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Glut the Illegal Drug Supply Chain to Remove Profits

Not an attack on the wonderful drug war, just on drug profits
  (+6, -7)
(+6, -7)
  [vote for,

As a libertarian, I know it's not worth trying to change people's mind about religion, socialism or the drug war since it's a total waste of time and people tend to get very nasty when discussing those subjects. So this isn't an attack on the drug war, rather an attempt to win it since it's not going away anyway. (Unfortunately in my opinion)

I'm sure even the staunchest drug warrior would agree that cutting the profit motive of the drug lords would be something worth doing. This could be done by glutting the supply.

In the unpopulated areas where drugs are typically smuggled, regularly drop bales of drugs, clearly marked saying "This is an illegal bale of heroin/cocain/weed whatever. To be in possession of this is a felony and if caught you'll spend 3 to 5 years in prison."

Ok, so the drug runners will obviously ignore that, take it into the supply chain and the price of drugs will drop from very expensive to practically free. Then take the money you save on the drug war and spend it on treatment of addiction, the root of the problem.

Drug cartels will have a hard time paying for their hit men and drug armies when the cost of cocain is 5 bucks a pound.

This would not stop the fabulous drug war. You could still arrest people for possession, transportation and sale of drugs, you just wouldn't have anybody doing it for big profits any more. Then, like I said, put the mony you save into treating addiction.

doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

Here's one... http://www.guardian...nations-afghanistan
[RayfordSteele, Mar 07 2011]

Drug decriminalization in Portugal http://www.scientif...g-decriminalization
[ldischler, Mar 09 2011]

Americans want pot legalized? http://stash.norml....galization-2011.jpg
According to this poll evidently. VIews seem to be changing. [doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011]

Lift Restrictions on Unprocessed Materials Lift Restrictions o...processed Materials
Another line that hits the drug-barons where it hurts (in the wallet) that both manages to keep drugs illegal in order to limit harm, but which de-incentivises the large supply chain by lowering the cost of participation, and allowing good old libertarian free-market economics to get involved. And all without any Big Government Intervention. [zen_tom, Mar 11 2011]


       Sorry, I only put the part about putting the money you save into treatment for addiction twice. My bad.   

       Put the millions you save on the drug war into treatment of addiction.   

       (Oh well, there goes Max's bun)   

       I'll also repeat that you can still throw people in jail for drug offenses, people just won't be making a profit any more. That coupled with some resultant freed up funding for community drug treatment facilities could be a real boon to people afflicted with drug addiction.   

       You can still have the beat cop taking in guys for possession, just loose the ships, helicopters, AWACS and other expensive equipment that doesn't stop the drug flow, rather just raise the price of what gets through.   

       I'll also point out, I think drugs (and booze and cigarettes) are horrible things that destroy lives, and while I think they should be legal, that doesn't mean we shouldn't try everything we can to minimize the horrible impact they have on people's lives.
doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

       Thank you Max, you're a bigger man than me for bunning after tolerating a broadside of sarcasm.   

       A gentleman true to form.
doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

       [doctorremulac3] I believe I see a flaw. Enormous quantities of oil were dumped in Saudi Arabia a long time ago, and somehow, that failed to depress oil prices. Why? Because of a cartel called OPEC which restricted supply, to support prices. Would drug cartels do otherwise?   

       One solution might be to dump product at the *end* of the supply chain, i.e. drop it in the streets of North American cities. If the dumping is sufficiently diffuse and distributed, that might prevent the formation of cartels.
mouseposture, Mar 06 2011

       I don't think drug cartels would have much control once the state become the drug supplier and start giving it away. The cost to the state would be almost nil since these drugs are not very hard to make. Why buy from a drug cartel when there's bails of this stuff you can find out in the desert for free? The street distribution idea is more honest, I'm just thinking that would be even harder to sell, not that this would be easy or even possible to sell.   

       That being said, I actually think a variation of the putting it on the street idea's sort of been done to some extent by distributing drugs to addicts through distribution centers, presumably with mandatory counselling. I think in Denmark or someplace up there.   

       I'd be curious to see how those programs have worked. It's hard to get a straight answer on that stuff because it depends on who you talk to.
doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

       Assuming you mean cigarettes, (fags means something different in the U.S.) I'll try to solve that problem later.   

       I had thought it might be a good idea to have life and health insurance for the user included in the price of cigarettes. Maybe I'll post that.
doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

       Sorry, I've seen this proposed too many times to award a bun.
RayfordSteele, Mar 06 2011

       Really? I haven't heard the idea before but that doesn't mean somebody else hasn't though of it.   

       Obviously I'll yank it if you can show where it's been proposed before.   

       That's the second time I've seen a double anno entry. Is this a glitch or is it some new thing the hipsters are doing that I don't know about?
doctorremulac3, Mar 06 2011

       Wouldn't you like to know. ;-)
RayfordSteele, Mar 07 2011

       Wouldn't you like to know. ;-)
RayfordSteele, Mar 07 2011

       "I had thought it might be a good idea to have life and health insurance for the user included in the price of cigarettes. Maybe I'll post that."   

       In the UK, tobacco tax revenue equals approx 10% of the total budget of the national health service. I suggest we're already funding healthcare through tobacco taxation.
Twizz, Mar 07 2011

       What's the difference between a legal drug and illegal drug?
pocmloc, Mar 07 2011

       A prison sentence?
rcarty, Mar 07 2011

       Legalization would achieve the same end without putting people in jail. So all you achieve here is maintaining the US prison industry, which is the largest in the world.
ldischler, Mar 07 2011

       //"This is an illegal bale of heroin/cocain/weed whatever. To be in possession of this is a felony and if caught you'll spend 3 to 5 years in prison."//   

       So the easiest thing for the "good guys" would be to simply drop one in the street then arrest whoever touches it.
FlyingToaster, Mar 07 2011

       You'd have to let it get into the system for this to work though so you'd have to give the guys picking it up some freedom to get them.   

       But if they make it too obvious, like driving down main street with a bail of heroin in the bed of their pickup truck, drag 'em in.   

       It would be a little weird, but it would absolutely drive the drug cartels out of business, that's not debatable. That's what this idea is mainly about. We've got a genuine war down in Mexico that's killed thousands of people. I'd rather do something a little weird to solve the problem and end the bloodshed than nothing.   

       Or you could make drugs legal, but since that's not going to happen.
doctorremulac3, Mar 08 2011

       This is flawed assumption. The reason drugs are so expensive is due to the loss and high cost of distribution. weed or cocaine would be like any other cash crop and cost in the dollars per pound range if it wasn't for the high risk and cost of distribution.   

       However giving the cartels their product for free would only lower their cost of manufacture not how expensive it is for them to distribute it.   

       In some countries they've tried a similar approach where heroine etc is freely available but only at government sponsored safe injection sites. This curbs demand because government has the power to make anything uncool. Thus drugs are seen as pathetic not desirable.   

       cost of distribution is not the problem. Then all the people who grow their own weed would be taking the biggest bite out of the cartels.
metarinka, Mar 08 2011

       As well, presumed peace officers who spend their time placing large amounts of a controlled substance into a public area ? The illegality is mind boggling, to say nothing of the possibility for accidental ingestion by innocent passers-by. very much [-]
FlyingToaster, Mar 08 2011

       Where did you get the idea I was saying give this to the drug cartels? I'm saying put it in the countries and the areas where the drugs are being used in so anybody can get it and bypassing the cartels all together. This would put them out of business.   

       But hey, I'd love to hear some other ideas.
doctorremulac3, Mar 08 2011

       Price also helps regulate consumption of drugs somewhat. If they are too cheap users will probably overdose more often.   

       I think a lot of the criticism of this idea is the automagically adjusting price mechanism. Even if the market is glutted with drugs the prices are going to be the same unless someone starts undercutting -- that will probably get whoever that is killed. Drugs are one of those inelastic goods that sell even when the buyers can't afford them.
rcarty, Mar 08 2011

       Well, the laws of supply and demand still hold. If anybody can go out to the desert and get it free it's not going to cost a lot.   

       Cheaper drugs might cause people to od more I suppose, but good arguments can be made for any prohibition. People don't talk about it but alcoholism, associated disease and drunken violence went way down during alcohol prohibition. Of course it spawned organized crime just like this new prohibition has.   

       I'd support addiction centers where the addicts can get their drugs for free if they attend treatment programs that at least plant some hope of quitting and some methods of quitting in their mind.   

       In somebody else's neighborhood though, not mine of course.
doctorremulac3, Mar 08 2011

       "alcoholism, associated disease and drunken violence went way down during alcohol prohibition"   

       I believe the opposite is true. Alcohol moved into the domain of organised crime, drinking establishments were hidden away where the unruly and unscrupulous could get away with anything. Moonshine was far more dangerous in manufacture, distribution and consumption than legally produced beer or spirits. Other alcohol related problems (eg domestic violence) were kept quiet for fear of prosecution.   

       It is possible that there was a reduction in reported alcohol problems.   

       As soon as you make something illegal and drive it into the criminal domain, you lose control and you lose the ability to collect accurate data.
Twizz, Mar 08 2011

       What Twizz just said.

As for the idea. Legalise & tax. It's really not any government's business to be dictating to the general populous what they can and can't consume.
DrBob, Mar 08 2011

       Well, here's the thing I was looking at but I've heard this before:   

       //After prohibition was implemented alcohol continued to be consumed. However, how much compared to pre-Prohibition levels remains unclear. Studies examining the rates of cirrhosis deaths as a proxy for alcohol consumption estimated a decrease in consumption of 10-20%. One study reviewing city-level drunkenness arrests came to a similar result. And, yet another study examining "mortality, mental health and crime statistics" found that alcohol consumption fell, at first, to approximately 30 percent of its pre- Prohibition level; but, over the next several years, increased to about 60-70 percent of its pre- prohibition level.//   

       Nobody's more anti prohibition than me and I agree with your bottom premise, but slipping up in the facts only gives the drug warriors fodder for their argument.   

       I would just say the slight gains caused by prohibition were far outweighed by the organized crime it fostered. You can point out that product safety had no oversight but to say alcohol related illness went up is probably going against the facts.   

       This one's about a dead split, let me throw another idea out there.
doctorremulac3, Mar 08 2011

       quite a few people got very ill drinking contaminated or toxic concoctions that would never have done so if alcohol had been legal. Also quite a few died in gang violence and enforcement, not to mention the many who went to jail for criminal involvement. and the wasted money. and the loss of respect for the whole system of government. If you want to keep the price of drugs down make them available in a legal form, no other mechanism will work.
WcW, Mar 08 2011

       Well, yea, agreed, I just don't see it happening.   

       Here in California a legalization bill just lost by a considerable margin, I think like 60/40, and Californians think of themselves as the only true holders of the liberal torch of progressivism. They drive their little smugmobiles like the Toyota Pious and sniff their farts out of a champagne glass. They're full of shit but you'd think they'd get their progressiveness together enough to stop throwing people in jail for smoking a little weed now and then.   

       When it comes down to considering some real changes everybody turns into Sergeant Friday from Dragnet. "It's the law ma'm. Book 'em Danno." I may be getting my obscure old tv cop drama references mixed up but I don't see drugs being legalized. Unfortunately.   

       There's three things that aren't going to change about America but that doesn't stop it from being argued about endlessly. Drugs will always be illegal and abortions and guns will always be legal, so there's something to piss everybody off. That's what we're all about. Libertarians have illegal drugs, liberals have legal guns and conservatives have legal abortions to bitch about. At the end of the day it gives everybody something to to be pissed off about. It's good to anger up the blood every once in a while, otherwise you get complacent and turn into Guatemala.
doctorremulac3, Mar 08 2011

       Glut of supply, or oversupply, would indeed bring about a temporary drop in price. Until someone (probably the badies with guns and resources) started scooping up and wharehousing the oversupply. See diamond market.   

       Several Scandanaivian countries have state run supply networks and areas where you will not be prosecuted for procurement, possession or use. These are strictly controlled, expensive programs. Interestingly, there was a study: that said drug use, of those on offer under this system, declined over a period of twenty years.
4whom, Mar 09 2011

       In Washington and Oregon legalization is well under way under the guise of "medicine".
WcW, Mar 09 2011

       Drug decriminalization worked in Portugal, but is unlikely to be tried in the US. Our anti-drug propaganda is too effective and our population too puritanical to even consider the evidence that decriminalization reduces drug use. Besides, putting 1.5 million citizens in jail every year creates useful employment for thousands of jailers, judges and cops.

Perhaps, though, Mexico will elect a new President who will see the futility of fighting our drug war and completely legalize all drugs. He could then collect taxes from the cartels, and in return protect them from US prosecution. In fact, he might demand that the US stop interdicting shipments of Mexican goods.
ldischler, Mar 09 2011

       Can't blame the puritanical right wing alone on this one. We legalized medical marijuana in California and it was Bill Clinton that enacted federal mandates to try to get it overthrown.   

       His DOJ tried revoking the federal licenses of doctors who prescribed medical marijuana among other things.   

       Bill Clinton was a pot smoking hippie and a liberal. (I think we can all assume he lied when he said he was too stupid to figure out how to smoke weed)
doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011

       All our recent presidents used pot and/or cocaine, but they are playing to the masses, and they know the masses are too puritanical to consider the evidence that legalization decreases drug use, and criminalization increases it. Of the present candidates, Ron Paul may be the only one for legalization (at the federal level). This won't get rid of the profit motive, however, unless most of the states do the same.
ldischler, Mar 09 2011

       I don't know if this collection of polls is true, but it says currently most Americans favor legalizing weed, something I didn't know until checking.   


       It seems legit. Maybe there is hope.
doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011

       And you think there's some mechanism by which the wishes of the population might influence the actions of government? Not in the systems that the US and UK call democracy.
Twizz, Mar 09 2011

       I'm afraid that money is probably the only thing that gets politician's attention.   

       If you come up with a proposal to legalize drugs that will fill the politician's pockets things will happen. Unfortunately, the concept of legalizing weed and taxing it, the one proposal on the table that addresses the reality of greedy politicians doesn't make a lot of sense.   

       Weed isn't that popular compared to booze and cigarettes and it's a very small fraction of the price to produce. If it were legal, it could easily even be grown at home, something you can't really do with booze and cigs. When people talk about the billion dollar market for weed, they're talking about the billion dollar market for illegal weed.   

       Big difference between that and something you could legally grow in your backyard that requires about half the attention of say a rosebush.
doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011

       //I don't know if this collection of polls is true//   

       The last three of those data points seem to be from the future.
ldischler, Mar 09 2011

       Yea, I caught that. Might impugn the veracity a bit.
doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011

       /billion dollar market for illegal weed/ There is no reason that one would have to let free market pressures push down the cost of weed. Weed could be taxed such that the price stayed the same. ATF could become WTF.
bungston, Mar 09 2011

       //ATF could become WTF.//   

       It might lack in intimidation factor though.   

       "Hello sir, I'm agent Remulac of the WTF. Please stop giggling, this is serious."
doctorremulac3, Mar 09 2011

       //Weed could be taxed such that the price stayed the same.//   

       You'd just recreate the problem. The more you tax something the more you develop a black market for it.
ldischler, Mar 10 2011


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