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Maybe one day

Tuesday, Jun 21, 2011

* One of my greatest disappointments in life is that the citizenry and our civic and political leaders repeatedly refuse to understand the extremely valuable lessons from Prohibition.

If you outlaw something that the people really want, they’re gonna get it anyway and it’ll be the outlaws who’ll supply them. For instance, here’s a story from today’s Tribune

The Chicago mob once had as many as seven street crews, but is down to two or three, Rice said. It has found a steady source of revenue by controlling video poker machines, but authorities are catching on.

In December, Sarno and four co-defendants were found guilty of running a video poker racket, pulling off a string of armed robberies that spanned three years and four states, and protecting their gambling franchise by planting a bomb in front of a Berwyn business that encroached on their turf.

The recent legalization of video poker machines has been blasted by opponents as immoral and, weirdly enough, a boost to organized crime. The plain fact that just about every tavern in the state currently has the machines, and that the vast majority pay out illegally, and that many of those machines are controlled by the Outfit doesn’t seem to penetrate.

If you want to really hurt the mob, then cut it off from video poker. The best way to do that is by legalizing and regulating video poker. As far as the morality, I’m a big proponent of leaving individual morality up to the individual. Regulate it, sure, but banning it creates more problems than legalization. A legalized system won’t lead to bombs being planted by gangsters.

This is really not all that difficult to comprehend, and there is an even more direct historical connection than Prohibition. The state lottery destroyed the numbers rackets here.

* So, it was a pleasant surprise to watch Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle’s speech the other day marking the 40th anniversary of the nation’s “War on Drugs.” From her address

“We all know that the ‘War on Drugs’ has failed to end drug use. Instead, it’s resulted in the incarceration of millions of people around the country and 100,000 here in Cook County on an annual basis. Drugs and the failed war on drugs have devastated lives, families and communities. For too long, we’ve treated drug use as a criminal justice issue rather than a public health issue, which is what it is. […]

“The cost is too great to continue this ‘War on Drugs’ with so little success.”

She didn’t explicitly call for legalization, but we cannot correct the problem until we first recognize that what we’ve done so far has been an abject failure. She most certainly sees that.

* Chicago’s new Chicago Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy also seems to have a grasp of the real problem here

“It becomes the issue of mass incarceration,” he said during an interview for WBBM-AM 780’s “At Issue” program set to air at 9 a.m. and 9 p.m. Sunday. “There is an issue here. And law enforcement has gotten this wrong. Narcotics use is a criminalized social issue. It causes crime. Drug dealers get into violent disputes over turf. It’s about the money.”

McCarthy added: “It’s been so twisted up that law enforcement looks at narcotics as the crime, when it’s not. It’s the cause of the crime. So, we’ve had this wrong for a long time in law enforcement.”

You want to stop violent drug-related crime? Well, it’s a pretty darned safe bet that Walgreen’s and CVS employees aren’t going to be shooting at each other if their employers are the ones selling pot.

- Posted by Rich Miller        


200 Comments
  1. - PaGo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 9:53 am:

    Great thoughts, great post. Agree 100 percent.


  2. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:01 am:

    When you legalize pot criminals will just start pushing another drug. We see that deglamourizing cigarettes curbed it use, yet kept it legal. When this happens with pot, secondary consequences will also be curbed. Smoking is harmful. Pot sucks. We do not need a new glamourous cigarette fad.


  3. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:03 am:

    VanillaMan, your comment made no sense. If you legalize it, it’s much easier to control its use. Look at your own example of cigarettes.


  4. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:07 am:

    The comparison to Prohibition is less than perfect. The W.C.T.U. and the Anti-Saloon League succeeding in banning beer and alcohol, products that were formerly legal and had been accepted for centuries. Most, but not all, drugs were largely illegal or were outlawed shortly after the medical establishment concluded that some of the new drugs were highly addictive.

    No one ever explains how legalizing drugs will reduce crime. Are habitual drug users suddenly going to sober up and begin going to work to support their habits? How many junkies work regularly? Drop all of the drug possession related criminal charges and many of these same people are still going to be in the criminal justice system for property crimes such as burglary, retail theft, robbery, etc.

    If not for privacy laws, many of these substance abusers would be arrested for the numerous visits that they making to hospital emergency rooms seeking drugs while feigning injuries requiring pain medications.

    Therapy and rehabilitation are expensive and oftentimes ineffective. How many substance abusers clean up their act for a few weeks and resume “partying” as soon as they are released?

    There are no easy answers. If someone steals my property to support their drug habit, I do not care if their preferred drug is available for legal purchase. I want the person jailed for theft.


  5. - Deep South - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:07 am:

    The only way to stop drug use is to address the root cause. Which is “Why do people do drugs?” You gotta answer that question then provide solutions and alternatives. Sadly, it will never, ever happen.


  6. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    Sorry for the typos. I meant that substance abusers frequent hospital emergency rooms when they are searching for drugs.

    Sad to say, I have witnessed drug users in action. Legalizing drugs is no assurance that these people are going to clean up their acts.


  7. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:10 am:

    ===No one ever explains how legalizing drugs will reduce crime.===

    Then you’re not even paying attention to my post. Most serious drug-related crimes are not committed by users. The real crimes are committed by the gangs.


  8. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:12 am:

    Prohibition did not end alcohol, but it ended prostitution ring ran corrupted governments by shutting down the source of its playground - the saloon. It dramatically reduced STD deaths and illnesses. It made Americans rethink other public health issues. Prohibition was good, but not as intended.


  9. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:13 am:

    ===Most, but not all, drugs were largely illegal or were outlawed shortly after the medical establishment concluded that some of the new drugs were highly addictive.===

    Not quite. You really need to study a bit of history.


  10. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:16 am:

    Vices have costly secondary consequences that become major public consequences when loosened upon a society. Laws do not end them once they become acceptable.


  11. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:18 am:

    ===Laws do not end them once they become acceptable. ===

    Laws do not end vices, my friend. Look around.


  12. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    Rich, do you expect legalization to increase drug use? That’s the question that needs to be answered, and if Illinois’s ready to deal with the burden of an increased population of users, vs the benefits of taking some of the market away from gangs.


  13. - Left Leaner - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:20 am:

    Good to see some of our leaders get it and are brave enough to speak the truth. We spend billions - indeed hundreds of billions - every year fighting a “war” with counterintuitive strategies that do no one and society as a whole any good.


  14. - PaGo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:21 am:

    Esquire. Rich just explained his post. But to further comment, like Rich states, morality is an individual choice. You wanna smoke pot, ok. do a line, right. Shoot up, well, your veins. Legal or illegal, users will use. Get it? Rich is saying that the more violent, organized criminal activity will tone down. People will still shot, stab and kill other people. That’s society. The drugs are out there. People will get them if they want them. And yah, I think there’s a certain mentality associated with getting/doing things illegally. Maybe if certain drugs were legalized, the “thrill” of doing them would lose its luster with some users.

    For the record, I’m one of those people who look at drugs users and have zero sympathy. I smoked, quit. I smoked pot, quit. Etc.,etc., etc. You want to stop, stop. There’s a point when you can seek help w/o becoming “addicted” to the point where you have these sympathizers saying, “you don’t understand, he/she is hooked.” I call shananigans. You know going in what the drugs can do to you.

    I reaffrim my “thumbs-up” to Rich for his insightful post.


  15. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:24 am:

    Bill Baar, taxation can help the state deal with that. As far as gang problems, we know all too well that the system and the neighborhoods are completely overwhelmed and outmatched.


  16. - Anonymous - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:25 am:

    If no legalization, at the least decriminalize marijuana use. Jailing someone for smoking marijuana is absolutely ridiculous, and alcohol does far, far more damage to our society than pot does.


  17. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    No one remembers the societal ills that were curbed by Prohibition. Instead we get only the fact that Prohibition failed to END alcohol. Few researchers acknowledge how it benefitted the US. This is because they do not see how the secondary problems were effectively curbed.


  18. - aaronsinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:26 am:

    that comment @10:25 am was me, sorry, forgot to put my name in.


  19. - aaronsinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:28 am:

    What societal ills were curbed by prohibition?

    It caused the explosion of organized crime and the rise of the mob, that’s bad enough for me. And prohibition was more or less a joke, everyone was still drinking during that time, it was an abject failure at it’s purpose–banning a vice.


  20. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:31 am:

    Rich, if your going to reduce us with Taxes, you just push the drugs back into illegal markets and all the attending problems.

    The only way legalization makes sense to my mind, as a tool to fight gangs by pulling out their source of revenue, is to make legal drugs very cheap.

    That’s almost certainly going to mean an increase consumption beyond today’s levels. Especially given our high unemployment.


  21. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    Prohibition teaches us that once a vice becomes acceptable it creates other serious social ills. Banning a vice does not work legally but it greatly helps curbing the secondary consequences of the vice. Booze does not often kill but STDs back then did kill.


  22. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:34 am:

    BB, I’m not sure you quite understand the economics of this thing. Taking the criminal element out will reduce the price because the extraneous costs associated with protecting the product and its sellers are eliminated. Taxes then bump up the price.

    Plus, taxing alcohol didn’t appear to do harm to the brewers after Prohibition ended.


  23. - TwoFeetThick - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:35 am:

    How does legalization reduce crime? Most drug crimes are committed by people either trying to come up with funds to purchase the black market item, or by those selling and seeking to maximize their profits by securing markets to sell the black market item. If the items are legal, they become cheaper and easier to purchase, meaning a user does not have to commit crime to obtain the item. If legal, anyone can sell, perhaps with some regulation, meaning gangs are not fighting over territory.

    I had a teacher in college who argued it was cheaper and at less cost to society to let anyone take whatever drug they wanted, even if they killed themselves with it, than it is to try and stop what you will never stop. I agree. That doesn’t mean you relieve anyone from liability for the damage they cause to others while under the influence of a substance. It just means you let people take whatever substance they wish, suffer the consequences of their actions, and you get government out of the way. Something those on the right should fully support.


  24. - Coach - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:41 am:

    I agree it’s long past time to legalize and regulate pot. The notion that we can all smoke cigarettes and drink alcohol, yet can’t smoke a little reefer, is just silly, and it’s time our policy makers grow up and come to their senses.

    As for other more serious drugs, the key is “decriminalization” - not “legalization.” Preckwinkle correctly pointed out that drug addiction is a public health issue, not a criminal one.

    Finally, any reasonable public policy will distinguish between the act of using a drug (i.e. addiction) and the act of committing an offense such as theft, burglary, robbery or murder while under the influence of a drug or in an effort to secure a drug. The former is a public health issue, and the latter is a criminal issue.


  25. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:42 am:

    Prohibition did not create gangs. It just gave them a new product. A legalized vice does not end gangs. The secondary problems created the gangs. You want fewer gangs? Address the the vices creating the secondary problems creating the gangs.


  26. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:43 am:

    Taking the criminal element out will reduce the price because the extraneous costs associated with protecting the product and its sellers are eliminated. Taxes then bump up the price.

    I used to teach in Cook County Jail for the SAFER foundation, met many drug dealers and gang bangers there, and found few fools. I have great faith in our criminals ability to undercut Illinois’s price on dope.

    Make drugs legal, consumption’s going to go up.

    Prohibition dramatically cut consumption which climbed back up to about 60% of pre-Prohibition levels at repeal in 1932, and never returned to full pre-Prohibition levels until 1960.

    The last thing we want in today’s America with 9% unemployment and maybe 20% UNDER employment, is easier access to drugs. It’s a formulae for a bigger tragedy then we’re already enduring.


  27. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    PaGo said,

    “Rich is saying that the more violent, organized criminal activity will tone down. People will still shot, stab and kill other people. That’s society.”

    I would use the same argument about concealed carry.

    Victimless crimes. Why does the government even bother to try to stop them?

    If someone does want to shoot up or whatever, it’s their choice and their responsibility. If someone attacks another to get drug money, or steals, this is when society (read government) steps in. It is when the behavior of one individual directly affects another individual that government needs to step in. Included here are violent and property crimes, and DUI.

    Many will say that drug users are using an inordinate amount of public services (e.g. hospitals). Well, that’s because society allows them to do so. As harsh as this seems, the government can best adjust behavior by withholding public money, not by prohibiting behavior. It may take a generation or two to break the cycle, but drug abusers can be weaned from the public teat. Once they realize their taxpayer funded support structure is no longer available, they will adjust their behavior. And this can be done while legalizing pot.


  28. - seabourne - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:44 am:

    -A study by the RAND Corporation found that every additional dollar invested in substance abuse treatment saves taxpayers $7.46 in societal costs.
    -$1 spent on treatment will achieve the same reduction of flow of cocaine as $7.3spent on enforcement.
    -$1 spent on treatment will achieve the same reduction of flow of cocaine as $10.8spent on border control.
    -$1 spent on treatment will achieve the same reduction of flow of cocaine as $23 spent trying to persuade Colombian farmers to grow crops other than coca.1
    Source: Rydell, C. P., Caulkins, J. P., & Everingham, S. S. (1996). Enforcement or treatment? Modeling the relative efficacy of alternative for controlling cocaine. Operations Research (RAND), 44(5), 687-695.


  29. - seabourne - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:45 am:

    Tell your Congressional Representatives -
    It is time to “Change the Schedule of Cannabis, Cannabis Laws, and Drug Czar Laws”
    Read and Sign the petition at

    http://www.change.org/petitions/change-the-schedule-of-cannabis-cannabis-laws-and-drug-czar-laws

    After you sign the petition, email your friendlies, share on facebook, or twitter from the petition page. If you have a website grab the widget so your visitors can sign it without leaving your website.

    This petition uses laws passed by Congress to point out that by their laws, the laws must change.


  30. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:47 am:

    @TFT:

    The only country that I know of that has attempted the social experiment recommended by your college professor in the Netherlands. Unlike the classy beer ads, there is still a degree of civil unrest in that country that is helping to bring right wing politics back into style. I cannot quantify how much of it is related to alcohol or sex, drugs and rock and roll, but it seems as if the permissive Dutch outlook on life has been under attack by recent immigrants (sadly, there is a religious component). There seems to be a reactionary backlash underway.

    California has relaxed its drug laws, especially in terms of medically prescribed marijuana, and marijuana farming is allowed subject to state regulation. How prosperous are folks in the Golden State? Not very. The California economy is in the dumps worse than Illinois.

    Show me a workable plan and you may persuade me.


  31. - PaGo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    To continue a thought from 2FTthick, the government and their “war of drugs” is, as Toni Preckwinkle eluded to, a loss. People who use basically laugh in the face of the laws. They use because they want to use. The US of A isn’t going to stop anyone from using or making more difficult to obtain drugs. More laws have more users in PRISON, not jail, prison. I will never accept the argument that more laws will curb drug use. Never.

    Put everything out there, tax it, and let chips fall where they may. I don’t use because it’s illegal. And I’m not going to start because it’s legal. Choice.


  32. - Cheryl44 - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:48 am:

    My grandfather said the only time in his life he ever drank regularly was during Prohibition.


  33. - Wumpus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:49 am:

    Users do create serious problems. I understand and don’t necessairly disagree with legalizing, but do not want my tax dollars going to get some crackhead or meth addict rehabbed any more than I want some guy selling marijuana jaile dwith my tax dollars.


  34. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:50 am:

    - Booze does not often kill but STDs back then did kill. -

    So you’re saying Prohibition curbed STD deaths? Dang, I always thought that was penicillin.


  35. - Bill White - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:51 am:

    The arguments (pro & con) are not new.

    The interesting news here is the bluntness of Toni Preckwinkle’s language and what these comments reveal about her governing philosophy.


  36. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:53 am:

    It seems pretty clear, once again, that the anti’s will continue to come up with more objections after their original objections were addressed. Frankly, you should just admit the fact that you don’t want people using drugs.


  37. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:56 am:

    - Frankly, you should just admit the fact that you don’t want people using drugs. -

    No kidding. Though I do enjoy reading some of the wild logic spun by these folks.


  38. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:57 am:

    I know the Netherlands. I saw what happens when new vices are legalized. I freaking studied there for a year. The backlash is not religious-based. It is against all the secondary social problems caused by the vices. I know this issue. I know you pro pot folks are incredibly naive.


  39. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:57 am:

    Also, the antis here might try first defending the system we have. I dare you.


  40. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:58 am:

    VanillaMan, I have inlaws in the Netherlands so I keep track. The government was elected over Arab immigration opposition. Why do I keep track of this? Because my inlaws are Arabs.


  41. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    Rich:

    (a) “Leaving individual morality up to the individual” is all well and good as long as no one else has to pick up the tab for that individual’s poor decisions.

    (b) There is a big difference between gaming/drug use and Prohibition: gambling and narcotics use has never been widely acceptable/legal, as alcohol was prior to the 18th Amendment.


  42. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:59 am:

    re:….you should just admit the fact that you don’t want people using drugs.

    Yes, that’s right.


  43. - just sayin' - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:01 am:

    I’ve been in my share of taverns, is this really true?

    “The plain fact that just about every tavern in the state currently has the machines..”

    Sure, I’ve seen them, but are they really in almost every tavern in the state?

    In any case, all of the same arguments about free choice, not regulating morality, etc. etc. could be made for legalizing prostitution too.


  44. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:01 am:

    ==Address the the vices creating the secondary problems creating the gangs.==

    And those would be?


  45. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:02 am:

    - It is against all the secondary social problems caused by the vices. -

    Umm, from what I hear a lot of the problems are caused because so many tourists travel there specifically to indulge in these vices. It’s tough being the only legal game in town.


  46. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:02 am:

    Esquire,

    The Dutch problem revolves around Islamic immigration, not drugs.

    Rich,

    Again, just substitute “concealed carry” for “drugs” and you make that case, too.


  47. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:02 am:

    Rich, I know that too.
    The dikes are getting higher there, but not because of water.


  48. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:02 am:

    GOP, gambling has been around since the beginning of humankind. Cocaine was in use for decades in this country before Prohibition and so was marijuana.


  49. - the Cardinal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:04 am:

    Tax it and stop putting people in jail over a recreational use size quantities might be the better angle. I still ask who will regulate this?


  50. - PaGo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:07 am:

    Gambling/wagering has been a way of life since before JC! Please. It’s the government who thinks they can regulate morality. The government should scale back, including support for drug “addicts.” The information is out there about all the drugs, their addictive qualities, etc. Individual choices rule the day. I know if I get in a car after drinking all night the consequences if I get pulled over. I know the consequences of using drugs as well. I’m not a goody-2-shoes. I am merely saying it’s time quit babying drug users’ addictions. No more safety net.


  51. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:07 am:

    - I still ask who will regulate this? -

    I volunteer. It’ll be a tough gig, but someone has to do it…


  52. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:08 am:

    …the antis here might try first defending the system we have. I dare you.

    It keeps drug consumption lower than it would be if it were legal.

    Increasing consumption via legalization because Government’s failed to enforce the laws to deal with what is agreeably a massive Public Health issue with a poorly named “War” on drugs is really an indictment of State, County, and local governments.

    Surrender in a War seldom works out well. It’s time for Preckwinkle and many others to re evaluate what were doing about drugs (and crime).

    Giving up not a great choice too my mind (especially if that surrender creates a tax-revenue stream to the folks who couldn’t enforce the laws).

    Getting youth unemployement down from atronomical levels by the way, would make this all a whole lot easier.

    As the wise Carville said, it’s the economy…


  53. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:09 am:

    ===I know you pro pot folks are incredibly naive===

    I don’t think I’m naive. What is naive is the idea that we would spend billions of tax dollars on law enforcement and prisons only to achieve stronger, cheaper drugs that are as easily available as ever.

    Now really VM, who is being naive? From a policy perspective, the war on drugs is a complete failure. It is time for a new strategy.

    Great post Rich. I agree 100% with what you wrote. Video poker is much the same. Gambling, booze, sex and drugs, all of these are concepts embodied in the right to pursue happiness.

    Are they the right choices for everyone? Of course not. Education, treatment, and common sense are the best tools to fight these vices, not law enforcement.


  54. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:10 am:

    @Grand Old Partisan:

    Gambling is a much trickier issue, particularly in Illinois. Horse racing was once immensely popular, but it was legalized and then outlawed before being legalized again. It flourished and waned depending upon the state legislature.

    Other forms of gambling were illegal, yet widely “tolerated” in various cities. Chicago had large number of illegal casinos and Michael Cassius McDonald, who was once the city’s leading gambling boss, was also a top political fixer who helped establish the Democratic Machine in Cook County.

    I am not sure how a discussion of gambling compares to legalizing drugs.


  55. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:10 am:

    In conclusion -
    If you think problems will be solved by legalizing pot, you are ignoring the bigger problems awaiting us when it is legalized. People are not stupid for making it illegal. Prohibition taught that too.


  56. - Wensicia - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:14 am:

    Prohibition enables the criminal element, which provides what cannot be obtained legally, that was the lesson learned. The social/behavioral reasons behind addiction have been around as long as the substances that feed addiction. Making something illegal has never ended this behavior


  57. - amalia - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:16 am:

    Legalize it…. pot, prostitution and poker! spend less fighting, make it all safer, and raise more revenue taxing. Alcohol is legal….that’s prohibition’s legacy. Let me grow weed!


  58. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:17 am:

    “Prohibition did not end alcohol, but it ended prostitution ring ran corrupted governments by shutting down the source of its playground - the saloon. It dramatically reduced STD deaths and illnesses. It made Americans rethink other public health issues. Prohibition was good, but not as intended.”

    Can you actually prove a word of these claims?


  59. - Way Way Down Here - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:17 am:

    I worked in the Netherlands and was there during the 2002 National Elections when Pim Fortuyn was killed. You can argue that he is the father of the anti-immigrant (read Arab) crowd.

    As for pot, it’s still illegal there, but enforcement is ignored under very clear “tolerance” guidelines. We should start there and stop spending time and treasure sending pot smokers to jail.

    I can remember listening to the Dutch eqivalent of our “Speaker of the House” talking on the radio describing how she was smoking pot in college when she first heard Bob Dylan. She turned out OK, I guess.


  60. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:18 am:

    Yes, Rich, gambling has been around forever. So has prostitution, but only rarely has it been completely legal and widely acceptable. And cocaine & pot were used in this country for decades, but, again, never at anywhere close to the same rate as alcohol. So, my point stands. You can’t truly use either as a practical comparison.

    Also, I’d like to see you address the other side of libertarianism here. Do you think that people who ruin themselves financially with gaming and/or drugs should be denied assistance from the government? I accept that it’s impractical to evaluate every food-stamp applicant to determine if their needs are “legitimate,” but in a perfect world, would you??


  61. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    Esquire, the history of gaming that you describe is all still a far cry from allowing video gaming in every bar and tavern in the state, don’t you agree??


  62. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:20 am:

    - If you think problems will be solved by legalizing pot, you are ignoring the bigger problems awaiting us when it is legalized. -

    Like what, Dorrito shortages? Seriously, what do you imagine happening? We already have laws that address crimes that can be committed while impaired, so that’s not going to change. I know plenty of very successful, hard working people who either still smoke pot or used to. The whole gateway drug theory is fairly widely considered bogus. So what are you keeping locked up in that head of yours that the rest of us are missing out on?


  63. - downstate hack - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:22 am:

    What if we took a portion of the billions spent on drug enforcement and spent it on education and rehab programs and then used fees and taxes on legalized marijuana for job creation for those most at risk?


  64. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:24 am:

    ===still a far cry from allowing video gaming in every bar and tavern in the state===

    Um, those video poker games are already there.


  65. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:24 am:

    @Cincinnatus,

    I am aware of the immigration/religious issues in the Netherlands, but did not want to develop that topic because it did not relate to the topic that Rich Miller posted directly.

    Since you raised the subject, the Islamic immigrants to the Netherlands have not always been tolerant of the permissive social attitudes that are accepted in Dutch society. There have been episodes of violence, including one highly publicized murder, and right wing anti-immigration, law and order style politicians are entering into the political mix. A decade or two ago, that would have been unthinkable.

    I cannot think of one Western democracy where legalizing drugs has been accomplished successfully with minimal difficulties. There are some places like the Netherlands, where it has been tried, but utopia has not automatically followed.

    The “War on Drugs” has failed, as currently constituted, but in a welfare state with virtually open borders such an undertaking seemed doomed from the start.

    It is somewhat interesting that Cook County Board President Toni Preckwinkle could not address her concerns to President Barack Obama. He seems disengaged from the subject and unwilling to expend any political capital to make changes. One would think that revising the laws would have been simpler under the current president.


  66. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:25 am:

    === but in a perfect world, would you??===

    If we lived in a perfect world, I’d answer your question. But I’m not goofy enough to assume that we do or even to plan for that eventuality. Try living in the real world. And in the real world, the war on drugs is a complete and quite harmful failure.


  67. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:27 am:

    Rich is correct. The video poker and slot machine games are everywhere — without or without the adoption of the video gaming law by local municipalities.


  68. - Way Way Down Here - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:29 am:

    ===Um, those video poker games are already there.==

    Look behind the curtain or in the back room. If you are a regular they payout at the bar.


  69. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:30 am:

    I know plenty of very successful, hard working people who either still smoke pot or used to.

    They’re not working jobs requiring a clean drug test. So my guess is legalization (and Preckwinkle and McCarthy seemed to be talking about more than pot) would mean higher use, and higher number of individauls failing drug screens for employment. And I don’t expect employers to ease up on those drug test outcomes with legalization.

    So a prime outcome, a larger number of unemployable folks then we already have.


  70. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:31 am:

    I’d be curious to see what AG Madigan who went after Pabst on the design of a Beer Can has to say on this. To my knowledge she’s been really quiet.


  71. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    VMan, why am I not surprised that you’re extolling the virtues of Prohibition and ignoring its role in the creation of the national organized crime syndicate

    What kind of “conservative” are you again?


  72. - Esquire - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:34 am:

    Drug tests are becoming routine. A friend’s son wanted to stock shelves at Menard’s and drug testing was part of the employment process.

    Employers and insurers do not want people working while impaired.


  73. - Abandon Ship - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:39 am:

    What a lively discussion topic this is!

    You, fools! Can’t you see that this purple haze is all a smoke screen? Rich is distracting you from the Cubs defeating the White Sox last night.

    If Zambrano had erupted yesterday, Rich would be gloating all day long! This drug legalization is a diversionary tactic.

    Next, we will argue about adding fluoride to drinking water!


  74. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:39 am:

    - They’re not working jobs requiring a clean drug test. -

    What’s your point? Do you think every good job out there has mandatory drug testing?


  75. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:41 am:

    AS, that’s not true. Plus, I am completely unaware of any baseball games played yesterday.


  76. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:41 am:

    @VM I don’t think this is a Conservative v Libeal thing too much. Gary Johnsonm ex Guv of New Mexico, and delcared GOP Prez candidate, made the case for it at an AFP event in Chicago which got back into reviewing the literature. It appeals to a certain kind of Conservative.


  77. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:42 am:

    ===What kind of “conservative” are you again?===

    I think he’s a mainstream conserative unfortunately. The kind who believes in individual liberty, except when he doesn’t. The kind of conservative who believes in the inherent superiority of the free market, except when he doesn’t. The kind of conservative who believes big government always gets in the way of the common man trying simply to lead his life in peace as he sees fit, except when he doesn’t.

    I just want some intellectual consistency from conservatives. Somewhere Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley are weeping. They wouldn’t recognize today’s “conservatives.”


  78. - Tony - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:44 am:

    Rich is dead-on. The anti-drug folks can’t get it through their heads that the War on Drugs is a failure, and has been for many, many years. It needs to end now.
    As for issues of endangering the public, that argument is incredibly thin. Laws exist *already* regarding driving under the influence of drugs or any other substance that impairs you. Those rules re: employers and drug tests will not go away if you legalize pot. If you get caught driving a car while high, or if you are high while performing work, you will probably have to pay the consequences, just as you do now.
    I’m surprised - and I’m not - to see “small government” conservatives so desperately cling on to the War on Drugs. I thought they were for personal responsibility. Ha!


  79. - vole - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:47 am:

    I saw something recently that indicated that about one quarter of GDP is linked somehow to spending on security. The war on drugs would be included in this category as would spending on all kinds of defense, wars, law enforcement, prisons, judicial systems, security technologies, etc.

    One quarter of GDP. That is a lot of jobs in a sick economy. Also a lot of constituents to keep that flow exactly where it is. The liquor industry for one is heavily invested in maintaining their monopoly on legal mind benders.

    Rich’s post hints at just where alternatives to that flow may lie. And possibilities for better pathways toward happiness. Much of this will never pass go while we contain or limit the discussion. The place to begin may be the definition of GDP itself and how we warp our value systems with such delusional measures of progress and contentment.


  80. - Way Way Down Here - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:53 am:

    ==Somewhere Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley are weeping.==

    I recently reread Goldwater’s “The Conscience of a Conservative”. EVERYBODY should read that book again.


  81. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:56 am:

    I’m not certain what the “War on Drugs” means exactly other than maybe a stream of Grant money.

    I frawn on the habit of using the word “War” on Government efforts to solve all sorts of social ills.

    I’d agree with Preckwinkle and McCarthy that police and prosecuters failing citzens. I don’t think that means stop enforcement though, and abolish the law.

    The Libertarian brand in the GOP is growing. Gary Johnson and Ron Paul both talking like Preckwinkle. I don’t think they’re a majority of GOP primary voters, but the Libertarian side’s grown.

    I still think a growing economy with more plentiful jobs would make things look a lot better and reduce all sorts of social ills. Especially if that growing number of employers are testing.


  82. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:00 pm:

    - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:31 am:

    “I’d be curious to see what AG Madigan who went after Pabst on the design of a Beer Can has to say on this. To my knowledge she’s been really quiet.”

    She will weigh in when it no longer matters.

    A recent poll (like in the last couple of days) finds that the GOP is starting to trend more libertarian. The mainstream GOP is moving, as opposed to the entrenched liberal opinion, centered in only a few states, which is also shown by recent polling to be more and more out of step.


  83. - Coach - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:10 pm:

    Bill,

    Drug testing in the workplace would of course need to be modified if we legalize the ganja. As it stands now, you can’t pass a the test with a trace of the drug in your system. If we legalize it, then we’d need to modify the tests to account for the fact that some folks will legally carry traces of the drug in their system.

    I suspect there is a method to determine whether an individual is under the influence, as distinct from having previously been under the influence. Law enforcement dealing with drivers under the influence would need to deal with the same challenge - they would need a tool to isolate those under the influence from those sober but with traces in their system.

    Separately, what’s your point about certain workers having jobs that don’t require drug tests? It seems like you’re implying that workers not required to take drug tests are in less sophisticated jobs. But, at least in my experience, the employers requiring drug tests are either in the business of hiring vast numbers of employees or they’re hiring people to operate machinery or do physical labor. The employers hiring for “higher level” jobs tend not to test.

    I’ve worked for about 20 different employers in the last 15 years (all service or white collar jobs), and just one required a drug test.


  84. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:13 pm:

    Please, Rich. I do live in the real world. As a result, I’m not “goofy enough” to think that telling people “Go do as many drugs and play as much video poker as you want because we’ll be here with a Link card to make sure you don’t starve if you go overboard,” would be better than the status quo. We need to find a workable balance, and just because the current balance we have in place isn’t working doesn’t mean we should throw everything overboard.


  85. - JBilla - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:13 pm:

    Yeah Rich! Competent policy is coming to Chicago!


  86. - vole - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:15 pm:

    Wars select for a ratcheting up and selection of all kinds of monstrous defenses and counter defenses, attacks and counter attacks. Some very monstrous chemicals like Meth have grown to dominance with this evolving scenario.

    But what has possibly been lumped in and lost with all the baddies:

    http://motherjones.com/kevin-drum/2011/06/magic-mushrooms-safe-still-illegal


  87. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    GOP, don’t be so darned dense.

    I mean, think for a second.

    You’re already paying a whole lot more than the price of a LINK card by imprisoning hundreds of thousands of these people.

    Your argument is a red herring. Period.

    And if you’re that concerned about your taxes, you’ll demand an end to this hugely expensive “war.”


  88. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    === Prohibition dramatically cut consumption ===

    Prohibition did ensure recreational drinkers were less likely to drink, but it did nothing to reduce alcohol abuse, and gave rise to organized crime.

    Moreover, recreational drinkers simply turned to other forms of recreation, and I don’t mean tiddlywinks.


  89. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:16 pm:

    Drug testing in the workplace would of course need to be modified if we legalize the ganja

    I don’t think Illinois’s going to pay for the increased risk and liability on a mandate to hire impaired staff.

    re: what’s your point about certain workers having jobs that don’t require drug tests?

    Not sure where I made it, and if I did, I expressed myself poorly. I find it common accross all sorts of jobs and with good reason.


  90. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:17 pm:

    It took nearly 60 years and a doubling of the US population for alcohol consumption to return to where it was before Prohibition. Now imagine the number of pot smokers if it was legal. You think there would be no problems? Think we have what it takes to control that size problem?

    It will be a disaster bigger than you ever imagine.


  91. - Cook County Commoner - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:19 pm:

    There are insurmountable hurdles to legalization of at least marijuana, which I favor. The lawyers, prison guards, drug sniffing dog raisers, prison builders,police, etc. and their unions, trade and professional organizations will pile fortunes onto our venal legislators to maintain the status quo. Then the growers and dealers will triple that sum until sugar plums are bursting from politicians’ eyes. Democrats will trot out some studies provided by a Mexican drug lord obtained after a generous grant to a prestigious university that legalization must be further studied (for eternity). The Republicans will just trot out some evangelical tripe, mutter something about law and order and the pollution of America’s sacred bodily fluids. The state dept. will quietly destabilize any legalization efforts because it does not want to worry about replacing drug money in foreign hell holes, which was the only thing keeping them from revolution. Probably the same holds true for many of our domestic hell holes. Come to think of it, maybe legalization isn’t such a good idea. In America, putting unfortunate minorities into jail for all this economic activity is a good thing.


  92. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:20 pm:

    ===It will be a disaster bigger than you ever imagine. ===

    Yeah. Riots over Dorito shortages.

    Seriously, man, have you ever smoked weed in your life?


  93. - Way Way Down Here - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    “A riot es an ugly ting.”

    Couldn’t help myself.


  94. - cermak_rd - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    With the drug screening, isn’t it true that unless you work in a few specific fields (e.g. bus driver, policeman) you are only testing on being hired? So seems like only job seekers (or folks who work in those jobs that retest) would be prohibited. Obviously, anyone showing up for work impaired, can be fired, as is the case today with alcohol.

    I’m not sure you would increase the supply of users substantially with legalization. Pot users, perhaps, but as a non-addictive drug, that doesn’t seem like any worse of a thing than an increase in vodka consumption.

    Hard drugs? I kind of doubt it. The number of folks using heroin, for instance, has stayed pretty darned stable for quite a while.

    Maybe if you made other drugs more available, meth would go away.


  95. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:24 pm:

    –Somewhere Barry Goldwater and William F. Buckley are weeping.–

    You’ve got that right, and you can throw that old FDR New Dealer Reagan into the mix, too.

    I miss the old GOP and the real conservatives. These Hat Ats on Fox and cable are simply embarrassing, the tail wagging the dog.

    The most memorable interview I ever had was with Alan Simpson of Wyoming, when he was out in the Quads campaigning for Lynn Martin against Simon.

    We met for lunch at 11. He ordered a martini. I ordered an ice tea. He smiled and called me a name that can only be said in good company if you add the suffix “cat.”

    Over the course of two hours and more martinis, he tore the paint off the walls about many things, but specifically the vacuousness and danger of the zealots who were pouring into the GOP and degenerating the word “conservative.”

    It was awesome, but I didn’t have a line I could use for my story on Martin. He laughed and said “say something nice about Lynn,” flirted with the waitress, left me the tab and walked out the door towards the river.

    About four hours later I got a call from the Martin people:

    “Where is Sen. Simpson?”

    I wish I knew.


  96. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:26 pm:

    ===Yeah. Riots over Dorito shortages.

    I think you meant Cheetos.


  97. - Coach - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:26 pm:

    I can’t for the life of me get my head around this notion that legalizing the ganja and video poker is somehow going to compel masses of people to suddenly get stoned out of their minds and rush to the nearest tavern to spend what remains of their paycheck on video poker.

    Hello … ? Anybody home … ?

    Video poker is already widely available, albeit illegal to the degree that tavern operators are paying out on them. I’m not sure I’d go as far as Rich in saying they’re available in “just about every tavern in the state,” but if you want to find them in your neighborhood then you can probably find them.

    As for drugs? I’d suggest polling teenagers about whether it’s easier to buy illicit drugs or cigarettes. I’d bet you that many, if not a majority, say it’s easier to buy drugs than smokes.

    The point is: drugs are out there, man! They’re everywhere and they’re easy to access.


  98. - VanillaMan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:27 pm:

    When pot is out of the shadows we will discover that it already is a bigger problem than we knew. Now double the number of users. Can not outlaw it? Then you will not control it either. Advocates are naive.


  99. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:27 pm:

    ===The war on drugs has failed?===

    Yes. Clearly. By almost every measure. If the point was to eradicate drug use, it failed. If the point was to end the importation of drugs, it failed.

    The war on drugs did nothing to reduce demand and very little to reduce supply. Pot used to be imported from Mexico and South America, now it is home grown (although the best pot comes from Canada). Heroin comes from Southeast Asia and our new friends in Afghanistan. Cocaine, which was once the key ingredient in Coca-Cola, and is widely used in dental offices across the country as Novacaine, is cheaper and more pure today than when Nixon launched the “war.”

    The only measure that might be considered “progress” in the WOD is the incarceration rate of nonviolent drug offenders. That is not the best way to keep score.

    But keeping repeating the same thing over and over (and spend more tax money doing so) and expect different results. That’s an insane government policy.


  100. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:28 pm:

    Yes, VanillaMan, because cigarettes and alcohol are not at all controlled.

    Get a grip, man.


  101. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:34 pm:

    ===It took nearly 60 years and a doubling of the US population for alcohol consumption to return to where it was before Prohibition. Now imagine the number of pot smokers if it was legal. You think there would be no problems? Think we have what it takes to control that size problem?

    Where are you getting this? And are you talking about per capita? Because you don’t appear to have any basis for this. Per capita consumption was back to pre prohibition levels by the 1970s.


  102. - Coach - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:35 pm:

    === I don’t think Illinois’s going to pay for the increased risk and liability on a mandate to hire impaired staff. ===

    Who said anything about requiring the state to pay the cost of drug testing in the workplace?

    And who suggested allowing “impaired” staff to work. That’s the point of drug tests - to exclude impaired individuals.

    Again, it’s clear from my experience that drug testing is anything but universal.


  103. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:36 pm:

    VM said,

    “When pot is out of the shadows we will discover that it already is a bigger problem than we knew.”

    Well that’s precisely the point many are making. The fact that we don’t know the extent means that there is a number of people not identified already. Legalizing does not necessarily change that number.


  104. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===When pot is out of the shadows we will discover that it already is a bigger problem than we knew. Now double the number of users. Can not outlaw it? Then you will not control it either. Advocates are naive.

    So spell it out instead of making vaguely scary declarations. What are the costs we are unaware of with pot usage? Like any drug including alcohol it has negative impacts on health when abused, but that doesn’t mean it would create a disaster. You do understand that pot is one of the less addictive drugs? Right? You know where I learned that? DARE.


  105. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:37 pm:

    ===Legalizing does not necessarily change that number.===

    Exactly. Thanks Cinci.


  106. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:42 pm:

    =====Legalizing does not necessarily change that number.===

    As a pedantic point, you probably see an increase in usage by some who wouldn’t do it when it was illegal, but I think the effect size is pretty unclear. Then again, pot isn’t terribly addictive.

    As someone who doesn’t like it, trust me in noting that some people will try it and decide that they weren’t missing much. Then they’ll go back to their rum and beer. Oh wait, I didn’t that while it was illegal.

    One other point on video poker–there are other places that are pretty easy and legal to get it already–they are called casinos. Illinois is probably getting some new ones anyway and legally regulating the machines is a lot easier than allowing organized crime to make money off of them.


  107. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:43 pm:

    Save us from the “small-government conservatives” who want to be in your personal business 24/7.


  108. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:46 pm:

    Remember this discussion the next time we talk about trans-fat foods or energy drinks.

    Government - Get the Hell out of my Life!


  109. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:46 pm:

    Rich,

    Per person, you are right on the he Link vs. prison comparison. What’s missing from the equation, however, is how many people will end up on the ‘Link side,’ so to speak. Can we assume that those who are currently incarcerated on drug charges would otherwise be living successful, responsible lives?? Can we assume that no one who is currently abstaining from drugs will being using/abusing if it were legalized?? Neither of us can answer either of those questions yes or no, let alone add a quantitative value to it. So we really can’t make that comparison.

    By the by, I think it’s wrong to categorically declare the “war on drugs” to be a failure. Yes, it failed in the sense that drug use has not declined. But can we conclusively say whether it failed to slow what would have been an otherwise greater increase of use/abuse??**

    The same concept applies to video poker. Yes, the machines are already in the bars, and in many cases being illicitly used for real gaming. But can we conclude that only those who are currently partaking in the illicit gaming will be partaking in legalized gaming??

    In either case, do we really want to find out?? I mean, I could be completely wrong. Maybe no one who currently abstains from drugs and bar-based video gaming will take either habit up upon legalization. And maybe those who do will do so responsibility. Thus, we may be currently denying people their right to get high or gamble in a responsible manner for no justifiable reason. If so, that’s fine with me (even as a small government conservative), because the price we as a society would pay if my assumptions are the ones to turn out right is just too high (no pun intended).

    **incidently, one can apply the same logic to argue that public education has failed. but while a small minority of conservatives argue that the system should be scrapped entirely, most would simply argue that - like the war on drugs -we simply need new strategies, accountability and tools.


  110. - lincoln's beard - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:57 pm:

    I think I read in Crain’s that a prominent gang leader was mulling over the option of leaving the state if the current legal incentives to purchase drugs on the black market were repealed. In today’s economic climate, and with the recent tax increase, it’s just foolish to even float the idea of further penalizing illegal business in our already-suffering state. Think of the valuable entry-level jobs that would be lost if illegal drug trafficking organizations moved to states that care about and support this important industry. It’s vital that we continue to support the price of drugs by keeping their purchase illegal, and to suppress unnecessary competition from legitimate businesses.


  111. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 12:58 pm:

    @wordslinger Which small gov conservatives in your personal biz do you have in mind here?

    I think Nixon first used the words “War on Drugs”(Nixon of wage-price-controls was hardly a small gov guy) and its failure seems nothing more than a big government failure to me.

    I still thing economic growth and jobs the best solution, and it’s surprizing more Liberals aren’t saying that.


  112. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:00 pm:

    ===I still thing economic growth and jobs the best solution===

    To what? How does that solve the problem of the failed war on drugs? We had plenty of growth in the 90s, did that solve the war on drugs or did it greatly expand?


  113. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    I’ve been making this argument for nearly 30 years. Such liberals as William F Buckley and George Schultz also make/made the same argument.

    The eponymous named book that can be found here by a cop turned professor makes the best argument for it in less than a few hundred pages.

    http://www.copinthehood.com/

    Now I’m a short haired, middle aged, military veteran who had never used any illegal drugs. However, if tomorrow I want to purchase a big bad of weed and smoke it or bake it into some brownies it’s none of the government’s business.

    What is it about “freedom” that scares so many people who call themselves “conservatives”.

    Now the start of a prayer:

    Lord,

    Save us from the left wing know what is best busybodies.

    Save us from the right wing imperial moralists.

    Save us from those who would save us.


  114. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    - Remember this discussion the next time we talk about trans-fat foods or energy drinks. -

    I know you want those issues to be the same, but they’re not. If drugs were legal and being marketed toward children, there would be a problem. If it was discovered that a restaurant was using a drug as an ingredient that had no safe usage level, there would be a problem. Try to think through the issue once in a while.


  115. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:03 pm:

    Maybe the Cook County Chair ought talk to our AG.

    September 27, 2005|By Dr. Dan Lustig, Associate director, Clinical and Administrative Services, Haymarket Center in a letter to the Chicago Trib

    Fortunately Illinois is ahead of many states in addressing the meth problem. With the devastation of the meth problem first evident Downstate, Atty. Gen. Lisa Madigan began focusing on this drug more than three years ago, forming a task force of diverse vested parties: education, law enforcement, substance-abuse treatment, Department of Children and Family Services, and criminal-justice agencies that have convened to attack this drug head-on. Chicago also has established a local crystal meth task force to coordinate information dissemination and to discuss developing an infrastructure for appropriate services.

    Services must be addressed. Drug treatment for methamphetamine requires a different approach than that for the other drugs discussed in your editorial. Specifically, clinical trials have clearly demonstrated that longer periods of treatment are required to have successful outcomes. Also mental-health care must be incorporated into the substance-abuse treatment model. Because the withdrawal symptoms from this drug often are displayed as mental-health issues, mental-health care is critical from the onset of services.

    Some wars on drugs can be successfully waged it seems.


  116. - Precinct Captain - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:03 pm:

    The first pot law in America was a tax.

    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Marihuana_Tax_Act_of_1937

    If the revenue aspect had been enforced right in the first place, we wouldn’t be where we are today with the drug war.


  117. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:04 pm:

    “I know you want those issues to be the same, but they’re not.”

    You’re right. Drugs are way more dangerous than trans-fat and energy drinks.

    And to think, Rich called ME dense.


  118. - carbaby - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    I worked in a bar in Central Illinois in the early 90’s and we had three video slot/poker machines. I had a separate payout bag to keep track of- believe me that was a bag you did not want to be short. They made more money from those machines on a weekly basis then they did from the bar. I would’ve loved to get a cut of that money- they split it 50/50 with the supplier of the machines. That money was all cash off the books. I can tell you that it amounted to approximately $250,000 cash per year that was split 50/50. And this was just one bar. It was roughly the same for all the bars that I knew of. Times were different back then and there was no thought to capitalize on this money maker through legalization. Imagine how much revenue could have been generated from this long ago.
    I also think that the overcriminalization of drugs has created a significant segment of the population that has perpetuated poverty, crime and more violence than was ever probably intended. I have worked with this population for almost 20 yrs and have seen this issue from multiple sides. There are no easy answers and no one will ever be completely satisfied- but I completely agree with Rich. I actually find it refreshing that Toni Preckwinkle and Garry McCarthy made the bold statements that they did. That is such a departure from what would have been expected.


  119. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:06 pm:

    The biggest danger, GOP, is getting arrested.


  120. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:07 pm:

    To what? How does that solve the problem of the failed war on drugs? We had plenty of growth in the 90s, did that solve the war on drugs or did it greatly expand?

    Jobs and growth solve all sorts of things. More revenue, more funding for programs, more people with less-time-on-their-hands.

    A buddy is a paramed in the NW Burbs and he says the number of calls on family violence increases as the unemployment rate goes up.

    Full employment solves many ills. It’s hard to know where to start the list.


  121. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:10 pm:

    ===But can we conclusively say whether it failed to slow what would have been an otherwise greater increase of use/abuse??**===

    Here’s an interesting article from the BBC about Britain’s experience with legal heroin up until the 1950s.

    http://news.bbc.co.uk/2/hi/uk_news/magazine/4647018.stm

    Heroin is obviously highly addictive, but yet even when it was being advertised and was widely prescribed, it didn’t become much of a public health scourge. I don’t think there are too many people who want to be addicted, so no, I don’t believe if it became legal (and heavily regulated), we’d see people change their minds and rush to get hooked on it.

    More to the point, it’s impossible to prove a negative. We know enough to say with certainty that the War on Drugs failed. And it is a costly failure. And yet it continues, mostly because reactionaries spread fear about the what-if scenarios that are grounded in fantasy, not reality.


  122. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:13 pm:

    – I had a separate payout bag to keep track of- believe me that was a bag you did not want to be short.–

    You’re not suggesting that organized crime is involved in the long flourishing Illinois video poker business, are you?

    I hope organized crime never gets involved in the marijuana business. It would be a shame if sinister, anti-social violent elements ever profited off the sale of a rather benign weed.

    For you “Justified” fans out there, marijuana is by far the biggest cash crop in Kentucky, and is actually one of the state’s biggest businesses.


  123. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:15 pm:

    ===More to the point, it’s impossible to prove a negative. We know enough to say with certainty that the War on Drugs failed. And it is a costly failure. And yet it continues, mostly because reactionaries spread fear about the what-if scenarios that are grounded in fantasy, not reality.

    Legalization or even decriminalization doesn’t mean you stop addressing the health effects through public health programs. It just means it’s easier to talk to people who aren’t hiding as much.


  124. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:19 pm:

    Rich –

    If all we are talking about is pot, then maybe. But heroine, crack and meth are far more dangerous than McNuggets and Red-Bull.

    And you can’t have it both ways. If you want to contain your talk of legalization to just pot, then you argument about legalization ending the power and violence of street gangs is bogus.


  125. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:21 pm:

    ===But heroine, crack and meth are far more dangerous than McNuggets and Red-Bull. ===

    No disagreement there. But mountain climbing is also quite dangerous, as are a whole host of other things that are not illegal.


  126. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:23 pm:

    But perhaps I shouldn’t have mentioned that because I could’ve accidentally set off the federal war on mountain climbing.

    lol


  127. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:25 pm:

    –If you want to contain your talk of legalization to just pot, then you argument about legalization ending the power and violence of street gangs is bogus. –

    It sure would take a lot of money off the table though, wouldn’t it? Estimates are $44 billion of illegal pot a year in the United States.

    You can buy a lot of nines with that kind of money.


  128. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:28 pm:

    - But heroine, crack and meth are far more dangerous than McNuggets and Red-Bull. -

    Lots of things wrong with this statement. First, the most dangerous parts of heroin, crack and meth are the people selling them. Excluding crack, doctors prescribe opiates and amphetamines all the time. Some still abuse these prescriptions, but its certainly easier for a doctor to figure that out if he’s the one providing the prescription. A dealer doesn’t care and in fact counts on abuse.

    Second, trans fats aren’t illegal. If I want to make trans fats at my house and fry my nuggets in them, I’m free to do so. But it is, or is going to be, illegal for restaurants to fry my nuggets in them because they are poisons. Any doctor will tell you that drugs, when used in moderation, are far less toxic than trans fats.

    Third, there was never a law against red bull. There are laws regarding alcoholic beverages with high alcohol content and caffeine. This is how regulation works, and it would work better with drugs than the current system.


  129. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:32 pm:

    Legal = regulated and controlled. Illegal = unregulated and uncontrolled.

    This really shouldn’t be that complicated, whether it is drugs or gambling.


  130. - reform - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:34 pm:

    So, it’s recognized the mob is heavily involved in the video game industry — the same industry that lobbied successfully to legalize video poker.

    The same bar owners now doing business with the mob and making illegal payouts will be licensed for legal video poker. How does that get the mob out again?


  131. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:35 pm:

    - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:01 pm:

    “Try to think through the issue once in a while.”

    If you don’t see connections, maybe you should do some thinking once in a while, too. Personal liberty and responsibility, by a person or a parent, don’t seem to be in your equations. Ever.

    Rich,

    Cars are about as dangerous as it gets concerning public safety. Just saying’…

    RE: Video Gaming

    The law passed two years ago. Why aren’t the supporting regulations in place? Why are we not already generating state revenues? Is it a pocket-veto by the gaming commission? Inept leadership?


  132. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:36 pm:

    reform, you could make a living selling red herrings.


  133. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:36 pm:

    ===How does that get the mob out again.===

    First, read carbaby’s comment above. Instead of splitting the take with mob guys, the bar owners split the take with the state.

    Try to keep up.


  134. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:41 pm:

    - Personal liberty and responsibility, by a person or a parent, don’t seem to be in your equations. Ever. -

    I don’t think a restaurant has the right to cook my food with a poison, and I don’t think beer companies have the right to mix lots of alcohol and caffeine and market it toward children. I guess that makes me Joseph Stalin.


  135. - reform - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:42 pm:

    YDD == Prohibition did nothing to reduce alcohol abuse. ==
    The death rate from cirrhosis dropped dramatically during Prohibition.


  136. - IrishPirate - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:43 pm:

    - reform - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:42 pm:

    YDD == Prohibition did nothing to reduce alcohol abuse. ==
    The death rate from cirrhosis dropped dramatically during Prohibition.

    Yep,

    the death rate from “lead poisoning” went way up. Rat at tat tat.


  137. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:44 pm:

    LOL, reform. Such an accomplishment. If we banned cars, there’d be no more auto accidents, either. Just think of it. Whiplash injuries would be a thing of the past.


  138. - Nuclear Bozo - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:44 pm:

    Thanks Rich for generating this discussion and pointing out very effectively that the WOD is a waste of resources and legalization is the better way. Hope I get to see the day when that war it’s over.


  139. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:45 pm:

    - Whiplash injuries would be a thing of the past. -

    No more ambulance chasing lawyers? I can’t believe the GOP hasn’t thought of this yet.


  140. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:46 pm:

    Seriously, dude, when you start talking about Prohibition in a fond manner, you might want to start doing some reading as to why it was repealed.


  141. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:48 pm:

    STL,

    No more ambulances!


  142. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:49 pm:

    There would be ambulances, they’d just be horse-drawn. Then again, the rate of death and injuries from horses back in the day was phenomenal. So, they’d have to go. Looks like people power.


  143. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:51 pm:

    I know this is a waste of time, but things are slow today.

    “Overall cirrhosis mortality in the United States increased steadily following the end of Prohibition in 1933 until 1973, when the age-adjusted death rate peaked at 18.1 deaths per 100,000 population. Cirrhosis mortality then began an almost steady decline that has continued throughout the last four decades.”

    Reform, you only did half a Google search. Mortality increased steadily then declined steadily. This doesn’t support your point, and in fact, it undermines your argument.

    Also of note, less than half of the cirhosis deaths in 2007 were not alcohol-related. So even using that metric, your argument is rubbish.

    http://pubs.niaaa.nih.gov/publications/surveillance88/cirr07.htm

    Google is your friend. Use it.


  144. - dupage dan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:53 pm:

    While I can guess why I was deleted it seems I didn’t post anything more provocative than other stuff here but I know I ain’t in charge so, oh well.

    This may result in another deletion but in this topic I guess I am hard headed.

    If we decide that the war on drugs has failed because people are still using drugs what happens if we compare that to other societal ills? We know that people still break the law in other areas (take insider trading, for instance) but we don’t give up on pursuing and prosecuting folks from commiting criminal acts because it is difficult and people still break the law. We don’t give up on preventing industries and companies from polluting our world because it is hard to do and we haven’t succeeded in stopping the violations.

    What we do is recognize that the activities have a deleterious affect on our society and we do our best to prevent the behavior where we can and prosecute the perpetrators when we can’t.

    While the comparisons may not be precise, I present them because many here are saying that since folk still abuse drugs and we can’t prevent smuggling that this is evidence of a failure of the “war”. Some societal challanges are ongoing - child abuse, illiteracy, homelessness. We don’t give up on trying to address these issues because it is hard and we haven’t been able to eliminate them.

    Those in my family who have substance abuse/addiction difficulty accept that they made poor choices that led to their problems. Legalizing currently illegal mind altering substances will likely end the stigma of their use. Social stigmas have an impact on behavior, however odious the stigma might be. Lose the shame factor and there is less reluctance to engage in the first place.


  145. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:54 pm:

    The nostalgia for the good old days of Prohibition here are astounding.

    Geez, could some of you guys crack a book every once in a while? Unless government dictates on personal behavior, rampant disrespect for the law, public corruption, the rise of national organized crime and the solidification of a national income tax are the good old days to you.


  146. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 1:57 pm:

    Dan, when we need to build more prisons to house those convicted of insider trading, you might have a point. I’m sorry for the experience your relatives had with substance abuse, but that in no way should impact the rights of otherwise law abiding citizens to smoke a joint in the privacy of their home.

    And yes, from this and previous posts on this topic, you are hard-headed on the subject.


  147. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:01 pm:

    STL,

    Um, yes….I suppose that opiates and amphetamines prescribed by a physician are safe, relatively speaking.

    But, then again, that’s not what I freaking said, now is it?!?!

    I said “meth” and “heroine.” Both of which are far, far more dangerous than trans-facts and alcoholic energy drinks.


  148. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:02 pm:

    –Legalizing currently illegal mind altering substances will likely end the stigma of their use. Social stigmas have an impact on behavior, however odious the stigma might be. Lose the shame factor and there is less reluctance to engage in the first place.–

    If you’re in favor of the government enforcing social stigmas, maybe it would just be easier and cheaper to require weed smokers to wear a green “G” on their shirts, or get dreadlocks, or perhaps sport caps with big ganja leaves on them.

    The social stigma would be overpowering and greatly influence behavior to just how we, the good people, like it.


  149. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:03 pm:

    dd, does your “war on insider trading” cost billions of dollars, foster the growth of organized crime, enrichment of street gangs and open up the door to massive government intrusion into private lives? Also, did some crack smoker nearly cause the downfall of the entire world financial order?

    If you can’t see the difference, you’re willfully blind, man. I’m sorry about your family issues with this. I truly am. But I simply don’t believe that the government ought to protect us from ourselves.


  150. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:04 pm:

    === The death rate from cirrhosis dropped dramatically during Prohibition. ===

    LOL.

    True. Because of Prohibition?

    Nope.

    After Prohibition was repealed, cirrhosis death rates in the U.S. remained relatively flat until the 60’s.

    Cirrhosis rates dropped in the early 20th century for a number of reasons, most notably the virtual elimination of Yellow Fever.

    Cirrhosis rose again in the 60’s due to another major cause — hepatitis from IV drug use.


  151. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:05 pm:

    ===Social stigmas have an impact on behavior, however odious the stigma might be. Lose the shame factor and there is less reluctance to engage in the first place===

    Yeah, and the government sure has done that with cigarettes. Did you see the new government mandated images for packs of smokes? The public stigma can still be laid on thick for legal products. You’re confusing your issues here.


  152. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:08 pm:

    gop, you seem to be willfully failing to misunderstand the point.

    A company adding a quite harmful substance into your food is far different from you choosing on your own to put a potentially harmful product into your own body.


  153. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:09 pm:

    “But mountain climbing is also quite dangerous, as are a whole host of other things that are not illegal.”

    Really, Rich. I mean – really??

    I can’t believe I even need to debate this point with you, as if there was a reasonable equivalence between getting strung out on meth, heroine or crack and mountain climbing. I don’t know a lot of mountain climbers who neglect their kids because they’re just so high on the mountain thrill, or prostitute themselves for a carabiner. Maybe I need to take a tour of a nearby climber rehab clinic so that I can see the dangers for myself.


  154. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:10 pm:

    gop, you’re stereotyping drug users. If all drug users did what you think they do, the whole country would stop cold dead.

    Geez, man, get outside your walls.


  155. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:14 pm:

    DuPage Dan,

    RE: Insider trading

    There are laws because this is an example of theft, one individual hurting another. Drug legalization is different, and individual hurting himself. The government should be involved in the former, but not the latter.


  156. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:15 pm:

    “A company adding a quite harmful substance into your food is far different from you choosing on your own to put a potentially harmful product into your own body.”
    Seeing as how that argument is utterly nullified by disclosure and disclaimer rules (not to mention the fact that no one is shoving this stuff down your throat), I figured that couldn’t actually be the point.


  157. - Bill Baar - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:15 pm:

    The nostalgia for the good old days of Prohibition here are astounding

    I’d rather pine for the 20’s then the 30’s or 40’s.


  158. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:16 pm:

    - I said “meth” and “heroine.” Both of which are far, far more dangerous than trans-facts and alcoholic energy drinks. -

    Meth and heroin are the chemically same things as doctor prescribed amphetamines and opiates. And prescription opiates like oxycontin are far stronger than any heroin (there is no e unless you’re talking about a female hero) you can score on the street. So essentially you’re agreeing with me that these drugs can be much safer when controlled by a doctor instead of when illegally manufactured on the street. Agreed.

    Adding, one of my closest friends has been taking amphetamines for ADHD every day since she was about 8 years old. She’s now 27, healthy, and a successful engineer. Had she been eating trans fats every single day for 19 years she would be dead.


  159. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:17 pm:

    Rich,

    Re: Transfats.

    If there is public disclosure, which the government should mandate, it is up to the consumer to decide whether or not to participate in commerce with the store. The same for smoking in casinos and any other behavior that is legal for the individual to do.


  160. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:18 pm:

    Willie Nelson.

    There, but for the grace of God, go I.

    With about five pounds of Mendocino County sinsimilla on my bus at all times.

    Seriously, what’s to come of this young man from Texas if he continues his wicked ways? Traveling all the time, singing songs for money just to buy weed?

    “Whiskey River take my mind…..”


  161. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:20 pm:

    @GOP -

    The permanent brain damage from high altitude climbing, football, and boxing are all well-documented.

    The cure for child abuse and neglect or prostitution isn’t to spend $40K per year incarcerating people for drug possession.

    Child abuse prevention programs that provide support and training for new parents cost about $5K.

    Job training and drug treatment programs are pretty freakin’ cheap too, by comparison.


  162. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:24 pm:

    I am torn. As a descendent of hemp farmers, I think the war on marijuana is money misspent. In truth, alcohol is a more dangerous drug than pot.
    However, I feel more than justified in spending our police resources to keep out cocaine, heroin and the scourage of the West–meth. Maybe I am nuts but I can easily draw the line between a lil’ seed and fullblown meth mouth.


  163. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    - If there is public disclosure, which the government should mandate, it is up to the consumer to decide -

    Yes, we should allow rat poison in corn flakes, too, as long as it says so on the box.


  164. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:27 pm:

    “Job training and drug treatment programs are pretty freakin’ cheap too, by comparison.”

    And a small fraction of the saving on police work and incarcerations should be programmed to this, the rest of the savings going to either balancing the budget or tax cuts.


  165. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:31 pm:

    Yes, STL, it is always possible to find a ridiculous argument in any discussion to prove how stupid something is. It’s called reductio ad absurdum, btw.


  166. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:33 pm:

    - It’s called reductio ad absurdum, btw. -

    I think you need to read up a bit on how dangerous trans fats are. Rat poison may be a little extreme, lead would not be.


  167. - MrJM - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:34 pm:

    Because some people sometimes abuse it to ill effect, it is clearly time to institute a Hot Dog and Sausage Prohibition. I’ve known far more lives cut short by Demon Weiners than by either weed or cocaine.

    – MrJM


  168. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:40 pm:

    “one of my closest friends has been taking amphetamines for ADHD every day since she was about 8 years old. She’s now 27, healthy, and a successful engineer”

    Great, good for her. But we’re not talking about legalizing medicinal amphetamines for prescription use. That is already legal. We are talking about legalizing amphetamines for recreation use. Can you please give me an example of someone you know who uses amphetamines for recreational use without it interfering with their life?


  169. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:41 pm:

    gop, did you go to college? Really, how sheltered of a life do you live?


  170. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:44 pm:

    ===Can you please give me an example of someone you know who uses amphetamines for recreational use without it interfering with their life?===

    Major League Baseball was, and probably still is, a hot bed of speed freaks. Most clubhouses have two pots of coffee, one is regular coffee, the other is coffee laced with amphetamines. Now that might be using speed for professional purposes and not strictly recreational use, but still.

    Truck drivers. Airline pilots. Night shift workers. Med school residents. Lots of people use amphetamines. Most don’t develop dependency or other problems. Some do.


  171. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:47 pm:

    ===Can you please give me an example of someone you know who uses amphetamines for recreational use without it interfering with their life?===

    Holy Cow, Jimmy, they didn’t call Willie Stargell “Pops” because of his paternal nature. And you know what put the hustle in Charlie Hustle, don’t you?


  172. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:48 pm:

    - Can you please give me an example of someone you know who uses amphetamines for recreational use without it interfering with their life? -

    Sure could, but I doubt my friends would appreciate that. It’s illegal, ya know.


  173. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:49 pm:

    -47th,

    Are you sure the bennies aren’t used to keep players awake during boring cross-town series instead of a performance enhancer?


  174. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:52 pm:

    While we’re on baseball, a little Todd Snider:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sugCwMxwPRk


  175. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:57 pm:

    @Cincy -

    1/4 of our prison population is incarcerated for non-violent drug offenses.

    Following the lead of KENTUCKY and decriminalizing drug possession would free up close to $500 million in the state budget.

    That leaves about $400 million for balancing the budget.

    P.S. A little more for balancing the budget if you require folks who are diverted into drug treatment to pay atleast some of the cost of their care. A whole lot more if you require insurance companies to cover medical treatment for alcohol and drug addiction.


  176. - Yellow Dog Democrat - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:58 pm:

    …and if you believe Republicans, you’ll save mucho denero on workplace injuries too.

    Apparently, every injured worker is drunk or on drugs.


  177. - Small Town Liberal - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 2:59 pm:

    - That leaves about $400 million for balancing the budget. -

    Not to mention the tax that would be placed on marijuana.


  178. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:02 pm:

    Speaking of corn flakes:

    http://www.humanevents.com/article.php?id=44343


  179. - CircularFiringSquad - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:08 pm:

    Wow climbing towards 200 posts…..that says a lot for the functioning stoners on the state work force ….keep it up dudes….how about a pilot program? legal weed at the family atmosphere fair and all community bars


  180. - Jake From Elwood - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:19 pm:

    Wordslinger.. Pete Rose is not a good example of a person living a functional life.
    Just sayin’


  181. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:25 pm:

    ===keep players awake during boring cross-town series===

    I don’t know about you Cinci, but I thought last night’s game was pretty exciting, and I was sober as a judge throughout.

    I’d say more, but I’ve already been warned.


  182. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:41 pm:

    To my knowledge, there was no game last night.


  183. - Throwing Stones - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:41 pm:

    Not an amphetamine, but how bout Michael Phelps.


  184. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:44 pm:

    Keith Richards.


  185. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:44 pm:

    47th,

    As my wife tells her friends who are wondering about epidurals during childbirth,

    “Take the drugs.”


  186. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 3:55 pm:

    Keith Richards? That’s like saying Kobe Bryant is a great example of how you can be successful without going to college. For every Keith and Kobe, there are hundreds of shattered lives full of wasted potential.


  187. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 4:05 pm:

    gop, you can’t ask for an example and then reject the example. Doesn’t work that way.


  188. - 47th Ward - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    “I’ve never had a problem with drugs. I’ve had problems with the police.”


  189. - Cincinnatus - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 4:09 pm:

    “In 2008, more than 2 percent of the state’s population was arrested for a victimless crime (and that figure does not count people under 18), and the vast majority of these arrests were for drugs. Illinois’s drug law-enforcement rate is by far the worst in the country at more than three standard deviations worse than average.”

    From:

    http://mercatus.org/freedom-50-states-2011/IL


  190. - grand old partisan - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 4:46 pm:

    Well, Rich, to be fair, I asked for an example of “someone you know.”

    Do you “know” Keith Richards?


  191. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 5:07 pm:

    ==“A company adding a quite harmful substance into your food is far different from you choosing on your own to put a potentially harmful product into your own body.”
    —-Seeing as how that argument is utterly nullified by disclosure and disclaimer rules (not to mention the fact that no one is shoving this stuff down your throat), I figured that couldn’t actually be the point.

    Actually I think treating drugs in general as we treat transfats and energy drinks isn’t a bad idea. I don’t want to ban either of them, but I do think public health efforts to teach people to use such things responsibly is a good idea and then providing treatment when they don’t.


  192. - Rich Miller - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 5:20 pm:

    I feel like I do.

    But I don’t rat on this particular issue, so that’s about all you’re gonna get.


  193. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 6:05 pm:

    Grand, no one’s advocating weed, or bennies, or booze, or tobacco, or gambling (there’s a Hunter S. Thompson line in there somewhere), but there can be an honest debate on the costs in treasure and liberty to a never-ending War on Drugs.

    Hat’s off to Preckwinkle and McCarthy. Their remarks were honest and gutsy. More, please.


  194. - missred - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 7:07 pm:

    Thanks for shining a spotlight on this issue, Rich. For readers who are interested in factual answers to questions about drug policy, I recommend the website www.drugwarfacts.org. Once you start investigating this issue, it’s stunning how many horrible unintended consequences the Drug War has had.

    I worked in drug policy reform for 6+ years, and I’m the first to admit there isn’t a silver bullet to the ills of drug abuse — whether you take a prohibitionist or reform-minded view. That said, we’ve spent decades criminalizing drug users, and it hasn’t worked. (I like your challenge to the antis to defend current policy by the way.) What would be the harm in spending one decade experimenting with new policies? We have nothing to lose at this point in my opinion.


  195. - Plutocrat03 - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 7:09 pm:

    Remind me why we are in a rush to criminalize the latest batch of street drugs? Scientific evidence, anecdotal evidence? how about Lisa Madigan trying to criminalize products like Four Loco?

    If we are to consider a staged roll back of the existing drug laws, should we stop making new substances without some standards?


  196. - wordslinger - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 7:41 pm:

    Off subject, but Paulie Konerko is just getting better.

    He is, right now, about the most dangerous right-handed hitter in baseball. Serve up a fastball, and he will make it scream.

    And there’s no way he’s a juicer. He’s just a ball player.

    Years ago, Paulie and Crede were the guest stars at my sons’ White Sox camp in Oak Park. They signed everything, rubbed heads and were just way cool. Great guys.

    The dude already has a free lunch for life in Chicago for that slammer in the World Series, but let’s go Paulie!


  197. - ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 9:02 pm:

    —Grand, no one’s advocating weed, or bennies, or booze, or tobacco, or gambling

    I believe I am advocating booze ;)


  198. - Been There - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 10:20 pm:

    ===- ArchPundit - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 9:02 pm:
    —Grand, no one’s advocating weed, or bennies, or booze, or tobacco, or gambling
    I believe I am advocating booze ;)

    I will take the 200th post and advocate for gambling


  199. - Mighty M. Mouse - Tuesday, Jun 21, 11 @ 11:11 pm:

    Just the best piece I’ve ever seen Rich write! Brilliant, insightful and pretty concise, too.


  200. - Mark - Wednesday, Jun 22, 11 @ 6:12 am:

    What drugs specifically are you proposing to sell at CVS and Walgreens, at what strength.


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        * Gov. Quinn keeps animal abuser on state payroll.....
        * AIDS Run and Walk Chicago wraps up with over $3.....
        * AIDS Run and Walk Chicago wraps up with over $3.....
        * Governor candidates spotlights on business, hiring..


        * Students sickened, carbon monoxide leak suspected
        * Governor candidates focus on business, hiring
        * 2nd year of Illinois osprey project wraps up
        * Durbin's views on issues as he faces re-election
        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' businesses
        * Carbon monoxide suspected in student illnesses
        * Springfield cemetery restoring Abe Lincoln's vault
        * Peoria cricket group attracts Indian immigrants
        * Slain Illinois cab driver's family awaits justice
        * Repair work delayed by a day on St. Louis bridge

        * Quinn, Rauner clash on business, hiring
        * Coaltion forms to push school funding reform
        * Rauner’s education plan raises eyebrows
        * Governor’s race a tale of business climates
        * Medical marijuana law sponsor defends secret bids
        * Fired IDOT workers sue, say they are ‘political cover’ for Quinn
        * Illinois still employs 173 'improper' state hires
        * Fired IDOT workers sue, say they are 'political cover' for Quinn
        * State lawmakers propose surcharge to pay for police body cameras
        * Surcharge sought for police cameras

        * Lampert agrees to lend Sears $400 million
        * United offers up to $100,000 if workers leave
        * U of C, UIC among finalists for Obama library
        * Sen. Durbin denies 'bullying' business
        * Mike Madigan pulls in $358,000 — in one weekend


        * 9/11 survivor recalls in Chicago speech harrowing moments
        * Gold Coast boutique hit by burglars
        * Jury finds man guilty of killing girl in Indian Head Park
        * Mourners struggle with Indiana officer’s death; funeral is Monday
        * Hundreds pay homage at slain Merrillville officer’s funeral
        * Mourners struggle with Indiana officer’s death; funeral is Monday morning
        * Man charged in beating death held on $2 million bond
        * No-homework policy improves home life for younger students at one CPS school
        * Gold Coast boutique robbed; burglars may have driven through front door
        * Report released on shooting death of Merrillville cop


        * Naperville man contracts West Nile virus
        * Man charged with trying to kill police officer
        * Pedestrian killed in crash involving Wheeling officer, 'wanted to succeed...help our family'
        * Case of girl, 14, killed in Indian Head Park home goes to jury
        * Trial set for cop charged in woman's death
        * Slain Merrillville Officer Nick Schultz honored
        * Handyman who took guinea pig gets probation for trespassing
        * Man, 70, charged with child sex assault
        * Tillman out for season with torn triceps
        * Champaign anchor Dave Benton has terminal cancer


        * Schools CEO: privatizing janitorial services not 'as smooth as we would like'
        * What's The Best Way To Help Kids In Struggling Schools?
        * Quinn Defends Public Education, Though He's A Product of Private Schools
        * Local Response To Ferguson
        * AFSCME Puts Aside Differences, Endorses Quinn
        * The Future Of Downtown Springfield Inc. In Jeopardy
        * A Practice In Poverty
        * Treasurer Candidate Tom Cross Says He Would Sue The Legislature To Force A Balanced Budget
        * Fired IDOT Workers Sue Quinn Administration
        * Inspector's Report Reveals Clout Hiring At IDOT


        * Quinn, Rauner clash on business, hiring
        * Becker Family: Our community is better united
        * Coaltion forms to push school funding reform
        * Rauner’s education plan raises eyebrows
        * Our Opinion: It’s time to get serious about sewers in Springfield
        * Bernard Schoenburg: Be careful when they talk of property taxes
        * Charles Krauthammer: Obama’s uncertain trumpet, again
        * Governor’s race a tale of business climates
        * Statehouse Insider: Christie should feel at home in Illinois
        * Susan Koch: Examples of excellence showcased in honors program


        * News-Gazette SportsPage 9/15/14
        * Simon visits Du Quoin school
        * Updated: Champaign police investigate bank robbery
        * Monday Rewind: Plays of the Game Washington
        * VA leaders in Danville to hear public, government concerns
        * Help solve the murder of Werner Von Black while munching on dinner
        * Sheriff, police chief support body cameras for officers
        * 'Slap in the face': Highland district officials consider filing complaint against teachers union
        * Shoe donations exceed Scouts' expectations
        * 'Our last shot': Sheri Coleman's family gets another day in court


        * Hurricane Odile slams Mexico's Baja California
        * Fox Valley police reports
        * Tri-Cities police reports
        * Union says layoffs will hurt school cleanliness
        * Jesse White vows this will be his last term – again

        * Former "youngest member of Congress" to vi...
        * Congressman Aaron Schock Reacts To Preside...
        * Congressman Schock Congratulates Local Her...
        * Local Letter Carrier Honored as a Hero - C...
        * House Votes to Condemn GITMO Detainee Rele...
        * Issa, Capito, Chabot, Meeks, and Schock jo...
        * Letter: Some questions for Schock about In...
        * Schock travels to India to promote humanit...
        * Congressman leads humanitarian trip to Ind...
        * Share Modi's resolve to fight poverty in I...

        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' bus......
        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' bus......
        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' bus......
        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' bus......
        * AP Interview: Durbin denies 'bullying' bus......

        * Op-Ed: Mark Kirk has more to fear than Mic......

        * Richard Skoda’s dreams.
        * Anita Alvarez's husband investigated for tax exemptions
        * Durbin abruptly cuts off interview with hometown TV station
        * U.S. Senate Moves Forward With Paycheck Fairness Act
        * Senate Republicans Quash Citizens United Amendment
        * Illinois Education Association Endorses Schneider
        * Report: Wage Theft Costs U.S. Workers Billions Of Dollars Annually (UPDATED)
        * UPDATE x1: New Rauner Ad: "No Social Agenda" Means Pro-Abortion and Pro Gay Marriage
        * Chicago Magazine asks: "Will the Real Bruce Rauner Please Stand Up?"
        * Quinn Leading Rauner In New Poll


        * Rauner renews call for Quinn to fire illegal patronage hires
        * Public Betrayal: The Quinn Patronage Scandal Unfolds
        * Sun-Times Report: In Illegal Hiring Scandal, Pat Quinn Protects “Kingmaker” Kin
        * Governor Quinn Announces Clean Water Investments in Stickney and Burbank - Projects Will Modernize Infrastructure, Combat Damaging Floods and Create Jobs
        * Governor Quinn Honors “Latinos Building Illinois” - Thompson Center Exhibit Showcases Trailblazers For Latino Heritage Month




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