Time for Marijuana Legalization in VA?

https://pilotonline.com/news/government/virginia/article_c590e0e0-1416-11e9-9e2d-bbe3e53337c6.html

13 thoughts on “Time for Marijuana Legalization in VA?

  1. I’ve never used marijuana and never will, legal or not. If I could peacefully persuade everyone to lead a drug free life, I would. But prohibition doesn’t work and provides the profit margins that drive gang activity and warfare.

    Total legalization is a far better solution than decriminalization. Decriminalization leaves the supply in the hands of crime gangs.

    Legalization will reduce the profit margin to the point that criminal distribution isn’t profitable enough to support the risk.

    But the worst thing we could do would be to legalize and then so load it up with excise taxes that we make gang activity profitable just to avoid the taxes.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I believe we have a natural right to use drugs like marijuana, but that doesn’t mean it should be legal.

    Liberty is synthetic. We are certainly born with our natural rights (including freedom, at least existentially). But liberty is something we design for ourselves through political arrangements and social conformity. Liberty doesn’t have to include every possible freedom.

    For example, I would like the freedom to live, work and raise children in a drug-free community. Thus, the liberty I would agree to would include the option to prohibit drug use in my neighborhood.

    I don’t find the argument that prohibition causes undesirable and unintended consequences very compelling.

    Black markets are just like any other markets. We only call them “black” to stigmatize them, but there is social utility in this: A black market is a kind of self-operating filter that sequesters people who would not otherwise contribute to society, anyway. Black-market participants get what they want; the rest of us get what we want. In my view, as long as the cost of the “regulatory burden” of law enforcement is affordable, the arrangement is a positive benefit to everyone involved.

    There’s also the benefit of consciousness: Prohibition, as stigma, challenges people to face the nature of their own choices in a conscious way.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. “I would like the freedom to live, work and raise children in a drug-free community”

      And I would like to do so in a religion-free community. Which drugs (aspirin?) and how many other restrictions would you like to impose?

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      1. RE: “Which drugs (aspirin?) and how many other restrictions would you like to impose?”

        The drug we’re talking about is marijuana. I would keep it illegal and continue to regulate it the same as we regulate heroin and LSD.

        Liked by 1 person

    2. “I don’t find the argument that prohibition causes undesirable and unintended consequences very compelling.”

      The only reason marijuana has any monetary value is because it is a controlled substance. For the price of some dirt, fertilizer and a grow light anyone can cultivate the plant. The same goes for cocaine, heroine, morphine etc.. The costs are pennies per dose.

      Millions of people incarcerated in the US make us the number one in the world with the percentage of our population behind bars. We spend trillions on the war on drugs with no discernible improvement. An entire industry of private prisons is a huge money maker and a cancer on justice in our nation. Corruption both here and abroad is pervasive. Also violence here and the worsening violence in Central and South America are directly related to our drug problems and the immense profitability of keeping it illegal. And interestingly enough, that is, in part, what is driving families to our border.

      It is a conundrum. But we have to change our policy from criminal to healthcare when it comes to abuse of cont olled substances.

      Legalization will take the profit out of illicit drug sales. It can also regulate the potency which is part of the problem with all the overdose deaths. Consider this if you will: tobacco use is down to a fraction of what it was decades ago. Nicotine is recognized as one of the most addictive drugs but cultural changes have made smoking unacceptable without making it illegal. I think the same would occur if drugs were legalized over time.

      The a same is happening with alcohol. Hard liquor is not consumed as much as wine or beer.

      Bottom line in my opinion: prohibition does have serious consequences above and beyond treating addiction as a healthcare issue rather than judicial.

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      1. “Corruption both here and abroad is pervasive. Also violence here and the worsening violence in Central and South America are directly related to our drug problems and the immense profitability of keeping it illegal.”

        Our war on drugs kills tens of thousands every year, here and abroad, and the harder we try to make it work, the more people wind up dead or in prison.

        That’s why economists make jokes about prohibition, It’s totally predictable and you either have to laugh or cry.

        There is a way to totally destroy the drug cartels and the street gangs, quickly and without firing a shot.

        Make them compete with Amazon.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “The only reason marijuana has any monetary value is because it is a controlled substance.”

        Not to be glib, but I would point out that people who want to use marijuana should be happy for prohibition in the circumstance you mention. The higher price ensures availability.

        Even so, prohibition’s effect on profits has natural limits. Even under black market conditions, prices can only rise as high as buyers are willing and able to pay. This is one reason I am skeptical of the argument that prohibition causes more problems than it solves.

        Liked by 1 person

  3. “For example, I would like the freedom to live, work and raise children in a drug-free community. Thus, the liberty I would agree to would include the option to prohibit drug use in my neighborhood.”

    That’s neither liberty nor freedom.

    What you would like to do there is to control other people’s choices. The easy test for whether that is your right is to look at the converse. If someone else would like to live in a drug sodden community, do they get to compel you and I to use drugs against our will?

    You do have a right to insulate yourself from the consequences of other people’s bad choices. You would be within your rights to refuse to be compelled to support or care for people who incapacitate themselves with drugs.

    The problem with prohibition is that it drives up the profit margin on the prohibited products, and thus the risk people will accept to fulfill that demand.

    https://www.aei.org/publication/milton-friedman-interview-from-1991-on-americas-war-on-drugs/

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    1. RE: “What you would like to do there is to control other people’s choices.”

      Perhaps, but I see no other option in the end. Either I control other people’s choices, or they control mine. Thus the difference between liberty and freedom. Liberty as I define it consists of those freedoms we all agree to.

      Milton Friedman’s excellent commentary on this subject doesn’t go far enough in evaluating the government’s role. Of course prohibition is enforced by government, and of course the economic consequences — a more dangerous, less productive society — are inevitable.

      But if we attach a moral dimension to that, are we not committing the same behavior Friedman disapproves of in a different context? If government has no moral authority, say, to tell fat people what to eat, then it has no moral authority to use force (taxation) in preserving fat people’s natural right to eat what they will. That is to say, it is only a matter of choice where to apply moral reasoning.

      In the absence of a moral justification, the government’s role potentially expands. Prohibition may raise the price and social risks associated with drug use, but in a backhanded way it actually preserves the natural right to use them. Also, I’d imagine that Friedman was well aware that black markets have monetary effects which a practical government can exploit. Manipulating black markets, for example, is one way to control the available money supply in the productive economy. There may be times when such manipulations serve the greater good.

      I’m in favor of expansive freedoms, as a rule, but there are exceptions. I have no desire to control my neighbor’s behavior or pursuit of happiness, but I’d like an option other than killing him should he decide to open an opium den or house of prostitution after moving in next door.

      Liked by 1 person

      1. ” but I’d like an option other than killing him should he decide to open an opium den or house of prostitution after moving in next door.”

        That’s what zoning is for. But that is a matter of property rights, not morality.

        Without exception, every effort by government to regulate morality has ended badly.

        Liked by 1 person

      2. RE: “That’s what zoning is for.”

        Fair enough. I don’t see much difference between zoning and prohibition as regulatory actions. But I have nothing more to add that wouldn’t be a repeat.

        Liked by 1 person

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