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Prohibition vs War on Drugs

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Jmayer20
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Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-04 20:38:49 Reply

Do you think prohibition in the 1920's to 1930's with alcohol is the same as the war on drugs is today? Please explain your opinion.

Angry-Hatter
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 02:54:23 Reply

At 7/4/12 08:38 PM, Jmayer20 wrote: Do you think prohibition in the 1920's to 1930's with alcohol is the same as the war on drugs is today? Please explain your opinion.

I think there are definitely some striking similarities, especially in how prohibition serves as a major boon for the criminal enterprises that step in to meet the demand for the drugs, but there are also some differences, particularly in how the prohibitions came to be in the first place. The banning of alcohol was mainly the result of religious moralizing; Christian groups decrying the apparent degenerate effects of alcohol on society. The prohibition of marijuana, on the other hand, was largely based on xenophobia and racism. It was Mexican immigrants who first brought the drug into America from the south, and the white Americans feared that the drug turned the Mexican settlers into wild and violent beasts looking to rape their women. Later, as the drug came to be popular with African Americans, this fear of having dark-skinned men raping white women became even more pronounced.

Another difference: the cost of alcohol prohibition for the entire lifetime of the 18th Amendment was (adjusted for inflation) approximately $310 million in enforcement and approximately $11 billion in lost tax revenue (a total of $11,310,000,000), whereas with marijuana prohibition the cost is approximately $10.7 billion in enforcement and approximately $31.1 billion in lost tax revenue ($41,800,000,000) EACH YEAR.


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Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 11:12:09 Reply

At 7/5/12 02:54 AM, Angry-Hatter wrote:

approximately $11 billion in lost tax revenue (a total of $11,310,000,000), whereas with marijuana prohibition the cost is approximately $10.7 billion in enforcement and approximately $31.1 billion in lost tax revenue ($41,800,000,000) EACH YEAR.

is that scaled with days money?

All-American-Badass
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 11:19:55 Reply

At 7/5/12 02:54 AM, Angry-Hatter wrote: whereas with marijuana prohibition the cost is approximately $10.7 billion in enforcement and approximately $31.1 billion in lost tax revenue ($41,800,000,000) EACH YEAR.

If marijuana was never taxed in the first place due to prohibition, how would anyone know how much revenue is lost from it via prohibition?

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 11:24:48 Reply

At 7/5/12 11:19 AM, All-American-Badass wrote:
If marijuana was never taxed in the first place due to prohibition, how would anyone know how much revenue is lost from it via prohibition?

well, if you go by about how much it is on the street and add in relevant taxes, you can get something of an estimate.


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All-American-Badass
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 11:46:26 Reply

At 7/5/12 11:24 AM, Korriken wrote:
At 7/5/12 11:19 AM, All-American-Badass wrote:
If marijuana was never taxed in the first place due to prohibition, how would anyone know how much revenue is lost from it via prohibition?
well, if you go by about how much it is on the street and add in relevant taxes, you can get something of an estimate.

The problem is figuring out how much it should be taxed though, you don't want to tax it at a rate where it's still better to get it off the street that from a dispensary.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 14:15:29 Reply

At 7/4/12 08:38 PM, Jmayer20 wrote: Do you think prohibition in the 1920's to 1930's with alcohol is the same as the war on drugs is today? Please explain your opinion.

Prohibition was ended after a few years. The war on drugs has gone on for so many years, and I do not see an end in sight.


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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 16:56:39 Reply

At 7/5/12 11:19 AM, All-American-Badass wrote: If marijuana was never taxed in the first place due to prohibition, how would anyone know how much revenue is lost from it via prohibition?

Estimate the amount of profits made in the illicit drug industry each year, calculate the amount of taxes you would ordinarily collect on that sort of income, presto.


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Camarohusky
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 18:06:07 Reply

At 7/5/12 04:56 PM, Angry-Hatter wrote:
At 7/5/12 11:19 AM, All-American-Badass wrote: If marijuana was never taxed in the first place due to prohibition, how would anyone know how much revenue is lost from it via prohibition?
Estimate the amount of profits made in the illicit drug industry each year, calculate the amount of taxes you would ordinarily collect on that sort of income, presto.

I think you're missing the point. What BA is saying is that if marijuana goes for $20/lb on the street now (complete guess, gut says I'm way lowballing it), you can't apply so much taxes as to make the legal version $21/lb. hell with how much pure profit the cartels make and how much redundancy there is, you'd have to drop the price to significantly lower than current street value in order to cut the illegal activity out. I'm guessing more than 25% lower than current street value to put an actual squeeze on the cartels who could find ways to cut corners here and there. On top of that, the cartels, with their overseas originss, near slave labor, lack of need to follow international convention, and their flouting of law in general means that the goverment will have a hell of a time making the costs as cheap as the cartels, especially, seeing as the cartels have made drug running a huge business for well over 50 years and in some cases 100 years. The US government, known for its speed and efficieny in operation would have one hell of a time trying to compete.

Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-05 23:14:52 Reply

At 7/5/12 06:06 PM, Camarohusky wrote:
I think you're missing the point. What BA is saying is that if marijuana goes for $20/lb on the street now (complete guess, gut says I'm way lowballing it), you can't apply so much taxes as to make the legal version $21/lb. hell with how much pure profit the cartels make and how much redundancy there is, you'd have to drop the price to significantly lower than current street value in order to cut the illegal activity out. I'm guessing more than 25% lower than current street value to put an actual squeeze on the cartels who could find ways to cut corners here and there. On top of that, the cartels, with their overseas originss, near slave labor, lack of need to follow international convention, and their flouting of law in general means that the goverment will have a hell of a time making the costs as cheap as the cartels, especially, seeing as the cartels have made drug running a huge business for well over 50 years and in some cases 100 years. The US government, known for its speed and efficieny in operation would have one hell of a time trying to compete.

The thing is I think if we legalize marijuana then the same thing would happen when we legalize alcohol. People stopped buying from the criminals because it was dangerous and people wanted to go legit. Alcohol is now legally widely sold and taxed. Give marijuana a few years after it has been legalized and the same thing will happen.

Angry-Hatter
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-06 00:08:43 Reply

At 7/5/12 06:06 PM, Camarohusky wrote: I think you're missing the point. What BA is saying is that if marijuana goes for $20/lb on the street now (complete guess, gut says I'm way lowballing it)

Your gut is right. Depending on quality as well as location, you'd be paying somewhere between $200-$400 per ounce. http://www.priceofweed.com/

you can't apply so much taxes as to make the legal version $21/lb. hell with how much pure profit the cartels make and how much redundancy there is, you'd have to drop the price to significantly lower than current street value in order to cut the illegal activity out. I'm guessing more than 25% lower than current street value to put an actual squeeze on the cartels who could find ways to cut corners here and there. On top of that, the cartels, with their overseas originss, near slave labor, lack of need to follow international convention, and their flouting of law in general means that the goverment will have a hell of a time making the costs as cheap as the cartels, especially, seeing as the cartels have made drug running a huge business for well over 50 years and in some cases 100 years. The US government, known for its speed and efficieny in operation would have one hell of a time trying to compete.

But that's the thing though, it's not like the fact that marijuana is illegal is making it any cheaper. In fact, the price of weed is massively inflated because of it. Because of the nature of black markets, every single step in the process, from production to transportation to sale, carries with it additional risk, driving prices up. If weed was to be legalized and made into a legitimate business, my guess is that you could probably slap a 100% tax on the stuff and it would still be cheaper, safer, and of better quality than 90% of the black market stuff (and this is probably just me lowballing it). But let's be merciful and make the tax comparable to that of alcohol and tobacco. There's no doubt in my mind that the illicit marijuana producers would be driven out of business in a spectacular fashion if marijuana was legalized nationwide.

I get that estimating the actual revenue we're loosing out on from having pot illegal can be tricky for the reasons you've mentioned above (I was citing a study done by Dr Jon Gettman, who put the number at $31.1), but whatever the case may be, you can rest assured that it is a pretty penny we are missing out on. Marijuana is one of the most lucrative cash crops in the world, and right now, it's all for the benefit of the criminal cartels when it could and should be for the benefit of all of us.


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Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-06 13:08:42 Reply

I agree Angry-Hatter.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-06 13:56:43 Reply

At 7/6/12 12:08 AM, Angry-Hatter wrote: Your gut is right. Depending on quality as well as location, you'd be paying somewhere between $200-$400 per ounce. http://www.priceofweed.com/

Jesus Christ. When I used to buy ounces, it was 100 bucks. I would usually just go for 50 for a half, though. Then again, it was in a bad area, and it was low grade stuff.


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orangebomb
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-06 23:20:24 Reply

At 7/4/12 08:38 PM, Jmayer20 wrote: Do you think prohibition in the 1920's to 1930's with alcohol is the same as the war on drugs is today?

While there were different reasons for Prohibition and the current war on drugs, {Christian zealots having their way in the '20s, and a policy to make sure American soldiers were clean before leaving 'Nam and then expanded under Reagan.} there are a lot of similarities with both events, and at face value, it seems like we are not learning from our mistakes.

Obviously, Al Capone was the most notorious bootlegger of them all, but there were also hundreds of others who did the same thing too. Naturally, they began fighting with Tommy guns and BARs which created a good amount of casualties, although I would imagine that they would try to keep civilian casualties as low as possible, not that it mattered that much considering that the FBI at the time wasn't as powerful as it is today.

Now compare that with the drug cartels, starting in the 80's with the Colombians, and then later on with the Mexican cartels, which often went after civilians {intentionally or not is debatable.} and had a habit of maiming and gruesomely killing people for whatever reason. Almost all of them have the manpower and arsenals that rival some established armed forces, which makes fighting them on a local level impossible. Notice the similarities between them?

The point I'm making is that Prohibition and the current War on Drugs has created a sort of vacuum effect in where you if you make something that is relatively popular illegal, then there will be someone who will fill the void, and considering that they have no regard for the law in the first place, that gives them the license to maim and kill whoever gets in their way for the sake of profit. Unlike the mobs in the '20s where they don't intentionally go after civilians, the cartels have no problem gunning down anyone in order to get to the best routes and maximize profits, regardless if they are rival gangs, police or innocent people. Legal or not, it all boils down to supply and demand, and then after that it goes to how greedy a cartel/gang wants to be.


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Angry-Hatter
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 01:36:40 Reply

At 7/6/12 11:20 PM, orangebomb wrote: Unlike the mobs in the '20s where they don't intentionally go after civilians, the cartels have no problem gunning down anyone in order to get to the best routes and maximize profits, regardless if they are rival gangs, police or innocent people.

I suppose the key difference is the location and clientele. During prohibition, the American bootleggers produced alcohol meant to be consumed in America, and the people buying their product were largely made up of people looking to have a good night on the town. Going around terrorizing potential customers wouldn't have been in the best interests of the bootleggers. As a matter of fact, many of the big-league bootleggers like Capone enjoyed something of a celebrity status and was viewed by many throughout the country as a credit to the community. A community where the people don't feel safe to go out at night is bad for business. To put it bluntly, you don't crap where you eat.

The current illegal drug trade on the other hand is mainly an export business going from South America into the US. The poor peasants of South America are not the drug cartel's target clientele, the people of the US are, so beheading people and taking over towns on their side of the border isn't going to harm the drug lord's bottom line. Caring about the members of their community isn't vital to their business, so it's not surprising that they conduct themselves the way they do.


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Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 02:26:09 Reply

To everyone why do you think the government still supports and enforces the war on drugs when like prohibition it has completely failed? Also why is it we were able to get rid of prohibition but not the war on drug?

Angry-Hatter
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 03:14:44 Reply

At 7/7/12 02:26 AM, Jmayer20 wrote: To everyone why do you think the government still supports and enforces the war on drugs when like prohibition it has completely failed?

Money. Plenty of big business interests out there that would hate to see pot legalized.

* The alcohol and tobacco industries. Marijuana is competition and it would cut into their profits if people started realizing that pot causes neither addiction, hangovers, disease, or death, hence the large contributions from these industries to anti-marijuana misinformation campaigns such as Above The Influence.

* The pharmaceutical industry. Marijuana has plenty of medicinal uses, but it can also be cheaply grown in anybody's back yard. Ideally, the pharmaceutical companies would like to see a synthetic version of marijuana that they could patent and sell at an inflated price, while plant marijuana remains illegal.

* The textile industry. Hemp can serve as a perfectly fine replacement for cotton, without any of the deleterious effects on the environment associated with growing cotton. In other words, nothing good can come from hemp production being legalized if you're the owner of large cotton fields.

* The for-profit prison industry. A very large hunk of the prison population consists of people busted on drug related offenses, which spells profits for private prisons. If drugs were decriminalized, it would mean that fewer people would be incarcerated, which would hurt the private prisons.

Also why is it we were able to get rid of prohibition but not the war on drug?

Because prohibition of alcohol targeted good old white Americans (us), whereas the war on drugs targeted mainly darkies and hippies (others).


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hateyou1
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 03:35:03 Reply

Bomb Mexico, have our military in southern Texas, and kill any drug dealer on sight. Keep drugs illegal since history proves that drugs kill nations.

Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 12:31:44 Reply

At 7/7/12 03:35 AM, hateyou1 wrote: Bomb Mexico, have our military in southern Texas, and kill any drug dealer on sight. Keep drugs illegal since history proves that drugs kill nations.

Oh just like alcohol was supposed to cause our civilization to be destroyed if we legalized it. But wait we did and our civilization is still here. Hmm who would have thought. Oh I know just about every rational none gun ho fanatic in the country. Here's a thought try actually researching this topic instead of repeating mindless rhetoric from fox and making your self look like a violent gun ho who would shot anything he could see if he could.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 16:16:58 Reply

I've seen too many lives stunted, crippled, ruined, or completely destroyed by drugs to support their legality.

And yes, I have seen many a person whose life and potential were noticeably affected by marijuana.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 16:34:14 Reply

At 7/7/12 04:16 PM, Camarohusky wrote: I've seen too many lives stunted, crippled, ruined, or completely destroyed by drugs to support their legality.

And yes, I have seen many a person whose life and potential were noticeably affected by marijuana.

And I've seen far too many people having their lives ruined by being branded as felons for doing nothing harmful to anyone but themselves.

The last three United States Presidents have admitted to breaking the law by doing illegal drugs! Obama did pot and coke. Do you think his life would have been improved if he had somehow been caught doing what he did and gone to prison? Do you think he would have been able to go to Harvard? Do you think he would have been able to serve as editor of the Harvard Law Review? Do you think he would have been able to become elected as a State Senator? Do you think he would have been able to become elected as US Senator? Do you think he would have been able to become elected as the first black President? A black man with a felony record. Don't think so.

Prohibition hurts more than it helps. When it comes to people who genuinely have a problem with drug addiction, you add insult to injury by throwing them in prison when what they really need is help. You'd never dream of throwing an alcoholic in prison just for being an alcoholic.


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Camarohusky
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 17:13:03 Reply

At 7/7/12 04:34 PM, Angry-Hatter wrote: And I've seen far too many people having their lives ruined by being branded as felons for doing nothing harmful to anyone but themselves.

Therein lies the real problem. Drugs are clearly harmful to both the user, their firends and family, and in many cases, completely innocent bystanders. However, extremely harsh drug laws end up exacting a similar toll.

No enforcement would lead to the great societal harm of uninhibited drug usage. Extreme enforcement leads to addicts being thrown in jail instead of helped.

What we need is a middle of road approach that tried to deter people from taking drugs without exacting an equal or greater toll by overimprisonment.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 17:34:55 Reply

At 7/7/12 04:16 PM, Camarohusky wrote: I've seen too many lives stunted, crippled, ruined, or completely destroyed by drugs to support their legality.

And yes, I have seen many a person whose life and potential were noticeably affected by marijuana.

I have seen peoples lives get ruined by becoming alcoholic's how ever that's there fault not the alcohol. Not every one who drinks alcohol is an alcoholic. As long as you don't take to much at a time you will be fine. That's why we have a legal limit to how much you can drink. The same is with marijuana. There are many who take marijuana and still go to work and contribute to society. So don't blame the drug because its the fault of the people who don't take care of themselves that they ruined there lives.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 17:58:32 Reply

At 7/7/12 05:13 PM, Camarohusky wrote: Drugs are clearly harmful to both the user, their firends and family, and in many cases, completely innocent bystanders.

No, that's not clear at all. That most of them are directly harmful to the user, yes, but not to friends and family and passers by. If there is harm that occurs to others, then it is incidental to the drug use itself. You taking a drug isn't going to cause your mom to develop cancer. You having a falling out with your family and/or friends isn't a reason to have you arrested.

No enforcement would lead to the great societal harm of uninhibited drug usage.

And yet less than 1% of people say they would be more likely to do hard drugs if they were legalized. Also, one effect of decriminalizing the use of drugs is that more funds would be freed up for law enforcement to go after actual criminals instead of non violent drug offenders.

What we need is a middle of road approach that tried to deter people from taking drugs without exacting an equal or greater toll by overimprisonment.

I appreciate your attempt to find the golden mean, but I feel that the best way to deter people from doing drugs is to remove the mystique of drugs by bringing it's use out in the open, to start treating heavy addicts for what they are, and not as the counterculture rebels of society.


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Jmayer20
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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 22:13:31 Reply

At 7/7/12 05:58 PM, Angry-Hatter wrote:

one effect of decriminalizing the use of drugs is that more funds would be freed up for law enforcement to go after actual criminals instead of non violent drug offenders.

I agree with Angry-Hatter. I would much rather have my tax dollars go to catching rapists and murders then catching some harmless pot head siting on a couch getting high.

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Response to Prohibition vs War on Drugs 2012-07-07 22:47:15 Reply

The thing we need to realize is even if the war on drug was a good cause the fact is we can't realistically enforce it. The government has put massive amount of funding (which is our tax dollars by the way.) and resource's into the war on drugs. Despite all of that most of the people we catch are pothead's sitting on a couch. Even when we get lucky and take down the big fish the same thing happens that happened when Al Capone was taken down during prohibition. All the competitor's just moved right on into Capone's old turf and within days the alcohol was sold on the streets. Only now a days its marijuana. Now I know what your probably thinking at lest we decrees the amount of drugs that comes into the country. Well I got news for you estimates show based largely on the fact of how much we have we catch potheads having and info from under cover cops. We on average stop less then 1% of the drugs that come into the country. All the money, resources, and decades and we have made no real progress. So lets stop wasting are time, money, and resources alright and put it to something that will work.