Pot -- A lot of Pot

Pot — A lot of Pot

Reports tell us that over half of Federal prisoners are drug cases and some $1 trillion has been spent on the ‘War on Drugs.’ The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA) has offices all over the world. That adds to a lot of locked-up lives and spent money; the question asked is, for what? Does anyone believe that drugs aren’t readily available at reasonable prices in the U.S?

TV pundit Bill O’Reilly opposes legalizing pot; He says that legalizing it tells kids it’s ok and that’s wrong. We deplore pot too. But Mr. O’Reilly pretends that whether pot is good or bad is the same question as whether it is legal or illegal, when that is clearly not so.

Consider beer. Is beer good, or bad? That depends, right? Beer is legal, but do we want kids to drink it? Do kids in fact, drink it?  Beer was illegal during Prohibition; that was repealed simply because people demanded booze anyway and the government was unable to prevent it. worse, the various costs of its failing efforts were simply, too high.

The drug scene is the same: People, including some kids, are getting what they want while the billions of wasted dollars and millions of jailed, wasted lives amount to waste that accomplishes nothing. They are pure, absolute waste. So what is our reason for perpetuating such waste?

Two things empower the status quo: First, the ‘War on Drugs’ has become a world-wide, major industry controlling billions of dollars; that industry fights for its existence. Second, lots of voters feel noble opposing the evil drugs and politicians join Bill O’Reilly in urging that. They revise the old: “When you find yourself in a hole, first, stop digging!” to instead, dig harder. That justifies more spending.

Let’s for a moment, consider drug alone, without the politics. Drugs make people think they are happy, or joyful, or excited or pain-free or whatever…while the high lasts. They variously addict the susceptible, who gradually discard reality and ultimately health, as a result. Drugs lead people to behavior they would never use without them. Drugs are also very useful medically.

We could write the same paragraph about alcohol, a drug. Prohibition failed and is gone; alcohol claims many victims today, including kids and far too many innocent motorists. But few push a return to Prohibition. We have arrived at less than perfect accommodation with alcohol as the best that we can do at this point. Sort of, it sucks but Prohibition was worse. Maybe medical research will provide better tools eventually.

Drugs, unfortunately, are no different. We hate to add to the list of alcohol-like substances, but we’ve already done that, plus we keep adding new ones. That genie is long out of its bottle and nothing in sight will return it there. Too many people want their chemical nirvana.

Our choice: Watch a huge human cost of drug use… Or watch a huge human cost of drug use, plus billions of wasted enforcement dollars and millions of locked-up lives. a lot of whom are parents.

So is pot hot, or not? It’s just one of many available forms of human self-abuse. It isn’t going away. The question is really: Should we add to the self-abuse, even greater abuse by the government? If we wish to say, “yes” to that, kindly explain what is to be gained that justifies it…

About Jack Curtis

Suspicious of government, doubtful of economics, fond of figure skating (but the off-ice part, not so much) Couple of degrees in government, a few medals in figure skating; just reading and suspicion for economics ...
This entry was posted in Criminal Justice, Drug War, Hypocrisy and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to IS POT HOT, OR NOT?

  1. NEO says:

    Concur. My only problem is that we’ve let ourselves get in the position where we get to pay for the users (and their victims, if any) medical expenses. That’s wrong too but, a different problem, risky behavior has costs which the individual should bear.

    And you know, it wasn’t a terrible country before the Pure Food & Drug Act either.

  2. Shawn says:

    Another point to consider, whether you agree with or condemn states legalizing marijuana, is the ability to purchase firearms and possess ammunition. I came across this the other day and hadn’t even thought about firearms. Also even if you live in a state that is lax on enforcement or has legalized use, many jobs require mandatory drug testing, so more class separation.

    Under federal law (the Controlled Substances Act, 21 USC 801, et seq.), marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance which may not, therefore, be lawfully prescribed or used. Therefore, any user of marijuana, even if legal under state law, is, under federal law, an unlawful user of a controlled substance.

    Under federal law, a person who is an unlawful user of a controlled substance is prohibited from possessing a gun or ammunition (18 USC 922(g)(3)). Therefore, any one who is a user of marijuana, even if legal under state law, is a prohibit person and commits a federal felony by possessing a gun or ammunition.

    Under federal law, anyone who is a user of marijuana, even if legal under state law, is an unlawful user of a controlled substance and must answer “yes” on the form 4473 to the question about being addicted to or the unlawful user of a controlled substance.

    I enjoy your blog, keep up the good work!

    • Jack Curtis says:

      The Feds authority to ban gun ownership in a legal pot state gets into very interesting territory. As does Federal definition of marriage contracts. Mr. Justice Roberts facers more interesting times than even the Obamacare ‘tax.’ We guess, we’l find out who he is…

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