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With the convention business squeezed by recession, ever wonder who’s filling all those airline seats to San Diego? Likely suspects: drug dealers. A lot of news coverage here highlights the Mexican side of the drug trade, but a recent report from America’s heartland, namely central Pennsylvania, shows San Diego’s domestic pot and cocaine connection at work:

"A six-week investigation into a drug-trafficking operation that routinely brought bundles of more than 50 pounds of marijuana to the midstate has resulted in the arrest of three men.

“Court documents state that since early March agents used a global positioning system on the pickup truck used to haul the trailer to track shipments of marijuana and cocaine from San Diego.

“According to the documents, an informant told the agents in March about a group that regularly traveled to San Diego to obtain marijuana and cocaine.

“The informant said Zimmer and Hartung would fly to San Diego to make the purchases while the informant and Houser were paid to drive there to pick it up and bring the drugs to central Pennsylvania.

“The attorney general's office said the street value of the drugs the group brought back to the area was more than $750,000.”

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Comments

paul May 5, 2009 @ 12:08 a.m.

Monaghan,

I know you don't like to let facts get in your way, but do you even know why Marijuana is illegal? You ought to look up the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (known as the Shafer Commission), whose members were appointed by Nixon in 1972 with the express purpose of permanently making marijuana a schedule 1 drug and outlawing it. A funny thing happened to the commission when they researched the issue; They ended up arguing for legalization instead, and found that many of the stereotypes (some repeated by you) are just not true. Nixon denounced his own report, and led a concerted effort to trash it several months before it came out. He then ignored it and got marijuana banned in spite of his own report. It is all in the Nixon tapes, and you can read the report here:

http://www.druglibrary.org/schaffer/library/studies/nc/ncmenu.htm

Some findings by Nixon's own hand-picked commissioners included:

Scientific evidence has clearly demonstrated that marihuana is not a narcotic drug, and the law should properly reflect this fact. Congress so recognized in the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, as did The Conference of Commissioners on Uniform State Laws in the Uniform Controlled Substances Law.

...

[T]he criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only 'with the greatest reluctance.

...

We have carefully analyzed the interrelationship between marihuana the drug, marihuana use as a behavior, and marihuana as a social problem. Recognizing the extensive degree of misinformation about marihuana as a drug, we have tried to demythologize it. Viewing the use of marihuana in its wider social context, we have tried to desymbolize it.

Considering the range of social concerns in contemporary America, marihuana does not, in our considered judgment, rank very high. We would deemphasize marihuana as a problem.

The existing social and legal policy is out of proportion to the individual and social harm engendered by the use of the drug. To replace it, we have attempted to design a suitable social policy, which we believe is fair, cautious and attuned to the social realities of our time.

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SpliffAdamz_ May 5, 2009 @ 10:01 a.m.

The flower for the golden state has to be that hemp flower , cause it grows so good out here in sunny california. But then again it could be that poppy flower , i'm totally not sure what cali's flower is though. monaghan- spliff is of the male species , so you don't have to type he/she anymore. It's funny how we know marijuana has good medical uses , but it's still illegal. Then we have cigarettes and alcohol that are legal , and both are in the top 5 of deaths caused in amerikkka. Then you got people taking different pills to cure something or relive pain. But the pills people are taking have about six to seven side affects , that could leave you in a worst conditions then you were before you took the damm pill!!! It seems people got they priorityies backwards , maybe because they ain't smokin that herb to heal the nation!!!!

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SDaniels May 7, 2009 @ 12:25 a.m.

I would like to see monaghan's arguments for sophistry clearly laid out, and as patiently and logically as paul has set out his points--sans ad hominem attacks. They might be fun, but they don't get the job done.

Everyone has unacknowledged and complex layers of resistance to certain topics, and several typical layers have certainly emerged in this thread. Perhaps attempting to demonstrate paul's "sophistry" could provide inspiration for monaghan to prove his case with solid facts, and shed further light on why all the resistance to the legalization of a plant?

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monaghan May 5, 2009 @ 10:41 a.m.

$pliff is just stoned, but Paul is really amazing: Nixon wanted to ban grass, ergo it must be good! Anyway, whatever marijuana's social potency, it is infinitely stronger now than back in the day, and thus more damaging. Ask any neurologist if it is considered harmful to the growing brain. If you're dying of cancer, it may be a palliative, especially if you are already habituated, but to legalize it? Probably you don't believe in the notion of "gateway" drugs either. Do you think huffing or using prescription painkillers is a problem? Why not let under-age smokers buy tobacco, alcohol? In a libertarian nirvana, maybe all controlled substances should be made OTC. You have a lot of starchy annotated answers, Paul, but I have only questions about the degradation, illness and and pain suffered by users and those who love them and the non-monetary societal cost of drug abuse in this country.

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SDaniels May 4, 2009 @ 11:42 p.m.

Spliff: What was the national Amerikkkan flower, again?

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SDaniels May 4, 2009 @ 11:59 p.m.

Oops, I meant, the official state flower for CA?

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paul May 5, 2009 @ 1:49 p.m.

"$pliff is just stoned, but Paul is really amazing: Nixon wanted to ban grass, ergo it must be good!"

No, no, no, no!

Nixon wanted to ban grass, but his hand picked commission came up with the opposite conclusion. A presidential commission arrived at the opposite of the intended conclusion. That is significant.

If you won't listen to experts on a presidential commission, then you surely aren't going to listen to me, so this is all kind of pointless, right? All talk and no listening for Monaghan?

"Why not let under-age smokers buy tobacco, alcohol?"

You make no sense. You keep throwing out asinine suggestions as if somebody actually made them, and then argue against them.

Your "infinitely stronger now than back in the day" is patently false hyperbole, because you have no rational, logical argument to make. The strongest available marijuana today comes in pills from a pharmaceutical company and is prescribed by doctors. The odd thing about that fact (which you would call a "terrible truth") is marijuana is classified as a schedule 1 narcotic, meaning the government has declared it to have no known medicinal value. Do you know what the government has decided DOES have medicinal value and the government has labeled Schedule 2? PCP and Methamphetamine. The military has used them both on soldiers, and supposedly still uses methamphetamine.

Go figure....

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monaghan May 5, 2009 @ 2:13 p.m.

Paul, what I have done is called "reductio ad absurdam" -- carrying your arguments to ridiculous lengths to point up how silly they are. As for my listening to "experts on a presidential commission," you are right: I don't ever do that if I can help it.

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SpliffAdamz_ May 4, 2009 @ 9:05 a.m.

In the san diego union-tribune on april 29 article title "U.$. SETS SIGHT ON OPIUM TRADE IN BID TO DESTABLIZE TALIBAN IN AFGHANISTAN" The article talks about how the amerikkka wants to send troops to three provinces where there are opium and poppy crops growing. But they are not going there to destroy the crops , they are going there to guard them!! At the end of the article it says that" under NATO rules of engagement , U.$. and other forces are prohibited from attacking targets or people related only to narcotics production. Those people are not considered combatants. But U.$. and other forces are allowed to attack drug smugglers or facilities that are assisting the taliban." If anyone who has a brain in their head and uses about 5% of it can see what's going on here!!! Amerikkka is the new drug cartel on the block!! Amerikkka sends troops to afghanistan to monitor poppy and opium and makes sure that nobody else can ship out the product unless they are part of NATO!!!! The article is basically telling everyone who reads it , that anyone affiliated with NATO while they are controlling these opium and poppy fields can make money of these drugs!!! NATO will allow troops to guard the opium and poppy fields and kill so-called taliban if they are trying to ship the drugs out. This war on drugs is really about who is controlling the drug trade , not about stopping drug trafficking!! But if you really look at it , amerikkka stands to win big time in controlling these opium and poppy fields. They are already allowing the people in afghanistan to grow opium and poppy without any problems , so NATO has a cheap labor force that they don't have to pay a lot money to. Then the drugs come to amerikkka , where it's illegal to use or sell them. The drugs hit the streets and people are put in jail from either using or selling them. Then those people in jail become cheap labor for amerikkka behind bars and amerikkka makes money of them!!! When will people wake up and smell the marijuana?! The same people that claim they are fighting the war against drugs , are the same people bringing the drugs in this country!!!

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monaghan May 4, 2009 @ 11:52 a.m.

Je$us, Mary and Jo$eph, this guy is, like, a kkkrazee $peller but he/$he may have a point. Unfortunately, it ha$ nothing to do with the terrible idea of legalizing controlled $ubstance$ in thi$ country he/$he calls amerikkka. (I think typing like thi$ i$ not ea$y unle$$% one i$ $peeding.)

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monaghan May 6, 2009 @ 3:14 p.m.

Paul should be gratified that Governor Schwarzenegger is now calling for legislative conversation and possible consideration of legalizing marijuana. I wouldn't call what Paul does is "provide clear logical argumentation." He is a sophist -- a person who reasons with clever but fallacious arguments. To be brief -- which Paul never is -- he is full of it.

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paul May 5, 2009 @ 9:30 p.m.

Actually, proper reductio ad absurdum requires you extend something to its logical conclusion. There was nothing factual to link your conclusion, just the threat that taking the first step will lead to bad things. That is classic Slippery Slope Fallacy. An amusing aside is that the classic example demonstrating the slippery slope fallacy in texts goes something like: "We can't legalize marijuana, because the next thing you know we'll legalize Opium, Meth, heroin, LSD, and crack cocaine."

In any case, reductio ad absurdum is in most cases a poor and fallacious argument, tending also toward the Fallacy Of The General Rule.

Bottom line is you aren't going to get very far without facts to substantiate your position, and while it may be convenient for you personally to ignore the opposing argument (such as refusal to even consider a presidential commission), it does nothing for your argument except make you feel better.

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paul May 6, 2009 @ 4:49 p.m.

Monaghan,

I am not trying to be cute or clever. You say my arguments are fallacious, but have yet to say why.

Typically you would consider a sophist someone who was over-complicating an issue or using a fancy vocabulary in order to give themselves more creditability than their argument deserves. I've tried to be very straightforward. I didn't bring "reductio ad absurdum" into the discussion, nor did I call anybody a sophist. Someone else did that.

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boboberg April 26, 2009 @ 12:06 p.m.

The police can bust as many drug gangs as they want and they'll never get CLOSE to stoppong the flow of drugs. Both coke and pot should be legal. Portugal decriminalized all drugs in 2001 and their experience has been positive. Now if you are caught with a 10 day supply of your drug or less you face an administrative court, not a criminal court. We can do that here in the USA. A group of 20,000 very serious policemen, prosecutors and attorneys have formed a group to legalize ALL drugs, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (http://leap.cc ) They see what happened when we legalized alcohol in 1932 as a good example of how drug legalization would work. We can't stop drugs. They're sick of chasing drug users and sending innocent people to prison for decades just because they like to get high. This foolish war on drugs has lasted 37 years and cost us over a TRILLION dollars and we are not an inch closer to stopping drugs. How many millions of Americans are we going to lock up in prison for decades? Legalize ALL drugs now. Mark Montgomery boboberg@nyc.rr.com

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JustWondering April 26, 2009 @ 7:26 p.m.

Hmmm I'm just wondering how a guy with a New York RoadRunner email address finds a blog in a tiny out of the way blog in San Diego. No offense to the Reader or Matt but this isn't the NYTimes. But what's more disturbing is the argument we should legalize drugs. Hasn't our culture declined enough with the drugs used illegally? If you want to accelerated America's demised, legalize drugs and you'll watch as our country destroys itself. If you like what they done in Portugal, no ones stopping you from moving yourself and your family where you can live in drug laden haze for the rest of your sorry life.

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Fred Williams April 27, 2009 @ 4:56 a.m.

JW, the point isn't that legalizing would put everyone in a drug haze...it would get the cops out of theirs.

In the "Good Old Days", before drug prohibition, about 2% of our population at any time was "abusing".

In the last several decades we've enacted laws, put hundreds of thousands in jail, and forced the rest of the world to go along with our prohibition.

Guess what? About 2% of the population abuses drugs.

So it seems people will do this stuff with or without it being illegal. The difference is the outcome. Instead of treating that problematic constant 2%, we treat everyone who uses drugs as a criminal. No treatment, just incarceration.

Also lost in the "drug war"...our 1st, 4th, 5th, and 8th amendment rights.

Portugal, the Netherlands, and other countries that have broken with the USA's paranoid stance have found considerable benefits. Drug abuse actually drops with decriminalization, along with costs to enforce these pointless laws and incarcerate those whose only "crime" is to prefer "illegal" intoxicants to booze or prescription pills.

In fact, drug "abusers" are everywhere...and they're not losers.

We've got past and present presidents, Olympic heroes, most of our best musicians...all "criminals" who have been extremely successful. I personally know some very senior and influential people in the IT world who smoke a joint with their morning coffee...and they are not unusual at all in the industry.

Meanwhile, police are corrupted by drug money, and the cartels are wealthier and more powerful than ever. Cops are trained to treat every citizen as a potential enemy (a direct result of the drug war) and are now armed like storm troopers with tanks, body armor, and automatic weapons. Again, all thanks to the "drug war", our cops are high on unfettered power...and are themselves shooting up steroids to keep up with the pumped up inmates in our overcrowded prisons.

So to stop some kids from mellowing out with a little weed, we're turning our cops into irrational and aggressive robots who are so hyped up on hormones that they're eager to stomp someone...maybe even you.

So, JustWondering, I think you should open your mind to the potential harm reduction that drug legalization (or at least decriminalization) would bring to the world.

Certainly, the current approach is NOT working.

Is making a plant illegal really worth subverting the Constitution?

Repealing the drug war is the only choice for those who love America and its founding documents.

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paul April 27, 2009 @ 8:09 a.m.

JW,

If you want to stop drug trafficking and border smuggling overnight, then legalize marijuana and cocaine. Take the profit out of it, and the violence disappears while you actually make money through legal taxation rather than spend billions annually fighting a border war. The taxes can be used for education and rehabilitation programs which would be no different than what we currently see for alcohol and prescription drugs.

As Fred said, there is no indication that a huge new segment of the population would become drug addicts that are not already inclined to have a problem with alcohol, prescription drugs or readily available illegal drugs. In fact, I would prefer less expensive marijuana so that there is less crime involved in trying to purchase it.

Read Matt Potters post under this blog titled "Stamper stumps for pot". It quotes Seattle police chief and former SDPD assistant chief Stumper saying:

"Over the past four years I've asked police officers throughout the U.S. (and in Canada) two questions. When's the last time you had to fight someone under the influence of marijuana? (I'm talking marijuana only, not pot plus a six-pack or a fifth of tequila.) My colleagues pause, they reflect. Their eyes widen as they realize that in their five or fifteen or thirty years on the job they have never had to fight a marijuana user. I then ask: When's the last time you had to fight a drunk? They look at their watches."

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JustWondering April 27, 2009 @ 8:53 a.m.

If you really knew Norm Stamper you'd know he's a buffoon and a loon.

I'd argue there's no indication that a larger portion of our population would NOT become drug addicts. Everyone of the people who use drugs, legal or not, drag down our culture in one form or another. Doesn't matter if you're some kid making a bad decision or a national conservative radio personality hooked on a legal drug, illegally obtained. Neither one is a positive influence.

So my question is; if other countries are decriminalizing drugs why not go there and live you're lives as you see fit. The rest of us who choose not to "get high" will stay here and live our drug free lives.

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paul April 27, 2009 @ 9:42 a.m.

JW,

I'm not vouching for Stamper, just that what he said in that instance was true. Your claim that there is no indication that a larger population would become addicts is just plain false. There is no evidence that a greater percentage of people would be susceptible to addiction if you widen the availability of a few choices to match the existing availability of alcohol and prescription drugs. Crime would in fact go down, as you lessen the financial burden on the user and take the profit out of it for the gangs and smugglers.

I dearly hope you don't partake yourself or associate with anybody that ever sips alcohol or takes any mood altering prescription drug of any kind. Some would extend that to caffeine, so in their world coke, coffee and tea drinkers would also have to go so you can "live our drug free lives".

I have one glass of wine maybe one or two days a week. Your theory is that I should be an alcoholic, yet I am not. Why? I was exposed to both marijuana and cocaine in high school and in college, yet I don't use either even though it is available. Why?

I don't want my kids to do drugs and I don't want them to be around drug users. I also don't want them to drink and to be around alcoholics. Can you not see the parallel there?

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SadrakKabir April 27, 2009 @ 10:07 a.m.

Comments are made concerning Portugal & the Netherlands. Coffee shops in the Netherlands will soon have a Membership card: Residents Only to stop the Over-flow of drug tourists from Germany, Belgium & France. Seems so harmless: marijuana, nowadays 22% THC: addiction workers prefer Heroin addicts, they are much easier to re balance/pick up their lives. Dutch still label it 'Soft drug', a Bad Joke.

You want to take over a coffeeshop? just liquidate someone inside or attack the wife of the owner behind the counter. You own a coffeeshop and 2 Russians enter and tell you What you sell from now on. You are facing a Mental depression, the Mercedes, farm and beach house ain't worth it "am i next?" is on your mind.

In court nowadays for 9 liquidations, all connected to trade and distribute hash, pot & coke & returning investments into real estate: call it 'Small Miami' including corrupt officers. All knowledge of origin & investments are wiped out, the remaining intimidated and shut up.

Sideways extortion owners of whorehouse, nightclubs & guess what Hell Angels pop up. How to take over a country: pump it up with drugs, guarantied their future -Youth- ruined.

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SpliffAdamz_ April 27, 2009 @ noon

When will people understand and realize , that the same people that claim they are fighting the war on drugs are the same people bring the drugs in the country!!!! Is not amerikkka in afghanistan guarding land where the grow drugs!!!

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JustWondering April 27, 2009 @ 1:28 p.m.

Well I have dealt with it personally and professionally.

In my younger days I found myself involved in a very serious automobile collision. After waking up in a trauma center, doctors administered semi-synthetic heroin to ease the pain associated with my extensive injuries. It was that moment, as the doctor pushed the drug into my vein that I realized the POWER of these potent centrally-acting analgesic drugs of the opioid class. It was that moment when I realized WHY people are so easily hooked and become DEPENDENT on the affects. It was that moment where I realized how, in the hands of non-professional, you could become a slave to need, to do whatever it took to get your next fix.

I NEVER want to live in a culture where the leaders says it okay to become an addict because they're lying to you to maintain their control. We don't need to live our lives in a drug or alcohol induced haze. If you want to, fine, as has been pointed out there are countries on this planet where you can do just that. Just go, and enjoy yourself. Just don't come back when the haze lifts and no one is their to rescue you.

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SurfPuppy619 April 27, 2009 @ 1:35 p.m.

I have to go against my best instincts and gut feelings here and weigh in with support for JW. That's a first.

We have enough problems with alcohol-we don't need anymore "legalized" drugs.

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JustWondering April 27, 2009 @ 4:52 p.m.

Thanks for the nod Johnny, no pun intended.

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paul April 27, 2009 @ 9:28 p.m.

JW,

Could people become hooked on Heroin or Morphine? Sure, but that is just a straw man you set up, because nobody here has suggested legalizing LSD, heroin, opium or crystal meth. Nor has anybody suggested legalizing prostitution.

Do you feel that our leaders are pushing you to become an alcoholic to control you? That is the level I am talking about. You are setting up a straw man by arguing against the assumption that if marijuana was legalized that morphine and prostitutes would be freely available and you could do anything you want to enjoy yourself.

Legalizing marijuana (and possibly cocaine) and controlling the distribution, purity and dosage (not unlike alcohol) would lead to none of the doomsday scenarios that you describe, but would neuter the Mexican gangs smuggling operations. Aside from costing us unnecessary billions, the war on drugs has made the border lawless and destabilized the government of Mexico so that it is on the brink of collapse.

We have to stop pretending that the war on drugs has been fought at an extremely high price with very little positive benefit to show for it but a a whole lot of negatives.

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Fred Williams April 28, 2009 @ 4:36 a.m.

JW, your own example illustrates exactly why we've got to stop the current madness.

Let's say you were just a little bit "weaker" and hadn't successfully resisted the lure of this drug.

That would have made you a criminal.

Instead of getting help, you'd be thrown in jail.

Now we look at Portugal, which in fact has much more liberal drug laws than the Nederlands. Guess what? Their drug abuse rates have dropped since legalization, while their rates of treatment have almost doubled.

http://www.time.com/time/health/article/0,8599,1893946,00.html

So, JW, you can now recognize that your claims are actually the opposite of the truth. I expect you to change your mind accordingly.

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SurfPuppy619 April 28, 2009 @ 8:06 a.m.

Legalizing marijuana (and possibly cocaine) and controlling the distribution, purity and dosage (not unlike alcohol) would lead to none of the doomsday scenarios that you describe, but would neuter the Mexican gangs smuggling operations.

Legalizing pot could lead to very serious problems. Cocaine certainly would-no doubt about it.

I do not think anyone can say that doomsday scenrio's would not occur if pot were legalized.

My feeling is that people should be allowed to do what ever they want in the privacy of their own home-as long as it is not hurting others.

But the fact is, as evidenced by the most widely abused drug in the world-alcohol, many people do NOT follow this philosophy.

They use drugs and harm others while under the influence-and legalizing pot would certainly increase such problems.

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JustWondering April 28, 2009 @ 9:47 a.m.

Where is Fumber when we need him??? Typical liberal argument... attack the messenger when logic doesn't work.

The facts are tens of thousands of Americans are addicted to drugs, some by choice, most by ignorance of the consequences or denial of their condition.

In cases where those persons do not have the financial resources to sustain their habit, they predictably turn to criminal acts to support and augment their growing habit.

In other words you take a person who is/was self sufficient changes them negatively. Where is the personal responsibility? I’ll tell you where, it's nowhere to found in the individual. No all you want is a nanny government that will be forced to care for the addicts who add NOTHING to the whole of culture.

Fred you have to kidding: “Now we look at Portugal, which in fact has much more liberal drug laws than the Nederlands. Guess what? Their drug abuse rates have dropped since legalization, while their rates of treatment have almost doubled.” What a load of nonsense, nothing has dropped they merely relabeled a social problem and re-categorized addicts as treatable. So instead of abusers of drugs they are merely users who we can help. What a load of feces. As I said before, go live there, don’t let the door hit you in the butt on you way out of the very best nation on the planet. You can live with all the folks getting “treated”.

Paul says: “Legalizing marijuana (and possibly cocaine) and controlling the distribution, purity and dosage (not unlike alcohol) would lead to none of the doomsday scenarios that you describe, but would neuter the Mexican gangs smuggling operations. Aside from costing us unnecessary billions, the war on drugs has made the border lawless and destabilized the government of Mexico so that it is on the brink of collapse.

Another ridiculous premise. The Mexican Government has been corrupt for decades. It’s too the point where the weight of its corruptive behaviors are unsustainable and subject to collapse. The cartels are filling a void. Your argument is we should follow by allowing our own people to use the product supplied by the cartels because you want to have an open supply route.

If all you really want is to get high, join Fred in one of those free thinking European bastions, no one is restraining you from leaving. You wouldn't last a year before you realized they have little, if anything to make your life satisfying. But your just a coward, your answer is to bring down the standards here.

There’s no need whatsoever to legalize the use of narcotics expect those prescribed by trained medical professionals.

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SurfPuppy619 April 28, 2009 @ 10:26 a.m.

The Mexican Government has been corrupt for decades. It’s too the point where the weight of its corruptive behaviors are unsustainable and subject to collapse.

Again, I agree 100% with JW (another first). The reason the drug cartels are now basically controlling Mexico is because the gov is corrupt to the core.

Decades and decades of abusing their people have resulted in what you have today in Mexico, with the drug cartels in control and the average person having no other economic choice but to either join in or sit on the sidelines in living poverty and filth.

50 families in Mexico control over 95% of Mexico's assets. THAT is the reason the drug cartels have become what they have. If the gov had put the country first instead of greed for the connected few then Mexico could have flourished. But that is not what happened and the drug cartels is what resulted.

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JustWondering April 28, 2009 @ 12:47 p.m.

Wow Johnny, twice in just a couple of days... I'm feeling lucky gonna go out today and buy a lottery ticket... The odds of us agreeing seem astronomical or 41,416,353 to one. Wish me good luck!

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paul April 28, 2009 @ 7:56 p.m.

JW said: "Another ridiculous premise. The Mexican Government has been corrupt for decades. It’s too the point where the weight of its corruptive behaviors are unsustainable and subject to collapse. The cartels are filling a void. Your argument is we should follow by allowing our own people to use the product supplied by the cartels because you want to have an open supply route."

Who argued that the Mexican central government is not corrupt? I personally prefer a central government to drug cartels running the border, but maybe that is just me.

You also appear to completely miss the point for legalization. I don't want to "use product supplied by the cartels", I want to bypass the cartels with a legal product (grown in America is just fine) that removes the profit and smuggling incentives for cartels to be involved in the first place.

JW said: "If all you really want is to get high, join Fred in one of those free thinking European bastions, no one is restraining you from leaving. You wouldn't last a year before you realized they have little, if anything to make your life satisfying. But your just a coward, your answer is to bring down the standards here."

This is a rather pathetic personal attack that completely ignores all facts and even what you presumably already read in my prior posts. To wit; I don't use drugs and I don't have any desire to use drugs, either here or in some foreign country with a prostitute. I don't want my children to drink alcohol or use marijuana, just as I don't want them to become addicted to caffeine, cough syrup or ephedrine. I have read and believe studies showing that a certain percentage of the population will have addiction issues and that marijuana is no worse than alcohol, so that aside costing us more than we can afford, the "war on drugs" has no possibility of success as long as alternatives (such as alcohol) are available. Your own allusion to current addiction problems clearly demonstrates that the "war on drugs" has not prevented people from becoming addicts. You have zero evidence to support your contention that legalizing marijuana will increase the number or severity of drug addicts, yet you are blindly willing to throw billions of dollars annually at the problem and fund a well armed criminal cartel with the excessive profits from illegal drugs.

Please refrain from your baseless personal attacks and spend more time supporting your baseless opinions with some facts.

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SDaniels May 6, 2009 @ 1:05 a.m.

Paul, thank you for taking the time to get serious about this, and provide clear, logical argumentation. Bravo.

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monaghan April 30, 2009 @ 6:59 p.m.

Tobacco, alcohol, marijuana, cocaine, heroine and methamphetamines are disastrous for those who become habituated to them. Heavy drinking (bingeing) among the young carries risks beyond addiction -- car crashes, unwanted sexual contacts, alcoholic poisoning -- and regular toking by teenagers whose brains are not fully developed causes identifiable and permanent neurological deficits. There is no way that "legalization" can repair such damage. None of the high-minded arguments about the failure of the "war on drugs" or the rationales for "legalization" address the carnage that occurs in families with addicts or to the society that has to manage the anti-social fallout (crime and illness) that comes with any addictive drug-use.

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 8:38 a.m.

Monoaghan: "None of the high-minded arguments about the failure of the "war on drugs" or the rationales for "legalization" address the carnage that occurs in families with addicts or to the society that has to manage the anti-social fallout (crime and illness) that comes with any addictive drug-use."

Patently false for two reasons:

First, using "high-minded" as a dismissive of an opposing argument is meaningless rhetoric. The arguments in favor of the war on drugs are every bit as "high-minded", plus have the added disadvantage of having been tried in practice where they have failed miserably, just as they did during prohibition.

Second, I (and most arguments in favor of legalization) directly and comprehensively DO address the "carnage" and "anti-social fallout". A key component of my rationale for legalizing certain recreational drugs is so that they can be strictly regulated with tough laws and enforcement to prevent use by minors, along with education programs and rehab programs. That combined with removing the profit motive for violent smugglers and gangs would allow us to attack drug use the same way we do alocohol and tobacco. While there are alcoholics and those addicted to cigarettes, the amount of crime to support those habits is comparatively very low while the amount of discouraging education and availability of rehab programs is very high. Would you rather have young adults stealing cars to support an illegal meth habit, or legally buying marijuana at a price they could afford by bagging groceries? I imagine you would prefer neither (so would I), but the insistance of the "neither" argument has resulted in a meth explosion in the central valley and the highest stolen car rates in the nation.

My fundamental position is that a certain number of people are predisposed to addiction and will be susceptible to drug problems, whether they be legal (caffeine, tobacco, alcohol, prescription drugs or over the counter) or illegal. Aguably the total number of people with addictions is not going to change if you legalize marijuana and cocaine, but what you WILL do is offer an alternative to crack, crystal meth, heroin and other truly devastating drugs while simultaneously dramatically decreasing violent crime and increasing funding for education and rehab programs.

From your rhetoric I have to assume you are currently out marching for a return to prohibition? That was a disaster. Have you bothered to stop and figure out why? Have you bothered to ask yourself why alcohol is now the only allowed recreational drug? (hint: there are two very major industries that have a vested interest in maintaining the status quo: Pharmaceutical and alcohol).

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 8:44 a.m.

JW, you earlier said: "I NEVER want to live in a culture where the leaders says it okay to become an addict because they're lying to you to maintain their control."

I find that statement fascinating, because you are proposing huge government programs with very strict legal controls on what you can and can't do to your own body, because you are afraid that the government is trying to control you.

Interesting dichotomy.

Have you ever stopped to consider that just maybe those same pols are lying to you about the war on drugs in order to manufacture a crisis that allows them to fund and staff a larger police force and allows them to pass laws which take liberties with your liberties?

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JustWondering May 1, 2009 @ 11:21 a.m.

You've GOT to be kidding... I suppose YOU believe we didn't land on the moon, Lee Harvey Oswald didn't work alone, Elvis hasn't left the building because he's still working for the CIA, and Aliens gave us calculators, Microwave Ovens and the Men in Black.

Thank goodness Surfpuppy and I have access to aluminum foil... otherwise the "guvment" would be reading my thoughts too. Why does it ALWAYS become a conspiracy by the government? It's because you've been sampling WAY TOO MUCH of the products you want to them to legalize.

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 12:15 p.m.

JW,

What an odd response!

You do recall that you are the one who said "I NEVER want to live in a culture where the leaders says it okay to become an addict because they're lying to you to maintain their control.", right? I merely pointed out that you are proposing one form of strict government control to prevent another form of government control. The same group you distrust in one case, you are embracing in the other. I didn't say I agree with either, just that you didn't seem to have thought through what you were saying.

I also see you are back to ad hominem attacks insisting that I must be on drugs, when you know I don't use drugs and probably average less than two drinks a week.

PS: My dad worked for the group that invented the first microwave oven (the "Radarange"), so maybe you ought to rethink your position on aliens. That would give you a more plausible explanation for me than the one you have adopted.

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Neal Obermeyer May 1, 2009 @ 12:23 p.m.

By JustWondering 7:26 p.m., Apr 26, 2009 "no ones stopping you from moving yourself and your family where you can live in drug laden haze for the rest of your sorry life."

By JustWondering 9:47 a.m., Apr 28, 2009 "But your just a coward, your answer is to bring down the standards here."

By JustWondering 11:21 a.m., May 1, 2009 "you've been sampling WAY TOO MUCH of the products you want to them to legalize."

By JustWondering 9:47 a.m., Apr 28, 2009 "Typical liberal argument... attack the messenger when logic doesn't work."

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 12:44 p.m.

For those wondering just what I have been smoking to make me in favor of legalization of marijuana (correct answer, of course, is nothing), here is succinct explanation along with a few people who support it. Most of them are just unsuccessful potheads who most likely dropped out of high school, so JW can safely ignore them (especially the first 3).

http://www.prohibitioncosts.org/endorsers.html

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SurfPuppy619 May 1, 2009 @ 2:22 p.m.

None of the high-minded arguments about the failure of the "war on drugs" or the rationales for "legalization" address the carnage that occurs in families with addicts or to the society that has to manage the anti-social fallout (crime and illness) that comes with any addictive drug-use.

By monaghan

I agree.

There are many far too many dangers with drugs-and not just pot.

Alcohol is by far the biggest problem, and I think if we made anymore drugs legal you can look to the current alcohol problems to get an idea of what we would be in for.

Now, as I said before, my basic postion is this- what someone does inside their own home is their business. but when it starts affecting others then it is everyones business.

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SurfPuppy619 May 1, 2009 @ 2:28 p.m.

I also see you are back to ad hominem attacks insisting that I must be on drugs, when you know I don't use drugs and probably average less than two drinks a week.

By paul

The internet is no fun without ad hominem atacks on anonymous handles.

In fact if I could not attack people posting under alias handles I would be forced to leave....seriously, no one should take an anonymous ad hominem attack at face value.

I always viewed it as a badge of honor to get someone to meltdown so bad they went personal.

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 3 p.m.

SurfPuppy619,

Don't worry, my skin is not that thin. I just occasionally like to point out when somebody has gone off base in the off chance they think they are still making valid points.

I agree that alcohol is big problem, but I disagree that legalizing marijuana would add to the overall problem. I think there is a relatively finite market for recreational drugs, so that legal marijuana would poach from the existing sources, namely illegal drugs and alcohol. If I thought for a moment that legal marijuana would significantly add to the user base, I wouldn't be in favor of it. What would most likely happen, however, is that existing light users of alcohol may become light users of marijuana or switch between the two, and current heavy users of alcohol and illegal marijuana would probably continue to be heavy users of one or the other (hopefully with better interdiction and treatment programs due to increased taxes). From everything I have read, the total number of addictive personalities prone to problems would not change, but treatment should improve, yielding a net gain in the overall problem at a substantially reduced cost with a dramatic decrease in crime (especially gang violence). Also from what I have read, if you are going to piss your life away, their is less negative impact on society if you do it smoking marijuana than by drinking.

I'm basing my views on cold hard economic realities, which can be difficult for some people because it doesn't take into account anybody's particular situation. Nobody wants their family member to become an addict and want somebody or something to blame if it happens, but the cold hard reality is that a certain number of people will become addicted to something no matter what we do. We deny marijuana and kids are sniffing glue and aerosols, using cough syrup, lots of alcohol (of course) and making crystal meth. Is that really any better? Wouldn't you rather have some quality and dosage control along with a regulated supply line of legitimate storefronts to keep it away from kids (like alcohol)?

I know you disagree, but that is where I am coming from.

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Duhbya May 1, 2009 @ 3:19 p.m.

paul: this one guy did indeed jump out at me from the prohibitioncosts.org site.......

Jeffrey Koch Strong High-Yield

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paul May 1, 2009 @ 3:23 p.m.

Its funny, cuz I noticed that one too! It turns out that Strong High-Yield is (or at least was) a very successful bond fund. Too bad, it sounded like a very interesting school (maybe an Ag school?)!

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monaghan May 2, 2009 @ 11:22 a.m.

Paul is so full of himself and his "facts" that he cannot acknowledge the terrible truths about the costs of addiction. Do you really imagine this society is going to invest in addict-registration, government-run centers for drug distribution, rehab and counseling and halfway houses for addict-care? Maybe Paul has never known an addict. Maybe Paul has never had even a mildly "bad" habit. Maybe he's full of righteous crap. Oh gosh, an ad hominem response. Mea culpa.

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paul May 7, 2009 @ 4:22 p.m.

Not to beat a dead horse, but I found this very interesting.

In another thread, monaghan said "Stamper was no fruitcake, even though he let dope-crazed proles trash his city of Seattle during the World Trade Organization riots a few years ago. I thought he was a classy, intelligent guy with a lot more on the ball than either Bill Kolender or Jerry Sanders, both of whom sold out to the San Diego establishment."

I hope monaghan still feels that way, because I agree!

Here is an open letter published today by Stamper to new Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske : http://www.huffingtonpost.com/norm-stamper/open-letter-to-the-new-dr_b_199122.html

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monaghan May 8, 2009 @ 6:45 p.m.

Okay, I am tired of this "argument" which is so strangely important to "paul" et al. But I did read Norm Stamper's letter in huffingtonpost and I am not surprised at his position on ending the "war" on drugs and taking a "public health approach" to the issue: he remains a reflective and humane guy. The "war" is ridiculous and the public health model makes perfect sense in a perfect world. But the truth is, for Stamper's ideas to work, the public health part would have to precede the legalization part -- and that is almost certainly never going to happen in this country. Like never. We can't even provide basic health care for the sober citizenry, never mind special attention for stoners. Meanwhile, marijuana remains attractive, super-strong, destructive, and, after alcohol and tobacco, a gateway drug. Legalizing marijuana and providing the necessary supports for addicts would carry a tremendous tariff that, in my opinion, Americans will never be willing to pay. Ergo, forget about legalization.

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paul May 9, 2009 @ 2:26 a.m.

monaghan said: "Legalizing marijuana and providing the necessary supports for addicts would carry a tremendous tariff that, in my opinion, Americans will never be willing to pay."

Americans currently pay a much higher price to fight a war on drugs including a war on our border. The whole point of the legion of top economists in favor of legalization is not so they can get high, it is to save the country many billions annually.

monaghan said: "But the truth is, for Stamper's ideas to work, the public health part would have to precede the legalization part -- and that is almost certainly never going to happen in this country."

But it has already happened, you just aren't paying attention. Law enforcement already ignores individual use of marijuana, there are already PSAs and there are treatment centers covered by the government and employers health plans for problems associated with overuse just like for alcohol. Possession of a fairly large quantity for personal use is a minor misdemeanor if prosecuted at all. Compare that to any other schedule 1 narcotic and ask yourself "why"?

The part you say must happen first but you claim can't, has already happened.

I find it interesting that so many people refuse to even consider whether the foundation of their belief in prohibition has any factual justification. You have been stating "truths" that are common knowledge to be "facts", yet when the presidential commission analyzed many of these same "facts", they turned out to not be true. Top economists tell you that your opinion on cost is dead wrong, yet you still trot it out as your final argument.

If you do a little honest investigation and test the basic beliefs you hold on this issue starting with the reason why all those economists favor ending prohibition, you might be surprised where you end up. If you end up in the same position you are now, at least you will have a better foundation to argue with someone like me. You ought to give it a try and challenge your beliefs at least a little. Instead of assuming anybody with a different view must be a pothead who should leave the country, try assuming that they might have a point and see where that logically leads you.

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monaghan May 9, 2009 @ 2:10 p.m.

Please don't lecture me, Paul, about providing "factual justification" or a "better foundation" for my position: I've done that. You just don't want to hear it. And please stop citing a "presidential commission" and "economists" as incontrovertible justifications for legalization of marijuana across the board. You are just bolstering a personal opinion. I am telling you that there is a huge and terrible human cost for addiction to any number of damaging substances and I have listed some of them. I am telling you that neurologists and pediatricians say that marijuana is stronger today than in the 1960's and that it can permanently damage the developing brains of young users. I am telling you that newbie drug-experimenters often start with (legal) alcohol or (legal) tobacco and then move on to pot and other damaging controlled substances. You make an utterly false claim that there are sufficient treatment centers and insurance programs to meet the public health needs of addicted persons in this country. There are NOT enough programs to meet the need NOR are the programs long enough in duration to do the job. I will repeat: our culture is not friendly to providing public health programs in general and, as for the relative (admittedly huge) cost of the "war on drugs" versus enlightened and comprehensive public health programs to treat and heal addicts, Americans will always go for "war" over more pacific solutions. That this is a deplorable fact does not make your favoring legalization of marijuana a good idea by default. Finally -- and I do mean finally -- contrary to your allegation, I have not labeled you or your "economists" as "potheads:" I just think you are wrong.

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paul May 9, 2009 @ 4:04 p.m.

monaghan said: "Please don't lecture me, Paul, about providing "factual justification" or a "better foundation" for my position: I've done that. You just don't want to hear it."

I keep citing the Presidential Commission because they started with many of your same commonly known "facts", but found them to be false when they tried to validate them. I find that admirable because they had the integrity to perform a legitimate study and the intellectual honesty to follow their results and change their opinions even though they were not politically correct. I cite the economists because they clearly and succinctly (better than me) describe the cost savings, which you sort of admit and then say it doesn't matter because "we" (you?) prefer war.

I personally believe in reviewing and evaluating the factual basis for an opinion contrary to mine, so I can evaluate whether it has any merit (in my opinion, of course.). If you want to offer some backing to any of your claims, I would be happy to evaluate the source and findings to see if it alters my view. I have given you references to a presidential commission, a large group of economists (including three nobel laureates), and an active law enforcement group with a very vocal former San Diego assistant chief all giving their arguments against prohibition. In response you have dismissed all of their arguments out of hand, and have offered no reasons why they are all wrong nor why you are right other than to repeat your opinions.

You are correct that this horse is deader than dead. If you want a last word, feel free and I will let you have it. If not, I'll probably come across you on some other topic, where we probably will have a lot more agreement than disagreement.

Lastly, you never called me a pothead, that was someone else.

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