Can Both Sides of the Drug War Debate be Completely Wrong?

Drug policy academic Mark Kleiman is back with another simultaneous assault on both the drug czar and drug policy reform. I enjoyed Pete Guither’s response.
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Nicotine cigarette regulation and taxation increased use???

Quote from Mark Kleiman: Ethan Nadelmann's op-ed in Friday's Wall Street Journal doesn't admit that "an end to prohibition" means increased availability

Obviously Mark Kleiman has learned nothing over the past ten years because he doesn't want to accept the fact that stricter regulations on marketing and consumption, and more emphasis on education, have greatly reduced demand of nicotine cigarettes, one of the most addictive drugs available on the licit or illicit markets.

Why do people think we can't apply the same pressure to the unregulated marijuana market, which has now become (thanks to tobacco education and regulation) the second most popular drug behind alcohol among kids under 18 in nearly every major city across the US (see CDC Youth Risk Behavior Survey)?

It's amazingly insane that someone like Kleiman can continue to ignore the drug war's greatest success in reducing demand for tobacco while continuing to be anti-govt regulation in saying to parents that their kids are safer with criminals controlling an illicit drug industry of 35 million consumers.

Illegal drugs v legal

People are going to ingest what they want when they want. I is practically guaranteed in the Constitution that is our righ. Prohibiton created organized crime and criminalization created gangs. this is ridiculous. The money spent on fighting this futile war on drugs is obscene. What people do with their own bodies is their own business. The government has done more to create dangerous underground drugs ( crystal meth etc.) than natural drugs (marijuana, etc.) People who want to get off drugs can recieve medical help and will but if it is illegal are made to be afraid of their own doctor. Prohibiton did not work. Drug illigalization is not working. There is a better way but if people are fearful of talking nothing can be accomplished.

Not only that.

Politicians are often in bed with the alcohol companies. In Texas, the legislature voted unanimously for a state law that make it easier for cities to pass initiatives that allow beer and wine sales. Nearly all the state senators takes political contributions from the alcohol industry, while they sustain laws that allow police to arrest 65,000 people each for marijuana offenses.

states in bed with alcohol

In massachusetts you have to buy alcohol from state saction distributors. you can't go to the local liquor store and by anything even if it is cheaper because state law says you must buy from state run distributors regardless of price. This is just wrong.

The Art of the Impossible

Mark Kleiman’s basic argument is reducible to ‘if drugs are legalized, more people will use drugs’.  He apparently hasn’t heard of the forbidden fruit effect.  Truth is, people use drugs even when drugs are illegal; only more so, but less safely.

Mr. Kleiman appears to think it’s possible to change everyone’s concept of what’s right or what’s wrong by enacting and enforcing a few laws.  And he sounds just like the doomsayers who prophesied that ending the Viet Nam War would lead to Thailand and all of Southeast Asia going communist.

It’s all too easy to talk about phantom bogeymen lurking somewhere in the future.  What’s difficult (especially for Kleiman) is to come up with a good drug legalization plan and then do the work that makes it happen.


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