The months of January/February have been the deadliest two months of the drug war since Mexican President Calderon came to power, with 1,600 deaths (16,000 deaths total!), with more fatalities than the entire war in Afghanistan over 8 yrs.
What would your solution to this epidemic be?
One of the few solutions that I can see is something fairly popular in libertarian circles; legalize everything. Marijuana, cocaine, narcotics, everything.
This, hypothetically, would turn drug cartels into drug manufacturers, and reduce the need for turf wars/what have you.
Somehow, though, I get a sinking feeling about this solution that I can't put my finger on...
March 12 2010 11:44 AM EST
Marijuana definitely needs to be legalized. The others I'm on the fence about.
I thought that would be the smart route also, Bob, but [some pundit -- probably John Stossel] pointed out that while marijuana makes up close to 50% of drug sales, legalizing it would only intensify the drug battle over other narcotics.
March 12 2010 12:01 PM EST
As for pot, I don't care. England legalized it with restrictions a few years ago (same with absinthe), and I'd love to see some data points on drug-related crimes and hard drug use since then. The "gateway drug" argument could be supported or rejected based on it.
Here in Georgia, laws are extreme. A single pot plant counts as a felony. Cross into Tennessee and it's far more lax. I don't care what argument you can come up with, charging a 19 year old with felony for growing a single, dinky, ten-inch plant on a window sill is vile.
For those not in the US, being a felon means loss of many rights, including the ability to get any decent job. It's a stigma that follows for life.
Prohibition is also a huge industry in our country, large government agencies are funded entirely because of it. The prison system and the forced treatment centers would lose out as well.
Portugal has had significant success from what I've read after decriminalizing pretty much everything.
While eliminating the profit margin by legalizing these substances will have an effect... wouldn't the criminal organizations just move into other areas?
March 12 2010 12:12 PM EST
legalizing it would only intensify the drug battle over other narcotics
I don't see how it would. When it comes down to it, drug traffickers are in it for the money. They may have more flexible values, but if there's more money to be made elsewhere, they're out of there. The truth is if there's no profit to be made illegally; the people will disappear.
Personally, I agree with Bob. Legalize marijuana, and see where that goes. I feel like this is something we might see within the decade on a state level.
However, I also do feel drug possession should be decriminalized. Mostly because I feel it's an unnecessary burden on the prison system. Locking up addicts of any sort just seems like a waste of time. However, if you find someone behind the wheel, I'll gladly support harsh criminal penalties.
March 12 2010 12:13 PM EST
Oh, I ignored the "solution" question.
Legalizing pot would certainly deliver a punch to the cartels, but the hard drugs industry would still rage on, which is big business for the cartels. To stop that, Mexico would need to actually turn far more aggressively militant. Mexico is a vast area, and the drug runners have plenty of room to work. But considering their assassinations and major, major problems with bribery and treason (referring to cartel-friendly members in the police force), Mexico would need to enter the realm of human rights violations to truly clean house.
March 12 2010 12:20 PM EST
unnecessary burden on the prison system
I don't have the numbers to back it up, but tons of repeat offenders come down to cases of mental health disorders (as in, the drugs are the effect, not the cause).
Back in... I guess it was the 70s... "mental wards" were shut down, and rightfully so. The problem is that the burden of dealing with the those who can't take care of themselves properly resulted in a jump in homeless rates and a surge in prisons having to house, feed, and medicate the nut jobs after they made poor choices.
I see the fix to prison-overpopulation laying with mental health facilities rather than drug laws.
March 12 2010 1:21 PM EST
Yeah, that's pretty much what I meant though. Rather than sending addicts to prison. It'd be better to get them treated if possible. However, that's not always possible.
The issue is, there are people who are addicted to things, who can live a relatively normal lifestyle, while not ideal, it's probably more productive than living in prison.
I say no to legalizing any drugs listed in the OP. But whats that matter, the government is organized crime.
As for pot, I don't care. England legalized it with restrictions a few years ago (same with absinthe)
Not really. We declassified it for a temporary period of time, in a test location.
That didn't go too well, and it's actually moved up a classification after (From C origially, to B, IIRC).
As for Absinthe, we can't have the proper stuff (with Wormwood, the Hallucinagen). I have to bring that back in from Europe. ;)
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