Prepare for “clarification” statements. There will be a lot of this:
I’m not sure “ending prohibition” is really the right metaphor. US prohibition dealt with making alcohol, a substance used by most cultures from ancient times onwards, illegal. Ending it simply meant restoring the natural state of affairs common to every other nation (except for a few theocracies). It was obvious that this would work as the rest of the world got by just fine with legal alcohol. It’s not really clear if this would work with things like heroin as nobody has really tried it. (Yes, I know some countries treat it as a rare prescription drug, but nowhere you can actually just buy it at the corner shop).
By Jove. Egads. These chappies may just be on to something. What?
Yes it is. People used lots of now illegal drugs before they were illegal and they were used by most cultures since ancient times this probihition just happens to be global. The drug prohibition came from The Great Binge (1870–1914) and AFAIK had more to do with idiots being drunk and high on the job then anything else.
As far as I can see from this, all this means is that people don’t get criminal sentences in Portugal for possessing hard drugs. Not that selling hard drugs is legal there. So no “end of prohibition” in any meaningful sense.
No, you can legally “purchase and possess” a gram of heroin at a time:
Not really. Most drugs used today are relatively modern, and even the ones that have an ancient base are used in a far more powerful form today – For example, opium itself may be ancient, but heroin only dates from the late 19th century. Similarly with cocaine versus coca. Yes, at the time of their discovery even these more powerful forms were legal – but that was only because they were new, as “bath salts” are today.
Legally “purchase and possess”, yes. But not to sell freely. The point is the common user doesn’t get prosecuted in Portugal. Not that drug dealing is legal there.
The amount of money wasted on the failed War on Drugs, plus the money wasted on locking up one million Americans for drug related criminal activity, could surely be put to better use.
Like healthcare and rehab programs?
Go back to… er… Portugal! You filthy communist!
And? Fermented alcohols are ancient but distillation was only invented 1st century CE. And anyway coca, opium and shit load of other forms of drugs are still under prohibition. There really isn’t anything magic about alcohol or tobacco or coffee or tea or any other drug that gives them some sort of special place in society.
And of course appeal to tradition is not a very good policy maker anyway.
Damn you, you running lapdog of the Imperialist pigs!
It is. A liberal society is defined that it forbids things. Unlike repressive societies, which allow certain things.
Also, drug prohibitions forbid lots of drugs which were in use for millennia.
Yes. Bayer invented heroin for medicinal purposes originally. Opium was the basis of many early modern pharmaceuticals before the issue of addiction was really understood and before there was much regulation at all (these were the days of literal snake-oil salesmen).
Bayer didn’t peddle in snake-oil, though. It’s worthy to note that Heroin actually works as a cough suppressant. Ironically, it was also marketed as a non-addictive substitute for morphine, even a cure for morphine addiction - until it was discovered that Heroin metabolizes into morphine rather rapidly (whoops.)
Anyway. I think it’s important to be aware that during the so-called “great binge”, there were practically no restrictions or regulations on the sale of drugs, nor was there any form of treatment available for the abuse of and addiction to drugs (even the 12-step program didn’t come about until the late 30’s).
Except maybe some fringe libertarians, people who advocate for the legalization of drugs (including me) don’t actually want the histrionic tabloid headline “HEROIN SOLD AT SCHOOLS TO OUR CHILDREN!!” to come true. Instead, what must come hand in hand with drug legalization, is extensive education, regulation, options for treatments - and taxation, which is then (ideally) used to fund those measures.
And no, I don’t support the legalization of drugs because I want to get high. I support it because I honestly think it’s the best, least harmful and most humane way to approach the drug problem. No drug is so dangerous that it couldn’t be made more dangerous by pushing it on a black market.
Wasted? Why that money has gone to some of our most civic-minded corporations, which in turn donate most generously to those leaders who promise to keep our streets free of drug-addicted criminal scum. It’s a win for everybody! (Except almost everybody.)
You for got the huge untaxed profits of the libertanian rebels.