Drug Prohibition

From the esteemed travel writer’s website: Rick Steves sees the current prohibition on marijuana as a misguided policy causing more harm to our society than good — much like the Prohibition against alcohol did in the 1930s. In these recent articles and interviews, Rick explains why he believes that, assuming a society measures the effectiveness of its drug policy in harm reduction rather than people locked up, America would be better off decriminalizing marijuana.

Might I suggest that this yet another popular (albeit somewhat contentious) issue the Liberals should be actively promoting as part of whatever the hell their platform might be in some future election… Aside from the moral justification and sensible pragmatism of such a policy shift, if governments are anxiously looking to tap into lucrative new sources of tax revenue in order to reduce the national debt and curtail their annual revenue shortfall, this would be a superlatively logical place to begin prospecting.


19 Replies to “Drug Prohibition”

  1. If you want to read someone who takes this to the extreme (and, maybe he’s right), pick up a copy of (former Bishop of Edinburgh in the Scottish Episcopal Church) Richard Holloway’s “Looking in the Distance”.

  2. I think a Liberal policy plank of marijuana decriminalization would have the possibility of mobilizing a huge number of young voters (and others of course) who these days simply ignore the electoral process. Sure the debate would be contentious, but maybe that’s what we need right now. Invigorate what is currently piss poor political awareness and involvement. That’s a good thing.

  3. I’m all for the legalization of Pot. Provincial governments already control, booze, gambling and cigarettes. Why not toss in drugs and prostitution?

    People want drugs. People get drugs. People take drugs.

  4. You’d think the legalization of drugs is something that all “conservatives” should be supporting on the grounds of individual liberty, if nothing else. Funny though how those principles always seem to get thrown out the window when it comes to anything they personally disapprove of or regard as “immoral” in some way. Not of course that I’m suggesting they’re stinking hypocrites or anything…

  5. An excellent place to start would be to allow federally incarcerated individuals access to small amounts of marijuana for personal consumption. In the highly stressed environment that is our prison system I think allowing the use of a natural herb that basically makes you (in order) happy, hungry then sleepy would be a benefit to everyone involved.

  6. LOL

    Good point, but we can’t have prisoners just loafing about getting buzzed all day because they need to be suffering for their horrible crimes…

    From a practical standpoint however, it makes a lot of sense.

  7. Unless you are Rastafarian and believe smoking weed is a sacrament to be performed constantly, moderation of use is the key. As a matter of fact I believe moderation in everything we do is key to long, happy, healthy life. I like to smoke pot, but I indulge only occasionally. I think if people take it to extremes it can, and likely will be, a problem. Like anything else. Like Steeves points out, prohibition is the problem. How and why we continue down the criminality road is a baffling mystery.

  8. “Moderation, which consists in an indifference about little things, and in a prudent and well-proportioned zeal about things of importance, can proceed from nothing but true knowledge, which has its foundation in self-acquaintance.” — Plato

    I very much love to indulge from time to time when the opportunity presents itself, but am wary of the temptation to continually be situated in an altered state of mind.

  9. i’d love to see pot legal… along with a lot of other things like heroin and prostitution.

    after all if it’s legal, you can tax it.

    BUT …. the United States just might be a tad unhappy with us.

    bad things would happen.

    so we’re stuck with the way things are.

  10. BSB — Fuck the United States! Yes, they will have a rhetorical conniption… So what? There is, you know, something to be said for national sovereignty and charting our own course without regard to their absurd “War on Drugs” that has been, by any objective measure you care to choose, a catastrophic FAILURE.

    We already have measures in place at the border to ensure that commercial traffic is carefully monitored to prevent smuggling. So from their perspective, what is the problem? Aside from illustrating the absurdity of their prohibition policies, of course…

  11. fucking the US is nice in theory but risky in practise.

    i’m for the legalization of pot et al in theory but not in practise.

    the reality would be a horror show. we can’t handle the mohawks and their illegal cigarette smuggling operation now… what the hell would we do with everything else?

  12. “…the United States just might be a tad unhappy with us.”

    Then we can trade. We will tell them we will ban pot as soon as they ban guns.

    Personally I favour legalizing all drugs. That will allow us to regulate them, tax them, and provide more support for addicts. The bigger problem will not be the US but the police. They like criminalizing pot because just the smell of it gives them the excuse to search and arrest people they suspect are committing other crimes.

  13. BSB — I was being somewhat facetious, but not entirely. It would be very easy to spin an approach towards legalization that would necessitate regulation, taxation and government control of narcotics in such a way as being a positive measure that would actually increase security and benefit cross-border trade.

  14. Gayle — The bigger problem will not be the US but the police.

    Indeed. But given the Conservative government has seen fit to blow off the opinion of the police authorities as being completely irrelevant when it comes the value of the long gun registry, why stop there? 😉

  15. “the reality would be a horror show. we can’t handle the mohawks and their illegal cigarette smuggling operation now… what the hell would we do with everything else?”

    Possibly, but it would probably cost far less than prohibition and I cannot see it getting more “out of hand” than it is already. Go to a small town in the middle of BC. It’s already there and the towns aren’t bastions of violent crime.

  16. Fear of Americans will not legitimize a prohibitionist regime that is quickly loosing its legitimacy. All it does is foster the very “anti Americanism” the Canadian right has long bemoaned.

    Furthermore, the ability of the Americans to bully us on the issue has been overstated and depends on large part on our unwillingness to be put it on the legislative agenda. Should Canada legalize marijuana after a lengthy public debate a Democratic president, in particular would be loath to come down hard. One of Obama’s top foreign policy goals is to rebuild American soft power and short circuiting the democratic process in another Western country, especially given European attitudes, will not help achieve such an end. Indeed, it would greatly hurt it. Domestically too Obama has reason not to punish Canada. A public debate in Canada will garner plenty of attention State side and Obama will not be willing to sacrifice his cool cat image, take a massive hit with in the African American community and in the Western US, just so he can make hard core opponents happy. The Americans who will be angry about what Canada is doing domestically are not the kind of people who would ever vote for him or give him money.

  17. Listening to Harper et al you would think that Canada’s international reputation raises and falls based on our willingness to commit troops to futile nation building missions. Of course this is nonsense. Canada’s international reputation raises and falls based upon our willingness to pass legislation on contentious issues that can serve as template for other nations, particularly Western ones. SSM was a great case in point. The Canadian decision especially our willingness to marry non citizens upset the apple cart. Good for us. The mayor of Rio de Janeiro, for example, I am sure does not care a lick that Canada is wasting billions in Afghanistan, but he will certainly take notice if Canada legalizes pot.

  18. Koby — I would expect that any Canadian solution to the drug problem would be sensible and prudent… I mean, that’s what we’re all about, right? “Peace, order and good government” being our national watchwords, after all — hardly rousing or soul-stirring sentiments and some might consider that motto a bit tepid and uninspiring, but there’s something very comforting and reassuring about it.

    Look how we dealt with the issue of SSM as opposed to the legislative chaos tackling this south of the border. Or healthcare, for that matter. Not perfect, but hey, it’s functional, reasonably affordable and generally fair.

    The current U.S. president said something back in the campaign that all politicians should take to heart — “Don’t let the ‘perfect’ be the enemy of the good.” That’s the essence of pragmatism and dealing with reality as it is rather than as we may ideally want it to be.

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