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posted by martyb on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:08PM   Printer-friendly
from the making-way-too-much-sense dept.

AlterNet reports

Embracing a harm reduction and public health perspective, one of the world's most prestigious medical journals has released a signed editorial calling for the legalization, taxation, and regulation of currently illegal drugs.

In an editorial [May 10] entitled Drugs Should Be Legalized, Regulated, and Taxed, Fiona Godlee, editor in chief of the British Medical Journal, notes that under drug prohibition, the global trade "fuels organized crime and human misery", and asks, "Why should it not instead fund public services?"

Citing an opinion piece[1] in the same issue of the BMJ from British members of the Law Enforcement Action Partnership (LEAP, formerly known as Law Enforcement Against Prohibition) Jason Reed and Paul Whitehouse, Godlee notes that in the United Kingdom (as in the United States) "vast sums are spent prosecuting individuals and trying vainly to interrupt the flow of drugs into cities" while that money would be much better "spent on quality control, education, treatment for drug users, and child protection". Under legalization, "revenues could be diverted from criminal gangs into government coffers", she writes.

Godlee notes that the global drug prohibition consensus is fraying around the edges, and points to the example of Portugal, which decriminalized the possession of all drugs in 2001. There, drug use remains in line with levels in other European countries, but the harms associated with drug use under prohibition have decreased dramatically, particularly in terms of fatal drug overdoses and the spread of injection drug-related infectious disease.

[1] Bad link in TFA; corrected in TFS.

Previous: Portugal Cut Drug Addiction Rates in Half by Rejecting Criminalization


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  • (Score: 2) by AssCork on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:17PM (23 children)

    by AssCork (6255) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:17PM (#680098) Journal

    I'll just be sitting here quietly while the Democratic party figures out they want to run with this as their new mid-term election platform item in three. . . two. . .

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  • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:31PM (17 children)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:31PM (#680102)

    You think the DNC supports something like this?

    • (Score: 4, Informative) by Grishnakh on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:46PM (16 children)

      by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:46PM (#680107)

      The Democrats famously poo-pooed the idea of marijuana legalization when Obama was elected.

      Debbie Wasserman-Schultz (former DNC head) is known to be in the pocket of the private prison industry.

      Honestly, at this point I think the Republicans are more likely to be drug-friendly: John Boehner has switched sides and wants to legalize MJ. Just wait until someone figures out how to convince Trump that championing that cause will make him more popular, then it'll be done quickly.

      • (Score: 5, Funny) by bob_super on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:53PM (1 child)

        by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:53PM (#680112)

        "Hey, Donald, did you know that this NY builder you don't like because his pretty wife said you're a moron, just got a giant contract building and maintaining private prisons? He said he would use the massive profits to build a taller tower just to cast shade on the Trump one. There's good money in that market because Sessions restarted the war on drugs, and he just bet his all company on that."

        • (Score: -1, Spam) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:40PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:40PM (#680136)

          Hamilson. That was the name of the obese man who always seemed to be sitting on the park bench in a certain neighborhood. Although people in the neighborhood regarded this man as a bit of an eccentric, he was nonetheless very respected and well-liked. As Hamilson was relaxing on the bench, he spotted something that he could not ignore; he got up and walked towards it absentmindedly, and then took it with him into some bushes so that he could begin.

          Wailing. As Hamilson slammed his penis deep into the little girl's vagina, she wailed and pleaded for him to stop. "If anyone here is to blame, it's you for being so cute!" the man said cheerfully. This always happened: Whenever Hamilson spotted a cute child, he always took them into the bushes so that he could play with them.

          She wailed, she screamed, and she cried, but all of which only served to make Hamilson more excited. And the more excited and playful the man became, the more his fists rained down upon the child. Then, silence.

          "Oops!" the man exclaimed. Once again, he had gotten too excited and rough, and so it broke. Hamilson, disappointed with what transpired, peeked out of the bushes and soon saw something that he could not possibly ignore.

          Soon after, an obese man was seen walking absentmindedly towards a living, breathing toy...

      • (Score: 5, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:08PM (13 children)

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:08PM (#680122) Journal

        Honestly, at this point I think the Republicans are more likely to be drug-friendly

        That's incorrect. The Democratic Party platform now includes removing cannabis from Schedule 1, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is working on a bill [soylentnews.org] to do so. There has been no similar activity on the Republican side, so they aren't going to do anything like that for years.

        On the Republican side, President Trump's DEA man is ignoring studies [thehill.com] linking cannabis legalization to decreased opioid use. Trump's advisers have claimed that cannabis legalization is making the opioid crisis worse [soylentnews.org]. Republican Senator Cory Gardner had to play hardball [soylentnews.org] just to get Trump to respect states' rights and keep his campaign promises. Trump's Mean Keebler Elf remains bitterly opposed:

        http://thehill.com/opinion/civil-rights/385132-an-easy-policy-fix-finally-jeff-sessions-should-reschedule-cannabis [thehill.com]
        https://chicago.suntimes.com/cannabis/sanjay-gupta-jeff-sessions-medical-marijuana-cannabis-pot/ [suntimes.com]

        At best, Sessions has been a good thing for legalization supporters by pissing everybody off and injecting uncertainty into the industry:

        https://www.usatoday.com/story/opinion/2018/05/06/marijuana-legalization-jeff-sessions-colorado-washington-controlled-substance-enforcement-column/573156002/ [usatoday.com]

        Boehner's position is less relevant since he has retired and he has a business interest. He doesn't need to court voters.

        Republicans remain in denial over the issue, and the people close to Trump are whispering the wrong things in his ear. When people whisper the wrong things into Trump's ear, you get the wrong things coming out of Trump's mouth. Republicans are not close to championing this cause. Check back in 2 years.

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        [SIG] 10/28/2017: Soylent Upgrade v14 [soylentnews.org]
        • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:03PM (6 children)

          by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:03PM (#680151)

          you get the wrong things coming out of Trump's mouth.

          Right or wrong, for better or worse, Trump more often than not acts regardless of advice.

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          • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:53PM (3 children)

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:53PM (#680194) Journal

            Multiple factions surround President Trump and give him some competing viewpoints in many cases. He's also influenced by some people he talks to over the phone, or by news reports.

            What's the difference between Trump and a sponge? (I'll let someone else come up with the punchline.)

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            • (Score: 2) by RamiK on Tuesday May 15 2018, @10:16PM

              by RamiK (1813) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @10:16PM (#680209)

              Multiple factions surround President Trump and give him some competing viewpoints in many cases. He's also influenced by some people he talks to over the phone, or by news reports.

              Learned and wise as our cynicism may be, confusing lobbying and advising can only get you so far in a position of power. If a business man can't tell between a representation of a 3rd party interest or an honestly impartial advice, all they need to do is read through the reports and make their own decisions. However, a president doesn't have that privilege. In an age House and Congress representatives can't even read through the bills they're voting on, a president can't even find the time to read through the summaries and reports they're given and are forced to trust staffers to digest it all for them. So, when they end up favoring some lobbyist's phone call over the input of those they've hired over trust issues, that's what I call acting regardless of advice.

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            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:19AM (1 child)

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @09:19AM (#680335)

              see subject

          • (Score: 4, Funny) by DannyB on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:35PM (1 child)

            by DannyB (5839) Subscriber Badge on Tuesday May 15 2018, @09:35PM (#680205) Journal

            Trump more often than not acts regardless of advice.

            Trump doesn't even listen to:
            1. The best legal advice money can buy
            2. The advice of his own lawyers

            (those are non-intersecting sets)

            --
            People who think Republicans wouldn't dare destroy Social Security or Medicare should ask women about Roe v Wade.
            • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @01:07AM

              by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @01:07AM (#680248)

              He's clearly done plenty of sketchy and likely plenty of illegal things and faced effectively no consequences, so I wouldn't be too quick to badmouth his legal strategy, as unreasonable as it seems.

        • (Score: 3, Insightful) by Thexalon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:08PM (2 children)

          by Thexalon (636) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:08PM (#680155)

          What is true, which GP correctly pointed out, is that national-level Democrats are much more in favor of marijuana legalization at the federal when they don't have the power to actually make it happen. It's one of many issues wheres the majority would be on their side if they did X, and whenever they don't have the power to make it happen they grandstand about doing X if elected, and once they do have the power to make it happen they ignore X entirely.

          But yeah, the Republicans are quite consistently against pot legalization, because conservative != libertarian when it comes to personal freedoms.

          --
          The only thing that stops a bad guy with a compiler is a good guy with a compiler.
          • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:42PM (1 child)

            by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:42PM (#680167) Journal

            The Schumer announcement is the most credible yet from the Democratic Party (from a Senate Minority Leader), although he has yet to publish the proposed bill. Schumer is also cosponsoring [merryjane.com] Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell's hemp legalization bill, even though McConnell won't reciprocate on hemp's "illicit cousin".

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            • (Score: 2) by Grishnakh on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:09PM

              by Grishnakh (2831) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:09PM (#680172)

              It's the most credible yet, but that's not saying much. The Dems still don't have that much power in Congress, and Trump is the President and can easily veto anything they pass that doesn't have a sizeable amount of Republican support (which is unlikely, given the Republicans' history of obstructionism). So it still looks just a populist move to show "look! we tried!" when it inevitably fails.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @01:46AM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @01:46AM (#680257)

          That's incorrect. The Democratic Party platform now includes removing cannabis from Schedule 1, and Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer is working on a bill [soylentnews.org] to do so. There has been no similar activity on the Republican side, so they aren't going to do anything like that for years.

          Just like the 85 (?) votes by the Republic Party to repeal the Affordable Care Act ("Obamacare") when Obama could veto them all. It's easy to posture when you have no power.

          Granted it's better than nothing, and posturing isn't worthless. It's far from being conclusive evidence of a change of policy, though. Talk to me again when they actually could pass such a thing and still want to push it forward.

        • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:54AM (1 child)

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:54AM (#680356)

          No activity on the republican side. Huh? Rand Paul (R) has been pushing for Cannabis legalization for years, and submitted legislation for it as recently this year.

  • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:52PM (4 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:52PM (#680110) Journal

    This appears to be the current Dem thinking on drugs: https://www.democrats.org/party-platform [democrats.org]

    See:

    Reforming our Criminal Justice System
    Enabling Cutting-Edge Medical Research
    Combating Drug and Alcohol Addiction

    Medical research is relevant because that's another reason to deschedule/downschedule drugs. But they only go this far in the platform, under Reforming our Criminal Justice System:

    Because of conflicting federal and state laws concerning marijuana, we encourage the federal government to remove marijuana from the list of “Schedule 1” federal controlled substances and to appropriately regulate it, providing a reasoned pathway for future legalization. We believe that the states should be laboratories of democracy on the issue of marijuana, and those states that want to decriminalize it or provide access to medical marijuana should be able to do so. We support policies that will allow more research on marijuana, as well as reforming our laws to allow legal marijuana businesses to exist without uncertainty. And we recognize our current marijuana laws have had an unacceptable disparate impact in terms of arrest rates for African Americans that far outstrip arrest rates for whites, despite similar usage rates.

    It's reasonable, and should happen, but that's as far as the party is going to go for a long, long time. Cannabis legalization is popular, even among Republicans. It's a safe issue.

    4/20: The Mary Jane Majority [soylentnews.org]

    Senator Chuck Schumer has promised to pursue about the most serious/mainstream attempt in the party to legalize cannabis at the federal level (contrast with Cory Booker's bill [soylentnews.org]). But the Dems remain the minority party, and even if they do extremely well in the midterms, more Democratic-controlled seats are up for grabs than Republican in the Senate.

    All 33 seats in Senate Class I will be up for election. 23 of the seats to be contested are presently held by Democrats, and eight by Republicans (three of which are retiring), with two being independents.

    Ideally, both Democrats and Republicans [soylentnews.org] could come together [soylentnews.org] on the issue, but that seems unlikely.

    The DEA is still being ridiculous as usual: On marijuana and opioids — the DEA has no clue what it’s talking about [thehill.com]

    Other drugs have some limited support for descheduling/decriminalization, but it's still a long road ahead: First, Marijuana. Are Magic Mushrooms Next? [khn.org]

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    • (Score: 2) by bob_super on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:59PM (2 children)

      by bob_super (1357) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @05:59PM (#680114)

      > On marijuana and opioids — the DEA has no clue what it’s talking about

      On SLS, NASA has no clue what it's talking about.
      When you're taking direct orders from entities with obsessive and bipolar disorders, telling them that they're amazingly wrong is not the best way to keep feeding your kids.

      • (Score: 2) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:25PM (1 child)

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:25PM (#680130) Journal

        The DEA is worse. They have a rotten culture within that agency, and they have obvious perverse incentives to keep the broken status quo going. If we get across-the-board legalization in this country, many DEA jobs will be lost. A few will probably remain, but the majority of them will become unnecessary. And then we have some DEA agents on the ground who are engaging in criminal activity. Cancelling SLS on the other hand could create jobs within NASA, since more money could be spent on a diverse portfolio of actual scientific pursuits rather than the delayed pork rocket.

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        • (Score: 2, Insightful) by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @03:53PM

          by Anonymous Coward on Wednesday May 16 2018, @03:53PM (#680419)

          it's an agency that shouldn't even exist, along with countless others. they should all be fired, at the very least. what kind of mindless slaves pay pigs to tell them what medicines they can take? it's disgustingly pitiful.

    • (Score: 0) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:06PM

      by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:06PM (#680120)
      I'll be damned if I start taking orders from the British medical journals
      My forebears fought and died to send the British medical journals packing
      Don't Tread On Me, British medical journals