Teen Ink on Twitter
Part 1: Violence
I do actually. Violent crime forms around drugs because of the high profits; thanks to U.S. drug policy there's a lot more demand than supply. You know how cheaply pot could be grown if it was legalized? About twenty cents a pound. Even slapped with government taxes, huge corporations could afford to sell their product for less than five dollars per pound. When purchasing in bulk, joints would cost a few cents per pack; somewhat less than packets of Splenda, and even less than teabags.
This would completely destroy the underground, violent drug traffic industry, not overnight, but in a couple of years at most. It's the same thing as Prohibition. When alcohol was illegal, there was widespread violence to distribute it. Now that it's legal, those problems have completely disappeared.
Likewise, once any drug addict could walk into a CVS and buy pot, why would he choose to buy it from a shady dealer for an exponentially higher price. You realize that drug dealers oppose legalization just as much as you do? It's why you buy your soda from a big brand opposed to some guy who makes it himself in his basement. Corporations that could afford advertising, a consistently good product, and a cheap price would destroy violent drug lords within a year.
Again, drug related crime would disappear if drugs were legalized. I agree that there are some serious problems with the plan to legalize all drugs, but your particular argument is laughably wrong.
p.s. I only adressed pot here because it's easier to find statistics for, but the same basic principle applies to all drugs; legalizing them makes it possible for big business to sell them, which means there's no money in violent drug trafficking, which means no one does it.
Part 2: Economics
I think you misunderstood the point here. I didn't mean that taxes taken in from drugs would singlehandedly fix the economy. That's obviously not true, though they certainly wouldn't hurt.
It's not that legalization would bring in new money, it's that it would give us back a lot of old money. The money spent fighting the Drug War is somewhere in the billions. Legalization would bring back all that money.
Violence: I'm not laughably wrong, friend. I think you misunderstand what exactly a crime organization would do if that happened. They aren't ATT, they aren't Coke, they aren't a company. If someone was selling cheap drugs and driving their revenue out of business, they would attack and destroy a corperation like that. So what do we do, get those precious police lives you saved? Waste them defending a company that sells hard drugs? Good plan, kiddo. Gangs don't dissolve because there is no money or no illegality, you need to understand the mindset and phsycology of a criminal; they would see this as a war, and pretty soon you'd have a wholly organized crime syndacite to deal with, as opposed to splinter factions that are easy to take down and manage. Do you understand that if every major gang in the US, keeping in mind that every gang has fingers in the drug business, organized together, they could potentially topple segments of the US government? Are you looking at long term consequences of a plan beyond "make monies, some police won't die"? Your plan is simple, and the way the US works, simple doesn't cut it. It doesn't work.
Economics: The IRS tracks the approximated revenue of illegal activities. Its accounted for, calculated, and analyzed; thats why segments of the government are created to shut down systems that make too much money or have negative impacts on US fiscal policy. They did that math, and there is a reason that we don't legalize drugs; its because all of that money would not be brought back, it would be allocated into managing a broken legalized drug system, monitoring how much could be bought, and having to find something to do for all the police officers and DEA officers that you've suddenly displaced as workers. Ending a branch of the government, any branch, has far reaching implications that are beyond the scope of what you're looking at. The bottom line is this: If the government thought legalization, of any substance pot included, it would have been legalized. The people running the money of the country are smarter than you or I; if it works, it would have been done by now.
allow me to quote Emma Goldman, add the middle class and drugs to women and s.ex:
Puritanism, with its perve.rsion of the significance and functions of the human body, especially in regard to woman, has condemned her to celi.bacy, or to the indiscriminate breeding of a diseased race, or to pro.stitution. The enormity of this crime against humanity is apparent when we consider the results. Absolute sex.ual continence is imposed upon the unmarried woman, under pain of being considered immoral or fallen, with the result of producing neurasthenia, impotence, depression, and a great variety of nervous complaints involving diminished power of work, limited enjoyment of life, sleeplessness, and preoccupation with se.xual desires and imaginings. The arbitrary and pernicious dictum of total co.ntinence probably also explains the mental inequality of the se.xes. Thus Freud believes that the intellectual inferiority of so many women is due to the inhibition of thought imposed upon them for the purpose of sex.ual repression. Having thus suppressed the natural s.ex desires of the unmarried woman, Puritanism, on the other hand, blesses her married sister for inco.ntinent fruitfulness in wedlock. Indeed, not merely blesses her, but forces the woman, overs.exed by previous repression, to bear children, irrespective of weakened physical condition or economic inability to rear a large family. Prevention, even by scientifically determined safe methods, is absolutely prohibited; nay, the very mention of the subject is considered criminal.
Pros.titution, although hounded, imprisoned, and chained, is nevertheless the greatest triumph of Puritanism. It is its most cherished child, all hypocritical sanctimoniousness notwithstanding. The pro.stitute is the fury of our century, sweeping across the "civilized" countries like a hurricane, and leaving a trail of disease and disaster. The only remedy Puritanism offers for this ill-begotten child is greater repression and more merciless persecution. The latest outrage is represented by the Page Law, which imposes upon the State of New York the terrible failure and crime of Europe, namely, registration and identification of the unfortunate victims of Puritanism. In equally stupid manner purism seeks to check the terrible scourge of its own creation--ve.nereal diseases. Most disheartening it is that this spirit of obtuse narrow mindedness has poisoned even our so-called liberals, and has blinded them into joining the crusade against the very things born of the hypocrisy of Puritanism-- prostitution and its results. In wilful blindness Puritanism refuses to see that the true method of prevention is the one which makes it clear to all that "vene.real diseases are not a mysterious or terrible thing, the penalty of the sin of the flesh, a sort of shameful evil branded by purist malediction, but an ordinary disease which may be treated and cured." By its methods of obscurity, disguise, and concealment, Puritanism has furnished favorable conditions for the growth and spread of these diseases. Its bigotry is again most strikingly demonstrated by the senseless attitude in regard to the great discovery of Prof. Ehrlich, hypocrisy veiling the important cure for syphilis with vague allusions to a remedy for "a certain poison."
Well, organized crime is kinda like a government. They don't go with what's simple either. They have their own security, so they don't need to be protected by anyone. They aren't violent, the people they hire are violent. And once drugs become legal, they'll either get into the legal drug trade, or start importing other illegal things like humans and exotic animals and the like. Criminals don't see this as a war, they see it as an opportunity to make money. Not all criminals are sadists, they just see opportunities in illegal activity to make it big. I've seen so many people try to make a living for themselves and their families and only end up dead or in jail. It's tough out there, and the government will not get destroyed by organized crime, organized crime syndicates are to smart for that. And in most cases, gangs are like a company. They sell product, they make profit, they have investments a lot of the time, and they have employees. It's an illegal business.
Nick: The idea that a gang would start commiting terrorist attacks against a corporation without any foreseable profit or winning scenario is ridiculous. Suggesting they could topple the government, or even a small part of it, sounds like something I'd hear from a raving crack addict- irony intended.
Gangs are so effective because they operate in the dark and the shadows. Their crimes are commited before police can catch them. If gangs ever all organized together (which itself is extremely improbable) and attacked something like a factory or government building, the National Guard/army could wipe them out easily. Besides, what would be these people's motives? Gangs aren't brainwashing cults; gangmembers wouldn't become jihadists if we legalized pot. Odds are, they'd go off and smoke a joint.
Gangs are formed in poor, violent areas. They attract young members with the promise of protection, drugs, money, women, and a sense of identity. By removing drugs, the gang's main source of revenue, the gangs would be very weakened. Not totally destroyed- there's always armed robbery and prostitution- but weakened, not incited to mass riot.
Let me take the rest of your points one by one.
"managing a broken legalized drug system"; why would it be broken? Any extra costs would be more than offset by the taxes brought in from a new industry that would be extremely in demand.
"monitoring how much could be bought"; err. . . why would the government monitor how much could be bought? The companies would produce however many drugs they could sell and afford to make. The buyers would buy the drugs if they wanted, or not if they didn't, and the companies would adjust their supply accordingly. That's how capitalism works.
"having to find something to do for all the police officers and DEA officers that you've suddenly displaced as workers" Do you even hear yourself? If I decided to make tomatoes illegal, I could stop unemployment in an instant. Everyone join the Tomato Cops, who risk their lives searching for illegal tomatoes and apprehending tomato dealers! Of course, we wouldn't do that, because no one wants tomatoes to be illegal, and paying people to do a useless job is the antithesis of capitalism and a free market. Likewise, if we as a society decide that drugs should be legalized, then of course police and DEA officers should be fired, or have their responsibilities adjusted! They could do productive things like stopping actual violence and helping people then.
"The people running the money of the country are smarter than you or I; if it works, it would have been done by now"; I honestly have no words.
"Ooh, had another idea, what if whenever you had an accident relating to intoxicating substances, it went on a record that's represented somehow on your ID, and if you had too many (not sure what a good number would be) accidents then you would get different restrictions and suspensions from buying intoxicating substances."
That is actually a very good idea.I never thought of that before. Of course, then there would be a black market to cater to those with a blacklisted ID. But overall, that's still a really good idea, and it would give people an incentive to not over abuse drugs and hurt others. Nice.
Booke: Yeah, because a voilent civillian esque uprising against governmental structures has never worked before; except for all the times it has. Like, the LA Riots, or god forbid, Occupy Oakland, or numerous other civillian vs. armed peace-keeping organizations. Because groups of organized criminals, who are fiercely territorial of their illegitamate business to the point where they murder opposing gang members just walking around, would never find a reason like, "legalization of our former money making profit" as a valid excuse to attack corperations and police. Gangs are in fact, cult like. You spend all your time with fellow gang members, you are conditioned to live and die for each other, you are initiated into a group; gang members, REAL gang members would fight something like this, and cause an urban warfare riot easily. Gangs only attract the young and poor? They'd go away without drugs? Explain the Yakuza, the Mafia, the Tongs, the Triads, the Myfia, the IRA, the Bloods, the Crips. All those gangs, yes, have poor, dependant people as the foot soldiers. The high class, money reaping, territorial leaders, liutenants, all them? They are career criminals, and would fight and die for their gang. (Gang psychology, interviews with gang members, ect. I'm writing a novel on gangs.) And for the record, no real gangs deal in pot; its not profitable on the West coast, too low in profit and high in risk on the East coast, and is considered a "(weak) ((I'm using a euphamism, imagine what was really said)) drug".
Which brings me to my next point; cite HARD drug facts. Pot is not a good blanket, I already said I'd be fine with the legalization of pot. Its relatievely and physologically harmless, and with the same sanctions of alcohol, could be fine. You wanna legalize hard drugs? Show me hard evidince that that makes sense, and when you come back with what will literally be nothing that supports the legalization of crack, meth, and heroin, convince me that hard drugs legalized is a fantastic idea.
1.) No, no for the love of GOD no. Do you understand how taxes work, or are you feeling like a big boy for saying "tax" unironically? How are you supposed to raise revenue off of what you say is "twenty cents of manufacturing" to support a pharmesutical industry that needs to manage the distribution of hallucinogenics, psychotics, and amphetamines? (You can look those up, its okay I can wait.)
2.) The goverment ALWAYS tracks what drugs, even legal ones, are purchased. Its basic pharmesutical practice, and on top of that, in this crazy world where meth is legal, you're now distrubiting chemicals and concoctions that are actively harmful to the user. This has nothing to do with capitalism (although I applaud your attempt to turn a distribution problem into an economic one).
3.) Do you hear yourself? Are you listening to the idiocy that you've typed? Tomatoes are not harmful. Crack, meth, and heroine have killed people. They employ people like the DEA and the Police, to combat violent groups of people who seek to distribute these materials to addicts. When you legalize drugs, what is the Drug Enforcment Administration supposed to do? Apparently they can't actively regulate where dangerous substances like this could get to, nor safely control how much a single person could take, because that would be just UnAmerican. But again, props for trying to insert capitalism and "free market" into an argument that doesn't fit those argumenative parameters. Are you trying to be a politician? You should definately look into it ;)
4.) Good. Maybe you understand the scope of the idea you have, and could re-evaluate and asses how you would impliment this. If you came up with an idea that actually could work, I would completely support you. I'm not even being sarcastic right now. But hiding behind inane arguments, claiming this and that without hard facts or evidence besides ones you warped to support your already shaky platform, is stupid. Aknoweldge the flaws in your progam, and come up with solutions. Make real ideas for real change, and you'd be floored by the people who believe in ideas you create.
Thanks :D I know it would open up people trying to get past it, but all laws do. People get restrictions on driving liscenses and they get violated all the time. The point of the restrictions on a license would really be more of a legal weapon to give police officers the ability to arrest people who were drug a.busers.
I know everyone's kinda gangin up on you right now, but I feel the need to point out once again that the theory of destroying criminal organizations at their market is historically supported. As was mentioned before, the Chicago-style bootlegging gangs that had so much power during prohibition fell apart after prohibition was renounced.
Also, you're idea about what a criminal organization would do or what criminals would think of the situation doesn't seem very factualy founded. How would you know how a ruthless criminal organization would react to their main source of income being torn away from them?
Unless you're one of them
0__o <--- Mind = Blown
In answer to Nicks point, we should have a slow legalization proccess, involving a crack down on gangs, subsidies for legic drug producers and a purge of corrupt officials, and slow decrimilization. That way when drugs were legalized the gangs would be broken.
*MASSIVE SIGH* I posted yesterday (Twice!!) and apparently TI censors blocked me. "Yay". All is probably well, it was kind of a rude post, so its better that I tone down the snark anyways. *AHEM*
Booke: You mean to say that a violent organization of relatively untrained, but large massed, people could never topple a small organized peace keeping force? What about the LA Riots, the French Revolution, American Revolution, Boxer Rebellion, Congo Rebellion, and even Occupy Oakland? ALL of those were small, closed minded forces that only saw "freedom from oppression" as a goal, sacrificed lives for their goal, and succeded in their goal. American history is litered with the little guy feeling like he was down-trod and taking on the G-Men.
Gangs are effective because they operate in groups. They're organized, terretorial, and efficient. Gangs hate each other with a passion, but if you don't think they would drop their in-fights if a meega-corporation started stepping onto their territory, you'd be mistaken. Gangs aren't cults, they are long-lasting fraternities. People who join are members and brothers for life; they kill, die, and fight for each other, and commit their entire life to the cause. If the leader said "Hey guys, let's blow up a building today" they'd do it. You know why that doesn't happen? Because gang leaders are smart and tactical. Pragmatic. They are cutting edge business people who deal in the illegitamate.
By the way, any serious gang would never smoke pot. Its considered a "weak (euphamism) drug". If pot was legalized gangs would not care one bit. Pot dealing may be a branch, but not a serious one in any real organization (Pot is too cheap to be profitable on the West coast, and too high profile to be worth it on the East coast. Internationally, pot is kind of a joke, save for Trinidadian gangs, who typically dabble in higher force narcotics).
Which brings me to my next point; you can't use pot as a blanket drug. Pot is NOT a hard drug. I alraedy said I'd be fine with the legalization of pot, but understand that pot has limited physological effects, and is relatively harmless by comparison to say, meth, coke, and crack, which would apparently be "legal" in your system. There are studies and medical research to prove pot, in moderation is healthy, just like there is reaserach that all of the hard stuff, even if you did say an ounce per year, is horrifically bad for you. Go ahead and look for evidence that says hard drugs are safe to use, and when you find what will literally be nothing, please come back and try to defend those specific drugs.
Drugs aren't the main source of every gang's revenue, but every gang has fingers in the drug traficking trade. Weakend? Semi. Incensed? Definitely. Gangs are NOT groups of poor, violent people looking for safety, as romantic as that idea is. Look no further than the Mafia, the Yakuza, the Tongs, the Triads, The IRA, the Mafya, the Cartells, the Bloods, and the Crips (not to mention MS-13, a rising gang on the South US border) than to see that yes, the foot soldiers are like that, but the "organized" part of organized crime is filled with well-off, violent, and psychotic people who would see an organized US effort like this as a push into their territory. And you don't have to see more than 1 gang movie to know what happens when a new guy pushes into an old gang's turf.
Let me refute your "points" one by one:
1.) No, it wouldn't be. How in god's name are you supposed to raise a tax revenue off of something that apparently is manufactured at 20 cents? MacDonalds makes a profit by underpaying workers and exploiting US employment laws, which there are none to help turn a profit from legal pot. The only thing you'll do is create a bigger strain on the system; understand that just because a new commodity exists to tax does NOT mean that profits will go up. New commodities in systems, especially ones where their manufacturing and demand cost would make the market value low, often cause tax revenue to go down. Its a complex macroeconomic idea, but legal pot does not equate to instant profits.
2.) Because thats what the FDA does? It montiors pain killers, cough syrup, and the like so people don't buy a bottle and accidentaly kill themselves? They also have to do things like, regulate the strengths and effects of the drugs, because pure coke on an unitiated person could, I don't know, kill someone? And what do you do about strengths? When someone isn't flying high from the federal stuff, what if they want stronger stuff? Are you going to supply that, knowing that based purely on that person's constitution, stamina, and weight, they can handle it when it would kill a smaller, weaker person who doesn't know better?
3.) Do you hear yourself? What is a displaced DEA official supposed to do? Because apparently they can't legally protect citizens from harmful drugs under your new law. Its not about the jobs, its about the fact that you're bloating one market sector and destorying another; you'd out those guys out of a job and cause an even BIGGER financial strain on the current system. As much as I applaud your attempt to say "antithesis" and bring capitalism into the equation, those words and arguments have nothing to do with what I was saying. Good effort though.
4.) Good. Maybe you're reflecting on the validity of the statement? Because your plan is too simplistic and not well thought out. You're making facile arguments with half-baked points, without understanding the far reaching consequences of your actions, and vehemently defending it against people who are poking holes into your argument. You want an idea like taken seriously? Address the problem and aknowledge that there are people who know better than you, and that there are people who see problems you didn't see before. Then take steps to resolve that issue. When you think a plan out and make sense of it, instead of jump on the offensive, you'd be surprised as to who will support you.
Breece6: Except they didn't. Why do Chicago-style gangs still exist, and thrive 80 some odd years after the end of prohibition? Why do they still exist if legal alcohol robbed them of their power?
My ideas are factually founded; I'm actually studying criminal psychology, and writing a novel on gang life. I've interviewed all sorts of gang members, done research, and did a lot of work to understand criminal mentallity.
Also, I'm totally a triad member. Can't you tell by my wicked dragon? :P
human6: Ah, an actual solution to the problem I posed. Interesting, and I actually like it. But here's my question; the idea of legalization is to put an end to the war on drugs right? Wouldn't a crack down increase those expenses and lives lost, thereby running countradictory to the whole point of legalization? Whats the main goal here, legal drugs, or no more dead cops?
I knew it! :P
OT: Well if I had to make a guess as to why "chicago style" (and I'm expanding this to mean any kind of gang that runs like a business) gangs still exist I'd probably say because of the drug industry. What other illegal commodity are they selling?
And 1st person sources don't count on an anonymous online forum :P
More to the point, even if gangs did have the psychological condition to form an alliance against the government, I think we have some big problems that need to be addressed. One of the reasons I think it's not gonna happen is because it would bring them up on the radar, make them stand out more and be easier to detect. At that point the U.S government simply has mroe firepower than them, we have SWAT teams and the national guard, why should we be afraid of gangs?
Also more more to the point, cannabis provides over half of major mexican drug cartel's revenue (ht tp://w ww.nytimes.c om/2012/06/17/magazine/how-a-m exican-drug-cartel-makes-its-billions.html?pagewanted=all&_moc.semityn.w ww)
^ You need to remove the spaces I put in so the censor wouldn't eat it.
I don't think the effects of c.ocaine are dire enough to justify the effects of funding another country's (an ally even) mass criminal organizations. In my opinion, legalize M.arijuana and C.oke, perhaps "slowly" like human suggested (I don't know how that would work exactly though) and that would solve a lot of problems while still leaving enough illegal drugs for all the anti-drug agencies to chase around so they can make a living.
Breece: I was already about a third of the way through a post of mine when I checked the forum and saw your post. You basically said the same things I was going to say, although much more succinctly and probably more politely, so I'll just address Nick's specific responses to me.
Nick: His link to the mexican drug cartels article is particularly well-placed; Marijuana is a widespread profitable drug, and gangs do sell it. It's a lot less profitable than harder drugs, mainly because it's easier to make and it's less addictive, but I wouldn't marginilize it, Nick.
1. In the short term, I understand and agree with your point. But any strain on the market would be temporary. In the long term, taxing a product will eventually lead to significant income.
2. I assumed we were talking about legalising drugs the same way as alcohol and tobacco are legal; anyone can buy any quantity as long as they're the legal age. If we're talking about selling currently illegal drugs over the counter, which is a perfectly legitimate and sensable idea, then yes the FDA would regulate it.
3. Now I don't understand you at all. I responded to exactly what you wrote, and your response confirmed what I thought you meant to begin with: You don't want to legalize drugs because it would put DEA officials out of a job, and you think that's bad because they protect citizens from harmful drugs. You're missing the point. Hypothetically take for granted that all drugs should be legalized. You can't use the loss of drug-prevention jobs as an argument against that, because if drugs should be legalized, that means those jobs are useless. Instead of spending billions of dollars on a war on drugs, we could use that money for other things, and a future generation of would-be DEA officials could find a productive job.
4. "Adress the problem and acknowledge that there are people who know better than you, and that there are people who see problems you didn't see before"
Been there, done that. Are there people smarter than me? Of course, I have a hard enough time in high school. Are there people more knowledgeable about the inner workings of the current drug system than me? Again, of course, there are plenty.
I was talking about the utter close-mindedness of what you said; that the leaders of the country are smarter than us, and that if something worked it would have been done by now. That is perhaps the most dangerous attitude a person can hold. Everyone should form their own opinions, based on their own experiences, the evidence, and yes, the advice of others. That's democracy. Imagine if evetyime someone found a solution for a problem they discounted it because "if it worked the leaders of the country, smarter than you or I, would have done it by now." I value my own opinion higher than anyone else's, and I'm unashamed of that.
If you like, I can give you a list of dozens of people who hold similar opinions to mine, all of whom are both better educated and smarter than myself, and, I suspect, you. Likewise, I'm sure you could give me a list of people better educated and smarter than myself who hold similar beliefs to you. It doesn't mean anything.
"When you think a plan out and make sense of it, instead of jump on the offensive, you'd be surprised as to who will support you."
How about you apply that criticism to yourself before levying it at others?
I think that drugs should in fact be legalized. If people are going to do them, why cause more violence? Just legalize them, like marijuana and crack, and move on. Not saying they should legalize all of it, but just a little so we can stop wasting money on putting away people for stupid reasons and use the money and time getting the murderers and thefts off of the streets. I don't personally think a user causes any more problems than any other legalized addiction such as alcohol or presciption pain killers.
At the end of the day, that's what it all goes back to, money. The government wants money, gangs want money, everyone wants money. I do not appreciate your blatant hatred and disrespect towards organized crime, Nick. Organized crime is often the only way out, and the only option to survive. I mean, look how well it works. In a lot of cases, organized crime even goes hand in hand with local law enforcement. I remember going on runs with my cousin when I was younger, and it wasn't like every drug deal was done with AKs at the ready and a big firefight. It was a business, with little room for mess ups and unpredictable people. The violent members of a gang, they aren't trusted and are only sent on jobs where violence is needed from the start. Families are left out of the equation, when someone owes money, they owe it, and their family won't have to suffer, unless you consider grief suffering. I don't resent gangs for their violence, most humans are violent and it's just something you have to work around. Gangs even make me feel safer, because I know a lot of gang members, and I know if I ever get into trouble I can count on them to help me. Whenever a person has a problem in my neighborhood, we don't go to the cops, we go to the Fuilteach, the head of the local gang. He is a strong believer in giving back to the community, and he helps whenever he can. I only know about the inner workings of Irish and American gangs, so maybe this isn't true all around. From what I've learned from the Russian gangsters, they're brutal over there, but the Italians seem alright, if a little theatrical and arrogant.