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Offlinemoosehead
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Decriminalizing Americans
    #4315532 - 06/20/05 12:57 AM (11 years, 9 months ago)

Decriminalizing Americans

There is a drug problem in the United States. The use of dangerous drugs such as cocaine and heroin have been popular for over a century and today is no different. Addicts of such drugs drain our tax dollars and contribute nothing to the enlightenment of our society. It makes sense to outlaw drugs. Why would one allow the sale of a product known to harm its user? Because not allowing the sale of said product can, and does, do more harm than good. Our war on drugs is draining billions of dollars and fueling crime. In the past Americans used drugs recreationally and legally. Our modern day drug laws were born out of fear and ignorance. Today drug use has been demonized, and otherwise law abiding citizens are made into criminals. Despite government propaganda, drug use should be regulated, not prosecuted, a concern of the FDA, not the DEA.

Our drug laws today were spawned out of racism and not on grounds that the drugs them- selves were dangerous. In the late 19Th century drugs such as opium were used by both white Americans and immigrants. Opium dens were popular among the Chinese immigrants. Many white women and young men frequented opium dens which caused a moral panic. It was believed that the Chinese were using the drug to seduce the white women. In 1875, San Francisco, California outlawed the smoking of opium in opium dens. Only the smoking of opium was banned though, as this was connected to the Chinese. Laudanum, a form of alcohol and opium, and other concoctions were still legal. Cocaine was soon associated with the black population. White people began to have fears of black men on coke who would be more likely to have sex or kill. . Many police forces believed that they could not kill coked up black men with their current weapons and increased the caliber of their guns (Morgan, 93). Mexicans became the next race to be blamed for the use of a drug. Marijuana was used by some Mexican workers to relax after a hard day. To many Americans the influx of Mexicans was unwanted. Mexicans were seen as lazy and backwards, and marijuana symbolized this (Morgan, 139). Public favor for prohibition reached its peak in the 1930?s. The Marijuana Tax Act of 1937 was soon passed despite the fact that the American Medical Association protested the act because of its interest in using cannabis for medical treatment (Morgan, 141). In the late sixties when Nixon was running for president he needed scapegoats. The ?silent majority? in America was afraid of hippies and blacks. Both groups were perceived publicly to be into drugs (Wink, drug). In 1970 the Controlled Substances Act which we abide by today was passed and in 1972 Nixon announced our war on drugs.

Drug laws in fact have little effect on actual drug use. In a study done comparing the drug use habits of citizens in Amsterdam and those in San Francisco, drug policy was found to have little relevance. ?[The] data suggest that most experienced users organize their use according to their own subcultural etiquette--norms and rules about when, where, why, with whom, and how to use--and less to laws or policies?(Cohen). Drug laws can change the legality of a substance but not its demand. As long as people are willing to spend money to get high, drug dealers will supply them. The National Institute of Drug Abuse put out a report in 1990 explaining that today there are 6 million serious, constant drug users, double the estimate taken in 1980 (Riga). Instead of benefiting society by curbing drug use, drug laws burden America by needing to be enforced.

By attempting to enforce our drug laws, billions of dollars are wasted on sending users to jail while confiscating only a small percentage of drugs. Right now in America, we may have the highest incarceration ratio in the world. Since 1980, the incarceration rate for drug offenders has grown by over 1,000 percent. Now, on any given day in the United States, more than 400,000 people are incarcerated for drug offenses and more than a third of these people have been convicted only for possession (Husak). These people need to be in treatment, not jail. ?To suggest that you can cure Americans' drug addiction by incarcerating them is analogous to locking up diabetics to deprive them of sugar?(Binney). Our jails and prisons are already overcrowded and by stacking drug users and addicts into them because of mandatory sentencing laws we are only burning money. ?[Forty] states are under court orders for overcrowding" (Duke). Since 1973 the war on drugs budget has sky rocketed from $75 million to $1.5 billion. We, as tax payers, have spent over $185 billion dollars on a failed war. Even with all this money allocated to drug enforcement, it is estimated that only 11-12 percent of the drugs smuggled across our borders are confiscated (Binney). In 1989 law enforcement was able to confiscate a total of 36 tons of cocaine within a week. While valued at $11 billion, undercover agents were still able to buy coke in bulk at the same prices as before the busts, just 10 days later (Wink, biting). The fact that such an immense amount of product can be eliminated and not effect the price shows how little of an impact law enforcement actually has. Further funding to enforce our drug laws is not the answer. America is bleeding itself because we are too stubborn to admit that our handling of the drug problem is wrong and has been for the past thirty years.

If drugs were regulated, the black market would be destroyed and money could be generated through taxes. By prohibiting drugs and their use, the United States has created an illegal market for drugs in which only criminals profit. The demand for drugs in America is extremely high. The United States is basically sitting on an untapped goldmine. ?The drug war imposes a premium of at least $50 billion on the price of drugs and the cost to drug consumers? (Duke). This is the amount of money spent on drugs each year. The revenue for drug sales far out strips our already over funded drug war. By regulating and taxing drugs, the United States could then fund more beneficial campaigns, such as education and treatment.

So why are drugs illegal? Some arguments, such as immorality and health, must be negated if one only looks at the legal status of alcohol and cigarettes. Another argument is that with legalization will come commercialization, leading to higher drug use. In 1976 the Netherlands decriminalized cannabis (both marijuana and hashish). T-shirts advocating drug use, bongs, and other paraphernalia litter shops throughout Amsterdam. Yet as shown earlier, drug use in Amsterdam is around the same as a comparable US city, San Francisco. Advertisements for drugs would not be guaranteed either as they could easily be banned.

One only needs to look at the alcohol prohibition of 1933 to see that criminalization just doesn?t work. "Prohibition will work great injury to the cause of temperance. It is a species of intemperance within itself, for it goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation, and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A Prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded." Abraham Lincoln, December 18Th, 1840. Hopefully one day America will realize that you can?t just say no, and have the problem go away.

Works Cited

Binney, Gard E. "Big brother: America's real dependence problem." The Ecologist. 31 Oct. 2001: ProQuest. 12 May 2005

Cohen, Peter D A., Hendrien L. Kaal, and Craig Reinarman. "The Limited Relevance of Drug Policy: Cannabis in Amsterdam and in San Francisco." American Journal of Public Health. 2004: 836-842. ProQuest. 12 May 2005

Duke, Steven B. "Perspective on Drugs: How Legalization Would Cut Crime." Los Angeles Times 21 Dec. 1993. ProQuest. 22 May 2005

Husak, Douglas N. "Liberal neutrality, autonomy, and drug prohibitions." Philosophy and Public Affairs. 29 Jan. 2000: 43-80. ProQuest. 12 May 2005

Morgan, Howard W. Drugs in America: A Social History 1800-1980.
Syracuse: Syracuse UP, 1981.

Riga, Peter J. "The drug was is a crime: Let's try decriminalization." Common Wealth. 1993: ProQuest. 22 May 2005

Wink, Walter. "Biting the Bullet: The Case for Legalizing Drugs.?"?The Christian Century? 8?Aug.?1990:? 736.?Humanities Module.?ProQuest.? ?<http://www.proquest.com/>

Wink, Walter. "Drug policy: The fix we're in." The Christian
Century. 24 Feb. 1999: ProQuest. 06 June 2005



Ok, I did this for english so its not exactly my concrete opinion. This paper isnt the best example of good writing either and I would never have posted on the shroomery, but this forum is perfect for it, so what the fuck.

I do feel that ALL drugs should be legalized, soley because I feel that it is wrong to tell some one what they can and cant do to their own body. My history of drugs is a bit wanky. The social history of drugs in my works cited is a good read. In fact, all the articles I cited are good. I also feel that if advertising were allowed for drugs that were legal, drug use would shoot thru the roof.


Edited by moosehead (06/20/05 02:29 PM)


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InvisibleEgo Death
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: moosehead]
    #4335513 - 06/25/05 12:10 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I agree :thumbup: :smile:

I really don't see why the majority cannot understand this.


You can have the gov selling and taxing drugs or you can have criminals and terrorists funding further crime.

The law will never stop drugs and research show that legalising the substances will, in the long term, decrease the amount of users!


We need to condense the message, something similar to the above and then I can have stickers produced for cars etc  We should write to officials explaining the situation and state the other officials who agree, the ex-chief of police for the UK etc!  The more the people who realise and lobby the government, the more this becomes a reality!


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: moosehead]
    #4340357 - 06/26/05 10:28 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

unfortunately..govt makes as much profit from the drug war as drug cartels and terrorists ..

http://news.yahoo.com/news?tmpl=story&u=/ap/20050624/ap_on_re_us/drug_money

let alone the $55 billion in revenues that go to the govts cronies in the prison industry...


--------------------


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Invisibleniteowl
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: Annapurna1]
    #4340441 - 06/26/05 10:53 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Yea that's fucked up.

Talk about organized crime. :sad:

Its organized from the top of our society all the way down to the poor bastard paying outrageous prices for a J to smoke after a shitty day of work.


EVERYONE is making money off drugs except the users.


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Offlineleery11
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: niteowl]
    #4345055 - 06/27/05 11:45 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

The War on Drugs will never be "won" (hint: by us) if THE MEDIA remains in shackles by corporate/government interests.

I don't care how beautifully articulate legalization arguments may be, as long as things like DARE and FOX news stations (Headline: "another victory for the war on drugs") exist, prejudice, hatred, bigotry, and heated emotional thinking (THESE PEOPLE WANT TO KILL OUR KIDS WITH COKE) will be nestled deep within the subconsciousness of the masses.

They are effectively hypnotized to ignore reason. This is why DARE in particular is so sickening to me. Drug use is not something that we are born fearing, it is only when we are taught at a very young age that: 1) it will kill us. 2) it will kill our children. 3) it will destroy the entire world - do we become deaf, blind, and dumb to reason.

It usually isn't that difficult to deprogram people if you can "isolate" them long enough to get them to listen to you, take you seriously, etc.... but the media controls public opinion, and when they won't even let people on the air to talk about why the war on drugs is bullshit.... when simply discussing drug use prompts TV:14 +++ ratings and possibly censorship [they censored the word "acid" on whose line is it anyway the other day, i only picked up on it being the druggy that I am, the average person would have never understood the joke at all)......

the cause is lost.

Control the TV (and the religions) and you control the people.

TV is the biggest threat to society, as far as I am concerned.

The other problem is that while you may be able to "convert" family members and friends, you cannot just go out in public or run as a politician and speak freely about drugs, because then people are liable to judge you in the harshest light possible and disregard anything you say.


--------------------
I am the MacDaddy of Heimlich County, I play it Straight Up Yo!

....I embrace my desire to feel the rhythm, to feel connected enough to step aside and weep like a widow, to feel inspired, to fathom the power, to witness the beauty, to bathe in the fountain, to swing on the spiral of our divinity and still be a human......
Om Namah Shivaya, I tell you What!


Edited by leery11 (06/27/05 11:46 PM)


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Invisibleniteowl
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: leery11]
    #4346205 - 06/28/05 10:06 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

So how do we go about changing peoples minds about the war on drugs?


--------------------
Live for the moment you are in now
Don't be bogged down by your past
Don't be afraid of what lies in your future


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InvisibleAnnapurna1
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: leery11]
    #4346473 - 06/28/05 01:03 PM (11 years, 8 months ago)

Quote:

leery11 said:
The War on Drugs will never be "won" (hint: by us) if THE MEDIA remains in shackles by corporate/government interests.

I don't care how beautifully articulate legalization arguments may be, as long as things like DARE and FOX news stations (Headline: "another victory for the war on drugs") exist, prejudice, hatred, bigotry, and heated emotional thinking (THESE PEOPLE WANT TO KILL OUR KIDS WITH COKE) will be nestled deep within the subconsciousness of the masses.

They are effectively hypnotized to ignore reason. This is why DARE in particular is so sickening to me. Drug use is not something that we are born fearing, it is only when we are taught at a very young age that: 1) it will kill us. 2) it will kill our children. 3) it will destroy the entire world - do we become deaf, blind, and dumb to reason.

It usually isn't that difficult to deprogram people if you can "isolate" them long enough to get them to listen to you, take you seriously, etc.... but the media controls public opinion, and when they won't even let people on the air to talk about why the war on drugs is bullshit.... when simply discussing drug use prompts TV:14 +++ ratings and possibly censorship [they censored the word "acid" on whose line is it anyway the other day, i only picked up on it being the druggy that I am, the average person would have never understood the joke at all)......

the cause is lost.

Control the TV (and the religions) and you control the people.

TV is the biggest threat to society, as far as I am concerned.

The other problem is that while you may be able to "convert" family members and friends, you cannot just go out in public or run as a politician and speak freely about drugs, because then people are liable to judge you in the harshest light possible and disregard anything you say.




thats generally true..but not universally...a majority of americans support legalizing medical marijuana..and reducing the penalty for marijuana possession to fines...moreover..some politicians..such as NM governor gary johnson..have been pro-drug and still won re-election...

http://www.usatoday.com/news/nation/2001/08/23/marijuana-full.htm

i agree that the cause is lost..but more because of majority support for a closed society in general rather than specifically against drugs (or at least marijuana)...


--------------------


"anchor blocks counteract the process of pontiprobation..while omalean globes regulize the pressure"...


Edited by Annapurna1 (06/29/05 12:38 PM)


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Offlinemoosehead
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Re: Decriminalizing Americans [Re: Annapurna1]
    #4349292 - 06/29/05 03:31 AM (11 years, 8 months ago)

I have a hard time believing that the govt makes as much as the drug cartles from prohibition. I mean, it makes sense, why else would it be illegal. I could see it evening out maybe. bah, im tired and should not even post any place other than OTD right now.


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General Interest >> Political Discussion >> Drug Policy Reform

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