From the Way Back Machine: Proto-Moose discuss drugs and liberty

2011 April 16

So, in perusing the email discussions that gave birth to the Moose, I stumbled upon one rather lengthy discussion about legalization of drugs, liberty, and Roy’s desire to be in medical studies.  With only slight editing for basic spelling and grammar (boy, we’re lazy on the emails), here it is:



So, I was wondering, mainly because I can’t make up my own mind about things and was wondering what you think about legalizing certain, if not all drugs?
I am firmly committed that Pot should be legalized: no worse than Alcohol or Tobacco (doesn’t cause as much cancer, no one has ever died of an overdose of pot), if taxed the same as tobacco would pay the national debt in under five years, never really been conclusively proven to be a gateway drug except for people that Aspirin could be considered a gateway drug, could work out similar limits for driving a la alcohol, is the number one cash crop in several states and its regulated sale could ease states’ budget shortfall, legalization would eliminate a large portion of criminal enterprises set up around it and would, therefore diminish them, and the stuff actually does have medicinal purposes (mitigating the effects of long term tobacco and alcohol consumption).
But I do get stuck sometimes on the slippery slope argument of where to draw the line if you start legalizing drugs…but my mind bounces back and forth because we’ve obviously been able to draw a line as a society at the moment, the line being tobacco and alcohol but not pot or anything else.  Which raises the question of complete legalization of everything under the argument that, as long as you are consuming your drugs in your home, safely and not hurting anyone, why should society care?  If you drive and kill someone, there are crimes already written for that.  If you break into someone’s home to steal for money to buy drugs, there are crimes written for that too…
I certainly am aware that the way Europe does things is not necessarily the best way for the States to do things, but one has to wonder about Amsterdam which has pretty much everything decriminalized and has 60% of the drug use as the US, per capita…Just wondering for some thoughts



I helped a friend do a paper on this.

1 – Brown & Williamson has patent a pot cigarette making machine.
2 – Phizer lobbies against marijuana legalization because they have the best and most expensive synthetic glaucoma medication.
3 – Any study about the effects of marijuana in the US and some European nations is empirically flawed because to do a scientific study you need a drug that has the same amount of active ingredients in each test sample. The US does not do this. They use 10 grams form one drug bust that has 25% THC and then 10 grams from a second drug bust that is 99% THC.
Also to test Viagra for example you get 10,000 test subjects, but because of restrictions on marijuana you only get to test 500 subjects to test it. (These numbers are for example only.)

Mike this is much more fun to discuss. Reading and re-reading about the economic down turn is depressing. So Mike, let’s light up a doobie and head for Nirvana!! Just remember, puff, puff, pass.



Ok so you’re saying that pot won’t be legalized because the “legitimate” businesses that already exist would lose too much market share because there is already a black market model already set up that could easily adapt were it suddenly legal.
As far as empirical flaws, the studies I’ve seen haven’t even included human subjects but mice.  They found that, yes, you can overdose on THC, but the level is something like 350 times your body weight that would need to be consumed, like Sweet N Low and cancer.
But, because we (at least I) am not really concerned with the supposed health effects (remember that I just quit smoking, again, yesterday), I see it more as an issue of liberty: what I do in the privacy of my own home, as long as I don’t hurt anyone or force anyone to do anything they don’t want to do, why shouldn’t I be able to do it?  Why are there specific laws for drugs, when any of the things that I would do that would hurt others, already have crimes written for them regardless of my chemical state.  Want to make me being high while I robbed a store an aggravating factor? Great, I’ll buy that, buy why criminalize the drugs?  To me it’s a matter of liberty again, not medicine.



I want to smoke 350 times my body weight of nice big green and purple sparly buds of pot to see if I can indeed die of a THC overdose!(simply out of scientific curiosity, of course)  Where can I sign up for the test!


Legalizing Pot=less cops and robbers and more pizza deliverymen!


I’m in agreement with Mike here. In the memorable words of that great hypocrite, Jefferson, “it neither picks my pocket nor breaks my leg,” although he wasn’t talking about drugs. In the spirit of that quote, I’m not Catholic anymore either, Terry. Or rather, I’m Catholic in the same sense that my Jewish atheist friends are Jewish.


Anyway, DEA’s budget in 1972 was $65.2 million.  For 2009, they’re requesting $2.1 billion, and then you’ve got another billion for Marshals and half billion for Org Crime and Drug Enforcement task force (a percentage of which for both goes….) You’ve also got $1.275 billion in drug interdiction from the US Coast Guard, more billions for the US Military and it’s expensive foreign adventures in South and Central America, more billions for state governments, another three or five billion for HHS….the Feds are saying it’s only $14.1 billion on the federal level for FY 2009, but as usual, they’re either lying or not telling the whole story (capitalized equipment costs, intelligence agency burdens, federal prison budgets you know–standard cost accounting kind of stuff.) Plus it’s not the states. Anyway, office of National Drug Control Policy says it’s about $30B for 2006 ( i think) and that people spend between $50 and $100 billion in the USA to consume illegal drugs.


Look how many of your friends fight drugs!


I think I remember reading that Americans spend about $120B on booze. So people spend between not-quite-half and almost as much on, in our President-elect’s words, “a little blow” and other fun stuff as they do on booze. Awesome.


Legalizing drugs gives you at least $10B in interdiction efforts saved to have fun with and go off and have expensive social programs designed for some do-goodery or other. Who knows–maybe you could save $25B of our alleged $30B and give it back to taxpayers or buy more bombs with it or some social good.  I’m not sure how you’d estimate the drop in value of the drugs themselves once the artificial price supports in the form of risk are removed. I think anybody who can tell you the exact number is lying, but it’s not clear to me why coca production should be more expensive than tobacco.


I think the drug laws are super-paternalistic and morally disgusting–if people want to poison themselves, well, fuck them! Awesome! I mean, what could be more paternalistic than: “Drug use harms the user and it harms the community, and because of this, criminal penalties have been put in place to control the possession and use of illicit substances.” (from the attached propaganda) Translation: you’re our property and you’re not allowed to harm our property.


For them as is interested, here’s a link to Office of National Drug Control Policy silliness. Well worth a read for the paternalistic, you-are-all-stupid-slaves side of the debate. Not to wear my colors too plainly.


If you’re on the side of the coercive, we-like-to-hurt-people goons like our so-called defense attorney buddy who’s advocating three strikes, you should like this legalization argument because, freed of the need to save up $40 for a crack-rock weekend, people can afford to buy so much that they die.


I just like it because I think people should be allowed to pollute themselves as they see fit.



$40 of crack will be gone within the first hour.  Then, they’ll be looking for whatever they can find that’s not nailed down to get more crack.  The cocaine and crack themselves, not the fear of getting caught with the drugs, induces paranoid violent episodes.  Then the kids and baby mama get beaten.

People die within hours of smoking even just a little crack, because it constricts the vascularity and bursts the arteries and veins.  Even if you take a hit today, three days later it kills you.

It interacts with oxytocin, and kills pregnant women without their doctors ever knowing what’s going on.

Nope, I cannot back legalization of cocaine, heroin, meth, oxycontin without a script, etc.

Weed – I’d bite on that one – legalize it, and tax the crap out of it so we can drop the tax on beer and wine.  Even though multiple friends out there will now admit that their 20’s disappeared on them while having a little fun with the green stuff.




Legalizing grass would solve tons of financial problems for the federal govt. OK we all agree on that. The health effects of pot are definitely less than that of alcohol, and it does have some medicinal value. The war on drugs is a total joke and completely ineffective. Coke, heroin, all the synthetic alphabet soup drugs, these are bad my friends. Bad, bad, bad. I think the first step is to legalize pot and keep the price about where it is (as it is in CA) with taxes.  Also, we can then grow hemp again in this country (thanks a lot W.H. Hearst) and the US Navy wouldn’t have to buy their rope from Canada.
A few issues: Law enforcement needs an on the spot test, similar to the breathalyzer, for weed. Not possible except for blood. Not going to happen. Any ideas? People who are really stoned should not be behind the wheel. And the penalties for such offenses should be high. That is, stronger than the DWI laws we have now. (This should be WAY more stringent than they are as it is)
On the law enforcement tip, I have a good friend who is a Lt. in the BPD. he hits his 20yr. mark soon. Know what he wants for a retirement gift? An oz. of the best stuff I can get. He told me that the city’s crime rate would be 20-30% lower if cops didn’t have to “waste their time with stupid pot busts.” (That percentage is based on not including marijuana busts in the original 100%) But as a sworn officer he upholds all the laws not just the ones he agrees with.
As for what to do with narcotics and opiates there has to be some type of stringent regulation on them, but that will just keep the black market and place. As stated earlier the war on drugs has failed to stop the flow of drugs into this country. However, I cannot use that a justification to open the floodgates and just let everyone have at it.
I don’t know if the answer is education, stigmatization or just let all the dumb suckers overdose and let Darwin have at them. A troubling issue with no easy answers.




Yes, Mr. Three Strikes :) , I quite understand that you can’t back legalization for some reason. What is that reason? Cigarettes and booze have deleterious effects, and prescription drug interactions kill many more people than illicit drugs. So clearly we can toss ‘harm’ out the window.


What’s it about? People shouldn’t be able to harm themselves? People shouldn’t be able to ingest substances that turn them into raving destructive assholes? People shouldn’t do things that will lead them to steal? (Can’t do that: you’ll rule out running for Congress)


Look at the reasoning:


1. I cannot back legalization of cocaine, heroin, meth, oxycontin without a script, etc.


a.   cocaine and crack…induces paranoid violent episodes. Then the kids and baby mama get beaten.

b. People die within hours of smoking even just a little crack [or] 3 days later it kills you

c. It interacts with oxytocin

d. kills pregnant women [with aggravating factor:] without their doctors ever knowing what’s going on


So you’re in this fake reasoning loop, doing fake moral intuition: “I cannot back legalization of x because x hurts its users and the baby mama gets beaten, and insults doctors who can’t figure it out,” even though many legal substances or behaviors do the same thing: hurt their users (or doers) and the associated communities (though maybe without insulting doctors).


Heck–watching your team lose at football creates negative cardiac stress and results in higher rates of using wifey as a punching bag. So why football, but no crack? Your position is a pretty common American one, but do the reasoning,  I’m not sure it’s possible–I think it might just be bias in Americans, and only a fake reasoning process. If so, what’s it buying you? By your own (sadly discoverable) admission, you’d love it if ‘those people’ all croaked. So what’s your beef with legalization?





While I largely agree with you Pascal, I will say that you perhaps prematurely threw out “harm” as a reason for prohibiting some drugs.  Cigs and booze largely have long-term negative effects (except for drunk driving, which I put aside because it’s the driving that harms, not the particular substance; you could be high on glue sniffing while driving or you could simply be physically fatigued, or even talking on your cell phone while driving — all those impair driving ability to a comparable degree).  Whereas, crack has an almost immediate effect.  Far more first-time crack users die than any other drug.


Also, certain drugs seem to cause users to harm others at a higher rate of incidence than other drugs.  Nicotine, alcohol, and THC occur at low rates.  Crack at high rates.  Whether you find the argument persuasive is a different matter, but there IS an argument to be made here.


Now, if you legalize all drugs, two interesting things naturally follow from it.  (1)  A government agency can mandate quality, volume, and dosage, so people stop dying from cocaine cut with comet, fewer people OD (if you can only get X grams per day, but you know you’ll be able to get your X amount tomorrow, you might not binge), etc.  In other words, you could conceivably lower the number of drug related deaths.  (2)  The gubment could raise a shit-ton of money.  We could probably pay for our two ongoing wars and still start digging ourselves out of the deficit with drug tax revenue.  Vice is a recession-proof industry.  (So while we’re at it, legalize prostitution too.)


But at the root of it, the Libertarian in me says that we shouldn’t be regulating what substances people may ingest, or what activities they engage in, until those actions harm other people.  So, say, instead of prohibiting drugs, let’s prohibit driving under the influence of drugs; instead of preventing you from beating your wife while high by trying to remove drugs from the equation, let’s, gee, I don’t know, prohibit you from beating your wife, period.  Pregnant women also shouldn’t drink booze, Terry, but it’s not illegal to do so, nor is booze illegal.  If we’re really worried about pregnant women, let’s ban a long list of substances for pregnant women.


The approach we take with alcohol is close to the approach I would take with other drugs.  Prohibit certain actions when drunk, but otherwise, if you’re not harming anyone but yourself, have at it.  You can be removed from restaurants and sporting events (and casinos, right Brendon?), you can’t drive your car, and hell, in many places you can’t even drunkenly walk down the street.  So let’s do that with coke and rock and meth.  Hey, at least if we legalize meth, commercial enterprise will take up the job of manufacture, under mandated safe conditions, eliminating the risk that your neighbor might be a DIY’er and blow up the block in the process.



If you include prescription drug side effects or interactions, I don’t think throwing out ‘harm’ was premature. Of course, there’s the intent question, but the intent for the illicit ones doesn’t include ‘harm.’ In any case, I’m perfectly fine with people whacking themselves as they see fit. I knew two guys who died from cocaine use; I knew people who died from sailing-related drowning or from falling off rocks they were trying to climb or from skiing accidents. I don’t see what the difference is: they engaged in activities they knew were dangerous and could cause death; death ensued. What’s the big deal?


“But at the root of it, the Libertarian in me says that we shouldn’t be regulating what substances people may ingest, or what activities they engage in, until those actions harm other people”



“So, say, instead of prohibiting drugs, let’s prohibit driving under the influence of drugs; instead of preventing you from beating your wife while high by trying to remove drugs from the equation, let’s, gee, I don’t know, prohibit you from beating your wife, period.  Pregnant women also shouldn’t drink booze, Terry, but it’s not illegal to do so, nor is booze illegal.  If we’re really worried about pregnant women, let’s ban a long list of substances for pregnant women.

Yes, I totally agree. At least for consistency, if we’re going to have our drug war, we really need to start banning things for pregnant women–after all, at least in Ohio, where the fetus counts as a life. In the case of mega-loser former police officer Bobby Cutts who murdered his pregnant girlfriend: he was convicted of aggravated burglary, abuse of a corpse, child endangering (for leaving his two year old to dump mommy in a field), an aggravated murder related to the termination of a pregnancy, aggravated murder related to the death of a viable fetus, and of course, murder for Mom.  So if you can get murdered, you can get assaulted.  Strange for me to notice: while I think no drugs should be illegal, I’m sort of fine with banning substances for pregnant women. I’m mostly not fine with it, and would never vote for it, but at least the logic of “do not harm others” is clear in a way that it’s not for banning coke, smack and those little cool mushrooms that make trees seem so otherworldly.


Mankindof, I need to point out that you’re not a real libertarian because you oppose the invention of cheap production methodologies for methamphetamine entrepreneurs–you–you—you Democrat.





But interactions are not the result of the drug itself.  Alcohol and ibuprofen can damage your liver, even fatally, sometimes.  That doesn’t mean that ibuprofen or alcohol, when consumed properly, “harm” you.  And furthermore, we have an entire profession devoted to helping people avoid these harmful drug interactions (pharmacists).


As for side effects, by definition they will always occur at extremely low rates, comparable to allergic reactions.  If a thing only harms less than one percent of users I can’t call it harmful.  I doubt there are accurate studies on crack usage, but I’d bet my student loan balance that the rate of harm to crack users is much, much higher.


So I still think that the harm argument remains intact.  To be clear, I do not find it a compelling argument, I’m just saying that I don’t think it can be obviated by logical comparisons to other activities.


And again, I agree with you.  Let people kill themselves.  Let them get lung cancer from cigarettes, let them get fat and die of heart attacks from eating McDonalds every day, let them jump from airplanes, let them smoke rock until their arteries explode.  So long as none of it ever reduces my chances of outliving them, I say let them do what they want.


As for banning substances for pregnant women vs. banning them for the entire population, I think there’s further justification.  We prohibit kids from doing things all the time (drinking, driving, owning guns, voting) because they can’t yet be trusted to know what’s best for them, and further because adults have an implied obligation to look out for tots, tards, loonies, and fogies (the four major categories of legally incompetent folks).  There are further arguments that if a pregnant woman doesn’t kill the fetus with drug abuse, it’s likely going to come out and eventually become a ward of the state in some capacity, so the state should have some say in what you’re allowed to do to the proto-child.  NOTE:  I’m not saying I agree with all this, I’m just saying that there are valid arguments for this, which maintains consistency with legalizing all drugs, generally.


And lastly, I’m not a TRUE Libertarian for many reasons.  The most egregious offense being that I support some government regulation of some things.  But I’d be all for DIY meth labs so long as they all meet government standards of safety.  Much like I’d support someone operating a cafe out of her living room so long as she met the sanitation and food safety standards.  Go be a meth entrepreneur if you want, so long as I’ve got some measure of confidence you’re not going to “asplode” my house in so doing.



I would suggest that legalizing pot would be a way to make education more effective…follow me on this one: the government, teachers, parents, Nancy Reagan, et al, tell our children that pot is horrible and bad and nasty.  Our kids try pot and find out that it is none of those things, but, with significant use, will merely cost you years of your life stuck to the couch and counting hohos.  Now all those people who told them that pot was evil, have lied and, therefore, probably are lying about the harder drugs too, because of their experience with pot.



This argument is not a stretch at all, and I’m glad you raised it.  I’ve discussed this kind of thing with friends who are parents, within the parenting context, but I’m glad you brought it up in the Big Brother context too.  It damages credibility of authority figures.  Why don’t we get behind our politicians often?  Because they do stupid shit to destroy their credibility.  Why do we love new politicians?  Because they haven’t had time to damage their own credibility.  And all of that directly affects how far we are all willing to follow a so-called leader.


This also goes for all the evils of the world that your religious leaders told you to avoid.  Sex, booze, rock and roll, etc.  When you find out none of it is evil, you can’t help but lose respect in the people telling you otherwise.



Here is a little history for ya on the Pot front.

Some of the strongest and most wide ranging anti-pot statues started under the Nixon administration. One reason why was to fight against the growing anti-war and anti-Nixon movements. Here’s how.

Pot smoking was illegal at the time but the local penalties were on the minor side. A ticket or night in the drunk tank. Since most of the anti-war/Nixon “radicals” did pot, Nixon authorized his AG to update the anti-pot laws to make them tougher and give the Federal Gov’t (i.e. the Executive) more legal authority.

Now these “radicals” could be arrested and given longer penalties, therefore removing them from the political stage.

History Channel did a great documentary on drugs in America. One point they made was that most drug laws passed by the U.S. are against a small minority (Chinese and American Indian) that the WASP fears.


Since I am the most supreme overarching intelligent person on the planet, bestowed with the Wisdom of Solomon and the brains of Steven Hawking, I will settle the discussion once and for all.


Go drink or smoke whatever you like.  If it fucks up your body, you had it coming, and probably deserve whatever goes wrong.  If you fuck up somebody else’s body, then you deserve a severe and harsh punishment.  If you steal from others in order to fund your groovy

thang, you should probably spend a long time in the holding tank.

And many people who are in the tank actually deserve to be there, for

a long, long time, for the protection of the innocent majority.

Believe it or not, there are people out there who are inherently bad.  It doesn’t much matter whether they were always bad, or learned to be that way — the result is the same.  Fuck ‘em, and lock ‘em up until they decide to not be bad anymore, and then wait another ten years to make sure they’re telling the truth.


Poor people sell it in an attempt to get rich.  Rich people buy it in an attempt to forget the things that bother them, because when you have enough money then you can worry about stupid shit instead of how you might be able to get rich.  Powerful people try to ban it because they don’t like the people who do it, except when they do it themselves on the sly.  However, if a powerful person’s kid is doing it, we send him to daycare instead of to the holding tank.  That’s just how it is.  Suck it if you don’t like it, or go get rich so that your kid can go to daycare, too.


The people who do it try to pretend that they’re all moral and worthy and goody-good and shit like that, whereas many of them are little more than clueless fleabags who wouldn’t know a good idea if it landed in their back pocket.  Many of the rich people who try to ban it are also fleabags, but again, that’s just how it is.  If you don’t like it, go suck it.


So, go drink it or smoke it, just don’t get caught selling it without a license, or buying it if your daddy is not rich and powerful.  If he is, then you might want to go to Amsterdam or Vansterdam instead,

where you can be a fleabag and not be bothered by the authorities.

Heck might as well go to Amsterdam instead of Vansterdam.  You might be able to rent a piece of tail while you’re at it, just in case you’re not successful in picking some up through your own freelance attempts and opportunities.


There.  How’s that?




Anti-hemp statutes were heavily supported by William Randolph Hearst. Not only did he own newspapers, but also the timber and lumber companies which supplied the pulp for paper. When Hearst realized that you could make far more paper from hemp than lumber, he avidly supported anti-hemp (and therefore anti pot) legislation. Supposedly, Hearst was also joined by DuPont Chemical, who owned the patent for nylon, and wanted to remove hemp as an ingredient of rope, and therefore competition.

Ironically, it appears that farmers were ORDERED to grow hemp in the 1600’s and 1700’s because of its necessity for rope, chair making, etc. But, the Mormons came out against it in 1915, and many other states followed suit until Hearst and DuPont supported the Marijuana Tax Act of 1937, which made it a federal tax beef.

According to the (somewhat biased NORML materials)) I found, Pot apparently EMBOLDENED blacks and Mexicans to look whites in the eye, and thus was socially unacceptable to nervous whites. Hearst and DuPont capitalized on white fears and the anti-pot movement gained momentum.

Of course, everyone forgot about pot until Nixon’s and Reagan’s paranoia and the subsequent trashing of the Constitution. What state did both Presidents’ come from with a lot of nervous whites who feared Mexicans? That’s right…California.

Oddly enough, drug laws are still keeping blacks and Mexicans down, so Hearst and DuPont should be congratulated for an overwhelming success.



We saw another one sentenced today:

mid 30’s
frequent pot smoking (multiple times per week) for the past 15 to 20 years
lacing it occasionally with crack, as taught by a friend
$15 K behind on child support
7 children born to 4 separate women
failed on probation five times in the past, two were felony probations, three were misdemeanor
the probation had been given on concealed weapons, domestic violence, drug possession, breaking and entering . . .
currently unemployed and being supported by his wife
best employment possibilities are all temp jobs pay $10 an hour or less

still dirty after knowing for months that he would have to pee clean during the interview with the probation department, as he was trying to get sentenced to probation instead of prison

Busted while celebrating his birthday with his sister, by having just purchased crack to lace his weed to smoke up, after leaving the bar having had a few drinks.  The cops were looking for whoever had just burglarized the house that they were parked behind, and found him sitting behind the wheel simply rolling up his joints with his crack.

So within minutes he would have been driving while having been drinking, smoking weed, and stoned on crack.

He could have waited until he got home to start rolling the stuff.  He didn’t.  Know why?  Because he’s an addict.  Not because he had no safe place to go do it.

Oh, by the way, did I mention he’s got 7 kids with 4 separate women, is behind on his child support by $15 K, and was spending his money on drinks and drugs?

There are different degrees of being without sin.  Sometimes casting stones is the thing that needs doing.

And everyone, please, stop pretending that drug use is presumed victimless until proven otherwise.  How about the 7 kids that don’t have a pot to piss in, while dad’s driving drunk, stoned on weed, and high on crack?

We’re too old for the “legalize the drugs and the addiction problems will just melt away” crap.

BTW, those same societies that think that drug use is OK?  They’ve got their own problems to deal with right now.  Check out what the Muslim young men are starting to do to random Jews and synagogues over the past few days.  Firebombing the temples while there’s congregations inside.  Shooting street vendors who are simply trying to sell their goods:

Sometimes a little law and order is what a society needs to survive.  Not trampling on the Bill of Rights.  Not water boarding.  But not a bunch of namby-pamby gutless police forces, either.

And the final page of the sentencing story?  The judge gave him 3 years’ probation, and months of outpatient drug treatment that is supposed to start at the end of the week.  Let’s see if the guy takes advantage of the drug treatment.


One Response leave one →
  1. April 16, 2011

    During this discussion, ALOVE mentions the need for a law enforcement spot test a la breathalyzer. I think that this is on the way soon, or at least could be, thanks to recent advances in Diabetes testing technology. The new “smallest, most accurate, needing the least blood” blood sugar testers certainly should be able to be modified to measure THC. Then the challenge is to find the “.08.”

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