Tag: hard drugs

Is Selling Hard Drugs a Victimless Crime?

Jack Parkos | @laissez_faire76

One major issue for Libertarians is drug usage. According to the official platform of the Libertarian party, they support the “repeal of all laws creating ‘crimes’ without victims”. Some examples they include are gambling, drugs, and sex work. The Libertarian Party wants to repeal all drug laws (among others) as they do not involve a victim. Two questions should arise from this: whether the usage and sale of drugs is a victimless crime and whether or not people should face consequences for selling drugs.

Continue reading “Is Selling Hard Drugs a Victimless Crime?”

Advertisements

Think Differently – Jarvis for NH Governor

By John Keller | United States

Jilletta Jarvis is a proud mother from Sandown, NH and is running for governor to, as stated on her website, “Work with experts, find the best solutions possible for the people she represents, and do everything in her power to cut costs and come in under budget.” She is running under the campaign slogan “Think Differently. Vote Differently.”

Keller: You’re running for governor. What inspired you to pursue the office and begin a career in politics?

Jarvis: I am honestly tired of the elitism and political status quo practiced by the typical politician.  The practice that we continue to do that that have failed, but throw more money at them as a way to fix a problem has not been working, we need outsiders of the political process – people who have to live with the consequences of bad laws, people who have had to budget, who are willing to look for new solutions, to evolve political process and look to solutions that work.  People who are willing to work for the people instead of simply blaming failures on the opponent party.  I was raised with the philosophy that if you can see the solution and you can be the solution then you step up and do it.  So I am stepping up to be part of the solution. 

Keller: You are running as a libertarian. The media often portrays it as anarchy and no government. What is libertarianism to you?

Jarvis: Every party has members that interpret the Party’s Platform in different ways. This diversity is helpful to the general population, though not entirely so to a political party as a Political Party is supposed to be a brand so that voters can understand better what they will be getting if they vote for a member of that party. While there most certainly are anarchists in our party, mostly the party is about minarchism – or those who support small government that is dedicated to providing certain services/protections.  These includes the protection of life, property, and the equal pursuit of happiness.  Libertarians do not believe that government should bail out failing business regardless of how big they are. The one thing that every member of the Libertarian Party agrees on is that no one has the right to use violence against another in order to get what they want and that your rights do not entitle you to infringe upon another person’s rights.  

Keller: Branching off of that last question; what attracted you, and what should attract voters, the message of libertarianism?

Jarvis: In NH, we tend to be individualists.  We want to live simple lives free of the interference of others.  This is a very libertarian philosophy.  We want you to have the right to be who you are, keep government out of your bedroom, allow you to keep more of your money in your pocket, and we believe the government should be protecting those rights, being responsible when budgeting with the money they have been allowed by the people, and that they should always be responsible to you – not the other way around.  I think a lot of people in NH are attracted to this idea.

Keller: What is the first thing you want to see accomplished should you be elected the next Governor of New Hampshire?

Jarvis: Transparency.  I want every person in NH to have the ability to know what’s going on in the state without having to fill in a form in triplicate to get the information.  I would also appoint a group to oversee public employee complaints and act on them as if a person is being paid by tax dollars they should be held to a higher standard.  I also would appoint a commission of educational professionals and real people to start working on the educational funding issue in NH and how to incorporate school choice without raising taxes.  I would start putting together a balanced budget that takes into account future spending as well as fiscal year and find ways to reduce that spending with as little negative impact to people as possible.  Such as working on fixing the welfare system in NH.  It rewards people for being out of work instead of helping them get back to work.  This is backwards thinking and needs to be fixed.

Keller: Minimum wage is becoming a growing issue in America, but notably in New Hampshire where business on the border with Massachusetts, where the minimum wage is $11/hr, is struggling to compete. What do you plan to do, as governor, to help struggling businesses and what are your plans with the minimum wage?

Jarvis: I would not institute a minimum wage.  It has already been proven that in order to compete with Massachusetts employers, NH employers are voluntarily raising their own wages.  This is exactly what the Libertarian Party suggested would happen and it has.

Keller: A campaign is defined by its planks. What three planks define your platform? In other words, what three policies are most important to you?

Jarvis: Economy

  • Each year the state budget has gone up which increases the cost to do business in the state and raises property taxes.
  • Lowering the State Budget so that less money is required from individuals and businesses would allow individuals and businesses to grow and succeed with-out having to leave the state to do so.
  • The wealthy should not be the only people to be entrepreneurs in New Hampshire. By reforming our Occupational Licensing requirements we would be allowing fair and equal opportunity for entrepreneurship to all people in the state.

Drug Policy

Your health and well being is important to Jilletta. It has been proven that cannabis is an effective treatment in many ailments including type 2 diabetes and obesity. It has also been proven that it is not a gateway drug and the possibility of overdosing on it are so small that it could be said to be impossible. Jilletta would support the legalization of this drug and promote its use in the treatment of those addicted to opioids as it has proven affective to end addiction of those drugs that can lead to death. Jilletta would also invite the lawmakers from Portugal to come and speak with the legislature regarding their success at cutting their drug addiction rates in half in just 10 years. It’s time to start using proven successful methods instead of the failed “drug war” which has seen violence and death due to drugs increase, not decrease.

  • The Law Enforcement Action Partnership cites the War on Drugs as the root of the problems in today’s society and that drug abuse is a health problem, not a law enforcement matter.(https://lawenforcementactionpartnership.org/our-issues/drug-policy/)
  • Drug abuse and related violence across the globe grow and flourish under prohibition.
  • There has been proven success in decreasing the number of drug deaths and addiction rates in other countries.
  • Reforming our policies and practices to those with proven success would serve not just those addicted, but all of our communities.

Accountability

Government belongs to the people. The only way they can know if their representatives are fulfilling their campaign promises is through government transparency.

  • This means data should be easy to access and to understand (including the budget)
  • Elected officials are not the only government employees and while the voters are able to hold them accountable on election day, other employees should also be held to high standards. NH Courts, Departments heads, and other areas paid for with tax payer money should be held to the highest standards possible.

Keller: Branching off of the last question, how are these things accomplished? What would that legislation or that action look like?

Jarvis: Economic Change is about fixing some regulations – such as the energy regulations that prevent businesses from thriving in NH and the Occupational Licensing requirements that sometimes require a person get a degree in something that has nothing to do with the business they are trying to get into, thus preventing lower income people from bettering their lives for no benefit to the occupation.  This will take working with the legislature in order to review and fix the regulations already in place.  It also means working on our property tax issues (thus education funding) as if business grows, the property taxes need to go down so that employees have some place to live.  I would also veto any law that stifles economic growth in NH.

Drug Reform – Again, working with the legislators on a clear law that identifies Cannabis legalization, age requirements, sale/distribution rights, home cultivation rights, pardons for non-violent offenders already in the system, and relocation of funds from the criminal system to the medical system for treatment.

Accountability – An executive order to form an oversight committee would be my first executive order as governor.  Then I would work with employees to make website changes for ease of access and searchability for anyone looking to find public information, required forms, business requirements, etc.  Also the Weekly FaceBook Live events that I hold every Thursday at 7pm would continue so that every person continued to have the opportunity to speak to their governor and ask me questions or tell me about issues without having to set up an appointment or come to Concord.

Keller: What sets you apart from the incumbent governor, Chris Sununu, and the potential democratic nominees?

Jarvis: People know where I stand.  I do not say I will do one thing and then do another.  I don’t blame the other parties for things I have not done, nor will I.  If people want a candidate who will allow them to keep all of their rights, including their right to purchase a firearm for protection like my Republican opponent promises and also want a candidate who will give them legalized cannabis and fight for equal rights for all citizens like my Democratic opponents promise – there is only one option – me.  Add to this that I want to find ways to lower their tax burden and that I am a political outsider – unlike any of my opponents and you have only one candidate who is truly fighting for the people of NH.

Keller If people want to get involved with your campaign, where can they get in contact with you?

Jarvis: People can reach out to me on my FaceBook page www.facebook.com/Jarvis4Gov, through twitter @Jarvis4Gov, through email at [email protected].  To volunteer, they can fill in a form on my website at https://JillettaJarvis4NH.com/volunteer. To donate to the campaign https://JillettaJarvis4NH.com/Donate or to request interviews/media appearances/etc. via email at [email protected]

Keller: Do you have any final remarks for the readers?

Jarvis: Do not let the others convince you to vote out of fear.  It is time to think differently and vote differently.

I would like to thank Mrs. Jarvis for her time in conducting this interview, and be sure to get involved if interested.


Featured Image Source

How Portugal Is Winning The War On Drugs

By Andrew Lepore | United States

Recently, stigma had decreased about addiction as we learn more about it. As a result, our approach to solving the problem has changed. For the last 75 years, the attitude toward drugs was zero tolerance, and the solution to the problem of addiction has been punitive rather than rehabilitative.

Baby steps are being taken towards legalization by many countries around the world, the most significant being Portugal which in 2001 decriminalized possession of all substances in small amounts. The move saw relatively widespread support, many seeing the drug war to be a massive waste and failure, believing that there are better ways to handle addiction than harsh punishment.

But not everybody supported the move, some were in opposition claiming addiction rates will spike and Portugal will simply become Europe’s new center of Narco-Tourism.

It is 2018 now, 17 years later, and the decriminalization efforts have seen extraordinary success.

Portugal’s serious drug problem began in 1974. Previous to that year, addiction rates were at a normal level correlating similarly to other countries in Europe. In that year, Portugal’s longtime fascist dictatorship fell to a leftist democratic coup called what came to be known as Carnation Revolution.

Due to various factors, the country was flooded with drugs. Many experts attribute this spike in drug usage rates to many migrating from former colonies and other underdeveloped nations to Portugal, many of which were outsiders and sometimes criminals, who used drugs fully illegal in Portugal at the time. With the spike of drug usage came a rise in HIV, crime rates, and, of course, addiction.

The solution put forth by the Portuguese government was no surprise. They tried harsher penalties for drug offenders and more money being funneled into law enforcement and the drug war.

Despite a more authoritarian approach being taken, the situation continued to degrade. By the late 1990’s, Portugal had the highest rate of drug related AIDS deaths in the entire EU and heroin addiction reached an astonishing 1% of the population. Drug usage was rampant and little could be done to stop it. With so much resources being funneled into the war on drugs, crime rates had reached an all time high.

With the approach at the time failing so miserably, Portuguese officials understood they needed to make a drastic shift in strategy. They came to the conclusion that hardcore criminalization was not the answer to the problem. They decided to do an experiment which no other Western Nations had tried, decriminalization, rehabilitation rather than punitive punishment.

The new Portuguese policy regarding drugs consisted of a decriminalization of personal use of narcotics. This meant one would not be legally penalized for using and possessing a certain quantity of drugs defined as the amount for personal use of up to 10 days. Drug traffickers do still receive a legal penalty for the sale and trafficking of drugs, although the penalties are just a fraction of the penalty received for the same crime in the United States and many other European nations.

Many were in favor of the new approach, but as with any radical change, many were also in opposition. They suspected the situation would just get worse and worse. “How could making it easier for drug users going to make the situation any better?” they said.

Despite what the statists, fearmongers, and those who followed them said about the dangers of decriminalizing drugs in Portugal, the country has seen astounding and unprecedented results.

The rate of drug usage has been slowly but steadily declining since decriminalization; they went from a country with one of the highest drug usage rates in the EU, to falling below the European average.

Correlation doesn’t necessarily mean causation; the fall in usage may be because of other factors, but it shows decriminalization does not cause more drug usage. Data as shown in the graphs below:

 

 

 

Image source.

 

Despite what refuting groups claim, the drug overdose rate has fallen drastically since decriminalization.

Certain organizations such as the World Federation of Drugs will mislead people by claiming that by measuring “the number of people who died with traces of any illicit drug in their body”, the number of overdose deaths in Portugal has in fact increased. This claim was easily debunked, given an individual can be deceased with trace amounts of drugs in their body, without the drugs having anything do do with their deaths.

The number taken as the standard for the internationally accepted measure of overdoses and drug related deaths is a clinical assessments made by physicians, rather than toxicological tests. According to this measure, deaths due to drug use or overdose have decreased significantly – from approximately 80 in 2001, to 16 in 2012. This correlation may be indicative of causation due to the fact drug users have safer environments and methods to use than previous to decriminalization.

Drug related HIV and AIDs diagnosis’ have been steadily decreasing since decriminalization. This is another example where correlation can actually be attributed to causation. Decriminalization put an emphasis on harm reduction, and allowed addicts to more easily use in clean environments. Below is a graph of newly diagnosed cases of HIV and AIDS among drug users.

 

 

As you can probably tell, in relation to drug harm statistics, decriminalization in Portugal has been a very large success. Although this is by no means a final solution, and it is far from a libertarian ideal for personal responsibility of the substances you consume without state interference.

This is in an essential step in the right direction, though.

The direction of convincing the world that not only is it immoral for the state to impose its will on its subjects through the initiation of force, but it is self-defeating to do so. The authoritarian solution to a problem always exacerbates the problem itself , as seen in Portugal before decriminalization, and the United States today.

Portugal has stepped up and set an example for the world. It has shown that the traditional solution to drug addiction, which was attempting to suppress through iron fist of government, is not the most moral nor efficient means of solving the problem. Hopefully, the world follows Portugal’s example and takes steps to end the 75-year-old worldwide tyranny of the war on drugs.


Featured image source.

Silicon Valley Is On LSD, And The Government Is Holding Them Back

By Mason Mohon | United States

That guy who made iPhones? Yeah, he was a good for nothing druggy who would go trip like a degenerate in the woods on psychedelic drugs with his friends.

That’s probably how you’re going to conceive of Steve Jobs when I tell you that he tripped on acid a lot in college. If that is your conception, though, your conceptions may very well be wrong, and you may have a prejudice against anything characterized by the word drug like the old south had a prejudice against those characterized by the word “negro.” Open up a little bit, and let your conceptions be shaken, because it may very well be the case that nearly every modern silicon valley innovation may be coming from the depths of drug-induced flows.

The Rolling Stone reported back in 2015 that lots of people in San Francisco are hacking the world by hacking themselves; they’re microdosing LSD, psilocybin, and other psychedelics. Microdosing is the practice of taking a very small amount of a psychoactive drug such to boost performance, decrease stress, and increase creativity. Typically, it will be about 10 micrograms of LSD or half a gram of psilocybin mushrooms.

The reports come from all over the world, but Fadiman says there’s a steady, consistent stream originating in the San Francisco area. The typical profile there is an “übersmart twentysomething” curious to see whether microdosing will help him or her work through technical problems and become more innovative. “It’s an extremely healthy alternative to Adderall,” says Fadiman, referring to a drug popular with programmers.

Ken, the fake name for the real 25-year-old Stanford graduate working a tech startup, is just one profile for this growing innovation trend. Wired profiled Lily (another fake name) who will take a small amount of magic mushroom with her morning tea. They had the following description of microdosing:

In small amounts, say, a tenth of a full dose, users don’t experience a consciousness-altering “trip”, but instead report improvements in concentration and problem solving, as well as a reduction in anxiety.

Ok, cool, so these young people are taking drugs, great, but these internet companies just have a few profiles – that doesn’t say anything about the broader topic of the effectiveness and safety of improving labor through the use of drugs.

Where’s The Science?

We cannot base any conclusions off of a few internet profiles. We need to stick to the well studied and credible scientific data to know whether or not what they are doing is a good idea. We should break down the data and look at the actual aspects of whether or not this is safe of effective.

Obviously, drugs are illegal. In the 70’s, then-President Nixon declared the war on drugs, causing various substances to be listed as schedule one. Today ’s most popular psychedelics are on that list. Because of this, it has been incredibly difficult to study the effects of microdosing, but it has been done.

Jim Fadiman is the world’s leading researcher on the effects of psychedelics on general productivity. Right now, he is working with hundreds of people who microdose every four days and keep a journal of the effects.

In keeping with the received wisdom, those taking LSD microdoses reported a remarkable increase in feelings of determination, alertness, and energy, as well as a strong decrease in feelings of depression. Interestingly, however, Fadiman noted that microdosing LSD didn’t seem to work out as well for those who entered the study on the basis of anxiety alone—microdosing LSD actually seemed to increase their anxiety. However, those participants who cited anxiety and depression, rather than just anxiety, noted an overall increase in their feelings of mental wellbeing.

Of course, we cannot rely solely on data entirely based on self-report research. Luckily, Fadiman has been at this for a while. All the way back in 1966, the government funded his psychedelic problem-solving experiment. People from various fields were brought in to take tests and work to solve a problem in their field, which could range from mathematics and architecture. The results are in, it would boost concentration, creativity, and limit anxiety.

The only real criticism it has received is that the mescaline (another psychedelic) used in the experiment was used in conjunction with methamphetamine. Regardless, the effects of LSD have remained undisputed.

You can read about Fadiman’s ‘66 experiment here and here.

Clearly, it produces the desired results. The programmers and artists aren’t stuck with a placebo productivity spurt, but at what cost. How safe is microdosing?

Our knowledge of the downsides of LSD as a whole is limited. What we do know is that those who have pre-existing mental ailments such as schizophrenia or bipolar disorder are at risk for HPPD, a disorder that can cause “flashbacks,” and a mixture of LSD with drugs like marijuana or alcohol can create what is known as a “bad trip.”

Adding even more mud to the murk is sites like Drug Free World, which I have personally termed “Source Free Information” because of the lack of any citations on the entire site. They publish sensational articles and scary videos, arguing that there are loads of adverse health effects. Doing this helps nobody, for it becomes harder to know what the facts really are.

The Government’s Role

The state has not been much help when it comes to finding out what is going on here. Before the seventies, LSD was being studied quite a bit, but once the war on drugs came along it has become incredibly difficult for scientists in the United States to research this.

There are two scenarios facing those that are microdosing today. The first is that what they are doing is dangerous and that the costs outweigh the benefits. The other, though, is that they are truly onto something and they have hacked life.

If it is true that these people are in danger and we do not know it, then the government is not helping one bit by keeping it illegal. As long as psychedelics are illegal, research into the harmful effects cannot be done, and the people using microdoses are at more risk day after day.

If, as a matter of fact, the San Franciscans are truly onto a real scientific breakthrough, the argument has set itself out as to why these substances should be legalized. A safe, productivity increasing drug has the penalty of the law behind it. If this is the case, there is no good reason as to why these substances should remain illegal.

Either way, the state needs to get out of the way. The way that we schedule drugs in the U.S. has caused LSD, marijuana, and heroin to all be listed as equally “evil,” which has lead to another, and maybe even worse, problem.

Societal Stigma

I would put down money that the person reading this article is a drug addict, because 54% of American adults drink coffee every single day, the active substance of which is caffeine. The jury is settled on this, caffeine is a drug.  It has withdrawal symptoms, a potential for overdose, and chemically alters your mind, resulting in the brain chemical that increases sleepiness to be held at bay.

Get off of your high horse that you are above the world of drug use. Nicotine, sugar, caffeine, alcohol, and high fructose corn syrup all fit under the category of “drug.” What you are afraid of is illegal drugs, though, right?

If the line is “illegal,” you’ve got a bad line. The only real justification for that being a reason as to why drugs are bad is to avoid punishment from the government. What that means, though, is that you are not against the drugs themselves, you would rather just the consequences be avoided.

Not all schedule one drugs have the same issues, though, and that distinction should be made in one’s head. Heroin is much more dangerous than alcohol, which is much more dangerous than LSD. The government’s scheduling of drugs is the laziest and most useless way to feel the negativity of drugs in the real world.

The problem is people buy into this way. LSD, meth, and marijuana are now all the same in the mind of the average citizen. Tell someone you have used an illegal drug and their mind will immediately jump to the crackhouse junky who has six months if he is lucky. This is what I call the drug stigma; people have a preconceived negative notion about drugs (even though they themselves are probably an addict) so they don’t care to hear people out on their drug use, even to the slightest extent.

Some drugs are really bad. Those need to be treated and those people need care. There is a lot more going on in the mind of every addict than addiction to a specific chemical. It is wrong to treat a user of hard and dangerous opiates the way we do, and it sets up a dangerous way of looking at things to treat a psychedelic user the same way we treat an opiate user.

Steve Jobs should not be seen as a filthy degenerate because of his use of psychoactive substances, and you should not look at him that way. You should not look at any psychedelic user, whether they make “tripping” a habit or simply microdose that way. It is thoughtless, collectivizing, and ignorant.

And the government should get off their backs too.


Featured image source.

2018: The Year to Legalize Marijuana

By Nick Hamilton | USA

Legalizing marijuana needs to happen in 2018.

Now, I know exactly what you’re thinking. “Marijuana is bad for our kids.” “Marijuana is bad in general!”

Well, it’s really not.

In 2016, according to the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), there were 33,171 alcohol-induced deaths. That’s 33,171 more deaths than cannabis had. Yes, you read that right. Not ONE death in 2016 was attributed to the use of marijuana, an illegal drug, however, 33,171 deaths were attributed to alcohol. You’d think that with those statistics, alcohol would be illegal and marijuana would be legal. While a whopping 63,500 deaths attributed to drug overdose, cannabis had ZERO deaths from the drug itself.

However, what not many people consider is the economic value of legalizing hemp, the biggest one being paper. Hemp has been used for paper since the Western Han Dynasty, back in 200 BCE. Not to mention, our founding fathers even used hemp as an alternative to paper. Here’s a fun fact: the Declaration of Independence was actually written on hemp paper. Not to mention, marijuana usually isn’t cheap. Imagine if people were legally allowed to make sales legally of marijuana. Imagine if marijuana was legalized and bought as much as beer and wine. Our economy would be through the roof! Not to mention, paper companies, especially small ones, could use this legalization to their advantage in lifting their businesses off the ground, ensuring that they can buy hemp at a lower cost, processing needs would be lower, and they’d have very high quality paper. So, in a way, this could help small businesses out a lot.

Oh, and that state with all of that cool skiing? Colorado? Yeah, they’ve legalized marijuana. And during the FIRST HALF of 2017 ALONE, marijuana has earned $750,000,000 in total, earning the state an extra $116M in spending money, according to an analysis by the Cannabist, which you can read here.

That’s not just some loose pocket change, my friend.

However, many people forget this, and say that marijuana is bad for you, and that the federal government should keep it as is.

But let’s analyze this for a second. Why should the federal government tell us what we can and can’t put in our bodies? Someone hitting a blunt isn’t putting someone else’s life in danger, as we’ve seen from the CDC report. And if marijuana was really as bad as many say it is, why do hospitals have prescription rights for it? Why would this harmful drug have any place in the field of medicine? Even when it was banned, science backed up the strong fact that marijuana is not nearly as bad as some of the things that are legal in this country. Back in the 1930’s, the newly formed Federal Bureau of Narcotics (FBN) led by Harry Anslinger asked 30 of the country’s top scientists if marijuana was actually as bad as the businesses said it was. 29 out of the 30 said that it was not, however the FDN used that one scientist in order to manipulate their claims and say that it was “backed by science.” And this same science also concludes that marijuana can help fight off cancer cells, and help prevent HIV from turning into AIDS. 

Here we are, almost 100 years later. Here we are, looking back and seeing similarities. Similarities that show that marijuana is in fact not nearly as bad as the majority of conservatives say it is.

Let’s analyze THAT for a second.

Conservatives tend to lean against the legalization of marijuana. I’m one of the few conservatives as a matter of fact that is sitting here calling for legalization. But when you look at the values, shouldn’t conservatives be calling for legalization? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government to be intervening with possible economic strides? Shouldn’t conservatives not want the federal government trying to dictate how we live our daily lives? I thought the whole idea of conservatism was the principle of having a smaller government, and keeping government out of economic affairs as much as possible. So why in the world should conservatives be calling for a plan that hurts our economy and keeps the government in our business?

Now, I’m not a smoker myself. I’m not saying that parents should start giving their kids weed as a stocking stuffer. However, next time you hear someone say that marijuana doesn’t have a place in America, refer them to this article. This article has pretty much debunked every case against marijuana with scientific facts, and in addition has provided scenarios beneficial to this country that would most likely occur if it was legalized.

Therefore, marijuana should be legalized. Now.