Peach Pundit Road Show Tonight

Join us at 6:00pm or after (9ish, 10ish,…) at Pizzeria Vesuvius.  Details here.

“We look forward to seeing some of you; Others, not so much.”

29 comments

  1. B Balz says:

    So is this an open thread? Good!

    A few weeks ago, we read much criticism about GA’s effort to curb meth use by making a key pharmaceutical ingredient, psuedoephedrine, harder to purchase. AJC discusses the pro’s and con’s other States discovered in the effort to stop meth production. Interestingly enough, the conclusions reached in our thread were amazingly accurate. Once conclusion I recall: Most attempts to curb meth manufacture by tracking sales of psuedoephedrine are short lived.

    However other State data shows that making psuedoephedrine a ‘prescription only’ medication does seem to work. In the allegery capital of all mankind that is Georgia, that solution is going to be a tough sell. Yet, all but a few agree, we have a real problem with meth, so what is the answer?

    http://www.ajc.com/news/meth-fight-having-mixed-871458.html

    • Calypso says:

      “Yet, all but a few agree, we have a real problem with meth, so what is the answer?”

      I posit the most viable answer is: The legalization and regulation of virtually every, if not all, drugs. Take the money now being spent on our losing ‘War on Drugs’ and the criminal justice system (courts, cops, prison) and spend one-tenth of it on education and treatment and life will be better for all. Return the other 90% back to the people from whom it was fruitlessly taken in the form of taxes.

      • Lawton Sack says:

        I will play devil’s advocate, so that we can look at this issue of legalization from both sides.

        Alcohol is legal:
        1. Addiction and abuse are huge issues. This impacts work performance/attendance, family life, etc.
        2. DUI’s are a real issue and cost taxpayers money for arrests, jailing, prison, parole, etc., not to mention drunk driving deaths
        3. Legalization, D.A.R.E., television/radio ads, etc. have not stopped underage use

        Tobacco use is legal:
        1. Addiction is a huge issue.
        2. Higher healthcare costs are an issue, which impacts taxpayers
        3. Legalization, D.A.R.E., television/radio ads, etc. have not stopped underage use
        4. I have seen too many people forgo necessities to purchase cigarettes

        All of these, and more, are real concerns for legalization of drugs.

        • Calypso says:

          Without writing a treatise, my quick and simple reply would be a question,

          “Since drugs (broad term to include currently illegal drugs) are currently illegal, would we then suffer the consequences they bring only once they were made legal?”

          I maintain that society as a whole suffers tremendously greater in the current illegal black-market scenario than if legalization and well-thought-out regulation were to be put into effect.

          • Lawton Sack says:

            My follow-up questions would then be: Would eliminating some of the current consequences (mainly jail time for users) be worth the new consequences that would be incurred by increasing the access to these drugs? Would people stop buying these drugs on the black market, in light of the fact that many prescription drugs, like pain killers, are still being sold on the black market?

            • Calypso says:

              Lawton, the ‘current consequences’ you allude to are far greater than ‘mainly jail time for users’.

              To wit: The proliferation of violent drug gangs and cartels, the physical and monetary havoc drug dealers and users wreak on individuals, and the clogging of our criminal justice system with everything from the casual weed smoker to the drug lords charged with multiple murders.

              So, yes, eliminating the current consequences would be worth it. You mention ‘increasing access to these drugs’. How has that whole ‘illegal drug’ thing worked for you so far regarding easy access to drugs?

              What you are failing to admit is, once you remove the significant profit motive the black-market now allows, the amount of drugs PUSHED on potential users-to-be is virtually eliminated.

              Remove the profit motive from the black-market by way of legalization and regulation, add education and rehabilitation into the mix, and you’re well on your way to removing the vast majority of drug use in our country. Not to mention eliminating a stupendous waste of tax money at the same time.

              • bowersville says:

                Balz, the last paragraph of Calypso’s comment beginning with ” Remove the profit motive…add education and rehabilitation…” is covered in the Baan Commission Report and incorporated in the Dutch approach with astonishing results.

                • Calypso says:

                  So, bowersville, am I supported in my assertion or am I full of hot-air? (about this particular topic, I mean…)

                  • bowersville says:

                    Supported for the most part. The Dutch enforced the distribution of hard drugs and at the same time decriminalized soft drugs (marijuana) coupled with education and treatment of users instead of permanently stigmatizing the user as a criminal. Once the process had time to mature and users had a choice they chose the legal soft drug. Also as maturity set in on the user, without being permanently labeled as a criminal, over all drug usage decreased dramatically in Holland.

              • Lawton Sack says:

                As I stated before, my position was as devil’s advocate to start a rational discussion that covers both sides of the issue instead of having just an emotional discussion on one side or the other of the issue. In other words, moving the argument just past simply saying “Drugs should be legalized” or “Drugs should not be legalized.”

                Do you see the cartels shifting their focus, though, if they were no longer in the drug market, i.e. gambling, prostitution, bootlegging, etc.

                • Calypso says:

                  Good question, and I would say very possibly. Look at how what we now refer to as ‘The Mafia’ really got going during Prohibition. Once that assinine amendment was repealed, they moved over into other lucrative forms of ill-gotten gains.

                  Did it reach the same level of criminality as it did during Prohibition? I’m not enough of a scholar of the era to answer. Will the same thing happen if drugs are legalized? To some degree, I would have to say, yes.

      • bowersville says:

        Balz a good place to start research is a website drugpolicy.org and look specifically at what approach the Dutch used. Briefly, The Netherlands was facing a violent heroin market in the ’70s which led the Dutch to establish a drug policy group known as the Baan Commission. After the study the Dutch approach on drugs centralized on the enforcement of distribution of hard drugs and the decriminalizing of marijuana use.

        I believe what Georgia is headed for once the “smurfers” are taken out of the equation is the influx of the ingredients of Meth from Mexico, cooked in GA, and along with it we import the violence associated with south of the border drug gang wars.

        If you decide to look at drugpolicy.org and other sites notice the difference of hard drug usage in The Netherlands today 40 years later versus what it is in the US 40 years ago and today. Amazing. The US War on Drugs is a farce. It is lost because it is still being fought using a failed POLITICAL policy. Our politicians are simply passing more of the same.

        • B Balz says:

          @bowersville

          Holland is a tiny country, with tighter borders and they still had a problem, right? So, the efficient and no nonsense Dutch took a no-nonsense approach toward heroin, LSD, and other hard drugs, while allowing a very controlled policy on marijuana. You can buy pot in certain places, smoke it in a few, and cannot drive with a certain level in your system. Point is, nothing changes by adopting tough laws on hard drugs, we already have that. And all the pitfalls mentioned exist.

          As to Mexico, I believe psuedoephedrine is illegal or very hard to come by. The meth that comes in from Mexico is of much lower quality than the US product, according to what I have read. Thus, there will be a ‘market force’ for better meth.

          You are correct, what we have is not working. Until it becomes unacceptable to do drugs and rob, steal, and be a thug, then little will change. Only family, society, education can make being a thugly thing unacceptable. Government can enact policy and law to help shape, facilitate change, but in the end, it comes to individuals.

          People lead politicians.

        • bowersville says:

          The Dutch model of drug enforcement is a direct assault on US policy. US policy is founded on moral ideology which underlies US drug enforcement laws. The US moral ideology permeates US culture and politics. The US moral ideology stems from fear. Fear of intoxication of any degree. That cultural fear was capitalized upon in the alcohol Prohibition movement of the last century. The fear that intoxicated behavior would lead to all sorts of debauchery and crime. Well it did. Prohibition created the largest crime network ever known in the US. Not only did organized crime flourish, it grew exponentially. Also, common everyday citizens who partook of the devils brew, became criminals.

          That same fear has been used to further the War on Drugs. Fear of intoxication, drug crazed behavior, communist plots, out of control students of the ’60s etc. to the point that any recreational drug consumed was viewed as criminal by US drug laws. Even the Commission created by President Nixon saw the folly of criminalizing all drug use and of course their recommendation to Congress to not criminalize marijuana usage was ignored. Can’t be soft on crime now can we?

          The facts of the Dutch example is simple. Drug problems do exist in the Netherlands but no where to the extent that they exist in the US. All the percentage numbers of drug abusers in Holland are lower than US numbers. In 1980 the budget in our War on Drugs was $1 Billion, in 1998 it was $18 billion, today the sky is the limit. For the DEA to admit or support any semblance of the Dutch example is their admission to a failed policy and that’s not going to happen. It will take bold leadership in this country to stand against ingrained moral ideology in an effort to stem drug abuse and the chances of that happening is slim to none. As an example, look no further than Sunday Sales.

          • Calypso says:

            Thanks for this post, bowersville. However, for I some I’m sure you’re singing to the proverbial choir and to others I fear you are preaching heresy and espousing abominable views.

            I am in the former group.

            • bowersville says:

              That’s okay. Had it not been for the preachers of heresy during my time we’d still be fighting the war in Vietnam.

              • Calypso says:

                Since you’re around and kickin’ and stirring the pot, isn’t this still “[your] time”? Keep up the good work. If the old minds of others remain closed, perhaps your words will make the appropriate impression on new, young minds still in the formative stages.

  2. kyleinatl says:

    Been a long couple of weeks folks, I sadly can’t attend (for the three of you that care) but I will be at the Sine Die one (provided such a thing occurs).

  3. Charlie says:

    Good event tonight. Senate didn’t exactly cooperate by remaining in session. I think they’re still there…

    Was extremely honored to have Speaker David Ralston drop by on his way to his own birthday dinner. Reps. Brockway (we still call him Buzz) and Harrell also spent some quality time with us.

    Got to see some old friends and make some new ones. Good times.

  4. B Balz says:

    “The US moral ideology stems from fear.” One of the strongest human motivators is fear.

    Actually, I believe so much of what we do and believe is based on our strong work ethic, puritanical religious beliefs, coupled with the fact that we are an adolescent Nation.

    Strong work ethic = Fear of hunger, living outdoors.
    Puritanical beliefs = Fear of H***fire and Brimstone if you don’t act right.
    Adolescent Nation = Hope that we can do it better, Optimism leads to innovation.

    SEE Fischer’s “Albions Seed” It’s TOME, but Fischer asks the right questions that address why ‘fear’ is a much a part of the American Experience as Apple Pie, but less tasty.

    “…In short, Fischer brings back from recent oblivion the colorful regional stereotypes of American history. New Englanders really were puritanical; Southern gentlemen genuine aristocrats; Quakers were very pious; and Ulster-Irish, Northern English and Lowland Scots Borderland clans feuded as they had in the old country. …”

    http://www.ihr.org/jhr/v12/v12p114_Rosit.html

    So fear is a huge driver to drug policy, in some respects, but so is risk/reward a the mantra of Capitalism. Last week, we briefly touched on the racist beginnings of making pot uber-illegal.

    There may be nascent supporting rationale(s) to discussion of loosening US drug policy in light of the fact that in a few years 95% of all IRS collections will be used to pay the INTEREST on our debt. Read it again, it is that important: 95%

    The US and obviously GA IS CURRENTLY looking at many new ways to raise revenue. In GA, the ‘Special Commission’, Am. Cancer Society “Raise it A Buck” user fee on cigarettes, etc.

    Sounds like a good time last night, regret I wasn’t there to wax rhapsodic.

    Very impressed Speaker Ralston stopped by, Happy Birthday, Sir!

    • Calypso says:

      B Balz, several decades ago my father-in-law summed this up the best to me. He said, “People do things for one of two reasons. They either want to, or are afraid not to.”

      That pretty much boils it down to its basics and I haven’t run across an action taken by anyone that didn’t fit one of these two reasons.

      • KD_fiscal conservative says:

        “People do things for one of two reasons. They either want to, or are afraid not to.”

        Exactly, but this is a concept the liberals fail to comprehend. In America even if you don’t want to do anything, you have little to fear. Free medicaid, EBTs, section 8, all work in these folks favor…

        • B Balz says:

          My point is that many liberals accuse the right of using fear, being driven by fear, or being fear-centric. Fear is nonpartisan.

Comments are closed.