War on Drugs: FAIL

Good question for tonight’s candidates forum: What’s your position on the US “war on drugs?”

I believe in decriminalization of recreational drugs, taxation of pot, and pouring the money into treatment and education. Yep- it’s radical for a candidate to say that- but, I’m with Albert Einstein on this one. Don’t know why I’m talking about Einstein- watch this video that reader John Ise posted:

I don’t know how we can say we are the land of the free and the home of the brave- when we’ve got more people incarcerated than any other free country- and we’re not brave enough to face the fact that the “war on drugs” isn’t working any better than the “War on terror” as we’re currently proceeding.

This is the kind of frankness you get from a candidate who isn’t beholden to corporate interests- or worried about endorsements based on my personality. I believe in rational decisions made in the best interests of every American. We can do better than filling our prisons with poor people who don’t have the skills to do much more than peddle dope- because we don’t care enough to educate them properly, provide health care adequately, or create an economy with low skill jobs that pay a living wage.

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14 Responses

  1. BC Front Street June 30, 2010 / 1:02 pm
    Mr. Esrati?  WELL DONE!
    I am personally in agreement with every word of this; despite the fact that I am not a recreational drug user; as I am positive many would naturally assume I am.
    Decriminalizing marijuana use and freeing up our  resources to concentrate on the most dangerous drugs  (both in terms of addiction and criminal acts to obtain them) – meth, crack, heroin, and even Oxycontin – would be a more rational, intelligent decision.
    I remember the “Just say NO” campaign from the ’80’s, it was a joke then, and produced no more results than the “DARE” programs of today.  Most of today’s recreational drug users have experienced the “teachings” of one or the other – and are laughing about it each time they light up.
    Thank you for standing up for common sense and reality, as well as allowing me to comment upon it.
    Have a wonderful day =)
     
  2. David Esrati June 30, 2010 / 2:19 pm

    @BC Front- welcome to the forum. Now, just make sure to tell everyone you know who you are voting for- and why. I need to make it past this primary so I can take on Turner.

  3. Gene June 30, 2010 / 3:21 pm
    All for it – but I would eliminate the tax money used for “treatment.” Fund it yourself if you become a loser junkie. Take some tax money for education (via the taxes on the drugs) but don’t tax it all that much. Sales tax would be just fine in this case. And regular taxes associated with business and personal income, but not a special tax, or inflated tax.
  4. Dave Sparks June 30, 2010 / 4:49 pm
    Which was a bigger population killer to the City of Dayton, the death of the auto industry here or the WOD?
    And if the war on drugs is racist (which the numbers seem to suggest), then does that mean that politicians who support the WOD either directly, or through sideline sitting, are then also racist?
    “According to a 2006 report by the American Civil Liberties Union, African Americans make up an estimated 15% of drug users, but they account for 37% of those arrested on drug charges, 59% of those convicted and 74% of all drug offenders sentenced to prison. Or consider this: The U.S. has 260,000 people in state prisons on nonviolent drug charges; 183,200 (more than 70%) of them are black or Latino.”

  5. truth July 1, 2010 / 5:34 pm
    So…..If it is legalized, then how do you deal with black market sales attempting to avoid taxation?  I find it funny that you think that a legal drug market, will somehow cure the illegal market that will be able to push the drugs easier due to lower prices.  You are still going to have crime.  There is plenty of treatment out there now, the person court ordered to it must be willing to participate.  Legal marijuana isn’t going to make people want to get drug treatment, the drug dealers we have now will still be in business because they can sell it cheaper without taxes, and the users will still go out and steal, more likely at a higher rate, to pay for the increased cost in the drug.
  6. David Esrati July 1, 2010 / 5:41 pm

    @truth- when was the last time you bought moonshine? Tax avoidance isn’t the issue. And if you think there is plenty of treatment out there- you don’t have a clue.

    Most of our “Drug treatment” is in prisons.

  7. truth July 1, 2010 / 6:34 pm
    Please enlighten me with your observations of the individuals offered drag and alcohol treatment.  Repeat violators are offered it, many choose not to stay in the program.  I pay prime for moonshine or make it myself.  Guess what…people west of the river aren’t making it or selling it…when they do, crime will follow.  When has the recreational pot user been sentenced to prison?  Right…never, unless you have a trunk full in Ohio.  If you think that the person arrested for simple possession in Montgomery County is being sentenced to prison, then you are high.  The “crackhead” getting arrested weekly has had the opportunity for treatment…he doesn’t want it.
     
    Do you think that the current drug dealers are going to play this taxation game?  When they don’t…What do you do with them?  Hmmmm, let me get this straight.  People are miraculously going to pay a 1/3 to double more for drugs instead of hitting up their dealer that can still undercut the taxed product?  You can’t compare commercial alcohol sales to marijuana.  It won’t happen, unless you can find a pot manufacturer the size of Miller Brewing/Bud that has the capability to control a market.
     
    Some of you live in a fantasy land that think legal taxation of drugs is going to cure the problem.  The problem is the mindset of the criminal element.  Legalization won’t change that mindset.  It only makes a a high cost legal product out there for your current law abiding or casual smoker to take advantage of.  The folks in the system regularly for the use/possession of drugs will not benefit from legal recreational drugs.  They will still steal at the rate they are now to fund any habit.  They still won’t take advantage of any rehabilitative service offered.
  8. Ice Bandit July 1, 2010 / 11:59 pm
    I believe in decriminalization of recreational drugs, taxation of pot, and pouring the money into treatment and education. (David Esrati)

    Leave it to David Esrati to follow one good idea with two bad ones. Only a legalization of every substance from reefer to black tar heroin will release the United States from constant and costly influence of narco-terrorist foreign and domestic. So score one for the E-Man. But David, who has never seen a tax he didn’t like, is smoking something himself if he thinks an industry which has remained tax-free for over 30 years is going to start voluntarily handing its scheckles to Uncle Sam. But suppose the dealers and pushers who have run the domestic drug trade since the days of Dwight Eisenhower thru a network of personal and business relationships, are struck by patriotic fervor and start paying taxes for, as David suggests, treatment and education. There is no evidence that treaatment and education work. That is dopers and drunks left alone recover at a rate similar to the addicted undergoing treatment. So according to the Esrati Doctrine, a tax will be levied on the untaxable and given to agencies who offer no real benefit. Sounds like the David Esrati the Old Bandito knows…….

  9. David Esrati July 2, 2010 / 7:47 am

    @ice you know the problem with complex subjects- is they take more than 1000 words to explain. That’s partially why I let the video do some explaining. We don’t have to tax the products to gain from this- we can just tax the income- and make it reportable.

    The biggest problem our drug dealing menaces to society have- is what to do with the stacks of cash they earn that can’t be deposited in a bank without explanation. Do you really think they like keeping it in their mattress?

    Change the policy- and voila- tax revenue goes up, enforcement costs drop- and America becomes more the land of the free and home of the brave. Do I get a mea culpa from your tired old cranky…?

  10. Bubba Jones July 2, 2010 / 8:45 am
    >>> We don’t have to tax the products to gain from this- we can just tax the income- and make it reportable. <<<
     
    The income from selling drugs or engaging in ANY illegal activity ALREADY is reportable!!  It’s already in the IRS code that all trade or business income, whether derived from legal or illegal sources is subject to tax.  Of course, not reporting the income is just one more law that they break.
     
    I do agree that most drugs should be decriminalized or legalized though.
     
  11. Greg Hunter July 2, 2010 / 8:55 am
    The war on drugs just like everything else is something we as a society cannot afford but the populace has been so dumbed down it cannot make the leap between prohibition and how to manage drugs effectively.  The more natural the product it is the less tax there should be….Coca Leaves should not be taxed, nor poppies but the concentrated derivatives certainly.
     
    It is over for the empire anyway, so opium would ease the pain in the limbs while chewing coca will ease the hunger pains. :)
  12. Larkin July 5, 2010 / 1:55 am
    Other countries have done this with some measure of success. Prohibition of alcohol certainly worked to fund organized crime during its tenure, and the criminalization of “recreational” drugs has done the same for street gangs and drug lords in our time. Reasonable access to some “better” drugs (more effective escapism with fewer unpleasant side effects) might lead to the end of some drug production (like methamphetamine) altogether. Even junkies have their preferences.
  13. jstults July 5, 2010 / 9:57 am
    Larkin:

    Reasonable access to some “better” drugs (more effective escapism with fewer unpleasant side effects) might lead to the end of some drug production (like methamphetamine) altogether.

    Especially when the possible side effects include blowing yourself up.

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