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Martin Odber

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Mandatory Monthly Drug Testing for all Government Leaders and Personnel

Governments often advocate drug testing in the workplace for citizens, yet despite decades of broken election promises and scandals, not for themselves.

All government personnel including our leaders, lawmakers, judges, law enforcement, and all other government personnel should be drug tested for illegal drugs on a regular basis.

The war on drugs cannot succeed if those waging it.. are themselves on illegal drugs.

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    Jan 29 2014: and if negative, out with him
  • Jan 26 2014: I'm not sure the benefit would be worth the expense of running all those tests.

    At least where I come from, use of drugs by acting government leaders and personnel is pretty much unheard of. Either its a non-issue, or they hide it well, though the second option seems unlikely, given how journalists pry into an official's personal life like circling vultures hovering over a wounded animal, waiting for it to slip.
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    Feb 14 2014: I'd encourage you to try to find out the rationale behind the current laws, Martin. Whenever someone is unhappy with a current law, I think they should try to find out why the people who made it made it. Because, who knows, once they understand the reasons why they made the law, they may change their mind and agree that the law is a good law. Or, if they still disagree, finding out why the people made the law will help them because they can argue against the reasons why the law was made.

    I started researching why the laws against marijuana were made here in California. I quit after about 15 minutes because I was bored, but when the interest comes again I'll do some more research. But I may not have an answer before your convo closes. But since you're very interested in the topic, I would encourage you to research why the current laws are as they are where you are. I also sent an email to one of my two state representatives, Carol Liu, asking her why the current marijuana laws against recreational smoking in your own house are as they are.

    Sometimes non-attorneys are intimidated by law-related research, but I think one can do it, and there are librarians to help. If I can't get the answer to my question in my local public library, I can visit the Los Angeles County Law Library when next I'm in downtown L.A. (My hometown, Glendale, is a suburb of L.A.)
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      Feb 16 2014: Greg,

      It's always a pleasure conversing with you, despite at times we may not come to the same conclusions on matters. Having different viewpoints in fact makes a conversation interesting.

      Our conversation however wasn't about marijuana, although its nice that you seem to view it in a softer light lately. It's about if steps should be taken to ensure that government leaders and personnel are NOT using illegal drugs.

      The chances of government representatives, voting in a law that could possibly embarrass themselves or their colleagues, seems extremely slim. In a perfect world however, the people who make the laws would be the most accountable to them, in which case they be more inclined to make laws with a high degree of balance between public good, and private liberty.

      A parting note as you mentioned marijuana. Many government leaders as well as public figures often mentioned they have used marijuana. I don't believe I am aware of any government leaders that openly state they have been using cocaine, methamphetamine, lsd, ecstasy or any of a host of illegal pharmaceutical drugs.

      Do you believe that this is because while many of them have tried marijuana, none of them have tried any "hard drugs" ??

      IF your government representative, or any government representative were on illegal hard drugs, would you want to know? Would the people of the country they represent have a right to know?
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        Feb 16 2014: sorry, martin, I was hearing it as a conversation on marijuana, but you're right, you had said drugs in general.

        well, am I understanding you correctly, the reason you want to test all government workers for drugs is that you think when we, the politicians and the public, see the figures on how many government workers use drugs, we will see that the figure is high and it will lead us to revise our drug policy, that we will change the laws so that people are more free to use drugs in their home?
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          Feb 16 2014: Totally ok Greg, I'm glad that we sometimes paraphrase and ask to ensure we have the correct understanding. That is an excellent way to ensure clear communication.

          Should by some far fetched miracle mandatory drug testing for all government representatives did become law, and that steps were taken to ensure that the results were accurate and not tampered with, I'd be stunned beyond words.

          However if it did happen, whether laws became more understanding and rehabilitative/educational about drug use or just what the fallout would be .. would be difficult to predict at best.

          On the other hand what I safely feel we could predict, is that the laws would become what our representatives truly believed were right for themselves and us all, rather than what was convenient or profitable for themselves.

          In addition we would have the satisfaction of being aware if the nationwide life altering decisions made by our representatives were made of a sound mind, or affected by illegal drugs.

          In this link the then Premier of Ontario Mike Harris is quoted as saying that he had to cut the special diet allowance for pregnant women out of the provincial budget as they'd likely only spend the money on beer.

          http://www.ohpe.ca/node/5117

          Really? He's just insulted every pregnant mother in Ontario, and likely all of Canada and world wide. Was he on drugs?

          Greg, these people are only human beings. However their level of responsibility and the damage they can do leaves me desiring that the decisions they make that impact all of our lives, be sober ones, and if not I'd like to know wouldn't you?

          You didn't answer my prior question however so I'll repeat it.

          "IF your government representative, or any government representative were on illegal hard drugs, would you want to know? Would the people of the country they represent have a right to know?"
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        Feb 17 2014: well, martin, do you think you're a little cynical? I certainly hope that the reason government has outlawed marijuana (as an example) isn't because politicians have investments in liquor companies. I tend to think people don't operate that selfishly, that if they've outlawed marijuana they have some good reason for it rather than just looking to their own self-interest. I still think it's good practice when you seek to change a law to investigate why the law was made in the first place, I mean to actually look at the reason the legislature gave when they made the law. It shouldn't be too hard to find.

        sure, I'd like to know if someone was on hard drugs when they made a decision, but that for me would not be enough of a reason to test every government employee. Would it be worth it to you, Martin, to test, what, three or four hundred people to find the one drug abuser? Plus they're not going to abuse the drugs when they're at work, which is where they make the decisions, so I'm thinking their drug abuse wouldn't even affect their decisions at work?
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          Feb 17 2014: "Plus they're not going to abuse the drugs when they're at work, which is where they make the decisions, so I'm thinking their drug abuse wouldn't even affect their decisions at work?"

          Isn't that naive? Let us return to our representatives are human beings as well.

          If that's so then yes, some persons will keep their personal life separate from their work, but then again some won't. Just like any other random sampling of society.

          As for your comment on being cynical ..
          "cyn·i·cal
          ˈsinikəl/
          adjective
          adjective: cynical

          1.
          believing that people are motivated by self-interest; distrustful of human sincerity or integrity.
          "her cynical attitude"
          doubtful as to whether something will happen or whether it is worthwhile.
          "most residents are cynical about efforts to clean mobsters out of their city"
          synonyms: skeptical, doubtful, distrustful, suspicious, disbelieving; More
          pessimistic, negative, world-weary, disillusioned, disenchanted, jaundiced, sardonic
          "losing her job after fifteen years of loyal service had left her bitter and cynical"
          antonyms: idealistic
          contemptuous; mocking.
          "he gave a cynical laugh"
          2.
          concerned only with one's own interests and typically disregarding accepted or appropriate standards in order to achieve them.
          "a cynical manipulation of public opinion""

          That entirely depends on the situation. When it comes to people who have a great deal to gain or lose I sincerely doubt they are going to lay their cards on the table until the dealings done, or even then.

          When it comes to people with little or nothing to lose, I reckon they'd have little or no trouble playing with most of their cards face up.

          Does that make me cynical? or just realistic.
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        Feb 18 2014: well, then it still seems like you and/or I should research why the legislature made the laws against drugs in the first place. I'm starting with marijuana because it's the least obvious as to why the law exists, being the mildest of the drugs. As I say, I sent an email to my state senator http://sd25.senate.ca.gov/ and, when I am at the library, will research it. Martin, you had said that you think the only reason that alcohol could be permitted and marijuana not is there is profit to be made in alcohol. I tend to doubt that that is true. I think the reason is that in reality the government would like to ban all intoxicants, including both alcohol and marijuana, but alcohol is just too popular so they can't do it with alcohol.
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          Feb 18 2014: I'll be interested n learning your results.
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    Feb 1 2014: Hi Martin. Is the last sentence in your intro' serious or is it supposed to be ironic?

    Personally, I think that subjecting our leaders and law enforcement agents to surprise drug tests would be a hilarious endeavour. A great idea worth sharing.

    As for the war on drugs.. There is no war on drugs. Or if the American govt' is waging it, it's in interest of cultivating and selling it, not preventing it. Since the American lead invasion of Afganistan, crops producing heroin have risen, not fallen. The C.I.A are pushers. Get real.
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    Jan 28 2014: Here is the position of the American Civil Liberties Union on mandatory drug testing: https://www.aclu.org/racial-justice_womens-rights/workplace-drug-testing
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      Jan 28 2014: Hi Fritzie,

      Thank you for providing the ACLU's viewpoint on this.

      Is it yours or are you just sharing it?
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        Jan 29 2014: I support the ACLU's position that sweeping drug testing is undesirable except in the case of truly compelling public interest. For example, I think drug testing is a reasonable condition of employment for police officers and air traffic controllers because their impairment would create a clear risk to public safety.
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          Jan 29 2014: The mirror image of this might be that not testing for illegal drugs is desirable in all occupations except those where the use of illegal drugs might pose a risk to public safety?

          Could this be taken to mean the ALCU supports illegal drug use by not opposing it?


          Also, the ACLU then would support the drug testing of professional drivers (bus taxi etc) ?
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        Jan 29 2014: I don't think you could interpret their statement at all to mean they support illegal drug use.
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          Jan 29 2014: If mandatory regular drug testing would identify and deter the use of illegal drugs and the ACLU is against detection, why can this not be considered supporting it's use?
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        Jan 29 2014: You will be able to find the flaw in your logic yourself. Consider, for example, the protections of the rights of the accused in the Constitution and Bill of Rights. Do you consider these protections, such as the fifth amendment protection that the accused cannot be required to testify against himself or the requirement that he must be read his Miranda rights as equivalent to the Constitution's supporting or endorsing crime?
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    Jan 25 2014: What sort of private companies do test for drugs, Martin? They test prior to employment? During employment? But not many test on a regular basis? I've worked different jobs and never been tested on a regular basis.
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      Jan 25 2014: Do you feel that government personnel should or should not be tested for illegal drugs Greg, and why, or why not?
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        Jan 25 2014: well, probably not, Martin. I would guess that in the vast majority of private companies people are only tested for drugs when they seem to show some evidence that they might be on drugs, talking erratically, physically not under total control. But I hoped you could tell me if that's the case? If someone in government looked to be under the influence of drugs, I would think his colleagues would report him and investigation would be undertaken?
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          Jan 25 2014: Greg, it is my thought that if those in government were held to the same laws the rest of our nations abide by, that they would be more discerning in those laws.

          In fact, I am far more concerned about those that appear to be "above suspicion" than those that seem more obvious such as Mr Ford.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Rob_Ford

          May I inquire why you are against drug testing those that govern us?
          Do you feel that they would never use illegal drugs, or that they should be above the law when it comes to illegal drug use or simply that the public should not have the right to know if their government personnel are using illegal drugs?
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        Jan 26 2014: hmm, well, I tend to think most people are rather cautious about drug use where the fact that they are using drugs would become evident at work and cause them to lose their job, this would hold whether they are private or government employees. I am guessing that not too many private employers do much drug testing, any more than government. However, I am seeing on the net that government does do some drug testing: http://work.chron.com/kind-drug-tests-given-civil-service-jobs-23744.html
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          Jan 26 2014: I tend to think most people are cautious about being "known" for illegal drug use rather than do not use it.

          Personally I agree with the use of marijuana as we noted in an earlier conversation and feel it should be legal, however look at this limited list of admitted users in high levels of government, and this is ONLY marijuana. It is very likely that there are a larger number of individuals who use illegal drugs other than marijuana that are unwilling to come forward for obvious reasons.

          http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_United_States_politicians_who_admit_to_cannabis_use

          Where there is smoke, there is fire. It is not a matter of it doesn't happen so there is no need for drug testing. Instead its a matter of there is illegal drug use in government, do we care to catch and prevent it, or do we turn a blind eye.
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        Jan 26 2014: well, it just doesn't sound realistic to me to test every government employee regularly, I think there are thousands of employees, such as postal workers, just too many. For me your list is not convincing because if you think of the thousands of high government officials, there's not a very large number on your list. Also, Martin, wouldn't you think that some of these people were not major users, and particularly were not major users once they held high office? I can't believe Bill Clinton was toking up every couple of days in the Lincoln bedroom, and I'm inclined to think he wasn't toking up too much ever in his life, else I think his friends would have reported him once he became famous so they could get their name in the scandal sheets.

        I would say government workers are only human, the laws against drugs and alcohol are good laws but even the occasional government worker can go astray? But I think by having the laws you do discourage many people from abusing drugs and alcohol who might otherwise do it.

        If you told me in the past I've forgotten. What is your main reason(s) for wanting to legalize marijuana? I recall you were concerned about law enforcement losing their lives in the fight against marijuana. Also that the fight wastes money. I will admit that it's not entirely simple but I will still go with the majority of Americans in restricting it. It does seem that at least two of our states here, Washington and Colorado, somewhat agree with you. But it does put them somewhat in opposition to the majority of the country.

        Do you have any personal experience with this? For example, do you help make decisions about where taxes are to be allocated? Are you law enforcement? Do you know any law enforcement who have been injured in a drug-related gun battle?
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          Jan 26 2014: " I recall you were concerned about law enforcement losing their lives in the fight against marijuana."

          No Greg, I think that law enforcement would far rather bust marijuana users over say cocaine, meth, crack users any day of the week, when viewed from a safety point of view. In fact I would go so far as to say that marijuana users are the LEAST of any law enforcement personnel concerns. If drug users were animals, marijuana users would be pigeons and crack, cocaine, meth users would be lions and tigers.

          My thought however is that I feel that if all government personnel were forced to be subject to the laws they subject the rest of the population to, then those laws would be a lot more realistic and advancements would be made.

          In this debate, I am less interested in any particular drug being legal or illegal, and more interested in seeing that those who make and uphold the laws are the first ones held accountable to them.
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          Jan 27 2014: The list is of people who said they at some time tried marijuana. There are some on the list who are current users but for most that cannot simply be assumed.

          Here is a summary of law regarding drug testing in the United States. http://www.dol.gov/elaws/asp/drugfree/drugs/screen92.asp
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        Jan 27 2014: well, Martin, why would you test postal workers, for example? They don't make the drug laws? I suppose you could test congresspeople, who actually make the laws. Do you imagine many congresspeople abuse drugs and alcohol? It's a rather demanding job where you are in a pretty intense spotlight.
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          Jan 27 2014: Testing all would be wise for several reasons.
          a) mass testing drives down the cost just like mass production
          b) mass testing means we are not unfairly targeting one group

          Why do you feel that our government personnel should not be held transparently accountable and responsible to the laws of the country?
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        Jan 27 2014: well, Martin, is this really so important in a time when many governments are running deficits? Testing every government employee would cost tax dollars. I feel as though I can think of better uses for tax dollars?

        The government officials who make the laws are aware I would think that some government employees abuse drugs and alcohol. I would imagine they take this into account when they make the laws?

        Would you then publish the results, because they're not useful without being published and known by the general public? But that brings up some issues of personal privacy?
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          Jan 27 2014: I'm not convinced that is illegal to publish the name of someone proven to use illegal drugs. We see it reported on athletes all the time.

          Drug testing all government personnel would likely cause staggering changes that would affect our nations from bottom to top.

          It might in fact cause lawmakers to decide that the division between when society intervenes, and when society does not (that hazy line in the sand) becomes when what a person does to enjoy themselves, infringes or encroaches on other societal members.

          THAT .. is the logical dividing line. If what you do, say in the privacy of your own home, does not harm any other member of society, perhaps it should not be illegal in that context. Only when what you do harms or is likely to harm anothers right to exercising their rights, should the state intervene.


          Quite seriously however I do not under any reasonably foreseeable circumstance think that such will come to pass until those who make and enforce the laws, are transparently held to them.
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        Jan 28 2014: well, are you imagining that some huge percentage of government workers will be found to use drugs, Martin? I would imagine the percentage of government workers who use marijuana is about the same as non-government workers. And I'm sure that from time to time some government worker gets busted for dealing marijuana in their offtime, just like employees of private businesses do. I don't think any of this would be a big revelation to those who make the laws?

        Technically based on your idea you would want to test everybody, not just government workers, wouldn't you?

        I guess an interesting question would be how many people use drugs and don't get caught. That's what you're interested in exposing, isn't it? You or I should research it, I just did an initial search on it but couldn't get anywhere. Unfortunately I'm on a public computer where I can't step away without closing this comment, and I have to go to the bathroom. But am I right, you're thinking that if you can show many gov't employees use drugs and don't get caught, it will change drug policy? I have some questions, because the people who make the laws make them even knowing that some won't get caught, the idea is to discourage people from using drugs, and some people will be deterred by there being a law against it.

        As best I can see, and I apologize for being repetitive, but the problem is that people won't just use drugs in their own home. They'll go out into the world, and maybe get themselves run over, or injured, or hurt someone else, because of their intoxication.
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          Jan 28 2014: People obey laws when;

          a) they are forced to as in; obeying the law = ( consequence - chance of getting caught ) x perceived reward
          or
          b) the law is you think makes sense

          (very similar to the differences between authoritarian parenting, and authoritative parenting actually )

          There will always be violators, but a) will require alot more enforcement than b) will

          Regarding your latter comment.. they do that now as things currently are.

          A good rule of thumb is "if what you are doing isn't working, try something else."
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        Jan 29 2014: yeah, they do it now, but more would do it if you legalize it.

        I have heard, Martin, that in the history of China when opium was legal so many people used it so often that it brought the nation down, people neglecting doing work that provides the daily needs. Do you know anything about this, whether it is true or not? Do you think it could be a concern if you legalize marijuana?

        Why is alcohol legal but marijuana isn't?
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          Jan 30 2014: No Greg, I think legalizing marijuana, and legalizing opium cannot be considered in the same context even in the furthest stretch of imagination.

          That would be like trying to consider jaywalking and mass murder as equal. While its true they are both crimes, they are just not at the same level of severity. Hope that helps?

          Why is alcohol legal and marijuana not? It's more complicated to make alcohol where as marijuana you just plant it, harvest it, use it. It's profit driven and that is the only reasonable logic.
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        Jan 30 2014: I've not used opium, but you're probably right, it's stronger than marijuana. But if you legalize marijuana, there will be some people who will go overboard, like use it every day, whereas they wouldn't have when it was illegal?

        Is it really so complicated to make alcohol? Hillbillies out in the sticks can make it, so it seems like it can't be too hard?
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          Jan 31 2014: Some people will always be those who go overboard, however with education and logical laws its society against the issue, rather than government against society, and as a byproduct those who go overboard will be less.

          However, so long as those with the power to change the laws remain above the law, they will be a lot less likely to feel any need to change the laws even when change would be to the benefit of the rest of society.
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        Feb 2 2014: let's see, Martin, if government employees tested positive when the government drug-tested them, should the government then fire them in your plan?
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          Feb 2 2014: Not necessarily situation depending of course.

          However might be more likely that the government would review the laws so they focused on a) public use unacceptable private use acceptable provided said usage did not cause harm to any other person
          b) rehabilitation
          c) incarceration only when the former resolutions could not resolve, and then only until the individual was believed able to control the situation themselves once again as in remain with a) and b)
          d) public transparency of illegal drug related activities because hiding usage makes the person feel alone, and the strength of any society is its power as a group

          I no more feel that our leaders should be punished inappropriately than citizens should.

          Education and success are the key here not punishment.
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        Feb 2 2014: well, if you want to make better drug policy that addresses the needs of everyone in the country, why only test government workers? Shouldn't you test every person in the country, that's the only way you'll get an accurate picture of drug use in the country?
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          Feb 3 2014: Why should the government want to make responsible drug laws?

          The rich and powerful are pretty much above the law. That's just how it is.

          So the only way the people will ever get responsible drug laws, is for those who make the laws to be transparently accountable to them.
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        Feb 5 2014: well, I'm still trying to understand the current state of affairs, what I'm getting from snooping around on the net is that private companies can do suspicionless drug testing of their employees, but the government cannot do it to theirs as it is unreasonable search and seizure. But I don't exactly get why the difference, do you, Martin? I have posed the question to radical russ: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=cu9Ch7ZP74Q my question is in the comments section below the video.
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          Feb 10 2014: Sounds interesting to me Greg.
          I'm not sure why we have one set of rules for private companies, and another for government?
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        Feb 12 2014: no, I'll have to inquire further. For example, here is an article that I believe mentions increased drug testing in the private sphere, but not in the public. They say it has something to do with the at-will nature of private employment, but I would think public employment would also be at-will: http://workrights.us/?products=drug-testing-in-the%20workplace