L.A. Liberty

A Libertarian in Leftywood

[W]hile the drug war forces addicts and casual users to rely on unlabeled, black market (and possibly tampered-with) products for their fix, would drug users in a free market turn to such dangerous products? It’s unlikely. We do know that in the face of prohibition, many users turn to using alcohol and prescription drugs for off-label recreational uses that can cause harm that is similar or even worse than those caused by prohibited drugs.

There is simply no evidence that prohibition generates any socially desirable benefits, but there is ample evidence of its costs and destruction.

— Mark Thornton, “How the Drug War Failed Philip Seymour Hoffman”

The Failed War on Drugs

Connecticut Cop Charged With Sexual Assault of Teenage Girl: Time to Start Tracking, Penalizing, Maybe Even Firing Problem Cops →

More Pot, Less Crime: Medical Marijuana States See Drops in Assaults and Homicides →

Some short remarks on the war on drugs by Bob Murphy.

His initial comment is something I noted in my recent interview with ThinkSquad: “[A]lthough I am absolutely a deontological Rothbardian radical, I have embraced the fact that the world is more easily persuaded by utilitarian arguments. It is useless to argue principles to people who have none. Many people simply do not value freedom as an end in itself, so it’s important to understand that freedom is also a means to most of the good people look for.”

antigovernmentextremist:


America’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded, and the war on drugs is mainly to blame.
Over 50 percent of inmates currently in federal prison are there for drug offenses, according to an infographic recently released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (see chart below). That percentage has risen fairly consistently over decades, all the way from 16 percent in 1970.
The second-largest category, immigration-related crimes, accounts for 10.6 percent of inmates. This means that people convicted of two broad categories of nonviolent crimes — drugs and immigration — make up over 60 percent of the U.S. prison population. 

Also note that in a distant second place are those imprisoned for the “crime” of crossing an arbitrary line on a map in pursuit of a better life.

antigovernmentextremist:

America’s prisons are dangerously overcrowded, and the war on drugs is mainly to blame.

Over 50 percent of inmates currently in federal prison are there for drug offenses, according to an infographic recently released by the Federal Bureau of Prisons (see chart below). That percentage has risen fairly consistently over decades, all the way from 16 percent in 1970.

The second-largest category, immigration-related crimes, accounts for 10.6 percent of inmates. This means that people convicted of two broad categories of nonviolent crimes — drugs and immigration — make up over 60 percent of the U.S. prison population. 

Also note that in a distant second place are those imprisoned for the “crime” of crossing an arbitrary line on a map in pursuit of a better life.

(Source: hipsterlibertarian)

The Blurred Line Between Cops and Soldiers →

letterstomycountry:

Nailed it.
Source

letterstomycountry:

Nailed it.

Source

Los Angeles Starts Forcing Marijuana Dispensaries Shut and Threatening Landlords →

Morons. 

Corporatism is universal. As I keep mentioning: “So long as there are centers of power, those with means will aim to wield that power or work it in their favor. And there’s no greater power than the state’s monopoly on force. The state, therefore, will always serve the interests of the connected few above the masses.”

There’s more to this story, but here’s the bottom line:

And now it’s going around closing shops and threatening not just those businesses with fines and jail time but the landlords who rent out their spaces, even if the businesses have been issued registration certificates by the city.

Of course, if these shops were free to open at will, consumer demand would naturally determine the number of shops desired in a given area, with the added bonus of driving up quality and safety while driving down price. 

Police Shoot, Kill 80-Year-Old Man In His Own Bed, Don’t Find the Drugs They Were Looking For

And the cop’s account that the hard-of-hearing 80-year-old with no criminal record was charging him with a .22 pistol runs counter to the coroner’s report, forensic evidence of the scene, and an audio recording of the incident. 

Policymakers and anti-addiction advocates now want to suppress opioid use, and to impose even greater restrictions on people who live with chronic pain. This isn’t going to address the addiction and overdose problem. Studies are now showing that when opioids aren’t as available and prices go up, addicts just switch back to street heroin. Pain patients, however, simply suffer. Their plight shouldn’t be an afterthought and shouldn’t be relegated to comments sections to stories that failed to consider their perspective. They are a crucial part of this story.

— Maia Szalavitz

In a free society, it’s not up to business “leaders,” politicians, or the arbiters of public decency as to which industries shall be lauded and welcomed, and which shall be ignored and shunted aside. It is the market, which far more reliably reflects the true preferences and desires of the population than any political process, that is the one objective and honest measure of what it is that the consumers and taxpayers want. If consumers don’t want the cannabis industry in Colorado, it will surely shrink to insignificance. If, on the other hand, consumers do in fact want it, lawmakers possess no economic or moral grounds to declare otherwise.

— Ryan McMaken, “Colorado’s New Cannabis Economy”

The more the government acts to suppress a market with more police, severe penalties and new tactics the higher they drive up prices and the more incentive black marketeers have to invest in ways of protecting themselves against detection, arrest and penalties. One of the primary ways of doing this is to increase the potency of the product or to switch to higher potency products. It’s more bang for the buck. Instead of smuggling wine, a truckload of 10% alcohol, why not smuggle a vanload of whiskey that is 90% alcohol? Why try to bring weak potency marijuana into the country when you can smuggle marijuana that is 5 or 10 times more potent, or why not switch to cocaine and heroin smuggling where a million doses can be smuggled in a single suitcase? Marijuana is not a true gateway drug that leads people to heroin. Stricter prohibition leads black markets from weak marijuana to heroin.

My students are often skeptical of this analysis. Perhaps drug dealers are not smart enough to figure this out, they think. Then I ask them about what happens at an Auburn University football game. “If you went tailgating before the game, what alcoholic drink would you most likely see people drinking?” The answer is nearly unanimous – beer. Then I ask them, “Once you get into the stadium (where alcohol is prohibited) what type of alcohol are you most likely going to see consumed?” The students’ eyes bug out and I have seen a jaw or two actually drop because they know the answer is some type of high potency liquor. …

With prohibition, the more the government tries to enforce it, the higher the price and the more effort that will be exerted to overcome the prohibition, whether that is higher potency, more dangerous concentrated drugs, larger bribes, more powerful guns …

— Mark Thornton

Border Patrol Use of Force Questioned in Report They Tried to Keep from Congress →

"Border Patrol agents have deliberately stepped in the path of cars apparently to justify shooting at the drivers and have fired in frustration at people throwing rocks from the Mexican side of the border"

To the extent that conservatives still defend the drug war (and there are fewer and fewer willing to do so), … [t]heir argument is [usually] that drug use enslaves drug users with addiction, and that were drugs to be made legal, we’d all be robbed of the benefits of living in a populace of responsible citizens. Use and addiction would be common, thus shredding the moral fabric (or some other vague metaphor) that binds us all together. These arguments have been rehashed again since the legalization of marijuana in Colorado and Washington. (See also Davids Brooks and Frum.)

I think there’s good evidence that this is wrong on its face. Jacob Sullum’s book Saying Yes: In Defense of Drug Use, for example, presents compelling empirical evidence that the vast, vast majority of people who use drugs—even hard drugs—do so recreationally, don’t become addicts, and inflict little to no harm on those around them. But even if we accept the argument that legalization could lead to widespread use, significantly more addiction, and whatever itinerant harm comes with both, these arguments almost always fail to acknowledge the catastrophic harm inflicted by drug prohibition itself. If we’re truly concerned about policies that “degrade human nature,” “damage and undermine families,” and “deprive the nation of competent, self-governing citizens,” it seems like we should consider not only the effects of illicit drugs themselves, but also the effects of prohibiting them.

— Radley Balko, “Drugs vs. the drug war”

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