Legalize All Drugs

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    Legalize All Drugs


    Legalize All Drugs
    John Stossel
    Wednesday, June 18, 2008

    The other day, reading the New York Post's popular Page Six gossip page, I was surprised to find a picture of me, followed by the lines: "ABC'S John Stossel wants the government to stop interfering with your right to get high. The crowd went silent at his call to legalize hard drugs".

    I had attended a Marijuana Policy Project event celebrating the New York State Assembly's passage of a medical-marijuana bill. (The bill hasn't passed the Senate.) I told the audience I thought it pathetic that the mere half passage of a bill to allow sick people to try a possible remedy would merit such a celebration. Of course medical marijuana should be legal. For adults, everything should be legal. I'm amazed that the health police are so smug in their opposition.

    After years of reporting on the drug war, I'm convinced that this "war" does more harm than any drug.

    Independent of that harm, adults ought to own our own bodies, so it's not intellectually honest to argue that "only marijuana" should be legal -- and only for certain sick people approved by the state. Every drug should be legal.

    "How could you say such a ridiculous thing?" asked my assistant. "Heroin and cocaine have a permanent effect. If you do crack just once, you are automatically hooked. Legal hard drugs would create many more addicts. And that leads to more violence, homelessness, out-of-wedlock births, etc!"

    Her diatribe is a good summary of the drug warriors' arguments. Most Americans probably agree with what she said.

    But what most Americans believe is wrong.

    Myth No. 1: Heroin and cocaine have a permanent effect.

    Truth: There is no evidence of that.

    In the 1980s, the press reported that "crack babies" were "permanently damaged." Rolling Stone, citing one study of just 23 babies, claimed that crack babies "were oblivious to affection, automatons."

    It simply wasn't true. There is no proof that crack babies do worse than anyone else in later life.

    Myth No. 2: If you do crack once, you are hooked.

    Truth: Look at the numbers -- 15 percent of young adults have tried crack, but only 2 percent used it in the last month. If crack is so addictive, why do most people who've tried it no longer use it?

    People once said heroin was nearly impossible to quit, but during the Vietnam War, thousands of soldiers became addicted, and when they returned home, 85 percent quit within one year.

    People have free will. Most who use drugs eventually wise up and stop.

    And most people who use drugs habitually live perfectly responsible lives, as Jacob Sullum pointed out in "Saying Yes".

    Myth No. 3: Drugs cause crime.

    Truth: The drug war causes the crime.

    Few drug users hurt or rob people because they are high. Most of the crime occurs because the drugs are illegal and available only through a black market. Drug sellers arm themselves and form gangs because they cannot ask the police to protect their persons and property.

    In turn, some buyers steal to pay the high black-market prices. The government says heroin, cocaine and nicotine are similarly addictive, and about half the people who both smoke cigarettes and use cocaine say smoking is at least as strong an urge. But no one robs convenience stores for Marlboros.

    Alcohol prohibition created Al Capone and the Mafia. Drug prohibition is worse. It's corrupting whole countries and financing terrorism.

    The Post wrote, "Stossel admitted his own 22-year-old daughter doesn't think [legalization] is a good idea."

    But that's not what she said. My daughter argued that legal cocaine would probably lead to more cocaine use. And therefore probably abuse.

    I'm not so sure.

    Banning drugs certainly hasn't kept young people from getting them. We can't even keep these drugs out of prisons. How do we expect to keep them out of America?

    But let's assume my daughter is right, that legalization would lead to more experimentation and more addiction. I still say: Legal is better.

    While drugs harm many, the drug war's black market harms more.

    And most importantly, in a free country, adults should have the right to harm themselves.
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    I whole-heartedly agree with him. We're adult enough to decide what to consume and what the potential consequences may be. Alcohol and nicotine kill many more people every year, yet those remain legal. Put a tax on it like everything else and let us do WTF we want with our lives. Bring back AAS to the legal side of the table while you are at it.
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    I can agree with the legalization of soft drugs(Marijuana, AAS, Mushrooms, etc.), but I do have to question the legalization harder things. Its in my honest opinion that marijuana is only a gateway drug, b/c the sources for it usually carry other drugs. I think that once a person has felt like he/she has broken the taboo of buying an illicit substance that its not that much harder to use the same line of reasoning to try something a bit stronger and potentially more harmful. Legalization would effectively end all arguements of its "gateway" potential. I also believe that the legal drinking age should be 18, since a person can opt to join the military at that age and die for his/her country.
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    I also agree, I had a close family member who was the most laidback dude in the world until he had to quit smoking pot so he could pass a drug test for his job. In the time he was getting clean he picked up a nice drinking habit that he has not been able to shake. He's no longer the same man thanks to the boose.
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    Quote Originally Posted by slow-mun View Post
    I can agree with the legalization of soft drugs(Marijuana, AAS, Mushrooms, etc.), but I do have to question the legalization harder things. Its in my honest opinion that marijuana is only a gateway drug, b/c the sources for it usually carry other drugs. I think that once a person has felt like he/she has broken the taboo of buying an illicit substance that its not that much harder to use the same line of reasoning to try something a bit stronger and potentially more harmful. Legalization would effectively end all arguements of its "gateway" potential. I also believe that the legal drinking age should be 18, since a person can opt to join the military at that age and die for his/her country.
    Just because you try a new substance does not mean it will become your drug of choice. I know many people that are in the same boat a me when it comes to this. Most people that smoke pot are the same as the ones that drink on the weekends; it's something they use to break the monotony of life.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    Just because you try a new substance does not mean it will become your drug of choice. I know many people that are in the same boat a me when it comes to this. Most people that smoke pot are the same as the ones that drink on the weekends; it's something they use to break the monotony of life.
    I can agree with that, but I also believe there's a huge difference between recreational drugs and hard drugs. There's nothing recreational about using meth or heroin. Some people have used both a couple of times and moved on(very few and far between), but I have many former friends that have struggled with addiction to them.
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    I agree that some drugs should be legal. I would say that cocaine, PCP, crystal meth, K, drugs like that should not. People have gone crazy and hurt innocent people because they were on those tpes of druga and they were just out of control. Something like heroin, pot, mushrooms, even LSD I can't see people acting out in a violent rage.
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    The only thing I would say is that marijuana should not nor should never have been on the schedule 1 list. If you do some research, you'll find out the malicious reason why it is.


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    I heard about LSD being researched for possible use in mental institutions and eventually being legalized if one had a prescription.
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    The whole argument that these drugs should be legal and these others shouldn't is wrong IMO. The argument is

    1) others can tell me what I can put in my body or 2) they can't.

    Drug abuse is a social issue and should be treated as such, not a legal one.





    Quote Originally Posted by joeymutz View Post
    I agree that some drugs should be legal. I would say that cocaine, PCP, crystal meth, K, drugs like that should not. People have gone crazy and hurt innocent people because they were on those tpes of druga and they were just out of control. Something like heroin, pot, mushrooms, even LSD I can't see people acting out in a violent rage.
    What about alcohol?
    Last edited by pist; 06-21-2008 at 04:28 AM. Reason: merged what would've been separate posts
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    Quote Originally Posted by Rodja View Post
    I whole-heartedly agree with him. We're adult enough to decide what to consume and what the potential consequences may be. Alcohol and nicotine kill many more people every year, yet those remain legal. Put a tax on it like everything else and let us do WTF we want with our lives. Bring back AAS to the legal side of the table while you are at it.
    Agreed.

    Just ONE MAJOR stipulation. Increase the hell out of penalties for intoxication related crimes. 1st time DUI = $10,000 fine + 60 days no license + 1wk jail. 2nd time DUI = $30,000 + 1yr no license + 3 month jails. 3rd time DUI = $50,000 + 3yr jail + 1 yr no license post jail. Apply these types of penalties to violence, child neglect, etc, etc, etc, etc, etc.

    Getting high is fine as long as you're not hurting other people.
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    Quote Originally Posted by pist View Post
    The whole argument that these drugs should be legal and these others shouldn't is wrong IMO. The argument is

    1) others can tell me what I can put in my body or 2) they can't.

    Drug abuse is a social issue and should be treated as such, not a legal one.







    What about alcohol?
    Honestly, alcohol is the worst drug out there i think. Some people have total control others lose thier lives. I drink but i do have to say it shouldn't be legal. I think pot should be legal and alcohol should not. Most wouldn't agree but thats just my .02 cents.
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    The first relevant question is: does the government have the power/right/authority to tell you what you can and can not do with your own body? If the answer is no then all drugs must be legal regardless of what some users might do to others.

    Two questions follow assuming a person is willing to answer yes to the above question: by what criteria do you decide the legality of action with someone else's body? What does making the substance/action illegal actually accomplish?

    So first you have to draw an actual objective distinction between hard and soft drugs. No matter how soft weed might be, there are those who get addicted and have severe problems. Just because they're a very small minority doesn't mean they don't exist. Likewise there are people who've sorted all the coke and meth in the world, or who have a nice maintenance schedule going with heroin, and who harm no one and are basically fully functional in society. In fact I'd say they tend to be the majority of users even for drugs like heroin. So where does the distinction lie? What's a soft drug, what's a hard drug?

    Next does making the drug illegal accomplish anything worht accomplishing? From a pure economic perspective the default institution of a black market means the high profit margins mixed with an illegal status will over time attrach some severely violent criminals who will control the supply. the prices of the drugs will rise thanks to the contrban premium so that every day users will have trouble supporting their habit, their functionality in society will be compromised. A bureacracy built around victimless crime enforcement will spring up with every initiative to strip all citizens of civili liberties to make their enforcement job easier. Penalties and civil rights intrustions will rise as the inelasticity of demand for drugs becomes apparent and users don't decrease in any significant manner. In the end, the state is handed an unwinnable war that's perfect fodder for those who love excuses to destroy civil liberties and engage in empire building. Lastly, because of the illegal status and because of the law of supply and demand, some people will stop using. Not many though.

    Doesn't sound like good deal to me.
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    There is no logical reason that any drug should be illegal while alcohol is legal. Alcohol is a terrible scurge on humanity, and its victims often include the innocent in the cases of DWI related crashes and domestic violence.

    Not to mention the fact that the government telling you what you can and cannot do with your own body doesn't really jive with freedom, and if you want to make this a societal issue then alcohol has to go as well.

    Drugs are illegal because there is oh so much money in keeping them illegal. Think of all the poor attorneys who would be out of work if drugs were legal. Think of all the federal and state law enforcement agencies who would have to give up substantial parts of their budgets if drugs were legal. Finally what would all our prisons do with all those empty cots? Just the money involved in incarceration is motive enough for the government to keep drugs illegal.
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