Alt Left: A Look at Partial Drug Legalization Efforts in the US

Rambo: I wonder what percentage of these murders are in some way drug-related? I’ve never seen actual numbers but would have to guess those numbers would be pretty high. It just seems that in so many of these cases drugs were at least the “chain of events” starter that led to alot of these murders; an ever present link in the chai

RL: Most of these Black on Black shootings in our big cities these days are gang warfare. And what sustains the gangs? The drug trade. Legalize the drug trade and for what purpose will the gangs exist? How will they make money? They may just fold up altogether. Those gangs are primarily money-making operations.

So since most of the shootings are gang related and the gangs exist because of the drug trade, I would say that probably the vast majority of these murders are drug-related in that sense. Not so much related to the consumption of drugs as in people getting high and crazy and blowing each other way but more related to the sale of drugs.

Rambo: Which brings up the question once again: should all drugs be legalized? A lot of Libertarian types say it’s the obvious solution to halt murderous gangersterism, but since Libertarians never get elected to anything, aren’t they just banging their heads against the wall? If all drugs were legalized, how would hardcore drug addicts get the money to acquire the narcotics they desire? Would drug-related crimes increase? Since addicts aren’t likely to be long-term job holders, how would this affect the society at large? It’s not an easy issue to address.

Good question.

This has already been tried in a sense in Seattle and in some ways, it is being tried in other places like the city of Fresno very close to where I live.

In Seattle, possession of small amounts of heroin, cocaine, and methamphetamine are legal. However, drug dealing is still illegal.

In Fresno, meth addicts state that police are not prosecuting meth possession crimes of under a certain amount. So users are carrying precisely this amount with them and possibly dealers are delivering packages in this precise amount. It’s not a tiny amount of meth either.

Legalizing possession of hard drugs in Fresno and Seattle has not led to a decline in drug use, of course. And since drug sales are not targeted and remain illegal, the problem of drug trade-fueled gangsterism obviously carries on regardless.

Legalization of cannabis promised to put a stop to all cannabis-related crimes, but now illegal street sales of cannabis are somehow competing with legal cannabis sales in cannabis shops. I’m not sure on what basis the illegal sales are competing. But legal cannabis is very heavily taxed, possibly taxed so highly that the price has become noncompetitive, and street sales can beat the cannabis shops on price. Border Patrol agents are still seizing huge amounts of marijuana at the border and arresting people for trying to smuggle it across, but this strikes me as absurd considering that restricted use and sales of the drug are already legal in much of the US.

In Seattle, police were arresting street people and the homeless, the vast majority of whom had either mental illnesses or drug addiction issues, regularly for all sorts of petty crimes. The local jails were overcrowded and typically they would be jailed for a month or two and then released. Police complained about a revolving door involving these petty offenders, but it’s hard to see what else could be done. This situation is very much ongoing.

Since use is legal, entire sections of downtown Seattle streets have been taken over by mostly homeless addicts using meth, cocaine, and heroin right out in the open. Low level drug dealing is also ubiquitous.

As a result of all of this, Seattle has become a magnet for homeless people all over the country who are flooding there due to the good treatment the homeless receive there. Nevertheless, downtown streets are now full of homeless people sleeping rough on the sidewalks. People going to work have to step over these human eyesores as they negotiate their way to their jobs very morning. Mentally ill homeless people regularly act loudly and frighteningly crazy right on the sidewalks and streets, creating huge embarrassing and scary scenes. Not much seems to be done about these lunatic ravers.

Perhaps most importantly, now that drug use is legal, addicts have swarmed to the city, and petty theft rates in local businesses have skyrocketed as addicts steal goods to pawn to buy their dope.

So, sure, partial legalization solves some problems, but it also creates a whole  lot of new ones.

As usual,  I have no ideas on how to ameliorate this situation. I’m going to throw up my hands on this one like I always do.

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