February 18, 2010

OP-ED: End the war -- on drugs

By Randolph Brandt
For RacinePost

I can understand a war for oil.

Great powers have been fighting wars for oil for more than a century.

Britain saw the need to occupy the Middle East to control oil supplies. The Japanese went to war over access to oil for its navy. Hitler was defeated when he lost his access to oil, and the Panzer armies ground to a halt in the Bulge. One of our greatest Racine heroes -- Medal of Honor winner Maj. John Jerstad -- died to cut off the oil supplies to the Germans from the Ploesti oil fields.

The United States needs free and unfettered access to the world’s oil if it’s going to maintain an effective defense and continue to grow the greatest economy in the world.

This has always been important; so important that, yes, it’s even worth fighting and dying for.

But going to war over opium isn’t worth dying for, nor is it worth placing our country at continued dire threat from well-armed, well-financed terrorists like Al Qaeda and the Taliban.

Yet, we’re risking 15,000 troops to take over Marja, one of the highest-yield opium regions of Afghanistan, to wipe out a crop that pays for Taliban and Al Qaeda terrorism worldwide.

The life of one American soldier in Afghanistan isn’t worth the life of a single drug addict here in the United States.

That’s asking too much. It no longer makes sense to try and save these dopers from themselves, not when it’s costing the lives of our brave soldiers.

Nor is it worth it anymore to try to save a bunch of loopy marijuana smokers in California (and elsewhere) from themselves.

It’s destabilized the entire government of Mexico, caused the mistaken mass murders of a score of innocent students at a school party, and now it’s forcing thousands more Mexicans across our borders to seek asylum in the United States, ostensibly for their for safety from the drug cartels.

So, how we can eliminate worldwide terrorism, restore law and order in Mexico, secure our borders against thousands more illegal immigrants, prevent the vast majority of violent crimes and property thefts in the United States, end prison overcrowding, pay for health care for a generation, and settle our national debt, all at the same time?

We can legalize drugs, and then tax them.

I, frankly, don’t care if somebody wants to get stoned on heroin or get a buzz off marijuana, so long as they don’t hold me up on the street to steal my wallet to pay for it (or break into my house, or rob a bank, or murder police officers or finance international terrorism … and on ad, infinitum).

I certainly don’t want the inflated profits from the drug trade paying for terrorists who attack our cities, or for weapons of mass destruction to be used against us.

Once we legalized drugs, we’d cut off the billions (probably more like trillions) of dollars that fuel these deadly pursuits that endanger us all every day, worldwide.

Someone’s personal drug habit would then be cheap, like, $5 a day, instead of $500 a day, so people who use drugs would only be hurting themselves, not you and me anymore.

And one more rule: as with cigarettes and alcohol, they couldn’t sell it to kids, as they do now, with impunity.

VoilĂ ! Organized crime would be out of business, Al Qaeda would be out of business, the Taliban would be out of business, and your neighborhood armed robber and burglar would be out of business, too.

And, really, at what cost to society? Probably not much. Certainly not as much as it costs us to fight the War on Terror, keep an additional million non-violent offenders locked up in prison, or the $100 billion-plus we now expend each year on the War on Drugs, along with destabilizing a multitude of other countries worldwide.

I’m pretty sure Mexico and Afghanistan, among others, would thank us.

Face it, if some people want to spend their days in a stupor, what’s it to you and me, so long as they’re paying, say, a 20 percent tax on their pack of joints or their heroin fix?

That’s their problem.

And it would no longer be ours.
Randolph D. Brandt is the retired editor of the Racine Journal Times.


  1. Why give this clown space here for his goofy opinions? I know, he's left, your left, etc., but really! He wouldn't mind drug users as long as they didn't steal, rob, murder, et al. Well I have news for ya Goofy, they do all of that and more. Heck, I quit getting the JT because of his nonsense and now he looks to be a regular here. Sad, just sad.

  2. I won't even take time to read the crap that Randy spews out here. It's disgusting that Pete and Dustin are in bed with this Socialist.

  3. Until a friend of your is killed by a "stoned" driver or someone wacked out on PCP beats you senseless, I don't see this as a viable solution. We already have enough trouble with alcohol and cigarettes here and we don't need more.

  4. Legalizing it would get rid of the sleazy drug dealers trying to hook people with addictions. Part of any plan to legalize would also have to have a plan for drug rehab and drug education/prevention.

  5. Randolf's posts are both well written and well thought out. Better reading then most of the garbage that gets posted here.

  6. It's time for randy to sit by his front yard tree, drinking an old fashion and dream some more.

  7. I've seen him do that in the summer time. He has a bench out front, but sits on the grass with a book dressed cheap business casual - he really get into the moment of sun and fun - NOT.

  8. You mean he sits under a tree dreaming? With a highball!

    That man ought to be locked up.

  9. I only believe what the Wisconsin Tavern League tells me.

  10. Uh, fellas ... it's a bourbon and club soda.

  11. Anon, 10:21,

    ... and in bed with Milton Freidman and his pack of socialist fellow travelers.

    From Forbes magazine, June 2, 2005:

    “Milton Friedman leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale. Ending prohibition enforcement would save $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending, the report says, while taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year. “

  12. Go ahead, legalize something that can destroy lives...

    Good call.

  13. Anon, 1:48,

    I guess the argument is that it destroys more lives because it's illegal, and that it would destroy fewer lives if it were legal.

  14. Randy - Let's go smoke a dube. Or do you still call it Mary Jane?

  15. Sorry, never liked the stuff myself.

  16. Wow talk about going off the deep end. This rant and the one from the guy that crashed the plane in Austin today seem similar.

  17. This dude is coo-coo for coco-puffs crazy!

    My word verification for this post was "doobie".

  18. Mr. Brandt, please write an op-ed piece on the role of a newspaper in a community. What are your opinions on selling out the people of a city in order to ensure advertising revenue? Is that what they teach in journalism school: ignore the truth, print what you're paid to print?

  19. P.S., as a recovering alcoholic who spent 20 years in a love affair with bourbon, please switch to kool aid or something instead of watering down perfectly good sipping whiskey.

    Sorry you never got off on reefer - that sometimes happens to uptight people like my sister who have control issues.

  20. Randy, I support your war of terror!

  21. If we are using that logic we can decriminalize guns too. If there aren't any drug dealers we won't have to control their guns anymore.
    Just think of all the resources we could save by not having to enforce all those silly gun laws and trying to stop the illegal import of guns.
    If you tax these drugs this will only put the dealers deeper into hiding. Do you think they want their profits cut? Most of these clowns will retain their high profits with the high risk over paying the government anyday.

  22. As a libertarian who is sick of Republicans trying to pass themselves off as "small government conservatives" I couldn't help but stick my nose into the fray.

    --- Contrarty to 6:58, there is substantial empirical evidence that the making drugs illegal creates a highly profitable black market. The potential costs are enormous (namely death), but for those without much to lose the potential upside far outweigh the gains. Furthermore, the overhead associated with black market activities like this are enormous, and in an open legal market a legitimate business operating with the efficiencies of capitalism would crush black market competitors.

    --- There is also substantial evidence that the illegal nature of the drug trade actually INCREASES the likelihood for property damage and physical harm even for those that are neither buyers or sellers in the market. Places that legalize drugs most often see a statistically significant decrease in violent crimes and theft. Brings issues of addiction more out in the open, no slippery slope thinking of "I'm already breaking laws, might as well break some more", etc

    --- Not sure if this is still true, but in Richard Posner's famous book "Economics and Law" he pointed out there were two countries in Africa with a stable white elephant population. What these two countries had in common was that they were the only two countries where it was legal to hunt them. The moral of the story is that it appeared that a system with variable taxes and fees depending on elephant population levels was far more effective at managing consumption of elephant hunting than was making it illegal to hunt them. The parallel to drugs seems pretty clear to me.

    --- Finally, IMHO it is NOT the governments job to protect me from myself. Given the morality displayed by Congress and the president's office, it's amazing to me that these are the people that we expect them to legislate morality. Do as I say, not as I do I suppose.

    So for all do-gooder commentors making fun of Randy's op-ed who I bet consider themselves Republicans, all I ask is that you refrain from calling yourselves conservatives. You are advocating more government intervention in our lives, and as such you are NOT conservative. Call yourselves Republicans, call yourselves Southern Democrats (probably more accurate), just don't call yourselves conservatives.

  23. Anon, SDJ,

    Unnecessarily demonizing guns probably makes about as much sense as unnecessarily demonizing drugs.

    We pass all kinds of gun-control legislation that makes some people feel good because they get off on controlling other people's behavior, but it really drives the illicit gun business underground, where it's harder to track, while interfering with a lot of people who just want to enjoy their guns.

    It's made some of them "criminals," too, for no good reason.

  24. 7:37 - I do not associate with a political party. Both of them just make matters worse. I have never made fun of Randolph's posts. I don't agree with many of his ideas but he does provide a healthy debate on many topics.
    "We pass all kinds of DRUG-control legislation that makes some people feel good because they get off on controlling other people's behavior, but it really drives the illicit DRUG business underground, where it's harder to track, while interfering with a lot of people who just want to enjoy their DRUGS".
    Changed "guns" to "drugs" to compare. If we legalize and tax these drugs, there will be serious government control (due to the taxes being applied), therefore "driving illicit business underground".
    Maybe instead of prisons we can rehab the non-violent drug offenders. These places would probably be much cheaper than prisons and yet more effective.

  25. SDJ,

    You found the weakest point in the gun analogy, but I still think Anon 7:37 is correct. There's no way illegal drug trade could flourish against legal drug trade. Just like the legal state lottery drove the neighborhood numbers rackets out of business, even though the numbers offered better odds, fractional bets in much smaller denominations and no taxes.

    I also think there still is a legitimate analogy with guns. We try to ban a thing (guns) that some people consider bad, while the real problem with guns is that they can hurt other others when used improperly.

    Now, drugs can hurt YOU if you use them improperly, but they can't directly hurt other people, except by some arcane projection.

    Yet, we outlaw drugs and permit guns.

    Frankly, I think crimes ought to have victims before they're considered crimes. If you hurt somebody or steal from them, you should go to jail.

    But merely possessing something for your own use, a drug or a gun, really isn't hurting anybody else, and we shouldn't make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding people just because we don't agree with their personal choices.

  26. SDJ writes, "Maybe instead of prisons we can rehab the non-violent drug offenders. These places would probably be much cheaper than prisons and yet more effective."

    Without a doubt, but that's not what we do. It's easy to get locked up in jail, almost impossible to get into drug rehab.

    Why? Because we treat drug use as a crime, and "criminals" deserve "jail!" if we didn't consider drug use a crime, it would probably be the reverse, as you suggested.

  27. "Just like the legal state lottery drove the neighborhood numbers rackets out of business"
    Which is why we had the illegal video gaming machines, pull tabs and "non-profit" texas hold em to name a few. Also, the neighborhood numbers business is still going on here.
    "Now, drugs can hurt YOU if you use them improperly, but they can't directly hurt other people"
    Explain that to MADD. And the parents of a child killed by a stoned driver. I realize that the legality issue doesn't change that outcome but it will be on the minds of those that legalized the drugs and made them more accessible. We've had enough trouble with repeat DWI offenders lately.
    "But merely possessing something for your own use, a drug or a gun, really isn't hurting anybody else, and we shouldn't make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding people just because we don't agree with their personal choices."
    I agree but the "bad apple" analogy always comes to mind.

  28. LOL...the word verification was "chicken". I am really hungry now.

  29. "Now, drugs can hurt YOU if you use them improperly, but they can't directly hurt other people"
    Explain that to the children of stoned parents who are too lazy to feed them, help them with their homework, offer advice on moral dilemmas, etc. I have four children and I used many, many years ago (I did inhale). I know if I was under the influence while raising my kids their lives would be a royal mess and they would probably end up in the same situation.
    I still believe it should be a crime, albeit classified as non-violent, therefore allowing the use of other means of rehabilitation.

  30. SDJ,

    I'd imagine many, many people experimented with drugs at a young age. That means, of course, that by society's definition, we should have been placed in jail for multiple years of a mandatory sentence, our productive lives destroyed forever.

    Instead, we chose a different way, all by ourselves.

    You see, it was our choice, and we acted responsibly. It certainly wasn't the unavailability of drugs that made us decide such. Drugs are readily available; they're just expensive, which causes some people to commit crimes to get them.

    Legalizing drugs wouldn't affect availability, only decrease the price and significantly decrease crime.

    Do you think drug laws affect in any way the number of buzzed or stoned drivers who are on the road? Of course not. Effective law enforcement against people who drive drunk and stoned reduce the number of drunk and stoned drivers on the road.

    This has absolutely nothing to do with the availability of drugs, only whether people use them responsibly.

    Do you think they use them more responsibly when they're criminals? No, they probably use them less responsibly, since they're going to be considered criminals anyway.

    Indeed, the penalties for driving drunk or drugged are far, far, far less harsh than the penalties for merely possessing drugs, whether you're driving or not.

    If society really meant what it says, it'd be the reverse, just as it'd be the reverse for rehab vs. prisons.

    No, this is about a majority insisting that their own morals are adopted by others, even when they're not being harmed in any way.

    They just want everyone to do what they do, and jail awaits those who disagree. Well, a relatively few of them, anyway.

  31. Really!?! Randy, it's come to this?? For God's sake...PLEASE find a hobby...go fly a kite...do woodworking; anything BUT STOP offending normal, decent civilians with your continuous pompous diatribes.
    Like Racine really cares what YOU think!

  32. Oh my Lord.
    You want to legalize recreational drugs because you believe they don't effect any one but the user??
    OK but what if your daughter can't afford her habit and has to turn tricks? Or your son thinks it's a good idea to rob a gas station to support his habit? Or you grand daughter has to give her teacher head for money to buy her drugs?
    Would you still feel no one except the user was affected??????

  33. 3:36 - in my circles, we called it a dube - short for doobie".

  34. Randy,
    What planet do you live on?
    You have no argument.
    Responsible Drug Use???
    That's like saying Responsible pedifile. As an ex-user of illegal substances I can tell you without prejudice, there is no such thing as responsible drug use.

  35. Legalization would provide a great boost towards cutting the national debt. Billions of dollars would be saved and generated through this "sin" tax. It is ludicrous that alcohol is legal while other drugs are not. Rehab for drug abuse is much cheaper than building prisons for non violent criminals. I am definitely not pro-drug use, but the benefits are indisputable.

  36. Billions of dollars won't even scratch the surface of the national debt.
    While were at it, let's legalize all victimless crimes. Prostitution, gambling, jay-walking, etc. Looking forward to the slow progression to a lawless society.

  37. HunterJohn,

    I don't think the argument is that recreational drug use doesn't affect bystanders. The real question is whether making it illegal increases or decreases the amount of adverse impact on those bystanders. Prohibition provides a pretty good case study to suggest that making alcohol illegal, while lowering casual drinking, actually increased the rate of alcoholism and rate of violence, theft and property damage.

    Also, comments like "what planet are you from" are not exactly conducive to a good healthy debate like this. You may not agree much with Randolph (I rarely do, but am with him on this one), but he's giving providing a rational, level-headed argument that isn't deserving of name-calling.

  38. HunterJohn

    Comparing drug use to pedophilia is just silly. And because you were unable to use drugs in a responsible manner does not mean we all do so.

  39. "Billions of dollars won't even scratch the surface of the national debt.
    While were at it, let's legalize all victimless crimes. Prostitution, gambling, jay-walking, etc. Looking forward to the slow progression to a lawless society."

    You are right that billions of dollars won't scratch the surface. It is just wasteful spending that doesn't help. I find it funny that people that want less government complain about lawlessness in this case. Double standard anyone?

  40. No double standard. Don't make assumptions. Just wondering when and where it will all stop.

  41. 9:56 - You are right: "While were at it, let's legalize all victimless crimes. Prostitution, gambling" - I am all for it. They are victimless so why should they be illegal.

  42. A society in which everyone's guaranteed the right to pursue their own happiness can be a very, very scary prospect for some people.

  43. Hunter John, 9:23

    The abuses people subject themselves to for drugs now are just the sort of a abuses than would end with the legalization of drugs. I agree with you, it's terrible that people do such desperate things to get illegal drugs, and that we all now pay the price.

    I'm just suggesting that we all stop paying such a price.

  44. For anyone interested in doing a little research, there is a really interesting back story on how marijuana was made illegal in the first place. One piece of the puzzle was lobbying by the tobacco industry which engaged in a brilliant marketing campaign that manufactured a "national crisis" out of something the vast majority of Americans had never even heard of. The tobacco industry saw marijuana, which is basicly a weed that can be grown cheaply by anyone, as a major looming threat to their industry. At the time marijuana had only a fraction of the potency it has today pretty much on par with nicotine. Marijuana was made illegal as a result of this campaign, and one of the unintended consequences was that marijuana very quickly became far more potent. This was due to laws that were based on how many ounces you were caught with. This incentivized drug dealers to maximize potency, and thereby dollars while minimizing weight. The end result is a drug that is far more potent and dangerous than it probably ever would have been.

    Crack is another good example of this, since it's invention was mainly as a way to get around the bulkiness and transportation issues with black market transport of cocaine.

    And just to be clear, I don't nor have I ever touched the stuff. I just sick of the billions we pour into this campaign that essentially amounts to a huge federal subsidy for gangs, the mafia, etc.

  45. Anon, 12:41,

    Reminds me of the long-term effects of Prohibition. Before Prohibition, most people drank beer and wine, which took up a lot of room and was hard to smuggle.

    So, suppliers started to produce much more hard liquor - smaller quantities and much more "bang" for your buck. Also, easier to conceal.

    The result: American went from being a land of wine and beer drinkers to a land of hard liquor drinkers, a habit that pretty much stayed with them.

    Ah, the do-gooders and their unintended consequences. The road to hell can sometimes be paved with good intentions.

  46. Just look at the legalized mess they have in California. It is not working as they planned. Let's not bring it to a national level.

  47. Anon, 1:07,

    What legalized mess in California?

    From the Christian-Science Monitor:

    “As part of the continued push to legalize marijuana in California, the state Assembly’s public safety committee approved a bill Tuesday to tax and regulate marijuana in a manner similar to alcohol. It's the farthest that efforts to legalize marijuana have got in the state.

    The use of marijuana for medical purposes is already legal in California, but the new bill would remove marijuana and derivatives from existing statutes defining them as controlled substances and make it legal to possess, sell, and cultivate marijuana by those 21 and older. It sets up wholesale and retail sales regulation with special fees to fund drug abuse prevention programs. And it bans local and state assistance “in enforcing inconsistent federal and other laws.””

    Sounds like states' rights to me.

  48. Like Anon 7;37, I too am surprised at strict-constructionist conservatives' silence on this.

    We've created a huge federal police force (something radically new in our history), suspended constitutional protections against search and seizure and placed millions of our citizens in jail for status crimes that are consensual.

    Talk about the federal government's intrusion into people's lives.

    Police powers are vested in the states. When did we turn over these traditional local responsibilities to the federal government?

  49. So Randy, do you puff the magic dragon?

  50. Randolph,
    I think before you lay down judgment on whether these drugs should be legal or not, maybe you should sample them for a while. After a few months, when you have lost motivation and the only activity you take part in involves consuming the drug or procuring it, you would then realize the damage a legalized, more accessible low priced home wrecking substance can really do. A year or two later we can discuss your upgrade to stronger and more addictive drugs and how much benefit they have provided you and your family and friends. Many studies have shown that the use of lighter recreational drugs usually lead to harsher more addictive and harmful substances. This is what many refer to as the “slippery slope”. A good percentage of casual users experience this “slippery slope”.
    To say that you know the feelings and urges (or lack of) of a drug user is to say I would have the know how to run a daily periodical for a small city.
    I understand your beliefs with the premise that, yes, decriminalizing these substances reduces crime (which also can be a statistical anomaly) and when taxed, can provide some income for the government coffers but I think, as do most in this country, that the outcome would be less than ideal. This is why it really hasn’t shown up on the populist radar yet.
    This is what I know from experience - if, during my days of drug use, these substances were legal and sold at bargain basement prices, I could almost guarantee that myself, and many that traveled in my circle of friends, would be much worse off than many are today. Some, including myself, realized that the high prices and risk were too much to handle. We were the lucky ones. Others were blinded to this. Most of them have not served any prison time. Yet if you met some of these folks you would realize that they have created their own prison. This prison involves the user slowly and without prejudice distancing themselves from the family and friends that were trying to help them.
    You can not compare a theoretical model for this country with any other country or study due to the dynamics. The people of this country react so much differently to these types of laws than the people of other countries and cultures do.
    I agree that something else should be done besides what is happening now. What I do know, from experience, is that ease of accessibility is not the answer. An aggressive treatment program appears to be a better solution because there are typically so many other factors involved with the drug user and why he or she is a user (i.e. family, abuse, education, etc). I realize that these factors are prevalent in most or all people involved in criminal activity and the same could not be applied to other criminal elements. The difference, and the reason treatment could be the answer, is that most drug users are non-violent. If for some reason their treatment fails, unlike the violent law-breaker, the damage to society would be minimal. If their treatment succeeds, the improvement of person and knowledge gained is phenomenal. Spend a lot of time with an ex-user and you would realize that treatment makes much more sense than cheaper, decriminalized drugs.
    I do agree that the casual user should not be treated the same as a violent criminal and I do agree that the current penal system is flawed. Hopefully the powers-that-be can someday take notice.

  51. Dustin/Pete,

    Can you make the word verifications relevent to the topic? "Cheetos" or "guacamole" would be a good ones for this piece. "Chicken" did show up. Too funny. Randolph probably doesn't get it though. Gotta have a little humor once in a while.

  52. SDJ,

    If you want all the things you say you want, the first step would be taking drugs out of the criminal justice system.

    Make them legal, but hard to get, if you want.

    Right now, of course, for kids anyway, it's easier to get drugs than alcohol.

    At least there, you have a liquor store owner who doesn't want to sell to kids. Show me a drug dealer who doesn't want to sell to kids.

    Then, after we've done that, let adults deal with things in an adult way, not told what to do by people who think they know what's good for them.

    That attitude's for children.

  53. Fire up a fatty!

  54. Randolph is blissfully ignorant of the fact that we have an FDA here, with legislation that goes back to 1906. We also have bodies like the USDA. For drugs to be legal, they would need to be submitted as Investigational New Drugs (INDs) and later New Drug Applications (NDAs) would have to be submitted. Clinical trials to prove that the drugs were safe and effective. After more than a billion dollars each, they could be approved. Can anyone see where any of these drugs would fall down, let alone see what company would be stupid enough to try (Randy - imagine how the stocks for the pharma companies in your retirement funds would drop like a stone on day one when any of the companies announced that they were going to subvmit heroin to the FDA).

    People like Randy throw out ridiculous articles like this, knowing full well that it would never happen, and playing the "what if" game. I look forward to the next ridiculous article.

  55. . . . and Randolph, I'm sure even you can see the humor in your liberal friends, the trial lawyers, salivating on the money they would make on suing drug companies for complications caused BY THEIR HEROIN!!!!

  56. Anon,

    Fine. Turn it over to the civil courts. At least people wouldn't get locked up for something they can readily grow themselves in the garden.

    But I would also suggest that Coca Cola be allowed to go back to making Coca Cola, that codeine cough medicine be sold over the counter again and that opium could be purchased once more in safe quantities, as it was for many, many years.

    People could probably continue to get their own barbituates and amphetamines from their doctor, as they do now, at least if they're rich enough.

    Most drugs are so old and have been used by societies for so long that they're not patentable anyway, so I don't know how many big pharmaceutical companies would be involved in manufacture.

    It would be a really good idea, though, if the FDA regulated the dosages and purity so people wouldn't continue to be poisoned by the street drugs cut with stricnine and such, as they are now.

    And best of all, terrorists and criminals would no longer be financed lavishly by the illegal drug industry.

    That's the whole point.

  57. Some people might want to include hallucinogenics on that list, but I don’t know.

    Some of those people the CIA and the Army fed LSD to unknowingly got really, really screwed up.

    Maybe natural peyote for religious purposes. (its ban made many native religions illegal in the United States.)

    Besides, there’s not a lot of big money in stuff like LSD and ecstasy, so it creates far fewer opportunities for terrorists, drug cartels, organized crime and assorted other thugs to pay for all their other activities with them.

    Maybe set up a medical panel (not a political panel, not a church panel) to find out if they're really poisonous or not.

    The idea here isn’t to poison people. It’s to not poison people. Right now, they’re being poisoned by dangerous, adulterated illegal drugs, when the “real” things actually aren’t any more dangerous – and often considerably less so – than alcohol and tobacco.

    It was the act of making many of these things illegal that created the most hazards, for individuals and society.

    And, of course, it bankrolls terrorists, creates organized crime and leads people to robbery, burglary ... (fill in your own blanks with prostitution, or whatever you want here).

    The point is the supposed “cure” for society is much, much, much worse that the supposed “disease’ in society, which probably isn’t much of a disease anyway.

    Not to mention the unconscionable erosion of our freedoms.

  58. Randolph, you just aren't getting it. The FDA can't "regulate" the dosages of drugs it doesn't recognize as safe with clinical trials and which serve a purpose other than to get people high. To become a drug in the U.S. there are more regulations than you apparently imagine. And NO company, ironically the ones you and your friends demonize, would spend the billion plus dollars to get a currently illegal drug approved even if they dgot through the idiocy of considering it in the first place.

    This isn't the wild west.

  59. Anon,

    OK. Let's make it the ag department then. Or Alcohol, Tobacco and Firearms.

  60. You can always find excuses not to do something, but in this instance, the costs we pay now far, far exceed any adjustments that would have to be made.

    Indeed, most of these things very likely would solve themselves just by repealing laws rather than making news ones.

  61. ... Indeed, repeal worked just fine with Prohibition and the Volstead Act. It took, oh, about a day, for things to settle out.

    About the biggest non-event in history, actually.

  62. Good idea...let's expand the parent's liquor cabinet. Don't worry, kids won't touch it. They will know what is good for them.

  63. ...or maybe they won't because their parent(s) are too stoned to provide guidance. We don't want to tell THEM what to do. They can deal with it in an adult way. The only ones hurt are the parents.
    Education here is already suspect. Do we really need more barriers (stoned kids).

  64. Anon,

    Actually, it'll significantly reduce the availability of drugs to children because they will no longer be sold ubiquitously.

    Right now, it's easier for children to get drugs than alcohol, because you get carded for alcohol.

    Your local neighborhood drug dealer doesn't card anybody, and I seriously doubt he stands on the "right" side of the "drug-free zone" signs near schools.

  65. Isn't that a kick. "Drug-free zone," posted around our schools, as if we already know that drugs are so readily available that they're everywhere else, so we plaintively ask people with drugs to please, please don't bring them into this block, at least.

    Well, guess what? There may be more drugs inside the school-zone "drug-free zones" than outside them.

    And why? Because after spending trillions of dollars over 30 years, and putting literally tens of millions of people into prison, drugs are as readily available as they ever were, especially around schools, where kids can get them easily.

    What we're doing doesn't work.

    Want to keep drugs out of schools and reduce their use, generally, among all populations?

    See the Op-Ed, above.

  66. That why it is called an opinion.

  67. Randolph - OK, let's repeal the Pure Food and Drug Act of 1906 to make harmful drugs available cut with arsenic or whatever else. Good luck.

  68. No, let's apply the same quality standards to widely available drugs that now have none.

  69. That goes back to Anon 11:31 said. Caught in a loop of inconsistency.

  70. Randolph you are REALLY blowing smoke now! Your straw man is now "applying the same quality standards to widely available drugs that now have none". There is not a SINGLE drug in the U.S. that does not have "quality standards" (please Google Quality System Regulations, "QSRs" so you can begin to eductae yourself). That only applies to the manufacture of drugs - there is WAY more that has to happen before a drug is approved for manufacture and sale. Perhaps you are confused by all of the snake oil that is sold on TV that says something about FDA approval then lists in very small print "these statements ahve not been evaluated by the FDA - theis product is not meant to treat, cure, prevent or diagnose any disease". Those are all pretend drugs.

    This is an ongoing problem with the media - people get to spout about things that they haven't the faintest clue about, but inject lots of emotion and presto - an article.

  71. Randy - you had a whole column to yourself - you should not feel the need to take up half the posts out here - give it up socialist.

  72. Calling Randy a socialist? Maybe he is, I don't know nor do I care. What I do know is that he is offering a free-market based solution to the issue. The people calling him a socialist, on the other hand, seem to be advocating the status quo "big government" option. Very strange indeed.

  73. 12:52 - pay attention or shut up.

  74. Some good news for my hometown, badly hurt by the recession:

    VINELAND -- New Jersey farmers, including some in this area, see a chance to add an important new crop now that the state has legalized medical marijuana.
    "We would all like to grow it because we think it would be a good cash crop -- literally," Fairfield nurseryman Roger Ruske said.
    New Jersey last month adopted a law allowing medical use of marijuana.

  75. Marijuana was a major cash crop before it was made illegal nationally in 1937.

    It remains the major cash crop in a dozen states, even though it's illegal.

    I think the free market is trying to tell us something here.

    Thanks, Anon, 12:52.

  76. Randy give it a GD break. You are not that important and no one cares what you think. You already had your stinken column - now go away.

  77. Anon, 2:43,

    It's a good, lively discussion, and I think many people are bringing up good points.

    It is better to debate a question without settling it than to settle a question without debating it.

  78. Randy - go back to work. You have way to much free time!

  79. I'm the one who is telling Randolph he is full of it on this issue BUT to those picking on him for writing the article and comments - give the guy a break! If no one cares what he thinks, why are there 80 comments (not all of them Randolph's)? I'll bet the Post would love to have OpEd pieces from anyone who takes the time to write them!

  80. Exactly.

  81. 7:28 - Randy is a far left crack pot - half of the emails are his own. He has free reign to write articles on this site. for God's sake we don't need 40 emails from him also. Get a job.

  82. You may not like his opinions (I am with you) but he puts in the effort and has the stones to put his name on it.

  83. SDJ - apparently you don't have any stones - where's your name??? All I need is the likes of Mr. Angry after me - you know the one that threatens people out here every day.

  84. The so called legalized marijuana trade in Los Angeles has resulted in prices that are escalating above street prices and profits for dispensary owners that provide them with million dollar homes and land rovers. A lot of them are thugs or deal with the cartel rep's from Mexico. That said, where is the relief from high cost and violence now that marijuana is legal? Fact is that legalization will NOT get rid of the violence or the cost. In fact both will get worse.

  85. Anon, 9:57,

    That's because marijuana is still illegal in California and every other state.

    When it's legal, the abuse you describe will cease. It just makes economic sense.

  86. I have stones...just children to protect. In case you haven't noticed the politicians in this town have a penchant for them (along with any other vengeful pervs out there).
    I have done nothing to hurt anyone here nor have I laid out any accusations of wrongdoing upon anyone, therefore I can stick with the sub-anonymous moniker of SDJ.

  87. Randy go away!!!

  88. This place needs some humor2/23/2010 11:11 PM

    Five Minute Management Course

    Lesson 1:

    A man is getting into the shower just as his wife is finishing up her shower, when the doorbell rings.

    The wife quickly wraps herself in a towel and runs downstairs.

    When she opens the door, there stands Bob, the next-door neighbor.

    Before she says a word, Bob says, "I'll give you $800 to drop that towel."

    After thinking for a moment, the woman drops her towel and stands naked in front of Bob, after a few seconds, Bob hands her $800 and leaves.

    The woman wraps back up in the towel and goes back upstairs.

    When she gets to the bathroom, her husband asks, "Who was that?"

    "It was Bob the next door neighbor," she replies.

    "Great," the husband says, "did he say anything about the $800 he owes me?"

    Moral of the story:

    If you share critical information pertaining to credit and risk with your shareholders in time, you may be in a position to prevent avoidable exposure.

    Ok, everyone.... back to everyone's throats again.

  89. This place needs a little humor,

    Excellent! Thanks.

    Was Bob's spouse male or female?

    Or does it matter for the joke?

    Or life, as it were?

  90. Oops. Sorry. Wrong blog.

  91. Did he owe the $800 for dope?

  92. Was that dope legal and approved by the FDA?

  93. I think the DA should get a search warrant to check out Randy's house for drugs.

  94. Anon, 8 a.m.,

    They'd be disappointed.

  95. Honey - Hide the weed.

  96. Anon, 3:43,

    Sorry, but they'd need a time machine or a 40-year statute of limitations.

  97. Anon, 3:43,

    ... make that 45 years ... I think. Like Woodstock, if you remember it, you weren't really there.

  98. Check the Black Sabbath double album. I bet there are still some fragments in the seam (from sortin the beaners).

  99. Sorry, you lost me there. I'll plead bad memory.

  100. You didn't lean your weed?