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Author Topic: The War on Drugs  (Read 43576 times)
G M
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« Reply #100 on: November 13, 2010, 07:36:34 PM »

It seems like a simple question. I'm not sure why it's so difficult to get an answer. Were China able to lawfully import tons of narcotics to the US for recreational consumption for pennies a hit, would we be better off? What would legalization look like? Do we enforce age laws regarding consumption? Should there be restrictions on driving, flying, operating heavy machinery? What would we enforce, if anything?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #101 on: November 14, 2010, 10:10:18 AM »

Well let's see, we already have Venezuela, Al Qaeda, and all sorts of other unsavory characters importing drugs, so having China do so would probably be as step up. As the video you appear to have not watched stated, addiction rates tend to remain at 1.3 percent whether drugs are legal, somewhat banned, or as illegal as they are today, so the source thereof doesn't appear to be particularly germane, except insofar as the monies collected are used to fund our enemies, does it?

Again, if you had watched the video you'd have noted that youth rates of marijuana use goes down as they now have to purchase the drug from a regulated vendor--like booze--rather than ubiquitous school yard vendors. I think your other questions are as easy to dispose of, so perhaps you could do so for the class all by yourself and spare me from enumerating the obvious.

While your at it, and in view of the stark questions you tend to ask, how 'bout you speak to the trillion dollars down the rat hole; the half million citizens incarcerated; the damage done to the 4th and 5th amendments by drug enforcement, including asset forfeiture; higher quality; lower price; all without any discernible impact on the rate of drug abuse. Name some other business with a record of abject failure where the authors of that failure would not be unceremoniously fired. How would you deal with such an unblemished record of unmitigated failure by any sane measure if it occurred anywhere other than in law enforcement?
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G M
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« Reply #102 on: November 14, 2010, 12:48:08 PM »

Well let's see, we already have Venezuela, Al Qaeda, and all sorts of other unsavory characters importing drugs, so having China do so would probably be as step up. As the video you appear to have not watched stated, addiction rates tend to remain at 1.3 percent whether drugs are legal, somewhat banned, or as illegal as they are today, so the source thereof doesn't appear to be particularly germane, except insofar as the monies collected are used to fund our enemies, does it?

**To me, that is the most compelling argument for legalization. I fear the social destruction of legalization, but even more, I fear that AQ or another entity could finance a nuke or nukes to detonate CONUS as the result of profits from illegal drugs.**


Again, if you had watched the video you'd have noted that youth rates of marijuana use goes down as they now have to purchase the drug from a regulated vendor--like booze--rather than ubiquitous school yard vendors. I think your other questions are as easy to dispose of, so perhaps you could do so for the class all by yourself and spare me from enumerating the obvious.

**My internet connection is slow and after the DEA chart on heroin price and purity '80-'99, my browser crashed, dumping the cached video.**


While your at it, and in view of the stark questions you tend to ask, how 'bout you speak to the trillion dollars down the rat hole; the half million citizens incarcerated; the damage done to the 4th and 5th amendments by drug enforcement, including asset forfeiture; higher quality; lower price; all without any discernible impact on the rate of drug abuse. Name some other business with a record of abject failure where the authors of that failure would not be unceremoniously fired. How would you deal with such an unblemished record of unmitigated failure by any sane measure if it occurred anywhere other than in law enforcement?

**Let's look at the costs associated with the enforcement of other laws. We spend huge amounts investigating sexual assaults and murder, and yet rape and murder still takes place every year. Should we look at legalization of those as a way out of our costly, and seemingly unproductive wars on rape and murder? I reject your assertion that damage has been done to the 4th and 5th, and if it were, look to the courts, not law enforcement.**
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #103 on: November 15, 2010, 08:47:35 AM »

Quote
**Let's look at the costs associated with the enforcement of other laws. We spend huge amounts investigating sexual assaults and murder, and yet rape and murder still takes place every year. Should we look at legalization of those as a way out of our costly, and seemingly unproductive wars on rape and murder? I reject your assertion that damage has been done to the 4th and 5th, and if it were, look to the courts, not law enforcement.**

Hmm, victimless v. crime w/ victim. That'll require about a nanosecond of contemplation. How 'bout we let the victimless crimes take care of themselves and focus our efforts on crimes w/ bona fide victims?
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G M
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« Reply #104 on: November 15, 2010, 08:57:40 AM »

You implied that law enforcement was failing because the war on drugs continued. I pointed out that like enforcing other laws, it's an ongoing process.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #105 on: November 15, 2010, 09:42:53 AM »

Yes, one with limited resources so perhaps those available should be applied to crimes that have actual, non-self selected, victims.
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G M
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« Reply #106 on: November 15, 2010, 10:00:29 AM »

Are those meth orphans self selecting victims?
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G M
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« Reply #107 on: November 15, 2010, 10:18:52 AM »

http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/ovc/publications/bulletins/children/pg5.html   

Dangers to Children Living at Meth Labs

A child living at a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory is exposed to immediate dangers and to the ongoing effects of chemical contamination. In addition, the child may be subjected to fires and explosions, abuse and neglect, a hazardous lifestyle (including the presence of firearms), social problems, and other risks.

Chemical contamination. The chemicals used to cook meth and the toxic compounds and byproducts resulting from its manufacture produce toxic fumes, vapors, and spills. A child living at a meth lab may inhale or swallow toxic substances or inhale the secondhand smoke of adults who are using meth; receive an injection or an accidental skin prick from discarded needles or other drug paraphernalia; absorb methamphetamine and other toxic substances through the skin following contact with contaminated surfaces, clothing, or food; or become ill after directly ingesting chemicals or an intermediate product. Exposure to low levels of some meth ingredients may produce headache, nausea, dizziness, and fatigue; exposure to high levels can produce shortness of breath, coughing, chest pain, dizziness, lack of coordination, eye and tissue irritation, chemical burns (to the skin, eyes, mouth, and nose), and death. Corrosive substances may cause injury through inhalation or contact with the skin. Solvents can irritate the skin, mucous membranes, and respiratory tract and affect the central nervous system. Chronic exposure to the chemicals typically used in meth manufacture may cause cancer; damage the brain, liver, kidney, spleen, and immunologic system; and result in birth defects.6 Normal cleaning will not remove methamphetamine and some of the chemicals used to produce it. They may remain on eating and cooking utensils, floors, countertops, and absorbent materials. Toxic byproducts of meth manufacturing are often improperly disposed outdoors, endangering children and others who live, eat, play, or walk at or near the site.7

Fires and explosions. Approximately 15 percent of meth labs are discovered as a result of a fire or explosion. Careless handling and overheating of highly volatile hazardous chemicals and waste and unsafe manufacturing methods cause solvents and other materials to burst into flames or explode. Improperly labeled and incompatible chemicals are often stored together, compounding the likelihood of fire and explosion. Highly combustible materials left on stovetops, near ignition sources, or on surfaces accessible to children can be easily ignited by a single spark or cigarette ember. Hydrogenerators used in illegal drug production “constitute bombs waiting to be ignited by a careless act.”8 Safety equipment is typically nonexistent or inadequate to protect a child.

Abuse and neglect. Children living at methamphetamine laboratories are at increased risk for severe neglect and are more likely to be physically and sexually abused by members of their own family and known individuals at the site. Parents and caregivers who are meth dependent typically become careless, irritable, and violent, often losing their capacity to nurture their children. In these situations, the failure of parents to protect their children’s safety and to provide for essential food, dental and medical care (including immunizations, proper hygiene, and grooming), and appropriate sleeping conditions is the norm. Older siblings in these homes often assume the role of caretaker.9 Some addicted parents fall into a deep sleep for days and cannot be awakened, further increasing the likelihood that their children will be exposed to toxic chemicals in their environment and to abusive acts committed by the other drug-using individuals who are present. Children living at meth lab sites may experience the added trauma of witnessing violence, being forced to participate in violence, caring for an incapacitated or injured parent or sibling, or watching the police arrest and remove a parent.10

Hazardous lifestyle. Hazardous living conditions and filth are common in meth lab homes. Explosives and booby traps (including trip wires, hidden sticks with nails or spikes, and light switches or electrical appliances wired to explosive devices) have been found at some meth lab sites. Loaded guns and other weapons are usually present and often found in easy-to-reach locations. Code violations and substandard housing structures may also endanger children. They may be shocked or electrocuted by exposed wires or as a result of unsafe electrical equipment or practices. Poor ventilation, sometimes the result of windows sealed or covered with aluminum foil to prevent telltale odors from escaping, increases the possibility of combustion and the dangers of inhaling toxic fumes. Meth homes also often lack heating, cooling, legally provided electricity, running water, or refrigeration. Living and play areas may be infested with rodents and insects, including cockroaches, fleas, ticks, and lice. Individuals responding to some lab sites have found hazardous waste products and rotten food on the ground, used needles and condoms strewn about, and dirty clothes, dishes, and garbage piled on floors and countertops. Toilets and bathtubs may be backed up or unusable, sometimes because the cook has dumped corrosive byproducts into the plumbing.11 (See Children Found in Meth Lab Homes.)

The inability of meth-dependent and meth-manufacturing parents to function as competent caregivers increases the likelihood that a child will be accidentally injured or will ingest drugs and poisonous substances. Baby bottles may be stored among toxic chemicals. Hazardous meth components may be stored in 2-liter soft drink bottles, fruit juice bottles, and pitchers in food preparation areas or the refrigerator. Ashtrays and drug paraphernalia (such as razor blades, syringes, and pipes) are often found scattered within a child’s reach, sometimes even in cribs. Infants are found with meth powder on their clothes, bare feet, and toys. The health hazards in meth homes from unhygienic conditions, needle sharing, and unprotected sexual activity may include hepatitis A and C, E. coli, syphilis, and HIV.

Social problems. Children developing within the chaos, neglect, and violence of a clandestine methamphetamine laboratory environment experience stress and trauma that significantly affect their overall safety and health, including their behavioral, emotional, and cognitive functioning. They often exhibit low self-esteem, a sense of shame, and poor social skills.12 Consequences may include emotional and mental health problems, delinquency, teen pregnancy, school absenteeism and failure, isolation, and poor peer relations. Without effective intervention, many will imitate their parents and caretakers when they themselves become adults, engaging in criminal or violent behavior, inappropriate conduct, and alcohol and drug abuse.13

Many children who live in drug homes exhibit an attachment disorder, which occurs when parents or caretakers fail to respond to an infant’s basic needs or do so unpredictably. These children typically do not cry or show emotion when separated from their parents. Symptoms of attachment disorder include the inability to trust, form relationships, and adapt. Attachment disorders place children at greater risk for later criminal behavior and substance abuse. To minimize long-term damage, children from these environments require mental health interventions and stable, nurturing caregivers.

Other risks. Dangerous animals trained to protect illegal meth labs pose added physical hazards, and their feces contribute to the filth in areas where children play, sleep, and eat. Many children who live in meth homes also are exposed to pornographic materials or overt sexual activity. Others may actually be involved in the manufacturing process but receive no safety gear to protect them from noxious chemical fumes.

Children Found in Meth Lab Homes

The living areas and physical condition of children found in two meth lab homes are described below.

The five children ranged in age from 1 to 7 years old. The one-bedroom home had no electricity or heat other than a gas stove with the oven door opened. Used hypodermic needles and dog feces littered areas of the residence where the children were found playing. Because there were no beds for the children, they slept with blankets underneath a small card table in the front room. The bathroom had sewage backed up in the tub, leaving no place for the children to bathe. A subsequent hospital exam revealed that all the children were infected with hepatitis C. The youngest was very ill. His liver was enlarged to the size of an adult’s. The children had needle marks on their feet, legs, hands, and arms from accidental contact with syringes.

At another lab site, a 2-year-old child was discovered during a lab seizure. Her parents both abused and manufactured methamphetamine. She was found with open, seeping sores around her eyes and on her forehead that resembled a severe burn. The condition was diagnosed as repeated, untreated cockroach bites.

Source: Governor’s Office of Criminal Justice Planning, n.d., Multi-Agency Partnerships: Linking Drugs with Child Endangerment, Sacramento, CA, p. 9.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #108 on: November 16, 2010, 07:40:05 AM »

Quote
Are those meth orphans self selecting victims?

No, they are victims of failed policies creating immense profits which inspire folks to partake or all sorts of questionable behavior, you know, like we've been talking about all the way along.
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G M
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« Reply #109 on: November 16, 2010, 08:24:20 AM »

So if meth were legal, then their parents would be Ward and June Cleaver?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #110 on: November 16, 2010, 08:46:00 AM »

Another question you can answer yourself. But the kids wouldn't be raised among the volatile chemicals needed to make meth.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #111 on: November 16, 2010, 09:23:21 AM »

A Gangster With Oil
 
Posted 11/15/2010 06:57 PM ET

Colombian police escort suspected Venezuelan drug lord Walid Makled Garcia in Bogota last August. He says Hugo Chavez protected his drug empire. AP View Enlarged Image

Geopolitics: Years ago, Americans worried about Venezuela's leftist Hugo Chavez becoming a new Castro — with oil. It happened. Now he's filling his cabinet with drug lords, and the threat morphs into something creepier.

Last week, Chavez promoted Major General Henry Rangel Silva to general-in-chief, the top position in the Venezuelan military command.

It was a rogue act because, in 2008, the U.S. Treasury's Office of Foreign Assets Control named Rangel and two other Chavez loyalists as "Tier II Kingpins" for material support of drug trafficking.

The U.S. designation came of an administrative process so strict and thorough the U.S. government could indict someone if it's right — and be sued if it's wrong. There have been no lawsuits.

Rangel is said to provide material support for Colombia's FARC communist terrorists, who control 60% of Colombia's cocaine production, pushing it into Mexico and other destinations.

With Mexico endangered by local cartels' trade with Venezuela's government-linked suppliers, the link to Mexico's drug war is very real. And it's a national security problem for the U.S. — a big one.

The promotion shows Chavez is surrounding himself with drug lords. Most leaders would expel someone with those credentials. Not Chavez. He almost seems to be flaunting Rangel and others like him. One can only conclude that Venezuela is now a narcostate.

With seven other Chavez loyalists also on the Treasury's list (but not yet announced) the rot is far deeper than the U.S. wants to admit. The only real question left is what will we do about it?

It's important because drug lords have turned Mexico a battlefield. Violence on the U.S.-Mexico frontier began in 2005, the same year Chavez stopped cooperating with the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration. In 2006, Mexican President Felipe Calderon began his six-year term by declaring war against the drug cartels. So far, it has cost 30,000 lives, and the war's now spilling over our borders.

Two Fridays ago, Mexican marines killed Antonio Cardenas, the chief of the Gulf Cartel, in a shootout that shut the U.S. border with Mexico down. Cardenas' war was fueled by people like Rangel.

Now, there are even people who can prove it. Last August, Colombian forces captured a major Venezuelan drug lord named Walid Makled-Garcia, who'd had a falling out with Chavez.

Makled was so high-ranking the U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration last week declared him the "King of Kingpins" after his indictment in New York. Until this summer, Makled commanded Venezuela's air and seaports. His gigantic jetliners loaded with tons of cocaine flew from "the presidential ramp" headed for Mexico.

Makled says he kept records and tapes of his encounters with Rangel, and other top Venezuelan military and intelligence leaders, bribing them to let his drug jets take off. He made $1.4 billion from his work — about the same amount as Chapo Guzman, Mexico's richest cartel chief, whom Forbes magazine estimates is worth $1 billion.

In 2006, Makled's records show, a DC-9 loaded with five and half tons of cocaine crashed in Mexico. It was discovered by Mexican police before it could reach its "buyer" — who happened to be the Sinaloa drug lord Guzman, known for his shootouts in Juarez.

There's also a political aspect emerging in that Mexican war: In recent news item about a child assassins turning up in Mexico, Mexican police report that these gangs are being protected by Chavez's leftist political ally in Mexico, the PRD Party. If PRD continues in this way, it may soon become a leftist drug insurgency, like FARC.

It all pushes the question of what to do about Chavez to a new level of urgency. Right now, Colombia must decide whether to extradite Makled to the U.S. to tell everything he knows about Chavez, or to send him to Venezuela, where he is likely to be killed.

Chavez asked for Makled first, and the murders he's charging him with are graver than the U.S.' cocaine-smuggling charges. Chavez badly needs to silence him to promote his generals.

The Obama administration has its own dilemma — does it want Makled to talk, or does it just want to sweep him and his shocking revelations under the rug as war continues to rage in Mexico?

http://www.investors.com/NewsAndAnalysis/Article/553849/201011151857/A-Gangster-With-Oil.aspx
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DougMacG
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« Reply #112 on: November 16, 2010, 11:11:11 AM »

A Meth Lab in a residence would still be a violation of local zoning ordinance in any municipality I know of, like having an oil refinery or nuclear waste storage site (as I have offered to do for money) on your property.  If there isn't a local ordinance against it because it is already against state law, then there will be. 

If meth were legalized - and it won't be - child protection laws would be unchanged.  If authorities wouldn't remove the meth; they would remove the children.

Regarding meth orphans, I have been inside of foster homes and I have been inside meth homes.  The children are doing far better in the former. 
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ccp
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« Reply #113 on: November 16, 2010, 11:53:25 AM »

For decades I have tried to form an opinion to legalize or not.
I can never quite figure it out.

I would be for a trial period of legalizing marijuana say for 7 years or something like that and see what happens.
I am too afraid to say the same for other drugs.  It just seems like other drugs would be used more and our problems worse.
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G M
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« Reply #114 on: November 16, 2010, 01:12:42 PM »

Another question you can answer yourself. But the kids wouldn't be raised among the volatile chemicals needed to make meth.

Meth doesn't require poppies from southwest asia or coca plants from south america. You only need household chemicals from local stores for the various methods to make it. So legal meth wouldn't mean people don't make their own. Especially if it's taxed, like alcohol is.

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G M
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« Reply #115 on: November 16, 2010, 01:15:00 PM »

A Meth Lab in a residence would still be a violation of local zoning ordinance in any municipality I know of, like having an oil refinery or nuclear waste storage site (as I have offered to do for money) on your property.  If there isn't a local ordinance against it because it is already against state law, then there will be. 

If meth were legalized - and it won't be - child protection laws would be unchanged.  If authorities wouldn't remove the meth; they would remove the children.

Regarding meth orphans, I have been inside of foster homes and I have been inside meth homes.  The children are doing far better in the former. 

So then law enforcement would be enforcing those laws with search warrants, yes?
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #116 on: November 16, 2010, 06:52:33 PM »

I think it makes sense to realize that there are drugs that by-pass free will.  Certainly not pot, but meth would appear to be a contender.  As such, legalization may not make sense.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #117 on: November 16, 2010, 07:05:45 PM »

"So then law enforcement would be enforcing those laws with search warrants, yes?"

There were two points there, local zoning ordinances and child protection.  I was ready to go off on a rant about child protection, but maybe you were referring to the zoning rules.  In both cases, I think you can start off presumed guilty which removes some of the need for specific evidence.  Neither is necessarily a criminal charge which removes defendant rights you would  have had with a criminal charge.  Sounds flippant but I can give first hand stories.
-------
Crafty, I agree.  If the goal is resolution, the issue should be separated down to areas where political agreement is possible.  The argument here keeps drifting back to extreme examples. 
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G M
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« Reply #118 on: November 16, 2010, 08:56:15 PM »

There are harsh realities related to this subject. The Libertarian sloganeering imagines that every man is an island, and that the hard drug addict with peacefully self-destruct with no collateral damage. Even if drugs are decriminalized and/or legalized, then there will still be drug related crimes and search warrants. Alcohol is legal, and most every state has an agency specifically charged with enforcing alcohol laws. Most every local level law enforcement agencies does lots of cases related to alcohol.  Letting the genie of hard drugs out of the bottle will have a serious impact that I'd estimate we'd all feel.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #119 on: November 17, 2010, 10:42:00 AM »

http://reason.com/blog/2010/11/16/speed-5-this-time-for-sure
Reason Magazine


Speed 5: This Time for Sure!

Jacob Sullum | November 16, 2010

First the government encouraged illicit production of methamphetamine by restricting access to legal speed. Then it encouraged pseudoephedrine-based production by banning or restricting other precursors. Appalled by all the scary, toxic, flammable meth labs that subsequently popped up around the country, it restricted access to cold and allergy remedies containing pseudoephedrine, forcing customers to ask pharmacists for them, sign a registry, and abide by quantity limits. Those restrictions, in turn, encouraged a shift to the "shake and bake" method for producing meth, which is less complicated and does not require as much pseudoephedrine but is in some ways more dangerous and more environmentally destructive. The next logical step, according to Lincoln County, Oregon, District Attorney Rob Bovett, is to require a prescription for products containing pseudoephedrine, thereby banning all over-the-counter sales. This time for sure!

In a New York Times op-ed piece (noted this morning by Radley Balko), Bovett suggests that a prescription requirement would not have much impact on consumers, since it would affect "only 15 pharmaceutical products and their generic equivalents." If the number of products containing pseudoephedrine, an inexpensive and effective decongestant, is smaller than it used to be, that might have something to do with the fact that treating consumers like criminals while making them jump through new hoops to buy their favored remedies tends to put a damper on demand. Many companies reformulated their products in response to the new restrictions (which took effect nationally in 2006), replacing pseudoephedrine with phenylephrine, which seems to be about as effective as a placebo but can be purchased without seeking permission from a state-appointed gatekeeper. A prescription requirement, which would add the cost and inconvenience of a medical appointment to the barriers, would be fatal to this product category.

I do not accept Bovett's blithe assumption that any inconvenience and discomfort imposed upon cold and allergy sufferers is justified by the need to prevent people from getting high, since I do not think preventing people from getting high is a legitimate function of government. But even if it were, there is no reason to believe that requiring a prescription for cold and allergy remedies would accomplish that end (or, as the headline on his piece puts it, "Kill the Meth Monster"—an unusually candid acknowledgment that drug warriors mainly fight chimerical threats of their own invention). Bovett concedes but is completely undeterred by the fact that the vast majority of illicit meth consumed in this country is supplied not by mom-and-pop labs or mobile shake-and-bakers but by large criminal organizations based in Mexico, which do not buy their pseudoephedrine a couple of packs at a time from Rite Aid. And even if all the world's pseudoephedrine could be magically eliminated, other methods of production would be used instead. Time and time again, the black market in drugs has proven highly adaptable since the government created it nearly a century ago.

What Rob Bovett actually demands, then, is that people sacrifice cheap, safe, and effective medicine so he and like-minded authoritarians can look like they are fighting drug abuse. The proper response to this plea is a snot-filled sneeze of contempt.

Previous coverage of the pseudoephedrine crackdown here.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #120 on: November 17, 2010, 10:53:05 AM »

Quote
The Libertarian sloganeering imagines that every man is an island, and that the hard drug addict with peacefully self-destruct with no collateral damage.

Back to dissing that radical embrace of freedom, I see. You appear not to be paying attention however: if the rate of drug abuse stays at 1.3 percent of the population before laws are passed, when laws are not particularly onerous, or when they are fairly onerous then the whole "peacefully self-destruct" straw man is in actuality a straw man of a straw man. Most of the results you present as reasons to further the current policy that has failed by any sane measure are in fact manifestations of that failed policy. It would appear you are unable to step out of that hall of mirrors.

Quote
Even if drugs are decriminalized and/or legalized, then there will still be drug related crimes and search warrants. Alcohol is legal, and most every state has an agency specifically charged with enforcing alcohol laws. Most every local level law enforcement agencies does lots of cases related to alcohol.  Letting the genie of hard drugs out of the bottle will have a serious impact that I'd estimate we'd all feel.

No debate with most of this, except for the assumption in the last clause that we are not feeling the half million incarcerated, the trillion spent, the million pot arrests, the damage done to freedoms most of us hold dear et al by the regimen that, again, has failed miserably by any rational measure.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #121 on: November 17, 2010, 10:54:09 AM »

Tangent:  Speaking of major operations in Mexico, I am reminded of the Chinese national with a business pharmaceutical background who purchased a Mexican citizenship.  Authorities found a home filled with IIRC $250,000,000 in CASH.  Hotly pursued by narco hit squads, he fled.  An American LEO that I have trained was the man who put the cuffs on him here in the US-- just ahead of the hit squads closing in.

Larger point, the operations in Mexico can get REALLY big.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #122 on: November 17, 2010, 11:02:02 AM »

Back in the day folks in my circle use to get all kinds of stoned and then go to the midnight showing of Reefer Madness to giggle about the over the top representation of dope smoking found therein. That representation had little to do with reality as any stoner knew it, instead serving to illustrate just how little the heirs to the Puritan ethic cared about truth, while also showing just how quickly the general public lapped up the Puritan panic mongering du jour up. The process repeats itself endlessly with one breathless newsperson or another latching on to this substance or that, be it LSD, MDA, DMT, STP, cocaine, meth, various herbs whose name I can't remember, and now, sh!t oh dear, this. Has a pattern emerged yet? Will I be whisked away if I drop a No Doze in my rum and coke?

http://reason.com/blog/2010/11/17/four-loko-bannedby-its-manufac

Reason Magazine


Four Loko Banned...by Its Manufacturer (One Step Ahead of the FDA)

Jacob Sullum | November 17, 2010

Last November the Food and Drug Administration warned 27 companies that they probably were breaking the law by selling beverages that contain alcohol and caffeine, since this combination has never been officially approved. Today, after a year of review, the FDA is expected to announce that it was right; caffeinated alcoholic beverages are illegal. Rather than seize all existing stocks of Four Loko, Joose, etc., the FDA probably will send more letters, warning the manufacturers that they are producing "adulterated" beverages. At that point the companies can either stop producing the drinks or mount an expensive, time-consuming, and uncertain legal challenge to the FDA's determination.

Staying one step ahead of the FDA, Phusion Products, the Chicago-based manufacturer of Four Loko, yesterday announced that it is removing caffeine, guarana (which contains caffeine), and the amino acid taurine from its product, which henceforth will essentially be a sweet, fruity malt liquor with the potency of wine, rather than an alcoholic energy drink. Surely that move will eliminate all of the controversy surrounding the product.

For those who are worried about what will happen when their stockpiles of genuine Four Loko run out, BuzzFeed has instructions for making your own at home. For those who want to stay awake while they're drinking but would not touch a declassé drink like Four Loko with a 10-foot tongue (why am I thinking of Freddy Krueger all of a sudden?), New York Times restaurant critic Frank Bruni reviews hoity-toity coffee cocktails served by boutique bars in Brooklyn and Manhattan. Something tells me these drinks, despite providing a pharmacologically identical experience, will never inspire a moral panic like the one that drove Four Loko and its ilk from the market.
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G M
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« Reply #123 on: November 17, 2010, 04:49:08 PM »

Tangent:  Speaking of major operations in Mexico, I am reminded of the Chinese national with a business pharmaceutical background who purchased a Mexican citizenship.  Authorities found a home filled with IIRC $250,000,000 in CASH.  Hotly pursued by narco hit squads, he fled.  An American LEO that I have trained was the man who put the cuffs on him here in the US-- just ahead of the hit squads closing in.

Larger point, the operations in Mexico can get REALLY big.

That was the one that was a major whale in Vegas, right?
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G M
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« Reply #124 on: November 17, 2010, 05:28:30 PM »

You should spend sometime working with the children who parents were "embracing freedom", BBG. Your fond reefer madness memories are pretty distant from the reality I've seen. I recall one young girl, born with spina bifida. Were that her only problem, see her mom was one of those "freedom embracers", living that non-puritanical lifestyle who brought home another "freedom embracer" that was also unencumbered by that puritanical concept that adults shouldn't rape children,. This girl has serious trauma related to that and a case of Hep C as well. So she engages in self mutilation and me and other jack booted thugs have to intervene many times, because we don't recognize her freedom to destroy her body, being the forces of oppression and all. I know the medical personnel were concerned that if she kept injuring her feet, they'd have to be amputated. I guess that's just society trying to push their "footist" morality on her, right?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #125 on: November 18, 2010, 01:27:56 PM »

And what makes you think I haven't, GM?

I ought to know better that to enter into these kinds of discussions with LEOs, but I hate leaving misinformation unchallenged. Spent time on a lot of mats with a lot of LEOs who think their H2H training is some sort of received wisdom from which one cannot stray. Remember one FBI guy in a Thai Boxing class who wouldn't throw a right Thai kick--the biggest weapon in the arsenal--because it would leave his right, gun bearing hip, forward, which was a no-no. Alas, he couldn't fight in a right lead either for the same reason, so he spent all his time trying to come up with a way fight with no lead at all, which did not work. We try to cut slow learners slack, but after 4 weeks of his blundering about we got sick of the hip forward sanctimony and so seriously showed him the error of his ways in the hope he'd get better or quit. He quit, but I've no doubt he's off somewhere keeping his right hip rearward no matter what.

And then there are LEOs at the range. Christ, I don't even want to get started there. Make no mistake, some of the best guys I've trained with have been LEOs, but there have been relatively few. Some of the most obstinate, know it all, testosterone addled, inflexible, unwilling to step outside of their training orthodoxy boneheads I've ever met have been LEOs, too, and unfortunately the latter tend to outnumber the former.

Where the mat or the range is concerned I expect you number among the former crowd or you wouldn't be here in the first place, but where the WOD is concerned LEO orthodoxy rules the day. As I've said time and again without receiving a convincing refutation: the WOD has failed by any sane measure. Most of the stuff you've introduced are in fact artifacts of the WOD and citing them makes about as much sense as citing eggs for laying chickens.

So yes, by all means, let's do this for the children. Let's end the madness that is a major player in just about any sad story you could cite. Doing so likely won't make the parents any wiser, but at least the State won't be the prime mover foisting failed, prohibitionist policies yet again.
« Last Edit: November 19, 2010, 09:32:12 AM by Body-by-Guinness » Logged
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« Reply #126 on: November 18, 2010, 02:31:04 PM »

Yeah, some cops suck at H2H and shooting, sometimes it's beyond embarrassing to think of what i've seen. I'll note that despite that, most of those men and women do not hesitate to run towards the sound of the guns when called to do so.

We are a nation of laws. Some laws are better than others. The fact that marijuana is a schedule I drugs makes no sense, still it is the law until changed or negated. I've worked as a law enforcement officer in a state where marijuana under an ounce with no intent to distribute was less than a misd. It's not generally worth the time/cost to bother citing someone into court for it. I've had more than a few people approach me to give information about drugs being dealt. I dutifully have passed the information on to the applicable Narcs. I can tell you that if it's marijuana and we aren't talking about kilos or a major grow operation, they don't even pretend to sound interested.

I'll remind you that one of the key concepts for this nation was a moral people who regulated their own behavior. We increasingly are a post-modern, post-moral people with very destructive results. This does not mean that we should be enforcing dietary laws or beating unmarried couples with sticks, but there has to be a secular code of conduct that is enforced. A otherwise law abiding taxpayer who covertly smokes their homegrown weed while watching a movie in their bedroom is right around the person who unlawfully tears a tag off a mattress on my list of priorities as a law enforcement officer.

I'm obligated to intervene if someone wants to shove a shotgun in their mouth and pull the trigger, but if someone wants to slowly kill themselves with Big Macs, grain alcohol and cigarettes, I could care less, so long as I don't have to subsidize it.

Once upon a time, there wasn't a 70% + illegitimacy rate amongst blacks, as a result, there wasn't the violent crime/death rate for that population we see today. Guess where whites are heading? Same path. So what will the violent crime rate look like when whites have a 70% illegitimacy rate? Societies change, sometimes for the better, sometimes for the worse. Hard drugs with no legal controls would be immensely destructive to our society.

http://www.independent.co.uk/opinion/country-matters-let-us-never-go-the-way-of-the-ik-1384655.html

"consider the plight of the Ik, the African tribe memorably portrayed by Colin Turnbull in his book The Mountain People.

When this first appeared in 1972, it caused outrage - so revolting, so inhuman was the behaviour which it described. Now republished as a paperback, it remains just as shocking and a salutary warning against the breakdown of social values which we are now beginning to witness in our own country.

A peripatetic anthropologist, who died only a few weeks ago, Turnbull studied primitive communities in Africa, India, Tibet and Polynesia. In 1992, he was ordained a Buddhist monk by the Dalai Lama. Yet never did he endure more rebarbative companions than during his time with the Ik, among whom he lived in north-eastern Uganda between 1964 and 1967.

Principally hunter-gatherers, who moved about the country in their perpetual search for food, the Ik also lived for some of the time in villages of grass huts, each surrounded by stockades of grass and reeds. So harsh was their struggle for survival that they had abandoned what we think of as basic human values: they had lost all use for love, kindness, sentiment, honesty or altruism, and were motivated entirely by individual self-interest.

This manifested itself in the most brutal forms. Food being their greatest necessity, they fought for it, stole it from each other, lied about it, and when they got some, stuffed themselves until they vomited, so that they could cram down everything available.

Even in times of famine, men who returned to their village after a successful hunt would creep back laden with meat and then slip out before dawn to sell it at the police post, without having given their starving wives or children a mouthful. On one occasion, during a season of particular hardship, a young man who had been away for months reappeared so fat from heavy eating that the author hardly recognised him; but he brought nothing with him except three gourds of honey, which he took straight to the police post for sale.

Along with love, the Ik had long since rejected all notion of family. Children were thrown out at the age of three, and formed themselves into gangs, which raided crops, fought each other, and generally competed for survival. The aged - that is, those over about 25 - were similarly disregarded and cast out. As Turnbull remarked bitterly, this made good biological sense: 'The children were as useless as the aged, or nearly so; as long as you keep the breeding group alive, you can always get more children. Anything else is racial suicide.'

One dreadful episode concerned a girl called Adupa who was, even by local standards, slightly mad. Driven out by her family, tormented by other children, she clamoured for some sort of affection, until in the end her parents shut her into their compound and went away, promising to bring food. 'When they came back she was still waiting for them. It was a week or 10 days later, and her body was already almost too far gone to bury.'

Cruelty was endemic. Adults and children alike found the sight of others suffering pain highly amusing. Turnbull described how men would watch 'with eager anticipation' as a child crawled towards a fire, 'then burst into gay and happy laughter as it plunged a hand into the coals'.

Once, a woman dumped her baby on the ground while she was working out in the fields, and a leopard carried it off. The mother was delighted, because 'she was rid of the child and no longer had to carry it about and feed it'. Still better, it meant that the leopard must be somewhere close, sleeping off its meal, and would offer the hunters an easy kill. 'The men set off and found the leopard, which had consumed all of the child except part of the skull: they killed the leopard, and cooked it and ate it, child and all.'

The question which Turnbull never solved was of how his subjects had descended to such depths. He felt sure that they had once been far less vicious than when he knew them, and he attributed their decline at least partly to the reduction of their old hunting grounds, much of which had been taken as a national park. With their nomadic movement restricted, and their whole existence constrained, the Ik's hardship became such that 'the family simply ceased to exist'.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #127 on: November 18, 2010, 06:02:26 PM »

Nice to read of your soft side GM cool
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« Reply #128 on: November 18, 2010, 06:27:53 PM »

I'm at least as warm and cuddly as a pile of rusty nails, if not more.
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« Reply #129 on: November 18, 2010, 07:28:24 PM »

We've spent billions every year, and yet we still have illegal aliens. Time to shut down the Border Patrol and ICE. The virtual border fence wasn't working anyway. What's the worst that could happen?
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« Reply #130 on: November 18, 2010, 07:42:06 PM »

http://www.city-journal.org/html/7_2_a1.html

It is of course true, but only trivially so, that the present illegality of drugs is the cause of the criminality surrounding their distribution. Likewise, it is the illegality of stealing cars that creates car thieves. In fact, the ultimate cause of all criminality is law. As far as I am aware, no one has ever suggested that law should therefore be abandoned. Moreover, the impossibility of winning the “war” against theft, burglary, robbery, and fraud has never been used as an argument that these categories of crime should be abandoned. And so long as the demand for material goods outstrips supply, people will be tempted to commit criminal acts against the owners of property. This is not an argument, in my view, against private property or in favor of the common ownership of all goods. It does suggest, however, that we shall need a police force for a long time to come.

In any case, there are reasons to doubt whether the crime rate would fall quite as dramatically as advocates of legalization have suggested. Amsterdam, where access to drugs is relatively unproblematic, is among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe. The idea behind crime—of getting rich, or at least richer, quickly and without much effort—is unlikely to disappear once drugs are freely available to all who want them. And it may be that officially sanctioned antisocial behavior—the official lifting of taboos—breeds yet more antisocial behavior, as the “broken windows” theory would suggest.

Having met large numbers of drug dealers in prison, I doubt that they would return to respectable life if the principal article of their commerce were to be legalized. Far from evincing a desire to be reincorporated into the world of regular work, they express a deep contempt for it and regard those who accept the bargain of a fair day’s work for a fair day’s pay as cowards and fools. A life of crime has its attractions for many who would otherwise lead a mundane existence. So long as there is the possibility of a lucrative racket or illegal traffic, such people will find it and extend its scope. Therefore, since even legalizers would hesitate to allow children to take drugs, decriminalization might easily result in dealers turning their attentions to younger and younger children, who—in the permissive atmosphere that even now prevails—have already been inducted into the drug subculture in alarmingly high numbers.
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« Reply #131 on: November 19, 2010, 12:19:52 AM »

"Amsterdam, where access to drugs is relatively unproblematic, is among the most violent and squalid cities in Europe."

Perchance is any of that due to the clash of civilizations occurring there?
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #132 on: November 19, 2010, 09:25:57 AM »

Quote
We've spent billions every year, and yet we still have illegal aliens.

Does that effort cause more problems than it cures? If so, yes, we should shut it down. If not then border integrity, such as it is, is worth protecting.

I'm immersed in an annual effort that will take me out to a dry county in rural Kentucky where the descendants of the Scotch-Irish participants in the Whiskey Rebellion now set up their stills and meth labs in the same shelter caves, and thus will be too busy to further discuss why efforts to ban the production and distribution of substances that have failed by any rational measure since the first Fed tried to tax the first settler's booze much further, or at least with the kind of patience and deliberation required. Dimes to dollars someone will show up in camp with a bottle of something untaxed; had a couple Copt researchers from Lebanon show up 3 or 4 years back with some homemade ouzo that was pretty darn tasty. Have no idea how they got it into the country, but they were so impressed by my camp management skills that they left me with a bottle I've been slowly nursing ever since.
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G M
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« Reply #133 on: November 19, 2010, 03:45:03 PM »

Let's see, the Whiskey Rebellion was put down by a paramilitary force armed with the latest in weapons technology, lead by one George Washington. Alert Radley Balko!
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« Reply #134 on: November 19, 2010, 08:54:02 PM »

http://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/worldnews/europe/netherlands/8144369/Dutch-government-attempts-to-ban-sale-of-marijuana-to-tourists.html

Dutch government attempts to ban sale of marijuana to tourists
The new conservative Dutch government wants to force the country's marijuana cafés to become "members only" clubs, in a move that would effectively block foreigners from buying the drug.
Coffee shop in Holland
Marijuana has been sold openly in designated cafés in the Netherlands for decades Photo: REUTERS
7:36PM GMT 18 Nov 2010

If the idea ever becomes reality – it would be legally complicated and politically divisive – it would be the latest of the country's liberal policies to be scrapped or curtailed as the Dutch rethink the limits of their famed tolerance.

While marijuana is technically illegal in the Netherlands, it has been sold openly in designated cafés for decades, and police make no arrests for possession of small amounts.

Justice Minister Ivo Opstelten said that in the future, only residents of Dutch cities will be allowed to purchase cannabis. "Not tourists. We don't like that," he said on state television in remarks broadcast on Wednesday.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #135 on: November 20, 2010, 02:15:13 PM »

So citizens will now be able to sell grass at a markup to tourists? Another problem solved, eh what?
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« Reply #136 on: February 10, 2011, 12:35:41 PM »



http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BQRMvg5TAl8&feature=player_embedded
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« Reply #137 on: March 06, 2011, 08:54:24 AM »

BOZEMAN, Mont. — With his electrician’s tool belt and company logo cap, Rick Schmidt looks every bit the small-business owner he in fact is. That he often reeks of marijuana these days ... well, it is just part of the job, he said.

“I went on a service call the other day — walked in and a guy said to me, ‘What have you been smoking?’ ” said Mr. Schmidt, 39.
For Gallatin Electric, a six-employee company founded by Mr. Schmidt’s father, Richard, as for other businesses in this corner of south-central Montana, medical marijuana has been central to surviving hard times as the construction industry and the second-home market collapsed. Not the smoking of it, the growing of it or even the selling of it, but the fully legal, taxable revenues being collected from the industry’s new, emerging class of entrepreneurs. Three of the four electricians on staff at Gallatin, Mr. Schmidt said, are there only because of the work building indoor marijuana factories.

Questions about who really benefits from medical marijuana are now gripping Montana. In the Legislature, a resurgent Republican majority elected last fall is leading a drive to repeal the six-year-old voter-approved statute permitting the use of marijuana for medical purposes, which opponents argue is promoting recreational use and crime.

If repeal forces succeed — the House last month voted strongly for repeal, and the Senate is now considering it — Montana would be the first to recant among the 15 states and the District of Columbia that have such laws.

In Bozeman, a college and tourism town north of Yellowstone National Park, construction jobs and tax collections dried up just as the marijuana business was blossoming; residents and politicians here say the interconnection of economics and legal drugs would be much more complicated to undo.

Economic ripples or entanglements extend in every direction, business people like the Schmidts say — gardening supply companies where marijuana growers are buying equipment, mainstream bakeries that are contracting for pot-laced pastries, and even the state’s biggest utility, NorthWestern Energy, which is seeing a surge in electricity use by the new factories. Medical marijuana, measured by numbers of patients, has roughly quadrupled in Montana in the last year.

“It’s new territory we’re treading in here,” said Brad Van Wert, a sales associate at Independent Power Systems, a Bozeman company that completed its first solar installation last month — a six-kilowatt rooftop solar array, costing about $40,000 — for a medical marijuana provider called Sensible Alternatives.

Mr. Van Wert said that his company was assertively going after this new market, and that marijuana entrepreneurs, facing big tax bills, were responding to the appeal of a 30 percent tax credit offered by the state for expansion of renewable energy.

The Bozeman City Council passed regulations last year sharply restricting the numbers of storefront suppliers downtown. But growers and providers say that even though the regulations restricted their numbers, they also created a climate of legitimacy that has made other businesses more comfortable in dealing with them for equipment and supplies.

And unlike the situation in sunny California or Colorado, where medical marijuana has similarly surged, growing marijuana indoors is all but mandatory here, a fact that has compounded the capital expenditures for start-ups and spread the economic benefits around further still. An industry group formed by marijuana growers estimates that they spend $12 million annually around the state, and that 1,400 jobs were created mostly in the last year in a state of only 975,000 people.

“Twenty-five thousand dollars a month,” one new grower and medical marijuana provider, Rob Dobrowski, said of his outlay for electricity alone, mainly for his light-intensive grow operation that supplies four stores around the state.

Mr. Dobrowski was a construction contractor until the recession hit, as were two of his brothers who have joined him in the business. He said he now employs 33 people, from a standing start of zero a year ago.

Bozeman’s mayor, Jeff Krauss, a Republican, said he thought there was an element of economic fairness to be considered in the debate about medical marijuana’s future. “I don’t think anybody passed it thinking we were creating an industry,” he said, referring to the 2004 voter referendum. But like it or not, he said, it has become one, and legal investments in the millions of dollars have been made.

“Somewhere around 25 people have made anywhere from a $60,000 to a $100,000 bet on this industry,” Mr. Krauss said, referring to the local startups and their capital costs.

=========

Page 2 of 2)



“Now the Legislature has got us saying, ‘Ha, too bad, you lose,’ ” Mr. Krauss added. “Boy is that a bad message to send when we’re in the doldrums.”

One owner of a gardening supply company in the Bozeman area estimated that a person could essentially buy a job for $15,000, beginning a small growing operation with 100 plants. Especially for construction trade workers who were used to being self-employed before the recession, the owner said, the rhythms of the new industry feel familiar.
“Forty to 50 percent of customers come from construction,” said the owner, who spoke on the condition of anonymity because her national suppliers threatened to stop doing business with her if their products were openly associated with marijuana. “Plumbers, electricians, the whole genre of working-class, blue-collar Montana.”

There are shadowy corners in the supposedly compassionate world of medical marijuana. The owner of one downtown pastry shop, where the sale of marijuana cookies and brownies accounts for about 15 percent of revenue, said he broke off a relationship with his first marijuana provider, who wanted the baker to use less marijuana in the products and falsify the ingredients to save the grower production costs.

And it is easy to find workers in this new economy who were in the illegal pot world before. But it is also easy to find people like Josh Werle, 29, who took a job as a grower at a company called A Kinder Caregiver after work as a commercial painter dried up.

Mr. Werle, a fourth-generation Montanan, said his family had seen many industries fade and fail over the decades — from railroads to agriculture, and now, in his case, construction. He said he had also worried about his health as a painter, breathing fumes all day. But the economy is what finally pushed him out.

“I never envisioned myself working in this,” said Tara Gregorich, 29, who graduated last May from Montana State University with a degree in environmental horticultural science. She sat under the lights in an industrial grow room, legs splayed around a plant that she was trimming lower shoots from to encourage growth. “But this is one of the few industries in Montana that is year-round.”

At Gallatin Electric, Rick Schmidt said he still made a sharp distinction between medical marijuana and street drugs. Illegal drug dealers, he said, “should have the book thrown at them.”

But he thinks medical use probably does have benefits.

Mr. Schmidt said his father-in-law, who suffers from post-polio syndrome, was considering applying for a medical marijuana card
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« Reply #138 on: March 29, 2011, 12:11:11 PM »

British Panel Concludes that the War on Drugs is a Failure
Ilya Somin • March 22, 2011 12:56 am

A British panel composed of leading members of Parliament and former public officials has concluded that the War on Drugs is a failure and should be abandoned. The panel includes former heads of MI5 (the British domestic intelligence agency) and the Crown Prosecution Service, as well as leading Conservatives, including prominent former members of Margaret Thatcher’s government. Here’s a report by the conservative-leaning Daily Telegraph:

The “war on drugs” has failed and should be abandoned in favour of evidence-based policies that treat addiction as a health problem, according to prominent public figures including former heads of MI5 and the Crown Prosecution Service.

Leading peers – including prominent Tories – say that despite governments worldwide drawing up tough laws against dealers and users over the past 50 years, illegal drugs have become more accessible.

Vast amounts of money have been wasted on unsuccessful crackdowns, while criminals have made fortunes importing drugs into this country.

The increasing use of the most harmful drugs such as heroin has also led to “enormous health problems”, according to the group....

It could lead to calls for the British government to decriminalise drugs, or at least for the police and Crown Prosecution Service not to jail people for possession of small amounts of banned substances.

Their intervention could receive a sympathetic audience in Whitehall, where ministers and civil servants are trying to cut the numbers and cost of the prison population....

The chairman of the new group, Baroness Meacher.... told The Daily Telegraph: “Criminalising drug users has been an expensive catastrophe for individuals and communities....”

Lord Lawson, who was Chancellor of the Exchequer between 1983 and 1989 [under Margaret Thatcher], said: “I have no doubt that the present policy is a disaster....”

In the United States, the opposition of political conservatives is still perhaps the most important obstacle to efforts to cut back on the War on Drugs. Hopefully, this reconsideration by some of their British counterparts will lead more American conservatives follow the example of William F. Buckley and Pat Robertson, both of whom gradually came to realize that the War on Drugs causes enormous harm, and is bad for family values.

http://volokh.com/2011/03/22/british-panel-concludes-that-the-war-on-drugs-is-a-failure/
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« Reply #139 on: April 11, 2011, 10:41:49 PM »

This piece very much mirrors my experience when working drug rescue and while, uh, partaking of intense field studies. I take particular note of efforts to demonize the drug du jour, how damnfoolish the resulting hysteria looks to those immersed in the culture (hence leading them to question just about EVERYTHING said by anyone in a position of authority), and how most folks rejoin adult life eventually, less some casualties along the way. Indeed, I can look back at a good 4 or 5 kids in my circle he became acid casualties, while I'm bumping into just about everyone else on Facebook these days, apparently little worse for wear. The picture very little resembles the one presented by the media:

Middle-American Methamphetamine
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In small-town America, drugs are an everyday experience.
By Nick King | April 6, 2011

Since the late 1990s members of the media have routinely trekked into the hinterlands of America to cover the meth “epidemic,” flap their lips about the newfound dangers of the heartland, and beat a path back to their urban refuges. I had hoped that this phenomenon would end with the recent decline in meth use, but instead Nick Reding’s Methland: The Death and Life of an American Small Town climbed the New York Times bestseller list and claimed the Chicago Tribune’s Heartland Prize for 2009. This is especially irksome for me because I grew up in a small town in Southeast Missouri that was sometimes referred to as the meth capital of the world.

According to DEA statistics, Missouri had led the nation in the number of meth labs discovered every year since 2003. When I was in high school, MTV dispatched a news crew to my town and interviewed a number of friends and acquaintances for a story on meth users.

I did meth for the first time when I was 15, and by the time I was 17, I was using it once or twice a week. I can safely say that although many fine writers, Reding included, have attempted to tackle drug use in small town America—and have exposed the uncomfortable truth that drugs are more prevalent in rural than urban areas—none of them really understand the subject.

These outsiders routinely accept a sensationalized version of meth’s power: it is a uniquely addictive drug that ruins everyone it touches. But most people who take meth and other illicit drugs are otherwise normal—they just like to get lifted every once in a while. This is not to minimize the possibly dire consequences of drug abuse. I have a number of friends who died well before their times due to rampant substance-abuse problems—none of them directly meth-related, however. One of my best friends died after shooting up coke hours before his court date. Few have more familiarity with these tragedies than I do, but they are by far the exception rather than the rule.

Taking meth is like joining a secret society. Most users don’t talk about those activities to outsiders, but we can communicate all we need to each other, even when surrounded by the uninitiated, with knowing smiles, quick head bobs, subtle sniffs of the nose. Once I became at least a semi-regular consumer of the drug, I discovered that users extended well beyond the speed freaks at Wal-Mart buying lithium batteries at three in the morning. I could read the signs perfectly—the teeth grinding, chain-smoking, darting eyes, and omnipresent bottles of water—and could even spot those members of my town’s upper crust who happened to enjoy a rush. Anyone can spot a tweaker who has been up for days in the depths of amphetamine psychosis, but few non-users have the eyes to see the rest.

Of course, this was also true of most of my town’s good, God-fearing folk. They substituted hysteria for real knowledge of the drug. We walked among them as their employees—or employers, for that matter—neighbors, and friends, but if they had known who we were, they would have descended upon us like a screech owl on a vole. Anyone arrested for meth got his face splashed across the front page of the paper. Within days, even hours, formerly respected members of the community could have their lives ruined not by the drug but by people’s perception of it. But regardless of how shocking the upstanding citizens of town found it when one of their own was exposed as a fiend, the revelation never made them question their presumptions. I remember when two girls around my age were busted cooking off a batch at a local motel. The girls were popular at school and from good families, but after the news got around town, every time I left for a party my mother demanded to know if either one of them would be there—as if they were the only ones at school who did white dope.

Because of the dire repercussions of being found out, we were more tight-lipped about meth than any other drug, even with our peers. When my friend Drew first started using meth, he flaunted his consumption and told anyone who asked exactly what he was on. Drew was friendly and gregarious by nature, but that could not stand. Some of us told him to shut his damn mouth and refused to acknowledge his existence until he did so. He learned more discretion in the next few days than he had hitherto in his life.

Meth is not the whole story here, not by a long shot. In my tribe, almost everyone took almost every kind of drug imaginable—meth included, but it was hardly the sine qua non of our drug universe. On a typical weekend night, we might drink a fifth of whiskey on top of a couple blue bombers of hydrocodone, then snort a rail around three in the morning to keep the party going. The order could be reversed by taking a psychedelic like LSD or psilocybin in the afternoon—possibly accompanied by a little meth or ecstasy to steady the mind—and then drinking into the early morning with a nightcap of codeine cough syrup to ensure a peaceful sleep. We smoked weed almost constantly regardless of which route we took, and drinking and driving was treated like a competitive sport.

For the most part, however, we were not the stereotypical burnouts that people expected this behavior from, nor did we think of ourselves as such. Several of my closest friends and I were in the top decile of our class despite being intoxicated half of our waking lives—frequently including school hours. We were almost all athletes and participated in a number of activities and clubs. For two years, every one of my class’s officers was a multiple drug felon.

We were also, by and large, neither poor nor neglected by our parents. Our mothers and fathers were solidly middle-class or, in a few cases, upper-class. They worked as doctors, bankers, teachers, contractors—very few lawyers, oddly—and owned some of the most respected small businesses in town. Busy as they were with work, our parents made every effort to be involved in our lives: attending parent-teacher conferences, cheering us on at sporting events, and taking us to church every Sunday followed by lunch at one of the town’s few nice restaurants.

Nor can anyone attribute our wide-ranging illicit behavior to a faltering local economy, as Reding does frequently in Methland:

One example of the connection between financial loss and the increase in meth use was a feeling among small-time cooks that they, like the moonshiners of the early twentieth century, were the last of a breed, not just of rebellious criminals, but of small business people. In the wake of so many closed storefronts, it was the Beavis and Butt-Head cooks, as the police called them, who touted their place in the increasingly weak economy of Oelwein [Iowa].

My town never had similar economic woes. Granted, there were two strip malls that sat largely empty—where we would congregate on weekend nights to drink, sell drugs, and decide where everyone should go for the evening—but that was more the consequence of the owner’s outlandishly high rents than an indicator for the economic health of the town. The industrial park was always full of humming factories with more moving to town when I graduated, and pretty much all of my friends worked summers and part-time during the school year. There was poverty in the area, to be sure, but in a town where many people were only two or three generations removed from sharecropping—myself included—that was nothing new.

It’s possible that we turned to drugs out of boredom, but I doubt it. True, there weren’t numerous recreational options around town, especially for teenagers. We had the local multiplex and a few pool halls that allowed minors, and that was it. Still, we were good at making our own fun. We were less than an hour’s drive from a lake and a number of rivers and creeks, so the springs and summers were a seemingly endless cycle of swimming, tubing, fishing, campouts, and bonfires. Regardless of the season, we had house parties when someone’s parents went out of town, and if worse came to worst, we could just drive around all night. The only things the cities had that really interested us were concerts, and we were always game for driving to see our favorite bands.

But it’s not as if we used drugs less when we were occupied; we believed they enhanced any situation. In fact, our desire to use drugs increased proportionally to how much fun we thought an activity would be. When we took our senior trip to a tourist trap on the Redneck Riviera in Florida’s Panhandle, eight of us brought along eight balls of both meth and coke, a pound of weed, and four ounces of ’shrooms. Most daringly, one friend raided the pharmacy where he worked and filled a large Mason jar full of every pill he could find that had a “may cause drowsiness” or “do not operate heavy machinery” warning. Drugs were not all we were concerned about, however. They were always a secondary concern next to being with our friends. A decade later, I still spend most of my time with the same people despite having moved away from our hometown years ago.

This all seemed perfectly normal to us. We didn’t match the conceptions of drug users presented by the media or government, but we were certain the same thing was happening everywhere in the country. We were not disabused of this notion until our friend Calhoun moved to Kansas City and came back to visit, telling us that all his new acquaintances thought he was an addict. I remember his explanation very clearly:

So the first day at work I start talkin’ to the guy that’s showin’ me around the place, and I ask him where I can get some weed, and, ya know, he tells me. And then I’m like, ‘so where can I get some pills,’ and—again—he tells me. Then I ask him where I can get some meth, and he says he doesn’t know. So I ask him if he knows where I can get some X, and he’s like, ‘what the f–k’s wrong with you!?’

Calhoun shrugged in disbelief. “I don’t know! I just thought people liked to party. I guess up there ya just do like one or two drugs at a time or somethin’ like that.” This pretty well blew our minds. Who wouldn’t do any and all drugs available to him? We weren’t even the craziest people we knew, so if we were addicts, we simply didn’t have the terminology to explain the people who were really out there—people like The Hawk and Bodean.

The Hawk was the best meth cook I knew. While the less competent chefs cooked up batches of gray or even brown dope filled with impurities, The Hawk’s stuff was always pure white—or occasionally blue when he was experimenting with a new recipe—and burned hard and pure going up the nostrils, like a white hot nail straight into your brain. But again, he did not fit the popular stereotype of a chef as some backwoods hick, rail-thin with half his teeth missing. He was skinny but not unusually so, in his early twenties when I knew him, with dark hair and nondescript features. If he wore dress pants and a tie he would have looked like a car salesman, but he was a damn sight smarter, nicer, and more honest than most car dealers I know. The Hawk sold drugs, but from what I could tell his primary income came from weed; the meth was more of a hobby. As friends of his, we never paid for the lines and quarter grams The Hawk gave us over the years, and even when dealing with higher quantities he never charged us retail. The guy was addicted to meth and probably benzos to boot, but he never wronged me or anyone I knew and still goes down as a standup guy in my book.

Bodean was something else. If someone I trusted had told me he was the Norse god Loki, I would have believed it. You never knew what he would do next, but the good money was always that it would be violent and destructive. Although he was just as familiar as The Hawk with the white-dope devil, he always remembered to eat and lifted weights, so his body was 190 ripped pounds in 70 inches. His hair was jet black with long bangs that fell to one side of his face almost down to his sharp jaw. If he had grown it a little longer and put it into a devil lock, he would have fit in on stage with the Misfits. I was friends with Bodean, but I knew better than to cross him when he was angry, especially if he had been drinking bourbon.

A guy in the class below mine once had the misfortune of becoming the target of Bodean’s rage when he was pounding Jim Beam. It was a misunderstanding, but Bodean landed about ten elbows to the kid’s face before he knew what was happening. Another time, the cops came to bust a party, and while they were occupied inside, Bodean attempted to steal their cruiser. When the cops ran back outside, he jumped out of the car and yelled, “F–k you, pigs!” in his guttural, almost caveman-like drawl and took off through the backyard. The cops chased after him, but were literally clotheslined in the next yard while Bodean ducked and kept running through the cemetery, across Main Street, and through the woods to home—about two miles. Although I can’t be sure what mixture of drugs Bodean was on for all his adventures, the only occasion I am certain he was fueled primarily by amphetamines was the time he shot his PlayStation with his MAC-10. He had been up for days, and one of his friends wouldn’t stop playing Tony Hawk, so Bodean walked into the room and shot right through the console and into a water line in his basement. Fortunately, many plumbers in the area would work for crank.

Bodean was also involved in the drug trade—pretty deeply at times—but we didn’t necessarily consider him a drug dealer. Drugs were not his only source of income, and he was by no means a kingpin. Most people we knew only sold drugs to get their own supply for free, so we didn’t think of them “real” drug dealers because such a wide definition would incorporate pretty much everyone we knew at one time or another. We considered selling—or at least giving—drugs to your friends a social duty. If I bought a quarter pound of weed and sat on it while my friends were dry, it would have made me an instant pariah. There were few deeds nobler in our minds than breaking the law by, say, trafficking a sheet of acid back from a rave for no profit save a fantastic experience shared with your friends.

We took a much dimmer view of cops, our natural enemies. We had a certain grudging respect for a cop who really believed he was making the world a better place by busting people for getting high—quixotic as that belief is—but crooked cops were the lowest of the low in our taxonomy. After two of the cities’ top narcs busted a friend of mine with a pound of weed, it was agreed that no charges would be filed as long as the cops kept the pot and my friend never mentioned it again. We already knew those particular officers were crooked, so it was hardly a revelation to us—other townspeople might have reacted very differently to the news—but we were all sickened by the theft. They were worse than highwaymen because they publicly claimed a noble purpose.

Still, we didn’t want them to quit being cops; if you had to get busted, it was best to get popped by them. What we really wanted was for crooked cops to be punished for their sins in dramatic fashion. We hoped that they would be struck by lightning, in an obvious act of God’s anger, but we would have settled for having them publicly exposed as crooked and sent to prison. But as long as such people lived in our town, they could do the least harm as police officers.

While we took our trips on LSD and the cops took theirs on power, the good townsfolk had their religion. Our town was a departure point to parts unknown, and most people chose to ride one of two trains: drugs or Jesus. Both groups believed they were bound for enlightenment and cursed the other as hopelessly naïve and probably wicked. Conveniently, if anyone grew weary of his chosen car, the trains ran on parallel tracks, and people frequently jumped from one to the other.

My friend Matt was as devoted a space cadet as I knew. The summer before our senior year, we had a running contest to see who could take the most acid at one time. Some might wonder why two intelligent young men would do something so hazardous to their mental health. It was for the same reason Sir Edmund Hilary conquered Everest: because it was there. We were determined to scale the mountains of our minds then dynamite them to pieces, only to build them higher still and do it all again. I bowed out of the contest after I ate a ten-strip of Tim Leary blotter paper at a hippie festival and came to believe that I had zipped my tackle off while taking a leak, but Matt pressed on. He ended up eating 22 hits at an outdoor rave, and he claimed he saw a girl we knew turn into a duck-billed platypus. He more than doubled a total that had nearly destroyed me, and you would never know a nervous thought had crossed his mind. It was as if tripping were his natural state of being.

Nevertheless, he frequently bounced back to the Lord. It seemed that every time a girl broke his heart, his world would shatter, and he would spend the next two or three weeks attending prayer groups and preaching the Good News to us. This tendency was probably attributable to the reform school his mother sent him to near Patterson, Missouri. The teachers were former Marines and zealous Baptists who beat the students and forced them to memorize Bible verses. While Matt was there, one of his classmates slashed another student’s throat in an attempt to take over the school. That school was the only topic Matt felt uncomfortable discussing, and I have to believe it is part of the reason Matt could be intoxicated on a far deeper level by Jesus than by LSD.

I didn’t fully comprehend how warped my little town was until I moved away for college. I attended an elite Midwestern university, and many of my classmates came from supercilious locales like New York and L.A. For the most part, they thought of my friends and me as half-mad provincials with minds twisted from the tedium of small-town life and adulterated methamphetamine. The same attitude pervades the journalists who cover drug use in rural America. (Reding is exceptional in that he has a small-town pedigree and makes a noble attempt to see through his subjects’ eyes. Still, despite his best efforts, he remains an outsider in the places he describes.) They come to find madmen, who are admittedly easy to find, confirm their prejudices, and file their stories confident that they’ve made a difference. True, they have told the rest of the world more than it ever wanted to know about rural America’s underbelly. But they can’t tell us the whole truth because they don’t know it and never will.

Nick King writes from Missouri.
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G M
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« Reply #140 on: April 11, 2011, 10:55:32 PM »

Gee, all the addicts and shattered lives I've seen must not have really happened.

Glad I read that. I guess hard drugs aren't even a public health problem, just harmless fun.
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G M
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« Reply #141 on: April 11, 2011, 11:08:09 PM »

http://aia.berkeley.edu/media/pdf/shah_children_meth.pdf

These kids just don't know how to party.
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G M
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« Reply #142 on: April 11, 2011, 11:31:35 PM »

http://realestate.msn.com/article.aspx?cp-documentid=23154768

How to avoid buying a meth house

A home that’s contaminated because of methamphetamine production or use may show few visible signs of the risks it poses. And if that weren’t bad enough, there’s a lot of bad guidance floating around about how to spot one.
By Marilyn Lewis of MSN Real Estate


As the highly addictive drug methamphetamine grows in popularity, so does the chance you could end up buying a “meth house” when you go shopping for real estate.

Making or even smoking meth leaves behind a stew of chemicals that saturates walls, ceilings, floors and carpets with meth as well as mercury, lead, iodine, lithium and poisonous solvents. For each pound of drug, meth “cookers” dump, flush or leave behind 5 to 6 pounds of poisonous waste.

Exposure to even small amounts of these poisons can damage humans’ nervous systems, liver and blood production mechanisms. Small children suffer most. Exposure can trigger birth defects and developmental problems in babies in the womb. (Learn about drug-endangered children at the Office of National Drug Control Policy.)

Meth labs are found in houses, commercial buildings, cabins, mobile homes, RVs, caves, abandoned mines and federal and state forests and parks. The stuff is so easy to make and the ingredients are so cheap and common that some users just make their own at home in two-liter pop bottles or a picnic cooler.

Video: Test kit to detect a meth house?
If you accidentally buy a meth house, your health isn’t the only thing at stake. You could get stuck with tens of thousands of dollars in costs for testing and hazardous-materials cleanup.

That is what happened to Dawn Turner’s son and his young family when they unwittingly bought a meth house in a rural area in Tennessee in 2004. It wasn’t until 2006, when they decided to sell the house, that they learned from neighbors that the previous owner of their home was in prison for making and using meth there. The cost of testing, decontaminating and re-testing the house: $16,000. The experience devastated the young couple, emotionally and financially, says Turner, who began a Web site, MethLabHomes.com, that’s a repository of news and resources to help keep others from making the same mistake.

 

Many homeowners she talks with are wiped out financially by these contaminated homes, Turner says.

Sorting fact from fiction
A home contaminated by meth production has few visible signs. Buyers need help identifying the risks, yet bad information abounds. Here are some common myths about meth houses:

Myth No. 1: You can use hair spray or spray starch to find meth residue.
Fact: Hair spray? Not a chance. There is a bit of truth that starch, sprayed on a contaminated surface, will turn purple-red. Starch turns color in the presence of iodine, used in cooking meth. “It’s a pretty common high-school science project,” says Caoimhín P. Connell, an industrial hygienist who’s an expert in detecting methamphetamine with Forensic Applications Consulting Technology in Bailey, Colo. The spray-starch trick caught on after it was featured in an episode of “CSI.” It can work, but it’s not reliable or sensitive, so if you don’t see purple, you can’t conclude that a house is clean.


Myth No. 2: You can tell by the smell.
Fact: An old, out-of-use method of meth manufacture does produce a nasty odor that’s reminiscent of cat urine. Even current methods – at certain stages – produce various odors. But none of these is a reliable tip-off. In fact, most meth-contaminated homes have no odor or visual clues.

Mike Parker, a landlord in Trinidad, Colo., spent two years and $40,000 to test and clean up one of his 21 apartments after police arrested a tenant with meth supplies four years ago. The apartment was sealed for two years while Parker tried to borrow enough money for the job. His insurance policy didn’t cover it. “They literally go in and tear everything out,” Parker says of the cleanup by a hazardous-waste company. “I had to recarpet, put in a new toilet, new appliances, new fixtures. They took out the stove, refrigerator, everything.”

And yet, Parker had been in the apartment the day of the bust and he smelled nothing -- no tell-tale odors whatsoever. Despite all his trouble, he says he feels somewhat lucky: Had all 21 apartments shared a heating system, the entire building would have been affected.

Parker vouches for the fact that meth labs are easy to conceal. Usually they go undiscovered until a landlord finds a mess when tenants depart or a neighbor phones police to report someone’s weird behavior. “We presume that for every meth lab law enforcement discovers, there are 15 that have not been discovered,” Connell says.

Myth No. 3: No problem, they were only smoking it.
Fact: Experts differ on how much methamphetamine smoking it takes to contaminate a home to a level that’s dangerous to inhabitants. Connell says one smoke could leave a home uninhabitable. But researcher John Martyny, an associate professor at University of Colorado and industrial hygienist at National Jewish Health Center in Denver, disagrees: “One smoke, you probably would be able to detect it but it’s going to be pretty low,” says Martyny. While detectable, the residue wouldn’t likely violate any state’s regulations, he says.

However, repeated smoking will. Manufacturing methamphetamine creates more contamination than smoking, but repeated smoking will push levels in a home over state limits to levels that make a structure dangerous to inhabitants. In a 2008 study, “Methamphetamine contamination on environmental surfaces caused by simulated smoking of methamphetamine” (published in the Journal of Chemical Health and Safety), Martyny’s laboratory simulated “six or seven smokes, maybe a little bit more, and it (the result) was well over the limits.” (Editor’s note: This story as originally published included only Connell’s expert opinion that one smoke could leave a home uninhabitable.)

Myth No. 4: You’re safe in high-end neighborhoods.
Fact: Plenty of labs have been discovered in expensive homes in “nice” neighborhoods. “We have processed meth labs in the homes of two different dentists, a public accountant and an international banker who had a legitimate income of seven figures,” Connell says. He recently tested and found meth in a “beautiful,” 4,500-square-foot, million-dollar house in downtown Denver.

In 2009, the Drug Enforcement Administration reported clandestine meth labs in 46 states. (Click your state on this DEA map.) Certain areas become hot spots. Lately, Oklahoma, Arkansas and Missouri are a center for labs. One reason: Midwest farmers use tons of anhydrous-ammonia fertilizer on crops. It’s a “precursor” (ingredient) for meth and is stored in big tanks in and around farms. Thieves help themselves and a manufacturing industry grows up around the supply.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #143 on: April 12, 2011, 08:14:59 AM »

Quote
Gee, all the addicts and shattered lives I've seen must not have really happened.

Glad I read that. I guess hard drugs aren't even a public health problem, just harmless fun.

Not saying it doesn't shatter lives; am saying that for every shattered life there are dozens or hundreds of folks dealing with their recreational drug use just fine, at least until they get arrested. And of the folks I know who did auger in due to drugs, all had poorly treated serious issues before they started self-medicating; my guess is if there weren't psychoactives around they'd have found a different method by which to self destruct.

7the grade drug education class they showed us a film where a kid went to a carnival, got given a joint by an evil carney, then bought a hot dog, which turned into a talking troll, causing him to freak out and run into traffic or something. We of course thought that having our hotdogs turn into talking trolls would be pretty cool and so tried to replicate the experiment. Alas, the results were not as advertised, which pretty much threw drug education credibility out the window, which pretty much left us open to any experience that came our way. Of the 4000 who processed through my high school before I got thrown out I'd guess about half were involved with psychoactives, and I can think of about six or so who developed brain bubbles off it. Far more wrapped cars around trees drunk.

Bottom line Puritans du jour demonize drugs citing "facts" that often don't prove congruent with reality. New drug users discover the foolishness of the hysteria as bath salts, faux marijuana, caffeinated alcohol, or the usual drug bogeymen are hyperventilated over. A small percentage of this group make a series of stupid decisions at a young age and flame out, becoming poster kids for the hysterics. The insane profits the counterproductive laws create drive others into the biz and hence subculture. Others are brought deeper into that culture via arrest. These groups then get their turn as poster children. Most, however, move on or dial down their usage as they move into adulthood, or have the nutritional and medical resources to successfully deal with the symptoms of their drug use. All but for the permanent underclass who, brought up as de facto wards of the state, find the most available escapes from their stark reality is either heavy drug use, ruthless drug sales, or both. They make the best poster children of all.

So yes, the job that you have exposes you to the starker end of the spectrum where you see the worst cases. If your experience had been parallel with the author of the piece, you would instead see a lot of folks getting though their misspent youth pretty much intact and moving on to make better decisions informed by their past bad ones. Is either perspective the One, Whole, Truth? No, but both have their place and seeing how we've incarcerated a half million citizens, burned through a trillion dollars, and enriched our enemies with no discernible benefit to ourselves, I figure perhaps another perspective might be in order where the WOD is concerned.
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G M
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« Reply #144 on: April 12, 2011, 09:36:18 AM »

Cultures can be destroyed. Look at substance use on Indian Reservations and tell the what the multigenerational impact has been.
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Body-by-Guinness
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« Reply #145 on: April 12, 2011, 10:10:50 AM »

Quote
Cultures can be destroyed. Look at substance use on Indian Reservations and tell the what the multigenerational impact has been.

Yes they can be, particularly when the government is hurrying the process along via policies that fail by any rational criteria. Think the experience of many Native American groups serve as a case in point.
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G M
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« Reply #146 on: April 12, 2011, 10:27:49 AM »

Since the BIA was transferred from the Dept. of War to the Dept. of the Interior, the biggest impact to native peoples was alcohol and other drugs in the destruction of generations.
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Crafty_Dog
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« Reply #147 on: April 12, 2011, 10:35:16 AM »

What role the absence of economic opportunity?  And why is it absent?
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G M
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« Reply #148 on: April 12, 2011, 10:39:19 AM »

Depends on the location of the reservation. Many are very rural, and often were placed in locations where the land was seen as having little or no value.
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DougMacG
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« Reply #149 on: April 12, 2011, 11:39:23 AM »

"What role the absence of economic opportunity?  And why is it absent?"

"Depends on the location of the reservation. Many are very rural, and often were placed in locations where the land was seen as having little or no value."
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Reservations around here have some extremely beautiful and valuable lands AND they are rural, isolated away from the economic centers - so they are mostly blighted and dependent on either the government or dependent on the check from the tribe if they are lucky enough to be a member of one of the few that make a fortune in gambling.  There was an opportunity missed to build, sell and develop vacation properties in just parts of these beautiful lakes and forests for huge sums, if they were so inclined.  They were not. Could have employed everyone available and put the proceeds into other properties and wider growth businesses.  That just isn't their culture.

Time on their hands is one factor (alcohol and drug problems), but heredity/genetics plays a role too.   Also, everyone has a different propensity to become alcoholic or other addiction/abuse.  The higher your family history, the more one needs to shy away from it.  Point in this debate I think is that passing a law against it, alone, doesn't stop it.
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GM,  Thank you for the post about the meth houses.  That is an amazing property crime to inflict that type of environmental damage to a property, a total loss in cases, huge, huge financial damage to the landlord who may have done nothing wrong.  Now a legal requirement for disclosure (state law), you may never be able to sell the house again without a full teardown, and that would require the cost of environmental hazardous waste disposal, which is probably higher than land value.  So it will just sit there.  If you legalize the meth we are still looking at the felony level arson IMO equal to firebombing the house, and restitution in any deal should include reimbursement of the whole cost.  Or as MPD (Mpls) says to felony level property damage, 'sounds like you just have a landlord-tenant issue there'.
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