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A fact you probably didn't know: Portugal decriminalized drugs more than a decade ago, and drug abuse plummeted. America, meanwhile, keeps expanding its insane and counterproductive War on (Some) Drugs.
Brad Askew's profile photoBridget Wolfe (Pan Incarnate)'s profile photoTania Ferreira's profile photoMike Mc Manus's profile photo
I agree , police war or military war against drug is a huge waste of money
+Richard Branson has been pointing this out also. A change is required and I think this type of programme should be looked on as a great example of what can be achieved when the government gets behind some great advice.
Big Pharma and Big Liquor are behind the stupid "war on drugs".
Treat the problem not the symptoms is the only way to solve the (drug) problem. Glad to see Portugal's experiment proves this is more then just theory.
Drugs should be legal, manufactured, sold and bought by anyone, and NOT taxed. The "war on drugs" is a gigantic failure that causes horrific corruption of police forces military forces in multiple countries, undermining all forms of legal order. This is how it goes when the gov't intervenes into the economy, suspending the free trade of capitalism with crazy regulation.
Yup. Remember that "War on Drugs?" And see how it's impossible to buy marijuana at any price now? That's money well spent.
still most of the people want drugs to be illegal but I do no understand why
+ebassa ebassa Most people want that because people are told to want it through a ton of misinformation produced to support the idea that the "war on drugs" is the only real solution
The prison system in America is Big Business. That's why almost all crimes are felonies now, very few are misdemeanors. And we are taught that if you are rich and a celebrity, you will escape prison and are above the law, but a guy smoking a joint is a heinous criminal who needs to be punished.

How dare any mere human criminalize a plant that God put here on Earth for our wise and prudent usage?

All drugs were legal during most of human history. Drug laws are an invention of modern civilization, I think they began with the Opium Wars or thereabouts.

Also remember that chocolate was once criminalized as dangerous drug.
This is the only sane solution to a huge problem of human behaviour. Our government is subject to USA laws that require the war on drugs continue, when the USA decides to stop being the worlds policeman, and when politicians listen to logic, and when the Rupert Murdochs of the world decide to publish the truth rather than their twisted view of reality, then we might have change...In the meantime we lock up those that are caught with one drug, while I can cause lethal harm with alcohol/tobacco.
+Steven Streight Exactly right. I am reminded of the reasoning behind Florida's legislation to require drug tests for everyone collecting welfare. After all, we don't want to enable your lazy self to do drugs on the tax-payer dime. Damn criminals! Let's instead spend millions of dollars on mandated drug tests - to save thousands of dollars. Who wins again?
Not to mention (or speak ill of the dead) - but I heard that Whitney Houston consumed about $100m in overpriced, illicit drugs... How exactly do the czars prosecuting the "war on drugs" miss that quantity of shipment (even spread out over 20+ years) to an individual or small group? When they start kicking in the doors of middle and upper class America as opposed to the "supply side" in the lower class ghettos - well then I'll believe it. As it is - it's a sham. And a shame.
I take it then that you are a heavy drug user who wants to entice innocent people into your filthy way of life. Hope you overdose!!!
As late as the 1950s, murder was not a criminal offense in Ecuador. It was the governments position that the victim either richly deserved it, or was innocent, in which case their family and friends would redress the grievance. As barbaric as this may sound, Ecuador had not only the lowest murder rates in the Americas, they also had the lowest crime rates. I'm just sayin...
Dan, I'd like you to stop expanding this insane and counterproductive War. Portugal has had great results, and I think you could realize an improvement if you do as they do.
+Mike Chen It's funny how the World Federation Against Drugs article used data that was three years out of date to claim higher infection transmission rates when more concurrent data said otherwise.

"Concerning infectious diseases, between populations in drug addiction treatment in 2009, the
positivity values for HIV (7%-19%), Hepatitis B (2%-3%), Hepatitis C (29%-50%) and
Tuberculosis (1%-2%), reinforce the downward trend verified in previous years, namely at
HIV level and Hepatitis C. " -EMCDDA
TV is a drug. Politics is a drug. Hollywood is a drug. Materialism is a drug. Ego is a drug. Sports is a drug. Many things are addictive and destructive. Shall we wage war against them all? Why not?

What good has come of this "war on drugs" by alcoholic DEA agents?
That article states that there were about 100,000 drug abusers in Portugal in the 1990s. That number dropped to half in what, twenty two years time?

That's a lot of time for that half of abusers to overdose and die, don't you think? Your statements prove nothing.
+Mike Chen: That link is from the World Federation Against Drugs... and of course THEY wouldn't have a vested interest in this...
Jr Leon
too much money in prisons. But i do think "light" drugs should be legal.
People are going to do drugs no matter what and if they legalized them then who would work in the labor camps we call privatized prisons?
Point one...they said that they did not legalize drugs, they changed the way they handled those found using illicit drugs. Point two... +Porter Woodward I have been wondering just how those drug tests were done in Florida. I know that here in North Carolina, it would be likely that they just paid someone to go take the test for them. If on the other hand the test is being administered on the spot without any chance for a substitution, then those of us who believe that drug use is an issue in the welfare system may have been proven wrong. But I can assure you that, working in retail, I see plenty of people high while using their food stamps.
We can't let go of our fights. You mad, bro?
+Nicholas Mione But of course! As is the OP and others like him. Just pointing out another side to the story. Someone should bring it up. It would be boring and perhaps inaccurate otherwise.
maybe they just didn't propagate it the way, say, holland and germany did. because if you've ever been to either place, you can plainly see the devastation that 'decriminalizing hard street drugs' etc has had.
+Jonathan Jones and don't forget the massive prison industry. Unlike normal countries the US has given the right to imprison people to private coorporations. Not only does the US have the largest % of the population behind bars worldwide (>3% of pop), it is almost 10 times higher then in Europe.
Something tells me these 2 facts are related, and I bet the prison business has their share of lobbyists in Washington. If the war on drugs was ended they would have to close at least half of their 'plants'. Go figure.
+Jonathan Martensen The article I linked was published in Oct 11. So I assume he was using information slightly older. But still I see only data set for 2009? Am I missing something?
I think the War on Drugs causes more drug related crime and death, just like the War on Terrorism causes more terror.
And I think it is intentional.
+Marc Roelofs And thus we get to the core of the problem: will it blend Is our government corrupt?
@ alan wainwright: I take it then that you are a hater and a moron. Life is a lot easier when you learn not to hate and get an education. FYI: I don't use drugs or drink alcohol, never have, never will, you however could probably improve your life a little by smoking some pot and calming down.
imho, the 'war on drugs' is a war of mind-control.

The governments cannot admit that their self-promoting illusion of utopia could be wrong. People 'escaping' from them by drug use upsets them, because such persons are rejecting the accepted/created reality of the state.

I also believe this is why suicide is criminalised - it is the ultimate escape and anyone who wants to leave their 'perfect world' must be treated as mentally ill and forced to live. :)
So we make a wrong right just to make the wrong less prevalent. That makes that right wrong since it was done just for the illusion of a wrong cured into a right.
Aaron, you make no sense. People have been doing drugs since they were still half-evolved apes. May as well deal with it intelligently instead of pissing away billions on prisons and drug wars that fail while increasing crime and misery everywhere...
+Aaron Green Maybe it's wrong to see taking over our society and do nothing about it, that's listen to others who have improved their situation.
I see a lot of conspiracy theories in these comments. The drug war was voted for by the people. Your friends, neighbors, and family members voted for it, the government didn't force it on us, we forced it on ourselves. Get involved with changing the minds of the people around you rather than blaming things on "the government".
Ron Paul is the only American politician talking about anything like this, and people treat him like he's crazy for ideas like this...
Funny how the alcohol and tobacco drugs are legal, and more harmful than many 'banned' drugs, isn't it?

Plus, the 'world' is bigger than the USA, so I don't care what Reagan did :)

Not a conspiracy theory or anything. just a thought about how the banned things are the ones that the governments can't seem to TAX effectively...
Well, the war on drugs, just like the income tax and the passport, started under President Woodrow Wilson in 1913-14, and was intensified under Richard Nixon then more under Ronald Reagan. It took a light turn on January 20, 2001, when Bill Clinton pardoned his brother Roger Clinton, a couple of hours before George Bush was sworn in as President.
I like caffine and I smoke marlboro's. I also think I am hooked on poweraide energy drinks.
Drugs... are americars second form of economy... Simple as that
The down side is, some people might use their over-intoxication as an excuse for commiting other crimes? I mean would people get away with jacking your (stealing) car,because they said they had a drug problem, or would they get drug treatment while in jail for jacking your car?
If you tried to de-criminalize, the criminals would create a lobby to fight the initiative, being illegal keeps them in business and prices inflated. But good luck keeping your political seat if you pushed this, guessing you'd get voted out pronto.
As Portuguese I must say that indeed drug related problems are not our top concerns in public health issues. Offering treatment instead of punishment for those addicted works well in a two-fold way: first you attack the real reason for (hard) drug market by going after the addiction instead of the drug dealer, i.e. by attacking demand instead of offer; second it changed the way how Portuguese society deals with drugs by realizing it as a personal problem instead of a crime, this opens people to speak about their drug related problems which will ease them to get help since they are not discriminated anymore.

But as the text says this is not legalization, which I am also for. Legalization would lead to taxation and regulation, information about drugs would not be a tabu and this would definitively lead to a more responsible use of recreational drugs. There is no conspiracy theory on this viewpoint, most of the recreational drugs (light) are less harmful to your health than alcohol or tobacco, their prohibition is cultural and historical not medical or scientific.
ok weird but mym dad is voting 4 gingritch
Personally I think drugs are harmfull to your health, like cigarettes, but I could live with decriminalization.
Move to Portugal and buy your drugs there, then. The people who want this are the people who want to use. If your goal is to save tax money, you are trying to empty the ocean with a bucket. The DEA gets less than $2.5 billion out of our $3.5 TRILLION budget. Put your efforts toward something that will actually get meaningful results.
That is interesting. However, the words: America, insane, counterproductive, and war appearing in the same sentence come as no suprise at all!
I always thought a war on drugs should involve marines and drug production facilities...
In reality I knew that too, but do you know what the truth is? If you want to be free, it takes responsibility, for all you think & do. One takes place within the mind, & your actions take place in time.
One Marx asked the $10,000 question,
While another one said that Religion is the Opiate of the masses.
If you ask me, I'll say that laughter is the better medicine,
but whatever gets you through the night is alright too . . .

. . . Just don't get caught stealing or it's off to the doghouse for you!
Been Caught Stealing - Janes Addiction
It would also require prison reform, because they should not house non-violent offenders in the same building as violent offenders,regardless of whether they are high or not.
If someone jack a 7-11 for 20 bucks that's one thing, but if they injur the clerk/casheir, they should be put in a dark rat infested dungeon.
Oh please. That's like saying speeding tickets went down because we raised the limit to 100 mph.
Smoke a joint, go to prison. Rob billions of dollars in Wall Street fraud, get invited to dinner at the White House.
+Logan Swapp It's not just the DEA, it's the extra police, the prisons, the prosecutors, the judges. It's the innocent lives lost to botched SWAT raids. It's the families torn apart. It's the children left without mothers and fathers because their personal choice of drug (often cannabis) isn't popularly approved (like alcohol) even when they're otherwise model citizens. It's the people who, having been in the system, can never qualify for a decent paying job again because of hiring policies prompted (and sometimes mandated) by "tough on crime" politicians; those people are locked into poverty for the rest of their lives. Not in the least it's the societal decay that comes from the (frankly, disgusting) attitude that some people have the moral right to rob, cage, and kill others whose private, nonviolent activities they don't approve of.

The measurable costs are drastically higher than the DEA budget alone. And then, who can measure the cost to society of a child who grows up in a broken home? Who can measure the financial loss to the economy from a productive and hard working person cut off from all but the bottom tier of employment (and replaced by someone in all important ways less qualified)? Who can measure the damage caused by additional, actually harmful, crimes funded by drug money, or the loss of economic productivity to the violent black market because that money is put out of bounds to the white market?
Societies have always had occaision to alter/enhance perspective through active ingredients generally psychoactive, however, it happened with the whole clan, a community social activity and not often.

just thinking... have you ever noticed that what you can't have you want more, no matter what it is, as simple as being out of an easily had item like coffee....
~~~~The (Some) Drugs that you speak of in America obviously don't include RX Big Pharma Drugs that kill 40 people a day in America and more people than car accidents last year. How can you fight a war on drugs when the legal dealers are making the drugs in their pillmills, ingested by pillbillies, are being sold legally via complicit American Pharmacies. What a farce Americans are in their war on drugs.
Prohibition -- now wasn't that a smart and effective way to deal with alcohol abuse? All it did was grow the criminal organizations.
LIke I said before, If someone commits a non violent crime, they should not be in the same prison system with a violent offender. I feel that way because I think keeping them seperate will increase the likeyhood that the non violent criminals could be rehabilitated. Violent people might require more and longer time to be rehabilitated, and puting non violent offenders in with violent offender will probably make the non-violent offenders worse. << and that is regardless of what they're smoking,or drinking.
not to mention more educted in criminal ways....
A psychology/counseling instructor once told the class I was in years ago that what motivates us throughout our life is that which we did not have and continuously seek to get. It's also much like when you try to retrieve an elusive memory. The harder you try, the more you cannot reach it and the more you want it. That said, I don't approve of giving the okay to anything that is not only dangerous to self, but dangerous to others, no matter how much people want it.
Reefer Madness is a good example, as is the acceptance of cocaine use once white rich hollywood types started using it
Why not have a war on poverty since the war on drugs has been a losing battle since the Regan administration.
You mean the war on poverty that has increased and expanded poverty over the last 40 years?
How about giving up on the idea of making lasting social change by declaring war on anything? Wars polarize people and set the whole system up for a resist/persist paradigm.
....and many "poor people" still manage to find ways to buy dime bags fo Saturday night partys.
Now Portugal needs to decriminalize rape, and sexual abuse will plummet accordingly. The question is: While drug abuse plummeted, what happened to the use of previously illegal drugs?
All they gotta do is build free dental clinics in every city town and county, and they solve half the poverty issues right then and there. Cause even well to do middle income earners KNOW how great dental insurance is, not to mention the cost.
+Alex Taller Drug abuse is to rape as tattoos are to murder. That is to say, they're not fucking comparable. FFS. Just because you don't approve of something does not mean that it's comparable to the most heinous crimes humans have words for.
Drugs are not a criminal issue, it's a health issue. Crimes can be committed with or without drug abuse. Who the hell cares what drugs your neighbor is using as long as he's not bothering you or harming you in any way? Should we outlaw reading because some people read things and then are motivated to commit crimes?
Wow, a shout for personal responsibility. Thank You Linda
+Steven Streight Following your logic: Who the hell cares if your neighbor is fucking his own daughter as long as he's not bothering you?
And some drugs like meth, are just scary. Smoking reefer is not too different than drinking, but he hard drugs,and effects are scary. I just don't know if it would work out here or not? Thank ya all for the conversation.and the article.
I couldn't disagree more with Steven. Drugs are not a victimless crime. Allowing citizens to use drugs and abuse and neglect their children will destroy our country.
Emma ET
You Call that Cool
+Sal Barajas I'm confused by your statement. I am a professional (I write software for a living). I pay my bills, I invest in things I think are valuable with my free money, I give to charity, I care for and provide for my wife and my son, and occasionally family members and friends. I also (in moderation) drink alcohol, often on the weekends and at social events. Am I a part of some "dependent group"?

I hate to break it to you, but almost everyone in my peer group - that is to say, the people writing software and managing the IT infrastructure of my entire city - does the same. In fact, I get together with half a dozen or more of them every weekend at our hackerspace and make stuff; and often, that stuff is homebrew beer.

Now tell me something. If instead of beer and whiskey I enjoyed cannabis, what would be the difference to you, to my family, to society - other than that I'd be at slightly lower risk for long-term health problems (compared to alcohol)?

Hell, if all the above things were true and I was on methamphetamine or heroin, what would it matter? Now I grant you that's a difficult hypothetical to digest, given the downward spirals those drugs almost always initiate, but suppose it was true. Wouldn't I still deserve to be measured by my actions and my impacts on other people, and judged accordingly, rather than by your personal tastes in regard to mind and metabolism-altering substances? If your tastes alone matter, why not lock up people because they enjoy different art, music or food?
What?! Prohibition sets up organized crime?! I don’t believe this! If this were right, organized crime must have spread in America during the 1920s! Nah! You’re kiddin’ me!
You must also add that Portugal decriminalized only the USE of certain drugs...not the sale, manufacture or transportation. It's also important to point to the good doctors statement that the treatment and ongoing support to get off of drugs was a contributing factor...and I would take that one step further and say it is the PRIMARY reason addiction declined in Portugal.
Drugs will never be made legal as long as the elites are making a buck on the whole mess From supplying to locking people up, the same Family's have their fingers in the whole pie.And have for over 200 years Ever hear of the Opium wars.
Drugs are a govt. controlled scam. Wither your a I'm a victim of something Legal user or a I'm getting over on the system clown illegal user. Cold hard fact is they want you hooked and dependent and scrambled eggs for brains. Just look a these comments our Country is becoming a full blown Police state and the only thing most of these clowns are worried about is making their junk easier to get.Why try to fix the problem when you can just avoid it and zone out.
+Brandon Minert But locking parents away for 10 to 20 years doesn't leave children feeling neglected, shuffled through foster care and CPS for years on end, putting them in a no-win situation (statistically speaking)?
Thank you. A good article and exactly on point.
Are we taking about "all" drugs like heroin , crack , cocaine & crystal meth ?!? Or are you just mad because you can't puff on your spliff in peace ?
+Sean Gapay Would you be mad if someone threatened to kill you or throw you in jail the next time you made a dismissive, obnoxious, condescending comment? I bet you would :)
I'm not sure that calling something legal that was hitherto illegal does anything for the issues other than change its category. Responsible people do not get high when they shouldn't. Does anyone think that they are the problem? Is there a chance that if something potentially dangerous like a driver's license or hand gun were not regulated that there would be no increased danger?
+Brandon Minert Abusing and neglecting children is already illegal. Drugs don't abuse and neglect children, shitty parents do - and most of them are not on drugs. Allowing, or worse yet legally sanctioning, condescending assholes to attack, cage, maim and kill people who engage in harmless activities they don't approve of, on the other hand, is destroying many countries - whether that activity is drug use or, say, worshiping the wrong God. Really it's not even my problem anymore. The situations has progressed such that the people in favor of such policies are getting their just deserts, often paying more for their poor choices, financially and socially, than their intended victims.
One thing that would probably change is that the criminal enterprises surrounding the acquisition and sale of drugs would probably collapse. There would be stores where drugs could be brought legally. Hopefully the amount of violence would also diminish.
Doesn't make sense, right? Until you realize that the government really doesn't want drug use to drop in America.
Yet, over the counter drugs and prescriptions kill more Americans the illegal ones. Thanks the Leaders and the U.N. :(
This won't happen in the US it would be too efficient. Lots of law enforcement jobs will be lost, crime would decrease, and the US would be a much safer place. Big Government would not want that.
But,but... everybody will become drug induced zombies so says the detractors.
Would this help out with the enormous debt in this country now or would we hook every official.
The us drug war has never added up,making drugs illeagl dosent stop people from doing them. They could make drugs legal tomorrow and im still not gonna start smoking crack,we dont need the goverment to protect us from ourselves,if we are going to self desturct we will do it legal or not.all the drug war does is make cartels and thugs rich
(1) Pass drug laws.
(2) Glamorize celebrity and rock star drug use.
(3) Fill the prisons with minor, non-violent drug offenders.
(4) Bigger government and wealthy prison industry.

How do you like it now? Drug laws do not solve drug abuse problems.
Doesn't surprise me one bit. We all know the war on drugs doesn't work and the only way to stop people using drugs is to deal with the reasons they take them. It seems to me the war on drugs entire purpose is to help organised criminals because of the control they have on politicians.
Conspiracy theories aside, has anyone considered the consequences of legalized drug usage on the American family? What about the children of all the users?
#Mark Prasek - The alternative is the consequences of illegal drug usage on the American Family. What about all the Children there?

Point being, drugs are used be they legal or not, and if they are legalized then they can be tracked and monitored much easier, and we can tax them to pay for the inevitable cleanup that is required.

Will it make drugs go away, no. But then again neither will criminalizing them, and ask Mexico how that is working out for their border cities.
The operative word here is to focus on TREATMENT plus, legalizing will make the allure of getting away with something taboo less appealing to many.
No shock here. I've been urging some action like this for a while now. The war on drugs is clearly a pointless battle. If we would follow Portugal's lead drugs would be a much smaller issue in this country.
holy crap Ambra Vanderpool, holy crap.
Then all the donut eating pigs would have to find new jobs. America would never do this. Too much money being made by the dirty cops in every city of America. Courts Would not have any money. Lol maybe they could get real jobs and see how that works out for them. Drug addiction is a sickness not a crime. Stupid cops can find every drug user or dealer but can't stop killers, rapists or child molesters. Go figure. Its like shooting fish in a barrel. Too bad they don't do what they are supposed to do protect and SERVE.
Glad to see this actually works, not only in theory.

Meanwhile in Sweden:
They refuse to start a needle exchange program for drug addicts. Starting that would "cost us more money than we are willing to spend".

...Coz spreading infections and deceases is so much cheaper in the long run......O_o
They should drug test and polygraph every politician and judge before they can ruin lives. Such hypocrites
lets legalize drugs & see how hell breaks loose!!!!
The Penalty for Drug Use should not be More harmful To The User then the Drug Itself- Jimmy Carter
Don't automatically assume the same effect would happen here. Portugal and America are very different countries with very different neighbors.
I actually didn't know that! Thanks for the info!
I think it's the government being greedy. Think of all the money they would lose in court costs, probation, community service, etc... I don't think it really has anything to do with being against drugs or public welfare. It's all about the money. 
i feel we are better off this way. do not think we want to take a chance on that. with drug addicts just hanging around freely you never know what would happen
you know if we tried this in the US we would end up having to bail out the drug dealers. On a more serious note drugs would still be illegal so little would change with law enforcement, yje change would be towards treatment rather than jail for the user which is something I think would be beneficial but probably more costly on the near term compared to today.
The government would tax any legalized drug and make an insane amount of money. If it was just about the money things would be different. Chicago is trying to pass a sugar tax to try to get people to lose weight. The government doesn't have a good grasp of reality. That is a fact.
amen. someone with common sense!
The reality is that when people disapprove of something, they can’t tolerate the fact that someone is doing it. The people that disapprove of drug use create excuses and contrived scenarios to justify the ban on drug use. Just like those that oppose same sex marriage or gun rights.

Legalizing drugs would give the government the power to exercise some control over drug use, such as keeping minors from using them.

Alcohol is legal and regulated. Minors have a very difficult time getting it because liquor stores don’t want to be fined or lose their liquor license. And it’s become increasingly difficult to find an adult to buy it for them.

Marijuana is illegal and minors have little problem getting it. Since it’s illegal to sell to anyone dealers are not too concerned with their customers’ age.
Wow, I hope something happens that way drug users have nothing to talk about anymore and both sides can stop citing articles that are biased in some way.
+kevin Johnson Are you serious?!? I am not trying to be rude here, but honestly "Legalizing drugs would give the government the power to exercise some control over drug use, such as keeping minors from using them"? You do realize that alcohol and tobacco are legalized and the government has "control" over keeping minors from using them right? I do not see that working...minors are smoking and drinking, it is just "illegal". Drugs are illegal now, how is making them legal and then making it illegal for minors going to keep minors from using them?
One ectra thing that Portugal did, was to close all major drug dealer sites on the major cities.
Hello all, to all those that say users are going to become violent criminal or that they will neglect their kids or become useless to society...
I am a registered voter, I have a good job and have been there for 20+ years. I have never been arrested or commited a violent crime. My grandparents used recreational drugs ranging from pot to peyote and raised their kids to have standards and morals and then tgey did recreational drugs and continued the cycle raising their kids to have standards and morals.
The violent criminals in this society are either raised into this behavior, driven into it by poverty and the hope that maybe just maybe these crimes will get them out of the hell holes they live in or have unstable mentsl capacities... Some of which coould be controlled with some of these recreational drugs.
Fact if the matter is that cartels and terrorist orginizations are making billions, maybe more, off of these drugs and when are government actually stops 3% off these orginizations they use the money confiscated to further their war on drugs as well as wars in general. Hell the CIA has been prosocuted for doing just that.
Drugs are not the problem, people are the problem and their greed is what nakes them do the things they do.
In California where Medical Marijuana is legal... The only violent crimes related to marijuana commited since that law passed were performed by the government attacking dispensories with swat teams because we all know that the guy in the wheelchair suffering from MS... Is going to go on a rampage at any moment cause he is all hopped up on goofballs.
Think before you speak and seek education before you think...
And yes, I use as well, third generation and proud of it.
Sorry about the book I just wrote ^^^^
If drugs were legal and made in factories then less people would be in prison, there would be more jobs working in the factories, more money could be made from the sales tax, and addiction could be monitored and studied for a better understanding. Where is the bad side of legalising them???
When you put it that way, its seems like you're saying that people exclusively abuse drugs to be criminals
but, since drugs are legal in Portugal, abuse is down.... that is, illegal drug use is down, since its legal... Is drug use down?
Drug usage is a hard thing to measure. If you compare polls from before and after legalization of usage, then you will likely see an increase in usage simply because more people are likely to admit using it. If you go strictly by one poll with question a. being "Do you currently use drugs which were previously illegal?" it would be a bit confusing for the respondents and likely the answer will be lower strictly from the wording.

I think it's simply too hard to judge whether or not usage is down or up. I'd imagine that usage would stay around the same, though. Most people who want to do drugs already know where to get them. It's not that difficult to find.

As for hard drugs, not many people wake up and think, "Hey! I think I'll do some crack tonight." Just for giggles with friends. And even if they do, who cares as long as they aren't harming others. Besides, harming others is already a crime in itself. So why punish the same crime twice?

Another reason why drug usage probably doesn't increase is because some of the tax money in these countries is actually used for increasing awareness and rehabilitation centers, at least that's what happens in Portugal and The Netherlands.
Here's an EMCDDA (European Monitoring Center for Drugs and Drug Abuse) data sheet for Portugal that compares the country's stats with European averages. Although it does not illustrate a YTD (Year To Date) change over 10 years, Portugal is below 25% of the European averages on almost all categories - not bad if you ask me, for a state supporting decriminalization.
The global war on copyrights and "idea theft" is just getting started.. The proof is already in: America has an endless appetite for profitable war.
why is drug use not okay, but cigarette use and alcohol use okay ? seems totally illogical.
+Michael Zoom is America and Japan and Greece and many other nations... (your point being what exactly?)
Perhaps because North American governments are not interested in solving the problem,but keeping the status quo...
Just like Amsterdam did and had the same results. Our drug policies are out of date! Yay!

I'm also not going through all 205 previous comments to see if someone said that. So if you did: congratulations, we are linked up to the same hivemind server.
10 years is a good time to know if things improved, maybe someone will take notice in Washington:)
Treating drug abuse means helping the poor and accepting responsibility for a broken child protection system.
This s a perfect example of what is SO good about G+ - all the diverse views.
Makes for a great read and certainly food for thought...thanks to all participants
+rosie hecker von danzig I am from Berlin, Germany and what you said is absolutely not true.
On the contrary, I do see devastation in meth-infested communities in the US.
People here are informed and under much less (various) pressure(s) and would never touch that shit.
The war on drugs is an American problem they should be fighting at home, not in other countries. The drug trade into the US is because US citizens consume vast quantities of drugs, not because drug cartels push drugs into the country. If the market didn't exist, there would be no trade.

This is another example of the US government taking their problems to another country and creating a war killing thousands of people. Stop, or allow, your own citizens to consume drugs and there will be no war to fight. Mexicans do not consume vast quantities of cocaine, the cartels profit, and rule an entire country with fear because US citizens consume.

Are US enforcement agents tackling the problem at home with mass murder?? because the US government (and tax payers) are paying other countries huge sums of your money to do just that.

Take control by producing your own stuff to burn your noses, stop killing other countries. Those that love to powder their noses at all you want, safe with your friends, moan about your government being this and that....but remember you are the reason for thousands of deaths, you are the reason people live under cartel control, you are the reason for the war.....sleep safe in your bed, because your 'terrible' government, that you complain about, allow you the freedom and safety to do just that.
There are at least two herbal preparations that provide significant "cure" rates for alcohol and opiate addictions. Ayahuasca from the Amazon and Iboga from Africa. They are, of course, illegal in the U.S. despite virtually zero risk of being addictive themselves.
+kevin Johnson I am sorry if it sounded of the drawbacks of the written word over speaking face-to-face. I was incredulous, not angry. I do not see legalizing drugs as the answer anyway, but when it was put into the context of legalizing them to give the government the power to keep them away from minors and minors are constantly getting the legal alcohol and tobacco, which the government controls, it just seems ludicrous to me. And thank you, I did smoke when I was in High School, but I do not smoke any more. If I did want some though, I am sure I would have no trouble finding it since the war on drugs is failing. Just as our government is currently failing...but that is another subject to debate. :D
Buying or selling drugs is a Crime in Portugal! The police is very active in busting drug deals, and drug dealers are sent to prison!

Decriminalization of drug use means that a drug addict will not go to jail for cunsuming drugs. Instead he is sent to treatment facilities, to help him get rid of his addiction.

If an addicit steals a purse, he is still commiting a crime and will be arrested.

On the other hand, it is extremelly difficult to get a gun permit in Portugal. And there is no death penalty in Portugal since the XIX century. Opposite directions from the US. I prefer the Portuguese way.
Not everyone can handle drugs so legalisation is not a solution, only people who are mentally stable should get exceptions from being sent to rehab. The rest shouldn't be sent to jail but to school.
Risk decision turned out to be extreme profitable. Good one.
+Doni Juarez Actually illegal drugs are more accessible to minors than legal drugs, and just as accessible to minors as adults. A study I read a few years ago showed it was easier for a minor to buy cannabis than tobacco and easier to get drugs like ecstasy and methamphetamine than alcohol. Whoda thought, drug dealers don't have "over 18" rules!

(of course that's not to say legalization would stop minors - they'd just go back to doing what they do with cigarettes and alcohol: stealing it from their parents, rofl).
Legalize Psychadelics, And Marijuana :)
There Problem fixed, No Drug Addict can handle there own Sub-Conscious Demons. Legalize them, But have harsher penalties for Crime Related drug offenses, For example you drink 2 beers and beat ur wife that's 8 years in prison :) Time to make people responsible for there own actions.
Fuck Alcohol and Cigarretes!! I have Medical Cannabis, No more Drug Dealers, No more having to deal with the police trying to bust Potheads more than rapist. I'm soo happy I Can stay medicated, even though they're are trying to shut all Collectives down, If I can't sleep right with a Toke, I feel bad for those with Melanoma and other serious diseases who won't be able to get there own medicine, What is wrong with the world? Was it Reagan?
+Boston Mess You fool, they come from Candaidia, of course! The land of hockey, beavers, and Mounties, eh? And French-speaking lumberman, non? Honestly, most Americans couldn't point to Candaidia at the top of a map!
+Gary Hess The other effect you have, once the government makes legal certain drugs, is that government information becomes more like facts and less like propaganda.
+Jonathan Cortez Nixon started the "war", Reagan ramped it up, but prohibition goes back a lot farther than that. NORML has good articles on the subject.
+Logan Swapp Where on earth did you get the idea that people who are against the war on drugs just want to use?? What a lame idea! No, I want my freedom back. I want the freedom to bank without having someone inspecting my deposits for drug money. I want the freedom to travel with cash without having a GREATER chance of having the police arrest my money as drug profits than having it stolen by a criminal. I want the freedom to buy things with cash without being thought of as a drug pusher. I want the freedom to fly without having to be groped (there will never be another successful hijacking -- and the TSA's purpose is not to prevent one). I WANT MY GODDAMN SUDAFED BACK, YOU BASTARDS!
+Russell Nelson Exactly so. Now you can get your Sudafed - but you'll need a prescription first... So that means seeing doctor (hope you have health care coverage) having them write a scrip - and then you can go to the pharmacy... and make your co-pay (again, hope you've got coverage).... and then the insurance company has to pay out to your doctor, and to the pharmacy (who again is responsible for the rising cost of healthcare?). This all then has to be tracked by the rationing system controlling the disbursement of the base components used to manufacture Sudafed (smaller government? complaints about health care rationing? all swept aside in the name of the war on drugs).

Just because I'd like to assert that it's my body doesn't mean that I'm then going to fill it with whatever illicit substance I can or force other's to do the same.
I thought drugs were illegal so the C.I.A. could make money.
+Olivia Orona They can try to take our weapons but that will spark something in this country that they don't want. I know they would love to do it but the logistics involved in that is nearly impossible.
US Drug law is more about control (civic obedience) than about protecting the common wealth.
What do you guys think about the Proposal by El Salvador, and already supporting Honduras, For all Latin American Countries to legalize all drugs??
...I personally think that's gonna cause a lot of CIA operations "Aka Assasinations" to those countries...I personally believe this is more than just a solution to lower our debt, THIS is about OUR rights as people, The founding Fathers would laugh at our weakness and lack of Backbone. With all of our right being taken away, slowly but surely, it's only a matter of time. But the Government knows people are tired of listening to there bullshit and false hopes, 2012 is the time of spiritual revolution, and whether the Government likes it or not, We are all becoming a collective conscious to better this world and help each other out. They know thanks to Occupy...That we will not go down without a fight. And even if the Feds Blacklist me, Call Me a terrorist, You still can't stop thousands from speaking the truth. 2 quotes is all have to say to those keeping My people down..."Give me Liberty or Give me Death" -Patrick Henry
"Would You rather live on your knees, Or Die On your feet" Emilio Zapata. This is the BEST country in the World, Not because of all the fucked up shit we have done others, Not because of this "Government" , It's because the Roots of this Country came from Freedom to all, Freedom of Prosecution, Freedom to better your life, and the freedom to choose your own path. Im ready to die for those people who risked it all, and their lives, So that future generations "Us" could be free and just. I will not die to protect the Opiate fields in Afghanistan.
I think that IF we decriminalize drugs in this country, then they should also decriminalize fishing without a licens. They should also decriminalize building a structure in your own back yard without a building permit. I mean come on, if you don't need permition to toke out bake on yor deck, then you should not require permission to build a deck,or dog house etc etc.
I sorry, my bad. Since the cops won't be waisting time locking people up for drugs, they will have extra time on their hands to arrest people caught fishing at the lake without a fishing license. << I know it is not directly related to this particular topic, just other aspects of the libertarian part of me.
But it does not seem unethical to most humans to gut clean and fry fish for dinner.
Another example for libertarianism, might be, that many people have drivers licenses,and still don't know how to drive. So why should it be considered criminal for one to drive without a license?
+Roger Hammer How nice. The children can "visit" mommy and daddy while they're high in the bedroom. Gee, I'm all warm and fuzzy over the idea now.
+Michael Tilton The problem is not with the legality of drug usage but rather the moral decay that makes drug usage so desirable in the first place.
+Mark Prasek
Well what drug are you talking about? Same as alcohol or cigarettes, Or what about the moral decay of Obese families stuffing their face with sweets. Moral Decay?? That's another way of saying, My morals are better, When you approach a situation like this, it has to be unbiased, and solve issues to what's most important for everybody, Not what you think is best or what Daddy thaught you, Who cares what you think, Now if my actions WHILE on "drugs" impact your life in a negative manner, then by all means take some action, Morals or not.
You can say In my justification, I had both parents alcoholics, So my Morals are perfectly placed, in believing that all drugs should be legal, and that people should be responsible for there own actions. But at the same time, With all the hate I have for alcohol causing so much pain, I still do not morally believe in taking it away, You see it is not morally right to restrict the rights of another human being, without proper reason. Take your ego out of the situation and don't judge a way of life you haven't lived yourself.
I know that by you saying Moral Decay, you have no idea of the reality of certain people's life, Losing your freedom is the first step to society losing it's morals, After all locking up thousands gf people for the smallest marijuana charges?? Where the Morals in that? It's not rocket science sir, you must know this better than me.
+John M Chew I'd much rather that people privately own fishing preserves where they're responsible for keeping the fish stocked themselves. The whole concept of fishing licenses is to keep the natural stock from being depleted, but that's circuitous imo when you could just ban fishing on federally managed property (and vastly reduce the amount of property that is federally managed, to boot, since they clearly can't afford to take care of it right in the first place).

Regarding other things yes, but I wouldn't make that contingent on "if we decriminalize drugs". For instance, the only time anybody should have a say in what you put in your backyard is when it presents a danger to them or their property while off your property. It's none of anybody's business how ugly your shed is, or how likely it is to collapse in an earthquake. For people who can't stand to be around things they haven't had some hand in controlling, there are HOAs (and from experience, they're miserable things that give control freaks just what they deserve).
Okay, perhaps the fishing license is not a good analogy,which is why I mentioned drivers licenses. Just because people obtain drivers license is no gaurantee that they will all be good safe drivers. As to the depleeting fish in the wild, there are probably other ways to address overfishing other than 15 bucks for a license ( personal fishing) ( Commercial fishing is something entirely different), and then there is the whole issue of conealed weapons. What I am saying is, perhaps we as a society need to look at all anti-libertarian aspects of government, drug prohibition being just one of many?
To solve the drugs issue 1. Sort out child protection 2. Provide psychological therapy for all adults not just the middle class 3. Provide better education in schools on emotional and psychological well-being 4. Take a polluter pays approach to alcohol producers by far the greatest risk to children is a drunken abusive parent.
They want the Drugs and the drug war...
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