The Single Best Anti-Gun-Death Policy? Ending the Drug War

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    Dec 22, 2012 5:25 AM GMT
    http://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/12/the-single-best-anti-gun-death-policy-ending-the-drug-war/266505/
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    Dec 24, 2012 1:53 AM GMT
    JesterJock saidNow why would you treat drug addictions and decriminalize them at the same time?


    I think you could allow for treatment to those who wanted it, but decriminalize it in the meantime causing the incentives for the violence and the cartels to almost entirely disappear.
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    Dec 25, 2012 2:37 AM GMT
    riddler78 saidhttp://www.theatlantic.com/business/archive/2012/12/the-single-best-anti-gun-death-policy-ending-the-drug-war/266505/

    Wow. Do we actually agree on something?
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    Dec 25, 2012 2:42 AM GMT
    JesterJock saidNow why would you treat drug addictions and decriminalize them at the same time?

    That's kind of an odd question. That's like saying "why would you treat alcohol additions?" or "why would you treat nicotine additions?" Something doesn't have to be illegal for the person addicted to it to want/need treatment.

    Anyway, with drugs decriminalized/legalized, there will inevitably more people trying them who didn't before because they were illegal. So there will be more people addicted who need help. But ideally we can impose a sin tax on drugs that are currently illegal, and use the money to fund drug treatment programs. Heck, with drugs legalized, legitimate businesses will make money selling them, and in addition to sin taxes, business taxes will be collected, property taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes, and so on. Meanwhile there is no revenue from the drug war except assets that are seized. But that hardly covers the HUGE expense of the War On (Some) Drugs.
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    Dec 25, 2012 3:14 AM GMT
    sfbayguy said
    JesterJock saidNow why would you treat drug addictions and decriminalize them at the same time?

    That's kind of an odd question. That's like saying "why would you treat alcohol additions?" or "why would you treat nicotine additions?" Something doesn't have to be illegal for the person addicted to it to want/need treatment.

    Anyway, with drugs decriminalized/legalized, there will inevitably more people trying them who didn't before because they were illegal. So there will be more people addicted who need help. But ideally we can impose a sin tax on drugs that are currently illegal, and use the money to fund drug treatment programs. Heck, with drugs legalized, legitimate businesses will make money selling them, and in addition to sin taxes, business taxes will be collected, property taxes, payroll taxes, income taxes, and so on. Meanwhile there is no revenue from the drug war except assets that are seized. But that hardly covers the HUGE expense of the War On (Some) Drugs.


    Yes we agree on this issue - but it doesn't necessarily follow that there will be more people addicted who need help or even that there will be more people trying them. If you remove the "rebel" factor related to an item and it becomes commonplace, I think you might actually get a smaller demand... and if you can just try it and you can talk about it and people look down on you because you do it, there's another disincentive to do it. Incidentally here's the experience of Portugal which decriminalized drugs (from cocaine to marijuana) - drug addiction rates fell:
    http://www.globalpost.com/dispatch/news/regions/europe/120718/drug-decriminalization-portugal-addicts

    Malcolm Gladwell's Tipping Point highlights a study that shows that a lot of these drugs are actually not as addictive as we may have thought (basing it on the idea that if they are so addictive the number of people still doing xyz drug should still be doing them a year later - and yet the percentage is really small).

    The cost savings alone on the imprisonment of people because of the war on drugs is enormous - let alone the policing.
  • jchris86

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    Dec 25, 2012 6:06 AM GMT
    Many of our problems in this country stem from the failed war on drugs. While you may see a slight increase in drug use if it was legal, i don't think it would be that much. Anyone here on RJ how many of you would go do heroine or something today if it were legal? I bet almost nobody would. It's this idea that we need govt to make more and more laws to protect us from everything including ourselves. It doesn't work. We have a bigger prison population in this country than china does and they have a lot more people, and supposedly we are so free compared to them. All the violations of the fourth amendment with cops searching cars and busting into homes over marijuana smell would be over if they were legal. And then you have idiots like rush limbaugh pushing mandatory minimum drug sentences for some 16 year old kid while he has enough money to get himself out of trouble for his own drug problems.