Category Archives: The War on Drugs

Thinking About Teen Drinking

One of the sub-sets of the War On Drugs™ is the continuing, and pretty well fruitless, effort to prevent people under the age of 21 from drinking. Brad, the Unrepentant Individual, points out yet another episode in this continuing and puritanical folly in Alabama.

If the bill becomes law, people could drink draft beer only at a bar, restaurant, private club or other retail establishment licensed for beer sales by the state Alcoholic Beverage Control Board, said Sen. Bobby Singleton, D-Greensboro, the bill’s sponsor.

There’s so many reasons that this is not just stupid, but morally repugnant, swirling through my head that I hardly know where to begin. I think I’ll just toss out a list of thoughts at this point and all and sundry are welcome to join in the conversation.

  • Obviously, all you have to do is drive across the state line to one of the states that borders Alabama, buy a keg and drive it back to Alabama. Since this is interstate commerce, I don’t think there is anything that Alabama can do to prevent this, provided that you meet all the legal requirements to buy alcohol in the other state and consume, or possess, alcohol in Alabama. Even if you don’t, let’s stop and think about how well Prohibition worked.
  • The intent, acccording to Singleton, is to cut down on teen drinking at parties. This won’t do a darn thing to prevent, or diminish, teen drinking. Nothing. What it does is to prevent me from perfectly legal and ethical activity on the off chance that I might do something wrong. That is hardly a presumption of innocence until I’m proved guilty, now is it? This is like the media companies (Sony, anyone?) who want to prevent legal copying of music because you might make an illegal copy.
  • I’ve lived, and travelled, in Europe. One of the immediate things you notice is that Europeans don’t have the same puritan attitudes towards kids drinking as many Americans do. In Germany, for example, kids can, and do, go buy beer for their parents at the local store. And, teenagers go into bars and have a beer. I haven’t studied this, or looked up any statistics, but my personal observation was that they handled it much better than American kids do. Probably because it’s not treated as taboo.
  • It’s a bit hypocritical to insist that a 16 year old can drive a car, an 18 year old can assume the responsibilities of adulthood, including writing contracts, joining the military and voting, but you aren’t responsible enough to drink alcohol until you’re 21.
  • My experience as a teenager says that making it forbidden just guarantees that the kids go off somewhere secluded and drink anyhow. This is usually the worse alternative because now you have a bunch of drunk teenagers driving from wherever the party was. That’s so much better. Great plan guys.

Mike, at No Angst Zone, has an excellent rant in response to this topic. Although I have to say that I think a bit of angst is showing through Mike. ;-)

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

It’s NOT about RACE

A frequent canard of black activists, liberal advocates, “justice” advocates etc… is that there are “sentencing disparities between powder and crack cocaine”; followed of course by “Clearly because crack is seen as a black drug, these harsher sentences must be racially motivated”.

It is repeated so often that even some responsible conservatives (and a LOT of libertarians)who really should know better, think there is something there.

Only it’s not true. In fact it’s not even the slightest bit true.

It’s not about race; it’s about power, and control.

It is all predicated on a technical detail, that isoften overlooked; and that most don’t understand even if they see it.

See, most people think you should sentence people based on the amount of drugs they have or are trying to sell etc… Which makes sense to a degree. Most people further assume that this amount is based on the number of doses of the drug. This is just intuitive on most folks part; because they think of “one pill, one dose” etc…

Here’s the problem though; in this country, drug related sentencing is generally calculated based on the weight of the drug INCLUDING THE CARRIER; not by the dose.

By that I mean, the actual active ingredient of the drug is generally only a small part of the weight they charge you on, because the weight of all the inactive ingredients is counted as well.

If I mixed 7 grams of cocaine into 1 oz of baking soda, 1 oz of milk sugar; I would be charged as if I had 63 grams of cocaine (which would be a minimum 10 year sentence); even though there is only 7 grams of actual cocaine there.

So why are sentences for crack “so much higher” in comparison to powder?

Crack actually contains a relatively small amount of cocaine by weight, vs. powder cocaine, and the sentencing laws ONLY CONSIDER WEIGHT.

A person with a gram of coke, has maybe 4-6 doses (less for a heavy user); and 1-2 grams would be a typical days usage for a habitual user; with up to about 5 grams for the most serious users (Richard Pryor level).

A person with a 1 gram dime rock of crack cocaine has only about 1/8th to 1/4 gram of actual cocaine in it (there isn’t a lot of consistency in dosage). A crack user will go through anywhere from 5 nickle rocks (1/16th to 1/8th gram of coke) to 10 solid rocks (a $20 2 gram or so rock with between 1/4 and 1/2 gram of actual coke) in a day (from $25 to $200) depending on how much they can buy; and how much tolerance they have built up (10 solid rocks in a day would probably kill a new user)

Thats as little 5/16 of a gram of coke, to maybe 5 grams; about the same as a days use of powder cocaine; but the total weight is from 2.5 to 20 grams.

The sentence is calculated on the total weight, therefore one days worth of crack is counted as anywhere from 2.5-20 times as much drug as one days worth of powder.

And you are sentenced as if you have 2.5 to 20 times as much of the drug.

Of course this doesnt just apply to cocaine.

No-one ever talks about sentencing disparity in LSD, which typicaly has a dosage of less 25 to 50 micrograms, which is one 2000th of a gram in weight; but which is often absorbed into tablets or a piece of heavy paper that may weigh more than a gram.

This means that someone who has five doses of LSD in 1 gram tablets is charged as if they had several hundred, to several thousand doses.

There are dozens of hippies serving 25 to life in prison right now for selling as little as 5 doses of LSD to DEA and FBI agents.

Then theres MDMA, which has the same issue.

It’s not about race; it’s about inflating the numbers of the drug enforcement agencies; and inflating the records of district attorneys. It’s about power, money, and control; pure and simple.

I am a cynically romantic optimistic pessimist. I am neither liberal, nor conservative. I am a (somewhat disgruntled) muscular minarchist… something like a constructive anarchist.

Basically what that means, is that I believe, all things being equal, responsible adults should be able to do whatever the hell they want to do, so long as nobody’s getting hurt, who isn’t paying extra

Could this happen to <span style="font-style:italic;">you</span>?

The War on Drugs is reminiscent of the tyranny that our forbearers revolted against. Hyperbole? I think not. There’s a horrible miscarriage of justice, which Radly Balko summarizes this way:

Cops mistakenly break down the door of a sleeping man, late at night, as part of drug raid. Turns out, the man wasn't named in the warrant, and wasn't a suspect. The man, frightened for himself and his 18-month old daughter, fires at an intruder who jumps into his bedroom after the door's been kicked in. Turns

out that the man, who is black, has killed the white son of the town's police chief. drugs) in his possession at the time of the raid.

…with liberty and justice for all?

Battlepanda has a round-up of blogs—of all persuasions—that shed light on this travesty. Join the chorus so maybe, just maybe, those that support the criminalization of “drugs” will see the consequences of creeping authoritarianism.

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Parsley is a Crime

Don’t carry a bag of parsley around. Don’t pretend it’s marijuana. Don’t play a prank on your friends. If you do, in the state of Florida, you are breaking the law and subject to criminal penalties. According to the Daytona Beach News:

Two Flagler County elementary school pupils were arrested last week after pretending a plastic bag of parsley was marijuana.

An arrest report by Cpl. Don Apperson, a school resource deputy with the Flagler County Sheriff’s Office, said the two girls, each 10-year-old pupils at Old Kings Elementary School, were showing classmates a plastic bag with a green leafy substance they said was marijuana.

School officials learned of the alleged bag of marijuana and called the girls into a conference with their parents. The girls admitted they did not have marijuana and said that the bag of parsley, which they brought to school in their book bags, was a prank, the report said.

Well, that certainly seems appropriate to me. Let’s arrest two 10 year old girls for a prank. That is certainly going to do something about the “drug epidemic”. Why were they arrested, you may wonder (I certainly did)?

The girls were charged under a state law that makes it a crime to claim that a substance is a drug — whether or not the item is intended for sale or distribution, according to Sheriff’s Office spokeswoman Debra Johnson. They were taken to the Flagler County Inmate Facility and later released to their parents.

Well, that certainly makes it all better. Pretending that something is a drug as a 10 year old’s prank is heinous, an absolutely unconscionable act. We can’t have these 10 year old girls running around doing this sort of thing. But it was just pretend marijuana, you protest? Yes, but we all know where that leads, don’t we? It’s inevitable that they’ll move on to harder pranks. Next comes generic aspirin masquerading as speed. And, before you know it, they’ll be pranking their friends with cornstarch “heroin”. The parsley is just an entry level prank, I tell you! It’s a slippery slope indeed.

And what happened to these girls? Aside from being arrested, booked and placed in a jail, at least temporarily.

The girls were also suspended from school and ordered to attend drug awareness classes.

Good call guys. The Drug War is all but won now!

H/T:Tim Cavanaugh @ Hit and Run

Security executive, work for Core Security, veteran, kids, dogs, cat, chickens, mortgage, bills. I like #liberty #InfoSec #scotch, #wine, #cigars, #travel, #baseball

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