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April 13th, 2009
12:22 PM ET

Drug legalization: "A great idea whose time has not come"

[cnn-photo-caption image= caption="Robert Stutman is a former Special Agent with the DEA."]

By Robert M. Stutman
Special to CNN

Editor's note: Robert M. Stutman is a former Special Agent with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration and Principal of The Stutman Group.

Gee, things aren't going great in the war on drugs: violence in Mexico; more and more kids using dangerous drugs at an early age; kids overdosing all over the country from drugs like heroin and OxyContin. If you like this and want a lot more, let's give any drug to any person at any age who wants to use it and see where that gets us.

Our present system is not perfect and needs a lot of fixing, but blowing up the system and giving up completely would be like a contractor who has to demolish a building and instead of using dynamite to take down the building, uses a nuclear device to take down the city. Granted the system is not perfect, but fortunately, even most religions don't demand perfection, they demand of you to try your best. Surrendering is not trying our best!

Counterpoint – Commentary: Legalize drugs

Drugs are not bad because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are bad. About 12% of regular alcohol users become alcohol addicts. About 12-50% of users of drugs (depending on the drug and age of user) become addicts. Right now there are about 175 million regular users of alcohol (at a 12% addiction rate) that equals about 20 million alcoholics. Most studies and even most anti prohibitionists agree that if all drugs are made legal the use of these drugs will significantly increase. A study in Alaska after marijuana decriminalization showed a doubling of marijuana regular use. There are 175 million regular users of alcohol in the US and about 20 million drug users. Do those figures fall out that way by accident? Certainly not—one is legal one is not. Most experts agree that a fair number for the increase in users, if we make all drugs available to anyone who wants them, is about five times the present number of users. Five times 20 million is about 100 million drug users with an average addiction rate of 25% (depending on drug and age). Therefore, we end up with an additional 25 million addicts on top of the 20 million alcoholics we already have. Can we handle that?

Who will pay for the increased addicts who can't work; need health care; and need public assistance, etc? What about the significant increase in overdoses, spousal abuse, child abuse, automobile accidents. These issues are not a guess they are already here with alcohol. Why would anyone with any common sense want to add on cumulatively to the alcohol addiction problem we already have?

By the way, for those who make the specious argument that there is no proof if we legalize drugs and make them available presumably at a cheaper price the use won't go up, I would ask them if that is our experience with alcohol. Study after study shows that if you significantly raise the tax base on alcohol (or tobacco), the user rate significantly decreases. Lower the price, and use goes up. It's not magic, its economics 101.

Vote! Should drugs be legal in the U.S.?

Finally, the argument of whether we will do away with cartels and crime and violence associated with drug sales by legalizing, has some merit. If you are willing to give all drugs to all people at any age—crack to 12 year olds who want it—then you will certainly affect the crime associated with the drug problem. But as soon as you place some black markets in the picture (no one under age 18 can get legal drugs) then the cartels will simply re-market their product to the group who can't get the drug legally. If the government raises the tax the cartels will sell the product cheaper. Remember their cost of goods sold is almost zero so they can sell much cheaper than the government. Crack as a drug was marketed by drug groups in New York in 1985 in order to lower the price of cocaine (from $100 per gram to $5 a vial) in order to specifically reach the children's market. The government is not that good in anything to compete with the cartels. We will always lose the marketing/sales battle.

Legalization is a grand experiment, which if we tried and it didn't work, we could not eradicate. Once drugs have been made available legally in societies they can rarely be taken back.

Finally, for those who say drug addiction is a "victimless crime," I wish they would tell that to the mom I met recently at a speech who told a group, "My son is 37, has been an addict for 22 years, and I wish he had died. My husband and I are divorced because of him; none of his siblings talk to each other because of him; and worst of all he has a 4 year old daughter and I know what is going to happen to her." Victimless crime?...Anyone who says that has spent too much time in universities and not enough time seeing the real world that drugs and alcohol cause.

Filed under: Controversy • Drugs
soundoff (112 Responses)
  1. John

    Drug laws create drug lords

    If the words ‘life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness’ don’t include the right to experiment with your own consciousness, then the Declaration of Independence isn’t worth the hemp it was written on. – Terence McKenna

    “Prohibition goes beyond the bounds of reason in that it attempts to control a man’s appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded” -Abraham Lincoln

    “Hemp is of first necessity to the wealth & protection of the country.” -Thomas Jefferson

    “The oppressed should rebel, and they will continue to rebel and raise disturbance until their civil rights are fully restored to them and all partial distinctions, exclusions and incapacitations are removed.”
    – Thomas Jefferson, 1776

    These substances have not always been shunned like they are now. They have been illegal for about 1% of human history. Hemp was used for thousands of products before it was illegal to grow. The plant can be used to make fiber, biodegradable plastic, fuel, paper, medicine, and even food. Hemp has had a mayor involvement with human history. Entire wars were fought over hemp. At one point in our U.S. history, it was illegal not to grow hemp. Hemp was even used as currency at one time.

    The ancient cultures have involved themselves with these substances for a long time. They play a part in their society. These cultures are not extinct. Many still continue to use them in their way of life. Some villages survive on the coco plant, and others use peyote in tribal rituals. No matter how a person views these substances, there is no doubt that they have played and continue to play a large roll in our global culture..

    By 1839, cannabis hemp products for fiber, paper, nautical use, lamp oil, food, etc., were possibly the largest agricultural and industrial businesses in America and, of course, throughout the world, the hundreds of medical uses of cannabis (known for thousands of years in the Orient and Middle East) were still almost entirely unknown in much of Western Europe and America because of the earlier Medieval Catholic Church’s suppression.
    From 1850 to 1937, cannabis was used as the prime medicine for more than 100 separate illnesses or diseases in U.S. Pharmacopoeia.
    By the start of the 20th century almost four generations of Americans had been using cannabis. Virtually everyone in this country was familiar from childhood on with the “highs” of cannabis extract – yet doctors did not consider it habit forming, anti-social or violent at all, after 60 years of use.

    Governments make laws against substances that have been a part of human culture for thousands of years. There will always be an underground market that generates billions for drug lords. No drug laws equal no drug lords. Using a drug should be a choice. The health consequences should be the only concern for the person using it. Why should we suffer with jail time, fines, restrictions, and many other hassles that make our lives that much harder to live. We need to get a hold of our rights. These laws make it harder for a society to function. Governments take control of peoples lives when its the people who should be in control of their lives. Wake up and take control. Educate yourself.

    Read “The Emperor Wears No Clothes” by Jack Herer

    April 16, 2009 at 4:15 am |
  2. Brinna Nanda

    Regulation is law and order. Prohibition is a free-for-all.

    You cannot moderate what you prohibit. If prohibition worked, then after 95 years (counting from the passage of the Harrison Act), we wouldn't have a drug problem. Right?

    Mr. Stutmann, the DEA is not the solutiion. Never was. Never will be.

    April 16, 2009 at 1:19 am |
  3. Onlyonewithaclue

    The commentary regarding legalization of drugs is ridiculous. First, you try to seperate alcohol from drugs when alcohol is one our society's biggest problems. Violence in bars would never happen if everyone was JUST smoking pot. I'm not for legalization of any other drug besides marijuana....I've researched marijuana and the effects it has on a human being when being regularly used and the ONLY thing I have seen to be shown is short term memory loss...and it comes back within 2 weeks of quitting NO MATTER HOW LONG YOU USED THE DRUG. I smoke pot still and I tell ya...if I didn't, I would never have made it this far in my life. I smoked the stuff maybe a handful of times in high school but had to really be talked into it. In my adult life I experienced some tough times that I never would have made it through without marijuana. I would have committed suicide. This drug SAVED me, so thanks're a life saver.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:15 pm |
  4. ghostingmiranda

    The only drug that should be legalized is pot. At least for those who have medical issues. All the other drugs are just way to dangerous, and shouldn't be legalized. When it comes down to it if people really want to use drugs they will find a way, legalized or not, it depends how really desperate people are.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:52 pm |
  5. todd

    What, actual studies show that people who smoke pot are not unemployed or uneducated. This mans views are way out of touch. Every person I know who smokes pot has a job. How else could the afford to by herbs?

    April 15, 2009 at 7:37 pm |
  6. dcrosley

    For an opposing, more rational view, go to the website of LEAP(Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)
    The author of this article is using scare tactics and emotions to promote the continuation of a failed "War on Drugs"
    Alcohol is a much more toxic and deadly drug, but people and cultures have been using it for many years. There are always those who are going to misuse and abuse.
    There are also many law abiding citizens who use a variety of drugs socially and recreationally. It doesn't impair their ability to care for their families or job performance.
    Morality cannot be legislated for it is a personal choice.
    Legalize drugs and punish the abusers, who harm themselves or others, in the parameters of the laws they violate.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:46 pm |
  7. Bruce

    The truth is that millions upon millions of people USE drugs everyday with little to no consequences. To think that it took a prick like Richard "I got impeached" Nixon to actually convince enough people to believe and promote "The War On Drugs" is pretty amazing to me. He figured out a way to make a buck off of something that people are going to do no matter what. Now there's a whole industry built around punishment, that's evil folks. Pure evil.

    FREE WILL is just a bummer to people like this.

    April 15, 2009 at 11:15 am |
  8. Joe Moore

    What a wonderful way to twist a bunch of figures. Talk about diluting what this person is talking about by throwing out unrelated figures then arranging them so that they make sense to someone...or just confuse people. This guy is doing nothing but using a bunch of emotionally related rhetoric designed to get people thinking emotionally rather than rationally. I feel bad for people that believe in rhetoric like this, for they lend credence to this type of oration style.

    Truth is not something that we are told...the truth is what take it upon ourselves to learn. Each person should be responsible enough to themselves to search out the facts and then decide the issue based upon what facts they learn, because neither side of any issue will give you the entire story.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:14 am |
  9. dan driscoll

    To BOB, who wrote a comment on April14th. at 1:12 p.m. Thanks for the common sense approach. I sometimes feel I'm talking to myself.

    April 15, 2009 at 8:00 am |
  10. dan driscoll

    I live in Baltimore, the so called, heroin capital of the East Coast. Heroin has ruined this city. Here's the way I see it: let's say I'm a addict...I wake up and have a few hours until I go into withdraw...what do I do? Today, most addicts go to Home Depot or Wal Mart and shoplift. What if I could get a free shot at one of the local hospitals? What would I do than? I think I'd go to the hospital. End of crime, period. Plus, maybe the drug areas would dry up, maybe businesses would come back to those areas. AT least we could try it.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:54 am |
  11. John Leab

    What is the DEA guy talking about? Kids are around and can use any drug now.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:49 am |
  12. Christian

    I know way more people that are addicted to prescribed medication (hydrocodone, etc) than marijuana. If anything marijuana keeps a majority of the population from a mental breakdown. It's about time America asks themselves "Is it worth paying $35,000 a year to keep a drug offender locked up in our over crowded prisons? And fight a never ending "war on drugs" that only increases the use?". Legalization would knock out the cartels operations in an instant. I think it makes much more sense to save thousands from cartels and the ex con label then to let this nonsense keep happening. Addicts? Of course, collateral damage. Legalize.

    April 15, 2009 at 7:48 am |
  13. Tyler

    The is so much nonsense in this argument I can't even begin to respond. So I won't. I will, however, respond to one point and that is the notion that legalization is a "grand experiment" it isn't, and one only has to look to Portugal to see how well it can work.

    April 15, 2009 at 1:21 am |
  14. Realist

    Until around 1900, ALL DRUGS WERE LEGAL - EVERYTHING. If the problem is with the drugs, we would have had a massive "drug problem" back then. We did have a small number of people addicted to laudanum and other opium preparations, but since they could get their supply legally and cheaply from the corner drug store, they were not a social problem. There was no drug-related violence or other criminal behavior.

    All the dangers of drug use/abuse apply to alcohol too. Some drugs may have more risk than alcohol, but most do not. The current problems have come from refusing to deal with the FACT of drug use and choosing instead to try to make it go away by passing laws against it.

    This is the "solution" provided by those with a moral objection to a behavior trying to "solve" the problem by criminalizing the behavior. Did you know that until relatively recently, many states had laws making oral sex between husband and wife illegal? (Some still may. Are you a criminal?)

    April 15, 2009 at 12:48 am |
  15. Realist

    Let’s see… When alcohol was prohibited, what was the result? A huge black market appeared. Criminals organized to maximize their share of the black market. Alcohol cartels got a lot of money and they used it to corrupt government and law enforcement.

    Conflicts between organized crime groups resulted in lot of violence. Assassinations and drive-by shootings on public streets were not unusual.

    Some consumers of illegal alcohol died as a result of the lack of any quality controls.

    As always, the market forces worked the way they always do, but since the commodity was illegal, guess who made all the money? It was capitalism working just the way it is supposed to.

    But drugs are different! Oh really?

    Read the above replacing the word “alcohol” with “drugs” and see if it doesn’t describe the current situation. Actually it is worse. The criminals have been able to intimidate and bribe to the point that they basically control some countries.

    We had alcohol prohibition as a great learning opportunity and we have apparently learned nothing.

    April 15, 2009 at 12:31 am |
  16. charliedoodle

    “It will be found an unjust and unwise jealousy to deprive a man of his natural liberty upon the supposition he may abuse it.”
    George Washington

    April 14, 2009 at 10:51 pm |
  17. bull

    to John-

    you've seen too many reefer madness driven commercials. if YOU actually looked at statistics, you would realize that people don't actually get high and hit their mothers with a frying pan. or think they can shoot their friends with a gun and "feel no pain".

    also "pot-related" numbers would actually not go up, but rather the opposite. its an accepted fact that its easier for high schoolers to get weed or other illegal drugs than alcohol. legalizing weed would make it equally hard to obtain as alcohol. granted, alcohol is available to most high schoolers now too, but not nearly as easy as drugs are to obtain.

    you, like mr stutman, fail to produce any legitimate facts as well. please tell me one of your emergency room stories...if its happening "week in and week out" you should have plenty of examples, yet you fail to mention any.

    April 14, 2009 at 7:19 pm |
  18. John

    Seems every time this topic comes up in a public forum there are hundreds who are ready to genuflect to the Great Bong Alter and try to persuade anyone who will listen that marijuana is as harmless as marshmallows.

    To those who say nobody has died using marijuana: where do you get your statistics? Do they include people who do foolish things because they are stoned and kill themselves or others? I'm an emergency room nurse and I see it week in and week out. Are there more injuries and fatalities due to alcohol? You bet. But if you legalize drugs and make them more accessible, the pot-related numbers are going to go up too.

    April 14, 2009 at 3:14 pm |
  19. Bruce

    Mr. Stutman is just following orders.

    He will not engage in any discussion, defend his position or argue his point. He is a non-participant.

    He already knows his side of the argument has lost that's why he depends on the people who write in with their emotional, anecdotal stories. No facts, mind you, just enough info to supposedly play on your weakness.

    He will be applauded for his "tough work" and his "diligence" in this tough fight. He will be awarded and respected in some circles.

    But "We The People" with our FREE WILL are the bane of his existence.

    If a company performed as poorly as the DEA they would be bankrupt and this joker would have been fired a long time ago. I know you're reading this Mr.Stutman, and if you are I plead with you to look up the facts from many resources before you let an article like this be published.

    And for love of God- defend your position. You gain no credibility hiding.

    April 14, 2009 at 3:01 pm |
  20. Sensible

    This joker is just regurgitating the same Prokibitionist lies he made his living with.

    Who here is so stupid you think this drug cop cares anything about people.

    He made a career and is now drawing a retirement off the drug war.
    He probably gets off wrecking lives, families and putting big bad pot smokers in jail.

    This PROHO is the same kind of idiot zelot that has ruined our country.

    Shut up PROHO, you had your chance and FAILED!!!

    April 14, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  21. Billy

    I think the time has come. The timing is perfect. Lets start with Marijuana and see how that goes.

    April 14, 2009 at 2:29 pm |
  22. Bruce


    Mr. Stutman is nowhere to be found. How is he helping any of you? Is he defending his position? No. He ran like a coward as a soon as he hit the submit button.

    His stance is irrelevant because of his non-participation.

    If you are taking his side on this then ask yourself who the bigger fools are. He is paid well to do just this.

    F- FEAR
    D- DOUBT

    Learn it.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:41 pm |
  23. October10s

    To those, like Debbie Wicker, who have heart wrenching stories about suffering related to addiction, I extend condolensces. But the truth of the matter is they are missing the point. The illegality of drugs did not stop them or their family members from getting addicted. Rather, the illegality exponentially increased the cost to the tax payer for the addiction. Addiction is a complex set of behaviors, but at base, it likely starts with mental or emotional problems. Sane, rational people with an ounce of common sense don't try drugs that are addicting, not even once. Obviously, violating the law does not deter those who chose to try drugs. But we end up spending billions tracking, prosecuting and incarcerating them. And we spend billions trying to stop the traffic in drugs. For what? To try to keep self-destructive people from doing something they are going to do anyway. There are heart-wrenching, emotional aspects to all economic issues, but in the end, the tax payers should not be wasting any more money saving drug users and addicts for themselves. I would much rather spend even a small fraction of that money (which would still be a LOT of money) on psychiatric counseling and treatment for those who really want to get off drugs, and educational programs to keep people from trying them in the first place.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:27 pm |
  24. Ed

    "Drugs are not bad because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are bad."

    Really? So you consider marijuana, with ZERO deaths a year, bad, but cigarettes that cause 480,000+ deaths a year OK? Your statement is ridiculous.

    Drugs are "bad" because people are told to believe so. In reality some drugs are more addicting and more dangerous than others. Marijuana is the least dangerous, less addicting and harmful than either cigarettes or alcohol.

    I had the same "drugs are bad because the government says so" mentality as a kid. Psychology classes that I took opened my eyes after learning the chemical processes in which drugs affect you and was surprised to learn that marijuana was not as dangerous as they say. After doing my own research I concluded that marijuana, while not completely harmless, is the safest drug out there.

    And that is the difference between us anti-prohibitionists and you, Mr. Stutman. Everyone of us grew up with the "all drugs are bad" mentality drilled into us. So why did we defect to the legalization side of the argument?

    Because we decided to look at the facts for ourselves and make our OWN conclusions on marijuana laws instead of regurgitating the propaganda spewed by the government and never questioning their sources.

    Open your eyes and think for yourself for once, Mr. Stutman.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:22 pm |
  25. Ythill

    Legalization is not a "grand experiment." It is the state that humanity has existed in, across the globe, for thousands of years. Prohibition is the "grand experiment" that has been going on for less than 200 years and all evidence points to the obvious fact that it is a failed experiment.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:33 pm |
  26. Sweetpoison

    Imagine stimulant drugs like cofffee and chocolate being illegal, Millions clamouring for their daily fix. Coffee and chocolate cartels forming across South America, Illegal chocolate factories popping up across the country,Coffee speakeasies in inconspicuous basements and hundreds of thousands imprisioned along with the other drug abusers. Let's stop the war and return to common sense laws.

    April 14, 2009 at 10:38 am |
  27. Cami

    DRUGS do NOT make SEEDS!

    April 14, 2009 at 10:02 am |
  28. Rob

    Debbie Wicker –

    "Tragically this is an all to common story of addiction and co-dependence. How do legalization help this story?"

    How did having the drug illegal help his story?

    April 14, 2009 at 9:30 am |
  29. David

    "About 12-50% of users of drugs (depending on the drug and age of user) become addicts"

    How much fail is in this? I'll go ahead and answer it for you, a whole truck load. 12-50%? what kind of percentage is that? Not to mention it's not just the type of drug or the age of the person, it's the personality and the mentality of a person that defines their influence on a drug as well. It's all about their own damn past life problems and their own irresponsible choices they made prior, don't blame the drugs. Stop pointing fingers to things that don't associate with the REAL issue at hand. It's time for a change in this world, and for those who don't want to admit the fact that we do, need a serious reality check.

    April 14, 2009 at 9:21 am |
  30. Gail McLean

    Cannabis is a plant not a drug. You cannot intelligently place it in the same catagory as heroin, alcohol or prescription drugs.
    Cannabis is FOOD. It's seed contains all the essential fatty acids necessary for the sustaining of human life. No other plant on earth can make that claim. The protein content is second only to soy and easier to degest. You can eat cannabis seed raw. You cannot eat soy beans raw.
    Cannabis if FUEL and FIBER. This plant can grow to 20 feet in 3 months. It is a weed which requires no fertilizers or pesticides to sustain it's life and it has the capacity to be a major commodity for biomass or biodiesel fuel. You can also make clothing, paper and building materials for construction out of it.
    Cannabis is a FARMACEUTICAL MEDICINE. Yeah I made that word up. It would mean I could grow my own medicine along with the rest of the legal herbs we are allowed to grow like echanacea, golden seal, parsley , rosemary etc.
    Cannbis has been reported by many people to be FUN.
    It is a plant that makes people feel good while promoting peaceful behavior.
    Cannabis is FREEDOM. Because this plant gives me, on an individual basis, to be self reliant and independant.
    Now tell me again how all this is bad for me?

    April 14, 2009 at 8:55 am |
  31. Tim bowen

    whoa 2 comments above mine it moved when i refreshed sorry for the spam

    April 14, 2009 at 8:34 am |
  32. Tim bowen


    April 14, 2009 at 8:33 am |
  33. Tim bowen

    This guys dumb he would rather put people in prison for doing stuff that makes them feel better than legalize a few drugs.Please tell me Robert u think its better to put people in prison for doing stuff that makes them feel better or legalize drugs and give people the choice to use them or not wile educating them on the negatives. ANSWER THIS QUESTION ROBERT. NEXT TIME I WANT U TO THINK ABOUT EVERY THING BEFORE U SAY STUFF LIKE U DID. all we are doing now is punishing people that 70% of Americans think isn't that bad and its their choice. But hey instead of giving freedom to people ROBERT would rather take it away!!!!!!!!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:29 am |
  34. Paul

    Wow, nice strawman there Mr. Stutman. Can you show me one person lobbying to provide all drugs to all people of any age? Because I've never met one....

    Marijuana should be legal, cocaine, heroine and other hard drugs, should not.

    April 14, 2009 at 8:27 am |
  35. jay

    Leagalize pot I'm one of hundreds of thousands of people that has been sent 2 prison over a harmless plant n now I'm a convicted felon 4 tha rest of my life with a record ill never get the time back that I spent in prison 4 28 grams of pot. Having a criminal record has stoped me from getting jobs now I can only work at burgerking makin minimum wage.

    Pot prohibition is ruining lives. Please. Help

    April 14, 2009 at 8:25 am |
  36. jessica

    As a dauter of a herion user, I can say that the drug its self never did damage to us. But the illigal things he did to get it did. The worst part part was when a bust sent him to prison. The judital system was what hurt us not the drug it self. After prison he was a hardend criminal. Nothing about prison is rehabilitation! If he had not had to go to the black market to get this stuff he would not have had to be with actual criminals not just users. Dont get me wrong I think hard drugs are bad. But you dont take someone that is in so much pain they feel the need to self medicate and make it worse by throwing the book at them! I do belive that a better mental health sytem is requierd to help this epidemic. On the other hand putting marijuana in this catigory of hard drugs is dead wrong ! All the marijuana users i know ,wich are a lot, are good hard working parents that want to relax with out the addiction and health risks of drinking alchohol. Legalizing marijuana is the best way to curb hard drugs and of course there should be an age restriction. No one wants kids to do any kind of drugs! If I could have gone to a store ,like a liqour store, and bought pot I would never have had to converse with the undesirables that sell more then just pot. But trying to scare us out of the right to pursue happiness so you dont have to admit you were wrong is not freedom !!

    April 14, 2009 at 8:14 am |
  37. Sweetpoison

    I see the comments concerning how teenagers are becoming addicted and dying from drugs and that is a concern.. If you think logically the reason teenagers have access to drugs is that they are readily more available to them precisesly because it is illegal. As a teenager growing up during the 60's and 70's I remember how much easier to obtain drugs than alcohol.
    Another point I'd like to make is the anti-drug ads create the the mystique of the forbidden fruit that attracts so many young people to experiment. It's time to take a common sense approach to this issue

    April 14, 2009 at 8:12 am |
  38. Ervin

    If "drugs are illegal because they are bad", then alcohol would be the most stringently prohibited. MADD showed the correct way – honest facts and education.
    Results of logical drug policy:
    "After evaluating data from the Netherlands, where Cannabis has been decriminalized and from San Francisco, CA, where it is still illegal, the researchers found that breaking the legal link between Cannabis and hard drugs also breaks the real-world contact between the Cannabis user and dealers of hard drugs. Only 17% of Cannabis dealers in the Netherlands were also sellers of narcotics, whereas 50% of dealers in San Francisco also dealt in hard drugs."
    From blog:

    April 14, 2009 at 8:01 am |
  39. Linda

    Legalize it and shut up! If you can not control your kids and their behaviour from 0-18, maybe you need to take a few classes on parenting. After 18, they are adults and have the right to make their own choices, no matter how much you still want to control them. So give it a rest people, kids grown up and make their own choices on drinking and drugs and sex and all the other things we have told them are bad for them.

    Relax, legalization is not going to change the dynamics of your control over your kids if you are a real parent!

    April 14, 2009 at 6:48 am |
  40. Tim Weaver

    Mr. Stutman,
    You grossly misrepresent the case of those who advocate legalization, and your logic has some big holes in it. I am personally undecided on the issue of legalization. But I must say that if you can't offer anything more convincing and relevant, I'll be joining the ranks of the legalizers.

    April 14, 2009 at 6:11 am |
  41. d

    People, people. How exactly do you expect to defeat mother nature?

    How do you expect people to stop selling something that is literally a weed, and sells for $400 per oz.- Not a barrel, not a pound. an OZ.
    That 2 litre of soda would cost over $27000.Even at a 50% discount for volume, that's $13,500. That means that 25c bag of Doritos (2 and 5/8th oz) would cost you over a thousand dollars.

    Let's see at $6.55 per hour (minimum wage) it's only 62 hours to do the same thing.

    That is a lot of money, especially for someone without other good paying prospects.


    This writer plays a game by lumping all drugs together. If you will stop to examine the facts you will see that alcohol and nicotine have more addictive properties than at least one of the illicit drugs, and we have found a way to survive with those.

    Amsterdam: has half the marijuana users of America and you can go to coffee shops to get it.

    Vancouver: the people complaining were the drug dealers, and the only crime spree that happened was the dealers stealing the stashes of the stores so they could make money again.

    Portugal has just legalized everything, and is instead focusing on treatment. They are showing amazing positive changes.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:34 am |
  42. scythe

    >There are 175 million regular users of alcohol in the US and about 20 million drug users. Do those figures fall out that way by accident? Certainly not—one is legal one is not.

    Oh, really? Only 45 million Americans use tobacco; alcohol's popularity is at least partially due to the lack of stigma surrounding it, which is true only of alcohol and caffeine.

    >Therefore, we end up with an additional 25 million addicts on top of the 20 million alcoholics we already have. Can we handle that?

    Even accepting your ludicrous numbers, those are not disjoint sets.

    >About 12-50% of users of drugs (depending on the drug and age of user) become addicts.

    0% of LSD users become addicts. ~80% of regular tobacco users become addicts.

    >Most experts agree that a fair number for the increase in users, if we make all drugs available to anyone who wants them, is about five times the present number of users.

    [citation needed]

    >Once drugs have been made available legally in societies they can rarely be taken back.

    All drugs were once legal. Ecstacy was legal until 1985. Many psychedelics were legal until 1970. Several drugs are only now being criminalized, though the process is (finally!) under much more scrutiny due to its past failures.

    >If you like this and want a lot more, let’s give any drug to any person at any age who wants to use it and see where that gets us.

    Find me one serious advocate of that. Really, nobody has ever included "at any age" in their arguments except reactionaries who like putting words in other peoples' mouths.

    >Surrendering is not trying our best!

    The only war exists in your head. The fact that you can't realize this makes me wonder if you're on the drugs you decry.

    April 14, 2009 at 1:15 am |
  43. SaintGenesius

    Yup, that's what you want to do, compare the war on drugs to religion.

    It's time for this farce to end. It is not a war on drugs, it is a war on people, citizens. It is what it has always been, a political war designed to increase the power of the federal government for strategic political purposes.

    By any measure, the drug war has been an utter failure –there is no other policy in history that has failed as dismally. What continues to stun me is the conservatives who are the real backers of this farce. These are the same fine folks who hate every government program designed to help people –especially the successful ones like Medicare, Medicaid and Social Security. But at every turn they support this fifty year disaster of a program –the cost of which is probably in the trillions of dollars when you add it all up.

    The war on drugs is a pit, and the first rule in getting out of a pit is to stop digging.

    April 14, 2009 at 12:43 am |
  44. kim

    I think most of you people need to face reality and get a life. You are living in never never land with Peter Pan. I bet most of you do not have real jobs do not function in society. I have seen many people experiment with smoking pot and have not used other drugs because its legality was a deterrant. If pot and other drugs were legal it would send out a message that it was okay to do and not so bad. Sure, some people are going to do it anyway, but I at least want to start out telling my children that they cannot do drugs because of the harmful effects AND it is against the law. All of you liberal people out there think that no one should tell you what you should do, but you are crazy to think that drugs should be an accepted part of society! I feel bad for your children!!

    April 13, 2009 at 11:08 pm |
  45. Matt Popovich

    Bob Stutman is either outright lying, or living in bizarro world.

    1. "Surrendering is not trying our best!"

    And pouring billions every year into a strategy that has completely failed to affect drug consumption one iota while simultaneously fostering an explosion of violent underground gangs is trying our best? This "appeal to patriotism" argument is ridiculous, and since the real victims of this war are Americans, insulting.

    2. "Most studies and even most anti prohibitionists agree that if all drugs are made legal the use of these drugs will significantly increase ... Most experts agree that a fair number for the increase in users, if we make all drugs available to anyone who wants them, is about five times the present number of users."

    I'm not sure which orifice you retrieved these 'facts' from, Bob, but they simply ain't true. Every nation that has legalized or decriminalized drugs has seen dramatic drops in their usage rates, a recent example being Portugal, which by decriminalizing drugs saw a reduction in the use of EVERY drug out there, even while most other EU nations with prohibitionist policies saw dramatic increases. After alcohol prohibition ended, alcohol consumption plummeted. Only the most hardcore drug warriors will now argue that legalization would engender more use, and even then, five times the present number is the highest estimate I have ever seen, much more than even the most radical prohibitionists claim.

    3. "But as soon as you place some black markets in the picture (no one under age 18 can get legal drugs) then the cartels will simply re-market their product to the group who can’t get the drug legally."

    Because cartels sure are raking in the dough selling alcohol and cigarettes to kids, right? Get real. High schoolers report it's much easier for them to obtain marijuana than alcohol. I wonder why?

    4. "Crack as a drug was marketed by drug groups in New York in 1985 in order to lower the price of cocaine (from $100 per gram to $5 a vial) in order to specifically reach the children’s market."

    You really should know better, Bob. Crack was introduced to market to the inner-city poor, who couldn't afford cocaine, not to kids. Don't try to distort reality to justify your think-of-the-children fallback argument.

    5. "Victimless crime?…Anyone who says that has spent too much time in universities and not enough time seeing the real world that drugs and alcohol cause."

    Cigarettes are not without victims, either. But the reason their use has plummeted in the last 15 years is because instead of outlawing them and spreading misinformation about them to spook the public, the government has kept them legal but spent their money wisely- and effectively- on public health initiatives based on scientific facts.

    April 13, 2009 at 10:43 pm |
  46. Andy

    Yes, marijuana should be legalized. Other drugs probably should be as well. But it all misses the point.

    Since when is there only 1 "we" in this country? We should do this or that. What about this AND that? If some people want to live in a society where their government lets people use drugs, they should be able to. And if others want their taxes paying for Prohibition of drugs, they should be able to.

    Some states have de-criminalized marijuana already, but the feds think they have to trump the states and come in with guns blazing. You would think conservatives would understand the problems with this.

    April 13, 2009 at 9:51 pm |
  47. DaveR

    The war on drugs is more about hypocrisy and less about actually treating drug addiction related problems. The number 1 killer is alcohol. It is sadly a drug that is socially acceptable. It is far more likely for someone to drink and drive than take any other substance and drive. Do I have to make a Fetal Alcohol Syndrome public service announcement? Alcohol "the drug" has also gained high status within government. There is more political pressure coming from the beer and wine industry that won't make a great profit if people are educated on its effects.

    Like cigarettes, the alcohol industry is gearing up to meet the propaganda wars over its use. People respond to scientific information when it is provided in this Internet age. Can you imagine the millions of conflicted studies being financed by the alcohol industry.

    Cannibus is an alternative to alcohol. The British actually took some time to study its properties this year. That study is coming to the public soon.

    Given the negatives of the "prohibition on other substances than alcohol" I can imagine a better world without the criminalization aspects. I have no illusions. Just a memory of the years of this failed police action starting with Nixon.

    I have better things to spend my time than to argue the point of decriminalization. Besides I don't think we have a democracy in the United States of America. If we did marijuana would have been legal in the 1970's and we would have missed the War on Drugs. Instead I see a shadow government, a puppet government that can't lead in terms of boarders, healthcare or streetdrugs, and the public that seems to be taking more drugs, paying the cartels( and the medical authorities with their prescriptions for everything) and underfunding health education.

    Our history may be intertwined with tobacco and alcohol in the US. But we can't seem to deal with narcotics in any sensible way. Legalizing streetdrugs would take the "street" out of the equation. I firmly believe there will be a War on Drugs for the next 50 years in this country. I count the last 40 years as a failure to follow common sense and the will of the people. I conclude it has to be because of a shadow government exists in the US.

    April 13, 2009 at 8:54 pm |
  48. Mary in FL

    I read with interest the postings on the blathering of another Government Drug Agent. I haven't seen any one mention how much money the governments(both federal and state) are making from the Confiscation of property. Here in Florida, the Civil and Criminal Contraband Act of 1984 allows confiscation of privately owned land if any "contraband" is found on that land. If the amount does not qualify for Criminal charges, then the Civil confiscation is still done. What a money maker for law enforcement! Can't the US pay law enforcement enough that they do not have to wage war on their fellow citizens? We have met the enemy and they are US! Scare tactics have been tried and obviously have not affected drug use in this country. The only change has been the increase in prison population and the tragedy of interrupted and changed lives.

    April 13, 2009 at 8:07 pm |
  49. David

    “A great idea whose time has not come,” yet there has never been a good time for drug prohibition. It is commonly thought that prohibition is over, yet only alcohol was removed from the list, again made legal (to adults).

    The lessons of alcohol prohibition transfer seamlessly to drug prohibition: prohibiting such substances leads to colossal amounts of crime, corruption, and human suffering.

    Alcohol is a dangerous substance, whose addiction is torture to overcome. It is legal, however, because there it is not possible to stop adults from getting it, and it can be enjoyed safely. This is equally true of drugs.

    To continue fighting for prohibition smacks of defending a billions-dollar industry that feeds off tax payer dollars, fear, and the suffering of citizens. I am not afraid of illegal drugs, I am afraid of increasingly militant and heavily armed anti-narcotics units, who are given more and more authority to ignore constitutional protections against search and seizure.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:38 pm |
  50. Pat

    Mr. Stutman got his paycheck because of the 29 year old drug war.Of course he want's to stay status quo.
    The War on Drugs is one of the biggest failures in US history. People have realize this first, before change will happen.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:29 pm |
  51. Tina

    if all drugs were legalized, i don't think more people would start smoking crack or shooting up heroine. i do think a lot more people would smoke pot and drink less alcohol, which i don't think is a bad thing. better pot than alcohol, it's a lot less dangerous. right now i think lots of people don't smoke pot because of drug-testing at work. as long as you don't have a job where you are responsible for other people's lives, i don't think it should matter whether you smoked a joint on the weekend, as long as you aren't high at work. and why don't we take other countries as examples? not just in terms of drugs, but everything...look at europe, much less DUIs, much less STDs, much less teen pregnancies...because our policies of prohibiton and abstinence DON't WORK!!!

    and here's some interesting stats for a country where MJ is somewhat legal:

    April 13, 2009 at 5:25 pm |
  52. Art

    Part of the problem is that Drug users have a horrible stereotype associated with them. Some drug users, however, reach the upper echelons of our society. Here is a short list of drug users:
    Paul Erdös, Mathematician (Amphetamine)
    Kary Mullis, Nobel Prize in Chemistry (LSD)
    Sigmund Freud (cocaine)
    Marcus Aurelius, Emperor of Rome (opium)
    Edgar Allan Poe (Cocaine)
    Florence Nightingale (Opium)
    Pope Leo XIII (coca wine)
    Dan Rather (LSD, Heroin)
    Queen Victoria (Opium, cannabis, coca wine)
    William Rehnquist, Chief Justice of the Supreme Court (Placidyl)
    Carl Sagan (cannabis)
    Jules Verne (coca Wine)
    Emile Zola (coca wine)
    George W. Bush (cocaine)
    Barack Obama (cocaine, cannabis)
    Steve Jobs, founder and CEO of Apple Computer (LSD)
    Aldous Huxley (LSD)
    Anne Heche (LSD)
    And the List goes on!

    April 13, 2009 at 5:23 pm |
  53. Jordan

    His arguement makes minimal use of facts and lots of speculation. True, that if the price (whether monetary, risk of incarceration, etc.) decreases, the amount purchased and used will increase. However, he claims that we would be facing a country of 100 million drug addicts (out of a population of just over 300 million). That's one in three!
    I find this claim alone to be absolutely outrageous. First of all, 94 million americans age 12 and over (or 40% of this age demographic) have ALREADY tried marijuana (this according to NIDA, the National Institute on Drug Abuse). Thus, prohibition has failed to deter nearly one half of the country from trying marijuana alone. The vast majority of whom have decided that the drug is not for them. This statistic has not significantly changed since the 1970's when about 45% admitted to trying the drug (according to the University of Michigan Monitoring the Future survey). Ever since, the statistic has fluctuated between 30 and 60%.
    Second, he argues that "Legalization is a grand experiment, which if we tried and it didn't work, we could not eradicate." Which I partially agree with. One the Genie is out of the bottle, there is no putting it back in. What he fails to mention, is that drugs have been legal throughout human history. Specifically, cannabis has been legally used throughout human history, until large-scale prohibition aims began in the 1930s. It is true that drugs used to be consumed legally in this country, are currently consumed illegally, and will continue to be consumed in the future, whether legally or not.
    Third, he argues that the government can't compete with the cartels. This is only slightly true. If the drugs were legal, then the money supplies for the cartels will mostly dry up. If drugs were legal to everyone age 18 and over, then the DRUG DEALERS will be resigned to selling their drugs to those who are under 18. However, this is a relatively small market (compared to the marked for age 18 and over), and wouldn't be different from the status quo anyway. It is currently illegal for those under the age of 18 to consume drugs, and it would remain so under most legalization schemes. In any case, the Cartels, which are responsible for importing the drugs into the country, would be largely put out of business.
    But what happens to the billions of dollars that the Cartels used to make? That money would either go to the Government as taxes, or to the consumer as a "price reduction". Indeed, some economists estimate that the government can realize 30-40 billion dollars in tax revenues, as well as a reduction of 30-40 billion dollars used to arrest, try, and incarcerate drug users, as well as used to fight drug cartels directly. In other words, a legalization scheme could result in the government seeing 60-80 BILLION dollars!
    Finally, Robert Stutman says that "…Anyone who says that [drugs are victimless] has spent too much time in universities and not enough time seeing the real world that drugs and alcohol cause." There is plenty of drug use on college campuses, and there is plenty of drug use in academia. It is true that drug abuse can severely affect families. But, it is also true that locking up responsible users of drugs can also severely affect families. In other words, it is a moot point.
    Lastly, for me, this is an argument for freedom. I believe that the government has NO RIGHT in telling me what I may or may not put into my body. In a free society, the body belongs to the individual, not the government, and I have the choice of using drugs, or not using drugs. Even if drugs were legal, I have enough respect for my body and my health to stay away from heroin, cocaine, methamphetamine, etc.
    Prohibition has simultaneously revoked our freedom to choose, while failing to control drug use. I think it is time to restore choice to the people of america, and at the same time increase education, so that we may make an informed decision.

    April 13, 2009 at 5:04 pm |
  54. Kairo

    basically, if you are an educated person trying to form an opinion on the drug war and possible drug legalization, dont listen to this guy and for 1 reason: he has no clue when it comes to marijuana. it is easy to group all drugs together and make convenient, swooping claims about them, but pot is just different. its less addictive than caffeine damn it. and the only time its not a victimless act is when people get locked up for simple possession and families suffer as a result. you cant even overdose on marijuana, it is physiologically impossible. but our friend over here failed to mention that while citing examples of drug overdoses.


    April 13, 2009 at 4:58 pm |
  55. Mark in B.R.

    Having started high school in 1967, I grew up at a unique time in the history of drugs in this country. I, like many of my classmates, experimented (e.g. did copious amounts for years) with illegal drugs. Unlike many of my acquaintances at the time, I remember my first joint and the first time I did coke. I did not do coke because marijuana was causing a craving for more powerful drugs. I did coke because the guy I bought my reefer from, also had a cocaine business (and an acid business). He was even so candid to tell me he would much rather sell me coke because the profits were so much better (and he kind of liked it himself).
    Over the years I have watched numbers of people die from a variety of addictions. Without question the addiction winner is FOOD! People who despite serious ailments continue to consume foods that exacerbate their heart, diabetes or other problem. If law enforcement is committed to protecting people from themselves, why don't they have a 'porker division'? A porker division that while employing 'no-knock' warrants sweep the suburbs of America, knocking down doors and screaming 'drop the drumstick fatso or we'll blow your brains out! The answer is simple. There is no profit in black market drumsticks.
    It is truly amazing that a country so aligned with 'free enterprise', capitalism, profits..etc. cannot come to grips with the real reason drugs proliferate in this country. Profit. Legalize, take the incentive for dealers to entice impressionable kids, out of the equation and we will have a better control over the associatied problems.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:44 pm |
  56. Deborah AKA The Vocal Citizen

    I submit to you, sir, that some years ago black people were not allowed to vote. It was "prohibited", as was the vote of women shortly before that.

    In the 1920s, alcohol was under prohibition. Look what that accomplished – Al Capone, Lucky Luciano, bootleggers bashing people's skulls in over a case of whiskey...

    These drug cartels who sell illicit drugs to our children will applaud your article. We as Americans have a choice: face the hard fact that we must do something vastly different from how we've dealt with illicit drugs for 72 years and take action, or let the drug cartels continue to control this permanent and highly profitable market.

    I, for one, don't want criminals to be able to control anything. In my humble view, if you remove their main source of income, they may... MAY.... just feel the crunch.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:29 pm |
  57. MissReddin

    We need education. We need understanding for the generations since crack's emergence! Currently, children as young as 5&6 years old are regularly induced to carry drugs by fellow older classmates. The drugs given to the older classmates to sell are generally addictive opiates, crack and "cosmetic" bathtub poisons including paint thinner, and hair fusing pastes (incredible! damage to lungs-ouch-and still, another toke, circula 2007-08), all of which may or may not be toppings on "rag A" pot. Blackmail by suppliers and students proceeds along with the fears of entrapment -and addictions. Perhaps the solution of legalizing pot seems indusive to use by those "playground monitors" that pay no attention to school border approaches of suppliers-or circle punch beatings by child blackmailers-because they need another donut. Its possible that this simple alternative (legalize pot) eliminates one problem and promotes additional use; but the current climate of "smell and tell" promotes use of "one hit-knockout drugs." Education of the different smell and aspect of pot vs opium is required. Pot is "habitual", not addictive. Pot's illegal status does nothing to stem the tide. Let the boozed up parents buy some pot, relax at home with the kids, and show an alternative. My mom and dad were alcoholics at home for one reason: we could then watch "what it does to them." I don't approve of any child under 18 using any substance. I waited until I was 19 and this was throughout the sixties. Its possible that we promote use by abuse. Alcohol produces retarded babies-by both partners.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:09 pm |
  58. Matthew Sobel

    Sue someone? That is the Patriotic American Duty? Everyone is patriotic in america then. Thank goodness as i play a tv lawyer and need the extra caseloads.

    April 13, 2009 at 4:01 pm |
  59. Eric

    Nobody is saying we legalize the hard drugs that are synthesized. However we believe that society will benefit from federal marijuana decriminalization/legalization.


    This is why marijuana is California's biggest cash crop. Because we are simply ignoring marijuana laws.

    Doesn't really matter if it's legal or not, it will continue to be used and abused. I know there's a lot of people out there who would rather have a weak smoke in their lungs, than a devastating man-made chemical called alcohol which destroys the liver, heart, and brain.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:43 pm |
  60. Michael

    Take a look at the statistics for Teen Marijuana use in State that have enacted medical marijuana laws both pre-enactment and post enactment.

    California (where there are Dispensaries for distributuion):
    1995 to 2005 – 9th Graders Marijuana use in the past 30 days decreased by 47% whereas the corresponding data for the Nation is only an 11% decrease.

    Studdies also show that 5-10% of any population will use drugs regardless of whether they are legal or not. This demand is never going to go away. This is anywhere from 16 Million to 33 Million users in the US. If this is not going to change and these people are going to continue to use, why in the world would our government want this money folwing to criminals instead of to the government.

    Anyone who really believes the usage will go up has little self-respect. Think about it... would you start using Herion just because it became legal??? Would you not want to research the effects before you tried it? If you believe that rational people will use drugs just because they became legal you are lost in the hypocricy that has occured since 1937.

    I make a personal choice: I do not drink alcohol... if I drink too much I get sick... I get loud... and I choose to engage in activities that could hurt myself and others (driving at high speeds down the highway)..... My vice of choice is marijuana... it doesn't make me sick.... I don't speed after using... I don't get into fights...

    Why do you think that you have a right to legislate what I put in my body? Why does the government think that they have a right (based on our Constitution) to tell me what i can and cannot do that does not impact others (me smoking a joint in my living room has no affect on you)? Who actually believes that controlling the possesion of a plant is the right thing to do????

    April 13, 2009 at 3:40 pm |
  61. Eric

    Do you ever notice the Pro-Legalization side brings FACTS, Studies, and stats. The anti-legalization side brings LIES and IDEOLOGY

    April 13, 2009 at 3:34 pm |
  62. joe

    In this country we abuse not only drugs but we abuse food, energy anything we can get our grubby hands on... it doesn't matter if we legalize drugs, Americans will still be addicted and abuse the hell out of them.. just becasue they are available... like hot dogs and nachos at a football game. We cannot even compare how one country (Netherlands) responds to the legalization of marijuana... food is readily available there, is their obesity rate as high as Americans? We are just addicts of everything out there, food, drugs, reality t.v........ legalize them!! or not!! it doesn't matter.. maybe we should, just to stop the turmoil in Mexico... but then again this would create a darker and deeper hole in the Mexican economy since so much drug money is funneled back into the economy... tough decision...

    April 13, 2009 at 3:21 pm |
  63. jeffro

    Wow – this article is a wild hyperbole, spinning out of control. The numbers – "the facts" – are all based on weak assumptions. If kids are dying from OD'ing on heroin, then their families weren't paying enough attention. Fact is, they're getting their fix, regardless of the laws. Addiction isn't a law enforcement issue – it's a disease. Self-inflicted, perhaps, but that's part of the human condition. Smart people will mostly make smart decisions. Smarter people will make their own decisions, be they good or bad.

    As a child of the Nancy Reagan era, i have to say... telling inquisitive minds to say no has a completely opposite effect.

    Let's also remember that people aren't after the drugs, they're after an altered state. What with the economy in the toilet, and the state of things in general, it comes as no surprise that people are looking for an escape. The numbers are only going to increase; instead of using our taxes to help people who develop problems, we're fighting an unwinnable war against an unlocatable foe. But, we seem to be doing a lot of that of late.

    Watch your kids. Ask them questions. Learn what to look for. Help your kids out. Be a good example. Then, try this with your community at large. People are gonna do what people do.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  64. Jimmy J.

    Drugs are sold for profit. Free, legalized drugs won't make anyone rich. Without huge profits, why would anyone waste their time selling drugs on the street or pushing drugs onto children, especially if there was a very stiff penalty for doing so.
    It's about time parents and society face the truth – if your child uses drugs the problem existed, first, before the drug use. Why and how could any child try drugs if they were properly taught and supervised by their parents? Why would any child willingly engage in an activity they know leads to a life of misery, except perhaps, as a means of deliberate self-destruction or hatred for their parents.
    We have well over 80 years experience to prove the traditional approach to curtailing drug use doesn't work, it just makes the matter worse. How can anyone hold a straight face and call this proven failure a "war on drugs."

    Legal or not, people can always get their drugs, but if the drugs were free and legal at least the quality would be consistent and drug overdoses would be minimized. As far as the death toll from drug use is concerned I'm sure far, far more people die from other drug related activities like, drug cartel massacres, small time supplier shootings, prostitution, robberies, child hunger, disease, infected needles and foreign terrorists organizations. Free and legal drugs would almost eliminate these sources of death while the benefits for the drug users, law enforcement costs, national security and society in general, would be substantial.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:18 pm |
  65. Jason

    I think people like "John @ 2:01 PM" should do some research. Marijuana is nothing like the narcotics that you cite in your post. Nothing at all. There is no LOGICAL reason whatsoever for marijuana to be illegal while alcohol is legal. It's impossible to overdose on marijuana and it's virtually impossible to become physically addicted to mariajuana/cannibis.

    Hey John – have a 6 pack of beer one day and on the next day smoke a joint. One each day, take a simulated driving test. Then tell us which is safer.

    Somebody posted above that kids try marijuana (which is labeled as an illegal/dangerous drug) and guess what – nothing happens to them. This immediately makes the kids skeptical of all the doom-and-gloom labels assigned to "all illegal drugs", so they try crack or heroin thinking it's just as non-threatening as marijuana. Whoever posted this nailed it.

    I'm not an advocate of legalizing all drugs, but to continue to classify Cannibis as a Schedule I drug make no logical sense whatsoever. Why we prohibit a natural plant that barely even impairs you; it doesn't do anything to you but make you feel better; and yet at the same time we legally allow people to rot away their livers/heart/stomach/brains with a manmade poison (alcohol) is a total mystery to me.

    I say legalize, tax, & regulate Nicotine, Alcohol, & Marijuana and limit prohibition to the truly hard drugs like coke, crack, heroin, & meth.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:13 pm |
  66. Tom

    "Drugs are not bad because they are illegal; they are illegal because they are bad."

    You lose all credibility with comments like that.

    April 13, 2009 at 3:08 pm |
  67. Bruce

    So typical. This guy writes an article so incomplete and full of today's copypasta with so little regard to those pesky little things called facts.

    He doesn't have to explain, justify or defend himself. He can just fill up page after page, hit submit and go running back to his closet where he is safe and sound. He probably got a check for writing it. This is why we have The War On Drugs.

    And BTW- if you have lost a loved one due to drugs then sue the people who are responsible for letting the drugs in this country in the first place.
    We pay them big bucks to be hero's and yet no one checks their work. SUE THE INTO DOING A BETTER JOB. It is your Patriotic Duty to America. Expose it for the farce it is.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  68. Jon

    1. Legalize marijuana.
    2. Government control, taxation, and distribution.
    3. Reduced demand for Black Market sources.
    4. Black Market supply decreases.

    Why would a Mexican cartel that already knows the US and Mexico are looking for them risk shipping a large amount of illegal (still illegal to non-government) marijuana to a country whose people don't need it? If it isn't profitable, if the reward doesn't outweigh the risk, large cartels aren't going to take a chance shipping in marijuana ileagally when Americans can buy it legally.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:53 pm |
  69. Michael Stein

    Mr. Stutman writes:

    "Gee, things aren’t going great in the war on drugs: violence in Mexico; more and more kids using dangerous drugs at an early age; kids overdosing all over the country from drugs like heroin and OxyContin. If you like this and want a lot more, let’s give any drug to any person at any age who wants to use it and see where that gets us."

    While there probably is some nutcase somewhere who might call for total decontrol, I am not aware of any responsible member of the pro-legalization camp advocating giving drugs to any person of any age who wants it. When prohibition was repealed, toddlers were still not allowed to buy bourbon. Either Mr. Stutman needs remedial reading lessons, or he is using a dishonest technique called a "strawman argument," putting words in his opponents' mouths because he can't cope with what they are actually saying.

    "But as soon as you place some black markets in the picture (no one under age 18 can get legal drugs) then the cartels will simply re-market their product to the group who can’t get the drug legally." If the Prohibition-era bootleggers didn't switch their market to children, why should the drug cartels be any different?

    Mr. Stutman's logical and factual errors are so numerous and glaring that I almost have to wonder if he's a secret legalizer trying to discredit the prohibitionist camp.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:48 pm |
  70. s heslin

    First of all 99% of the people that are addicted to drugs dont want to be that way but when you treat addics as criminals how are they to ever overcome their addiction . Once you legalize drugs and I mean all of them the problem of drugs moves off the street and into a clinic environment where people have options to clean up their addiction. You will put all the drug pushers and dealers out because their customers can get drugs from a clinic , like a methadone clinic does today. Our police can acctually can go after criminals and our jails can be used for criminals . Drugs are hear and they are not going to go away no matter what law you attach to then ie ( the war on drugs). By the way marijuana being illegal doesnt make any sence at all if anything should be alcohol should . Alcohol is the worst drug by far but I can purchase it along with my milk and tampons . No one is saying that the current illegal drugs should have the same marketing but they should deff not be illegal these people need medical help not prison and for you Republicans out there it is way cheaper to decriminalize on the tax payer but catch 22 for you guys your main contibutors are the business` that are building the jails ,making the Pharma , ect ....

    April 13, 2009 at 2:44 pm |
  71. Mike

    In response to John:
    "We abide by self-imposed limits in this country. We don’t drive 100 mph down a neighborhood street. We don’t dump our garbage in our neighbor’s yards. We limit the sale of alcohol to persons over the age of 21. Use of narcotics are just another one of those self-imposed limits that, despite some flaws, remains a good idea."

    Do you seriously believe these statements to be true?

    I live in the Bay Area of Northern California, and literally almost no one obeys the speed limit on highways. Everybody just drives the speed they think is safe, about 75 to 80mph – this is an example of self-regulation, not the result of laws. People here don't drive 100mph on neighborhood streets because it isn't safe to do so, not because of a posted speed limit.

    We don't dump garbage on our neighbor's yards because it's wrong, and we respect our neighbors, not because it is against the law. No law would prevent a person with no sense of right and wrong or respect from dumping garbage should he choose to do so.

    I lived in Japan for year, where you can buy beer up to mini-kegs in vending machines on the streets, meaning any kid can buy all the beer they want without supervision or restriction, but they do not have the underage drinking problems we have here in the U.S. Explain that. More people use weed here in the U.S. than in Amsterdam, where it is legal. Explain that.

    Finally, you say that keeping illegal drugs illegal "remains a good idea", but don't defend that premise with any facts. You can't, because all the facts dispute this assertion. Anyone who wants an illegal drug in most of this country can get most of them with little effort and minimal risk, and that includes teenagers. The availability and purity of most drugs increases every year – massive taxpayer money to reduce drug use has failed by this measure. We incarcerate a larger percentage of our population, at great expense, than China under Mao or the Soviet Union under Stalin, mostly due to non-violent drug offenses. Once we lock these people up, we turn them into violent criminals for life as they can't easily find employment once they get out. How is our current policy a "good idea"?

    The reason we can't move to more rational drug laws in this country is because too many people believe as you do – that our current policy is "good", when in fact it has never worked, the cost has gone up greatly each year despite constant failure to achieve objectives, and drugs are more pure and available than they have ever been. What will it take to make more people see what is so clearly the truth?

    April 13, 2009 at 2:37 pm |
  72. Kili

    "If you like this and want a lot more, let’s give any drug to any person at any age who wants to use it and see where that gets us."

    Care to try to "respond" to something someone is actually proposing? Diving off the cliff of absurdist extremism doesn't help you make your point, it makes your "point" look absurd. I have yet to see anyone who's for legalizing or decriminalizing drugs comment "any drug, any time, any age, anyone".... simply not what anyone is actually proposing.

    That being said, the fact that alcohol is legal for adults in this country, and costs more to get your hands on than heroin, speaks to the reality that the legal substance has better control than the illegal ones. You can buy heroin in almost any school and on almost any street corner in this country.... at least to buy a beer, you have to go to a store and show ID.

    Prohibition simply does not work, it did not work with alcohol, and it is not working with drugs. Wasting the millions, or even billions of tax dollars on "enforcement" on something which simply cannot be properly enforced is foolish. Better to refocus those funds and those efforts on treatment for addicts and let adults who want to use the stuff have to show ID and get taxed like crazy to pay for all the rehab.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:36 pm |
  73. Derrek Siemieniuk

    Didn't drug use increase significantly after the start of the War on Drugs? Synthetic drugs, like crack and speed, wouldn't evevn be available if the use of other substances had never been prohibited in the first place. I agree that legalizing drugs is not the solution to this problem, however it's impossible to overlook the root-cause of the issue itself.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:33 pm |
  74. khabeer

    Im truly in favor of the Gov. legalizing drugs, look at what happened after prohibition. The violence and the crime associated with the culture had disappeared virtually immediately without repercussions or a ripple affect on society. Legalizing will create revenue and jobs, the notion that people who never tried illegal drugs, soon will is absurb. Why? most people if they dont like something are not going to try it. Once alcohol became legal theres no proof that the number of alcoholics increased. Lastly drug offenders dont need prison but rather treatment facilities. Our war on drugs is a complete farce. We cant even keep the drugs from out of prisons. Beds are available in jails but are not immediatedly ready for a person thats ready for treatment. Whats wrong with this picture. Addict in recovery

    April 13, 2009 at 2:28 pm |
  75. kevin kennedy

    In my opinion, there are flaws on both sides of the argument. But I do wonder what Mr. Stutman thinks about the prohibition era in the United States. Was that good for us? It made Capone untold fortunes.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:24 pm |
  76. Steve

    "About 12% of regular alcohol users become alcohol addicts. About 12-50% of users of drugs (depending on the drug and age of user) become addicts."

    So what percentage is that of Cannabis?....heroin?...cocaine? No answer there....common tactic by the govt is to make the facts and statistics as vague as possible so that you can use them to say whatever you want.

    "A study in Alaska after marijuana decriminalization showed a doubling of marijuana regular use."

    ....and yet, he states no specific repercussions or after-affects of such use or even what meaning this statistic even has...

    "Legalization is a grand experiment, which if we tried and it didn’t work, we could not eradicate. Once drugs have been made available legally in societies they can rarely be taken back."

    Ummm, as someone pointed out...prohibition came second, drugs were already here...your statement above shows that you are working this problem ass-backwards....maybe thats the reason your solutions dont work.

    "Finally, the argument of whether we will do away with cartels and crime and violence associated with drug sales by legalizing, has some merit. If you are willing to give all drugs to all people at any age—crack to 12 year olds who want it—then you will certainly affect the crime associated with the drug problem. But as soon as you place some black markets in the picture (no one under age 18 can get legal drugs) then the cartels will simply re-market their product to the group who can’t get the drug legally. If the government raises the tax the cartels will sell the product cheaper. Remember their cost of goods sold is almost zero so they can sell much cheaper than the government. Crack as a drug was marketed by drug groups in New York in 1985 in order to lower the price of cocaine (from $100 per gram to $5 a vial) in order to specifically reach the children’s market. The government is not that good in anything to compete with the cartels. We will always lose the marketing/sales battle."

    This is merely a statement of convenience...what he really means is that, yes, this is a viable solution but we would rather keep it illegal because it makes us look better in the long run...I mean, really, how many people would like to admit they were wrong after spending trillions of TAX-PAYER dollars, 80+ years of fighting, and prisons loaded with tens of thousands of Cannabis prosecutions (larger than any other population in prison, by the way...). People, I am guessing here, would spend a little more to get their Marijauna easily and legally.

    "Finally, for those who say drug addiction is a “victimless crime,” I wish they would tell that to the mom I met recently at a speech who told a group, “My son is 37, has been an addict for 22 years, and I wish he had died. My husband and I are divorced because of him; none of his siblings talk to each other because of him; and worst of all he has a 4 year old daughter and I know what is going to happen to her.” Victimless crime?…Anyone who says that has spent too much time in universities and not enough time seeing the real world that drugs and alcohol cause."

    Really? An acknowledgement that the govt already approves of some drugs but not others? Cigarretes, alcohol anyone? What drug did the child OD on...Oxycontin? Sleeping pills? Alcohol? Huffing glue? What exactly was the cause of death or is that not to be mentioned because it would conflict with his own argument.

    The fact of that matter is that the govt does not have your best interest at heart....the government has its own best interest at heart, if it didnt it would listen to the people instead of telling us that its ok, we know whats best for you, just listen to us....

    April 13, 2009 at 2:22 pm |
  77. curious

    im just wondering based on the whole equation with the drinking. what are the statistics if u serperate the legal drinking from illegal drinking? is there a large increase in consuption when people reach age 21? or is it slight or a decrease in the amount?

    April 13, 2009 at 2:19 pm |
  78. Jack

    This is a good argument. Let's cut down on alcohol addiction by re-criminalizing alcohol! Think of the kids!

    April 13, 2009 at 2:13 pm |
  79. Erich

    This article is absolutely moronic.

    Can we say "mixing apples with oranges" (and in this case, grapes, cantaloupes, watermelons and every other thing under the sun?)

    Unfortunately we live in a society that seems to have a problem distinguishing between things. We lump things together into one cauldron – and lose the ability to rationally look at issues as they ought to be looked at... a case by case basis.

    To lump together – say – marijuana with something like heroin is just absolutely foolish. However – when we start engaging in discussions of legalization – that's exactly what we do.

    "How can we talk about legalizing marijuana? Didn't you hear – someone died of a heroin overdose in New York this past weekend? Don't you know that cocaine is incredibly addictive??? Or how about PCP??" We systemically attempt to find the worst ones in order to evoke an emotional response that says "No – we ought not legalize 'drugs'!"

    I have yet to meet a person that supports the de-criminalization of drugs (and understand – that's what we're talking about) – that believes that *any* drug ought to be just willy nilly sold in your local pharmacy or in your local supermarket to anyone who wants it. *EVERY* person that supports it believes that it ought to be regulated and controlled just like alcohol and any other legal drug.

    Everyone believes in those types of controls. What we *don't* believe in, however, is filling up our criminal justice system with those who are unfortunate enough to become addicted.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:04 pm |
  80. John

    Finally a voice of reason amongst the clamoring nutjobs and their specious excuses for legalizing marijuana, and presumably cocaine, heroin or anything else anybody want to injest.

    We abide by self-imposed limits in this country. We don't drive 100 mph down a neighborhood street. We don't dump our garbage in our neighbor's yards. We limit the sale of alcohol to persons over the age of 21. Use of narcotics are just another one of those self-imposed limits that, despite some flaws, remains a good idea.

    April 13, 2009 at 2:01 pm |
  81. nick

    If heroin were legal, that doesn't mean I, or most of us, are going to run out and buy it. It does, however, mean that it is controlled by the government and that violent cartels have no more funding.

    Prohibitionists act as if people don't already have easy access to drugs. Prohibition only benefits criminals.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  82. Ben

    Pot is bad ONLY because it's illegal. You're a hypocrite if you EVER drink alcohol, yet still think pot should be illegal. Alcohol is so much worse in every way, EXCEPT that it has societal acceptance. So stop the hypocrisy, there's no scientific or public health reason pot should be illegal. It is for unrelated reasons: 1. Politicians don't want to have to admit to being wrong for all this and 2. There are too many people out there whose jobs depend on pot being illegal. Hypocrites, all. And the statistics the author cited are highly misleading and taken out of context. I'd like to see him write an honest article.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:57 pm |
  83. Anthony

    Legalize Marijuana, Is in other countries and doesnt start problems.Drinking is legal yet alcohol related death toll is thousands a year. The only law should be the same as with alcohol, No smoking and driving.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:54 pm |
  84. Stagger

    "” I have a 20yr old son in recovery as I am writing this. He was a good student through catholic school.He was an outstanding Basketball player."


    April 13, 2009 at 1:51 pm |
  85. Chris

    First off we shouldn't legalize all drugs, just the harmless ones... Pot. the CASH crop for the cartels, they make more profit on marijuana than they ever will on any other drugs. and thats because Pot is the new drug of choice for America. Why? because thats the only way we can put up with the lies our government and media tell us, and then not get into a car accident afterwards...see you can drive when high, you dont act like a drunken ass and get into bar fights either.

    The Cartels make BILLIONS off of marijuana sales to American because marijuana is Americas new drug of choice.

    Now WHY is it easer for kids to get marijuana that it is for them to get cigarettes. Because there is such a high demand that every one is selling it... EVERY ONE... And there is no open market BEING REGULATED. BLACK MARKETS AREN'T REGULATED, You make something illegal that has a huge demand you make criminals rich.
    You make criminals rich then they get power, they get power then innocent people get hurt, Its called cause and effect... How long is it going to take before you people wake up and realize you cant escape it.

    You want a HUGE cash crop to be illegal Fine, BUT you are the cause of a black market and the Innocent deaths that come with it. And if you think a war is going to solve the problem, then you only make the criminals richer... and richer and richer.. The only way to stop the cartels is to give the CASH CROP BACK TO AMERICANS.

    At least leagalize pot for that reason

    April 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  86. john

    Debbie- Oxycontin is not an illegal drug. Oxycontin comes from legal pharmacies now. It sounds like the person in question was perscribed the drug by a doctor. Your argument and this example has no merit in demonstrating that taxing and regulating a substance as opposed to our current model of prohibition is a bad idea.

    Note that in the example the person switches to the illegal market. I wonder why this is?

    April 13, 2009 at 1:50 pm |
  87. Mike

    All drugs should be legalized, regulated and taxed. Prohibition has been a very expensive failure by any way you choose to measure it.

    We have the highest usage rates in the world for most if not all illegal drugs, far higher than nations which have legalized them (for example, 42% of Americans have tried weed vs. 20% in the Netherlands where it is legal). And the quality, availability and purity of most drugs increases all the time, despite all our massively expensive efforts to enforce current law. What do these two facts say about prohibition's effectiveness?

    I think statistics like these counter fearmongers like this author who claim that a significantly higher percentage of the population will try drugs if they are legal. Those who want to try illegal drugs are already using them! It's not like they're hard to obtain! It is easier for a person under 21 to obtain illegal drugs like weed or even heroin than it is to obtain alchohol in many areas of this country. That situation should worry any parent more than the potential effects of legalization.

    If we legalized drugs, we could eliminate or greatly reduce most of the harmful effects caused by prohibition, like the massive cartel-related drug violence in Mexico and on our streets, drug overdoses caused by unknown purity levels in street drugs, and access to these substances by youth. Plus, this would free up massive amounts of taxpayer money currently spent on law enforcement and incarceration, some of which can be redirected into treatment of addition-related illness, the rest of which could be returned in the form of lower taxes.

    Finally, taxation of newly legalized drugs will create a new revenue source – such taxes could pay for treatment of any increased addiction at no cost to taxpayers.

    The time for legalization has come. Prohibition has failed. Honest rational arguments are all in favor of legalization at this point.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:45 pm |
  88. Ben

    What is it with prohibitionists and strawmen?

    This is what you sound like:

    Robert Stutman thinks that we should prevent children from getting crack by drowning kittens in yogurt. I don't think we should drown kittens in yogurt, because drowning kittens in yogurt is wrong. But that's the only way to keep kids off of crack. Therefore, Robert Stutman is wrong.

    It's no surprise we're losing the war on drugs.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:39 pm |
  89. F.Williams

    We should legalize marijuana.The American Medical Association reports 400,000 alcohol related deaths a year.The AMA reports 0 mrijuana related deaths a year.Let's stop giving all of attention on drugs that have minimal effects on people and focus on the heroin,coke,crack,meth, and OxyContin.People are always talking about how pot is destroying peopl's lives.I hear this and it makes me sick.Why are we not being outspoken about the drugs that kill people and ruin relationships??The american people look at all of these narcotics as taboo topics.We should all be fighting the things that damage our country and families the most.Legalize pot and leave the potheads alone.Lets take on heroin and crack dealers and put them in prison where they belong.America needs to take control over this situation before 75-80% of Americans end up as junkies.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:37 pm |
  90. Lisa in Shelton

    Marijuana is legal in other countries – Does Amsterdam have any statistics regarding addiction to it?

    April 13, 2009 at 1:34 pm |
  91. Chris in Yucaipa

    @Dexter Gilbert

    How do you expect us to control the supply? Invade Mexico? Like he said, there will always be a cheaper supply than what the government can provide.

    And trust me, people were using drugs LONG before "this war".

    As for peoples inability to control themselves when offered an opportunity, thats a given. The reason we have laws as well as repercussions for breaking those laws is to address that fact. There is and always will be a segment of the population who feels they deserve to do whatever they want, whenever they want.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:25 pm |
  92. Ashaffner

    "Once drugs have been made available legally in societies they can rarely be taken back." Which is exactly the problem. This country was not born with prohibition laws. Those came later. All the drugs were once legal. They became illegal later for various nefarious reasons such as, racism. The drug has not worked. It has failed monumentally. It is time for a new approach. Your argument to keep things as they are is stupid. But of course, you make money with things as they are, so why would you be interested in a new approach?

    April 13, 2009 at 1:24 pm |
  93. Tarek Sawaf

    Gavin took the words right out of my mouth.

    And if we are legalizing tobacco and alcohol but associating marijuana (which is not addictive and which you cannot overdose) with other non-legal drugs, we are not only being inconsistent, but we are also de-emphasizing the real dangers of substance abuse.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:17 pm |
  94. David

    The war on drugs no longer has anything to with with what's "GOOD" for our country. It's about control. The religious fanatics and Governement can'ts stand people living their lives in a manner not suitable to them.

    Jailing NON VIOLENT criminals is a bad thing no matter how you twist the wording. Letting people out of jail who are force to then live a life of crime is a bad thing. Not regulating drugs to allow our children to get it off God knows who on the corner is a bad thing.

    And personally, I couldn't give a d%$& about the drugatic who overdoses, as long as he doesn't kill my kids to get the money to do it.

    The innocent people are the ones who pay the most for this. But hey, if they can't live their lives the way our masters want us too, then who cares, right?

    April 13, 2009 at 1:15 pm |
  95. Bob

    For those who think that cartels will still sell drugs after they are legalized and regulated let me ask you this:

    When was the last time a bootlegger asked you if you wanted to buy a bottle of moonshine?

    When was the last time someone was hanging out side the tobacco store offering you some of his homegrown tobacco?

    It doesn’t happen. When drugs are legalized and regulated, the economies of scale will run illegal distribution out of the market. Period. I’m sure there were a few moonshiners even after prohibition ended, but five years later they were gone.

    And for the people who think that suddenly 50% of the population will start using cocaine or heroin if it’s legal, let me ask you:

    Will you go out and buy heroin if it’s legal? Will your spouse? Will your friends, and family? Anyone who wants to do “hard” drugs already are. Prohibition is not stopping ANYONE from using drugs. If you want to do them, you already are. And if you don’t (like 80% of the population), then you’re not going to suddenly start.

    The least we can do is take the money away from street gangs and cartels, regulate the purity to make it safer to use, and redirect our prison and WoD spending to treatment.

    Enough with the “think about the children” moral crap.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:12 pm |
  96. truthandconsequences

    All of the arguments against legalization are premised upon the notion that prohibition will prevent people from using drugs. This is the basic fallacy in the prohibitionists' argument. Our experience has shown the contrary, however, as drug usage and availablility continue to increase. Perhaps we should try something different, rather than to continue what has failed miserably. The definition of insanity is to keep doing the same thing over and over again, and expecting a different result.

    Instead of spending all of this money on interdiction and punishment, which has not worked, why not try dealing with science and truth instead of the same old worn out demagoguery and propoganda? Education and reliable information is the only way we are going to reduce drug usage.

    Look at what we have done with tobacco. Through public education based upon science and reliable information, over 20 million americans have stopped smoking cigarettes. People have stopped smoking because they have been informed of the scientifically proven health effects, not because they were criminalized and imprisoned.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:11 pm |
  97. SKR

    I can understand why people are afraid of legalizing drugs, for decades drugs have been this monster that must be stopped and this man fought the good fight and legalization would be waving the white flag. But when you break down his argument it makes no sense and he even contradicts himself. In one paragraph he talks about how legalization will make drugs cheaper therefore use will go up, in the very next paragraph he says that the cartels will always be able to offer drugs at a cheaper price than the government therefore they will not be hurt by legalization. Only one of those statements can be true. Also saying that use will go up by five times what it is now is just crazy, show me five people right now that the day drugs become legal will start using. What about three or even two. He must have avoided the studies that say alcoholism actually sky rocketed durring prohibition. Honestly who out there says "I would love to try crack, but its against the law so guess Im gonna have to steer clear". Im not going to shoot up if herion is legal tomorrow, are you? Will Mr. Stutman? An addtional 25 million addicts on top of the 20 million alcoholics, dont you think that a large number of addicts would be included in the already addictive personalities of the alcoholics? Who will pay for the "new" addicts? How about we take just a fraction of the money we spend on enforcement and put it toward treatment, use some of the untold billions used to lock most of these people away now, or the billions that will be brought in in new tax revenue? Like I said, I understant the thought of legalization can be scary to a lot of people, but the way we do things now just does not work, the harm far outweighs the good.

    April 13, 2009 at 1:02 pm |
  98. Gavin

    Anyone who believes that marijuana should be a Schedule I drug has spent too much time at the DEA and not enough in universities.

    Unfortunately, marijuana is not nearly as harmful as drug crusaders would have you believe. When kids try marijuana they figure this out, and reason that they have been lied to about the dangers of other drugs as well. By introducing them to the black market associated with marijuana, sooner or later many of these kids have the opportunity to then try these other drugs, which are potentially much more addictive, bringing them into a lifestyle that is hard to escape.

    The point? End cannabis prohibition ASAP to see what effect this has on the use of both it and other drugs.

    April 13, 2009 at 12:53 pm |
  99. Debbie Wicker

    Legalizing drugs is CRAZY and will cause more addictions and suffering.

    It happened just this morning. I received a sad email from a mother who has just spent the last four years struggling to help her child to end his heroin addiction. She writes:

    " I have a 20yr old son in recovery as I am writing this. He was a good student through catholic school.He was an outstanding Basketball player. The year between junior and senior high he start taking a pain medication Oxycontin.

    Our lives changed that summer and 4 yrs later we are in a battle I don't wish on anyone. Last year he moved heroin. He OD'd twice and lived on the streets after he stole from everyone in the family that tried to help him.

    I was his biggest enabler and we are now both working on our recovery's. After 5 failed treatments, he spent 4 months in jail and has been out for a month. Not sure what the future holds for us just praying the worst is over."

    Tragically this is an all to common story of addiction and co-dependence. How do legalization help this story?

    Go to for more information

    April 13, 2009 at 12:32 pm |
  100. Dexter Gilbert

    All your theory is based on the people inability to control theirselves when given the opportunity. Continuing with this witchhunt mentality will only worsen the problem. What give you the right to imprison the ill in our nation when in all actuality, they really need treatment. This war has created the environment that is drawing our children into drug use. The current methods are without logic or reason. If we control the supply, we will destroy the environment that currently exists, virtually eliminating the drug related crime, organized crime and gang violence. How many more innocent people need to die to support your point of view?

    April 13, 2009 at 12:31 pm |
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