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Dream Vendor "Canna_Bars" Sentenced to Prison (darknetlive.com)
257 points by a5withtrrs 40 days ago | hide | past | favorite | 330 comments



What I find the most interesting about this article is that someone was able to be identified using a picture of their fingerprints.

Thus, any photos posted online could be scoured for identification information. And with computer vision technologies becoming more mature, it means that regular video footage of people could identify them the same way in seconds or less using a wide variety of different visual traits.

The implications of this on individual privacy are immense.


There was some pytorch software called "enhance", i.e. ./enhance <image> [options] and you could take an image that someone took of their unpowered tv across the room and pull out a high resolution image of their face from the reflection in the matte-ish surface.

I used it on reddit to convince people it was unsafe to post any images of that sort. It seemed to work for about 6 months.

There's magic in image enhancement, but I don't know that ridges and valleys of a fingerprint are there, yet. I don't even know that "this specific person is scared that they leaked their face in a way that is recognizable to them" even scales to "never upload anything" - it could be this sort of news is programming the population that computers can tease out identities with any and all leaked information, pictures, audio, etc.

Heck, a decade and a half ago there were claims that governments could narrow a search for an audio file upload based on the deviation from 60hz on the power line noise - in an audio recording.

So who knows?


> Heck, a decade and a half ago there were claims that governments could narrow a search for an audio file upload based on the deviation from 60hz on the power line noise - in an audio recording.

Wow. Any source for this?


I think it was referring to Electrical network frequency analysis, which is to find the time that the recording was made. It compares small changes in mains hum frequency to historic records of the changes. I am not sure how it is in the US, but the UK grid has a single frequency over the network so it wouldn't work for finding the location.


The propagation of waves is very fast, but wouldn't distance from multiple large sources or sinks fluctuate the frequency just slightly based on distance?


Distance doesn't change frequency, only velocity. Doppler effect.


Here's a brief piece on the practice: https://www.bbc.co.uk/news/science-environment-20629671


And how about if the recording device was running on batteries such as a unplugged laptop or a smartphone?


I'm curious about this photo-enhancement tool, because it's also a common joke in some circles that police procedural TV shows use "Zoom! Enhance!" when blurry photos -- or photos zoomed in until they're pixelated -- typically can't be enhanced for information-theoretic reasons. (Of course, if you can make assumptions about what the photo is of and what structure that thing would have, you can make relatively-likelihood estimates of different possibilities for the subject matter, such as different text strings in a blurry or pixelated photo of text.)

So, under some assumptions this typically shouldn't be able to work. :-)

edit: extensively documented at https://tvtropes.org/pmwiki/pmwiki.php/Main/EnhanceButton, for example


If you're talking about https://github.com/alexjc/neural-enhance it's NOT "pulling out" existing details from photos. It's making up details.


Got a link to the particular enhance software you are referring to?


> identified using a picture of their fingerprints

It's not clear to me that they identified him that way. It might be that they arrested him due to other evidence, compared the fingerprints afterward, and told him that they could prove the fingerprints matched, whereupon he pled guilty.

It's no unheard of to elicit guilty pleas using less than scientifically robust forensic methods.


Indeed. I got the impression this was one of many pieces of evidence used to put the case together.

The biggest one was the money laundering.

Porras had used a money laundering service controlled by Homeland Security Investigations. Vendors sent the money launderer a certain amount of Bitcoin and the money launderer mailed cash back to the vendor. At some point in the money launderer’s career, federal agents quietly took control of the money laundering operation and used the position to identify dozens of darkweb vendors.


When I wrote my thesis on Bitcoin money laundering I could not locate any hard evidence that law enforcement had operated a honeypot laundering service, other than it being an extremely obvious thing to do. That was a bit ago, but I wonder whether or not this is the first instance of an agency disclosing they had done so.


I’ve reflected on the fact that some makers on YouTube wear gloves and wondered if this is for privacy reasons. I see globes being worn even when they’re not obviously doing anything that risk getting their fingers dirty.


Possibly to hide damaged cuticles, dirty fingernails, or something else unsightly. Comments will harp on just about any flaw. Ben Heck addressed comments about his fingers' condition, but he just offers some sarcasm about them instead of hiding it. Some might resort to gloves.


That could just be for continuity - so if they shoot the video out of order, you don't get the gloves appearing and disappearing and reappearing between scenes.


Which is hilarious if you're monetising their videos.


YouTube obviously knows who they are. I think they would want to prevent 4chan from doxing them.


I pulled in the image from the article and tried it myself. A few minutes of fiddling around with the various filters, I got this result:

https://imgur.com/82yHUoM

I reckon that'd be enough to run through a database.


I wouldn't be surprised if writing style could also be used. I tend to use certain constructions and vocabulary across many of my comments. Some are under a handle with little or no link to my real identity, and some are quite the opposite. I expect someone could deanonymize the former based on correlation of writing style with the latter.


That's called stylometry and it can be surprisingly accurate under the right conditions.


What’s the actual scientific evidence backing this? I’m asking because various forensic techniques that were previously perceived to be reliable (fingerprints, handwriting analysis, bite marks) turned out to be total bunk.


Well I’m fairly certain this is how they figured out who the Unabomber was. His brother recognized his style of writing and called the feds.


It's statistical analysis of word frequency, distribution, phrasing, and other features to create a fingerprint of someones writing style. I'm not sure what you mean by evidence, it's used to narrow a set of possibilities of authorship like a search filter.


Evidence that fingerprint analysis is "total bunk?" That one is news to me.


Well, not total bunk, but less reliable than generally believed:

https://www.newscientist.com/article/mg21228442-600-miscarri...

Then again a lot of forensic techniques seem to fall into the same category:

https://www.bbc.com/future/article/20150512-can-we-trust-for...

A lot of the problems come from human bias and over-stating the accuracy of tests at trial.


That's in the indictment too. He misspelled "quality" across several different posts.

Alone it's not conclusive, but it's one more piece of evidence linking all of the activity together.


Yes, though I was thinking more about entirely correct writing. Patterns among hay in a haystack, as opposed to a needle.


Anyone engaging in legally questionable activity who didn't already consider this attack vector and take it seriously simply haven't been paying attention and have bad OPSEC.

The possibility of this kind of attack has always been mathematically possible and it doesn't take machine learning or computer vision to do it. It boils down to basic linear transformation.

There's a long history of attempts to identify persons by photos of fingerprints for evidence, there's just a level of uncertainty involved which make it more suited for gathering intelligence than court-submitted evidence.


Facial recognition would be much easier then looking for fingerprints. Given all the social media apps steadily growing their datasets, won't be long before a leaked dump of a greater part of the whole world population data will be available to anyone. Maybe facial surgery will be a major thing in the future. Or we will all wear masks anytime, beside viruses.

I know, that's not a bright vision of the future. I wonder where is the line where technology will switch from useful to socially dangerous and how far we are from it. To tell the truth, it already kind of switched from useful to a useless waste of time in many cases.

Or the day when FAANG & other big tech will get bored with selling those stupid ads and move on to more powerful and scary things.


What I find incredibly disturbing is that these resources and expertise are being spent on drugs rather than child abuse materials etc.


It isn't either/or. There are teams devoted to hunting child abusers and teams devoted to hunting large scale drug dealers.


Right but the balance should be more like 99/1 on those


They were also shipping Xanax and Meth and those two ruin lives. But yeah spending time busting weed dealers is dumb.


Those will always be easily available. They’re also available as prescriptions


How is that surprising? Isn't it absolutely obvious and technically trivial? They'll manipulate it into something monochrome with sufficient contrast and feed it into their database - done.

Having said that it could just as obviously be a deceit to distract from an informant or other sources of information.


People have been warning this is likely possible, for years.


this is not news. in 2008 CCC published finger prints of Angela Merkel

https://www.wired.com/2008/03/hackers-publish/


> in 2008 CCC published finger prints of Angela Merkel

The article you link neither talks about a fingerprint of Angela Merkel nor about a fingerprint recovered from a photograph.

(But a CCC group did indeed years later show a politicians fingerprint recovered from a photo, but again not Merkels)


sorry


It's incredible that so much tax payer money and human resources are devoted to defend pharmaceutical companies monopoly on drugs. By his inventory it sounds like his customers would likely be people with chronic conditions that have strong presence of pharmaceutical lobby to prevent legal sales of cannabis and probably cannot afford Xanax through legal means because the cost of getting medical help is extortionate.


That wouldn't be too far from truth. 75 percent of people started their addiction from prescription medication who then turn to the black market to maintain their habit. The big pharma is loosing a large profit. They heavily opposed marijuana legalization, their role in the war on drugs is quite clear to me.


> The pictures included closeup pictures of Porras’ hand with visible fingerprint ridges.

I thought via the title that they fingerprinted the lens used to take the photograph, not that there was literal pictures of fingers.


I strongly suspected that is what they did too. Got to wonder if they used the EXIF data to find him - linking photos of the pot and other social media/etc public shots, then used the fingerprints as parallel construction.


It was interesting the amount of redactions in the documents and the plea deal, as well as law enforcement operating as the launderer.

I, too, thought parallel construction.


Well they also mention in the article that the drug dealer also sent bitcoin to a money laundering service run by Homeland Security, so his OpSec was probably as leaky as a noodle strainer.


Imgur strips exif by default. I agree it sounds like parallel construction.

The article mentions they compared his finger prints to those from the picture. How did they know to check against his prints? Sounds like they already knew who it was, by means that aren't admissible as evidence.


Imgur certainly doesn't display EXIF by default, but are you sure it doesn't retain it such that it could be obtained by a warrant?


If I were them, I wouldn’t save it just to reduce my warrant workload.

Kinda like 4chan and DMCAs: there’s no point since it’s usually deleted by the time it’s submitted anyway.


4chan is a bit special when it comes to government orders.

For example, they have a (heavily limited) de-facto warrant canary. Since damn near all of them specify that no data should be deleted for a period of time, posting is disabled on a board, or the entire site so nothing gets deleted.

They also disallow posting of files with embedded data (based on some heuristic) and either strip exif data, or forbid posting images containing it. (the exif stripping thing comes from people accidentally doxing themselves by posting an image from facebook a few years back)


The quality of the fingerprints in the image mentioned is amazingly good, not so much worse than what's produced by proper fingerprint capture devices. The FBI operates a database of fingerprint images (IAFIS) and his fingerprints were taken when he was arrested prior to this incidents and submitted to the FBI (standard practice by nearly all law enforcement agencies). IAFIS includes an automatic matching system which allows you to submit fingerprint images and receive a list of possible matches, and this is also standard practice in criminal investigations (as well as often used for background checks).

So really, nothing about this is suspicious at all, it's completely standard law enforcement practice to obtain fingerprints in any way possible and submit them to the FBI for matching, and then run down any possible matches. Your local police department does this for car breakins if they can spare the resources (not too unusual to get good latent prints off the windows, but it is unusual for police department to spend the time/money). The only odd thing here is LE's fortune, and the accused's misfortune, of images having been uploaded with such clear capture of the fingerprints.


Maybe they were supplying his meth.


Imgur strips EXIF data on upload, so that's unlikely.


Of course as a SW engineer you think any kind of digitally embedded fingerprint first.


Not digitally embedded as EXIF since it was uploaded to Imgur which AFAIK strip those out, but more like lens scratches and sensor noise, similar to [0].

[0]: https://ieeexplore.ieee.org/document/1634362


'So we have these fingerprints, and we think they belong to this guy we already have prints on file for. Can you give us a yes/no answer if they match up?'

seems like a pretty low bar for evidence. Seems like the kind of thing that could heavily skew towards telling you what you want to hear. Maybe someone else knows if it actually works like that, the writeup made it sound like that to me.

I'm just some guy who saw a tv documentatary at some point about how forensic techniques that worked like that got called into question when conflicting DNA evidence started turning up.


My understanding from skimming the article is, they only identified the suspect from fingerprints. After identification they did surveillance and gathered additional evidence.


> The FDL [HSI Forensic Document Laboratory] returned the request after conducting a comparative analysis of the friction ridge detail of the fingerprints from the Imgur album and the fingerprint samples taken after police had arrested Porras for a different crime. The fingerprints in the Imgur album matched the prints they already had on file for Porras.

It doesn't sound like that to me, but maybe I am misunderstanding what a comparative analysis would entail.


It doesn't say they arrested him immediately after the match. If you read the article they say they placed multiple orders and would surveill him after every order. That's how they gathered evidence.


I did read the article. I am interested in how forensic evicende like that is gathered in general and how reliable it is in general. It's debatable what role that fingerprint played in that investigation, but I did not want to call into question that particular outcome.

For example my impression is that DNA evidence is very reliable while for example optically matching hairs or matching bite marks, which I think was done in the past in a similar 'does A match B setup' is fairly unreliable.

It's interesting to me both from both the 'what bar does evidence have to meet to make sure there are no false convictions' side as well as the 'what are the privacy implications of posting pictures with fingerprints in them' side.


Although not mentioned clearly in the complaint it's very possible the initial matching was done through the FBI's or another automated query system. This is a standard practice used in law enforcement investigations - capture fingerprints however you can and submit them to the FBI, which returns a report of possible matches. The automated matches would need to be followed up on with manual comparison, esp. due to the unusual nature of the fingerprint capture here, and this manual comparison is going to be the part mentioned in the complaint because it most clearly establishes a link.


> Law enforcement made a number of controlled purchases during the investigation into Porras and his co-conspirators. The purchases and subsequent surveillance followed the same pattern every time: make a purchase; watch Porras drive to a storage facility where he stored product; follow Porras to the Post Office; talk to Postal Inspectors about the package Porras or his co-conspirator had dropped into a USPS Blue Box.


I don't like to sound like I'm wearing tinfoil, but I'm not sure I believe this. We keep getting eyebrow-raising explanations for how computer criminals are caught; I always ask why bother?

The American intelligence apparatus has compromised nearly all network traffic, from hardware backdoors on up. I assume the real way this person was detected and caught would be too embarrassing to admit, hence the fingerprints-from-a-photo cover.


Parallel Construction.

it would be a national security catastrophe if it leaked that NSA was bulk decrypting all TLS/SSL traffic Internet-wide, by using a giant rainbow table of prime pair products for instant decryption without factoring, which was first proposed by Rabin back in 1997 at a NIST working group for establishing crypto standards.

then NSA would lose the biggest SIGINT advantage since ENIGMA back in WW2.

so instead, DEA is tasked with finding the dummies who post photos of their hands or bookshelves or who made n00b opsec mistakes like re-using handles or email accounts that connect to their real names. then DEA applies Parallel Construction to fabricate an investigative evidence chain to present to the Court. the Court never needs to know the truth.

by the way, i personally do believe NSA is doing this, and all of Tor is as good as plain text to Ft Meade, because Rabin's idea really would scale with today's computing and storage capacities, and because that is exactly what i would do too.

just what do you think Bluffdale is really for?


> by the way, i personally do believe NSA is doing this, and all of Tor is as good as plain text to Ft Meade, because Rabin's idea really would scale with today's computing and storage capacities, and because that is exactly what i would do too.

I love to talk about how we can mitigate attacks on cryptography as much as the next person, but have you looked at what algorithms Tor uses?

While they have a bunch of alarming legacy 1024-bit RSA and DH stuff, they also have Ed25519 identities and Curve25519 ECDH key exchange, plus running everything over TLS with various ciphersuites -- many of which are now ECDH.

https://github.com/torproject/torspec/blob/master/tor-spec.t...

The type of handshake and key exchange is chosen by the client, and I think the default has been to prefer the ntor method for a long time.


going to have to call shenanigans on "by using a giant rainbow table of prime pair products for instant decryption without factoring, which was first proposed by Rabin back in 1997 at a NIST working group for establishing crypto standards."

Whats that all about bro?


If having this information advantage is so important to national security why let the DEA be involved at all? Either the national security angle is bs or they care more about enforcing drug laws than protecting our country.


> Porras also admitted possessing a Model A uzi-style pistol; a MAK 90; and an S&W .44 caliber revolver. Although all weapons in Porras’ possession were legal firearms (the uzi-style pistol used post ban parts), a felony conviction for possession with intent precluded firearm ownership.

Can someone explain this part to me. Was he previously convicted of a crime that precluded ownership? Or are the police able to take legal behaviour and change it to illegal behaviour later on?


It mentions he had already been a convicted, or at least arrested, for a prior crime. That's why they had his fingerprints on file.

Whether that crime was a felony, I don't know.

But I believe the "felons can't possess firearms" also includes possession while committing a felony - you don't need an actual conviction (but the felony would need to be proved).


That he was previously convicted of felony possession with intent to distribute and that this precluded him from owning firearms is the only felicitous reading of that sentence.


I can't tell from the article.

Certainly if he was previously convicted he can't legally poses a firearm.

However I believe that possession of a firearm while operating a drug distribution business is also illegal.

The article seems ambiguous on which it is.


Felons cannot own guns in the US. There's nothing complicated about it.


It's actually more complicated than that. In many states if you are convicted of a non-violent felony then at the end of your sentence your firearm rights are automatically restored. There are also the cases of pardons, expungements, and other restorations of civil rights. It varies by state, and while USC 922(g) outlaws firearm ownership possession by any felon, in practice the Federal courts look at whether the person has had their civil rights restored in the state of the alleged offense. When it comes to Federal charges, the prospect of amelioration is grim. In the Federal scenario, there is no expungement or pathway to restore your civil rights, but a pardon is possible. [0]

There's also a discussion to be had about your and the legal definition of a "gun." For example, antique firearms such as some black powder rifles are specifically excepted [1] from the Federal legislation, but it could vary on a state by state basis.

[0] https://www.justice.gov/archives/jm/criminal-resource-manual...

[1] https://www.law.cornell.edu/uscode/text/18/921


Well they can, they just aren't allowed to...


> We know, thanks to documents from other Operation Dark Gold cases, that Porras had used a money laundering service controlled by Homeland Security Investigations

Geeze


I’m reading a lot of comments here which tackle the thorny topic of decriminalization of drugs in the US that we have historically over-prosecuted. I happen to agree with this sentiment as well. But almost everyone here arguing for a middle ground agrees that things won’t change because all three branches of the US seem determined to keep a hard-line or zero tolerance policy on drugs, even when legalization and medical supervision, creation of new business and exploration of safer alternatives and research into benefits of said drugs are brought up as arguments and are summarily dismissed because “reasons”.

What are some actual, practical steps we all can take towards making decriminalization a reality?


So uhhhh, who’s building a deep fake generator that’ll transpose someone else’s fingerprints on a photo containing another hand?


I wish more resources were spent on law enforcement at the local level, fighting real crime. They could have more police patrolling the streets and subways, deterring assaults[0] and daylight shootings[1].

Does anyone really care that this drug dealer is locked up? Is anyone safer now? Do I have to worry any less about getting mugged on the subway at night?

Of course people are calling to defund the police, and if that happens I’ll have to be more worried.

[0]: https://www.nydailynews.com/new-york/nyc-crime/ny-homeless-m...

[1]: https://nypost.com/2020/09/08/three-injured-in-broad-dayligh...


>I wish more resources were spent on law enforcement at the local level, fighting real crime. They could have more police patrolling the streets and subways, deterring assaults[0] and daylight shootings[1].

Since it's become clear that the NYPD is intentionally[0] not doing its job in "protest" over perfectly reasonable state[1] and local[2] oversight of their activities, we need to ensure that they actually do their jobs rather than create a more dangerous place by not doing so. And this deeply troubling activity may actually get the city to soften[5] these important reforms.

>Of course people are calling to defund the police, and if that happens I’ll have to be more worried.

Given that crime is at its lowest point in NYC in over 50 years (and that includes the recent uptick in shootings[3]), it seems to me that your concerns are misplaced, especially since the reduction in funding --much less than the widely quoted $1 billion -- for the NYPD has yet to take effect.[4]

[0] https://theweek.com/articles/938068/police-protection-racket

[1] https://abc7ny.com/police-reform-nyc-bills-nypd/6238620/

[2] https://council.nyc.gov/press/2020/06/18/1990/

[3] https://www.newsweek.com/new-york-crime-rise-shootings-15249...

[4] https://cbcny.org/research/was-nypd-budget-cut-1-billion

[5] https://www.ny1.com/nyc/all-boroughs/news/2020/08/26/city-co...


Moving some money from the police into social services in your area is going to have a much more immediate positive effect on your life. The people mugging you in the subway need help/rehabilitation more than the police need another armored vehicle.


There are also magnitudes more destructive things they could be hunting on the dark web. This is like the lowest bar of illegality going on


The drug dealer was selling meth. Meth destroys people. And meth addiction leads to many robberies and burglaries. I think punishing this meth dealer is a net positive for society.


Someone will just fill the void left by this vendor and no harm will be removed. It wont be a net positive at all. In the end, all there will be is another person ruined.

I don't think it's right to punish a pub for all problems caused by alcohol intoxication, but I do think punishing a pub for serving alcohol negligently is okay.

My understanding is one of the main reasons methamphetamines are so widely used and sold is because meth is cheap and easy to make compared to safer possible alternatives. That indicates to me that this seems like a market that needs regulation, not prohibition.

I'm not saying meth should be legal, I'm saying the drug market can be regulated to reduce harm. If that regulation means disallowing certain substances that do cause excessive harm, that's a good thing too.


>The drug dealer was selling meth. Meth destroys people.

You could replace meth with any sort of legal substitute and the statement would still be correct.

'The bar was selling liquor. Liquor destroys people.' 'The pharmacy was selling opiates. Opiates destroy people.'

So, when faced with a dilemma of hypocrisy like that, let's punish the wrong do-ers when they do wrong, as is traditional with substance abusers, rather than the 30 'criminals' involved in the supply chain that haven't actually done first-party harm to the peace at large.

One could say that they could be done in parallel, and I agree, but the resource spent to fight both sides of the crime in parallel should still be spent on keeping the peace, not preventing the imaginary destruction of future peace.


I've always been conscious of fingerprints potentially showing up in the photos.

Just because you're paranoid, doesn't mean they aren't after you.

The same thing goes about keys -- it's amazing how people willingly share photos of their keys (with full signature and all) in full view.


As far as I can tell (from other comments I came across in the past), lock-picking is such an easy thing, that going through the effort of creating a key from a photo is just a technical exercise, not a needed strategy.

But I think you are likely talking about different keys than the ones that open physical doors ;)


Always wondered the same. More so, it baffles me that locksmiths use physical keys to copy new keys, propagating errors in the long run.


They have the machines to cut keys to code spec but don't bother using them?


this guy should not be in jail. if he lived a little further north he could grow cannabis in his back yard. its wrong and its immoral but i guess the old white dudes in capes playing judge grew up thinking cannabis makes you into a rapist


They charged him on multiple charges * illegal possession of firearms, distributed a few kilos of Xanax and also lots of marijuana over 2 years or so. If he sold pot only he'd probably get a suspended sentence as a first time offense. I think he got a bit greedy, had he stopped short at some point and went on a year long vacation around the world he would probably be still free now.


as i understood it the firearms were legally owned but became illegal because of the traficking charges


Maybe you're right and I'm sure they 'overcharged' as much as they could, did take their time collecting a whole lot of evidence against him. But, he knew what he was doing. If he stopped at pot he probably would be on probation or something.


>"Vendors sent the money launderer a certain amount of Bitcoin and the money launderer mailed cash back to the vendor."

My question:

If Party A sends Party B Bitcoin, and Party B sends Party A money, and that transaction is considered "money laundering" -- then let's suppose Party A sends Party B gold (coins, bars, bullion, etc.), and Party B sends Party A money -- does that transaction also count as "money laundering"?

?


Legal or otherwise, I've seen plenty of sellers holding their products while photographing, so I wonder why it's done --- personally I think it looks a bit unprofessional to have a hand or other things showing. Putting it on a table or otherwise featureless surface would look far better to a prospective buyer.


It gives the impression you didn't just stock photo it or reuse someone else's.


Maybe to make it look more real/personal/less generic.


Things I learned:

Use the spell checker.

Randomly misspell different words.


Check out Anonymouth:

https://github.com/psal/anonymouth

(How do you hyperlink text here?)


There's useful links at the bottom of the page, like the Darknet Market's Noobs Bible. =)

Hello and welcome to the Darknetmarkets bible for buyers.

The buyer's DNM bible aims to be a complete guide that covers all steps that users have to take in order to buy securely from darknetmarkets.

In case you're thinking about launching your criminal career or whatever.


In what world does purchasing from a DNM make you a career criminal? What if I buy a completely legal item?


None. Doubt you find legal items there though. Maybe you find legal items in some parts but illegal in others, like marijuana is now in US. Better have all papers prepared to prove you made the purchase in a legal state though.


Good thing that the government has to prove our guilt instead of we having to prove our innocence.


What a colossal waste of time. Prosecuting someone for selling online something that is illegal in a lot of states. Mindblowing how stupid the war on drugs is.


There is considerable information back from the 80s to suggest that the US war on drugs was actually a system to enable racial discrimination.

Then some years later, the ear on drugs became associated with the growth of the private prison industry and it's lobbyists.

Indeed I provide no references here because it is quite an involved topic and difficult to prove given the publicly available information.


> The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did.

- John Ehrlichman, Domestic Policy Chief for Richard Nixon, in a 1994 Interview for Harpers Magazine[0]

0: https://www.vox.com/2016/3/22/11278760/war-on-drugs-racism-n...


This is also clearly what happened with psychedelics. When they found out LSD wasn't the truth serum or mind control tool they had hoped it would be, and instead tended to just make people think more like hippies, they put the leg down hard.


The motivation for fictitious wars against bogeymen is to empower and bankroll law enforcement while diminishing the civil rights of citizens.

Like the war on terror, the decades long war on drugs has been a roaring success.


The war on terror and war on drugs are closely related enough (through expansion of powers and economic policies such as allowing police to purchase old military equipment) that I wonder if it’s worth even treating them as separate things.


The war on drugs has a lot more raids in the own territory while the war on terror has more bombings in foreign territory, so for now there are some major differences. However once using predator and reaper drones against citizens without any judicial oversight is normalized, that difference will be gone.


There are quite a few domestic impacts of the war on terror: domestic spying and the USA PATRIOT Act are two huge examples. In the context of "bankroll law enforcement while diminishing the civil rights of citizens" it's nearly identical to the war on drugs domestically.


In terms of domestic spying, it's hard to articulate any practical effect it's had though. People have certainly reacted to it (see the move to TLS everywhere, for example) but I can't actually think of any enforcement actions its linked to. There's almost certainly parallel construction out there, but compared to the war on drugs, which has lead to mandatory minimums, constant police harrassment, no knock warrants, etc, I'd have to concider the war on drugs the higher priority target for fighting.


I should have made my statement more carefully. I agree with you fundamentally; I see them as two heads of one beast, though.


Also to cause fear and panic to unite the population against a common enemy. Fear is the fundamental basis of government and control.


And now we have the War on COVID.


Uh... and how many virii have been illegally imprisoned? I'm not following.


I'm seeing the same happening for covid - governments and police using it as an opportunity to gain more control and power without real justification, only the excuse of "for health safety".


>The motivation for fictitious wars against bogeymen is to empower and bankroll law enforcement while diminishing the civil rights of citizens.

Thank you. This trend where people recast everything in the 20th century to be racially motivated (but can't provide any proof, because it's like complicated) is exhausting.


Just for the record, I wasn't trying to deny the racial element in drug 'warfare', which certainly exists (how deliberately is another matter).

And when people 'recast' things it's sometimes because new evidence emerges, or becomes more well known.

An example of that is in these comments, the interview by former Nixon aide John Ehrlichman made only in 1994, but probably still not that well known until this article from 2016:

https://harpers.org/archive/2016/04/legalize-it-all/


The war on drugs makes no sense, it should in fact be called the war on some drugs. So called illegal drugs like cocaine and marijuana cause very few deaths, compared to tobacco and alcohol, less than 1% It has been established that the best way to reduce drug abuse is through education and support, this was in fact from a RAND study. The militant policing approach has not in fact reduced drug use in the USA.


> The war on drugs makes no sense, it should in fact be called the war on some drugs.

I prefer the war on some drugs when consumed by some people


That's not "considerable information", that's a known fact.

Adam Conove made a whole episode in his show, "Adam ruins everything", about the true reasons why weed is illegal.

Link: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sXPOw2unxy0

Spoiler: it's about giving the government of the US a tool to discriminate black people and mexicans.


I'll have to watch Adam's episode, but I watched a Netflix documentary five years ago (don't recall the name) that presented the argument that it was primarily the (cotton?) industry that lobbied to classify weed as illegal, because they wanted to destroy the hemp industry (and succeeded) as they were producing clothing.

So it sounds like original bad intent (destroy competition) led to it being abused for further bad intent (racism).


I'm going to be honest, the argument that hemp is a generally great material has always seemed weak to me. There are plenty of countries where growing hemp is legal, and it still never seems to get much use.


It historically has had tons of use. It was pretty much the only material used for making rope for centuries in Europe, and was used widely in building construction too. Hemp cultivation was a crucial piece of colonial Virginia’s economy, heavily promoted by the British government, and it was used for clothing, sails, and even fine textiles as far back as the Viking age (eg, https://www.nature.com/articles/srep02686).

I could provide more references but I’m typing with thumbs - they are easy to find, though.


Sorry, should be clearer. It did indeed have historical uses. Not sure if it has much current ones.


As the bootleggers and baptists phenomenon has shown, the drive for prohibition can come from multiple, disparate sources.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Bootleggers_and_Baptists


> There is considerable information back from the 80s to suggest that the US war on drugs was actually a system to enable racial discrimination.

It also was a way to increase the private jails business, which in fact peaked during the 80s, but the racial and political discrimination stands too. The following piece from the Wikipedia article about the War on Drugs is telling.

"The Nixon campaign in 1968, and the Nixon White House after that, had two enemies: the antiwar left and black people. You understand what I'm saying? We knew we couldn't make it illegal to be either against the war or black, but by getting the public to associate the hippies with marijuana and blacks with heroin, and then criminalizing both heavily, we could disrupt those communities. We could arrest their leaders, raid their homes, break up their meetings, and vilify them night after night on the evening news. Did we know we were lying about the drugs? Of course we did."

— John Ehrlichman (White House Counsel and Domestic Affair advisor during the Nixon administration)


> There is considerable information back from the 80s to suggest that the US war on drugs was actually a system to enable racial discrimination.

I believe it was started as a voter disenfranchisement effort by the Nixon Administration.

> Indeed I provide no references here because it is quite an involved topic and difficult to prove given the publicly available information.

Agreed, as I have none either.


I think that it is hard for younger people (especially young affluent people) to get a sense of how big of a problem drugs can be in society. Even prohibition seems crazy now - but it was popular at the time partly because public drunkenness and abusive husbands were a big deal.

I think the fact that black people are prosecuted at higher rates or the fact that crack is prosecuted harder than cocaine is a sign of racism, but it does bug me when people assign a conspiratorial level of control to the problem. It's a lose-lose, and at least in 2020 we are eon the side of prosecuting things too harshly.


Didn't the war on drugs grow out of prohibition though? It's kind of odd to think that a lot of common drugs were commercially available 150 years ago. One of the most popular soft drinks ever started from that even.

We also got anesthetics from the general availability of drugs. I doubt doctors would've tried using cocaine on patients if it had been illegal back then.


So is the environmental movement in America. It’s no coincidence that the EPA came out of the Nixon administration too. I say this as a huge proponent of the Earth and all of her humans, and I have similarly struggled to prove it to people. It is hermetically sealed.


> There is considerable information ... that the US war on drugs was ... a system to enable racial discrimination.

> I provide no references ... it is ... difficult to prove given the publicly available information

These claims seem to strongly negate each other... to a degree that one detects the putrid scent of conspiracy theory.


Ah, yes, downvoted without responses.

To the downvoters: what would you call a strongly held belief that cannot be supported by documentary evidence; a problem you attribute to a coordinated effort to hide the actors and their intentions? Sounds an awful lot like a theory that there is a conspiracy.


My favorite book on the topic is "Legalize This!" by Douglas Husak arguing that we should decriminalize all drugs.

Surprisingly, the prohibition of alcohol in 1920's did not punish alcohol drinkers, just distributors. This model for drugs today would be a major improvement over the draconian treatment we have of the non-violent drug offenders.

https://www.amazon.com/Legalize-This-Decriminalizing-Practic...


I can partially understand that point of view for marijuana (though I think it’s important for a functional society to obey laws, and get them changed if they aren’t working instead of just breaking them based on personal preference). But the guy had been selling methamphetamine too, which is life destroying poison. Our government provides costly services for people who are incapable of taking care of themselves, and that drug creates a bigger burden on those programs. Unless you also advocate for the removal of social safety nets I don’t see how you can justify thinking that the government shouldn’t try to limit drug use.


Prohibition doesn't work for meth or heroin either. Making them freely available under doctor supervision is what works. Switzerland did it and an out of control heroin problem went away and especially important, usage among young people plummeted. Yes it costs money to treat a medical problem. It costs way more money to treat medical problems as something else. Let's go with the most effective solution even if "free and legal heroin" upsets some people's morals.

Also consider that methamphetamine is not "life destroying poison". Addiction is the medical condition that destroys lives. Methamphetamine and similar drugs are also prescribed for medical conditions where they help people. Focusing on the substance is just more drug war propaganda.


> Prohibition doesn't work for meth or heroin either. Making them freely available under doctor supervision is what works.

Those things can be mutually exclusive though. For example, you could make it so meth/heroin isn't readily available at the local pharmacy/gas station, yet also make it freely available under doctor supervision at rehab centers.

I think many people (myself included) are apprehensive about making drugs totally legal because many law abiding citizens who otherwise would have never touched the drug may whimsically decide to try it at a rough patch in their life just by seeing it on the shelf at the gas station. I am more in favor of decriminalization, but if legalization really is the most effective solution I would like to see advertising completely banned, behind-the-counter only, generic labels only, etc.


> many people (myself included) are apprehensive

Well yes, a lot of the discussion is around fear of what might happen. Why isn't anyone afraid of what already is happening? Illegal recreational drugs are literally a greater than $ billion dollar a year business in the US alone. I could understand this position if recreational drugs were somewhat uncommon and the fear was that legalizing them would make them more widespread. They are widespread already. Anyone who wants recreational drugs in the US can easily get them.

> many law abiding citizens who otherwise would have never touched the drug may whimsically decide to try it at a rough patch in their life just by seeing it on the shelf at the gas station

They already do. Anyone can try alcohol to get over a rough patch in life. I think a lot of people would be shocked just how low addiction rates are for addictive drugs. Even a drug like heroin that can cause physical dependence, has an addiction rate of about 12%. Let's turn that around. A full 88% of people who try heroin never get addicted. Plenty of people even become physically dependent on opiates like heroin but never become addicted. Think pain treatment and then the thing causing the pain goes away. People successfully withdraw from the physical dependence because they don't have an addiction problem.

> I would like to see advertising completely banned, behind-the-counter only, generic labels only

I don't find that unreasonable. Interesting how that contrasts to the constant advertising on TV in the USA for prescription drugs.


I think it makes sense to decriminalize at the federal level and leave it to states to determine the appropriate level of local regulation.

Banning corporatization, advertising, and branding of these substances is an intriguing idea, and probably necessary to make progress in this country.


This. Whatever we are doing now definitley does not work; drugs are destroying millions of peoples lives already, and also contributing to lots of violence caused by the black market drug trade. We've been trying "that, but MORE of it" for a few decades, and the problems caused by drugs have gotten WORSE. So, how about something different?


umvi doesn't oppose something different, above, but says there the most optimal approach may be between either of the extremes (outright prohibition vs. completely unregulated, buying off the shelf at a gas station). So if you're going to argue with him, please be sure to refute something he actually advocates for.


Well, then umvi made the same mistake you're warning about, as the person they replied to wasn't advocating for completely unregulated gas-station drugs but rather "Making them freely available under doctor supervision." They didn't even respond to the parent.


> because many law abiding citizens who otherwise would have never touched the drug may whimsically decide to try it

They likely wouldn't. Most drugs aren't socially accepted, the gas station wouldn't stock them (and that's usually not what people ask for when they talk about legalization).

Consider LSD. It's illegal, heavily so. But there's 1P-LSD, it's a "research chemical" and very similar to LSD. It has been legal for a few years (and still is in many countries) and has only been made a controlled substance in parts of Europe last year.

If illegality was what kept people away from drugs, you'd expect to have seen a lot of normal people tripping in the last year. But you haven't (okay, maybe you have, it would explain a lot of things, wouldn't it?), and it was really only used as an easily obtainable and legal alternative to LSD by people who want an LSD-like drug because they know LSD.


> They likely wouldn't. Most drugs aren't socially accepted, the gas station wouldn't stock them

I don't know, I'm still not convinced. I think legalization is an important step on the path to social acceptance.

Examples: Marijuana, abortion, gay marriage

These things used to be socially unacceptable and illegal, but they are now socially acceptable and legal

Some drugs might not be socially acceptable right now, but I would argue legalizing them would help them become more socially acceptable. I admit that legalization may only be partially causal though (i.e. social acceptance was mounting before legalization). And convenience stores would certainly stock drugs if there was demand and they were allowed to.


> I think legalization is an important step on the path to social acceptance. Examples: Marijuana, abortion, gay marriage

Social acceptance among whom? Half of the country votes for a party that made reversing Obergefell, the Supreme Court case that made gay marriage legal in the US, part of its party platform[1] in 2016 and 2020:

> Defending Marriage Against an Activist Judiciary

> Traditional marriage and family, based on marriage between one man and one woman, is the foundation for a free society and has for millennia been entrusted with rearing children and instilling cultural values. We condemn the Supreme Court’s ruling in United States v. Windsor, which wrongly removed the ability of Congress to define marriage policy in federal law. We also condemn the Supreme Court’s lawless ruling in Obergefell v. Hodges, which in the words of the late Justice Antonin Scalia, was a “judicial Putsch” — full of “silly extravagances” — that reduced “the disciplined legal reasoning of John Marshall and Joseph Storey to the mystical aphorisms of a fortune cookie.” In Obergefell, five unelected lawyers robbed 320 million Americans of their legitimate constitutional authority to define marriage as the union of one man and one woman. The Court twisted the meaning of the Fourteenth Amendment beyond recognition. To echo Scalia, we dissent. We, therefore, support the appointment of justices and judges who respect the constitutional limits on their power and respect the authority of the states to decide such fundamental social questions.

> Our laws and our government’s regulations should recognize marriage as the union of one man and one woman and actively promote married family life as the basis of a stable and prosperous society. For that reason, as explained elsewhere in this platform, we do not accept the Supreme Court’s redefinition of marriage and we urge its reversal, whether through judicial reconsideration or a constitutional amendment returning control over marriage to the states.

[1] https://gop.com/platform/


> Examples: Marijuana, abortion, gay marriage

> These things used to be socially unacceptable and illegal, but they are now socially acceptable and legal

And you don't get Marijuana or an abortion at the gas station. But you might be able to get gay married at a gas station in Vegas ;)

I don't think they're anywhere close to socially acceptable yet, outside of young and very progressive people. You're not going to talk to your manager at a bank about getting an abortion or smoking weed, but you can absolutely talk to them about smoking cigars or some new whisky. They're less ostracized, I'd say, but I see your point.

I'm not sure it's legality and availability changes frequency. Abortions aren't becoming more common, they peaked in the 80ies (in the US) and have been falling since. I don't know the current numbers, but a few years ago they recorded the lowest numbers since they started recording them in the early 70ies.

> And convenience stores would certainly stock drugs if there was demand and they were allowed to.

If they were socially accepted at the level of Alcohol, maybe, but that'll take decades if not centuries. There's a demand for sex toys, and they're legal, but convenience stores don't usually have them stocked. It's changing, but very slowly, because society is much more socially conservative than Hollywood and media companies reflect back, and most people don't want dildos and life-size sex dolls presented where they shop with their children. I believe the same is true for drugs.

Also, there's no reason why they wouldn't be sold in special stores, and that's a big plus for legalization: you can regulate what is legal. You can put age restrictions on what's legal. And, from a state perspective: you can tax what's legal.


You have the causation reversed. Marijuana, abortion, and gay marriage were all legalized because they became socially acceptable while illegal and the laws no longer reflected the values of society.


I admitted as such, but wouldn't you say the legalization gave an additional boost to social acceptance? Social acceptance isn't a yes/no, it's a 0-100% based on the fraction of the population that accepts it. And if marijuana was at, say, 50% acceptance before legalization, I would imagine (I'm just making these numbers up) legalization boosted it to 75%.


No, I don't think you've nailed causation of social acceptance. In Switzerland after they legalized heroin and decided it was not a legal problem but a medical problem, heroin use plummeted among young people. It became socially unacceptable.

Abortion is tricky because you can be against abortion but in favor of the right to choose. I know many people, even Christians, who hold this stance. We do know abortion rates go down when abortions are made legal. So that would seem to perhaps point to the laws not having much to do with social acceptance around abortion.

As far as marijuana we could use real numbers. Only 8% of Americans think marijuana should be illegal. So no I don't expect a big jump with legalization. I would imagine the number of people who find it socially acceptable to go from let's say 92% to maybe 93%. [1]

[1] https://www.pewresearch.org/fact-tank/2019/11/14/americans-s...


It difficult to even start talking about decriminalizing all drugs because it immediately turns into hypothetical situations about "buy heroin at 7-11 across from a school". Nobody is advocating that position, no need to bring it up.


> Also consider that methamphetamine is not "life destroying poison". Addiction is the medical condition that destroys lives.

It might not sound like it, but this is nothing but a tautology. Interfering with the person's life was just the definition of addiction.

This was obviously-dumb enough that the DSM-V gave up on the word "addiction" entirely.


> It might not sound like it, but this is nothing but a tautology.

Quite the opposite. Focusing on the substance instead of the medical condition is part of the war on drugs and essential for the propaganda to work.


Here's what I'm saying:

Imagine two people who regularly consume cocaine. One of them is homeless; the other is an executive somewhere.

By definition, the definition of "addiction", the first one was "addicted", and the second one wasn't.

There are arguments to be made for this kind of definition. But you can't use it to say "addiction is what destroys lives, not drugs". That's a tautology. Addiction is the name we give to destroyed lives, not something that can be observed independently of whether a life is destroyed.


> you can't use it to say "addiction is what destroys lives, not drugs".

Sure you can. It's perfectly reasonable to say sports injuries are what hurts people, not sports themselves. Even though by definition an injury hurts someone. Especially to make the point that what we want to focus on is reducing the injuries, not reducing the sports.

Everyone understands why the distinction was made, and flagging it as a tautology is just engaging in pedantry.

But here's an interesting experiment: rewrite my point that "it isn't the substance that destroys lives but the medical condition of addiction" - without using the offending tautology. Maybe I'll learn something.


> But here's an interesting experiment: rewrite my point that "it isn't the substance that destroys lives but the medical condition of addiction" - without using the offending tautology. Maybe I'll learn something.

This can't be done. Addiction isn't a medical condition. It is, according to this characterization, a description of a set of circumstances. You cannot determine whether somebody suffers from addiction by inspecting the person's behavior or reaction to whatever they're supposedly addicted to. You make a subjective judgment about whether their life would improve if they stopped doing it. Again, this is why the field of medicine gave up on using the word.

Compare https://www.smbc-comics.com/index.php?db=comics&id=3303 .

> It's perfectly reasonable to say sports injuries are what hurts people, not sports themselves.

"He's not hurt because a rock hit him in the head. He's hurt because his skull is broken."

This is a terrible analysis. It tells you that the solution is to not break your skull, regardless of whether you get hit with a rock / bullet / whatever. Of course, that's impossible. The solution is to avoid the trauma that leaves you with a broken skull, not to resist the breaking.

> Especially to make the point that what we want to focus on is reducing the injuries, not reducing the sports.

To the extent that you want to reduce injuries, you abandon that goal when you define the groups as "uninjured; no problems" and "already injured; nothing to be done". If that's how you see things, you're limited to fixing injuries that have occurred; you can't take any steps to prevent or avoid them. To do so would be to admit that sports might be dangerous even if you're not yet injured.


> this is why the field of medicine gave up on using the word.

From this year:

"The Journal of Addiction Medicine (JAM), the official peer-reviewed journal of the American Society of Addiction Medicine, seeks Editorial Fellows. Applicants should have at least two years of addiction research experience, have an MD or PhD degree, have completed clinical specialty training, and hold faculty positions at the instructor, or assistant professor level or other junior faculty level equivalent. Candidates who have published at least 3 peer-reviewed papers, have strong knowledge of addiction science..." [1]

> Addiction isn't a medical condition.

We now have genetic markers for inherited tendencies for addiction, and we are starting to understand the changes that occur in the brain.

From Harvard medical school (also note the use of the word "addiction" - I guess they missed the memo that everyone in the field of medicine gave up on using the word?):

"It might seem strange to group gambling problems in the same category as a problem with drugs or alcohol. But addiction experts are beginning to move away from the notion that there are multiple addictions, each tied to a specific substance or activity. Rather, the Syndrome Model of Addiction suggests that there is one addiction that is associated with multiple expressions.

For example, brain-imaging technologies have revealed that our brains respond similarly to different pleasurable experiences, whether derived from ingesting psychoactive substances, such as alcohol and other drugs, or engaging in behaviors, such as gambling, shopping, and sex. Genetic research has revealed that some people are predisposed to addiction, but not to a specific type of addiction." [2]

You can provide counter evidence to my evidence, by my evidence remains, so the best you can say is that addiction as a medical condition is currently being debated in the medical community. Your claim that it is not a medical condition goes too far.

> "He's not hurt because a rock hit him in the head. He's hurt because his skull is broken."

> This is a terrible analysis.

No it isn't. It's perfectly fine to get hit in the head with a rock if you can avoid getting your skull broken by it or avoid getting hurt by it. Softer rocks or better helmets are both solutions, so it is of course worth talking about the broken skull being the root problem, and how to avoid that root problem.

> To the extent that you want to reduce injuries, you abandon that goal when you define the groups as "uninjured; no problems" and "already injured; nothing to be done". If that's how you see things, you're limited to fixing injuries that have occurred; you can't take any steps to prevent or avoid them. To do so would be to admit that sports might be dangerous even if you're not yet injured.

That's a strawman. No one did that here. You can of course talk about sport injuries as something that hurts people (uh oh tautology) and as something that you want to prevent and how you might go about that. And of course sports and gambling might be dangerous even if you're not yet injured. No one here claimed otherwise. However, gambling is far more dangerous for some people than it is for others. Admitting that gets us much closer to solutions than "gambling is just dangerous".

[1] https://journals.lww.com/journaladdictionmedicine/pages/defa...

[2] https://www.health.harvard.edu/blog/what-is-addiction-2-2017...


> Switzerland did it and an out of control heroin problem went away and especially important, usage among young people plummeted.

You still go to prison in Switzerland for selling heroine on the street. Also there still is a heroine problem though arguably smaller than it used to be.


> You still go to prison in Switzerland for selling heroine on the street.

And yet it was widely available on the streets back when it was illegal, and now it's hard to find on the streets and it's still illegal. So what changed? Clearly it was not the law that fixed things, right?

> Also there still is a heroine problem though arguably smaller than it used to be.

A tiny fraction of what it used to be. Since I would consider that success, I don't get your point? I very much doubt anyone is expecting addiction to disappear? The point is that it costs tax payers far less when you fix the actual problem instead of trying to treat medical problems as if they are a legal problem.


In Switzerland there are legal injection sites where addicts medicate with medical supervision and controlled dose.

Very few people are incarcerated for dealing because people with this problem have better and safer alternatives than street scores.


First, legality does not presuppose morality. America is the result of breaking laws based on personal preference, and taking up arms against the current government to get it done.

Second, other life destroying poisons include: alcohol, nicotine, sugar, fast food, dopamine hits from social media feedback/gambling/gaming... are you ready for the government to decide your intake for those?

The only thing prohibition does is fund organized crime, and increase the costs of policing by pretending that the "war on drugs" can be won. Taking drugs are part of human culture. It may as well be a war on human behavior.

When you subtract the dangers of dealing with cartels and policing, drug use is another form of escapism. As with any form of escapism, it can reach the point of abuse. We should absolutely have a social safety net for addicts of every sort, and it would be much cheaper than the costs of imprisonment and the war on drugs. Added bonus: actual liberty, instead of slogans on a bumper sticker.

I say this coming from a long line of addicts/alcoholics, including myself. If our drug of choice had been available from the local pharmacist:

- the drugs would have been cheaper and free of more dangerous cutting agents

- gangs/cartels would not make a dime

- we would've spent less time finding them

- some of us would have gone to rehab instead of prison

In a nutshell, even though we are poor, we would have had the same opportunities to get our act together as wealthy addicts.

And no, this isn't a crazy idea. This is how things worked before prohibition.

https://www.cato.org/publications/policy-analysis/kicking-ha...


> Second, other life destroying poisons include: alcohol, nicotine, sugar, fast food, dopamine hits from social media feedback/gambling/gaming... are you ready for the government to decide your intake for those?

The government does regulate alcohol ad nicotine directly. The federal gov subsidizes sugar, various localities tax it. Various politicians have made it clear they want to regulate or ban social media. Gambling is banned, monopolized, or regulated by every state government. Ever heard "video games cause violence"?

My point is that the government has its hands in everything. People should be free to do all of the above activities. I fully support legalization of everything mentioned. But unfortunately it's not outlandish for the government to control them.


Meth isn’t life destroying poison sorry to inform you. I take 10mg for ADHD a day and it’s saved my life when all other alternatives have failed. I would argue the bad cases you’ve seen are from people with no self control. Why should the government be able to tell you what you can and cannot put into your own body? Better, let people do what they want as long as they don’t hurt anybody else and educate them.


My doctor wanted to prescribe me benzodiazepines for depression / insomnia / brain shakes but, after seeing what withdrawal from legal benzodiazepines looks like, I refused. Illegal weed keeps me sane and let me sleep, but go and explain that to lawmakers...


Good choice. Benzodiazepines screw with brain chemistry like no other drug I've seen people use medically or recreationally. As one friend put it about his Xanax: "I'm not sure where the anxiety goes when I take Xanax, but I think it goes to the gym considering how strong it is when it comes back". My guess is that 20 or 50 years from now we are going to look back on the widespread prescription of benzos as a really bad idea. Hopefully the legalization of cannabis continues to accelerate so people like yourself don't have to risk legal consequences for treating a medical condition.


Just as a counterpoint I can handle benzos fine. Some slight rebound anxiety if I use multiple days in a row.

Weed on the other hand will send me one a 1 month train to hell smoking every day falling deeper and deeper into a depressive haze and there's nothing I can do about it.

Everybody is different, I guess.


> Why should the government be able to tell you what you can and cannot put into your own body?

The answer to that question that I see is that the government is responsible to step in when someone else get hurt under humanitarian obligations. If you make someone responsible for an outcome then they will likely want to implement rules to reduce their own risks.

The rules should of course be proportional to the risk and balanced. It make sense that drugs and driving should not be combined and which outcome can't be fixed afterward. Parenting and drugs are also a pretty problematic area, but it is difficult for the government to make a law against that combination without banning drugs completely. If people took drugs while working with heavy equipment, makes decisions that impact people, work within health care or education, then there is an additional increased risk that the government is expected to manage.

ADHD medicine, especially the non-self medicated versions, have the opposite effect for the government. It reduces the risk that they have to step. If all the other alternatives have failed and you found a solution that do work then that is good and the law might then need to change to incorporate that success. It doesn't however change the reason why the government might still want to tell you what you can and cannot put into your own body.

Where I live we also have universal health care and meth stresses the heart quite a lot. The result is that when the heart start to fall apart it is the government that has to pay for repairs, and those are often quite expensive surgeries that need to be redone every few years. I am no doctor so I can't answer if 10mg is small enough to be safe, but if I was taking it I would find a doctor and do regular heart checkups.


Governments shouldn't be responsible for the outcome of their people, the individual should. This is the perspective difference we share. It's really a choice between individual freedom despite possible negative stats "addictions" vs less freedom and more government control while optimizing number of addictions. I value my personal freedom and see no reason why the government should pay for healthcare. In the USA, they caused this distorted market to begin with (see also student loan bubble)


I understand the idea in theory but have a much harder time in practice to not want the government to take a final responsibility. If a child parents can't take care of them it make humanitarian sense that the government step in. We should not punish children because their parent won't take responsibility for the outcome of their own behavior.

Similar, I would want the government to step in and pay for healthcare when a victim get hit by a car driven by an uninsured driver. It is not fair to let the victim die just because someone else were unable to take responsibility for their own faults.

So to make a general theory, people should be responsible for their own actions when there is a high likelihood of repayment for wrong doing. For those things individual freedom is positive. For other actions which is irreversible and where individuals will sometimes be unable to take responsibility, and we expect the government to step in, then individual freedom may be balanced against risk.


The vast majority of countries where healthcare is both far cheaper and more effective than in the US have government provided healthcare. Most of those countries also have affordable or free higher education. So the smoking gun would seem to point at US style capitalism and lobbyists rather than government services themselves.

"It doesn't work in the USA" is increasingly very poor evidence when it does work many other places, and often has for over a half a century.


Back in the mid 90's I worked on a concrete crew for a few months. It was a big outfit building tip up buildings like box store type, maybe 50 guys on site.

Everyone (I think) did meth except me and one other guy, a Native American. It was expected. The pace was set by meth. Lunch was about 10 minutes. Often we would get to work like 3AM for pours. I lasted like 3 months and couldn't handle it any more.

After awhile guys would burn out and not show up. No big deal, replace them with another guy. I saw my supervisor later at a restaurant. He told me how he had tried at one point tried to commit suicide. The resulting impacts on the former employees lives (and the lives of their families and associates) wasn't the companies problem so long as the building went up fast.

That company is still around too. No, not going to name and shame.

While I'm generally in favor of people being allowed to put whatever they want in their bodies there is significant moral hazard and danger. Particularly with drugs like meth and heroin.


Thank you for giving a counter example of how useful some of these drugs can be.

> I would argue the bad cases you’ve seen are from people with no self control.

Please reconsider this position. It is outdated and goes against all recent evidence about the science of addiction, and the chemical changes that occur in the brain to cause addiction. Addiction is a medical condition. It has as little to do with self control as having cancer does.


Yes that is fair. I think the stats are something like <10% of people that use meth are addicted.


2.5 mg methamphetamine daily saved my life.

Compared to dexamphetamine:

- It has less cardiovascular impact (no cold extremities, no excessive sweating, less "fight or flight")

- It has a lower impact on sleep (I can take a nap while under the influence)

- It lasts longer (9 to 12 hours, compared to 4 to 6)

- It makes living a balanced live easier (dexamphetamine would feed perseveration, meth makes switching tasks much easier)

- No noticeable comedown

Some of the downsides of methamphetamine include:

- A much higher abuse potential (however, I have never felt the need to exceed my daily dose. I want to live a normal live, not experience some shallow euphoric bliss.)

- It is unclear what the neurotoxic properties are in therapeutic dosages.

- The social stigma


Glad to see somebody else benefiting. Agree with most of the above, I do believe therapeutic doses are well studied and tolerated since this was frontline treatment a few decades ago.


It certainly can be good, it can also be a harmful addictive drug.


"self control" is a nearly meaningless phrase when used in the same sentence as drugs


Nah mate, you just aren't informed or experienced on this topic.


No, I understand that some people can exercise self control with drugs. But there is a certain, non-negligible % of drug users that are physically unable to exercise self control once they've experimented with the drug.


I challenge to do a google image search for faces of meth and come back and say that again with a straight face. That stuff is a poison that destroys both mind and body. If you think self control is enough to keep that stuff from rotting your face, making your hair fall out and keep yourself from going crazy you are foolish. Comparing it to ADHD medications is plain and simple stupid. If you think meth is the drug you need to focus you already need professional help because there are lots of stimulants out there, even illegal, that have nowhere near the side effects and consequences of meth.


Stop it with the hyperbole, as you clearly have no clue what you’re talking about.

Methamphetamine is routinely prescribed for the treatment ADHD (also obesity and narcolepsy, amongst other off-label uses), and is sold under the brand name of Desoxyn (in the US). Meth IS medication!

On that note, maybe don’t believe everything you read about drugs online.


I may need to clear up a misconception of mine, so here goes.

Isn't it Dexamphetamine that is the routine treatment for ADHD? As far as I understood, methamphetamine has much stronger effects than dexamphetamine, also meth been prone to cause more adverse effects and have more neurotoxicity than the dex counterpart?

Maybe I'm completely off base here.


Dextroamphetamine is a common first line treatment for ADHD, but methamphetamine is a second line treatment.

A lot of the information about methamphetamine is, bluntly, propaganda. For example, there seems to be nothing about methamphetamine that is uniquely harmful to teeth, but "meth mouth" is a common trope. When taken orally at therapeutic doses it's not clear methamphetamine is any more harmful than dextroamphetamine, but it's certainly possibly it has more scope for abuse. It's certainly dangerous at high doses! Unfortunately it's hard to find hard data and not drug war propaganda.


Thanks for the reply. Is second line treatment, what is heard from others may be derived from drug war propaganda, got it. This clears things up nicely. Thanks.


dexamphetamine / dextroamphetamine works well but over-focuses me (could watch paint dry) and causes depression + robotic behavior after a few days. Every med is distinctly different, even different isomers of the same chemical.


Yeah I mentioned it because I got put on dexamphetamine once. Couldn't stand it personally, couldn't sit down or keep still, and made me more annoying I think. Totally understand that even chemically similar medications can be very different to each other.


i think the OP is talking about crystal meth, not ritalin or adderall. Ritalin and Adderall is not what "faces of meth" depicts, as it depicts long term use of smoked crystal meth addiction.


This is correct, also part of the nuance that's often missing in these kinds of discussions. Pharmacy grade drugs are a different beast than the street drugs. From packaging to usage, it's two sides of the same coin.


So we should make all of it pharmacy grade?


Perhaps they are talking about Desoxyn. FDA approved for treatment of ADHD. Not saying that it isn't bad but just pointing out there is a comparison to ADHD medications.


I was, but can switch out with crystal if needed. Almost as pure.


Actually I've tried most all of the alternative stims and they all affect me worse in all areas of life. Meth is a drug used to treat ADHD and is FDA approved for this reason.


Soda creates a much bigger burden on those programs as well. Much of the food industry does, as well as the alcohol industry and the entertainment industry (encouraging sedentary lifestyles). These things have a much bigger impact than a guy selling meth on the darknet.

I think as a society it is worth talking about limiting activities that are a net drain on society (and not just on health - also credit cards, advertising, the lottery, and much more). We don't do that, though. Instead we crack down extremely harshly on a small subsection, and completely ignore the rest.


Civil disobedience is the strongest way of bringing change.

We've used it as a tactic for decades and it's been the only reliable force for change.

There is no reason for your representative to listen to you in America unless you throw a wrench in the gears.


Good luck getting generation smartphone to do something.

Like BLM protests proved, you will just get ex-felons robbing honest people and burning down buildings.


Thanks for your contribution.

Just in case you don't know, there have been about 110 nights of continual protests in nearly every metro area in the US.

You may want to ask yourself why you're not joining in with them to influence the movement instead of complaining about it here.


Sure, but purely from the side of pragmatism, throwing people in jail isn't effective either. Treating them compassionately and giving them help for their problem works much better.


Also imagine saying the US has social safety nets.


The US has social safety nets.


I think you're falling in the same trap I fell in when I was watching jackass thinking: how is it fair that someone willingly puts their body in danger and we have to pick up the tab when they get injured and hospitalized.

News flash: we already pay for these things because emergency rooms can't ask for payment before delivering life preserving treatment. Also, we already pay for a lack of social safety net by paying for the cost to put so many people behind bars not to mention an unhinged law enforcement that refers to the population as civilians and has a motto like "protect and serve" while going to the supreme Court to get a ruling that the police has no duty to protect.

Of course, the government should try to limit drug distribution and sales. For example, we will still need strict labeling requirements. Unlabeled, improperly labeled, and unsafe storage conditions should be against the law. But it helps nobody to put anyone in prison for personal drug possession* or drug use.

*Assuming they are not selling/distributing improperly labeled controlled substances.


>Our government provides costly services for people who are incapable of taking care of themselves, and that drug creates a bigger burden on those programs.

Maybe the Gov should go after Coca Cola and Pepsi or McDonald's and Burger King. The fast food industry has caused more health issues peddling their poison than all the drug dealers in the country. An epidemic of obesity and related illnesses from type II diabetes, HBP, Heart Disease, etc have destroyed more families than all the marijuana use could ever.


Not that anyone will read this now, but I am disappointed how all these replies ignored the equation. If you want freedom to choose what goes in your body, you need to absolve society from a responsibility to take care of you if you screw up. It’s totally ok to want freedom for what you put in your body, you just have to be consistent and get the government out of the business of providing for you. Everyone saying let us take whatever drugs we think we should, no one saying they want the government to stop other services.


> But the guy had been selling methamphetamine too, which is life destroying poison.

Indeed, and if you feel this way, perhaps you should seek penalties against those who actually wrought the destruction: the people who put that methamphetamine into human bodies, where it does the harm.

I think you'll find that those people who hold the ultimate responsibility for this destructive act were destroying property that entirely belonged to them (to preserve or destroy as they please).

If we don't have the right to own and control our own bodies, the only thing in the world that totally unambiguously belongs to us, we have no meaningful rights to own or control anything.

At such a point (which is where we seem to be), they're not rights that are being respected, simply privileges temporarily afforded by the state to be revoked arbitrarily.


This is really an excellent argument. Thank you, am using this.


The war on drugs (officially) started in the 70s. What do we have to show for it 50 years later? Are there more drugs or less drugs today? How many lives destroyed by the drugs vs the enforcement and violence caused by their legal status?


While I whole-heartedly agree with you, it's easy to frame this situation in a misleading light: "we've been fighting drugs for 50 years, and we still barely have them under control. Imagine how much worse the situation would have been if we hadn't fought them! Now give us more money and let us be even harsher!"

Of course, this is pure sophistry, but it will appeal to many people. The better line of argument I believe is about the extreme positive impact that decriminalization/legalization have had in every single country that have tried. That is much harder to dispute and twist.


I understand it will seem that I am playing devil's advocate here, but the dose makes the poison. How are you to know that the folks buying the methamphetamine are not in fact experienced microdosers who are taking functional 5-10mg doses for productivity or ADD? While I have known methamphetamine users to take things too far, I've known far more heavy alcoholics who ruin their lives and their families lives dealing with them drinking each and every day. Aside from that, the government has no right to tell another man what type of substance he puts in his body unless he is doing harm to others.


Thats just not how it works and never will.

Our society should prevent stupid things / unknown things. Like lead paint.

And for everything else it should make sure people from themselvs are aware of the risks and should have options which are more favoriable then drugs.


It is absolutely possible to be a functional methamphetamine user. Methamphetamine is prescribed for ADHD under the brand name Desoxyn. Not as often as amphetamine, largely because of the tighter legal restrictions on methamphetamine, but there are still plenty of people who take that drug daily without fitting the stereotype of a meth addict (not to mention all of the functional illegal meth users who you wouldn't hear about because why would they want other people to know about their illegal habits?)

Meth does not make you incapable of holding down a job. It will probably make you incapable while you're in your chasing-the-high phase where you're constantly upping the dose to outrun your tolerance. But in the climate of prohibition, everyone either stops doing that at some point or reaches an equilibrium where they can't afford higher doses so they settle into a maintenance dose where they would be totally capable of holding down a job if they hadn't spent the last n months making themselves unemployable.

And why do they become unemployable? Because the word getting out that they use meth in itself makes them unemployable, and then because the price of meth is inflated due to prohibition[1], they turn to crime to make enough money to pay for their addiction.

Legalizing meth would certainly lead some people who wouldn't have otherwise tried it to try it, and some fraction of them would become addicted and suffer the health consequences[2], and many of those who got addicted would in fact become burdens of the state. But life would be better for anyone who did find themselves addicted, life would be better for people who didn't choose to try the drug on account of lower crime[3]. Some people who would try meth under prohibition would be less interested in it because if it were legal it would fail to signal their disregard for authority, and it's possible that the different personality types of new addicts under legalization would lead to different outcome, but it's probably not worth speculating about what differences there would be.

Legalization trivially reduces crime by denying an income stream to organized crime. If public policy under legalization were not entirely incompetent, and we were able to either help a significant number of addicts hold onto a legitimate income, or help a significant number settle into an affordable maintenance dose (which would be easier than it sounds since their drug would likely be much cheaper), then the criminal activity of drug users would likewise plummet. These cost savings surely offset the increased burden on the social safety net.

[1] This is generally the case with illegal drugs. Generic Desoxyn is actually extraordinarily expensive, at 1 USD/mg in the US. which is higher than the street price in some parts of the US per https://havocscope.com/black-market-prices/meth-prices/. It's possible that this has to due with the cost of achieving pharmaceutical-grade purity, but I'm skeptical of that. I think it's more likely that the price of the pharmaceutical drugs reflects one of the many market failures of the US healthcare system, or the costs of DEA licensing for its production and distribution. But it's worth acknowledging that a quick google search doesn't back up my claims about price inflation.

[2] The health consequences of meth are also exaggerated by prohibition. Meth is somewhat neurotoxic for chronic high-dose users, and definitely caridotoxic. The skin issues associate with meth addicts are caused by the meth itself combined with obsessive picking at the face, but while meth can cause some dental problems as a result of clenching the jaw and gnashing one's teeth, it's likely that most of the dental issues associated with meth addicts are actually cause by impurities in the drug that's available to them, a result of prohibition.

[3] This is critical: the consequences of drug use would be redirected from people who made no choice whatsoever to involve themselves in drugs to people who at least made some choice, even if they somehow didn't fully comprehend the consequences of that choice. And even for the latter group, the consequences wouldn't be as bad as they are under prohibition, though that group would probably be larger.


> (though I think it’s important for a functional society to obey laws, and get them changed if they aren’t working instead of just breaking them based on personal preference)

This is an unbelievably privileged position to take.

Are you not aware that the country itself was established in the finest tradition of civil disobedience?

The declaration of independence was an act of civil disobedience.

The end of colonial empires was an act of civil disobedience.

Slavery and segregation were resisted by civil disobedience.

Oskar Schindler is the only member of the Nazi party to have been buried in Jerusalem in recognition of his civil disobedience.

Are you really suggesting that all of these acts in defiance of unjust laws were morally wrong, and that everyone should have just waited for the law or regime to change?


You always hear calls for "civil disobedience" or "non-violence" when it concerns systems that the speaker may not want outright support, but is highly sympathetic to. You never hear anyone say that US should have pursued a path of non-violence during the Cold War, after the attack on Pearl Harbor, or during the War On Terror. In those instances, violence is assuredly the order of the day. But when the villain is the West, civil disobedience is the max discomfort they can stomach.


The majority of people on Earth and in the US itself would tell you that non-violence would have been preferable to the "War On Terror". All of millions of people who have felt the brunt of the US Cold War would tell you the same - be they peasants in virtually all of South America or Vietnam; or US soldiers sent to die in Vietnam.

Perhaps WWII is an exception to this, but it is absolutely in the minority. Wars of aggression (Cold War, War on Drugs, War on Terrorism) have never improved any part of the world in any way - they cause misery and poverty for the majority for untold generations, no matter what high-minded rhetoric is used to justify them.


I believe every person should act according to their own subjective morality and understanding of the social consequences of their behavior. In fact, that is exactly what they will do, regardless of what is written or spoken to them. If their acts agree with expectations it is only due to a coincidental alignment of beliefs.

I find it incredibly doubtful that I would elect to place myself in harms way to further any of the campaigns you've listed. I do not believe it is my place to judge others for doing so, however.


> But the guy had been selling methamphetamine too, which is life destroying poison.

Time to arrest the liquor store owners?


And don’t forget bartenders!


I think it would be great to remove social safety nets and a war on drugs.

Social safety nets are just forcefully taking money from people creating value in society, taking a fee to keep alive government bureaucrats, and give the rest to people who don't produce value. It's an incentive to not create value and a disincentive to do so.

If you want to donate to people in need, feel free to do it, just don't force the entire of society to do it.

The concept of controlled substances is ridiculous and I don't think it needs to be justified, unless you're a government shill who benefits from it or some authoritarian person who feel like they need to impose their values on everyone else.


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You may disagree with parent’s viewpoint but I would say eliminating the government is about as far from fascism as you can go. It’s anarchism.


No, it's the opposite of fascism. It's voluntarism or anarchy.

Fascism is a totalitarian authoritarian political doctrine where the state is strong.

I want a weak (or, even better, non existent) state and a society based on voluntary transactions and not on taxes taken under the threat of violence.


What's to stop a mafia appearing who takes taxes under threat of violence, if there is no state to stop them? Anarchism always seems like utopic nonsense to me. Something like, 'I don't like being told what to do, so we should get rid of the state and as long as everyone promises not to tell each other what to do, it will be great'. If there is no state, there is a power vacuum. There is a reason why power vacuums are quickly filled.

petre 40 days ago [flagged]

True. Iraq, Libya, Syria are noteworthy examples. Chechnya is another example.

https://m.dw.com/en/opinion-russia-still-lives-in-the-shadow...


Capitalist anarchy, which is what is described here, is indeed nonsense.

The much more common notion of anarchy, socialist anarchy, actually advocates for smaller societies and more localized leadership (e.g. at the city level). Some role for a kind of state (e.g. an alliance of local micro-states) is often preserved, especially for military and diplomatic purposes.


Yeah, weed really shouldnt be a priority, and should be legalized nationwide, but...

```Canna_Bars, on Hansa, advertised pounds of methamphetamine. In the description of the product, Porras had claimed the methamphetamine came “direct from Mexico.”```

So, defintely not legal anywhere, nor is mass distribution of meth really something that is of benefit to anybody but the cartels he bought it from.


It’s a benefit for me. Meth is the only thing that treats my adhd without horrible side effects. 10mg / day orally. I can’t afford the outragous out of pocket price for desoxyn per month. Moreover, after initially being prescribed it and having great results, after moving I can’t find any psychiatrist willing to prescribe it because they are all terrified of the DEA. Thus I and many other stigmatized people directly benefit from cheap pure meth on the street. Thanks for reading about this casualty of the drug war.


I was not aware that there were legitimate prescriptions for it. But it sounds to me like you're a casualty of the pharma industry more so than the drug war. The ratio of people that street meth helps to people that it harms is, by my SWAG, a very, very small number.


There's no victim. Literally nobody was harmed here.

"Penalties against possession of a drug should not be more damaging to an individual than the use of the drug itself; and where they are, they should be changed."

- Jimmy Carter, 39th President of the United States


Well, the supply chain for illegal drugs hurts a LOT of people, but that’s because of the illegally.

In a world with legal drugs, you’d still want to prosecute someone for giving money to cartels, but there would be much less incentive for people to do so in the first place.


The supply chain for all of society hurts a lot of people. Drugs are only a higher proportion because that industry's order presently can only be supplied by smaller competitors with similar fixed costs to the incumbents.


> The supply chain for all society ...

And? That’s whataboutism, not a response.

> Drugs are....

That sounds like a vast oversimplification, to say the least. Also, again, I’m not defending drug laws.


The supply chain is not on trial in this instance, this one person (who did not harm or victimize anyone) is.


Look, I’m the last person who would defend drug laws, but I think your position is transparently silly.


This same illogic is used for people who want to defend looking at child porn:

"The person abusing the child is not on trial in this instance, this one person (who did not harm or victimize anyone) is."

More people have died in Mexico and Central America due to the drug war than have died in the war in Afghanistan.

If you buy drugs from a supply chain that involves the cartels, you are indirectly funding organized murder and crime.


If he was funding cartel activity by purchasing meth from Mexico, you can be sure that harm resulted (even before you get to the destruction that meth addiction causes).


If drugs were legal there wouldnt any cartel activity associated with it, maybe no powerful cartels at all, so this is stupid logic


Perhaps, but right now--as it stands--there is cartel activity associated with it. And funding violent cartels for any reason should be illegal, for the same reasons that funding any violent organization should be illegal.


The alternative of having a square job and funding the US military via compulsory tax payments kills and tortures an order of magnitude more people than the cartels, if you want to follow the money in this line of reasoning.

Furthermore, the destruction caused by the individual use of meth cannot reasonably be attributed to anyone other than the person who willingly purchased, acquired, and ingested the substance with full consent.


The difference being that if you don't buy drugs online voluntarily you won't get jailed. If you don't pay your taxes you, eventually, will.

It's not moral to ask citizens to pay taxes, but it's not immoral to pay taxes: you do it because it's the least harmful option available to you.


> There's no victim. Literally nobody was harmed here.

The IRS doesn't agree.


The more money the IRS get the more money they waste or use to increase inequality.

The US is already spending 13bln per day


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The point I was trying to make is that you may see no harm as an individual, but the state has another viewpoint.


Money taken by the IRS and money spent by Congress have almost no relationship. “Starve the beast” doesn’t work.

It has had the effect of adding trillions to the debt we are passing on to our children and grandchildren though. Good job boomers!

And I say that as a boomer myself.


You mean ’legal‘ in a lot of states, don’t you?


At least they implied legal in some states.


I totally agree. Consenting buyer and seller, this is a leftover from the Mayflower (no dancing kind of thing). At some point the world should just stop wasting money on preventing things that humans want. Prostitution, pot, etc., will never be stopped because people want to buy and sell it.


Per the article, this guy also sold methamphetamine in large quantities on another site, so it isn't just about marijuana.


They have seized 30M in cash which means they will be able to fund their department with that cash.

If taxpayers don’t fund the police, the police funds itself.


I'm super sure, that is exactly how play out......


But that money doesn’t get burnt and/or destroyed - it all goes into the budget.

Same thing with confiscated cars in relation to drug deals which was quite recently in HN


You are glossing over the illegal firearms. Would it really be better to wait for the murder.


The firearms were legal and licensed, however due to the drugs, they became illegal.


He also had a prior felony, sold meth, sold Xanax, and had an Uzi. Not someone you’d want to date your daughter.


What people put into their bodies is their own business.


And what their daughters put into their bodies are their daughters' own business.


Says the millennial without kids.


I have a son and a daughter. 4 yo and 6 yo. Once they are old enough, it is absolutely up to them what they put into their bodies.


I want to agree with this, but I've seen firsthand how meth heads bring down everyone around them.


Meth isn’t life destroying poison sorry to inform you. It’s a benefit for me and many others. Meth is the only thing that treats my adhd without horrible side effects, it’s the smoothest calmest most effective solution. 10mg / day orally. I can’t afford the outragous out of pocket price for desoxyn per month. Moreover, after initially being prescribed it and having great results, after moving I can’t find any psychiatrist willing to prescribe it because they are all terrified of the DEA. Thus I and many other stigmatized people directly benefit from cheap pure meth on the street. Thanks for reading about one casualty of the drug war (me). Go look up reviews for desoxyn if you’re curious. Yes it’s the same thing.


This is ridiculous. The poster clearly meant recreational abuse of meth. Your anecdotal experience with ADHD medicine does not warrant advocation of meth across the board for your sake. The difficulty you’re having is a direct consequence of how toxic and life destroying meth is.


Something like <10% of people who try meth get addicted. Perhaps we should ban donuts next :)


Meth isn’t a life destroying poison because you’re addicted to it? Is that really the argument?


That's called confirmation bias. The people who are living fulfilling and successful lives using meth, cocaine, wine, tea, or marijuana do not advertise it and therefor you have zero information about how many of them there are. Well people do talk about the legal and socially acceptable ones: wine, tea, and increasingly marijuana. So until meth becomes both legal and socially acceptable, your anecdotal data is heavily skewed towards those who crashed.

With that said, meth undoubtedly has a higher potential for abuse and addiction than marijuana and is worse for the health when abused. But evaluating just how much of a difference is near impossible while it remains illegal and while there is an huge and profitable government funded industry around the war on drugs.


So you say. I’m not obliged to agree with what you think should be legal or illegal.


This has nothing to do with an abstract notion of morality.

In our society, we look out for each other, if somebody is in distress, e.g. hurt on the side of the road, we help him, call an ambulance, he gets medical help.

The fact that society makes huge efforts to save and cure people requiring medical attention, is at the root of the taboo on substances (or behaviors) that are unhealthy. Otherwise that would be a pure waste of resources for the society.

At least that was the theory. In practice, you are free to drink booze until you pass out...


Yes, this is correct. I also don’t want my children to take drugs, and when you make things widely available, people use them more. You don’t have to look further than the opioid crisis to see that.


So perhaps you should teach them not to use drugs instead of trying to control what other people are allowed to put into their own bodies.


It really should be both.


Disregarding the fact that opioids are still illegal without a prescription (much like meth, and marijuana) there's plenty of articles that show that legalizing marijuana has lowered opioid use in those states.


That's the opposite of what studies on drugs use/availability say.

People in the Netherlands don't get stoned everyday just because they can.


Not if it results in them becoming a burden on society, both financially and socially.


Does it necessarily? Was Paul Erdös a burden on society, both financially and socially? Are people who have handicaps because of sporting accidents not a financial burden on society, should we outlaw Snowboarding?


Well, he probably didn’t burglarize and mug people for snowboard gear, so there’s that.


I guess meth isn't the issue then, otherwise he would have.


No. We live in a society. If I'm expected to help pick up the pieces when you self-destruct, it's absolutely my business.


You're doing that right now, with your tax dollars. It cost $81,203 _per year_ to house just one inmate in California[0].

I understand punishing sellers, but I think the punishments for drug charges (and most charges in the US), are so draconian. 1 Year in prison for this guy should be enough. From what I've heard, prison is terrible, people do not want to spend 1 day in prison.

There is absolutely nothing he will learn in year 3, or year 4, or year 5, that will make him a better person when he comes out.

"Tough on crime" and "war on drugs" are just two huge mistakes we have made that we cannot retract, because it is politically unpopular to do so.

[0] https://lao.ca.gov/policyareas/cj/6_cj_inmatecost


The dysfunctionality of the American penal system, as well as the propensity to treat it like a hammer for every problem's nail, warrants an entirely separate discussion.

Hopefully there's a satisfactory middle ground between "locked up in harsh conditions for years" and "ain't nobody's business if you do".


It’s literally all about that $81k at this point.

More time in prison, more people in prison, more lobbying dollars to encourage the use of the prison system. We have 2.5 million people in jail/prison.


Then so is your diet and exercise regime my business. I also want to control who you spend time with (for your mental health) and what you consume for entertainment - there will be limits on what you can read and watch and how much. Alcohol is of course no longer ever an option, and many injury prone sports are also forbidden. At any point we predict you might commit a crime, we will jail you first to reduce the cost to society.


Thank you for at least engaging with what I actually said.

Obviously, you must balance the harm of the intervention itself with the harm that the intervention is trying to mitigate.

In fact many of your measures are already in place. Civilized society does control your diet, through food regulation. It controls what you watch to some extent - you'll have to go a bit out of your way to find sex and violence. Alcohol is indeed a restricted substance, and many injury-prone sports have been discontinued or modified to be safer, although some (like boxing) continue despite solid evidence of terrible cumulative injury - to great controversy. I'm not sure what you're going for with the pre-crime thing...

There's no need to equate "my business" with "draconian control".


> Civilized society does control your diet, through food regulation.

No they don't. I can grow my own food and it is perfectly legal and loads of people do exactly that.

> you'll have to go a bit out of your way to find sex and violence.

Hardly. It's all over the internet. Even teens easily find it.

> Alcohol is indeed a restricted substance

Not for adults though, which is what we are talking about here, right?

> any injury-prone sports have been discontinued or modified to be safer

Only commercially. I can engage in the vast majority of the more dangerous version of those sports in my own free time any time I want. Play American football without helmets in my own backyard? Who is going to stop me?

So no, none of the things you mentioned are controlled to the point of being illegal. And even in rare cases where they are illegal (buying raw milk for example), no one gets thrown in jail for five years for doing it, and people do continue to do it and take those risks, and society does continue to pay when things go wrong.

> Obviously, you must balance the harm of the intervention itself with the harm that the intervention is trying to mitigate.

Who decides that? Because I find it difficult to put a measure on the cost of removing so many freedoms trying to make life risk free. It's not a society I would want to live in. I will temper that by saying I'm fully in favor of requiring people to wear masks in public. But only because it's a public emergency and in unusual circumstances I'm flexible. But what you are suggesting is long term and permanent policy.


Sugar costs way more in health consequences. It's easier to recover from abuse from most drugs than sugar, which is a slow poison, yet available everywhere and given to us since early childhood (actually, in the womb).


That’s absurd and incorrect. It’s significantly safer to expose an unborn child to sugar than alcohol, cocaine, meth, or heroin.


That's why I said "most drugs".

That being said, there is an epidemic of childhood diabetes and _newborn_ obesity, which is entirely due to mother's high sugar & processed foods diets. It's a serious matter.

Also, it's possible to be a long-time user (obviously not a abuser) of heroin or meth (I know it's not exactly comparable but consider people taking adhd meds).

I'd take that over abusing sugar, which will cause fatty liver, diabetes, and cancer.


If cost, purity, and consistency of supply (for the drug and all paraphernalia) wasn’t a problem it’s probably safer to consume heroin regularly than consume coca-coal regularly.

With the realities as they are coca-coal is probably safer, but because it’s cheaper, won’t have unexpected adulterants, and you won’t have to invest much time or effort in finding a new supply if your favorite vending machine breaks down.


Yes, that what was I was thinking, particularly the Dutch example where heroin addiction is treated as a healthcare problem and addicts have long lives.

I like that you spelled Coca-Cola "coca coal" :)


It is not significantly safer. If we are comparing like to like, then we are not talking about a one time exposure, we are talking about addiction and regular exposure. Addiction to sugar will almost always result in a high BMI.

"Having a high BMI during pregnancy has been linked to an increased risk of various health problems for a baby, including:

    Birth defects
    Being significantly larger than average (fetal macrosomia)
    Impaired growth
    Childhood asthma
    Childhood obesity
" [1]

[1] https://www.mayoclinic.org/healthy-lifestyle/pregnancy-week-...


People addicted and regularly consuming alcohol, meth (smoked, snorted, or injected), street heroin, and cocaine all suffer from significantly worse side effects than people addicted to sugar.

I’ll grant you that sugar has a higher total social cost, because more people are addicted to it.


Street heroin isn't comparable because that's a complication of it being illegal. You would have to compare sugar to legalized heroin and safe injection sites like they have in Switzerland. In which case you are wrong. Heroin is a very safe drug once you eliminate the possibility of overdose, extremely well tolerated by the body aside from constipation. Which is why opiates are extremely common in hospitals and are used in great quantities all over the world.

Diabetes is far more dangerous than legal and medically supervised heroin. So you got that wrong. What else did you get wrong?

Alcohol addiction is worse than sugar addiction without a doubt, I can agree with that.

Diabetes is a very serious disease. I wouldn't be surprised at all to find out a cocaine addiction is safer long term. You would really need to back up your claim with stats instead of just continuing to insist.


I used the term “street heroin” instead of heroin because of all the complications that come along with it being illegal. This is a thread about black markets after all.

I don’t feel like my claims are controversial at all. Take cocaine. It’s use often leads to psychosis. Snorting cocaine damages the nose significantly. Injecting cocaine is probably the worse drug for the number of punctures a person will do because of the short high and incredible addictive nature of the drug. Cocaine damages the cardiovascular system. It leads to ulcers. It decreases appetite so strongly it often leads to malnutrition. Cocaine increases the risk for seizures and strokes. Cognitive impairment often occurs after long heavy use. This is completely ignoring the social costs of cocaine use, which are significantly higher than being diabetic. The cartels don’t profit from insulin.

I’d rather be diabetic than have years of heavy cocaine use behind me. I’ve been close to people with type 2 diabetes and people that went through cocaine addiction.


> I used the term “street heroin” instead of heroin because of all the complications that come along with it being illegal. This is a thread about black markets after all.

Well yes, and a thread about why recreational drugs should be legalized to reduce harm. But either way we should not be comparing the legal use of one substance to the illegal use of another. It's a mostly useless comparison when it comes to the nature of the substances and mostly useful to talk about the risks of prohibition.

As far as your other claims, I already said "You would really need to back up your claim with stats instead of just continuing to insist."

Anecdotal evidence about your friends and which addiction you would prefer don't do anything to move the conversation forward, so lacking stats and evidence about your claims, I'll stop here.


Just noting that a lot of these addicts have awful diets (even worse than the already bad average). The common extreme tooth decay seen in meth addicts is obviously not caused by the substance itself but by negligence paired with consumption of extreme quantities of... sugar.


https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Meth_mouth

The hypothesized causes of meth mouth are a combination of MA side effects and lifestyle factors which may be present in users:

Dry mouth (xerostomia)

Clenching and grinding of the teeth (bruxism)

Infrequent oral hygiene

Frequent consumption of sugary, fizzy drinks

Caustic nature of methamphetamine (less likely: “Meth mouth is generally most severe in users who inject the drug, rather than those who smoke, ingest or inhale it.”)


Slippery slope fallacy


Except that criminalization doesn't help anyone pick up the pieces, at least as criminalization goes in the us today. There's also lots of ways to self destruct that aren't criminalized.


You are arguing against a position I did not take. My sole point is that hyper-permissive individualistic libertarianism is inappropriate in a cohesive society. Your health, your success, even your happiness; all affect me. We all depend on each other. As such, it's simply not correct to say "it's my business what I put in my body".

"No man is an island entire of itself; every man is a piece of the continent, a part of the main; if a clod be washed away by the sea, Europe is the less, as well as if a promontory were, as well as any manner of thy friends or of thine own were; any man's death diminishes me, because I am involved in mankind. And therefore never send to know for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee."


Sugar, alcohol, and sitting have cost society more than meth, yet no one is going to go around policing people for those vices.

Education and positive incentives are the better solution.


Ok. One word: Obesity. What do?


There's a simple solution, don't socialise safety nets and let people pay for their mistakes or misfortunes.

It may sound cold but at least you don't have to steal money from all the people who actually create value and you don't have to pay for bureaucracy


Bob runs a small but successful company that produces a niche variety of widget for manufacturing sector X. Bob likes a cigarette! He applies his personal agency and smokes several packs a day. He says they help him focus. One day, in his forties, Bob is diagnosed with emphysema and learns he doesn't have long to live. In between crossing items off his bucket list, he tries to find a way to keep his company going; but no one else understands this niche like Bob does.

Bob dies and the company goes under. A few of his customers can't find alternate suppliers and go under as well. Some products cease to exist; others become more expensive. A huge loss to the market.

We all pay for others' mistakes and misfortunes.


> steal money from all the people who actually create value

When someone creates hundreds of millions of dollars in pollution and they have far less in the bank or in profits, who pays for the cleanup costs? You will. Your "simple solution" only fixes small cases of mistakes or misfortune, the easily affordable ones.

And while you might be happy living in a society where you watch someone die on the sidewalk because they should "pay for their mistakes or misfortunes" I think the vast majority of us don't want anything to do with that kind of society. We aren't here to serve the economy, it's here to serve us.


The Uzi was a semi-automatic. It wouldn't be any more dangerous than your typical Glock, but would be bigger and heavier.

He's still a felon carrying a gun which is bad, but it's not worse than any other gun.


Maybe he wouldn't need a gun if his trade was legal and he could call the cops when people threaten him.


But it's not legal.


For someone outside the US your comment sounds so alien.


...or your son.


I guess the thing is, if drugs were legal the chances are lots of drug dealers would be doing some other crime. There are obivously drug dealers that sell just to pay for their own drug usage. But there are lots and lots are in it for the money and choose crime because it's easy to get into.


Other types of crime require crimes against people. I know easily dozens of people who have dealt drugs, half of them are small women, and none of them would hurt anyone or commit other crimes. Your argument is unsupported by evidence.


My argument is supported by crime statistics that show lots of drug dealers are convicted of other crimes.

I would like to point out that I used the word lots and not many, not most, not all. I specifically used the word lots. So counter statements like yours couldn't be used.

And if we're going to be pedantic, I guess it's my turn.

> Other types of crime require crimes against people.

There area many crimes where you don't commit it againit a person. Selling counterfeit goods, the victim is a company. Creating fake currency. Selling illegal weapons. Smuggling people in to countries (many do commit crimes againist people, but it is not required, just taking money and getting someone across a border hurts no-one). Shoplifting. Insurance fraud. The list goes on and on.


The word "lots" is what's called a weasel word [1]. 1000 is "lots". Is it a lot if there are a million drug dealers? How does it compare to other crime correlations? Or general rates in the population?

Your logic is fallacious. You know what has a 100% correlation with dealing drugs and committing those other crimes? Breathing. Drinking water. Eating. Correlation tells us little. Perhaps it does hint that a disregard for authority exists.

Also I'd say most of those crimes are not victimless...

1. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Weasel_word


> The word "lots" is what's called a weasel word [1]. 1000 is "lots". Is it a lot if there are a million drug dealers? How does it compare to other crime correlations? Or general rates in the population?

Let's be serious, you and I both know, I meant a high percentile. This is just a bad faith argument made after using an anedote of knowing 12 drug dealers to say a statement about a high percentile of drug dealers would commit other crimes to make money if drugs were legal. Despite the fact that a high percentile of current drug dealers commit other crime. The reason I'm not using an exact number is because I don't want someone like you saying "Well the in the US 26% don't do that" when I found a stat for differnt country. We both know what is meant.

> Your logic is fallacious. You know what has a 100% correlation with dealing drugs and committing those other crimes? Breathing. Drinking water. Eating. Correlation tells us little. Perhaps it does hint that a disregard for authority exists.

My logic is: Someone who got into selling drugs to make a profit because the barrier to entry is low would move into another area of criminality to make money because the barrier to entry is low.

Your logic is: ???

Is it that they would still sell drugs? Why don't they sell something that is legal? Is it because the barrier to entry is higher? That they just wouldn't try and make money anymore?

> Also I'd say most of those crimes are not victimless...

Drugs is not a victimless crime either. Drug users are often victims of shoddy drugs being sold with dangerous chemicals in them. And I never said they weren't victimless, I just said they weren't against a person. A company is not a person.


Most drug dealers in this country are small time weed dealers. Usually college kids or recently graduated. These are the drug dealers who are small time and basically never get caught because they aren’t the demographic that drug laws were created to criminalize. So no, you and I seem to know different things.

Selling drugs is cheap, profitable, easy, and relatively low risk if you’re somewhere weed has been decriminalized but not legalized. You think smuggling people and selling weapons to felons is low risk and easy? You think insurance fraud is low risk and easy? That’s an absurd argument to make.

You know what they’ll move into? Selling literally anything else. I’ve seen it a dozen times. “Oh dealing drugs makes good money but it turns out selling artisanal chocolate/soda/nude pics/clothing makes even more money.”

I’ve got to say it seems like this argument comes from a lack of real world experience and a strict adherence to the reports and theories of law enforcement agencies. Contrary to your belief, non-drug crimes do not suddenly spike in areas where drugs are legalized. See: Europe, American states where weed is legal.


> Most drug dealers in this country are small time weed dealers. Usually college kids or recently graduated. These are the drug dealers who are small time and basically never get caught because they aren’t the demographic that drug laws were created to criminalize. So no, you and I seem to know different things.

I'm assuming you're counting people who sold drugs to a friend as a drug dealer?

And trust me, most drug dealers are not college kids. Those are edge case drug dealers. Even the small time ones who sell say 100 pills/an oz of coke a month.

> I’ve got to say it seems like this argument comes from a lack of real world experience and a strict adherence to the reports and theories of law enforcement agencies. Contrary to your belief, non-drug crimes do not suddenly spike in areas where drugs are legalized. See: Europe, American states where weed is legal.

I think the difference is, I had experience with a lot more drug dealers than you. Ranging from school kids selling a hundred bucks of weed a week, to people selling to pay for their weed, to folk selling because they got into drug debts, to people who supplied the entire town with a specific drug. You seem to know only small time folk selling weed.

> Contrary to your belief, non-drug crimes do not suddenly spike in areas where drugs are legalized. See: Europe, American states where weed is legal.

Weed? That's not where the money makers are. Very few people sell weed to make money, there is no money in weed. Heroin, cocaine, crack, meth are what people sell when they want to make money. These drugs not not legal in any country, in Portugal it is treated as a health issue but it is as far as I know, still illegal to sell the drugs.


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