Another Hit…

Posted: March 7, 2011 in Drugs & Rock n Roll

So I suppose as I sit here typing away on the beginning of my second post about drugs its kinda ironic that I’m watching “Intervention”, but well, yeah, I am…I admit it, Iwatch the show.  Look at me funny all ya want, I do.  Anyway, as “Intervention” goes on in the background I am gonna share my answer to what to do about all the legal issues and what not surrounding drugs.  My solution?  Get ready for it:  Decriminalize all that shit.  Yep, you heard me right…not just weed, but ALL of it.  Too much money is spent on the stupid can’t ever be won “war on drugs” and too many pretty harmless people who oh, do drugs, are sitting in prison when we got rapists and murders doing less time.  And yeah I hear you now…but Ren…but before you but Ren me, hear me out…the dope fiend that steals your car stereo for drug money?  Um, theft is still theft.  DUI is still DUI.  All those crimes that folk on drugs may commit to get those drugs…still crimes…but hell, locking people up for doing drugs?  Pfft.  Freakin’ stupid.  And locking people up for selling drugs?  Yeah, we’ve done a great job on that one too..and keeping all that drug shit illegal?  Hummm, hasn’t stopped people from doing drugs either now, has it?  So yeah…IMHO, drugs should be a legal non-issue.  I’m not saying legalize drugs, but yeah…you get the idea.

The simple thruth is, after all, people who want or need to use drugs are gonna do so, legal or not.  And a whole lotta money is spent to…not keep people from buying, selling, or doing drugs.  A whole lotta time and money is spent locking up people who are, well, rather harmless drug users.  Do some users lie, cheat, steal, do violent things?  Yeah, they do.  Do bad things sometimes happen to people who use drugs?  Yeah, they do.  Do bad things happen to a lot of folk who are around people who do drugs?  Yeah, that too.  But see, harsh laws on the using of drugs themselves doesn’t do much to change that now, does it?

Heck, my feelings on drug use are a lot like they are on a great many other fronts:  what adult people do in their own houses so long as it doesn’t hurt anyone else is their own dang business…and not anyone elses.  Non-Adult people doing drugs, or adult people doing them in a way that screws with other people…eh, my feelings are different there.  But that my friends may be another post…

  1. Gaina says:

    They decriminalized everything in Portugal a few years ago and not only did the level of drug related crime (i.e. things people do to support their habit) go down but the rate of people seeking treatment for addictions went UP because they didn’t fear prosecution.

    Any other country looking at the Portuguese model cannot fail to see the blindingly friggin’ obvious – decriminalization works. I’m particularly surprised at the American government’s way of handling this issue when the history of crimes which stemmed from prohibition is so well documented!

    • Ren says:

      I think, but I am not sure (heh, maybe Xena or her Sister knows) that Canada is that way when it comes to pot at least..its techinically “illegal”, but not so much with the crazy jail terms and bs-ery that can go on here in the US.

      It just makes no sense to me, I saw this story on some documentary the other nite about this dude in California who by age 24 or so had been busted 3 times for possession with intent to sell (weed). We’re not talking kilos here, but more than was probably for personal use. Other than that, no record, and no history of violence….due to CA’s three strikes law he faces life in prison….same show they had a dude on who had been convicted of assault once and rape once…and would be out in 8 years or less. This makes sense how or on what planet???

  2. rootietoot says:

    I’m generally for decriminalization and taxing the hell out of it (even tho I’m kinda anti-taxation generally), but I have a hard time choking down the idea of decriminalizing stuff like meth or crack. maybe it’s the general stigma thing.

    • Ren says:

      Well, things like crack, meth, heroin, so on, do carry a stigma that weed, so on, do not. But I think about so many people who have INSANE open ended scripts on legal shit (if a doc gives it to ya) like Oxy (which is supposedly more powerful than heroin) or, forget the name, but the legal meth they give folk with narcolepsy (sp?) and well, I just wonder. I also know there are well, there are people who can do harder drugs casually, and people who cannot. People who can, meh, in their own houses and all, so on, if they cannot, I think some folk might be more likely to get the help they need if there wasn’t a fear of criminal charges and such.

  3. pheenobarbidoll says:

    I don’t watch the show, it makes me feel uncomfortable to see people’s private issues televised.

    • Ren says:

      Pheeno: I kinda feel like a vulture watching it sometimes, but to me it is amazing to see people who were really into it bad when, well, they succeed in kicking it. I’m big on second chances, so I like seeing people get them.

  4. Xena says:

    Here in Ontario we can have a doctor prescribe cannibis for chronic pain. Regulations are strict, tho. It’s technically illegal to buy sell or own it without a scrip, but urban legend has it that even the police are pretty laid back about who they arrest for it and why. They usually jump on the big farm operations, anything over a few kilos and anybody DUI. DUI is very serious here. I’ve heard stories about people standing under a blinding pea soup thick cloud of ganjasmoke going “what seems to be the problem officer?”, 2 ounces of personal between them, being told to move along, no loitering. No pat downs, nothing. Just “move along.” I wouldn’t test the validity of that story, personally. I think class and skin colour have a lot to do with it up here too. Native people can’t even walk by a cop without getting jacked up. Dreads have it pretty bad, but not well dressed people of any colour (except native), unless they’re in a poor neighbourhood or a red light district.

    My budding social scientist is hypothesizing that politicians are concerned with pleasing their voters, while our cops, for the most part, are more concerned with who’s actually getting hurt. People don’t usually die from smoking weed unless they’re stupid enough to smoke a whole ounce and then try to drive or operate a chainsaw or something. People don’t even need to steal or suck dick for it bc the shit will grow anywhere. My favourite uncle was a cop. He smoked up every weekend. My mom smoked up until she had to go on other meds. The staff at the homeless shelter I stayed at last month smoked up at work. I’m one of the few people I know who doesn’t do it regularly. I’ll even puff one back once a year or thereabouts if I’m too stressed to sleep. I prefer ibuprofen, tho. It has the same effect on me and it’s easier to find.

    Different provinces have different health care systems, so I’m not sure about prescriptions in say, Alberta (VERY conservative) or BC (home of the multi-party Newton’s Cradle of fickle politics). I’d have to look at the Hansard to be able to tell you for sure, but the frikkin Reformers who are running our country right now might be trying to throw a bucket of god all over our groovy goodwill. Time will tell.

    As for jail terms, I honestly can’t say I’ve ever heard of anybody going to jail for weed, unless they had other heavier drugs on them, or tried to smuggle it. Or, like I said, had a big farming operation. People usually get fines and/or probation for it up here. The letter of the law might say something different, but even the whiniest poor-bashing fiscal/religious conservative knows that a jail term costs our taxpayers about $70 000/year, plus legal aid, plus fostercare, plus lawsuits in the event of a Charter Challenge or a police brutality suit, etc., etc. It’s easier for our politicians to pick on single mothers and welfare recipients, and manipulate the resulting statistics to show that “those people smoke dope”, rather than reporting the truth. That EVERYBODY smokes dope. Then they send the social workers in to ‘rehabilitate’ us by making us go to church (with child protection agencies) or literacy training (with the welfare system). The cost of that contrition ritual is probably less than half of what a jail term costs, with almost no risk of anybody winning a lawsuit, because their credibility gets annihalated in the process. Our child protection agencies are so totalitarian I have to stop this rant right now, before I start godwinning all over the place 😦

    The punishments for other possession charges can more or less be rank ordered by risk of physical harm to self and others. I know getting caught with blow or crack carries a jail term for the first offense, and they usually enforce it. Rightly so. I’ve been around crackheads. Most of them are dangerous. Cokeheads, not always (but sometimes) but coke is frikkin expensive here. $120 US/gram, last I heard. Do the math. You need an income of over $200ka to support a habit like that. Empire owners lose their shirts over it and turn to petty crime and pimping. Bad bad bad. They’re a little more lenient with heroin addicts because they’re mellow, they tend to prefer sex work over violent crimes, and apparently methadone programs have a decent success rate.

    I’m not as familiar with designer drugs (E, K, xyz…) since I moved away from the gay ghetto/raver crowd. Things have probably changed a lot since they extended last call to 2am. Back in the day, bars closed at 1am, which left the market wide open for illegal drinking establishments, some rave-y, some goth-y, some dance-y, some with open mike formats. It didn’t take long for the cops to figure out which ones were full of dangerous criminals, and which ones weren’t too bad. They could do one big crackdown and catch everybody all at once, dish out probation, fines, or warnings as required. It seems to me that pushing last call back and eliminating the need for after hours clubs directly preceded a spike in violent crime in the GTA, but it would take a better anthropologist than myself to test that hypothesis. Toronto’s a big and busy city.

    Full decriminalization? It seems to be working in Holland as well as Portugal. I can’t even offer the “what about the organized crime syndicates?” argument bc last I heard, the Hell’s Angels and vory v zakone were a hot button in parts of w&n Europe, too. (Holland, I’m not sure about Portugal.) I’m having the same knee jerk reaction as Rootie to legalizing meth and crack, tho. That jeopardizing my physical safety thing. Meth labs explode and burn down buildings. Crackheads get paro enough to kill people for whispering or smelling funny. My sailor friend told me about a young kid that showed up at a base in Frisco out of his mind on PCP in the early ’80’s. Not only did the MPs have to kill him on the spot (he killed somebody, and maimed a couple of other people before they got to him) but they pumped rounds into him for something like 4 or 5 minutes before he finally laid down and died. THAT shit is scary.

    So maybe full legalization&taxation of the organic stuff–weed, mushrooms, frog licking, maybe even paoti, fines before prison terms for the chemicals that don’t make people homicidal, and more moderate jail terms for the dangerous stuff. I do think they should take down more rich people who do the moderate-to-dangerous stuff. Fair’s fair, and the potential for whopping revenues from fines and community service work is huge. Steve Tyler can clean my carpet any day 😛

    • Ren says:

      at some point, I may or may not be making another drug post which, well, will…eh. Let’s see if I decide to do it or not.

  5. polly says:

    Drug control just doesn’t work, since I know loads of drug users and not one person who’s ever been convicted or even cautioned for drug use (though we have de facto legalisation in a lot of cases, the police aren’t really bothered, everyone knows there are dealers down my street). I’m a firm believer in legalising the lot. The example of Portugal has already been brought up, so I won’t bother saying it again.

    Ren, don’t feel compelled (sure you’ve got better things to do with your time), but I would appreciate it if you could drop me an e-mail – on this address, not the other one.

  6. Lord Sodit says:

    You can probably make a case for that when it comes to mugging to get the dosh to afford drugs. How do you treat other crimes committed under drug influence, and that includes booze? What can be an argument sober turns into a fight drunk. So we hold the individuals concerned as responsible as if they were sober, do we treat the booze as an ‘extenuating circumstance’ or do we go the other way and treat it as an ‘exacerbating circumstance’?

    You run somebody down in a car. Is that worse if you are sober, so incompetent to drive in yourself, or if you are drunk or high, so incompetent to know you are incompetent?

    When is ‘drugs’ or just plain mental affliction ‘ameliorating’ or ‘exacerbating’? Or should you step back and say that the mentally afflicted can’t be held entirely responsible, but the ‘sane’ know what ‘drugs’ will do, so are responsible for putting temptation out of harm’s way before they start?

    Or do you just hold the crime as the crime regardless of whether ‘under the influence’ or not?

    I admit to liking that last on principle, but if it means allowing drunks to drive or fly and only picking them up after the accident they’ve caused instead of preventing it, I’m not so sure. That’s a bit like waiting to prosecute after a murder that you know is likely to happen – too late to protect the victim and sod-all use as ‘deterrent’ for any other.

    I don’t know the answer and I expect there isn’t one single simple ‘answer’. It makes huge difference too whether you are picked up ‘driving under the influence’ in the middle of a crowded town or in the middle of nowhere by cops with nothing better to do.

    Should we make all drugs legal? Probably yes, since we had to make them illegal in the first place – that is, they were always available (the 19th century was addicted to opium in brandy) until legislated otherwise.

    Would that ‘cure’ the black market? Would it buggery! There would be such a tax that there would still be a black market like there is in smuggled cigarettes and home-distilled booze. It would just be smaller.

  7. Ren says:

    one- any moron who assumes they are capable of driving drunk or on drugs oughta have their license revoked on principle.

    fight between drunk people- assault
    someone killed by a intoxicted driver- vehicular manslaughter
    dui-still dui….it is possbile for drugs to be legal and driving while on them illegal, in fact, if drugs WERE legal, it would make sense to me to make the penalties for driving while on them WORSE.

    and of course there would still be a black market.

  8. polly says:

    You say that Ren, but look at this rape case that happened here recently.

    Now all I can imagine is that the jury in that case were directed incorrectly by the judge. A belief in consent has to be REASONABLE. And drunkenness/drug use isn’t a defence either.

  9. polly says:

    Not a reason for banning drugs, but it had me foaming at the mouth.

  10. polly says:

    WTF indeed. It is still rape in the actual world as far as I can see. it is even more bizarre in view of this…

    Furthermore in order for the offence to be established it must be shown that the defendant does not reasonably believe the other to consent. If the defendant himself had been drinking he may try and argue that due to his own intoxication he believed the victim consented or he did reasonably believe that they consented. However, rape is seen as a crime involving basis intent meaning that intoxication cannot be used as a defence.

    But the answer is just for intoxication to not be a defence at all (even though it isn’t in rape cases to begin with). I loved the comment somebody put underneath that piece that if they were now arrested for drunk driving could they now claim they were too drunk to realise.

    It’s a crazy old world that we live in, but the world’s not entirely to blame.

  11. Amen to everything Ren… ALL OF IT, there are billions of dollars waiting to be had, we could fund Head Start till the year 2100.

    I’d love the idea of putting the REAL drugs dealers (BigFuckingPharm) out of business, or at least hitting them damn hard. They are the real big-time dealers these days.

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