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Debates Forum

Debates Forum

  1. Standard member shavixmir
    Guppy poo
    12 Mar '04 08:44
    I was debating this issue yesterday during a break at work.
    The same old Legalise it and Criminalise it arguments seemed to pass the review, so then I added my two cents worth.
    Let me make a few assumptions here and let's see if we can find a general consensus on the issue?

    A lot of the more conservative elements within society point to legalising drugs as lowering the step to using them. They point to State authorisation leading to acceptance and they suggest that using marijuana will lead to harder drug use.

    The liberals within society argue that soft drug use doesn't lead to harder drug use, that drugs are so common place they're accepted anyway and that the state shouldn't be telling grown-ups what they can or cannot do to their bodies.

    Same old, same old.

    Is any of it provable? Both 'teams' can churn out proof for their arguments, so obviously the truth must be somewhere in the middle.
    However, I do state that a grown-up can do with his or her body what he or she wants.
    If you want to take drugs. Fine.
    If you don't want to wear a crash helmet. Fine.
    If you want an abortion. Fine.

    So, I decided to approach the whole argument in a different way.
    First of all, I asked for a description for this so called drugs problem we, in the west, seem to have.
    The reason being that I can't presume that me eating space cake (chocolate cake laced with marijuana) and watching the Big Lebowski for the 10th time as I sit at home drinking a beer with some friends is actually a problem of any sorts. What-so-ever.
    Eventually we managed to narrow the drugs problem down to three main elements:
    1. Drugs being pushed on children
    2. Petty crime surrounding the drugs scene
    3. Tax evasion

    The way society is trying to solve these problems is by illegalising drugs and constantly trying to crack down upon the trading of it.
    The question seems, to me, not a question of legalising it or a question of telling children not to use it.
    I reckon the solution lies within the capitalist society we live in.

    Bare with me:

    Why do people sell drugs?
    Very high profit margins. Drugs are cheap to produce and you can sell them at high prices.

    What does cracking down on drugs do, in a capitalist society?
    It means less drugs on the market, the price goes up, the profit margin increases...meaning? More people want to sell drugs.
    I was watching the news a few months ago and the government and customs officials were boasting about catching a large load of cocaine or heroin (can't remember...but that's marijuna for you!) and I just couldn't see how that was solving the problem. In fact, I think it is completely counter-productive.

    Now, not only does the price of the drug on the market go up when there is less of it, it means that less people have the financial means to fund their drug habit, which, in turn, means more people will resort to petty crime to fund their habit.

    If this reasoning is correct, which I am completely convinced it is, then to stop people selling drugs you need to destroy the profit margin. If people can't make money selling drugs, they're not going to sell them.
    If you destroy the profit margin nobody is going to bother pushing drugs on children (Obviously there are sickos who have alternative goals in getting children hooked on drugs, but this is a small group and whether drugs are legal/illegal/worth millions or worth nothing, it's not going to stop them).

    If there is no profit margin on drugs the large cartels will cease to exist. They can't make money if there is no profit margin.

    Petty crime will drastically reduce as well. If there is no profit margin on drugs, that means the price of them will be extremely low and nobody will need to resort to crime to fund their habit.

    Less crime generally leads to more people paying taxes.
    More taxes could mean that more proper education on drugs and what they do to you could be offered to people.
    Not the pathetic: Just say no. sort of campaigns we seem to be bombed with every couple of years.
    But good education explaining what a drug does, how long it lasts, what the negative effects are and how to take them as safely as possible.
    Take alcohol for example. If people drink 1 glass of water between every alcoholic beverage the chances of a hang-over are drastically reduced.

    And there it is. The solution in which I can find no fault.
    By destroying the profit margin you solve the three problems I mentioned earlier.

    The question then remains how to destroy the profit margin. There are various means of doing so, but that is a different discussion for a later date.

    What do you all think?

  2. Subscriber Crowley
    Not Aleister
    12 Mar '04 19:02
    Your reasoning is decent, but the big problem is killing the profit margin, yes.

    Legalizing and controlling drugs could do this, but...

    ...the drug cartels will just become the big drug corporations (or have their fingers in the pie).

    ...and people will still commit crimes just to buy the legal drugs now.
  3. 12 Mar '04 20:46
    add addiction to the short list of ills associated with drugs --- not all are just recreational users.
  4. 12 Mar '04 21:18 / 1 edit
    Legalising drugs is the wrong signal to people, especially young people.
    It means : Drugs are OK. Go ahead, no problem.
    Is that true or self delusion?

    Check it out:

    No smoke without fear: Is there really a link between cannabis and psychosis? Robin Murray is in no doubt.


    New cannabis studies confirm danger to users:

    Schizofrenia, Depression, etc.

  5. Standard member Asher123
    Drunken Shogun
    12 Mar '04 21:51
    confession: I'm an avid marijuana smoker and I'm completely against legalising it. Some people should not have access to drugs. Like Ivanho said it sends a message to society when you legalise it.
  6. 12 Mar '04 22:24
    Originally posted by Asher123
    confession: I'm an avid marijuana smoker and I'm completely against legalising it. Some people should not have access to drugs. Like Ivanho said it sends a message to society when you legalise it.
    Your reasoning sounds peculiar to me
    Drugs are not good for everybody ( I agree with you)
    Therefore drugs should be forbidden by law (I don't know)
    But you judge yourself able to handle the usage of drugs (I wonder about your criteria)
    So you place yourself above a law you agree with??

  7. Standard member Asher123
    Drunken Shogun
    12 Mar '04 22:49 / 1 edit
    not at all. I'm a criminal by choice. I'm very careful and discreet about my habit, and I continue with it because it is my weakness.
  8. Standard member StarValleyWy
    14 Mar '04 04:17
    Add one more reason against legalizing. Children of the addicted. It isn't fair to them to have a zoned out parent in a tough world.

    As to reasons FOR legalizing, add that it would put a lot of crooked political hacks out of business. Kickbacks and payoffs are the main reason it manages to stay illegal. Prohibition is always a benefit to the proscribed.
  9. Standard member Marinkatomb
    14 Mar '04 04:51
    I would like to see a more tollerant attitude towards drugs like cannabis. I don't know about anywhere else, but in london it is very common. This doesn't constitute a reason to legalise it on it's own, but it does tempt the question, why is it illegal? I mean with so many people using it, i struggle to find any reason for it to be illegal. If cannibis did lead onto harder drugs as some people claim, shorely by now london would have desended into civil drugs war.

    I've visited Amsterdam, where cannibis is decriminalised. The capital has become over run with drugs tourism. Everywhere you go, it is street after street, lined with dope coffee shops. The Dutch have a very relaxed attitude to drugs of all kinds. I have been there some 4 or 5 times over the years as this city seems to represent a completely liberal attitude towards everything.

    The only problem that i can see cannibis causing, is the drugs tourism. The difference between the city i first visited, to the city i visited this summer just gone, was pronounced. It makes me sad to think that it is laws passed in other countries that have caused this. I mean, if cannabis was legal across europe, Amsterdam would be bursting with people who are actually went there to enjoy the city and the culture, not just the latest winner of the Cannibis cup (a competition held anually to deside the best grower!)

    Im sure there are loads of people who disagree with me, but this "cannibis leads to harder drugs" argument is a non starter. I mean, what happened to free will? Heroin addicts can give up drugs, when they choose to (i am in no way condoning heroin so don't even start!!) Shorley they made a choice to start?? I mean, it wasn't like they smoked a joint, and woke up it the morning needing a fix of smack! Thats just ridiculous.

    Most people who smoke a joint for the first time, have also smoked a cigarette before, or drunk a beer. Why does nobody say that smoking fags and drinking beer leads to a dope habit??

  10. Standard member Marinkatomb
    14 Mar '04 06:26
    Originally posted by shavixmir
    If you destroy the profit margin nobody is going to bother pushing drugs
    I've slightly mis quoted u i know, but it does look like ur saying saying legalising drugs will bancrupt the cartels and what have u. If all drugs were legalised, i think that would create a problem. If people could openly buy heroin, the price would drop and the amount of users would go up in a way that is scarily unpredictable. Im not saying the present system works (the UK system is quite different from the US i might add), but u have to agree that it is less appealing to start smoking crack if the price is really high.

    I think decriminalising personal amounts is a method worth a look. I know in london vast amounts of young people are being "criminalised", by the current laws. I have personally been arrested 5 times for possesion of cannibis. I now have a "criminal" record. I might add that all of these arrests were made between the age of 15 and 20. None of them were related to any criminal activity! Each one was conducted as the result of a body search, something which police are allowed to do here with no reason other than "they suspect a crime".

    Now, i am a computer programmer. When i apply for work with banks, or big blue chip companies, it is not uncommon for these companies to do a "security" check on any potential employees. No prizes for guessing how many jobs i've lost because of that. It is frustrating because i am capable of doing good work for these companies, but my career is brick walled, because of the "criminal" activities of my teens.

    Don't get me wrong, drugs contibute to crime, i am aware of the difficulty in finding a balance. But what is the point in criminalising whole generations? Society is holding young people responsible for the wrongs of organised, sometimes international criminals.

    There are a number of countries across europe (Holland excluded), that have allowed small quantities to pass through the net, Poland being one, there are more but i can't remember.

    This won't necissarily decrese the amount of hard drug users. But it will mean that only the people making the money out of drugs stand to suffer, which i think is the right attitude. People who use drugs are still people, they are not necissarily causing civil disturbance. If they are then they should be prossecuted for THAT.

  11. Standard member Marinkatomb
    14 Mar '04 08:45
    Originally posted by ivanhoe
    Legalising drugs is the wrong signal to people, especially young people.
    It means : Drugs are OK. Go ahead, no problem.
    Is that true or self delusion?

    Check it out:

    No smoke without fear: Is there really a link between cannabis and psychosis? Robin Murray is in no doubt.

    ...[text shortened]... :

    Schizofrenia, Depression, etc.

    All fine doctors im sure, but just to play devils advocate, i've been smoking cannibis everyday pretty much for the last 10 years or so. I get a little moody in the morning perhaps, till i've had a cup of tea, but thats about it. No depression, no schitzo flip outs (yet at least )
  12. Standard member eddie anders
    14 Mar '04 09:08
    why anyone would want to take drugs when there is drink available is beyond me they are crazy.and thats before they get high.
  13. Standard member jimmyb270
    Top Gun
    14 Mar '04 11:38
    Originally posted by eddie anders
    why anyone would want to take drugs when there is drink available is beyond me they are crazy.and thats before they get high.
    Ah good, a nicely reasoned and well thought out post!

    But seriously, I agree with the point about decriminalising personal amounts. Or at least making the penalties less severe and drastically reducing the police time and effort devoted to weedling out users.
    I caught the beginning of an American show called 'Cops' the other day. They showed a drug bust by a police department somewhere in America. Basically they had an undercover cop posing as a dealer and they arrested anyone who tried to buy from him. What does this achieve? It stops a few people getting high. Whoopee. A great day for freedom. If you want to stop illegal drugs by arresting people, arrest the damn dealers, cut it of at the source. Seems sensible to me anyway.

    Further to this, someone (I could go and check who, but I can't be bothered, sorry), when making the point that an adult should make their own choices, compared taking drugs to driving without a seatbelt. Perhaps an idea I had for people who do this may work for drugs to. Basically, let people take drugs, or drive without a seatbelt, or do any of the other things that essentially hurt no-one else, but make them pay for any medical treatment they need as a direct result. No NHS treatment, no insurance cover, nothing. All paid for out of their own pocket. This may be harder for drugs as it might not always be possible to prove a direct link, but if you can, it might act as a deterrent, people like money, and medical bills can, I understand, reach phenomonal levels.
  14. Standard member garyminford
    The Sheriff of
    14 Mar '04 11:52
    The problems caused by drugs are various and far-reaching. But there are more problems caused by our attitudes to drugs.
    Take the whole criminalise/legalise debate.
    I really don't think that people who do want to smoke marijuana (there are a lot) are put off by the fact that it is illegal. They do it because they enjoy it. Conversely the people who do not smoke marijuana are pretty much the people who do not enjoy its effects, and so are unlikely to smoke it regardless of legality.
    What there needs to be is some sort of legislation that controls it, much like there is legislation to control alcohol.
    The people who get stoned all the time contribute nothing to society, conversely, they get nothing back. It is the attitude that needs addressing. Alcoholism is recognised as a problem and there are many help networks for people with this problem.
  15. 14 Mar '04 11:57
    I think this is an easy band wagon to jump on for the media/politicians as it is a nice tidy easy to define problem that the general voting population know little real facts.

    1) Addiction is bad full stop, be it gambing, drinking, fast cars, sex, food, whatever, by the very nature of the work "addiction" it implies a dependency that will curb behaviour in a wau that may not be good for society. Should RHP be banned? It is clearly addictive to myself, impacts upon my work rate, my relationships, and potentially doing other constructive things in society. Worst still, I am a pusher as I have got at least 15 other people "addicted" to this site. I have been know to make moves at airports and on public internet telephones.

    2) What are drugs? drugs is such a loose term, what do we mean? Is a drug something that is "chemically" made, is it powder and dust? If so where do mushrooms and plant based narcotics fit in? Is it the fact that
    that they can alter our conscious state? Well so can booze, a cup of coffee, so can exercise, so can education to think of a few. Is it that they can incapcitate us? Well we will just say booze and saturday night. Also what about "legal" drugs, people seem to get addicted to Valium or pain killers and the rest - why are they different? Is the real distinction really just "because the government says so"?

    3) The cost to society, a big argument against drugs seems to be the percieved cost to society, in terms of tax cost and social cost. If we want to cut costs on health associated with addictive substances well just ban booze and fags for a start. Simple as that. Governments do not ban booze and fags as it is a money spinner, so drugs could fit nicely here on an ethical standpoint anyway, yes they may may be bad for you, but look what we can do with all the tax cash. On a social stand point, kids are already as exposed to drug cuilture as they can be. Every aspect of the media talks about it in some way, they are surrounded by it completely. It seems most kids just accept drugs as part or modern life anyway, their actual legality seems irrelevant on the whole. The whole, it leads to criminal activity thing, well thats a social issue that can easily be brushed under the "drug capet". If there were no drugs would people still mug, rob and steal? Of cousre they will, people want they can not afford, and at the moment one of those things is drugs. It is just another modern commodity. If you want to take away envy you have to engineer society at a lot deeper level than simply banning drugs.

    4) We will all become addicted. Paronia in the extreme. Sure more people might try it, but on the whole I doubt consumption would change that much in the long term, like all things there is a sustainable market size - thats why we have advertising to try and push the boundries. I personally think people on coke tend to be "knob heads", they just annoy me with their own dellusions self importance and they tend to jump at the opportunity to put others down (something I hate in people). Maybe if more people understood the issues from their own perspective rather than that pushed by the media / state we would have a more mature stance on this issue. If you legalise it, you take away any stigma of "its bad" and just leave the plane borring facts.