Incarcerex®

Every now and again I feel the need to advocate for the cause of marijuana de-criminalization (if not outright legalization) if for no other reason than because the arguments bolstering the demonstrably failed, multi-billion dollar “War on Drugs” are so maddeningly hypocritical, irrational, and completely unsupported by pesky facts or evidence of any kind.

Would it be too much to ask that, as Ethan Nadelmann of the Drug Policy Alliance suggests, we too might once again have a serious discussion in this country about the issue? There was some hope of that not too long ago back in the dark days of Liberal budget surpluses and near full employment, but quite possibly not now if the posturing of the Harper government’s latest slick anti-drug campaign is any indication of things to come…

From a political perspective, if the Liberals are looking for ways to distinguish themselves from the present regime — presuming they are still actually trying to do that — coming down unequivocally on the side of “liberalization” of our drug policies might well provide them with an issue that would not only help put some significant daylight between the LPC and the hypocritical social “nannyism” of the so-called Conservatives, but may even attract the support of the all-important, but most usually disaffected independents.

18 Comments

Filed under Crime & Punishment, Drug Policy, War on Drugs

18 responses to “Incarcerex®

  1. Ti-Guy

    coming down unequivocally on the side of “liberalization” of our drug policies might well provide them with an issue that would not only help put some significant daylight between the LPC and the hypocritical social “nannyism” of the so-called Conservatives, but may even attract the support of the all-important, but most usually disaffected independents.

    If that happens, someone better make sure the ball-gag is in place firmly over Dan McTeague’s mouth first and that he is sequestered so he doesn’t run off and try to enlist the Americans again.

  2. Penny

    but may even attract the support of the all-important, but most usually disaffected independents. ”

    And, based on what I heard from spending a few days with a niece at Xmas, the younger generation! AND MANY OF MY GENERATION TOO.

  3. “coming down unequivocally on the side of ‘liberalization’ of our drug policies”

    not on uncle sam’s watch, you don’t….

    KEvron

  4. TofKW

    not on uncle sam’s watch, you don’t….

    Under Harper’s rule, correct there’s no way. I don’t see it happening anytime soon, unless a minority LPC government is elected (whenever the writ is dropped again) with the NDP propping them up & it somehow becomes an issue with the dippers. I don’t see the grits adopting this under Iggy.

    As for what Uncle Sam thinks, that didn’t stop Hiram Walker or Seagrams from supplying Al Capone with booze during prohibition. How exactly is this any different this is from the war on whiskey? Both were/are doomed to fail.

    Once the populist/psycho-religious type wingnuts figure out the concept of ‘just because something is legal that doesn’t make it right’ also applies to pot, then we can finally begin to put come controls on its usage via the taxman. Throwing our tax dollars into the bottomless pit of extra policing, courts and mega-prisons to solve ‘the war on drugs’ is a fool’s errand.

  5. Ti-Guy

    then we can finally begin to put come controls on its usage via the taxman.

    …and keeping it out of the hands of underage people, which is where my rage over prohibition stems from. It’s one thing for an adult to make poor choices and live with the consequences (like going through life altered just because one is bored), but it’s a different one altogether for adolescents.

  6. TofKW

    …and keeping it out of the hands of underage people, which is where my rage over prohibition stems from.

    Indeed. A government-licensed distributor will ask for ID, a dealer does not. More insidiously, the dealer will go out of their way to get the 14-year olds hooked in order to expand their customer base.

  7. Ti-Guy

    Indeed. A government-licensed distributor will ask for ID, a dealer does not.

    Instead, we get preachy public service announcements showing adolescents bravely refusing the dangers of pot produced by people who’ve completely forgotten what it’s like to be a 14 year-old (because they spent those years smoking pot, probably). I saw one execrable example yesterday brought to us by the Government of “Canada.”

  8. Penny — I didn’t want to simply assume that younger people are necessary for legalization as there seems to be a certain amount of mixed opinion amongst that group too from what I can gather. Favourable towards de-criminalization most likely, but perhaps not yet ready to go all the way to legalization. For the most part, there’s an attitude of indifference in general — in other words, it’s not a really big deal…

  9. KEv — Sad but true.

    The irony is that Uncle Sam is our #1 consumer.

    Maybe that political dynamic will change when you folks stop being so hypocritical and self-deceiving.

  10. …and keeping it out of the hands of underage people, which is where my rage over prohibition stems from.

    A legitimate point to be sure, but unfortunately not one with sustainable validity. I’d suggest that this approach used by the prohibitionists is just a sentimental “path of least resistance” argument that preys upon the visceral emotions of witless conservatives — “Won’t somebody think of the kids!!!” So, even taking that rational line of counter-argument out of the equation, the reactionary wingnuts will simply move the goalposts to someplace else — e.g., it will pose workplace hazards, decrease productivity, destroy our economy, and so on and so on.

  11. Ti-Guy — I saw one execrable example yesterday brought to us by the Government of “Canada.”

    As did I, which prompted me to post this.

    After watching that I couldn’t help but think how from a different perspective that message could have been presented in a more positive light…

    What really struck me as “offensive” (there, I said it!) was the bogus re-iteration of the “gateway” theory regarding marijuana.

  12. Ti-Guy

    A legitimate point to be sure, but unfortunately not one with sustainable validity.

    I’m not in the habit of developing arguments to withstand the attacks from dishonest, hysterical and irrational “conservatives.” If that were the case, I’d never argue anything at all.

    The strongest, less ideological argument for decriminalisation is that it would make the whole enterprise far less lucrative for the organised criminals who are now running the drug trade. Which is why we’re not going to see the end of the “War on Drugs.”

  13. I’m not in the habit of developing arguments to withstand the attacks from dishonest, hysterical and irrational “conservatives.”

    Fair enough. I was just trying to point out the flaw in this approach… One not only needs to address the immediate grievance, but anticipate one, two, three steps beyond in the expectation that the goalposts will always be highly mobile.

    There’s a lot to be said for focusing on the economics of the issue — and not just in terms of generating increased tax revenue, but in cutting off criminal activity at the knees. That would be a much smarter approach.

  14. Ti-Guy

    but anticipate one, two, three steps beyond in the expectation that the goalposts will always be highly mobile.

    At this stage in our pre-verbal, post-literate culture, in which language can be interpreted to be mean anything or nothing at all, I believe goalposts never stop moving. Which is the best argument for ending this decades-long debate once and for all.

  15. Just out of curiosity, what’s your definition of a “pre-verbal” culture?

  16. Ti-Guy

    Just out of curiosity, what’s your definition of a “pre-verbal” culture?

    One that is increasingly unfamiliar with all the signalling required for human communication and that treats language more or less like a automated natural-language processor does. It mimics the earliest stage of the cognition required for language processing, rather than a later, more mature one.

    Just kidding. I don’t mean much at all by it; it’s just another way of describing something as inarticulate or irrational or ignorant or all three. But you do have to wonder just what is going on with a particular demographic that, as I said, seems to truly believe that language can mean anything or nothing at all, which is how those goalposts get shifted all the time.

  17. Got it. Just wanted to be clear on what you meant by that.

    It’s a remarkable irony perhaps that those who are most skilled/cunning at manipulating the language and artfully “framing” issues in accordance with their brand of propaganda direct their messages towards people that have been relentlessly dumbed down over the years by various forms of mass media…

    As for the matter of language meaning “anything or nothing at all”… Orwell stole my shoe!

    It’s a post-modern phenomenon.

  18. Ti-Guy

    It’s a remarkable irony perhaps that those who are most skilled/cunning at manipulating the language and artfully “framing” issues in accordance with their brand of propaganda direct their messages towards people that have been relentlessly dumbed down over the years by various forms of mass media…

    The thing is, I can accept this as part of capitalism/commerce. What I can’t accept is how enthusiastically it’s been endorsed by journalists, political analysts, educators and politicians, some of whom appear completely unwitting when they’re engaging in it or defending it.

    The other part of the problem is that many average people accept it and justify it by explaining how it serves the interests other people and not themselves as clients, consumers, end-users or citizens. How many times do you find yourself dealing with someone who respond to a critique or a legitimate complaint by explaining how it makes sense for a business or a newspaper or a political party to communicate in such a mystifying, oblique or manipulative manner, when that particular issue was never in question to begin with?

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