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Decriminalize drugs
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1390

PostPosted: Thu May 15, 2008 10:00 pm    Post subject: Decriminalize drugs Reply with quote

Unless I’m misreading recent statistics, the US has the highest proportion of its population in prison of any country in the world, including the most politically repressive. A HUGE percentage of this can be attributed to a failed “war on drugs” mentality. Apparently a lot of people learned nothing from the experience of crime during the prohibition of alcohol last century. REGULATE drugs instead of criminalizing them and you remove a huge source of crime, massively reduce prison populations, and even increase your tax revenues (because you can tax legal drugs). The benefits would be felt worldwide, not just in the US, since a huge amount of international crime is based on the US drug trade.
Since I’m a teetotaler on all forms of alcohol and drugs, this is another topic I feel free to pontificate on.
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LindaC



Joined: 26 Mar 2007
Posts: 32

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:21 am    Post subject: Decrominalize Reply with quote

I, too, am a teetotaler. I, too, agree that the laws should go. No one is helped when a drug user is jailed. We have already proved that you cannot legislate morality - see early twentieth century when alcohol was banned.

Besides, space in prison should be reserved for those who hurt others, not those who hurt only themselves.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 11:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Totally agree with you on this issue. We're not doing anyone any good when we jail people for having a drug problem. Many people have addictive personalities which means they will succumb to some type of addiction. In America, if your addiction is narcotics, woe unto you. We accept alcoholics until they drive while drinking and then we turn on them. We allow gamblers to lose their self-respect, families, home, job, etc. We allow people to feed their food addiction. But we go all puritanical on those who have a craving for drugs. We think of them as weak and inferior. We exploit them and send them off to jail so we won't be reminded of our own weaknesses.
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Yulie



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1150
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PostPosted: Fri May 16, 2008 2:40 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I've never even smoked and don't live in the US - but I think Mark makes some good points. The Kathryn Johnston case may be an extreme example, but even without it, some of the law enforcement practices and legal issues related to the war on drugs are simply going too far, IMHO. I'm sure most people involved mean well, but de-criminalizing use, at least of some substances, is something that should be considered by many countries. Users should be treated and helped, not jailed.
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:27 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I agree. This so-called "war on drugs" is a total joke. It doesn't stop the narcobusiness at all. But it does put money into the organized crime's coffers and lets the government spend billions of taxpayers' money on the useless cause.

While we're at it, can we get get the minimal drinking age back to 18, like in all other countries? It's one law that everyone loves to break Wink Old enough to join the military or vote but not old enough to drink a beer? Something's wring with this Rolling Eyes
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Nana



Joined: 02 Apr 2007
Posts: 948

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 2:46 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Natalie wrote:

While we're at it, can we get get the minimal drinking age back to 18, like in all other countries? It's one law that everyone loves to break Wink Old enough to join the military or vote but not old enough to drink a beer? Something's wring with this Rolling Eyes


In all fairness, the purpose of this law is to keep alcohol out of high schools, on the understanding that if it is legal for seniors to drink at 18, they will manage to provide alcohol to freshmen who are 14 (just like 21-year-old college upperclassmen are generally the hookup for underage collegians). And there are many, many studies indicating that drinking at that age vastly increases your risk of alcoholism in later life.

I wish the law could be changed to "21 or out of high school," but then you'd get a law permitting a 17-year-old dropout to buy alcohol while prohibiting an 18 or 19-year old high school senior from being allowed to. If you rephrased it to "21 or high school diploma," people would complain that it was biased against high school dropouts and it would create a credentialing/ ID nightmare.

Anyway, as much as other parts of the world laugh at the USA for its "puritanical" drinking laws, well, France is believed to have the world's highest rate of alcoholism, and Germany has 4 times the USA's percentage of population diagnosed/under treatment for alcoholism (2% vs .5%).
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Natalie



Joined: 25 Mar 2007
Posts: 1693

PostPosted: Sat May 17, 2008 12:05 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Nana wrote:
Natalie wrote:

While we're at it, can we get get the minimal drinking age back to 18, like in all other countries? It's one law that everyone loves to break Wink Old enough to join the military or vote but not old enough to drink a beer? Something's wring with this Rolling Eyes


In all fairness, the purpose of this law is to keep alcohol out of high schools, on the understanding that if it is legal for seniors to drink at 18, they will manage to provide alcohol to freshmen who are 14 (just like 21-year-old college upperclassmen are generally the hookup for underage collegians). And there are many, many studies indicating that drinking at that age vastly increases your risk of alcoholism in later life.


It's obvious what the law is intended to do, but the question is, is is succeding? Seeing that about 40% of kids from 12 to 18 do consume alcohol to some extent... I'd say it doesn't. And I'm not sure that letting kids drink at 18 would change this situation for the worse if school students can get alconol anyway?

Quote:
Anyway, as much as other parts of the world laugh at the USA for its "puritanical" drinking laws, well, France is believed to have the world's highest rate of alcoholism, and Germany has 4 times the USA's percentage of population diagnosed/under treatment for alcoholism (2% vs .5%).


Interesting, I've seen different statistics. Basically, Western Europe has a lower alcoholism rate than the US, and Germany and France are among the lowest. It's Eastern Europe (especially the former Soviet Union) that seem to be the champions. Not surprising to me as beer and wine Europeans drink are not even close in strength to vodka and other spirits popular in Russia. Also, the French prefer taking wine with meals and that mitigates the effects of alcohol.
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Maggie AAR
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Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 2491

PostPosted: Mon Jul 07, 2008 3:58 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

I listened to a lecture recently on medicinal marijuana available herehttp://videos.med.wisc.edu/videoInfo.php?videoid=1107. If I remember correctly one thing mentioned is that pharmaceutical companies don't make big money on marijuana, which was one reason to cut it's use in medicine.

I think it is a shame that in many states people can't use this medication AT ALL even though it has the least amount of side affects in the treatment of several disorders. In this particular case I would say it is a case of the law doing more harm than good.

maggie b.
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 1:55 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

My parents allowed me to taste wine on three occasions while I was growing up. As a result, I didn't drink alcohol at all until I got married, as the kinds I tried were awful. (Now I've found some very, very nice kinds.)
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Tue Jul 08, 2008 4:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

maggie b. wrote:
I listened to a lecture recently on medicinal marijuana available herehttp://videos.med.wisc.edu/videoInfo.php?videoid=1107. If I remember correctly one thing mentioned is that pharmaceutical companies don't make big money on marijuana, which was one reason to cut it's use in medicine.

I think it is a shame that in many states people can't use this medication AT ALL even though it has the least amount of side affects in the treatment of several disorders. In this particular case I would say it is a case of the law doing more harm than good.

maggie b.


Cancer patients use marijuana to stem their nausea and it's good for patients with glaucoma. A lot of good can come from marijuana and it's a shame it can be used to relieve pain and suffering. There are physicians that do look the other way as they know it helps their patients. However, you summed it up nicely. Big pharma can't make much money from it. I think they can. They should grow it, harvest and distribute it to those in need. If they can't then allow some of the boutique pharmaceutical companies to do it. Find a way to regulate and tax it.
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Sandlynn



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 1842
Location: Washington, D.C.

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 4:13 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

KarenS wrote:
maggie b. wrote:
I listened to a lecture recently on medicinal marijuana available herehttp://videos.med.wisc.edu/videoInfo.php?videoid=1107. If I remember correctly one thing mentioned is that pharmaceutical companies don't make big money on marijuana, which was one reason to cut it's use in medicine.

I think it is a shame that in many states people can't use this medication AT ALL even though it has the least amount of side affects in the treatment of several disorders. In this particular case I would say it is a case of the law doing more harm than good.

maggie b.


Cancer patients use marijuana to stem their nausea and it's good for patients with glaucoma. A lot of good can come from marijuana and it's a shame it can be used to relieve pain and suffering. There are physicians that do look the other way as they know it helps their patients. However, you summed it up nicely. Big pharma can't make much money from it. I think they can. They should grow it, harvest and distribute it to those in need. If they can't then allow some of the boutique pharmaceutical companies to do it. Find a way to regulate and tax it.


I think one of the issues for the medical community, regarding medical marijuana, is the delivery system. No doctor would recommend that one smoke. But, for patients in advanced stages of cancer, I'm sure inhaling smoke into their lungs is beside the point. I'm guessing the medical community would be interested in finding a way of delivering the same medicinal value via a pill or other method that doesn't involve smoking.
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KarenS



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 870
Location: Florida

PostPosted: Fri Jul 11, 2008 10:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Sandlynn wrote:
KarenS wrote:
maggie b. wrote:
I listened to a lecture recently on medicinal marijuana available herehttp://videos.med.wisc.edu/videoInfo.php?videoid=1107. If I remember correctly one thing mentioned is that pharmaceutical companies don't make big money on marijuana, which was one reason to cut it's use in medicine.

I think it is a shame that in many states people can't use this medication AT ALL even though it has the least amount of side affects in the treatment of several disorders. In this particular case I would say it is a case of the law doing more harm than good.

maggie b.


Cancer patients use marijuana to stem their nausea and it's good for patients with glaucoma. A lot of good can come from marijuana and it's a shame it can be used to relieve pain and suffering. There are physicians that do look the other way as they know it helps their patients. However, you summed it up nicely. Big pharma can't make much money from it. I think they can. They should grow it, harvest and distribute it to those in need. If they can't then allow some of the boutique pharmaceutical companies to do it. Find a way to regulate and tax it.


I think one of the issues for the medical community, regarding medical marijuana, is the delivery system. No doctor would recommend that one smoke. But, for patients in advanced stages of cancer, I'm sure inhaling smoke into their lungs is beside the point. I'm guessing the medical community would be interested in finding a way of delivering the same medicinal value via a pill or other method that doesn't involve smoking.


When you're possibly dying of cancer who really cares whether you light up a joint to relieve pain and suffering? Many doctors would/do look the other way if it provides relief to their patients.

Twenty years ago when smoking was allowed in hospitals, I use to sit on the Tumor Board while the doctors discussed cancer treatments for newly diagnosed cancer patients. It was amusing in a sad way to remember some of the physicians smoking while talking about a patient with lung cancer. Talk about a disconnect. But for many of these physicians, smoking was a tension reliever for them.

My hairdresser smoked while pregnant and she told me her obstetrician said he would rather have her smoking than stressing out which he felt would do more harm to the baby. I was shocked when she told me this but he probably knew her well enough to know it might have been the lesser of two evils.

I assume doctors are more pragmatic and realize the patient's comfort and well-being matters more than whether something is illegally obtained.
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Mark



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1390

PostPosted: Thu Jul 17, 2008 12:19 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

One of the local news stories that prompted my original post had a follow up in today’s paper. A woman who escaped prison from a drug sentence decades ago and lived as a respectable housewife for THIRTY YEARS was sent back to prison. To me, putting her in prison now is pure vindictiveness, serving no socially useful purpose. The follow-up today said lawyers are arguing that her original sentence was overly strict because of a secret arrangement in use in that state at that time.
Another prompt of my original post is the way the stupid U.S. “drug war” is creating a literal war in Mexico. There are frequent news items about that mess, including an item in today’s paper about thousands of Federal troops just sent to a Mexican state.
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cheri



Joined: 22 Mar 2007
Posts: 1350
Location: michigan

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 8:31 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark, that woman is now serving the rest of her sentence in my state where she commited the crime. I really see this as stupid too. I agree on all aspects of this law too. My state currently has the issue on the ballot for this fall's election. It is legalizing pot for medicinal reasons and I for one am voting for it. You'd be surprised at how often this has been in the paper from people who are against it and why we shouldn't vote for it. Ican't wait and hope it passes. cheri
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Kass



Joined: 23 Mar 2007
Posts: 722
Location: under a cockatiel

PostPosted: Wed Oct 15, 2008 11:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Mark wrote:
One of the local news stories that prompted my original post had a follow up in today’s paper. A woman who escaped prison from a drug sentence decades ago and lived as a respectable housewife for THIRTY YEARS was sent back to prison. To me, putting her in prison now is pure vindictiveness, serving no socially useful purpose. The follow-up today said lawyers are arguing that her original sentence was overly strict because of a secret arrangement in use in that state at that time.
Another prompt of my original post is the way the stupid U.S. “drug war” is creating a literal war in Mexico. There are frequent news items about that mess, including an item in today’s paper about thousands of Federal troops just sent to a Mexican state.

Too bad they didn't manage to use the same law we studied in my Criminal Defense class. There, we learned about a guy who had ended up doing some drug running (he was a pilot), stopped, settled down and got married not fifty miles from his original home. This guy, however, was freed under speedy trial laws. The judge(s?) in this case ruled that since he wasn't making any attempt to hide, his prosecution five years later for doing illegal stuff was barred under speedy trial laws, because if the government had wanted to, they could have found him years earlier.

I hope this woman's lawyers plan to appeal. Sounds like a similar case.
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