I think weed should be decriminalized. I don't think it's good, but I do think there is more harm in making it illegal then decriminalizing. The statistics I have heard about Holland is that teenagers are not smoking anymore, no more people are smoking, but fewer people are doing hard drugs.
As far as legalization, that would bring in tax revenue and get rid of the pot component of the drug war. We would make billions from taxes, and save billions from the drug war.
As far as harder drugs go, I say keep them illegal. They're just too harmful to allow into society. A case would be the opium addiction problems that China had.
I typed in drug in the search engine and I saw a lot of stuff on it, but most of it seems directed at a more individual level like drug test and that kind of thing, rather than policy and the philosophy behind the policies. I didn't any threads on it in the first page on PWI.
Portugal has legalized drugs for personal use 5 years ago, and it has been a resounding succes.
The reason why in Holland things are changing for the worse is that over the past 8 years the christian right has come to power, and cracking down on cannabis is easy; a quick vote winning program.
It's stupid, but people feel like a right orientated government may deal with other problems better, and re-illegalising cannabis is a side-effect of that push to the right.
In the past, legislators looked at the effect of certain legislative decisions and built on that. Nowadays, personal preference certain ministers have determin what's lawful and what's not. Again, very stupid.
I'd like to see a full legalisation of all drugs. You'd have to register, get a card and then be able to buy them from certified pharmacies. This will probably never happen because the average joe and joan fear drugs, and they believe the politicians who demonize drugs and drug-users.
The issue with marijuana is it's role in drug trade within North America and all the facets associated and surrounded by it.
The clarify my main point, I'll use the following real life example/issue:
British Columbia, Canada, has the most sought after marijuana in the world. Miami, United States, is the Cocaine capital within North America. The value of B.C. marijuana is higher than cocaine in Miami and Miami cocaine is worth more than marijuana in B.C.
As a result, there are straight trades between Miami and B.C. for each of their "home" drugs.
With the amount of money floating between the international trafficking, there are without a doubt a lot of firearm smuggling, human body smuggling and death directly associated with it.
I understand that majority of marijuana users are harmless to say the least, however, the issues behind it's origins are what I'm looking at.
To use a "cookie cutter" approach in it's legalization will not work.
If we did this, I feel we would need very strong education and rehab programs and somehow make access for the harder drugs more difficult than walking down to a store and grabbing some heroine on the way to get groceries.
It's dubious at best to think that we would make a profit from taxes on weed. I did a bunch of research after Tom Ammiano introduced AB 390 into the state legis. here in California (which became Prop 19 on the ballot) for my county's Libertarian Party. What I found was interesting.
The state's Board of Equalization (in charge of collecting all tax revenue) did a bunch of studies on the viability of taxation for profit. They assumed that marijuana usage would closely mimic alcohol and tobacco consumption and regulation. For alcohol/tobacco tax revenues, the state pulled in about $4.4 billion in 2008 (the last year that current data is available) but the state also spent more than $19 billion on programs and healthcare costs aimed at alleviating the potential fallout from alcohol/tobacco abuse.
There's no reason to think that this won't also be the case with weed. Plus, if you read the language of the bill, there is no bureaucracy whatsoever set up to ensure that tax dollars are collected, aside from what's already in place. Think about it: the bill would have allowed me to grow weed in my home. But how is the govt going to collect taxes from me? How are they going to get a piece of the pie everytime I flip an ounce to my neighbor across the street? They can't. They can tax collectives and dispensaries, but those places will transfer the cost onto the consumer. Private citizens can circumvent this added cost by simply growing it themselves. It's not that hard to grow some extremely potent weed if you get some decent clones. I've done it a bunch of times and the weed I've grown is at least as good as anything at a cannabis club, outside of the shit that's so expensive it's priced way above the common street price.
Of course, then you have the societal obligation aspect to this whole thing. Weed is not dangerous on the level of cocaine or heroin or alcohol, but it is dangerous and carries the potential for addiction. Regardless of what anyone says, it is very much a gateway drug. My own personal experiences, along with those of EVERYONE I know who smoked(s) weed regularly backs this assertion up. If the govt were to legalize weed, they would necessarily bear the responsibility to provide programs similar to the ones already in place for alcohol/tobacco abuse.
The fastest-growing abused drug amongst teenagers are pharmaceutical painkillers and psychotherapeutic drugs such as Ritalin or Vicodine. There are endless studies demonstrating the immense negative impact that the combination of any hallucinogen or depressant and these pharmaceutical drugs can have, especially on the still-developing brains of teenagers. So marijuana is indeed dangerous to a certain extent. Is the govt really prepared to legalize something, create a market for it with the intention of making a profit, and then turn around and discourage people from ever entering that market in the first place? I think not.
I support legalization, but I voted against Prop 19. To me the tax money is nothing more than blood money. As a Libertarian, I am loathe to let the govt determine what I can and can't put into my own body. But I'm even more loathe to let the govt tax and regulate something that I can pretty much already use anyways. I would only support legalization if it meant that weed became legal and forgotten about. No taxing of it, no regulating of it.
This post is getting long, so I won't go into the details here, but the Board of Equalization also determined that there is no reason to think that weed consumption won't go up significantly or that weed prices will go down if it is legalized.
Another thing to consider about legalization that I almost NEVER hear advocates of it acknowledge:
How do you think these Mexican cartels who sneak growers into America and set up grow operations in national forests/parks like the one that got popped a few months back up here in Shasta Forest will react? We're seeing what the reaction of these cartels are when their revenue stream is threatened; that violence will only grow worse if we legalize it and it will spill even further over our borders.