Plants of Horror

This week, Massachusetts Congressman Barney Frank plans to introduce a bill to decriminalize the personal possession and use of marijuana. When announcing it on Real Time with Bill Maher, he jokingly referred to it as the “Make Room for the Serious Criminals” bill. Out here in Washington State, Edmonds resident and travel show host Rick Steves continues to fight for similar reforms. He has a column in the Seattle PI and, as always, he does a great job of explaining why we need to completely re-think our marijuana laws:

Some concerned U.S. parents are comforted by the illusion of control created by our complete prohibition of marijuana. But the policy seems to be backfiring: Their kids say it’s easier to buy marijuana than tobacco or alcohol. (You don’t get carded when you buy something illegally.) Meanwhile, Dutch parents say their approach not only protects their younger children, but also helps insulate teens over 18 from street pushers trying to get them hooked on more addictive (and profitable) hard drugs.

After a decade of regulating marijuana, Dutch anti-drug abuse professionals agree there has been no significant increase in pot smoking among young people, and that overall cannabis use has increased only slightly. European and U.S. government statistics show per-capita consumption of marijuana for most of Europe (including the Netherlands) is about half that of the U.S., despite the criminal consequences facing American pot smokers.

When it comes to marijuana, European leaders understand that a society must choose: Tolerate alternative lifestyles or build more prisons. They’ve made their choice. We’re still building more prisons.

To be fair, though, I should probably point out this news article from November to provide an example of the how dangerous this drug can be:

Bear Stearns CEO James Cayne fired back Thursday at criticism of his leadership and allegations of inappropriate behavior published in the Wall Street Journal.

The Journal reported that Cayne was playing bridge and golf and was often out of touch from his embattled Wall Street firm this past summer while its hedge funds collapsed and helped to spark a credit crisis in global financial markets.

The Journal said that during what it described as 10 critical days of the crisis in July, Cayne was playing in a bridge tournament in Nashville, Tenn., without a cell phone or an email device.

Cayne shot back in a memo to Bear Stearns employees that he “stands by” his 14-year record at the firm and that allegations of “inappropriate conduct” are “absolutely untrue.”

The paper also reported that Cayne has sometimes smoked marijuana after bridge tournaments, citing attendees at the tournaments, although the paper did not say whether he did so in Nashville in July.

Cayne denied one specific alleged incident in 2004 that the paper asked about, but it reported that when it asked more generally whether he smoked pot during bridge tournaments or on other occasions, he said he would respond only “to a specific allegation.”

Remember kids, if you smoke pot, the stock holdings in the company you run might fall from $1 billion to less than $100 million. Stay away from that shit.

Comments

  1. 2

    I-Burn spews:

    Legalize. Everything. If you want to be a junkie, give up your kids if you have any, and agree to be sterilized, and I’d say society ought to go ahead and give you all the dope you want until you’re dead. Oh, and use some of the funds we’ve saved from not incarcerating your junkie ass to educate your children sufficently that they won’t be making the same poor choices that you did.

    Might be rough in the short term, but in the long run, we improve the human race.

  2. 3

    Puddybud spews:

    I-Burn, I asked PTBAA with drug laws repealed how would he feel about having his teenager starting drugs. Still waiting for that answer.

  3. 4

    I-Burn spews:

    @3 This is one of the areas where the Libertarians really diverge from the Republicans. While I don’t personally approve of using drugs, I don’t feel that it’s the governments business one way or another. In that respect, I guess we’re close to the Liberal perspective. The difference being, of course, Libertarians recognize that actions have consequences and individuals have to be willing to accept them, while Liberals think that all consequences should be smoothed over by the government, and the individual needs to be “saved” from himself.

    It’s a very complex issue, and one that I doubt can be “fixed”, short of doing something like I suggested – letting the older generation go, and concentrating on educating the kids to make sure they don’t make the same errors. I believe that a lot of drug use is “self-medicating”. Whether that be due to lack of opportunity, or lack of education, or whatever, the result is still the same. If we can go ahead and provide those educational opportunities, I think a large part of the drug problem will solve itself.

    The so-called “War on Drugs” hasn’t worked, to this point. Shouldn’t we go ahead and try something else, now?

  4. 5

    PU spews:

    I HEARD THAT THE NEXT BILL HE HAS COMING UP RQUIRES ALL GOV BUILDING TO USE POWDERED SOAP AS IT TAKES LONGER TO PICK UP.

  5. 6

    PU spews:

    I WAS STATIONED IN MASS FOR 12 YEARS ON AND OFF AND LET ME TELL YOU THEY GOT SOME WINNERS THERE.ALONG WITH SOME NON SWIMMERS.THERE WAS A JOKE GOING AROUND MASS BEFORE THEY HAD A NUKE ACCIDENT.THE BUMBER STICKER READ THERE WERE MORE PEOPLE KILLED IN TED KENNEDYS CAR THAT IN NUKE ACCIDENTS.

  6. 7

    The Real Mark spews:

    Goldy,

    I presume your pro-drugs defense to things like driving while high would be something akin to the DUI laws we now have. Right?

    How do you propose the cops test someone suspected of driving while high?

    Are you willing to say that the cops can throw you in jail while they wait for a tox screen to come back? After all, if you blow positive on a portable test for alcohol DUI, you get the bracelets. Driving while high should have at least the same penalty.

  7. 10

    ewp spews:

    Our policy of complete prohibition of drugs hasn’t reduced their use, has filled jails with low level drug offenders, increased crime, and has cost us billions. Is it worth it? I don’t think so.

  8. 11

    busdrivermike spews:

    Mark, that is why it is called DUI.not DWI.the “I” being influence of any substance instead of intoxicated.

    Should I write slower for you? The cops can already arrest you for driving under the influence of any drug, not just alcohol.
    Jeez, you are an idiotic welcher.

  9. 12

    Upton spews:

    Make it legal, tax it and sell it in the state liquor stores. What in the heck is wrong with that?

  10. 14

    Bobbie Bridge Liberal Judge spews:

    Should I write slower for you? The cops can already arrest you for driving under the influence of any drug, not just alcohol.

    You said it Busdriver. Man these hypocritical repubs are dipshits.

  11. 15

    Roger Rabbit spews:

    Wingnut bullshit seems to be addicting to some of our population. I think we should put the pushers in prison and impose mandatory treatment on the addicts.

  12. 16

    Elmer Fudd spews:

    Pawdon me if I sound wedundant, but Bawny Fwank sounds like somwon awfwully familiawr. hahahahhahahhahhahaahhahahaha

  13. 17

    The Real Mark spews:

    YLB @ 9

    I stand corrected.

    StonedBusDriverMike @ 11

    I am quite aware that it is DUI. However, if you legalize it, you can expect that there will be a greater incidence of casual use — and a greater incidence of people driving after they’ve had “just a hit.”

    All I’m asking is if you’re willing to accept drivers being hauled off when there is a small (but legal) quantity in the vehicle and they’ve been driving improperly — something akin to an “open container law.” Are you OK with random stops like they have for booze? And if they have such stops, should the cops be able to cuff anyone that seems even a bit hinky, pending a blood tox screen? With alcohol, you can take a PBT and be on your way.

    “Welcher???” I think you have me confused with MTRedneck. That is why MY nick is The Real Mark (because I was the original person posting as “Mark”).

    Bunny Boy @ 15

    Too bad you tried to “make a funny.” You actually might have had something reasonable to add to the conversation. If you were talking about drugs… The legalization issue aside, I’m just fine with putting the pushers in prison and the users in rehab.
    __________

    Jokes and snarky comments aside… I guess I just don’t get what the Left’s infatuation is with drugs. Maybe it is simply because I have never used illicit drugs or been drunk in my life (I know when to say when), but why do something that deliberately makes you more stupid?

  14. 18

    Elmer Fudd spews:

    Maybe it is simply because I have never used illicit drugs or been drunk in my life

    Yeah but Bawny Fwank used iwwicit dwugs and dwinks so that all that mattewrs.

  15. 19

    Mike spews:

    @ 17: The left’s infatuation with drugs? Really? So Cindy McCain (stealing narcotics from a charity) and Rush Limbaugh (illegally obtaining narcotics) are suddenly leftists?

    If you’d get your head out of your ass, you’d realize that this isn’t an issue of right versus left. But that’ asking a lot from you, who believes that the government should be monitoring everything US citizens do.

  16. 20

    spews:

    Ok, Real Mark. Lets try to explain it one more time.

    Drugs are bad for people. We agree on that.

    The war on drugs hasn’t apparently worked. I can dig up numbers if you wish, but the bottom line is that even after many years and billions of dollars, any high school kid can get drugs without even trying very hard, and in many cases, they’re available in middle schools and even grade schools. I’m a parent, and I know this, and am not happy about it. No, I don’t want my son doing drugs.

    But… Huge segments of our population are, by definition, criminals, as they have willfully broken various drug laws.

    Additionally, drug laws have been enforced in ways that at least appear on the surface to be racially biased.

    Since one definition of “insanity” is to perform the same act repeatedly, expecting a different outcome. Perhaps it’s time to try a different tactic.

    How about decriminalizing simple possession and use, so that we don’t clog our courts and jails? Use some of the money on drug treatment options for those that are trying to get off drugs.

    How about realizing that there really is a difference between marijuana and heroin?

    Look, I agree that drugs are bad. Unlike you, I have been drunk. The last time was in 1976. I decided that I didn’t like being drunk, because it does make a person more stupid. It seems to me that alcohol and marijuana are quite similar in that respect.

    But while I choose not to get drunk or stoned, I’m not going to make that choice for you or any other adult, unless they also do something that endangers others. Driving, for example.

    Drunk driving, as it used to be called, was illegal even before breathalizers. Driving while impared, driving under the influence, whatever you want to call it, is illegal.

    And here’s where I might even surprise you. I’ll trust the officer to decide if a person is too impared to drive.

    Maybe the driver isn’t under the influence of anything, but if he/she is unable to safely drive, I’d like them off the road. We can figure out if a crime was committed later.

    While that isn’t the officer’s call, (heck, the imparement might be a stroke, dementia, fatigue, whatever) getting that person off the road and figuring out the reason are two separate issues.

    Since we expect that the officer involved will treat the person with respect under any circumstances, if it turns out that the officer makes an honest mistake, we let the person go with an apology. If it was fatigue or a medical issue, then we may have saved that person’s life, and if it turns out to be a crime, we can charge them once we have test results back.

    But seriously, how are we better off when we clog our courts, jails and prisons, taking people that have done something stupid and stuffing them in with career criminals?

  17. 21

    Don Joe spews:

    If you’d get your head out of your ass

    He can’t. You know what rectal egoitis is? That’s when the head swells, and it gets stuck.

  18. 23

    Don Joe spews:

    John @ 20,

    Don’t waste your breath. You are attempting to reason with someone who can’t see the logical contradiction between legalized use of alcohol and criminalizing drug use.

  19. 24

    spews:

    Don Joe

    You’re almost certainly right, but I can hope for an epiphany. Miracles happen.

    PU

    I was planning on simply ignoring you, but your comment:

    “so john how did drug ua do in the navy.”

    is so succinct, so perfectly you that it needed repeating. I am impressed. Rarely do I see such a wonderful example of drunken gibberish, and unlike so many of your other posts, it is certainly on-topic in this thread.

    Congratulations, PU. You serve as a (bad) example for us all. I’d salute you, but I doubt that you’d know how to return it.

  20. 26

    David Aquarius spews:

    $1 billion down to $100 million – damn, that’s a lot of Cheetos.

    Cheech: Man, what was in that shit?
    Man: It’s mostly Maui Wowie but it’s got some Labrador in it.
    Cheech: Labrador?
    Man: Yeah, my dog ate my stash. I had to follow him around for three days with a baggie. Really blew his mind.
    Cheech: Wow, I wonder what Great Dane tastes like.

    Cheech: Hey Man, how am I driving?
    Man: I think we’re parked.

  21. 27

    Jane Balough's Dog spews:

    The reason why are courts and jails are clogged is because we have too many repeat offenders. If you are soft on crime it doesn’t matter how many prisons you build they will always be full. Prison life should be grueling labor for somewhat decent food, or you get bread and water. Prisoners should only get the level of healthcare someone would get in a European country (you know cheap and poor).

  22. 28

    busdrivermike spews:

    #17
    The best part of this thread is that people try to reason with bomb throwers like Mark, who writes exactly like the other Mark, but claims he is not.

    Ok, duller than a bag of hammers Mark. Can you point to any evidence based on a scientific study that makes your points true?

    And please, do not throw any Discovery Institute or pajamas media BS my way. S C I E N T I F I C .. S T U D I E S. By an accredited University. Not a MADD study. Or the Budweiser Institute for the persecution of potsmokers study. Or D.A.R.E. None of that shit.

    And yes, I know that weed is ten times stronger than it was 5 years ago. Which makes it 25 times stronger than 1996. Which makes it 125 times stronger than 1991. 625x stronger than 1986. 3500x stronger than 1982. 2,222,222 times stronger than when Reagan inhaled.

    See, that is an example of the BS your side throws at us, and everyone is sick of your bullshit!

  23. 29

    busdrivermike spews:

    #27

    Speak of the devil, and he shall appear.

    More Bullshit! It has been tried, asshole. We have more people in prison than any other civilized society. Your plan, your bullshit plan, does not work.

    So could we try another method now? Maybe one that works, instead of one that just makes you feel good for being such a good government approved sheep.

    You Republicans are brain dead, ideologically bankrupt, dumbasses.

  24. 30

    Broadway Joe spews:

    Pardon me while I pull out this oldie but goodie as for why we’ve criminalized the wrong drug:

    In the time it takes you to read this sentence, more people will die because of tobacco-caused illnesses than have ever died from marijuana.

    Tobacco remains legal because of corporate support, while marijuana was criminalized because of corporate greed and demonized as the evil weed (wait for it) of the brown-skinned. I couldn’t make this shit up if I tried.

  25. 31

    spews:

    Of the top 100 issues of the day and priorities for legislative action, drug legalization ranks somewhere down around No. 873.

    But if you must…what other self-indulgent, narcissistic behaviors should you promote at the same time?

    The Piper

  26. 32

    Aaron spews:

    >what other self-indulgent, narcissistic behaviors should you promote at the same time?
    Bag pipe playing? Save us. Definitely not bag pipe playing, that should be strictly regulated.

  27. 33

    Aaron spews:

    Reminder, this is the “Make Room for Serious Criminals and Bag Pipe Players” bill. That’s why it should make the top ten, because prisons are too expensive to waste on anything other than serious criminals and bag pipe players.

  28. 34

    spews:

    Remember kids, if you smoke pot, the stock holdings in the company you run might fall from $1 billion to less than $100 million. Stay away from that shit.

    Yeah but you can get millions of dollars in corporate welfare from Bushco which you can then embezzle to support your pot habit.

  29. 35

    new left conservative #1 spews:

    Hi all,

    It shows how the conservative movement in America is crashed upside down in the ditch (with the shining exception of Ron Paul) that it is the liberals who are leading on this no-brainer, gov’t-reducing issue rather than the conservatives. Barney Frank deserves a heap of credit!

    I notice by the posts that some people think this isn’t a big issue. But it was a really big thing that Prohibition almost destroyed our democracy and it’s really big that the war on drugs is tearing apart several major Latin American countries, including our neighbor. America is stiff-arming these countries to fight this senseless war, even though they have no hope of winning (700 out of 1000 police recruits in Mexico recently failed a polygraph that asked “Have you ever worked for a drug cartel.”). So if you’re an American and you have an understanding of the word responsibility, you need to at least be against exporting this deadly nonsense to other countries.
    Thanks all, New Left Conservative #1

  30. 36

    Don Joe spews:

    I notice by the posts that some people think this isn’t a big issue.

    Nah. That’s just Piper firing off more of the blanks in his rhetorical gun. Didn’t you notice the not-so-subtle equivocation in his use of the word “promote”? The man simply can’t engage an argument without having to resort to some rhetorical device that avoids having to actually address the issues.

    Oh, but he enjoys verbal sparring. Whatever the hell that means.

  31. 37

    SETEC Astronomy spews:

    Let’s return to the beginning, shall we? Concretely and abstractly.

    @17 Did you read the conclusions in para 2 of Rick Steve’ cited article at the beginning?

    Would there be an increase in folks hopping into their jalopy for a munchie run to the local stop-n-rob? Possibly. Markedly so? Based on the amount of energy I’ve seen displayed by friends who use, I doubt it. Based on sources more credible than my own observation (http://www.drugwarfacts.org/thenethe.htm, http://www.csdp.org/research/S.....ALYSIS.pdf, and http://www.justicepolicy.org/i....._AC-DP.pdf, for example), I’m not less inclined to doubt.

    Here’s an interesting bit of commentary on a not-dissimilar topic:

    “21st Amendment
    It would be a disservice to say that the 18th Amendment was completely ineffective. It would also be a disservice to say that the 18th Amendment caused the lawlessness embodied by people like Al Capone. The 18th Amendment did reduce alcohol consumption in the United States, and it did not cause organized crime. In the Prohibition era, alcohol consumption dropped to an average of less then a gallon of alcohol per person per year, down from two and a half gallons in 1915. And organized crime existed before Prohibition, and existed after it, too.

    That having been said, the Prohibition era did have a certain sense of lawlessness; the very fact that consumption was not eliminated is testimony to that; and the fact that organized crime manufactured and distributed the bulk of the illicit alcohol of the 1920’s and early 1930’s is evidence that gangsters were aided by Prohibition. Enforcement was spotty, with stills and speakeasies popping up in every population center. Over-zealous police and federal agents violated civil rights when searching for and destroying the paraphernalia of alcohol. While most Americans respected the law, were in favor of the law, the shine of “dry” began to wear off, especially as the Great Depression set in.

    A movement began to form to repeal the 18th Amendment. Prohibition of alcohol was seen as an affront to personal liberty, pushed on the nation by religious moralists. Alcohol was also seen as a source of revenue for the local and national governments. The effort to elect “wet” legislators was as grand as that to elect “dry” ones almost two decades earlier. The Congress passed the amendment on February 20, 1933 (288 days). It mandated, for the first time, that conventions of the states were to vote on the amendment, rather than the legislatures, feeling that conventions would be more apt to vote to ratify – and they did, quickly – the ratification process was complete on December 5, 1933. The 21st Amendment repealed the 18th, the first time an amendment had been repealed by another.”
    http://www.usconstitution.net

  32. 38

    ArtFart spews:

    If we don’t want people driving while drunk/stoned/sleepy-from-working-27-hours-straight-at-Microsoft/otherwise impaired, why not just outlaw cars?

    Oh, yeah, I forgot….there’s this factor involved called “money”.

  33. 39

    The Real Mark spews:

    John @ 20

    I can go with much of what you say. I don’t agree with all of it, but I can respect and appreciate your reasonable response.

    If you’re OK with your police scenario, I am, too. So, taking it a step further… What do you consider “simple possession” and “personal use?”

    Not that I’m totally OK with the idea, but what IF sales were restricted to… the state liquor store, since the infrastructure for controlled substance sale is already there? At the same time, the penalties for SALE (or distribution of any kind) by private individuals would be increased significantly. That wouldn’t mean you couldn’t have a plant or two at home, but NOTHING beyond that. NO growing co-ops, no mooching a joint from a buddy.

    As I mentioned earlier, I could live with laws that severely punished the dealers and sent the users to mandatory rehab — inpatient or outpatient, depending on severity and history. And the same with alcohol to intoxication.

    By the way… The difference between pot and alcohol is that (based on conversations I’ve had with casual users) pot cannot be “enjoyed” without intoxication, while alcohol can. I can consume a glass of wine with a steak dinner and have NO impairment or alcohol effect of any kind (other than the flavor), but enjoy it nonetheless.

  34. 41

    ByeByeGOP spews:

    I love listening to republicans talk about “Less Government” until it comes to the chance to lock someone up. The hypocrites on the right don’t want government involved in our lives, but they have no problem legislating what we can do with our bodies. You have to admire the complete lack of anything resembling logic in GOP thinking.

    While I personally don’t care about using drugs, I also don’t like paying taxes to lock people up who do. You’d think that REAL conservatives would understand this. I guess it’s just further proof of right wing hypocrisy.

  35. 42

    Puddybud spews:

    Whatever you choose to do in you own home is fine by me from using coathangers to hershey highway traveling. As long as there is no public money spent go for it. I’ve always said this. Check the tapes but you’ll never find anything otherwise.

    What you do in public is another matter. So I’ll ask this to all of you since PTBAA can’t seem to find the courage to answer the question. I assume most of you have children. Now your dream of dreams has occurred; drugs are decriminalized. Your child tries them and gets hooked. They become a junkie. What’s a parent to do? How would you feel about having your teenager starting drugs and getting hooked?

    Another simple PuddyQuestion the left is fearful of answering. It’s very telling y’all skip over it.

    As I posted before the New York Times interviewed some women who entered prostitution. I posted this. 2/3’s of them came from liberal homes. That says a lot for me.

  36. 43

    Puddybud spews:

    Yeah, I posted that first sentence. SeattleJew, as we discussed, getting into someone’s mind… Ha ha ha ha ha

    There are many uses for coathangers. Abortion is not one of them. Remember abortion is legal.

    See; the sick twisted minds of liberals…

  37. 44

    Politically Incorrect spews:

    Marijuanna was made legal to prop-up employment during the Depression. The government had to figure out what to with all those alcohol guys who were out of jobs after the repeal of Prohibition. Why not make ‘em narcs?

    Marijuanna should definitely be legal. To paraphrase Harry Reasoner (“60 Minutes,” about 1971), marijuanna is not the bluebird of happiness, nor is it the black death.

    Legalize this naturally-occurring weed now. If people choose to use it in thier homes, then it nobody’s business but their own.

  38. 45

    spews:

    @32…Aaron…

    Actually, at one time in Britain piping was regulated with the penalty for violating those regulations being death.

    In the early and mid-18th Century, during the period of the Jacobite Rebellion, piping was outlawed everywhere in Britain save the army. Ditto wearing the kilt. The bagpipe was legally defined as an “instrument of war,” in other words a weapon. Particularly after the Battle of Culloden in 1745, these laws were strictly enforced with pipers subject to being hung.

    Mock it as you wish, but until you try to learn to play a bagpipe, you know not of what you speak.

    Talk to me when you’ve mastered piobaireachd.

    The Piper

  39. 46

    spews:

    @7 The Real Mark

    Evidence that MJ impairs driving is not very impressive. I would be willing to bet that tobacco, a recent meal, recent exercise, a fight wit your partner .. all these have more seriouws effects,

  40. 47

    spews:

    Mark:

    I’m certainly not going to suggest that the details (exactly how much of what substance, marketing and distribution, etc…) can be worked out in short posts on a blog.

    And yes, like so many other things in life, the devil is in those details.

    The best we can hope for on a forum like this is to get folks open to the concept, so we can then get legislators working on it.

    Then we can start the endless debates about how much is simple possession, decriminalization vs. legalization, what substances should remain illegal, will there be any legal form of distribution, and if so, what form should it take, etc…

    That batch of arguments is enough to make the most die-hard legalization advocate consider giving the whole thing up as a lost cause.

    But considering the current situation, we’ve got to start somewhere.

    Perhaps the first positive thing that could be achieved by an open discussion of the issue is the gathering of actual data on the problem.

    When I write these things, I try to do at least a bit of research. In this case, I wanted to find out just how many folks are currently behind bars for possession without intent to sell. Considering all the hype from both camps, that data should be pretty easy to find.

    Maybe it’s just that it is too early, and my morning coffee hasn’t kicked in, but I couldn’t find that number.

    Oh, I remember lots of advocates talking about the issue, and I found lots of websites talking about the issue. Both sides use various statistics in their arguments, but I could not find that one, simple number that seems so important to this debate.

    How many people are currently incarcerated for possession without intent to sell?

    There are figures on overall jail/prison population that are frequently quoted by the legalization crowd, but that by themselves do not really address the issue. Yes, the numbers are staggering, but that is another issue.

    I did find some data on incarceration for “drug related offences”, but since that includes folks in jail for having Beirut-style shootouts with the DEA and gang wars in the inner cities, it doesn’t address the issue directly. (Yes, reducing or eliminating those shootouts is important, but that’s not the data I’m looking for.)

    So, perhaps for my fellow HorsesAsses out here, maybe one of you knows where it is.

  41. 48

    spews:

    @38 TRM By the way… The difference between pot and alcohol is that (based on conversations I’ve had with casual users) pot cannot be “enjoyed” without intoxication, while alcohol can. I can consume a glass of wine with a steak dinner and have NO impairment or alcohol effect of any kind (other than the flavor), but enjoy it nonetheless.

    FABULOUS!!!!!!

    ” Officer, I didn’t drink anythng I just tatsed it.

    And, after dinner we all enjoyed the flavor the latest BC bud harvest. The ’08 crop has a wonderful insouciance due to the high tides in the Gulf

  42. 49

    slingshot spews:

    “What you do in public is another matter. So I’ll ask this to all of you since PTBAA can’t seem to find the courage to answer the question. I assume most of you have children. Now your dream of dreams has occurred; drugs are decriminalized. Your child tries them and gets hooked. They become a junkie. What’s a parent to do? How would you feel about having your teenager starting drugs and getting hooked?”

    Of course, this scenario is non-existent in the closely controlled, drugs-are-illegal-society we live in now. Addictive behavior is not the result of the availability of an abused substance. Soda pop can be a deadly substance if abused; see the statistics on childhood diabetes, for example. You’re also overlooking the criminal enterprise that exists simply because illicit drugs are illegal, and the substantial amounts of public money spent on combatting that. This is a victimless crime based on a Judeo-Christian sense of morality and accelerated by irrational political snake oil patronization. It’s obvious our methods to combat drugs have little to no effect. There are working models in the western, developed, democratized world where a government’s control over legalized pot is shown to be workable.
    And just as an aside, I sure hope PU wasn’t in charge of any weapons systems during his stint.

  43. 52

    harry poon spews:

    re 2: You are not much of a neo-con. Surely, you can think of some way to ‘privatize’ the drug addicts’ misery and get billions in government funds for your useless and counterproductive efforts?

    Oh, sorry. You guys are already doing that.

  44. 53

    harry poon spews:

    re 2: Maybe the citizens of the U.S should take back their government and starve the big corporations of taxpayer funds until the corporations are small enough to drown in the bathtub?

    What say you, genius?

  45. 55

    harry poon spews:

    re 2: Can you see what a nit-wit you are? You give the rich all our tax money, insist that we not tax them on it, allow them to ‘invest’ our tax money in corporations that sell our jobs overseas — and call it ‘trickle-down economics’.

    You are just a flat-out R-tard.

  46. 56

    spews:

    @48…Steve…

    What you describe is physically impossible, so it would be a fool’s errand to outlaw it. But it would also be typically liberal to legislate against it.

    The Piper

  47. 58

    I-Burn spews:

    @50, 51, 53

    I don’t recall addressing taxes anywhere in this thread. But okay. First of all, whether you like it or not, corporations do provide jobs – even to such obviously mentally deficit individuals such as your self. Second, it’s unlikely that any of your tax dollars are going to the rich, since you actually have to make more than minimum wage to even pay them. Why don’t you tell me genius why anyone that actually does have money should invest it in anything that benefits anyone else? Real easy one there, so you won’t have to strain too much… And since you’re, again, too ignorant to comprehend what you read, I’m a LIBERTARIAN, not a Republican. Big difference, dumbass.

  48. 59

    spews:

    @52…Barelli…

    When next you link to a piper, please try to find one who plays in tune. For example, go here: http://www.bagpipelessons.com/ and in the lower right-hand section of the homepage you can listen to a dozen or so tunes of all types on the Great Highland pipe as well as small pipes performed by one of the best pipers in the world, Jori Chisholm, who lives in Seattle and plays with the Simon Fraser University Pipe Band, one of the top three bands in the world.

    Would that I could play in my dreams one tenth as well as does he. But if you want to know what good piping sounds like, go to the best.

    Since Hitchcock was English it’s not surprising he’s so ignorant of music. Hide bags are either sheep or cow, never pig.

    I reiterate the challenge: try learning to play one before you snicker about it.

    The Piper

  49. 60

    rhp6033 spews:

    From an economic perspective:

    1. The demand for pot is resilient – people continue to buy it whether it is illegal or not.

    2. Restrictions in supply may temporarily affect buying behavior, but increased costs for the drug do not reduce drug use in the long run. Users will change their other behavior (spend less money on other things) rather than stop using the drug. (Old saying: “pot will get me through times of no money better than money will get me through times of no pot”).

    3. Assuming Adam Smith is right in his treatise on the Wealth of Nations, current enforcement efforts aimed at restricting the supply of pot are doomed to failure. The more successful enforcement efforts are, the higher the price rises, bringing in more importers/growers lured by the larger profits which justify the increased risk. (News note: smugglers are now building one-time use submarines in S. America to bring pot & cocaine into the U.S. – evidence of the amount of profit which justifies such a large investment in time and money).

    4. Money which exits the country for illegal products is not recoverable (i.e., it does not return to the U.S. economic loop in the form of products purchased from the U.S., etc.). It is tax-free. It is a net loss in our balance-of-payments ledger.

    5. The money the U.S. spends on illegal drugs often goes to fund our enemies, such as rebel movements in Columbia, leading to the result that we spend money financing all sides of the conflict. Our citizens send money which finances rebel groups and funds investment in better production facilities & smuggling equipment. Our government spends taxpayer dollars to finance Columbian anti-rebel military campaigns, and also for drug-enforcement efforts there.

    Conclusion: So, from an economic perspective, we would be far better off legalizing the drug, encouraging local production sources and sales in a controlled environment, etc.

    Caveat: But I’ve always been wary of the government going into a business under the assumption that “people are going to do it anyway”. The lottery is a good example – the argument was that if people are going to gamble anyway, we might as well use the profits to pay for education. But since for most people, gambling is subject to the laws of diminishing returns, and other gambling businesses keep drawing dedicated gamblers away from the lottery, now the lottery commission has to advertise to encourage people to use the lottery – trying to increase the demand. We have to resist the impulse to want to raise too much revenue from legalized pot use, or we will find ourselves doing much the same with pot.

  50. 62

    spews:

    Piper

    Actually, I enjoy listening to the pipes, when well played and not in a confined space. The link is to a website for a fellow trying to actually get paid for playing, and demonstrating to the world why nobody will.

    But while any musical instrument allows for a certain level of humor, bagpipes have a special place.

    You haven’t truly experienced them until you go to a Memorial Day ceremony, held in the anchor windlass room of an aircraft carrier, with the pipes being played by a novice. (Anchor windlass room is about 1000 square feet, metal decks, bulkhead and overhead. Sound echoes.)

    Frankly, the sound of the chains running through the hawsepipes would have been a welcome relief.

    This should probably go to an open thread, as drugs and bagpipes don’t mix. The very concept of a stoned piper is too horrible to imagine.

  51. 63

    Sempersimper spews:

    Funny. When he writes, Piper sounds like chains running through the hawsepipes…..

  52. 64

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    But if you must…what other self-indulgent, narcissistic behaviors should you promote at the same time?

    How about…..letting you post comments on this blog?

  53. 65

    My Goldy Itches spews:

    How many of you could actually pass a piss test? I would wager that there is some awfully dirty piss among you people.

  54. 66

    harry poon spews:

    re 2: “Oh, and use some of the FUNDS WE’VE SAVED FROM NOT INCARCERATING YOUR JUNKIE ASS to educate your children sufficently that they won’t be making the same poor choices that you did.”

    re 56:I-Burn says:

    @50, 51, 53

    “I don’t recall addressing taxes anywhere in this thread. But okay. First of all, whether you like it or not, corporations do provide jobs – even to such obviously mentally deficit individuals such as your self.”

    If the jobs they provide are off shore, how does that help me? Would there be no jobs without corporation? Did corporations create jobs, or is it the other way around?

    Why don’t you actually READ ‘Wealth of Nations’ instead of blathering from some WingNutz™ pamphlet you read about it?

  55. 67

    spews:

    @60…Barelli…

    No worries, mate…

    I listened to the clip you linked to, hence my comment on out of tune.

    One of the worst I ever heard…In 1999 I went to the funeral of a friend of mine who was a recently retired one-star in the Washington National Guard. He was killed in a helicopter crash in Haiti while on a humanitarian aid mission. Huge funeral in one of the bigger hangers on post at Fort Lewis complete with big Chinook fly-over, etc. Dignitaries coming out your ears, and more brass on the dais than you’ve seen in your life.

    I offered to the widow to pipe the event gratis, but the military took control and had their own piper. All he had to do was play Amazing Grace while walking. Not only was he not in tune, he wasn’t in time, and couldn’t coordinate his feet with the meter. Not his fault, really, since some good tuition (what pipers call lessons) could have cured him. Still…it was painful.

    I piped the official Seattle-area Ronald Reagan memorial service in June 2004, which was broadcast by radio all across the PNW.

    To keep relevent to the thread…booze and bagpipes have a long and too intrinsically linked history. Some bands practice only because it gives members an excuse to get out of the house to drink.

    It’s not uncommon to see solo competitors juiced when they play, which is interesting since at Highland games, solo competitions are always in the morning…the EARLY morning.

    It’s also not uncommon for bands when they compete (always in the mid to late afternoon) to march off the field and straight into the beer tent thence not to appear until massed bands closing ceremonies.

    Inside the piping community, it’s not called smashed bands for nothing.

    But serious pipers are every bit as much artists as are other musicians, and they draw clear lines between their music and their fun activities with the latter NEVER interfering with the former.

    If nothing else, drugs are almost unknown in piping. Drinking, yes – drugs, no. Why muck with chemicals when there’s Glennfiddich to be had?

    The Piper

  56. 68

    The Real Mark spews:

    SJ @ 46

    I challenge you to find something wrong with my statement. As I said, ANY intoxication is bad — pot, alcohol or otherwise — so your “I just tasted it” comment doesn’t apply. My point is that you would be hard pressed to find ANY pot smoker who tells you that intoxication is an UNdesirable effect. The same does not apply to alcohol.

  57. 69

    The Real Mark spews:

    JB @ 45

    “In 1997, the year for which the most recent data are available, just 1.6 percent of the state inmate population were held for offenses involving only marijuana, and less than one percent of all state prisoners (0.7 percent) were incarcerated with marijuana possession as the only charge, according to the U.S. Department of Justice’s Bureau of Justice Statistics (BJS). An even smaller fraction of state prisoners in 1997 who were convicted just for marijuana possession were firsttime offenders (0.3 percent).

    The numbers on the federal level tell a similar story. Out of all drug defendants sentenced in federal court for marijuana crimes in 2001, the overwhelming majority were convicted for trafficking, according to the U.S. Sentencing Commission. Only 2.3 percent— 186 people —received sentences for simple possession, and of the 174 for whom sentencing information is known, just 63 actually served time behind bars.

    http://www.whitehousedrugpolic.....for_marij/

  58. 70

    Tlazolteotl spews:

    @65:

    Talk about ‘self-indulgent’ and ‘narcissistic’….

    Piper waxes philosophical on the long association of Scots and Scotch whiskey….you read it here first!

    /yawn

  59. 71

    Don Joe spews:

    @ 67

    During prohibition, not very many people were incarcerated for drinking alcoholic beverages. That means we can bring prohibition back, no?

  60. 72

    I-Burn spews:

    @64 Do you really want to talk about economics in this thread?

    Fine. Even offshore corporations need to interact with someone who isn’t. Therefore they’re, at the least, contributing to employment in the US. Since all jobs have impact beyond simply the person who holds the job, that’s how it helps you. Assuming you actually have a job, that is.

    So where is your answer? Why does anyone that actually has money invest it in anything that benefits anyone else? You at least implied that you’re read “Wealth of Nations”, now prove it.

  61. 73

    spews:

    Caveat: But I’ve always been wary of the government going into a business under the assumption that “people are going to do it anyway”. The lottery is a good example – the argument was that if people are going to gamble anyway, we might as well use the profits to pay for education. But since for most people, gambling is subject to the laws of diminishing returns, and other gambling businesses keep drawing dedicated gamblers away from the lottery, now the lottery commission has to advertise to encourage people to use the lottery – trying to increase the demand. We have to resist the impulse to want to raise too much revenue from legalized pot use, or we will find ourselves doing much the same with pot.

    As always, rhp, an excellent point.

  62. 74

    The Real Mark spews:

    DJ @ 67

    Now who is changing up the discussion to suit their purposes?

    The point is that you have only 63 people serving federal time on simple pot posession charges (my guess being that it had to do with interstate transport, etc.). This runs highly counter to the pro-drug argument of “zillions of dollars spent to incarcerate the granny who takes a hit for her glaucoma.” The folks who are in state and federal jail are there for distribution of drugs — and, most often, it is for things beyond marijuana.

  63. 75

    Daddy Love spews:

    17 TRM

    Are you OK with random stops like they have for booze? And if they have such stops, should the cops be able to cuff anyone that seems even a bit hinky, pending a blood tox screen? With alcohol, you can take a PBT and be on your way.

    We don’t have “random stops for booze.” They were ruled unconstitutional, and the last time (2007) that they wanted to reinstate them the governor stepped in and said no.

  64. 76

    ewp spews:

    Until the recent run up in the price of gold, the street value of marijuana was about the same as gold weighing an equivalent amount. Think about it. As long as there’s a demand there will be people willing to risk the penalty to grow a plant that’s essentially a weed but has a value equivalent to gold. Prohibition will never work no matter how much money you throw at enforcement.

  65. 77

    The Real Mark spews:

    Lee @ 71

    You have to understand the true motivations here. It has nothing to do with pot. It is the Big Brother Corporations — specifically, the makers of Cheetos — that want pot legalized in order to boost their profit margins.

    Stoners + munchies + jacked up prices because they’re too stupid to tell otherwise = PROFITS!

  66. 78

    rhp6033 spews:

    PS @ 65: “To keep relevent to the thread…booze and bagpipes have a long and too intrinsically linked history. Some bands practice only because it gives members an excuse to get out of the house to drink.”

    Maybe the pipers should get a T-shirt like one I saw at a rowing regatta a while back:

    “My drinking club has a rowing problem”.

  67. 79

    ArtFart spews:

    42 I don’t know whether you’re a liar or just misinformed, but either way that’s a crock. Cannibis was legal up until about the beginning of the depression (when prohibition was repealed) at which time the “war on killer weed” was invented by William Randolph Hearst, who wanted to wipe out the hemp-based paper business so he could cash in on his timber holdings, and Harry Anslinger, who wanted something to keep himself and the rest of the G-men employed.

    The cultivation of hemp was again quietly legalized in the 40’s to provide rope for the war effort, then once again outlawed.

  68. 80

    The Real Mark spews:

    DL @ 73

    I was speaking on national terms, but it did prompt me to look up the current WA laws. Guess I’ll have to push my state representatives to restore those sobriety check points. Thanks for the reminder!

  69. 81

    harry poon spews:

    re 70: I said a lot of things — about taxes, trickle down economics, the fact that all your tax money goes to corporations who outsource our work — and all you want to argue aabout is that corporations provide jobs and that jobs that have been off-shored somehows benefits me.

    Does your IQ break 80?

  70. 82

    spews:

    @77
    at which time the “war on killer weed” was invented by William Randolph Hearst, who wanted to wipe out the hemp-based paper business so he could cash in on his timber holdings

    Art, this isn’t entirely true. PI is actually correct in comment #42 that the main motivation was preserving a government bureaucracy. Hearst was arguably on board with his plan, and you could easily guess his reasons, but Anslinger was definitely the inventor of “reefer madness” and the main reason that marijuana prohibition was created.

  71. 83

    Blue John spews:

    “A gentleman is one who knows how to play the bagpipes….
    And doesn’t. ”

    I loved the last track of the ABBA album “Arrival” with the bagpipes.

    Now if we can just get a band together with a bagpipe, an accordion, a diggerydo and a kazoo.

  72. 84

    harry poon spews:

    Piper: AC/DC uses bagpipes in: “It’s a Long Way to the Top (if you want to rock & roll)” I’ve heard a band of Pipers at a policeman’s funeral in Denver. It was erie and spiritual to hear. We are only yanking your chain about the bagpipes.

  73. 85

    ArtFart spews:

    80 It might also be pointed out how thoroughly Anslinger played the race card on that one, making many references to “the drug-crazed Negro mind”.

  74. 86

    I-Burn spews:

    @79 I, at least answered a part of your query. You couldn’t even manage that much. Suggest you see someone about having an headoutofass-ectomy and come up for air, before you do any further brain damage.

    Believe it, you are the very last one to be questioning anyones IQ.

  75. 87

    spews:

    @83
    It most certainly should. It’s also the reason why he called it marijuana and not cannabis – to attribute it to a foreign culture (Mexico).

  76. 88

    David spews:

    Now your dream of dreams has occurred; Alcohol is decriminalized. Your child tries it and gets hooked. They become an Alcoholic. What’s a parent to do? How would you feel about having your teenager starting drinking and getting hooked?”

    Now your dream of dreams has occurred; Tobacco is decriminalized. Your child tries it and gets hooked. They become a Smoker. What’s a parent to do? How would you feel about having your teenager starting Smoking and getting hooked?

    Fixed that for you.

  77. 89

    spews:

    Mark:

    Good figures to start, although I was considering all simple possession, not just marijuana. Certainly I consider heroin possession to be more serious than marijuana possession, but I question the wisdom of putting either behind bars.

    But, even looking at your numbers, if we extend that 1.6 percent number nationwide, with a nationwide prison population of 2.2 million, we end up with an average of over 35,000 people in jail/prison at any one time for possession without intent to sell marijuana.

    Then we have 35,000 x $22,500 (annual per prisoner cost, 2001, according to USDOJ) which gives us over 750 million dollars annually just to incarcerate people charged with simple marijuana possession. Of course, this is in 2001 dollars and 1997 numbers.

    Anyone thinking that three quarters of a billion dollars is just chump change, please contact me off-line. I’m your new best friend.

    Drugs are bad. No question, whether we’re talking about marijuana, cocaine, or even alcohol. But until someone using those drugs does something directly harmful to others, I don’t see where the government should be prosecuting the user.

    And while I agree that, unlike alcohol, most drugs are taken solely for the effect, we need to be honest enough to recognize that the fellow drinking a 12 pack of Lucky Lager probably isn’t doing so for the flavor, and anyone able to drink Old Grand Dad or Four Roses must have suffered a terrible tongue injury earlier in life.

  78. 90

    ArtFart spews:

    87 “and anyone able to drink Old Grand Dad or Four Roses must have suffered a terrible tongue injury earlier in life.”

    John, you’d just better not say that about Glenfiddich or Laiphroag, or Piper’s gonna hit you upside the head.

  79. 91

    spews:

    @81…Blue John…

    Acutally, in Australia it’s common for a a pipe and a didgeridoo to be played together. To a non-Aussie ear, it’s an acquired taste.

    The Piper

  80. 92

    spews:

    @88…AF…

    Candidly…I’m simply a beer man. Never really developed a taste for whiskey.

    But shortbread is something else again!

    The Piper

  81. 93

    spews:

    @82…hp…

    You call that yanking my chain? Listen, I’ve had it yanked by experts, and you ain’t even comin’ close!

    Besides, when pipers play appropriately attired, they’re armed. Nobody messes with a 6′ 2″ 270 lbs redheaded guy with a white beard, a scowl on his face, and a sgian dubh sticking out the top of his hose.

    The Piper

  82. 94

    harry poon spews:

    re 84: I suggest you deal with the entire challenge as it is put to you instead of caviling about minor points where you feel you can dispute me with a little cogency (although you are wrong even there).

    I suggest you just give-up on getting your own head out of your ass and just opt for the glass belly-button. It’ll be as seeing through a glass darkly, but it will be better than the darkness and canker-sores of your head’s present abode.

  83. 96

    harry poon spews:

    re 91: I would enjoy seeing your 270 lbs. of flab flitting gaily about in your dress with your bagpipes and fellow revelers.

  84. 97

    The Real Mark spews:

    John @ 87

    The 1.6% included those convicted for distribution. The better number is 0.7% (simple possession) or even the 0.3% who are first-time offenders. I don’t know if they categorize someone with a freezer bag of pot as “intent to distribute” or if it is simple possession, but that would not be “casual use” and “personal quantity” in my book. What we also don’t know is what percentage of the 0.3% were publicly intoxicated and/or also doing something that did/could hurt others. I didn’t readily find numbers for sober folks who simply had a baggy in the glove box of their car. If the feds only jailed 63 people for simple possession (unknown if they were publicly high or not), the national percentage should be pretty low, too.

    I also don’t know if we should take the incarceration costs as much into account as we do. If we’re talking cost/benefit, we really should just off Manson et al. Right?

    In a way, your comment about Old Grand Dad makes my point. How about this: Anyone who becomes intoxicated by a substance — be it booze, pot or licking frogs — has a problem and should, at the very least, be “sentenced” to treatment. In other words, one can have all the coke in the world as long as you don’t get high from it. That way, the pro pot crowd can have all of the hemp rope and shirts and shoes and whatever that they say they’re clamoring for.

  85. 98

    ArtFart spews:

    95 Mark, what you’re proposing could get a large segment of organized religion into some really deep doo-doo.

  86. 99

    spews:

    Mark:

    My libertarian (small “l”) streak rebels at the point of manditory treatment unless there was an accompanying crime. It may be stupid to ingest substances designed to mess with your head, but stupid isn’t illegal.

    Yes, that’s really hard on the first mini-van full of kids that gets hit by a drunk/stoned driver, but that is our justice system, even at its best.

    Additionally, even leaving that argument aside, we just don’t have the resources to deal with non-criminal involutary treatment. Just dealing with criminal behaviour and offering help to those that want it is a pretty tall order.

    So, I would modify your comment to read, “you can have all the booze/dope/coke you want, as long as you don’t hurt anyone else.”

    Are there going to be problems with that? Oh, yes. No doubt whatsoever, and many of them we’re currently having to deal with just with booze. Adding things like dope and coke won’t make those problems any better.

    But the current system isn’t working, generates huge amounts of revenue for some really bad people and puts folks that are merely stupid in with career criminals.

  87. 100

    spews:

    Piper (and others)

    For me to drink whiskey, it has to be very good whiskey. Glenfiddich or Laiphroag both qualify, although a half-shot of Old Bushmills in an Irish Coffee on a cold winter night is also a happy thing. (A full shot overwhelms the coffee, but a half shot gives a nice balance.)

    But in general, I’ll take a Guinness or a Negra Modelo.

  88. 101

    Don Joe spews:

    Now who is changing up the discussion to suit their purposes?

    Aren’t we talking about the legalization/criminalization of the sale and consumption of mind-altering substances? Why leave alcohol out of the discussion?

    Oh. That’s right. Because it turns your argument on its head.

    The folks who are in state and federal jail are there for distribution of drugs — and, most often, it is for things beyond marijuana.

    But that’s exactly the point I was making. The reason we aren’t going to bring back prohibition is because of all the ancillary criminal activity that rose up because of prohibition.

  89. 102

    spews:

    @98…Barelli…

    Well, is tonight cold enough for you?

    It’s too bad that nobody around here knows how to draw draught Guinness or enjoy it.

    In 1970, I toured the Guinness brewery in Dublin and saw how they added real body to the mix: cigarette ashes.

    An old guy was stirring a massive stainless vat of brew, and he had a cig dangling from his mouth that looked as though he’d never flicked ash from it since lighting it. As he stirred and the cig got down to the nubbins, he bobbed his head and the ash dropped into the brew. Without missing a beat, he stirred it right in.

    The old motto for Guinness was then still applicable: Guinness is good for you!

    Served room temp (in the 50’s) and allowed to breath, a pint o’ Guinness drawn properly takes a couple minutes or more to get ready. But it’s worth it!

    The Piper

  90. 103

    The Real Mark spews:

    JB @ 97

    Following the logic of “it’s OK as long as you don’t harm anyone else,” does that mean we should sanction prostitution? Polygamy? Should we allow no-holds-barred gambling anywhere and everywhere? What about marital infidelity?

    While it is possible that someone could “whore and drive,” the chances of a bad outcome are significantly less than a hit of pot.

    It all comes back to the intoxication issue. No casual user of pot that I’ve ever spoken to has said that they’d be satisfied with a puff if there were NO effects. The POINT of pot is to become intoxicated. The point of alcohol is not always so. In ANY case, should you be come intoxicated, there should be consequences.

  91. 104

    I-Burn spews:

    @92 What incoherent tripe. Did you graduate? Anything?

    And couldn’t you even come up with an insult that wasn’t a copy of something I said to you? My God, man. At least try to be original when you’re attempting to insult your intellectual superiors. It’s unlikely to be successful, but perhaps you’ll at least provide a hint of amusement.

  92. 105

    harry poon spews:

    re 102: It’s not ‘incoherent tripe’. My comments are largely concise and to the point. Beyond ad hoc attacks and juvenile name-calling, you haven’t said a thing.

  93. 110

    spews:

    Mark:

    “Following the logic of “it’s OK as long as you don’t harm anyone else,” does that mean we should sanction prostitution? Polygamy? Should we allow no-holds-barred gambling anywhere and everywhere? What about marital infidelity?

    Good questions, and they do logically follow my reasoning, although we end up taking a somewhat narrow topic and expand it into a major philosophical discussion.

    Still, I’m game.

    Prostitution. First, it isn’t illegal nationwide. Local jurisdictions deal with the issue by local standards. Yes, I’m aware that almost all communities have local laws against it, but I don’t object nearly as strongly against local laws that can be changed by local people.

    And many folks have argued to make prostitution legal. Without the emotional element, it seems like a very odd law. You can hire a massuse to rub part of her body against part of yours. Perfectly legal. Many folks get pleasure from a good massage.

    Unless, of course, the parts include the penis or vagina. Then it’s illegal. Look at that law from the perspective of a complete outsider. Would it make sense to you?

    Keeping it illegal puts the women in a situation where they cannot call on the law to protect themselves from physical harm, and prevents society from regulating it in a way that reduces the health risks.

    And my personal observation through a Navy career is that our society really doesn’t have that big a problem with prostitution per se. If you’re wondering, even though I’ve been to many places where prostitution was not only legal but socially acceptable, no, I chose not to use their services.

    Polygamy. Many countries and cultures practice polygamy today. Our own basic Christian beliefs do not condemn the practice, although our culture and most denominations do. Should we enforce our culture by law? Oh, and if you’re wondering, most folks in those countries where polygamy is legal still seem to simply pair off.

    Gambling. On this one, it is almost to that point now. No-holds-barred is tempered by regulation, to make sure that the games are “fair”, which normally seems to mean that the games are not rigged beyond that which is visible to the player, and zoned, like any other business. After all, putting a bright, noisy, 24 hour a day business of any kind in a residential neighborhood does cause harm to the neighbors.

    Marital infidelity. This is legal today, and has been commonplace throughout history. It isn’t right, and I have no problems with social condemnation of the individuals involved. But would I put the force of law behind that condemnation? No.

    So, out of your four points, two of them are already legal and the other two can be reasonably argued.

    But none of them has the cost to our society that has been extracted by the “war on drugs”. Proceeds from prostitution may go to criminals, but not in the amounts generated by drugs.

    Polygamy laws and marital infidelity do not involve segments of our population being incarcerated. Yes, when polygamy is used as an excuse for child abuse, that crime is, and should be punished, but the only thing that polygamy laws do today is to keep a relationship from being legally recognized. Think there aren’t already perfectly legal polygamous relationships within a mile of your home? Care to make a wager on that?

    Which brings us back to gambling, and while I find the proliferation of gambling establishments to be distasteful, treating it like any other business, with local people deciding whether the potential gains are worth the problems that come with them seems to be working. Having it legal keeps the games fair and the profits out of the hands of criminals and allows local communities to make their own decisions.

    Or, to put it more plainly, no, I don’t want a gambling hall next door, any more than I want a Wal-Mart. That doesn’t mean that I would outlaw Wal-Mart (tempting as the idea may be).