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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: 3, Informative) by requerdanos on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:22PM (6 children)

    by requerdanos (5997) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:22PM (#680127) Journal

    Look, some shit just shouldn't be legal. Maybe decriminalized, but not legalized outright like marijuana

    Not to derail you or anything, but "decriminalize" is a word meaning "make legal."

    Dictionary.com literally uses marijuana legalization [dictionary.com] as their example sentence for "decriminalize."

    decriminalize [dee-krim-uh-nl-ahyz]. verb (used with object), decriminalized, decriminalizing.
    To eliminate criminal penalties for or remove legal restrictions against:
    to decriminalize marijuana.

    Other misconceptions...

    There is never going to be any good excuse for recreational fentanyl use, for example, and ditto meth.

    Fentanyl, in appropriate doses, is a safe, effective painkiller and cough medicine. The main problem with it now is that it's so tightly controlled that most of its users get it illicitly from sources that have no interest nor skill in quality control nor lab standards; not the fentanyl itself. Safe, effective forms of fentanyl would provide safe, effective fentanyl for those people who would choose to use fentanyl recreationally (a strange choice, in my opinion, but different strokes for different folks).

    Dextromethamphetamines--the safe, quality controlled, pharmaceutical kind sold as "Adderall" and other brand names--is pretty popularly recreational as well. Having it safe and legal, with good safety information available (not just "Just say no") would go a long way towards eliminating the "meth problem". One factor to consider: Longtime Adderall users don't have bad teeth as a result, despite Adderall being simply a mixture of four different meth salts.

    In short, what are you talking about??

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  • (Score: 3, Insightful) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:39PM (3 children)

    by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:39PM (#680134) Journal

    In the context of this issue, "decriminalize" means to legalize possession and use of the drug, and maybe production at home. So the guy being stopped on the street doesn't get charged for carrying an ounce or two. The "weed smell" stops being probable cause under decriminalization. "Legalization" means that businesses can sell the drug, with regulation and taxation by the government.

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    • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:54PM (2 children)

      by requerdanos (5997) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @06:54PM (#680142) Journal

      That's not what the words involved mean, but if it's drug-legal jargon, then okay.

      And no one should be in a jail cell nor prison anywhere for "simple possession" of anything that they were planning to ingest via any means. Even if you're an anti-drugger, that's bad utilization of resources.

      From a humanitarian health and safety standpoint, however, I don't see benefit in "decriminalizing" the production of, for example, meth*, at home, while simultaneously "criminalizing" safe, standardized manufacture.

      --------------------
      * Insert the name of any drug here. Safe and standardized > Bob said he totally knows how to do this

      • (Score: 3, Informative) by takyon on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:00PM

        by takyon (881) <{takyon} {at} {soylentnews.org}> on Tuesday May 15 2018, @07:00PM (#680148) Journal

        And no one should be in a jail cell nor prison anywhere for "simple possession" of anything that they were planning to ingest via any means. Even if you're an anti-drugger, that's bad utilization of resources.

        Here's where we're at (cannabis only):

        https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Legality_of_cannabis_by_U.S._jurisdiction [wikipedia.org]

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      • (Score: 2) by AthanasiusKircher on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:24AM

        by AthanasiusKircher (5291) on Wednesday May 16 2018, @11:24AM (#680350) Journal

        That's not what the words involved mean, but if it's drug-legal jargon, then okay.

        Actually, sorry, but this is precisely what the words mean. You're operating under the assumption that "decriminalize" means "make legal," which is a false assumption. "Decriminalize" is a technical term that generally means to "remove (or at least lessen) criminal penalties," which is different from "making legal."

        As Merriam-Webster defines "decriminalize":

        to remove or reduce the criminal classification or status of; especially : to repeal a strict ban on while keeping under some form of regulation

        "Criminal" implies a crime is committed, typically a felony or misdemeanor, and usually crimes are at least theoretically punishable by jail-time. There are plenty of things that can be "illegal" but not necessarily "criminal." Speeding and minor traffic infractions are a standard example. While some jurisdictions treat them as "crimes," in other jurisdictions they fall under a legal category of "infractions" and sometimes aren't even typically handled in criminal proceedings if they go to court.

        For example, last year there was a proposal in California to decriminalize speeding (see here [mercurynews.com]). That would NOT make speeding LEGAL -- it would merely lessen potential penalties and transfer jurisdiction to civil courts in most circumstances.

        Basically anything that falls under civil torts is arguably in this category too: "decriminalized" but not necessarily "legal." For example, you may not go to prison for breaking a minor business agreement, but you can be successfully sued in court and a judgment obtained forcing you to pay. Your actions were not criminal, but they weren't legal either. Another classic example is libel, which used to be a criminal offense under some circumstances in many jurisdictions -- you could actually go to prison for knowingly printing false information with malice (particularly against government figures, etc.). Libel has now basically been decriminalized in most jurisdictions (either through repeal of criminal libel statutes or through the fact that they haven't been enforced in many decades), but it is still not legal and exists as a civil tort.

        Those who argue for decriminalization of drugs are requesting reduced penalties or no penalties for minor offenses (possession, use, etc.), not necessarily complete legalization.

        Legalization has two standard connotations: (1) to remove all penalties (criminal, fines, civil, etc.) from an action, and/or (2) to regulate more explicitly under the law (i.e., apply legal elements to). One can easily advocate for decriminalization of some drugs without necessarily legalizing them in all (or most) circumstances.

  • (Score: 1, Informative) by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:26PM (1 child)

    by Anonymous Coward on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:26PM (#680179)

    aderral is a mix of plain old amphetamines salt and isomers... you meant Desoxyn

    • (Score: 2) by requerdanos on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:46PM

      by requerdanos (5997) on Tuesday May 15 2018, @08:46PM (#680190) Journal

      Hmm, good catch.

      Looking, instead of trusting my memory (which does not get better with time), tells me that Adderall is a mix of dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate and amphetamine sulfate, while Desoxyn is methamphetamine hydrochloride; both are prescribed for attention deficit disorder. Neither is reported to cause bad teeth.

      Thanks.