Contributor Post Created with Sketch. Did Decriminalizing Pot Cause the Heroin Crisis?

 

ap070120018687Let me say at the outset that I’m dubious. But Don Winslow makes an interesting case in El Chapo and the Secret History of the Heroin Crisis:

If you wonder why America is in the grips of a heroin epidemic that kills two hundred people a week, take a hard look at the legalization of pot, which destroyed the profits of the Mexican cartels. How did they respond to a major loss in revenue? Like any company, they created an irresistible new product and flooded the market. The scariest part: this might not have happened with El Chapo in charge.

He argues that the Sinaloa Cartel — whose flagship product had been weed — found itself suddenly unable to compete against a superior American product with dramatically lower transport and security costs. “Once-vast fields in Durango now lie fallow.” This of course was supposed to be a selling point of decriminalization: It would put the cartels out of business. Except that it didn’t. Instead of taking up gainful employment as insurance adjustors or chartered accountants, they analyzed the US market and saw an unfilled niche. A growing number of Americans were addicted to expensive prescription opioids:

They increased the production of Mexican heroin by almost 70 percent, and also raised the purity level, bringing in Colombian cooks to create “cinnamon” heroin as strong as the East Asian product. They had been selling a product that was about 46 percent pure, now they improved it to 90 percent.

Their third move was classic market economics—they dropped the price. A kilo of heroin went for as much as $200,000 in New York City a few years ago, cost $80,000 in 2013, and now has dropped to around $50,000. More of a better product for less money: You can’t beat it.

At the same time, American drug and law-enforcement officials, concerned about the dramatic surge in overdose deaths from pharmaceutical opioids (165,000 from 1999 to 2014), cracked down on both legal and illegal distribution, opening the door for Mexican heroin, which sold for five to ten bucks a dose.

With consequences we all know — 125 deaths a day, more than five an hour, a fatality level that matches the deaths from AIDS at the height of the epidemic.

Many journalists, including Winslow, believe the Mexican government wound up supporting the Sinaloa Cartel during the worst years of the Cartel Wars on the grounds that someone had to win for there to be even a modicum of stability. The Sinaloa crew was, at least, averse to killing civilians, which couldn’t be said of their rivals. When Guzmán was recaptured in 2014, Winslow predicted that like Iraq after the fall of Saddam Hussein, Mexico would now be plunged into blood feuds in a chaotic power struggle:

I reminded them that in the power vacuum that followed Saddam Hussein’s capture and subsequent execution, Iraq splintered into sectarian violence, Shiite against Sunni. ISIS came into being, overran Iraqi and Syrian cities, and launched a reign of terror.

Look, I shed no tears for either Hussein or Guzmán. Both were killers and torturers. But the fact is that the horrific violence of Guzmán’s war of conquest had largely abated by 2014, precisely because he had won the war (with at least the passive assistance of the Mexican and U. S. governments) and established what’s come to be called the Pax Sinaloa.

The cartels, he says, control somewhere between 8 and 12 percent of the Mexican economy. The Mexican economy is dependent on the drug trade. He doesn’t buy the story about El Chapo escaping his maximum security prison through a mile-long tunnel, by the way:

For the record, Guzmán did not go out that tunnel on a motorcycle. Steve McQueen escapes on motorcycles. My money says that Guzmán didn’t go into that tunnel at all; anyone who can afford to pay $50 million in bribes and finance the excavation of a mile-long tunnel can also afford not to use it.

Gentle reader, the man is worth $1 billion. He was thinking about buying the Chelsea Football Club. He went out the front door. … Guzmán didn’t escape; he was let out so that he could try to reestablish order.

At roughly the same time, Fentanyl enters the scene. For narcos, it’s got huge advantages over heroin. It’s made in a lab, so you don’t need poppy fields. You don’t need to hire people to tend and harvest the crop. It’s incredibly powerful, so you can smuggle more per courrier.

But it’s the profits that will make fentanyl the new crack cocaine, which created the enormous wealth of the Mexican cartels in the eighties and nineties. A kilo of fentanyl can be stepped on sixteen to twenty-four times to create an astounding return on investment of $1.3 million per kilo, compared with $271,000 per kilo of heroin.

No wonder the DEA estimates that the importation of fentanyl from Mexico is up by 65 percent from 2014.

Fentanyl is now mixed with heroin to increase its potency. Unwitting heroin users die from taking a same-sized dose. Doctors and cops don’t realize they need a much stronger dose of Narcan to revive someone who’s taken an overdose. And it’s even more addictive than heroin: Once you’ve tried it, you don’t go back. The combination of lab-produced fentanyl and the fracturing of the Sinaloa Cartel “is a catastrophe for law enforcement and American society as a whole but an absolute boon for the narcos seeking to supplant the old order.” The profits ensure that up-and-coming cartels can afford to pay their fighters.

The rest of the article’s a great read — starring Sean Penn, a ravishing telenovela star named Kate, and a monkey — but if you’re strapped for time, short version is Guzmán winds up back in jail. And nothing changes.

The Los Angeles Times estimates that two thirds of Mexican drug lords have been either killed or imprisoned. And what’s the result? Drugs are more plentiful, more potent, and cheaper than ever. Deaths from overdoses are at an all-time high. Violence in Mexico, once declining, is starting to rise again. Just last week, I looked at photographs of the bodies of four people stuffed into a car trunk in Tijuana. The bodies showed signs of torture. …

… Someone will replace El Chapo, just as he replaced his predecessors. My bet’s on El Mencho, but it really doesn’t matter. That’s the lesson we seem to have to learn over and over and over again, world without end, amen. Guzmán was right: “If there was no consumption, there would be no sales.” I’m always amazed that progressive young millennials will picket a grocery chain for not buying fair-trade coffee but will go home and do drugs that are brought to them by the killers, torturers, and sadists of the cartels. …

As long as the U. S. and Europe continue to buy billions of dollars’ worth of drugs a year while at the same time spending billions to intercept them, we will create an endless succession of Chapos and Menchos.

An entire economy is based on drug prohibition and punishment, something to the tune of $50 billion a year, more than double the estimated $22 billion we spend on heroin.

I’m not persuaded that this wouldn’t have happened absent the decriminalization of pot, are you? If it had remained profitable to sell weed, I reckon these guys would have sold weed and opioids. If you argue as Winslow does that this is an entirely demand-driven industry, it doesn’t make sense to think that the cartels only have the wit, resources, or manpower to sell one drug at a time.

But it’s easy to persuade me that so long as there’s a multi-billion market for drugs in the US and Europe, someone will supply it. And easy to persuade me that the war on drugs has resulted in social catastrophe for the US and Mexico — probably more of a catastrophe than total decriminalization could ever be. Almost half the federal prison population is in the pen for a drug-related offense. The US has about five percent of the world’s population, but a quarter of its prison population — a grievous shame in a country that prides itself in being the land of the free. Locking up drug offenders ensures that families are destroyed, children fatherless, and the curse of underclass life passed to a new generation.

And for Mexico, it’s been far worse. In 2014, researcher Molly Molloy estimated the human toll of the previous six years, and found that as many as 130,000 people or more had been killed, 27,000 were missing, and an untold number buried in mass graves.

“The overwhelming majority of the deaths are people shot down on the street, in their homes or workplaces, on playgrounds, etc. In my reading of the daily accounts of the killings, it is clear that most of the victims are ordinary people, exhibiting nothing to indicate they are employed in the lucrative drug business,” Molloy wrote. …

Amid all the killing, Molloy told NCR, she has seen no evidence the flow of drugs from Mexico has decreased, which prompts her to ask, “So if this is a drug war, who is winning, and what were all those dead people killed for?”

Thoughts?

There are 135 comments.

  1. Marion Evans Inactive

    Need to decriminalize all drugs. What you put in your body is your own business, so long as you don’t then go operate heavy machinery or play with guns. A more effective deterrent for drug use would be testing by employers. In other words, you can use it but it may keep you out of a number of jobs.

    The war on drugs is not winnable and has destroyed or damaged many countries in the past decades: Colombia until its recent come back, Afghanistan, now Mexico. Also the US and Europe as you point out.

    Be mindful also that every terrorist organization on earth is partly financed by drug money.

    • #1
    • August 11, 2016, at 3:20 AM PST
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  2. I Walton Member

    The article is consistent with Colombia’s narcotics history. But who and how the drug money enriches is more important than its relative size. Narcotics income almost destroyed Colombia because it enriched the FARC and free wheeling and totally evil people like Pablo Escobar. (the TV series which may be in English by now is accurate and brilliantly acted. Colombian soaps are vastly superior to anything else in spanish, “Escobar, El Patron del Mal) However, when Escobar was killed, the business was freed from his domination and expanded into a more robust freer market. It took a concerted effort by the highly competent and determined Alvaro Uribe with help from the US, and complete support from the Colombian people to drive most of the business to Mexico and Central America, just as our success in Bolivia drove cocaine growing to Colombia where it developed its relationship with the FARC. Cocaine growing required control of areas the government didn’t control so the cartels developed the relationship with the FARC which in the mid seventies was almost dead. So cocaine brought Colombia another 30 years of war. The war on drugs leaves murder and mayhem in its path. It cannot be won on the supply side. Indeed drug interdiction is a non tariff barrier and the reason profits are so high, murder and mayhem so rewarding. Like everything else the government wastes money on, the war on drugs is driven by the interests who benefit from the spending.

    • #2
    • August 11, 2016, at 3:47 AM PST
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  3. Liz Member
    Liz

    Marion Evans: A more effective deterrent for drug use would be testing by employers. In other words, you can use it but it may keep you out of a number of jobs.

    Drug testing is common, though, even for jobs that require no physical work. One reason it does not deter drug use is that those who test positive can still count on welfare checks and other unemployment benefits. @concretevol has experience on this issue.

    Regarding non-violent drug offenses, I absolutely agree that reform is necessary.

    • #3
    • August 11, 2016, at 3:49 AM PST
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  4. Profile Photo Member

    Open borders.

    • #4
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:05 AM PST
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  5. Fred Cole Member

    So the extent that there’s a heroin “epidemic,” (of which I’m dubious) I think its has more to do with heavy handed government crack downs on prescription pain meds.

    • #5
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:14 AM PST
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  6. Percival Thatcher

    When Prohibition was repealed, organized crime didn’t go away. It just reorganized. Decriminalize X and the cartels will redouble the importation of and introduce Z.

    • #6
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:14 AM PST
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  7. Claire Berlinski, Ed. Editor
    Claire Berlinski, Ed. Post author

    Fred Cole:So the extent that there’s a heroin “epidemic,” (of which I’m dubious) I think its has more to do with heavy handed government crack downs on prescription pain meds.

    I think the stats on opiate overdoses are pretty solid. Way up. “Epidemic” is a metaphor because it’s not an infectious disease, but it’s a significant public health problem.

    • #7
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:18 AM PST
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  8. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Fred Cole:So the extent that there’s a heroin “epidemic,” (of which I’m dubious) I think its has more to do with heavy handed government crack downs on prescription pain meds.

    THis has been what we have seen in my shop. People who were abusing pills (and they were abusing them as addtics), have turned to heroin because it is cheeper.

    There is always some drug of the day. Right now it is heroin. Calling it an epidemic is a matter of words.

    There is an ongoing epidimic of additciton in America, to manu substances. #1 is the one which is legal: Alcohol.

    • #8
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:23 AM PST
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  9. Bryan G. Stephens Thatcher

    Also, in Colorado, I have seen that cartels are moving in and having illegal grow houses.

    Remember, organized crime in NYC makes big bucks on tabacco, and those products are legal, just taxed.

    • #9
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:24 AM PST
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  10. Zafar Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    An entire economy is based on drug prohibition and punishment, something to the tune of $50 billion a year, more than double the estimated $22 billion we spend on heroin.

    And there’s your main driver for the War On Drugs: the profit motive.

    • #10
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:28 AM PST
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  11. The Reticulator Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: I’m dubious

    Et tu, Claire Berlinski?

    • #11
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:30 AM PST
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  12. Percival Thatcher

    Zafar:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    An entire economy is based on drug prohibition and punishment, something to the tune of $50 billion a year, more than double the estimated $22 billion we spend on heroin.

    And there’s your main driver for the War On Drugs: the profit motive.

    Nasty rotten profit motive! Let’s legislate it away. That is at least as bad as Fred’s plan to decriminalize everything the criminal starts to do.

    • #12
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:31 AM PST
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  13. Kozak Member

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.: Fentanyl is now mixed with heroin to increase its potency. Unwitting heroin users die from taking a same-sized dose. Doctors and cops don’t realize they need a much stronger dose of Narcan to revive someone who’s taken an overdose. And it’s even more addictive than heroin: Once you’ve tried it, you don’t go back.

    Fentanyl has an another nice feature for drug dealers, it’s effective half life is shorter. It mimics the situation with powder and crack cocaine. Crack has a quicker, more intense onset and much shorter half life. Meaning the addict is coming back for more quickly. Same for fentanyl.

    • #13
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:31 AM PST
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  14. Kozak Member

    Liz: One reason it does not deter drug use is that those who test positive can still count on welfare checks and other unemployment benefits. @concretevol has experience on this issue.

    Or a disability check. As an ER doc I see lots of people who appear perfectly able to work, but are on permanent disability. When I ask people ” what kind of work do you do”, lots of them answer ” I’m working on getting my disability”.

    • #14
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:35 AM PST
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  15. MSJL Thatcher

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:
    …Locking up drug offenders ensures that families are destroyed, children fatherless, and the curse of underclass life passed to a new generation.

    It’s been pointed out elsewhere, that this really isn’t true. There are actually few people who are arrested for possession and jailed just for that. Rather, most of the people jailed for “possession” were actually arrested for more serious crimes and pled down to this. The US has a crime problem, going back decades, and mass incarceration was one of the approaches for dealing with it. Growing up in the 1970s and 1980s, the focus of frustration was the revolving door of criminals getting arrested, sentenced, and then released. Hence the move to adopt “three strikes” laws and “real sentencing” – not just for drugs but for a lot of felonies like passing checks. The large prison population is a by-product of a push for longer sentences. We chose as a society to bring (relative) peace to our streets by warehousing our criminals. Certainly an imperfect solution, but a rational one for solving a higher priority.

    I can be frustrated with the disappointing returns of enforcement while also skeptical of decriminalization. Given the potency, toxicity, and increasingly lethal nature of these substances, I’m not sure societal costs ultimately drop significantly (or at all) with legalizing these substances. Money will simply be transferred from enforcement to clean-up. As pointed out, I think a central fallacy is that life-long criminals and profitable criminal organizations will simply get haircuts, pay taxes, and get to work in the private sector once their product is legal and taxable. They’ll look another crime that’s just as profitable.

    We can debate the merits/demerits of pot all we want, but opioids and Fentanyl are of a completely different category. With a high potency and risk of addiction, you’ve got a much greater societal risk and I simply don’t take seriously that these are kids experimenting with these substances because of the glamor of trying something illegal. Given the damage and disruption caused by addiction, a rational society is going to have to attempt to prevent the distribution of these substances, but there will always be a limit to the effectiveness of those efforts.

    The broader issue of drug abuse gets over simplified as a supply-and-demand issue. It has become more prevalent and the drugs more potent over time, and it seems in step with other social transformations. My sense is that drug abuse is a side effect to the other challenges, such as the disintegration of the family, lack of opportunity, decline in education, etc. I don’t think you make inroads on one without starting to fix the other.

    • #15
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:37 AM PST
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  16. Zafar Member

    Percival:

    Zafar:

    Claire Berlinski, Ed.:

    An entire economy is based on drug prohibition and punishment, something to the tune of $50 billion a year, more than double the estimated $22 billion we spend on heroin.

    And there’s your main driver for the War On Drugs: the profit motive.

    Nasty rotten profit motive! Let’s legislate it away. That is at least as bad as Fred’s plan to decriminalize everything the criminal starts to do.

    Send it to be without any supper!

    How to deal with this conflict of interest when it comes to law enforcement and drug policy?

    • #16
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:40 AM PST
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  17. Fake John/Jane Galt Coolidge

    Fred Cole:So the extent that there’s a heroin “epidemic,” (of which I’m dubious) I think its has more to do with heavy handed government crack downs on prescription pain meds.

    This.

    • #17
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:40 AM PST
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  18. Ontheleftcoast Inactive

    I Walton: The war on drugs leaves murder and mayhem in its path. It cannot be won on the supply side.

    The mayhem includes massive corruption of the legislative, executive and judicial branches of government. There are too many interests on the demand side as well. Things that massively stimulate the pleasure/reward pathways are, when produced on an industrial scale, the ultimate consumer goods – particularly when they’re not rapidly fatal.
    Frederick Pohl and Cyril Kornbluth’s 1953 SF classic The Space Merchants was set

    In a vastly overpopulated world, [where] businesses have taken the place of governments and now hold all political power. States exist merely to ensure the survival of huge trans-national corporations. Advertising has become hugely aggressive and by far the best-paid profession. Through advertising, the public is constantly deluded into thinking that the quality of life is improved by all the products placed on the market. Some of the products contain addictive substances designed to make consumers dependent on them. However, the most basic elements of life are incredibly scarce, including water and fuel.

    Philip José Farmer’s Riders of the Purple Wage is another interesting and relevant thought experiment:

    …all citizens receive a basic income (the purple wage) from the government, to which everyone is entitled just by being born. The population is self-segregated into relatively small communities, with a controlled environment, and keeps in contact with the rest of the world through the Fido, a combination television and videophone

    • #18
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:40 AM PST
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  19. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    Ah, the hugs & drugs libertarians will design our domestic and foreign policy to cater to the worst people on the planet. “If we give them what they want, they won’t need to kill us!”

    • #19
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:40 AM PST
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  20. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    I know a place where drugs are far more likely to become legal — the narcocracy of Mexico. I say legalize drug tourism to Mexico. Our heroin-loving friends can have all the third-world savagery and dope unmolested by American law enforcement that they want.

    • #20
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:45 AM PST
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  21. Kozak Member

    Fred Cole:So the extent that there’s a heroin “epidemic,” (of which I’m dubious) I think its has more to do with heavy handed government crack downs on prescription pain meds.

    I just came back to the US after working overseas. I’m working at a major University hospital in a medium city, and at some more rural settings in NC. One of the striking facts I see is the amount of narcotics people want. The US is 5% of the worlds population, and consumes 75% of the prescription narcotics. I see tons of people with minor injuries, a small laceration, a sprained ankle, a minor MVA who demand narcotics for their pain. Thanks to current policy I stand to lose a significant amount of income or even my job and ability to work if I defer. They know that if they complain ( its never ” I didn’t get my Oxycontin”, it’s ” the doctor was rude, mean, incompetent”) to hospital administration, or to the State medical consumers board etc. Consequently hospitals and medical groups lean on us to give in. @fredcole, I know you had a loved one who suffered from cancer, and I’m not talking about that. I’ve been furious myself at people with terminal cancer, under treated with pain meds by their physicians.

    Official policy by major pseudo governmental agencies (JCAHO) and the government itself created this mess. Dubious research with the help of Pharma funding played a role too. Now we have a huge number of narcotic dependent population, causing massive self destructive behavior. Well the pendulum is finally swinging. After helping to create this disaster, the State is swinging in to try and cut back on our prescribing. One of the results is as we write fewer narcotic prescriptions, the users are in fact switching to heroin which is cheaper and readily available. I’m pretty sure before too long I will be as worried about my license and livelihood from writing those same prescriptions.

    • #21
    • August 11, 2016, at 4:58 AM PST
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  22. Ball Diamond Ball Inactive

    My wife wanted our son to become a doctor. Of course. I said it’s a dying industry, and while it may get better later, the middle ground will be Hell. He’d be better off driving a truck.

    • #22
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:00 AM PST
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  23. I Walton Member

    There’s a tendency in the discussion and the broader debate on the subject to get into the weeds of management of supply and demand. Those of us here know the government can’t do that, will always merely enrich some at someone else’s expense, but when we raise the topic of these toxic substances we start thinking about managing the business so that distinctions about which drug is worse or cheaper or more deadly, or where they come from and how to fix or tweak the regulatory regime enter discussion. Take cocaine as an example. My data is old and from memory, but the process is what counts. Cartels paid $200 for Bolivian paste. Wholesale powder processed in Colombia then sold wholesale for about $2000 a kilo. On our side of the border that same powder sold on the street for $20000 a kilo. Addictive substances enjoy very low elasticities of demand. This means a really big interdiction, one large enough to affect supply would increase profits by multiples of the 10000% profit margin. The benefit then from informing on ones competitors, or even customer mules was even more astronomical than the returns to penetrate our border in the first place. The stuff is white powder that can be reshaped, injected, ingested, in an infinite number of ways. Every illegal substance enjoys some of the same kinds of incentives. These things cannot be stopped on the supply side. It is impossible and hence can’t be managed away.

    • #23
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:03 AM PST
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  24. Owen Findy Member

    Liz: Regarding non-violent drug offenses, I absolutely agree that reform is necessary.

    I think tying the violence to the drug is a contrivance.

    • #24
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:09 AM PST
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  25. Owen Findy Member

    Percival: Decriminalize X and the cartels will redouble the importation of and introduce Z

    Isn’t that because Y and Z are still illegal?

    • #25
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:11 AM PST
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  26. Ben Inactive
    Ben

    This article is a great example of why I think so many people get distracted by the granular level of these problems and miss the point.

    Let’s say these people are buying a Ford, instead of a drug.

    People study this purchase of a Ford at the transaction level.

    They then cite lots of accurate stats about the effects of buying a ford and the economies that surround it from a perspective that puts the entire cause for the purchase on three things:

    • Ford Company for making the Ford,
    • The dealers for using sales tactics to get it sold,
    • And the Government that allows the whole thing to happen.

    Rather we should be getting at the root cause of why the buyer wants to get a Ford in the first place.

    If prohibition works, then then we would not have an epidemic of drug users, we’d have something else. 

    People in large and increasing numbers are developing a strong desire to significantly alter their chemical reality. Finding out why would be more alarming to me than the all of the effects from the supply side of this equation.

    • #26
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:26 AM PST
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  27. Owen Findy Member

    Ben:Rather we should be getting at the root cause of why the buyer wants to get a Ford in the first place….

    People in large and increasing numbers are developing a strong desire to significantly alter their chemical reality. Finding out why would be more alarming to me than the all of the effects from the supply side of this equation.

    I started to think along this line, as well, as I was reading. I thought of what @andrewklavan (“Stuff I Like” in ep. 167, I’m pretty sure) (I’m trying to faithfully paraphrase, here) says about the modern West having inverted the fundamentality of body and soul — which one is the metaphor for which one? — or even just having ignored the soul entirely for the material. I’m an atheist, but if he’s right, even in some way I can translate into my own terms, that could be the sickness that explains a greater “need” for chemical escape. And, if he’s right, that is alarming.

    • #27
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:38 AM PST
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  28. I Walton Member

    Ben:

    The incentives to hook people are astronomical. Their illegality finances the most effective grass roots sales campaign in history. There will always be dumb self destructive kids and evil people willing to destroy them for really big bucks and we should find out why and try to deal with it. But that’s basic research not central government regulation which never works because it can’t.

    • #28
    • August 11, 2016, at 5:39 AM PST
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  29. Quietpi Member

    This whole thing completely ignores another, massive issue, which IMO dwarfs marijuana, illegal or otherwise – methamphetamine. I deal on a daily basis with the rotting corpses who can’t wait to get out of jail and get their next dose. More and more, heroin is a substitute for meth. And in the meantime, if necessary, there’s methadone, free at your local clinic.

    The concept of thousands of people in jails and prisons merely for “nonviolent drug offenses” is simply not true. That may be what it says on the intake documents, but if you pull the actual court files, you’ll find the possession charges way down the list. At the top will be, oh, robbery, assault, sexual assault, multiple burglaries, etc. etc. The burgs are almost without exception to support their drug habits, be it meth or H. I challenge anybody to pull the original charging documents on a fraction of the hundreds of “nonviolent drug offenders” that the person presently occupying the White House pardoned. and tell me what you find at the top. Law enforcement officers today regularly ignore quantities of marijuana, particularly, until the amounts or other paraphernalia indicate possession for sale. Even then, standing alone, what’s the point? They’ll be out, and ultimately released with no real consequences, before the ink is dry on the reports. Why bother?

    • #29
    • August 11, 2016, at 6:02 AM PST
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  30. Ben Inactive
    Ben

    I Walton:

    Ben:

    The incentives to hook people are astronomical. Their illegality finances the most effective grass roots sales campaign in history.

    Agreed.

    I’d only add that I’ve been suckered into buying sunglasses I didn’t need, because I wasn’t worried about the worst case financial consequences if I purchased them.

    But I’ve never been duped into an addiction.

    People succumb to the dealer’s pitch because they are not concerned about the potential consequences.

    Why not?

    Nobody’s sale’s pitch is good enough to get people to forget about what happens to meth heads.

    • #30
    • August 11, 2016, at 6:21 AM PST
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