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Why is alcohol legal ?


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47 minutes ago, iNow said:

Exactly right! This is why I never give my sweetheart more than 50 pounds of chocolate in Idaho or pay my one armed piano players to perform in Iowa. Finally, when I travel on business to New York, I never wear my slippers after 10pm. 🙄

You should have a special area where you can give your sweetheart 50 lbs of chioccolate, and avoid prosecution when she overdoses on choccolate.
( but what a way to go 😄 )
 

37 minutes ago, zapatos said:

Well, except for recreational use of marijruhanna in 18 states and Washington D.C., even though it is still illegal at the federal level.

In Canada Cannabis has been de-criminalized, but we have Safe Injection Sites where you can do illegal activities in a 'special' area.
Until, or ever, legalized, that is still an illegal activity.

39 minutes ago, CharonY said:

If you want your moral outrage satiated and punish folks for bad choices (as we did in the past) then we just have to live with more deaths and often also associated crime.

These bad choices people make are not excused in other cases not involving drug use.
Why is 'moral outrage' and punishment justified if I make bad choices, other than illegal drug use, that harm people and society ?

 

43 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Consider punishing does nothing to reduce drug use I am not sure what such policy do except makes us feel better about not taking drugs and feel superior to those who do. I am looking at the issue entirely from the viewpoint of reducing public health risks.

There would be less deaths of innocent bystanders if gang members were allowed to have their shoot-outs in 'special' areas, without retribution.
I'm looking at the issueentirely from the viewpoint of reducing public health risks.

Sounds kind of silly, doesn't it ?
 

43 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

Yes, we do, and have for some time. https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC5685449/

I know.
And that is what I'm ranting against.
 

45 minutes ago, TheVat said:

Isn't most illegal activity around drug use a result of the drugs being illegal in the first place? 

So, if society deems such actions and use legal, then there would be no need for Safe Injection Sites.
Until then, you are advocating a 'specal' place to do specific illegal actions/uses that you may favor ( but certainly not other actions/uses a mentioned above ), even though society doesn't consider them legal.


Did I forget anyone ?

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26 minutes ago, CharonY said:

Well, it is part of the political process and which is why cannabis is being legalized. Note that becee's argument for alcohol was based on majority rule (with a focus on Western society) but seemingly was more against legalization of cannabis, using the same criterion (~90% in USA and Canada were for legalization of cannabis for medical and recreational use, over 60% for recreational use in the US and a fair bit higher in Canada prior to legalization).

Also, note that the criminalization of cocaine and marijuana were not responses to popular demand, but to other concerns of government. 

Quote

The fear of the “Negro cocaine fiend” coincided with Congress’s debates about whether to pass the Harrison Narcotics Tax Act. Unprecedented for its time, the law set out to regulate and tax the importation, manufacturing, and distribution of opiates and coca products, in part to mend relations with China by clamping down on the illicit opium trade. While some states saw the act as the federal government trying to involve itself in states’ rights, the tipping point came with newspapers, politicians, and even physicians stoking the fears of the “Negro cocaine fiend.” Claiming that white Southern women were in mortal danger of being attacked by cocaine-addled black men, the Harrison Act became law, one of the first pieces of American legislation on the issue of drug regulation.12https://riveroakstreatment.com/cocaine-treatment/illegal-history-in-america/

It was a good idea to regulate and tax cocaine - wouldn't be outlawed for a few years yet -  but not because people wanted regulated and taxed: if they couldn't have wine anymore (when Georgia outlawed alcohol) they would take coca-cola.

Quote

n Atlanta, John Pemberton, a pharmacist, developed a beverage based on Vin Mariani, called Pemberton's French Wine Coca. It proved popular among American consumers. In 1886, when Georgia introduced Prohibition, Pemberton had to replace the wine in his recipe with non-alcoholic syrup. The new recipe became Coca-Cola. - wiki

In fact, the voters mostly know only what they're told. Mount a scary enough propaganda campaign and they'll approve the prohibition of anything.

13 minutes ago, MigL said:

And that [safe injection sites] is what I'm ranting against.

Because the road-kill of capitalism need to be punished even more than their addiction is already hurting; they need to be driven to crime, so that they can be arrested and punished again...? Or is there some lofty moral reason?

16 minutes ago, MigL said:

So, if society deems such actions and use legal, then there would be no need for Safe Injection Sites.
Until then, you are advocating a 'specal' place to do specific illegal actions/uses that you may favor ( but certainly not other actions/uses a mentioned above ), even though society doesn't consider them legal.

I think 'society' would rather have drugfiends sequestered anyplace, rather than on the streets where 'society' is walking and on the fire-escapes of 'society's apartments. 

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6 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

In fact, the voters mostly know only what they're told. Mount a scary enough propaganda campaign and they'll approve the prohibition of anything.

  Or conversely mount a fabricated propaganda campaign against prohibition and the furphy of government control, and some, (the more gullible) will approve of being able to do what ever we want.

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38 minutes ago, beecee said:

Or conversely mount a fabricated propaganda campaign against prohibition and the furphy of government control, and some, (the more gullible) will approve of being able to do what ever we want.

I'd like to see proof that this happened.

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41 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

I'd like to see proof that this happened.

 

1 hour ago, Peterkin said:

In fact, the voters mostly know only what they're told. Mount a scary enough propaganda campaign and they'll approve the prohibition of anything.

Likewise, proof of the above....you show me your's and I'll show you mine. Remember you demanded proof, not isolated bits of evidence.

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14 minutes ago, beecee said:

Likewise, proof of the above....you show me your's and I'll show you mine. Remember you demanded proof, not isolated bits of evidence.

Isolated bits of evidence will do. One single

 

58 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

fabricated propaganda campaign against prohibition

 

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2 hours ago, MigL said:

In Canada Cannabis has been de-criminalized, but we have Safe Injection Sites where you can do illegal activities in a 'special' area.

Actually it is legalized and there is an increasing shift in Canadian drug policing. 

Quote

In a submission to Health Canada last month, British Columbia detailed its intention to decriminalize the personal possession of up to 4.5 grams of illicit drugs such as heroin, crack and powder cocaine, fentanyl, and methamphetamine. Vancouver has also made a similar submission of its own. And just one week ago, Toronto’s top doctor said she’d like to see the possession of small amounts of illegal drugs decriminalized in the city — and she’s got support from the local police chief.

[...]

Drugs have only been illegal in Canada for a little over 100 years, according to the Canadian Drug Policy Coalition. Views began to shift in society in the late 1800s and early 1900s, the coalition’s website explains, mainly due to the “influence of Protestantism,” a growing unease in the medical community when it came to “unregulated medicine,” and a growing anti-opium sentiment.

 

The latter has been outlined in a well-written book (Busted: An Illustrated History of Drug Prohibition in Canada, by Susan Boyd).

Quote

“Our first narcotics laws, the first Opium Act, was enacted because of events that happened right here in Vancouver,” she explained in a telephone interview.

On September 7, 1907, a parade of thousands marched on City Hall, which then was located at the corner of Main Street and East Hastings. “Stand for White Canada” read a banner the group carried at its front. The mob ransacked Chinatown and Vancouver’s Japanese quarter.

Canada’s deputy minister of labour, William Lyon Mackenzie King, was dispatched to investigate claims for compensation. “Shortly afterwards,” Boyd writes in the book, “King met with a deputation of three men from the Chinese Anti-Opium League. A few days later, while speaking to the Vancouver Daily Province on June 3, 1908, King declared: ‘it should be made impossible to manufacture this drug in any part of the Dominion…We will get some good out of this riot yet.’”

The Opium Act of 1908 was the result, a piece of “race-based legislation,” Boyd continues, that was subsequently used to target Chinese people across the country.

Canada’s war on drugs was under way. And, in Vancouver especially, so was a movement against it.

“We have a long legacy of resistance,” Boyd told the Straight.

So the laws were a mix of real health concerns, but also quite a bit with moral judgement of certain folks (which, as often, incorporates good old racism).

2 hours ago, MigL said:

These bad choices people make are not excused in other cases not involving drug use.
Why is 'moral outrage' and punishment justified if I make bad choices, other than illegal drug use, that harm people and society ?

And the issue again is a matter of outcome. Do these policy of punishment reduce illegal drug use? Do they have any tangible benefits? A hundred years worth of data point toward no. If a policy does not manage to do what it intends to do, it is just bad policy. The fact that there are other bad policies out there does not change the issue that drug policies simply do not offer benefits, whereas alternatives save lives. From an entirely utilitarian perspectives I figure that a policy that is potentially cheaper and results in overall less dead people is better than one that is more expensive and ends with more folks dead. At least to me whether during the process folks are punished or not is secondary. I just like to see fewer folks dying, ill or otherwise increasing pressure on our health care system. 

Continuing to do something that just doesn't work with the hope that eventually it will is just not good policy.

2 hours ago, MigL said:

There would be less deaths of innocent bystanders if gang members were allowed to have their shoot-outs in 'special' areas, without retribution.
I'm looking at the issueentirely from the viewpoint of reducing public health risks.

I am not sure why you think that this a clever remark, but police actions are aimed to contain violence in certain areas. Whether they work or not is a different matter. However, if you are able to develop some policy or law that would ultimately cut down on deaths (even if it remains non-zero) I would probably be in favour of it, unless there are other detrimental effects. As a whole there needs to be an overall cost/benefit analysis of it. And I think the real disagreement here might be that you seem to consider punishment of "bad" guys as a value in itself, which offsets the costs of detrimental health effects. And I simply disagree with that point. Instead I  would like to see fewer folks taking harmful drugs to begin with and get those that are addicted away from it as the primary goals. 

 

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4 hours ago, beecee said:

 

Are you suggesting that muggings and other vicitm crimes would cease if illegal drugs were made legal?

 

I would have thought it obvious that this was not my point.  Rather, some percent of crimes arise from drug trade and drug need, and these would decrease.  No one is suggesting we have government promote, say, meth -- just that decriminalizing some end user activity, and providing clinical safe settings with a safe (nonadulterated) product would have a net effect of lowering violence, overdoses, poisonings, jailhouse abuse of vulnerable persons, and barriers to treatment.  Many users have mental health issues and would be less likely to use, and use in a dangerous way, if they had secure and nonjudgmental venues where options were there for them.  Seattle, at last report, is doing well with this approach.  Which I find extremely unsurprising.

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2 hours ago, CharonY said:

And I think the real disagreement here might be that you seem to consider punishment of "bad" guys as a value in itself,

No. I think if you knowingly do something illegal, you are accepting of the known punishment you may get. You don't get a special place where you can be illegal without the consequences.
If society deems that illegal act, to become legal, then you can do it wherever you want. So by all means, if you can get the country to legalize possession of 'hard' drugs, then you can have safe injection sites. Otherwise you are simply providing an area whhere the illegal is considered legal ( ? ).; which is nonsensical.

 

2 hours ago, CharonY said:

I am not sure why you think that this a clever remark, but police actions are aimed to contain violence in certain areas.

Maybe that was a bad example, as it has nothing to do with drugs.

Alcohol is a drug.
Every year drunk drivers kill and injure not just themselves but other drivers and pedestrians.
And after years of education, fines, driving suspensions and jail time, they continue to drive drunk.
Obviously it is not working.
I would suggest 'special' roads, only for drunk driving use, such that other innocent drivers and pedestrians are not killed or injured; just the drunk drivers.
This would also be a harm reduction strategy, would it not ?

I haven't seen any 'safe drunk driving roads' pop up in Vancouver or Toronto like the safe injection sites have.

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

Alcohol is a drug.
Every year drunk drivers kill and injure not just themselves but other drivers and pedestrians.
And after years of education, fines, driving suspensions and jail time, they continue to drive drunk.
Obviously it is not working.

That actually is also a bad example as studies back to the 80s (at least) show that overall deterrence reduces impairment-related accidents.

It does not scale perfectly with severity of penalties and there are regional differences. However data suggests that it is working. However, the argument seems to be that if it does not prevent all adverse events, it is not working. This is of course silly as having perfect laws/policies that solve all the problems 100% are extremely unlikely to exist (with the exception of very simple matters, perhaps). Rather, the benchmark should be whether the situation gets better once it is implemented.

If there is a better method to prevent DUIs (or drug-related harm) I'd be happy to see it implemented. Studies over the last 50 years or so have now coalesced to rather show a stark and negative outcome of the war on drugs. Not only does it not prevent drug use, it also created additional issues by exacerbating issues of poverty and related crime. Even the Cato institute and other conservative think tanks have come around to see the policy as failed https://www.cato.org/policy-analysis/four-decades-counting-continued-failure-war-drugs

 

Small wonder then that folks working in the medical field have changed the question to: how can we save lives (cynical voices have mentioned that this change in policy debate was connected to the rise of the opioid crisis in white communities). Experiments on a number of levels ranging from e.g. not charging individuals for possession or drug use if they call in overdoses to local measures (the mentioned safe drug sites) to larger scale decriminalization show that similar to DUI laws or seat belts, they do not solve all the problems, but for the most part they improve outcome.

 

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1 hour ago, MigL said:

No. I think if you knowingly do something illegal, you are accepting of the known punishment you may get. You don't get a special place where you can be illegal without the consequences.
If society deems that illegal act, to become legal, then you can do it wherever you want. So by all means, if you can get the country to legalize possession of 'hard' drugs, then you can have safe injection sites. Otherwise you are simply providing an area whhere the illegal is considered legal ( ? ).; which is nonsensical.

 

1 hour ago, MigL said:

No. I think if you knowingly do something illegal, you are accepting of the known punishment you may get. You don't get a special place where you can be illegal without the consequences.
If society deems that illegal act, to become legal, then you can do it wherever you want. So by all means, if you can get the country to legalize possession of 'hard' drugs, then you can have safe injection sites. Otherwise you are simply providing an area whhere the illegal is considered legal ( ? ).; which is nonsensical.

Based on this particular argument it really seem that in order to save lives we should do away with safe areas and rather go for decriminalization.

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9 hours ago, MigL said:

No. I think if you knowingly do something illegal, you are accepting of the known punishment you may get. You don't get a special place where you can be illegal without the consequences.

The thing is that criminals often don't think they will get caught, and they tend to blame others for their predicament. (It's not universal, and not just criminals who do this)

Two reasons why harsher sentences aren't deterrents to crime.

9 hours ago, MigL said:


If society deems that illegal act, to become legal, then you can do it wherever you want. So by all means, if you can get the country to legalize possession of 'hard' drugs, then you can have safe injection sites. Otherwise you are simply providing an area whhere the illegal is considered legal ( ? ).; which is nonsensical.

The reality is that you have limited resources, and have to prioritize what you do. Since you aren't going to eliminate drug use, "safe" zones compartmentalize the problem and reduce risk to others with minimal use of those limited resources. 

 

9 hours ago, MigL said:

Maybe that was a bad example, as it has nothing to do with drugs.

Alcohol is a drug.
Every year drunk drivers kill and injure not just themselves but other drivers and pedestrians.
And after years of education, fines, driving suspensions and jail time, they continue to drive drunk.
Obviously it is not working.
I would suggest 'special' roads, only for drunk driving use, such that other innocent drivers and pedestrians are not killed or injured; just the drunk drivers.
This would also be a harm reduction strategy, would it not ?

I haven't seen any 'safe drunk driving roads' pop up in Vancouver or Toronto like the safe injection sites have.

Drunk driving puts others at risk - not just the driver of one car. And logistically this is a non-starter, since you don't have roads you can devote to such an enterprise.

The actual action communities/establishments have taken is encouraging groups to have a designated driver and offer free cab/Uber/Lyft rides on nights when drinking is widespread, such as New Year's Eve

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16 hours ago, beecee said:

No, arse about face. I prefer the drug that society already dictates as a social necessity in all walks of life in any reasonable democratic westernised society. 

If society "dictates as a social necessity in all walks of life" then surely it would be illigal to refuse to drink alcohol.

 

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1 minute ago, dimreepr said:

If society "dictates as a social necessity in all walks of life" then surely it would be illigal to refuse to drink alcohol.

 

Oh, come on.

Freedom to drink (i.e. not being illegal) is not the same thing as making it mandatory.

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17 hours ago, beecee said:

On the subject of considering I maybe wrong, sure there's a chance, but n one has yet shown me that.

The very definition of an unworkable philosophy

1 minute ago, swansont said:

Oh, come on.

Freedom to drink (i.e. not being illegal) is not the same thing as making it mandatory.

Indeed, but I was following beecee's logic, as in, if society dictate's it's needed to allow society to work properly, then it's not unreasonable to show where that slope may lead.

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10 hours ago, MigL said:

I think if you knowingly do something illegal, you are accepting of the known punishment you may get. You don't get a special place where you can be illegal without the consequences.

That would assume that every drug addict became one through his own her own free, informed, uncoerced adult choice.  

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41 minutes ago, swansont said:

The reality is that you have limited resources, and have to prioritize what you do. Since you aren't going to eliminate drug use, "safe" zones compartmentalize the problem and reduce risk to others with minimal use of those limited resources. 

We instituted a version of a safe zone in my household when my children were too young to drink.

Coming home drunk was a violation of our rules, but if my kids were out with the car and under the influence, they could call home for a ride, 24 hours a day, with zero retribution for drinking.

I was willing to accept law breaking and rule breaking if it meant saving them from harm.

I suspect people who aren't willing to accept safe zones for drug use among strangers will usually feel differently if it is a loved one whose life is at risk.

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Posted (edited)
16 hours ago, MigL said:

Why is 'moral outrage' and punishment justified if I make bad choices, other than illegal drug use, that harm people and society ?

It isn't always. Allowances are usually made - by the courts, by parents ^^^ and by many people who don't get quite so high on their own moral outrage - for the very young, the physically and psychologically damaged, the weak and the desperate.

Edited by Peterkin
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1 hour ago, dimreepr said:

Indeed, but I was following beecee's logic, as in, if society dictate's it's needed to allow society to work properly, then it's not unreasonable to show where that slope may lead.

But the "what" that is needed is the issue. The statement was about being "allowed to use the drug" and you contorted that into being forced to use the drug.

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1 hour ago, swansont said:

Freedom to drink (i.e. not being illegal) is not the same thing as making it mandatory.

No, but the perceived 'social necessity' of alcohol sure makes it harder for alcoholics to recover.  

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1 hour ago, zapatos said:

We instituted a version of a safe zone in my household when my children were too young to drink.

Coming home drunk was a violation of our rules, but if my kids were out with the car and under the influence, they could call home for a ride, 24 hours a day, with zero retribution for drinking.

I like that people do this, because it recognizes that retribution makes it much less likely that they will call, and that yelling at them after the fact doesn't prevent the situation from happening.

 

49 minutes ago, Peterkin said:

No, but the perceived 'social necessity' of alcohol sure makes it harder for alcoholics to recover.  

Yes, it does. As do the misunderstandings of what alcoholism entails. But the "social necessity" isn't law, and that's what we were discussing. 

 

 

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13 minutes ago, swansont said:

es, it does. As do the misunderstandings of what alcoholism entails. But the "social necessity" isn't law, and that's what we were discussing. 

I had the impression dimreepr did not intend that exaggeration to be taken literally, but rather as an ad absurdum argument in response to Beecee. 

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4 hours ago, swansont said:

The actual action communities/establishments have taken is encouraging groups to have a designated driver and offer free cab/Uber/Lyft rides on nights when drinking is widespread, such as New Year's Eve

 

4 hours ago, zapatos said:

Coming home drunk was a violation of our rules, but if my kids were out with the car and under the influence, they could call home for a ride, 24 hours a day, with zero retribution for drinking.

I was willing to accept law breaking and rule breaking if it meant saving them from harm.

Almost as if harm reduction measures actually work.

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