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Opinion Anti-Legalization Recreational Drug Users Unite

4meSM

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You know that most of these substances were legal at one stage of their careers of course. So the question that comes to mind: why was it deemed necessary to make them illegal substances (or at very least scheduling them to make them almost totally inaccessible legally to Joe Public), eventually, in the first place? I cannot see this as being done just to create employment opportunities in law enforcement.

Mind you and as a counter argument: why was alcohol not banned outright and forever.

And then in just thinking: why is weed, all of a sudden, being cut some slack?

Could it be that both of the above markets just grew to biblical proportions and to a point where it was just totally impossible to keep the lid on any longer (due to many factors not least of which is the relative ease of production)?
Whether a substance is banned or legalized is usually determined (mostly) by cultural and economical factors.
Every legal drug has a big industry behind it, they spend lots of money lobbying politicians, and also in direct or indirect advertising in order to change the public's opinion.
This is certainly the case with tobacco, coffee/tea, alcohol and, more recently, cannabis as well (in the "western world").
Obviously this is also the case for most consumer products (from food to guns).

All of those drugs I mentioned have been demonized and then made illegal at some point in history. In fact, as we all know, alcohol is currently illegal in some muslim countries and I believe Buthan banned cigarettes not too long ago (though I don't know if the ban is still in effect).

If you asked me I'd definitely prefer a model where individuals had the right to grow their own coffee, tobacco, cannabis, opium, coca, kratom, khat, etc... Instead of giving complete control to the big players (either public or private).
But yeah, it's a complex subject, as I said there isn't 1 unique solution for everyone...
Although it would be nice if the whole world stopped wasting so many resources trying to fight a never-ending assymetrical war and started addressing the issue from a public health perspective. Or at the very least, don't give people criminal records for simple consumption or drug-possesion.
 
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aemetha

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Interesting that you mention the scientific side of things. Here's some food for thought and debate though (nothing more than that so all hold your fire if responding):

You know that most of these substances were legal at one stage of their careers of course. So the question that comes to mind: why was it deemed necessary to make them illegal substances (or at very least scheduling them to make them almost totally inaccessible legally to Joe Public), eventually, in the first place? I cannot see this as being done just to create employment opportunities in law enforcement.
In the case of the prohibition of opium, this happened for several reasons, none of them being public health. American's were terrified of "the yellow peril". They thought that their wives were being lured into debauched opium dens by opportunistic and deviant Chinese immigrants. At the same time Britain (America's trade rival at the time) was profiting massively on the profits from the trade in opium which they had forced upon the Chinese in the opium wars. So while American's were persecuting the Chinese at home, the US government was cosying up to the Chinese government abroad and they pushed for a worldwide ban on the trade in opium to create goodwill with the Chinese, potentially leading to new trade opportunities, and striking a blow against their trade rival.

In other words, all about money, not at all about public health.
 

Burnt Offerings

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Next on the agenda: the failure of the so-called war on drugs.

This seems to be a generally accepted notion that the so-called war on drugs is a failure.

Is it REALLY a failure?

As a means for certain people/groups in society to become very wealthy and powerful, as a means for private industry and corporations to have access to slave labor from prisoners, as a means to strong arm and intimidate various other states (particularly in Latin and South America), as a means of social control through heinous rates of imprisonment in the USA and the steady erosion of civil liberties and various legal/constitutional rights, it’s been quite successful.

As a matter of public policy, however, it’s a clear failure, as the market is constantly saturated with cheap narcotics with very limited movement regarding price points due to enforcement by LEO
 

Burnt Offerings

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And, regarding drug quality and purity, of course it would improve if drugs were regulated and dispensed in a controlled, non-clandestine setting. This could easily be insured by federal regulatory agencies or even entities in the private sector, like a drug version of “Consumer Reports”. There have been attempts even in our current setting to do just that (like testing MDMA pills etc) but such attempts are greatly hobbled by the legal status of these drugs.
 

Yourbaker

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The more care we put into our drug cultivation, the higher the cost becomes. Legal weed in Canada is 2X the price of black market. (Legalization caused black market prices to drop a small amount due to a glut in the market). More people measuring and enforcing results in higher prices. In the case of marijuana enforcing and controlling a drug that grows so easily is expensive. This cost of drug enforcement, court costs and punishment is just a huge additional unasked for burden on the public's backs.

In my personal opinion government is just the same as organized crime I honestly can't see a difference except organized crime doesn't take 30% off my paycheque and have a funnel they can attach to my bank account. One is far far worse in their means of enforcing their control. Oddly neither have ever asked my permission to try and control me so I just see government as very well organized crime vs bush league amateurs that we call criminals.

When government stops getting it's directions from the public it is really no different. The only real reason we don't call them criminals is because they make the laws and point the fingers. Drugs should be completely in the control of the people. If we voted to have a rule enforced on us about a specific age or drug or place we didn't want to allow it's use then the public would have empowered the organization of our choosing to enforce that.

As drug users we are angry because we were not involved in the process and it was completely about us. In Canada we were given an opportunity to write to our government and make suggestions for how our legalization of marijuana should take place. The result was limited federal rules because few were truly necessary. Some need to be modified right out of the gate but no method has been put in place to do that. Edibles are so tied up in legal definitions that market was crippled. We had a good public input at the start but now the public are held at arms length and courts and doing the deciding, (People in Canada that aren't even elected).
 

Skorpio

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The more care we put into our drug cultivation, the higher the cost becomes. Legal weed in Canada is 2X the price of black market. (Legalization caused black market prices to drop a small amount due to a glut in the market). More people measuring and enforcing results in higher prices. In the case of marijuana enforcing and controlling a drug that grows so easily is expensive. This cost of drug enforcement, court costs and punishment is just a huge additional unasked for burden on the public's backs.

In my personal opinion government is just the same as organized crime I honestly can't see a difference except organized crime doesn't take 30% off my paycheque and have a funnel they can attach to my bank account. One is far far worse in their means of enforcing their control. Oddly neither have ever asked my permission to try and control me so I just see government as very well organized crime vs bush league amateurs that we call criminals.

When government stops getting it's directions from the public it is really no different. The only real reason we don't call them criminals is because they make the laws and point the fingers. Drugs should be completely in the control of the people. If we voted to have a rule enforced on us about a specific age or drug or place we didn't want to allow it's use then the public would have empowered the organization of our choosing to enforce that.

As drug users we are angry because we were not involved in the process and it was completely about us. In Canada we were given an opportunity to write to our government and make suggestions for how our legalization of marijuana should take place. The result was limited federal rules because few were truly necessary. Some need to be modified right out of the gate but no method has been put in place to do that. Edibles are so tied up in legal definitions that market was crippled. We had a good public input at the start but now the public are held at arms length and courts and doing the deciding, (People in Canada that aren't even elected).
I disagree with the implication that the government is not following the will of the people, albeit at a glacial pace. I would like your answers to these two related questions.
Do the majority of people want drugs other than weed legalized? What was the role of public support in weed legalization?

I also disagree with the comparison of the government to organized crime. An organized crime unit is going to be much more profit oriented than a government. The government is only concerned with maintaining power. Stated differently, an organized crime group sells products, where the government sells itself (their income stream is nominally taxation). Due to this discrepancy, a government is more likely to act in the interest of public health. (note, I am not saying this is always the case, just that it is more often than it is not).

An example that supports this is control of alcohol sales during and after prohibition in America. Crime groups sold tainted alcohol (with methanol and other nasty things like TCOP), causing harm to many. After alcohol became legal, it was regulated and sold at known strengths without contaminants.

I guess this is not the best example because the government is still hegemonic during prohibition, and it can be argued that without the constraints of prohibition an organized crime group could act with social responsibility.

Does anybody know if organized crime outfits form a stable equilibrium with the population once they achieve hegemonic power? Or are there any cases of an organized crime group ever achieving a true hegemony?

Shit, really getting down some rabbit holes here.


Also this post captures the real essence of things. (it is a response to an allegation that prohibition is driven by profits rather than public health)

It's not one or the other.


Always remember the nuance.
 

aemetha

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Also this post captures the real essence of things. (it is a response to an allegation that prohibition is driven by profits rather than public health)
Point of order... the allegation was that the original international prohibition of opium was driven primarily by money, and secondarily by moral outrage, rather than public health. I stand by that comment. There was little public support for opium addicts at the time of that prohibition. The issue was seen as largely a Chinese immigrant issue, who were by and large treated as second-class citizens in the United States. It was seen as an example of the weakness of their character that they would inflict upon god fearing Americans if allowed to. There were not widespread treatment centres for opium addiction, nor were there calls to create them. If opium addicts died, people were generally of the opinion that they got what they deserved.

So, once again, the primary reasons for the original international ban on opium, championed by the United States, was to hurt their trade rival, Britain, and to create goodwill with a potential trade partner in China in order to erase the ill-will already created.
 

birdup.snaildown

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aemetha said:
all about money, not at all about public health.

This just isn't true. People were overdosing in opium dens. Clearly there are obvious public health concerns regarding opiate use. To suggest that people weren't concerned that their loved ones were addicted to opiates is wilful ignorance. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was just worded poorly... but perhaps not. Perhaps you don't think opium or heroin pose any health risks to users? I suspect that you will say of course they do, but the decision (back then) had nothing to do with these concerns.

aemetha said:
moral outrage

Perhaps - just perhaps - this outrage you speak of had *something* to do with people being strung out opiate addicts... which is a public health concern.

If your statement was less absolute (if you said it was mostly about money and not so much about public health) I wouldn't have said you worded it poorly.

People have a tendency to take binary positions - especially these days - when it comes to politics. The drug war is a complete failure, for example, so we should legalize all drugs even those that haven't been invented yet. This is something numerous people have repeatedly stated throughout this thread.

At the end of the day, it's unlikely hard drugs will be legalized in our lifetimes. There are good reasons for this. There were also good reasons they became illegal in the first place. Decriminalization is a different issue.

If opium poppies never existed, the world would be a better place. Opiates are clearly extremely hazardous drugs. They cause the most overdoses. They ruin people's lives. It makes no sense (to me) to argue that they are illegal simply because of economic conspiracies.

Like @Skorpio said, nuance is important.
 

Skorpio

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If opium poppies never existed, the world would be a better place
I gotta bust your balls over this line.

Humans would still have opioid receptors so it would at best just delay the inevitable until the 1900s.

Also there is a question of whether the pain alleviated through medical practice is larger than the pain generated through addiction.

I feel like this whole debate can be abstracted to difference between the Leviathan and the tabula rasa views of human nature.
 

birdup.snaildown

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It's not a fact, just my opinion. The vast majority of people who use opiates for pain medication don't really need pain medication IMO. I have one of the most painful conditions in the world - trigeminal neuralgia - and I don't medicate.

Lots of people who start taking prescribed opiates end up being addicts. All you have to do is throw a stone around here and you'll hit one of them.

Skorpio said:
Humans would still have opioid receptors so it would at best just delay the inevitable until the 1900s.

Are you saying the medical world would have developed synthetic opiates without first observing the effects of opium? I'm not sure about that, but it is far from my area of expertise.

Skorpio said:
Also there is a question of whether the pain alleviated through medical practice is larger than the pain generated through addiction.

This is a valid question. I don't know the answer, but obviously I lean towards the belief that opiates do more harm than good.

There are pain management alternatives.
 

Skorpio

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Are you saying the medical world would have developed synthetic opiates without first observing the effects of opium?

Definately, either via trying to make probes for opioid receptors or more likely serendipitously discovering something through a phenotypic screen for compounds that relieve pain. PCP was discovered without any natural precedent for NMDA antagonism for an example.

It's an arm in my avatar, but I definately feel like the ambiguity makes it a little unnerving.
 

birdup.snaildown

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I'm sure we would have discovered synthetic opioids eventually, but I don't think we would have done it at the same time. From what I understand about the history of heroin, it was developed from morphine. I'm aware that heroin isn't synthetic. I'm just saying, there was a fair amount of experimentation with the plant before they started making synths...

Again, not my area of expertise.
I'm probably missing something.

PCP was discovered without any natural precedent for NMDA antagonism for an example.

How many receptors are there in the brain?

It's an arm in my avatar, but I definately feel like the ambiguity makes it a little unnerving.

Yes, it's definitely a little disturbing, especially since it's giant and there are no balls and he has half a face. If it was erect, he'd be doing the Nazi salute. If you turn it upside down, it looks less ambiguous and more like a hard dick if you were wearing swimming goggles around your balls.

I hope this feedback has been useful.

I've been meaning to talk to you about this for some time now.
 

aemetha

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This just isn't true. People were overdosing in opium dens. Clearly there are obvious public health concerns regarding opiate use. To suggest that people weren't concerned that their loved ones were addicted to opiates is wilful ignorance. I gave you the benefit of the doubt and assumed it was just worded poorly... but perhaps not. Perhaps you don't think opium or heroin pose any health risks to users? I suspect that you will say of course they do, but the decision (back then) had nothing to do with these concerns.
With all due respect, I think you are ignoring historical relativism in this statement. When people died of opium overdoses in those times, the loved ones were typically more concerned with ensuring nobody found out how they died. The wealthy would ship addicted family members off to expensive, far-away places for what limited treatments were available, not primarily concerned for their wellbeing, but to avoid embarrassment. Image was everything in Victorian times. If you think cancel culture is rampant now, it was an ever-present fear for those who relied on the patronage of their neighbours to continue to literally put food on the table.

Remember too, life was cheap for much of human history, including the start of the twentieth century. We, in modernity, apply a special kind of reverence to death, in large part because we don't deal with it often. In times gone by mourning was quick because there was no choice. You got on with life or you joined your loved ones. That sounds particularly harsh to us, but it was reality. The average life expectancy in 1900 was just 46 in the United States.

In short, if people did have genuine public health concerns over the issue of opium, they certainly didn't express them. That could be as potentially damaging as being an addict oneself.

At any rate, there are plenty of books written on this subject. There is very little attribution to public health concerns for the implementation of the prohibition of opium, at least in the west. In China it was quite a different story, and they resorted to some very harsh treatments to address the issue which was of epidemic proportions there due to the British forcing the opium trade upon them militarily.

Please keep in mind, I am specifically referring to opium here. Heroin largely only became problematic after the prohibition of opium, primarily due to its logistical advantages. Obviously I know they are harmful, but I am not a 19th century family member of an opium addict. My education and culture are a world away from theirs. Applying modern values to historical decision making is a recipe for error, any historian will tell you that such matters have to be considered with relativism in mind.
 

birdup.snaildown

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aemetha said:
In short, if people did have genuine public health concerns over the issue of opium, they certainly didn't express them.

Actually concerns about opium dens were quite prevalent in the media.

“There were opium dens where one could buy oblivion, dens of horror where the memory of old sins could be destroyed by the madness of sins that were new.”
Oscar Wilde, 1891

“It is a wretched hole… so low that we are unable to stand upright. Lying pell-mell on a mattress placed on the ground are Chinamen, Lascars, and a few English blackguards who have imbibed a taste for opium.”
Figaro, 1868

You're looking at the world in black and white.

aemetha said:
At any rate, there are plenty of books written on this subject. There is very little attribution to public health concerns for the implementation of the prohibition of opium, at least in the west.

It clearly depends on which books you're reading and what the bias happens to be. If I can find quotes in 5 seconds on Google and articles about attitudes within news media about opium in the western world, then any writer worth their salt should be able to do the same.

Beyond that, you're shifting from zero to very little... Like I said earlier, your wording was imperfect.
 
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