Here’s an article written by a friend named Cam Phillips on a topic I’m pretty passionate about, the legalisation and regulation of drugs.
In what could easily be the next international crime thriller for the digital age, authorities have made arrests in three continents as part of an online drug racket take-down operation.
An online narcotics marketplace, known as ‘The Farmer’s Market’ sold illegal drugs to 3,000 people across 34 countries, including every single state in the US, according to a federal indictment released yesterday in Los Angeles.
The Farmer’s Market processed over $1 million in sales in less than three years. The website’s offering included Ecstasy, psychotropic mushrooms, LSD and high-end marijuana. In order to remain anonymous, the site’s operators utilised a network called Tor, which allows users to mask their IP address with encryption. They also screened and vetted suppliers, offered a delivery guarantee and took a commission on each sale. At least in that sense, The Farmer’s Market was operated just like any other virtual marketplace.
The lead defendant, Marc Willems, a Dutch national, was arrested by local police at his home in Lelystad, Netherlands. Another defendant, this time a US man living in Argentina, was arrested as he was leaving Bogota, Colombia. Six others were also arrested from various places in the US for acting as suppliers or ‘cash drops’ for laundering profits. Payments to the site had been made using services like Western Union or PayPal and were routed through overseas locations.
The defendants face charges of conspiracy to distribute controlled substances and conspiracy to launder money. If found guilty of distribution, the defendants could face a maximum of life in prison.
For those innovative entrepreneur’s that might be eyeing off this recently vacated niche, the fate of The Farmer’s Market’s operators should serve as enough of a deterrence. We can admire them for their e-commerce knack, but everyone in online retail knows that you can’t make a long-term business by selling dodgy product, right?
But more recently, and this is the crux of my post, the greater effects of marijuana on society are being studied.
Two recent studies published in the IZA Journal have found that the legalisation of marijuana for medicinal purposes has some interesting side effects. Although an increase in adult users has been found, surely because it becomes more acceptable and more readily available, no increase is seen its use by minors. Furthermore, and this is the interesting/awesome part, US states that have legalised medicinal marijuana has been found to be linked with a significant decrease in suicides, and on top of that a significant decrease in fatal car accidents (by being a substitute for alcohol).
Using state-level data for the period 1990 through 2007, we estimate the effect of legalizing medical marijuana on suicide rates. Our results suggest that the passage of a medical marijuana law is associated with an almost 5 percent reduction in the total suicide rate, an 11 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 20- through 29-year-old males, and a 9 percent reduction in the suicide rate of 30- through 39-year-old males. Estimates of the relationship between legalization and female suicides are less precise and are sensitive to functional form.
To date, 16 states have passed medical marijuana laws, yet very little is known about their effects. Using state-level data, we examine the relationship between medical marijuana laws and a variety of outcomes. Legalization of medical marijuana is associated with increased use of marijuana among adults, but not among minors. In addition, legalization is associated with a nearly 9 percent decrease in traffic fatalities, most likely to due to its impact on alcohol consumption. Our estimates provide strong evidence that marijuana and alcohol are substitutes.
This suggests that the effects of legalising cannabis could be positive in many more ways than helping its medicinal users. Who’d have thunk it? If we legalise weed it may apparently become safer on the roads, and fewer people are would commit suicide…
Of late the argument I often hear and read as to why people don’t care about marijuana legalisation one way or another is simply because they are either ignorant to its uses and effects, or they just don’t use it themselves and thus don’t care. It’s high people started looking at the evidence, politicians included, and start making laws that help people instead of deny people help, let alone their personal freedom.
I think it’s only a matter of time before the US completely legalise marijuana. However, that said, people have been saying the same thing since the 1960s. Until that happens I’m going to remain incredibly ashamed of our society staying tough on marijuana (and other drugs), and continue to deny both the sick and the recreational user access to it. Especially, if in the process people’s lives are being lost that could otherwise be saved.
Our society has plenty of issues that need our attention, and this may not be the most important one to focus on for everyone, but it is a good place to start. And good law reform and increased public awareness and education is only going to help improve our society dramatically.
Currently watching this documentary on Discovery, and I thought I’d share it with you. Luckily I found the whole thing up on YouTube, win!
It illustrates the effects of four illicit drugs, cannabis, heroin, methamphetamine and cocaine, on your body. They have a person who uses each of these substances pretty much daily to take part and do specific tasks prior to and after having used their substance of choice. The results are interesting, not to mention surprising, in a lot of the cases. What’s even more surprising is Robbin Williams hosting it and controlling his epic sense of humour. I don’t think he’s made a single joke yet… Probably not the best place to I guess haha.
Easily one of the most compelling short videos/speeches on why cannabis should be legalised, whether in the US or Australia.
It’s brilliant to see that as the scientific evidence piles up and more and more people are seeing the light with regards to the prohibition on drugs, specifically cannabis, fewer and fewer people believe it should continue to be prohibited. Undoubtedly a good sign considering this terrible prohibition has lead to the arrest and incarceration of more than 22 million American citizens since 1965.
Below is a video reacting to the news of this Gallup poll outcome at the end of last year with MSNBC’s Lawrence O’Donnell’s giving a 4 minute condemning speech of those who are for the war on drugs and anti-cannabis legalisation, specifically politics (many of whom have admittedly partaken in said indulgences).
Hopefully this sort of clear logic illuminates the hypocrisy surrounding drug prohibition that has lead to the ruining of countless millions of peoples’ lives world wide, which has lead to much more devastating harm to individuals than any illicit substance ever could.
In my opinion, anyone who is against the legalisation and proper regulation of illicit substances like cannabis are at best completely ignorant of the science and facts, and are at worst complete and utter hypocrites who know the science and facts but still believe they should be prohibited (unlike more harmful substances, alcohol/cigarettes).
Salon.com columnist David Sirota appeared on The Young Turks last night speaking about the politics of drug legalisation and the so called ‘extreme’ view. In the light of recent polls it’s obvious the extreme view no longer entails being pro-legalization of drugs, but the opposite of being against the legalization of drugs.
Sirota explains how 50% of Americans now support the legalisation of cannabis, and that an even larger 77% support the legalisation of medicinal cannabis.
It seems a common tail these days that conservative religious groups like the USA’s Republicans are themselves often the extremists who point at those sharing the mainstream centrist view, legalising drugs in this case, as being the extremist, though neither the polls nor scientific evidence can support their position. It just comes down to a screaming match where whomever has the loudest and most obnoxious voice seems to be deemed correct.
Civil liberty wins yet another milestone over in Greece where the use of all drugs will soon be decriminalised on the proviso that no one but the user is put in danger/harmed. This is a great step forward, and I really hope that Australia one day follow the lead of countries like The Netherlands, Portugal and Greece.
It’s simply a waste of tax payers money when people are apprehended and charged by the police for personal drug use, especially when they’re hurting no one else. Not to mention the amount of time and energy wasted by lawyers and judges in our courts each year processing people for simple possession or personal use.
What are we likely to see in Greece as a result? Exactly what both The Netherlands and Portugal saw after they decriminalised the use of all illicit drugs. After this occurred in these countries the use of ALL illicit drugs decreased drastically in all age groups. Below is an example:
This was a study in Portugal that examined illicit drug use in high school students before and after drug use was decriminalised. The findings showed that there was a big drop in drug use after decrminilisation occurred.
So you want your kids to live in a safer environment? You want them to be less tempted to do illicit drugs? You want to prevent your tax payers dollars being wasted on people using these drugs responsibly, while taking money away from organised crime? You can achieve this, but the only way to do so is by firstly decriminalising drug use, and eventually legalising and regulating all drug use, coupled with proper education.