affect the individual addict but their whole family - would be unfathomable. This will only result in tragedy.
Why were they not already doing the same thing to purchase wine and liquor?
Don’t know, but I never saw drunk children. Smoking tobacco was very prevalent in Spain then and most men, I noticed, smoke tobacco. So it was probably due to the acceptability of smoking.
I know from my own family that children generally like sweet drinks. Alchohol products in Europe, generally available as wine and beer, are not sweet unless sugar and/or fruit is added. The wine in Spain is generally quite dry and fruit syrup is added to make it palatable. The only drunks I saw were adults, and they were very few in number.
Marijuana and hash, and I’m no expert on this, are generally not available as a sweet drink.
Actually there have been studies showing a link to lung cancer in MJ smokers. Maybe because inhaling ANY kind of smoke into your lungs over a long time just isn’t good for you. Heck, leftists want to ban fireplaces because of the smoke.
“The result was a crime wave. Children as young as 7 and 8 years old were breaking into vehicles and residences to steal cash and/or property to fence - all in an effort to get money to purchase pot and hash. There was even one case I personally knew of where a gang of children beat a man to the ground and stole his wallet. Of course the law stated only adults were to possess and use said drugs, but the reality was considerably different than the original intent.”
That sounds really doubtful to me. After all, alcohol is illegal, but where are the gangs of minors going around stealing and robbing people to acquire money to buy alcohol? Oh, that’s right, they can’t buy it because they’re under age. In fact, illegal pot, even though it’s more expensive due to its illegality, is more available to teens than alcohol is. And still no wave of theft by children to buy it.
IMHO, fully legalizing pot would probably result in higher rates of usage, but would reduce the flow of money to the organzied criminals who produce and, more importantly, traffick it. Whether that trade-off is worthwhile is debatable.
Legalization of, even by prescription, say heroin, would presumably greatly reduce the amount of street crime done by junkies to purchase what is really a fairly cheap narcotic to produce, but is very expensive on the street. The legalization of (more) highly addictive mind altering substances, and the subsequent likely increase in use, is highly unpalatable politically and morally, however, regardless of whatever harm reduction arguments might be made in its favor. I can’t see it happening any time soon, but it has been tried in some places (in the U.K., for example). Not sure how that all worked out.
“Why were they not already doing the same thing to purchase wine and liquor?”
Or the readily available illegal hash and marijuana?
“Actually there have been studies showing a link to lung cancer in MJ smokers”
I’m not sure about the lung cancer, but I have seen it associated with some other breathing problems. Not surprising, especially considering how often marijuana is contaminated with things like mold spores. Chronic use of marijuana has also been associated with cardiac problems - again not surprising considering that smoking MJ causes a serious increase in heart rate.
I still favor legalization, but only if the real risks involved with its use are made known, as they are with tobacco or alcohol.
So the children didn’t drink wine and beer because they aren’t sweet, even though drinking was totally acceptable, but they couldn’t get enough of smoking hash (not exactly a taste treat), because smoking was totally acceptable.
I remain skeptical of your analysis.
The War on Drugs is a jobs program, not a serious effort to reduce drug use. The problem is the collateral damage, productive citizens being prosecuted for small amounts of pot.
Many medical professionals say only a small percentage of any population wants to hurt itself through drug or alcohol abuse. So it’s unlikely that a well planned program will increase narcotics abuse. Most of us have no interest.
Turn marijuana into a low-cost, taxed option that produces revenue instead of a huge expense to the taxpayers.
Create drug-dispensing clinics where narcotics users can get free narcotics, clean needles, and health counseling.
Then dramatically increase drug-pushing penalties to eliminate competition.
Result: Crime drops and we save on law-enforcement costs.
Which reminds me--didn't you ever run into Licor 43 or Crema Catalana? One tastes like vanilla, the other tastes like creme brulee--kids would love either one.
>Heck, leftists want to ban fireplaces because of the smoke.<
I guess since they want to legalize pot, we can assume marijuana smoke is harmless./
>Legalization of, even by prescription, say heroin, would presumably greatly reduce the amount of street crime done by junkies to purchase what is really a fairly cheap narcotic to produce, but is very expensive on the street.<
By the time big pharma gets done with it, it will likely be more expensive than the illegal stuff!
Is it illogical to believe parents want to protect their children from using tobacco, alchohol and narcotics?
I lived in a part of Spain - the sherry triangle - where the majority of the population was very, very poor. I doubt anyone could afford such luxury items.
This is one of the most honest disagreements between the L/libertarians and conservatives.
The Libertarians point out, rightly, that an adult should be free to purchase and ingest whatever substance he cares to, right up to the point where he starts to impinge on someone else’s right to enjoy his own rights.
The conservative replies that’s all well and good, but the anti social effects of drug use are so prevalent and severe among users, that outright prohibition, bad as it may be, results in the least harm when compared to the other options.
I have to side with the conservatives on this one. Hard drugs (methamphetamine, heroin, PCP, LSD, ketamine, etc. etc.) are just too devastating to too large a percentage of people who use them, both from a health perspective and from the perspective of anti-social behaviors. From a purely practical perspective, it’s a judgement call, but not really a very hard one.
One other aspect of legalization is that we would have to completely re-write our product liablilty laws, as these substances are so inherently dangerous that they simply can’t be used with the same level of safety as even tobacco. Somehow, I don’t see that happening anytime soon.
Finally, California has very generously offered itself as a big experiment for the nation for mass decriminalization of Marijuana. I ride a motorcyle to work every day, and can smell weed smoke on the freeway, morning and night. In about ten years, we’ll have the data on whether this has a toll in terms of increased traffic injuries and deaths, or if it’s as benign as some would say. It’s going to be interesting to find out which side was right.
I was very surprised that since AIDS was supposed to have been caused by needle sharing and whatnot that heroin usage came back into vogue.
That video is stomach turning.
Question for the anti-legalizers - If CA passes the measure, will you support their constitutional authority to do so; or do you want fedgov to step in?
Horrible, isn't it.
It's hell. Hell on earth. Chemical slavery and slow death.
In the last few seconds of the film, the director flashes a statistic: only 1% of heroin addicts each year get clean and stay clean.
Everyone of those kids in that video are unemployed and unemployable except as prostitutes or thieves. They are on the welfare dime and not going to do anything but die early.
And we are having a sane conversation about legalizing this and giving approval for even more addiction?
I'm NOT pro-tobacco or pro-pot. I just despise the double standard.
I’m working on becoming an ex-smoker, but I support smokers’ rights. Having said that, I haven’t seen too many people arguing for the right of pot smokers to do so in public places, like bars, restaurants, entertainment venues, and so on. Most pot smokers just want to be left alone to toke in private. My point? I’m not sure if I really have one. I do know one of the big reasons that I’m quitting smoking is that the anti-smokers have succeeded in making it a much less enjoyable social activity than it once was. When they chased me out of the bar so I couldn’t even have a smoke with my beer I knew the end was coming.
If everyone in a bar agreed to allow smoking cigarettes, why shouldn't they be allowed to? Liberals are such hypocrites. They even have pot smoking clubs in San Francisco where you'd be shot for having a cigar on the beach.
I didn’t get that far.
“If CA passes the measure, will you support their constitutional authority to do so; or do you want fedgov to step in?”
Well, Ken - I’m not sure that California has that power. (The 10th Amendment is below.) Rather the U.S. government, responsible for the ‘General Welfare’, reserves that power for itself. Remember, states have powers but people have rights. So, do you believe citizens have the right to smoke weed, especially as there is huge movement to abolish smoking period!
[10th Amendment - 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.]
Long-term use of marijuana is damaging. My sister is living proof, soon to be dead proof.
She started using pot at 14-yrs old. Now, at age 55, she has holes in her brain where no activity occurs. Eerily, the holes are similiar to what an alchoholic would have had after decades of use, only alchohol didn’t cause this damage.
Because our mother was an alchoholic my sister eschewed liquor, preferring weed in the belief it was harmless. About age 40 she began experiencing severe body-wide pain and was diagnosed with fibromyalgia. To deal with the pain she began using methadone but that was for a very, very brief time. She didn’t like its affects and went through rehab, then back to marijuana. Only she hadn’t expected to get Hepatitis C from the drug addict she had been living with during that time.
Now she has Heapatitis C, possible liver cancer, holes in the brain resulting in a failing memory and poor balance. She is now taking morphine for her pain and still smoking marijuana. She says she will keep doing this ‘til she dies. And your tax dollars pay for this as she cannot work.
I’ve raised her son since he was five years old and had custody of him at age 9. His father is dying of liver failure (Hep C) after 30 years as a heroin addict and 10 years on methadone. (Once again, our tax dollars pay for him on SSI). My nephew was in psychotherapy for 9 years trying to resolve why mom and dad abandonned him.
We all hope the kid pulls through. His parents lives of sex, drugs, and rock n’ roll left a wide furrow of destruction.
There is no upside for legalizing drug use. Society already has enough difficulty dealing with drunkeness and alcoholism. Why add more misery?
You must believe in a living, breathing Constitution.
"If Congress can do whatever in their discretion can be done by money, and will promote the general welfare, the government is no longer a limited one possessing enumerated powers, but an indefinite one subject to particular exceptions."
--James Madison, "Letter to Edmund Pendleton,"
-- James Madison, January 21, 1792, in The Papers of James Madison, vol. 14, Robert A Rutland et. al., ed (Charlottesvile: University Press of Virginia,1984).
Well, as I said in my post, I’m not one to argue for legalization of either weed or other drugs. Sticking with weed for the moment, there are examples such as the one you give, complimented with my concern that I’m going to get killed by some stoner in a Prius who “doesn’t see” the motorcycle when he jinks into my lane because he almost missed his exit. There are other examples, but you get the gist. That’s not to say that the Libertarian argument is without merit though. They have a point, but I just don’t think they give sufficent weight to ther “ordered” part of the “ordered liberty” that is the Anglo-American tradition.
On the merits of the issue at hand, I think that more harm than good would come from legalization. And just to make own position even more clear, I think that the present California "medical MJ" fraud has already caused more harm than good, but the hard data just aren't in yet.
That said, it is perfectly clear that the people of California have the right to make this decision for themselves, bad SCOTUS precedent notwithstanding. On this point, I think both conservatives and Libertarians can and should agree. So, yes, I would support Cali's 10th amendment right to make this call for themselves, even if I think they get it wrong on the merits.
I am frustrated, though, that Cali would seek to champion the dubious liberty of toking the chronic, while far more important and pressing liberties1 are put to the torch.
1 take your pick of the following: the right to keep AND bear arms, the right to keep the fruits of one's own labor, the right to use, develop, and dispose of one's own property without state interference, the right not to be murdered in one's mother's womb...I could go on and on, but I think you get the drift...
I’m not a lawyer. For sure there is nothing in the Constitution about the right to kill one’s unborn child. But there is a 200+ year legal case history concerning what the government can and cannot do. I would be surprised if the drug issue isn’t covered by case law.
The government has taken responsibility for ascertaining that the pharmaceuticals we use are approved and perform as advertised. The feds have also taken responsibility for making sure our food supply is relatively safe.
IMO there are parts of government that should go away. Their responsibility, vis a vis Alchohol, Tobacco, and Firearms, I am flat-out skeptical of being necessary. And the Department of Education and the EPA should be abolished. You write like you’re a smart fella’, I’m sure you can think of some more.
I am so sorry about your sister. MJ is NOT a benign drug, no matter what people tell you. It can cause psychotic reactions in some people. Believe me I know, and people who use it will tell you the same. Even people who watch Family Guy.
Thank you for your kindness.
Heroin was legal in the US. Look up the history. What happened then?
My brother-in-law is a heroin addict. He’s dying. What more do you want?
NO DRUG is not dangerous. People have died from liver failure caused by Naproxen. AKA Aleve. An over the counter NSAID. At least the damage from Naproxen is rarely permanent.
Tylenol can cause permanent liver damage. Death.
The anti-opiate nanny-state madness is deadly too. How is that? IMO, more folks die from the Tylenol that the nanny-statists have forced to be put in the most common formulations of Hydrocodone and Oxycodone. Why do they put it there? As best as I can tell to kill addicts. Nice, eh?
Heroin is illegal, it is the illegality that is likely to have placed your brother in more danger. Society does not learn how to handle addictions to drugs that are made illegal. If you wanted to really help others who in the future would be trapped in your BIL’s tragic state, you’d be pro-legalization, in my considered trust-the-people-more-than the-nanny-state opinion