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Martell Spy

Up in Smoke: Drug Legalization and Dealing

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2 minutes ago, Tywin et al. said:

Did France even have a prohibition era in relatively recent times?

Of alcohol? lol, no. It wasn't that long ago that an ad' campaign promoted "a last one for the road" for drivers. It's still a popular expression, though used as a joke these days (well, except with some older folks and/or in some regions ^^).
https://bit.ly/2UR5cXK
It's kinda paradoxical that American bootleggers would *not* be seen as heroes in France tbh...

There's something really weird happening here as regards drugs broadly speaking. On the one hand there's been a small loosening of the law against weed. On the other hand, there's been small changes to prevent minors from having easy access to alcohol and tobacco (until very recently the legal drinking age was 16).
So you get tons of debates on the evils of various products, which probably helps explain my own grimness on the issue. People only recently realized just how bad alcohol is, while at the same time the legalization of weed in the US or Canada is obviously pushing our societies in another direction. Lines get blurred because traditionally people would defend alcohol as rather innocuous while condemning the use of other drugs, so now that it's known that weed is the innocuous drug and alcohol the big bad one, many people struggle to find a coherent stance to defend.
 

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44 minutes ago, Rippounet said:

Of alcohol? lol, no. 
 

Lol that’s exactly the response I expected. I studied French for four years in  junior and senior high, and nothing from that experience led me to believe that the French would ever think of banning alcohol.

 

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I don't think bootleggers are held in high regard in the US, maybe bathtub gin makers or people who operated speakeasies which have less of a connection with gangsters in popular imagination.

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On the subject of injecting rooms, the one in Kings Cross in Sydney has been a massive success in reducing harm, I went hunting for stats on it and instead this quote from a recent article sums it up nicely

Quote

In the more than 18 years since it opened, there have been more than one million injections
supervised. In that time there has been 8000 overdoses – but there has not been one single
death.

The centre has not only saved lives, one study has shown the number of ambulance call-
outs to Kings Cross has dropped by 80%, taking the strain off emergency services and saving
precious health resources.

These things are a complete no brainer and the only reason to oppose it is if you think the moral lesson of people dying is necessary to deter others from taking drugs. Our state government is ignoring the evidence from this and refusing to allow pill testing at festivals for exactly that reason - they've not even really tried to obfuscate that they're saying kids dying serves the greater good.

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2 hours ago, karaddin said:

On the subject of injecting rooms, the one in Kings Cross in Sydney has been a massive success in reducing harm, I went hunting for stats on it and instead this quote from a recent article sums it up nicely

These things are a complete no brainer and the only reason to oppose it is if you think the moral lesson of people dying is necessary to deter others from taking drugs. Our state government is ignoring the evidence from this and refusing to allow pill testing at festivals for exactly that reason - they've not even really tried to obfuscate that they're saying kids dying serves the greater good.

I think there is greater greed than truly moral component in this opposition. The prison industrial complex profits would decline if the government adopted this approach. 

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20 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I think there is greater greed than truly moral component in this opposition. The prison industrial complex profits would decline if the government adopted this approach. 

Is there a prison-industrial complex in Australia?

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14 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

Lol that’s exactly the response I expected. I studied French for four years in  junior and senior high, and nothing from that experience led me to believe that the French would ever think of banning alcohol.

Not only the French. Almost all of continental Europe is very different to the US wrt alcohol. Even in Germany where everything is verboten that is not explicity allowed we have a restricted drinking age of 16 and a "hard liquor" age of 18. And while I am not sure if there is more enforcement now, this was usually handled very loosely at least up to the 1980s, so the de facto beer drinking age was closer to 14.

It is similar with tobacco. I never smoked more than a few puffs because I find it rather disgusting but until recently one could legally smoke from 16 and many started earlier. This has been changed to 18 and some enforcement is applied (e.g. one needs an ID for vending machines, in former times every ten year old could get cigarettes from a vending machine). When I was in high school in the mid/late 1980s, students above 16 were allowed to smoke in a designated "smoker's corner" at school! Well, it was a different millenium and it feels like that.

This obviously contrasts with moderately tough policies (although not quite comparable to US war on drugs) towards illegal drugs, even weed, although for the latter I think consumption is not actively prohibited and small scale dealing often tolerated but I am not sure and I guess it can depend on local customs as the laws give the authorities some leeway. But anything like morphines or cocaine can get you in serious legal trouble, even it there is some leniency towards mere users and there is some therapeutic help (incl. replacement drugs) for addicts.

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45 minutes ago, larrytheimp said:

Is there a prison-industrial complex in Australia?

I’ll be honest, I was under the impression Karradin  was speaking mostly in respect to the US leaders refusing to adapt according to the evidence, not Australia. I do see the opposition to legalization of certain Drugs and calls for less punitive measures, to often be marked for less than moral reasons.  From what I gathered I would probably say yes to your question(Australia from I gathered  relies and uses private prisons too much), but it’s certainly not a hill I’m prepared to die on. If you don’t see it as such, I’m genuinely curious to your reasoning.

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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4 minutes ago, Varysblackfyre321 said:

I’ll be honest, I was under the impression Karradin was making was speaking mostly respect to the US leaders refusing to adapt according to the evidence, not Australia. I do see the opposition to legalization of certain Drugs and calls for less punitive measures, to often be marked for less than moral reasons.  From what I gathered I would probably say yes to your question(where it’s use of private prisons do seem to be a major issue), but it’s certainly not a hill I’m prepared to die on. If you don’t see it as such, I’m genuinely curious to your reasoning.

You'd be right. It varies state by state like the US, but our worst state on this issue (Western Australia) isn't even really pretending its not operating straight up debtors prisons these days. The point about regarding evidence was directed at the NSW government who are in the middle of destroying our music festival industry by implementing absurdly expensive security requirements with literally ~4 weeks notice after refusing to implement pill testing despite mass public approval and 2 decades of evidence of the efficacy of the similar case of heroin injecting rooms. They have also heavily damaged our night life with punitive lock out laws that are sending a lot of bars out of business.

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Oh I found this a novel concept:https://www.google.com/amp/s/qz.com/849774/in-australia-sodexo-owned-private-prison-company-melaleuca-will-get-cash-for-every-freed-inmate-who-does-not-come-back/amp/ Do you see the this as a step in the right direction? Something more of the country should try? I definitely would like to see a similar thing tried broadly in the US barring the option to simply doing away with private prisons all together.

19 minutes ago, karaddin said:

You'd be right. It varies state by state like the US, but our worst state on this issue (Western Australia) isn't even really pretending its not operating straight up debtors prisons these days. The point about regarding evidence was directed at the NSW government who are in the middle of destroying our music festival industry by implementing absurdly expensive security requirements with literally ~4 weeks notice after refusing to implement pill testing despite mass public approval and 2 decades of evidence of the efficacy of the similar case of heroin injecting rooms. They have also heavily damaged our night life with punitive lock out laws that are sending a lot of bars out of business.

 

Edited by Varysblackfyre321

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5 hours ago, Jo498 said:

Not only the French. Almost all of continental Europe is very different to the US wrt alcohol. Even in Germany where everything is verboten that is not explicity allowed we have a restricted drinking age of 16 and a "hard liquor" age of 18. And while I am not sure if there is more enforcement now, this was usually handled very loosely at least up to the 1980s, so the de facto beer drinking age was closer to 14.

I know. When I was 16 I had a chance to spend the summer in France, but declined due to sports commitments. My friends that went to France and Germany said their host families let them have a glass of wine or beer at dinner time. Europe has a much healthier relationship with alcohol than the U.S.

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Note that the attitude towards "illegal drugs" does not seem to be clearly correlated with the European liberal stance towards alcohol (and until recently smoking). There is not such a "war on drugs" in Europe, but most countries are still quite strict, even with weed and certainly with most "harder" drugs.

While I think that the US is crazy with their prohibitional attitude, I am of a somewhat divided mind in this whole issue.

Often I think full liberalization of all and any drugs (for people over 18) would be at least worth trying. But despite the more relaxed attitude towards alcohol, Germany and especially central/eastern Europe do have considerable problems with alcohol addiction. And as a non-smoker I am mostly in favor of the far stricter rules of today that still seem lax to some Americans but were almost inconceivable in my youth in the 80s and even in the 1990s when every restaurant was a smoky den.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I know. When I was 16 I had a chance to spend the summer in France, but declined due to sports commitments. My friends that went to France and Germany said their host families let them have a glass of wine or beer at dinner time. Europe has a much healthier relationship with alcohol than the U.S.

In the cases of France and Germany plus most European Countries I’d agree.

In the case of the UK though I think our culture has a terrible relationship with alcohol.

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2 hours ago, Tywin et al. said:

I know. When I was 16 I had a chance to spend the summer in France, but declined due to sports commitments. My friends that went to France and Germany said their host families let them have a glass of wine or beer at dinner time. Europe has a much healthier relationship with alcohol than the U.S.

I think this is an American fantasy.  As mentioned upthread, there are plenty of European countries that have serious alcoholism issues.  I'd include Nordic countries in the list of countries that struggle with the ones already mentioned.    

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9 minutes ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I think this is an American fantasy.  As mentioned upthread, there are plenty of European countries that have serious alcoholism issues.  I'd include Nordic countries in the list of countries that struggle with the ones already mentioned.    

Not to mention the Brits (and a lot of German lads too-- ask the Netherlanders, where Germans come and get really drunk and beat up people).

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If anything this seems to show that alcoholism is not clearly correlated with any particular prohibitive policies. France and the mediterranean countries seem quite liberal and let young teenager drink alcohol, Germany/Austria/Low Countries etc. are somewhat more strict, not sure about the Nordic countries but there alcohol is incredibly expensive (unlike most of southern/middle Europe) which should act as some kind of restriction. I think France/Mediterranean countries have less problems with alcoholism than the others.

And the huge alcoholism problems of eastern Europe are obviously not mainly related to the easy availability of cheap booze but have cultural reasons and seem to be related to the social/economic problems many of them are struggling with.

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1 minute ago, Jo498 said:

If anything this seems to show that alcoholism is not clearly correlated with any particular prohibitive policies. France and the mediterranean countries seem quite liberal and let young teenager drink alcohol, Germany/Austria/Low Countries etc. are somewhat more strict, not sure about the Nordic countries but there alcohol is incredibly expensive (unlike most of southern/middle Europe) which should act as some kind of restriction. I think France/Mediterranean countries have less problems with alcoholism than the others.

And the huge alcoholism problems of eastern Europe are obviously not mainly related to the easy availability of cheap booze but have cultural reasons and seem to be related to the social/economic problems many of them are struggling with.

Completely agree - I am not advocating any particular sort of prohibition.  I actually think that alcohol (and nicotine) need to be considered holistically with other addictive/mind altering substances in thinking about policy. 

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Oh boy. I suspect I was at least partially responsible for creating this thread. I'd love to debate this shit for hours, but I have to actually watch what I say publicly about drug policy and there's enough clues out there to figure out who I am. Plus the various boarders who I met years ago (not that I think any of you would rat me out).

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Yes, and it is a fallacy that weed needs to be legalized because otherwise alcohol is unfairly favored (or that both should be prohibited). That's just not the way such things work and the cultural entrenchment of alcohol is real and one would ignore history and culture at one's peril,

As I said, drug prohibition/legalization is one of the few issues where I really am divided. For me the best would be total legalization (to dry out the morass of organized drug related crime) in a combination with some control (wrt minors and also the quality of the stuff) AND strong social condemnation of drug use/abuse.

This might seem paradoxical and while this seems quite close to the actual situation in the late 19th century one can certainly doubt that it worked back then. The people advancing prohibition did this not mainly for social control but alcoholism was really wreaking havoc among especially among the "lower classes". Now obviously one answer is to improve the plight of the lower classes that they don't have to drown their sorrows in booze. This has been done to some extent but like the poor will be always with us, so apparently will be drug abuse. And drug addiction is obviously not restricted to the poor either.

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1 hour ago, Bittersweet Distractor said:

In the cases of France and Germany plus most European Countries I’d agree.

In the case of the UK though I think our culture has a terrible relationship with alcohol.

Isn’t the issue with alcoholism in the UK related to football and the pub culture that surrounds it? I figured that would have declined over the last few decades once there was a crackdown on all that nonsense.

1 hour ago, Mlle. Zabzie said:

I think this is an American fantasy.  As mentioned upthread, there are plenty of European countries that have serious alcoholism issues.  I'd include Nordic countries in the list of countries that struggle with the ones already mentioned.    

Sure, but my understanding has always been youth alcoholism is higher in the U.S. than in many Western European countries, and that the taboo here plays a role in that. I’ve never seen anything that really discredits that narrative.  

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