Category Archives: legalized drugs

Perspective on Ron Paul’s Newsletters

There is increasing attention being paid to old newsletters which went out under Congressmen Ron Paul’s name in the 1990’s when he was more Libertarian than Republican. They are awful and his excuse for letting them pass without censoring the racism in them is limp.

That said, I think this post in Sullivan’s blog which includes several defenses from Ron Paul supporters arguing that Paul is the only friend Blacks have among the GOP candidates is pretty persuasive.

Still, Paul has flaky economic ideas that will rule him out as my candidate. And Don’t tell me that since he will never be able to persuade Congress to enact his flaky economic ideas I shouldn’t worry about his getting elected.

No wonder he’s going nowhere in the GOP field

Republican Presidential candidate New Mexico governor Gary Johnson defending “federalism” and one particular small business.

“We have a drug war along the border that has taken tens of thousands of lives, and the federal government is spending its time and resources declaring war on small businesses whose only ‘crime’ is trying to dispense medical relief in a regulated, taxed, and legal manner. If there is a conflict between state law and federal law, maybe it’s time for the feds to just admit that their law is just wrong, and let the states decide for themselves how they want to handle the issue of medical marijuana,”

Domestic enemies

After stirring up the passions of a crowd of partisans at a Heritage Club event (and the H Club is not generally considered to be made up of wackos) Congressman Eric Cantor is asked why Obama shouldn’t be considered a domestic enemy.

More background here:

Contrast this accusation with this video example of the Right Wings’s war on drugs and consider the same question.

More background here.

The GOP on drugs

Here’s a short AP story about the growth of the American prison population.

49% of its growth over the last ten years is the result of our anti-drug laws.

The Republican Party has been very aggressive in its get tough policies on drug offenses. Milton Friedman, whose free trade recommendations the Party has gladly adopted, has gotten the cold shoulder from them where recreational drugs are concerned. The Party’s anti-drug policies come more from its anti-temperence roots in severe midwestern protestantism. Sin should be punished. Nevermind that most Republicans my age smoked grass or worse in the seventies, they are very self righteous about putting behind bars today.

The cost of incarcerating drug users, which draws money away from public education, not only ignores Friedman’s invisible hand, it fuels drug mafias around the world. Even the Taliban.


Daughter’s orders

I plan on checking in on my Mother this afternoon before I go to Almanac’s couch with Rod and Jim. The last time I took my daughter to visit Mom it broke my daughter’s heart.

She ordered me never to get Alzheimers which has been passed down through two generations on my Mom’s side. I would be next in line.

I swim a mile a day most weekdays and keep reading and eating healthy in part to fend it off. Mom was always worried about getting Alzheimers. I always thought I’d rather commit suicide rather than let it take hold of me. I still feel that way.

Now there is a new potential remedy one I used to use recreationally long before Alzheimers was an issue. I gave it up because I preferred keeping my mind clear. Now I can imagine taking it to keep my mind clear and staving off suicide.

The Republican Party would prefer to put me in prison for using it and continue pushing up the federal debt but that’s only because they have God on their side.

Drug debate continues

My little debate over drugs has become a 4-way debate. A new voice entered the picture and sent me an email.

“Harry, Vic and Deb,

Great stuff, all of you but I do have one small disagreement with Harry’s reply…

“I’ve come to buy the conservative argument about gateway drugs. If we were going to legalize marijuana I’d want it regulated as strictly if not more so than liquor.”

It seems odd that no one has seen liquor as the gateway drug. I, in my life, have never known anyone who didn’t drink liquor before trying some other mind altering drug. I’ve never been part of the meth culture but I’d be willing to bet that the damages (societal and monetary) caused by alcohol still out weigh all the other drugs. Reminds me of the cartoon where a congressman is discussing drug abuse in America with a bartender and the bartender says that all drug dealers and users should be shot and the congressman says,
“I’ll drink to that”.

Any way, Harry, lots of luck. I’m sure you’ve heard that middle of the road people get hit by traffic from both directions. Vic, Deb and I are kind of like motor scooters. Ya gotta watch out for the big trucks.”

To which I replied:

The gateway drug stuff is oversimplified and your point about booze is well taken. In a way every experience is a gateway experience to the next. Once you’ve been on a Ferris wheel you want to go on the Octopus then to the roller coaster. Once you’ve had tea you’d like to try coffee etc etc. Nonetheless, because people have a tendency to ratchet things up past the reasonable point the collective will ( read government) ought to intervene to make sure it keeps its citizens safe from their own over exuberance. “I just drove 80 mph and no one pulled me over. Let’s try 100 mph!” Try that on a motor scooter.Thanks, on your good wishes. I’m going to have some fun with this campaign.

A drug debate

Vic and another reader took issue with my reply to Vic: The other correspondent suggested that I look to Alaska as an example of a state where, apparently, lots of people smoke grass and nobody does anything about it. My first thought was flippant”- “What! A good Republican state that doesn’t care if its citizens smoke pot!!!” Vic’s riposte to me explains why this could be:

“I suggest that our streets (and homes and persons) are not safe, and that they would be safer without our idiotic drug laws, because then there wouldn’t be black-market prices for drugs, there wouldn’t be robberies and burglaries (and worse) for drugs, and there wouldn’t be gang-banging for the purpose of maintaining drug territories. Booze, too, is troublesome for our society, but I suggest that because of the repeal of prohibition, booze is less troublesome than it was during prohibition, and it is less troublesome than the drugs that are the subject of our idiotic drug laws. Vic”

I mostly agree with Vic. As a child of the “me generation” I went for a couple years getting stoned nearly every weekend. For a short period it was closer to four or five nights a week. I even experimented with amphetamines for a few months. I’m aware of the lure of mind-altering drugs. Today I’ve become a poor-man’s wine snob.

I’ve never tried heroin, cocaine or meth-amphetamines. I can imagine a time when a potent enough strain of marijuana, which is already much more potent than the stuff I smoked thirty years ago, could become a menace through hybridization. I would be happy to let doctors prescribe marijuana’s THC to give sick people an appetite. I know from personal experience that it works. I’d be happy to let doctors prescribe heroin to people suffering great pain. But the three other drugs I mentioned are far greater threats to people and society. I’ve come to buy the conservative argument about gateway drugs. If we were going to legalize marijuana I’d want it regulated as strictly if not more so than liquor.

It’s often argued that motorcycle riders should have the freedom to choose to ride without helmets. It’s also argued that it’s not fair for society to cover the medical expenses of injured riders who have lifelong brain injuries because of their choice to be free. I agree with both positions. This is just one more example of why the middle ground appeals to me. People are often wrong only when they insist that the people who disagree with them are wrong.

A word of warning for the Grassroots Party – marijuana legalization is not my top priority. If I’m elected to Congress I’d probably be content to speak candidly about marijuana law reform and leave it at that.

As for our prison populations. . . As a former school board member I was always unhappy that we were willing to pay the much more exorbitant expenses of 24-hour-a-day jailing than for a good 8-hour-a-day education. The little Republican under my new Democratic skin is appalled at this.

Vic’s Challenge

My email buddy Vic who has sent me interesting items for years recently read my gushing praise for the “This I believe” segment sticking up for the middle.

“And where is “the middle” for would-be Representative Harry Welty regarding our drug laws? The idiocy of prohibition revisited, which is what we have; or decriminalization and treatment? ‘the greatest freedom’, with everyone being prohibited from toking, and with almost half of our prison populations existing because of those idiotic drug laws?”

One advantage I have over Grams and Oberstar is that as someone not dependent on a political party I can be candid without fear of outraging the party I depend on. So here goes, Vic. You’re right. We’ve put millions of Americans in jail over the last decade for drug crimes and made our streets momentarily safe. We did not try to rehabilitate these folks. Some states, like California, skimped so much on their vast, chaotic prison systems that they are out of control; little more than gang-breeding programs. And last week there was the terrible shoot-out by prison guards of FBI agents who were about to arrest them for the business-like way the guards solicited sex from female inmates. A guard killed an agent.

Now this prison population is poised to flood back into the streets as their sentences reach their conclusion. Our get-tough drug policies have only created bitter graduates who will wreak havoc on the streets.

I’m not eager to make America a Netherlands-like land of pot heads but our punitive drug laws are and have been stupid for years. Now we are facing another terrible drug, methamphetamine. Maybe, since it is ravaging a rural white populataion instead of black inner city neighborhoods our leaders will be motivated to rethink our drug laws. I know if I’m elected I will be prepared to change them from the ground up.

As a proponent of the middle I think it’s fitting to ease up on the most draconian laws but I’m also willing to put hurdles in the way of free and unimpeded drug recreation.