Friday, October 30, 2009

Drug Czar Czacked.

Not only is lying not a sackable offence with this government, telling the truth is.

I support legalisng most drugs, including cannabis, but I do accept that sometimes those in favour can be too complacent about the negative consequences. There are strong arguments against legalising or decriminalising drugs, see James Q Wilson's article here for instance:
The central problem with legalizing drugs is that it will increase drug consumption under almost any reasonable guess as to what the legalization (or more modestly, the decriminalization) regime would look like. The debate, I think, must be between those who admit this increase and then explain why they would find it tolerable and those who admit the increase and find it intolerable.
Now what happens? Here is where the only meaningful debate can exist. Do you think that there will be a decrease in drug crime? Maybe—if the crime committed by users seeking money to buy drugs and the dealers protecting their right to sell drugs falls by an amount greater than the increase in crime committed by addicted users who are no longer capable of holding a job. Not all coke or heroin addicts are incapacitated, but a significant fraction—perhaps one-fifth, perhaps more—are.
However any argument either for or against has to be rooted in the facts not in spin and propaganda. Ignoring reality is not a basis for making good policy.

This also applies to other controversial subjects. This week it emerged that the government had suppressed discussion of the relationship between crime and immigration when being honest about it would have avoided the dual dangers of complacency and hysteria.

The fact that fear mongers like Liam Donaldson remain in post and David Nutt is sacked speaks volumes.


mexicano said...

Liam Donaldson is a twat of the highest order. I used to be his nextdoor neighbour in London and he refused to eat outside on account of the city´s notoriously dangerous insect population.

Ross said...

That makes me feel better about mocking him.

Mark Wadsworth said...

Yeah but no but.

There are plenty of places who have done modest bits of legalising in one way or another, and none of them have recorded a large increase in the number of users. Some have a small fall, some a small increase, but none a large increase.

As to "...the increase in crime committed by addicted users who are no longer capable of holding a job."

That's why we have a welfare system, so that people out of work don't turn to crime.

So there would clearly be a measurable net fall in crime once you net off the two (something else that has been observed in places that legalise).

Matthew said...

Wilson's argument about increasing consumption is a good one, which does rather get ignored (or unrealistically dismissed). However he doesn't seem to allow any benefits from greater consumption. To minimise controversy let's take the example of alcohol. It's hard to disagree that people get pleasure from its consumption, and jobs/incomes from its manufacture.

Ross said...

True, after all whenever a Brewery, distillery or pub closes we always here of the negative effects on the economy so I suppose we should here about the benefits that drug vendors will reap if they are legalised.

Although I assume most of the spending would be displaced from other leisure pursuits.