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Jordan Stella

Student,

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Should governments be allowed to criminalize victimless acts?

If a certain act causes no harm to others (be it social, economic, political, etc) should it be considered a crime? Modern governments have decided that certain acts (i.e. drug use, pornography, gambling, prostitution) are illegal, despite the fact that they are victimless crimes.

I believe the government has no right to criminalize conduct consensually agreed to between adults that cause no direct harm to others. I believe in people taking responsibility for their own lives and oppose paternalistic government. As a result, I support the immediate decriminalization of marijuana, prostitution, pornography, gambling and other victimless crimes.

I'd love to hear an argument that could persuade me to change my point of view.

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    Aug 11 2011: My reply concerning the comments that said that there is no correlation between drug use in America and drug problems in Mexico (it was said that consumers have no responsibility regarding the deaths in Mexico)
    Ultimately it's the consumers fault. Consumers are responsible for their actions. They can choose to buy recycled paper, if they are worried about deforestation - this means, consumers have a notion of the consequences of their purchases.
    And most people are truly worried about the deforestation and drug cartels' conflicts. Some of them even protest against it. However, something I can't understand is why people tend to forget their responsibilities when it comes to getting high (taking drugs).
    They are truly concerned about these deaths, as anyone is, however they tend to forget that their purchase of these products funds those wars.
    If they are unable to live up to their responsibilities, then it's up to the government to do the most responsible thing.
    My reply concerning the comments that said that the legalization of drugs would solve all problems.
    Jordan Sata said that: “if an individual chooses to use drugs, he should be allowed to do so; the moment he resorts to crime to fulfill his addiction, he should be punished”
    Let me said just this: it’s an incredibly irresponsible position.
    First of all, by legalizing drugs (and I will not compare them to alcohol or tobacco, because drugs in the literal meaning are way more dangerous, for example, drugs that enable rapping) and expecting people to behave, it’s the same thing as giving a depressive person a gun. Conflicts are expected and therefore, as you said people would be punished, filling up the already over-flooded prisoner system, and this contrasts one of your so called advantages of legalizing drugs – remember it was said that the legalization of drugs would lead to a better prisoner system.
    Secondly, you can call me close minded, but I wouldn’t like to live in a society where everybody (continues)
    • Aug 11 2011: Great job Fabio! It isn't victimless Jordan. How can you say that? Thousands die on our streets every year because of it. Thousands have died in places like Mexico and Columbia. Are they not victims? The drug user is the one with their finger on the trigger in places like Juarez.

      Government is not to protect individuals, but to protect society.

      If you want this no one tells me what to do world, go and live in a treehouse somewhere...you are connected Jordan, by society, history, economics and yes, your behavior to other people. You are responsible. Government is responsible for well being of all of us.
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        Aug 11 2011: its too bad your goverment lets so many people get killed and ruined by the cartels. theres a reason why they are there and not in canada

        FURTHER you cannot claim ALL drug users get there product from mexico, as generally the product is terrible. the majority of the drug users i see are using product from canada, south east asia, and europe.
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        Aug 11 2011: government is responsible for your wellbeing maybe, but surely not mine. i myself am responsible for my own wellbeing.
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          Aug 11 2011: wouldn't it be great if we lived in a hedonistic society? we would only have to care about our own wellbeing... ohh great. But that isn't the meaning of society. In a society the rules are set to protect the majority of people. Not to protect your or mine wellbeing, but to protect the societies' wellbeing.
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        Aug 11 2011: I just can't agree with the argument that every drug user is responsible for the deaths in places like Juarez.

        The base of this argument is this: what is the responsibility of a government? People have been debating this since the birth of government. I believe that a government exists to protect the rights of the people and as such should not interfere in victimless crimes, nor should they interfere when no rights are being violated.

        I can see where your position comes from, but I just can't agree with that. The American government is responsible for the well-being of its own citizens, and should not concern itself with foreign interests when legislating laws that have to deal with internal issues.
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      Aug 11 2011: and exactly that is what we do. we give knives to depressed persons. everyone has knives at home. we also give them cars. in the US, we even give them guns. adult people should be treated as adult people.
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        Aug 11 2011: a correction: SANE adult people should be treated as SANE adult people.
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          Aug 11 2011: Who are you to make the judgement of who is sane and who is not? An adult is an adult. A human is a human. Everyone has rights.
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          Aug 11 2011: you seem to be confused. are you saying that depressed people can't get knives? or what is your point? you try to sell us that all drug consumers are insane? that is the lowest quality of arguing i can imagine.
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        Aug 11 2011: uau Kriztian Pinter, how can you say that my comment are the lowest quality of arguing? you are putting word in my mouth. I didn't say anywhere, drug users were insane. perhaps you should start reading my comments better.
        Furthermore, obviously depressed people can get knives as can drug users (who are not insane), however, there's a difference. Depressed people are medicated and if they represent a danger to anyone or to themselves they are admitted into an hospital. Drug users are not medicated. While they are drugged, they can do unimaginable things, however, if drug use is to be legalized, there wont be enough police forces to monitor them and make sure they don't endanger anyone or themselves.
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        Aug 11 2011: To Jordan Stella: I can't make the judgement of who is sane and who is not, obviously. I don't even know why you brought that up. Obviously that is a responsibility of medical doctors.

        And what does it mean to be adult? to be over 18? 21? I don't think so. One should be considered an adult if he meets the requirements to be an adult, this is, a certain level of certain responsibility, etc. This can be determined by a CATscan, according to a well renowned psychologist, Dr. Aires
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    Aug 30 2011: If you cannot prove without a doubt the person using a substance of any kind is crosing/damaging a person or propertys, then i believe no one as any right to punish you for it. if you frequent hospitals for drug reasons, or require surgerys for tobacco or alchol reasons, or if you steal from someone to feed a habit, then thats diffrent and it should be handled case by case.

    you can not assume everyone smoking weed gets there stuff from drug gangs
    you can not prove someone drinking will need a new liver, or smoker a new lung.

    im tired of people becoming victims to ASSumptions.
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      Aug 30 2011: You're a smart guy TIm
    • Aug 30 2011: It's enough to statistically analyze it for large n and formulate laws/restrictions based on overall cost/benifit (including everything). It is also perfectly sufficient to take results from study and make fairly accurate predictions for drinking populations (or whatever) without needing to take any measurements or looking at single examples. You don't have time and resources to check for every single example. Math works!
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        Aug 30 2011: we should, though. because these are people. and jail is fucked up, no other way to say it. all you do is feed a cycle of people hurt and abused and debted in the legal system, people who otherwise would have done fine in society and turning them back with a new found hate for the people around them, usually for having the wrong item in a pocket at the worng time. i refuse to think there is not a better way to deal with it then blanket laws.

        and we have the time and resources for cops to do swat raids on pot farms everyday, so dont give me that
        • Aug 31 2011: You may got the point here. So, what kind of legally consistent system do you suggest?
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        Aug 31 2011: personally, i dont think there should be any laws directly limiting drug consuption, but there should be actions taken for those who commit crimes to obtain said drugs. but i dont think this will happen anytime soon, so

        i think Marijuana should be fully legal.

        i think chemically less harmful drugs making up most psychedelics should be decriminalized and able to be obtained in specificly chosen places. i like the idea of applying for a card to obtain said drugs, taking a simple psych test and backround check would sound fair

        for harder drugs, only in there purest forms, meth, cocain, heroin, i think should be deciminalized but those who manufacture it should be jailed, and through several therapy sessions determin if the person is using the drug responisibly/ or needing the drug for an addiction, from there offering the person help if wanted.
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      Aug 31 2011: This is too simplistic because it removes our ability to legislate against very risky behavior until the damage is done. I think it would be fair to arrest someone who walks onto the street and starts randomly firing a gun rather than waiting until someone is hit by a bullet and then charging them. A more balanced approach would be to conduct dispassionate cost/benefit/risk analysis and proceed accordingly.

      Your analysis of drug use is probably correct and the costs of incarcerating casual users far outweigh the benefit, but I'm not as certain about drunk driving. The cost of ticketing someone or taking away their license is quite small compared to the real risk to people and property driving drunk poses.

      This is difficult, admittedly, because we as a species seem to be very bad at statistics and evaluating risk.
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        Aug 31 2011: to be honest, i really dont think the risk would be that big. for the harder drugs i doubt you would see any new recruits there, i dont think theres many people walking around thinking" man if only meth was legal.." but you are right its hard to say, and some people seem to abuse responsibilty more than drugs 9 times outa ten. this would have to be done state by state like mmj to see what the results end up.

        and i am aware this would cost money, when portugal did there sweeping decriminalization of drugs they really diddnt save a lot of money becuase all those funds went to clinics and free help for addicts.
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    Aug 11 2011: its sad, becuase the main argument against decriminalization in america, is the children.
    when its been proven they will do it anyways.
    but heres the best part-
    how hard is it to find pure drugs these days? damn hard, be it heroin, coke, mdma, meth, ect ect. why?
    becuase we cant legaly cut these drugs ourselves.
    do you know what they cut that stuff with sometimes? animal de-wormers? fever inducers? other more harmful drugs?
    ecstacy and coke deaths would dramaticaly drop if the drugs they had were pure in the first place.
    SO give me your blah blah blah the cost society but until your ready to stop risking young peoples lives for assumed risk and consequences and spewing lies about drug use and effects then get back to me.
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      Aug 11 2011: Thank you for having a logical mind. It is so refreshing.
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      Aug 11 2011: Tim, finding pure drugs these days is like finding good wines. We don't synthetically produce our wines, so that they can have the best taste, do we? Wine quality depends on the site grapes are planted on and of course the production method. The same with drugs. You may have the best production method but you also have to have good seeds, just like you need good grapes for a good wine. Therefore, unless you can prove your country produces the best seeds, you won't have pure drugs. So, you are wrong.
      • Aug 11 2011: Fabio, you're making stuff up, and you don't know what you're talking about. Seeds are commercially produced and standardized.
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          Aug 11 2011: what jason said, plus, you have no idea what you are talking about. there more to drug puritys than the drug itself.
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          Aug 11 2011: Jason, you're right, sorry. i didn't meant to go down that way. I was trying to say that the climate influences quality a lot.
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          Aug 11 2011: Tim, such as climate, as I was saying and the production techniques. However, I insist that the climate in which the drug is produced has a strong influence in it's quality.
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          Aug 11 2011: mexico generaly is only exporting marajuana, meth, heroin and some cocain. ALL of them are not just diluted, and of poor quality ( climate) but are also cut with entirely diffrent drugs. cartels are greedy like that.

          thats what i meant.
      • Aug 12 2011: Fabio, you're continuing down a path where I fear you lack expertise. Let's take Marijuana for example. There are thousands of strains that flourish in different climates. Sativa's generally require a longer growing season and warmer climate, whereas an indica can grow in shorter and colder climate. On the extreme end you have ruderalis, which can grow in Alaska.

        Besides, marijuana (or any plannt based drug) grown in a suboptimal climate will not be more or less "safe". They will simply experience a demise in overall quality such as poor taste and lower potency. Neither is a threat to health.
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          Aug 12 2011: I've never raised the problem if they are safer or less safe. What I've been saying is what you said in the second to last sentence: "they will simply experience a demise in overall quality such as poor taste and lower potency. Either way, it seems to me that Tim and you are much more informed in this subject and myself, therefore I'll take your words when it comes to drug quality and drug production.
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    Aug 10 2011: Hello Jordan,
    Drug use might be a victimless act, but we can't forget that drug users in America, for example, empower drug cartels in Mexico who slaughter thousands of people every year. And this story repeats itself with all the other examples you gave. The usage of those things can be victimless acts, but nonetheless represent victims and a death toll somewhere else in the world. If people are responsible to buy and use these products, than they are responsible for the clear consequences that underline their actions.
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      Aug 10 2011: without drug laws, drug money would go to legal businesses, and not criminal figures.
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        Aug 10 2011: A lot of Canada's upper crust made their money at a time when their 'drug' was illegal- during prohibition. These people are now the scions of society.

        However, I struggle with the concept of 'victimless' crime. As a guy gambles away his house, I think we could count his homeless kids as victims and if there is a social net- the whole of society pays for his inability to support his kids.

        With pornography there is good evidence of a negative spiral of thrill seeking that can lead to violence against women.

        If the drug user becomes addicted to drugs, they often resort to crime to support a habit and in societies with social networks, we bear the cost of helping them regain their lives when their addictions erode their health.
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          Aug 10 2011: Ahh you see though, I don't believe that we should have "social safety nets". One is not obligated to be his brother's keeper.

          If a man is gambling away his house, then it is his own responsibility to recognize that he has a problem and fix it. If he has a family, then it is not their responsibility to stop him, but it would be in their best interest to attempt to help him with his problem.

          Your claim that pornography leads to violence against women is actually completely outdated. Countless numbers of recent studied (done by reputable organizations, and published in reputable forms of media) have found that pornography actually DECREASES the amount of sexual violence. If you would like to see said studies, one must only search for it on the internet. You will find countless links from universities, private organizations, and government agencies that all say the same thing.

          If an individual chooses to use drugs, he should be allowed to do so; it is the government's duty to protect his rights, and so he should be allowed to do so legally. The moment he resorts to crime to fulfill his addiction, he should be punished. I believe that one has the right to live freely, but one does not ever have the right to commit a crime and violate the rights of others. Again, you argue for a social net, but I believe that this is wrong to even ask for. No one is entitled to help him regain his health. It was his choice to use drugs, it is his responsibility to deal with the consequences.

          One does not bear an obligation to anyone else. The only thing we have an obligation to is freedom.
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          Aug 11 2011: drug users "often" resort to crime? what kind of statistic is that? how many percent of drug users commit crimes? and how is it different than committing crime to get money for a cellphone or food? how many drugs are addicting in the first place? coffee for sure. why don't we ban coffee?

          so in short: i refuse to agree with that notion that certain chemicals or behaviors lead to crimes. many consumers of those things don't commit crimes, and thus should not be punished. the crime itself should be prevented or punished, no matter what led to it. give people some credit, and don't put leash on them.
        • Aug 11 2011: Hi Debra,

          I understand your point, but I would respond two-fold.

          1. Sadly, children will be victimized by any number of parental errors or weaknesses. This can stem from excessive drinking (perfectly legal) to verbal abuse (perfectly legal) to general neglect, hypocrisy, unrealistic standards and overall stupidity and selfishness. To select a few things, and make them illegal, is logcially inconsistent, especially in the context of a free society where each person has the right to their person, regardless of how poor their decisions are.

          2. The cost of the social safety net for the children of irresponsible parents is far lower that you would think. Really, it's a budgetary drop in the bucket. Although right wing media and talk radio would have you believe that welfare mom's are the bane of society, if we got rid of all of them, it would make no discernable difference. I believe this is a small price to pay for the vast majority of us who choose to use our liberty responsibly.
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        Aug 10 2011: I appreciate the correction on the pornography issue. As the issue is of little interest to me, I have not studied the research for years. I may check out your suggestions to update my knowledge base.

        I do believe in the social safety net so we come from different perspectives. Would you agree that in countries where it is in place, that the government then should have the right to criminalize behaviours that could work to the detriment of the group?
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          Aug 10 2011: I would not agree to that. In my opinion, the government has no right to criminalize said behaviors. If there is a group of individuals who choose to provide a social safety net for others, then that is fine by me, it is their right to do so. If a group of individuals have the means to create a charity to help the underprivileged, or the drug-addicted, or whomever, then I believe that is perfectly moral; however, the government should have no part in it.

          By putting a social safety net in place, the government has already overstepped its bounds, and has already violated the rights of the governed. Any action taken henceforth is only a further violation of said rights.
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      Aug 10 2011: I don't believe that you can blame the purchase of drugs in America to the drug problems in Mexico. By that same logical sequence, every time a business prints anything on paper they are directly responsible for the massive deforestation of the Amazon and so the government must enforce print quotas in office buildings.
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      Aug 11 2011: There wouldn't be cartels if drugs were legal. And if prostitution was taxed and cleaned up, there be no pimps or streetwalkers. Basically, if we allowed some or all of these victim-less crimes the crime wouldn't exist and our prisons wouldn't be so over-flooded
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        Aug 11 2011: I'm glad you thought to point this out. It is true that by outlawing certain activities, our government causes more problems for itself. I think you may be going a step far in saying that crime wouldn't exist. We will never be able to eradicate crime as I believe it is inherent to human nature, but it would ease the burden on America's prison system.
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          Aug 13 2011: Well not that crime wouldn't exist, I meant that crime specifically wouldn't exist i.e. if drugs were legal then no one would get charged with procession or MIC or any of those silly laws. Although I would not make meth legal, and cocaine I would put limitations on it like i believe Germany has. Meth would not be legal because people cannot take responsibility for their actions one bit.

          One problem specifically with American government, it that its too moral. Instead paying attention to scientific facts such as marijuana is not significantly unhealthy besides the smoking aspect, gays couples are natural to be in love, and other things i could get into, they think that God is their ruler. As we say in our pledge: I pledge allegiance to the flag... one nation under God..." :
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        Aug 13 2011: I absolutely agree. Modern culture has become too closely intertwined with "morality". People are much to busy worrying about morality, and not busy enough worried about the cold hard facts, about the objective reality.
    • Aug 11 2011: A crime by definition is a violation of another's person or property. If there has been no violation, there has been no crime. These are what we call legal "absurdities". It's ridiculous, and a complete violation of personal freedom.

      This is of course, not even to get into the economics of the issue, which in the case of drugs clearly shows that prohibition costs more both financially and socially than legallity.

      But this comes back to one of my core points I love to harp on. We live in a democracy, however our principles have been ignored. All laws should resonate clearly with the guiding principles of a just society. It is our responsibility to make noise, and demand better. We have to educate ourselves, and be proactive. Things like social networks are powerful forces in democracies as they allow ideas to spread virally to millions in a short period of time, and for those people to respond and voice their opinion without having to completely disrupt their lives.

      Look at what openmedia recently did using facebook when the oligopoly in Canadian telecom tried to stifle competiton by instituting usage based billing. The reaction they managed to capture must have made acutaries soil themselves. The minister of finance himself stepped up and struck down the CRTC's decision to allow it.
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        Aug 11 2011: I agree with you in that it is our responsibility to step up and fix the wrongs in government. A democratic society is based on the consent of the governed and nothing more. If the governed are unhappy, they must step up and fix the problems. It is as philosopher John Locke and our founding fathers believed.
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      Aug 11 2011: This is only true when illegal
    • Aug 11 2011: Great reply Fabio...and so very true...it is anything but victimless.
      • Aug 11 2011: Preposterous. If it weren't illegal how would drug cartels be empowered by it? Seriously people it isn't complicated. If you're argument were correct then Wineries would still be the equivalent of drug cartels as alcohol was a prohibited substance. I suppose Annheuser-Busch is an empowered drug cartel? A little common sense please. Drugs are victimless unless you don't believe in the power of people to choose for themselves and deal with the consequences of their actions.
        • Aug 11 2011: The drug cartels are the "big business of drugs." It makes no difference what the US does or doesn't do, the cartels will still exist and still terrorize people in other countries. Wineries were the equivalent during Prohibition actually.

          Just because you think something is right, does not make it right or moral or good. It is not true that everyone determines those categories for themselves. It does not mean our government should decriminalize it just because it would make some people very pleased. Societies derive norms and laws, not individuals.

          The US should spend dollar for dollar helping addicts to stop using, as much as it spends for "protecting" the border.
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          Aug 11 2011: guess what, they don't believe in that
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          Aug 11 2011: what exactly would the cartels do if it were all decriminalized? push used college textbooks, the next underground market?
        • Aug 11 2011: On this point I have to agree with Tim blackburn. Consumerism comes with responsibility that most people are not aware of.
          If all these businesses in Jordans (simplistic) example grew a conscience and decided to go paperless that would have a direct impact on deforrestation. Likewise- If no-one took cocaine there would be no drug cartels.
          That said, I fully agree that drugs should be decriminalized (...following far more in depth studys of their physiological and psychological side effects than have ever been carried out, and subsequent education of the population of the REAL dangers of drug taking) as this would be a far more satisfactory state of affairs.
          Appeal to change the laws by all means, but as it stands drug users have to bear some responsibility for drug cartels. To say otherwise is like dropping a hammer on someones head and then blaming their pain on the law of gravity.
          I guess my utopian society would have no need of drug laws as no-one would want to screw themselves up like that.
          However, if the US legalized drugs, prostitution, gambling etc. there would be hardly anyone in the prisons, as has been pointed out. Now I haven't done the maths but that destroys a BIG bussiness. How much American goods are produced by prisoners? It's legalized slavery! (without even considering that most of these inmates are young black men...)
      • Aug 11 2011: So Wineries are still criminal enterprises? Incredible. I guess Robert Mondavi had a shootout with the Behringer family recently? Maybe they decapitated a bunch of Gallo employees and dumped them in mass grave?

        Cartels would lose their market if it were decrminalized. While they struggled to launder their moneyt so they could opewn up legitimate businesses, legal money would swoop in and eat up the market creating jobs, tax revenue and awareness.

        Perhaps you guys forget, prohibition built the mafia. It always does. These things don't go away, so there's no point in fighting it.
        • Aug 12 2011: No wineries were criminal activity in Prohibition. Do you really think that the cartels that are gaining billions of dollars a year are just going to vanish somehow? Somehow that is a very simplistic world that just doesn't exist. All they will do is continue their illegal activities and some of that will be selling illegal drugs. But you will say but hey they will be legal. Not everyone will be willing to comply with whatever "legalization" laws might be passed.
  • Aug 30 2011: @Krisztián Pintér

    Well it may take you one minute to solve - it may be nice to live in ideal world but you don't and can't, how long will it take for bureaucrats to solve it?

    I argue either same policy and studies should get implemented for other banned drugs as well, or legal drugs like alcohol/tobacco/caffeine/,... should get banned entirely too.

    I also argue tobacco and alcohol users should pay equal percentage, for which inclinement towards condition related to their use increases, to their treatment too - if problem is related to their use.

    I don't see how those two options are consistent unless you can get still put in jail for chosing the 1st option [you hadn't clarified that] (which would limit you the use of substance) or you don't get to be put in jail at all @ 2nd option.
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      Aug 30 2011: definitely, i proposed that one option would allow drug use at the expense of limited medical care, and the other option would what we have today: jail time for use.

      thinking about it, we don't even need that latter option. who would choose that? you know, we only want to put the other fella in jail.
      • Aug 30 2011: Ah yes, I precieved it incorrectly at the time, even tho it's obvious :P

        Nevermind about the inconsistency issue about those two things you mentioned.
  • Aug 29 2011: @Tim blackburn

    I was also replying to "Krisztián Pintér" 's comment above.
  • Aug 29 2011: @Krisztián Pintér

    It is not completely opposite to my statement, I had also included a tobacco, while you had not. Smoking marijuana is quite on par with smoking nicotine, however there were some researches which might suggest THC has inhibitory effect on tumor growth which is caused by killing old cells faster, but there was only one research claiming that IIRC.
    Some facts about the smoke: http://www.erowid.org/plants/cannabis/cannabis_info3.shtml

    However you mustn't forget that nicotine is also often mixed with marijuana and:

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

    Nicotine use is more deadly than obesity. Alcohol is also not so far behind. It is not possible to correctly asses impact of marijuana due to limited sample and legal status, but it would be almost safe to presume it's at least somewhere in range of obesity. Generally drug use is more harmful to society than Obesity, TV shows, and trafic collisions combined.
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      Aug 29 2011: we are digressing from the original topic i believe. so just briefly: those studies are both wrong and irrelevant. wrong because marijuana users don't smoke 20 times a day, but rather few times a week. marijuana can be enjoyed using vaporizers, or it can be eaten. irrelevant, because as i already proposed, simply by opting out of drug related medical care, the problem can be solved.

      obesity is several magnitudes more harmful than even hard drug use. number of death, amount of suffering, and the money spent, whatever you look at, obesity wins convincingly.
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      Aug 29 2011: "Generally drug use is more harmful to society than Obesity, TV shows, and trafic collisions combined. " i DARE you to back that up.

      (2007 - annual causes of death by cause)

      Cardiovascular diseases 806,156
      Malignant neoplasms 562,875
      Motor Vehicle Crashes 43,945
      Drug induced1 38,371
      Septicemia (infections) 34,828
      Suicide 34,598
      by Firearms 31,224
      Accidental poisoning 29,846
      Alcohol induced 23,199
      Homicide 18,361
      Human immunodeficiency virus (HIV) 11,295
      Viral hepatitis 7,407
      Cannabis (Marijuana) 0
      • Aug 29 2011: No problem (let's take europe for example):

        "The study found that up to 400,000 deaths each year in the EU are directly linked to excess weight."
        @ http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-171497/Britains-obesity-death-rate.html

        "You can add them up. if you care"
        @ http://www.driveandstayalive.com/info%20section/statistics/stats-multicountry-percapita-2004.htm
        "Wolframalpha states 56059/year"
        @ http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=motor+vehicles+crashes+deaths+europe

        "Despite considerable progress, the number of smokers in the EU is still high – around one third of the population – and the associated health problems include some 650 000 smoking-related deaths each year."
        @ http://ec.europa.eu/health-eu/my_lifestyle/tobacco/index_en.htm

        "Harmful alcohol consumption is estimated to be responsible
        for approximately 195 000 deaths a year in
        the EU2 due to e.g. accidents, liver disease, cancers
        etc."
        @ http://ec.europa.eu/health/archive/ph_determinants/life_style/alcohol/documents/alcohol_factsheet_en.pdf

        Scroll all the way down and check numbers.

        So what have we got?

        845000 Alcohol and tobacco related deaths versus 456059 obesity and traffic colisions combined.

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_preventable_causes_of_death#Leading_causes_worldwide

        Also check this out (I'm not sure why you haven't do so yet as I gave you link above): It is worldwide statistics for 2001:

        http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/List_of_preventable_causes_of_death#Leading_causes_worldwide

        So we've got:

        Smoking tobacco 5.0M
        Alcohol 1.9M

        Overweight and obesity 2.5M
        Physical inactivity 2.0M
        Traffic collisions 1.2M (@ http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Epidemiology_of_motor_vehicle_collisions)

        So we've got 6.9 milion for alcohol and tobacco and 5.7 milion for overweigth and obesity (which are in large proportion "first world" problems - if you can call is souch), physical inactivity and traffic collisions.

        I really don't think I have to interpret that to you.
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          Aug 29 2011: nope, good stats. nice to see we can fill the void where disese and war dont seem to fill as well anymore.
      • Aug 29 2011: It's true marijuana users don't smoke as often as tobacco users and number of very heavy users is small, but none the less having smoked the same ammount of cannabis as one has tobacco, effects are certainly comparably harmful.

        There is also problem as I mentioned it above, theoretically if one smokes marijuana alone and dies from lung cancer death, would not the one who preforms autopsy automatically consider him to be a smoker and would not care to preform drug tests (he would presume tobacco) related death. Especially because of marijuana's illegal status it would be hard to know what drug abuse (in form of smoking) was the user preforming - as marijuana users don't vocally boast it to everyone they know or see - numbers would be small but I certainly don't believe overall total (including chronical users) is 0. The figure that was given above was of acute THC overdose. Having lethal dose of roughly 1000mg/kg of body weigth, which is nearly impossible if smoking or eating plant parts are employed. By the way tobacco can be also chewed or smoked in "hookas".

        And hard drug use is statistically not souch a major contributor to overall deaths.

        Also those studies are not wrong, you just obviously don't know how to interpret the results.
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          Aug 29 2011: and marijuana can be smoked through vaporizers and eaten lol. to be honest, all of the HEAVY, i meen, smoking all day everyday, smokers i have met were not tobacco smokers. but thats not science.
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          Aug 30 2011: stop making up problems that takes one minute to me to solve!

          the solution is this simple: measure the chance of lung cancer among marijuana smokers, and a control group. calculate how much more money is needed to cure a marijuana smoker, in percentage. let them choose from two options:

          1. smoke weed, and have a co-pay for lung cancer treatment, exactly the same percent
          2. don't smoke weed. in this case, police still can put you in jail.

          objections:

          1. we don't know that percentage. answer: if so, on what grounds you say there is an increase? how dare you propose policies if you don't have numbers?
          2. we can't catch those, who say they won't, but do anyway. answer: just as today. only a small fraction of stoners get caught. if this is acceptable, my proposal is also acceptable.
  • Aug 29 2011: @Krisztián Pintér

    Yes, I believe governments should be able to do that, even in your case where it's not completely victimless crime. Laws are passed in regards to majority of population, not a minority like you who would be "responsible users". If you would have the right to use it, many people would start arguing about unjustice wanting to do the same, even tho hey might be more prone to abuse. I'm sure overall cost-benifit is in society's favour. Any crime that influences society in any way is not victimless - it could form a cascade effect. Courts merely decide whether you are guilty of controlled substance related issue or not.

    I agree souch liberal politics would be more consistent (alcohol, tobacco,pharmaceuticals are still legal ?!?) and appropriate, but it is not yet implemented in reality due to certain predjudices. So I'm all for souch liberal politics considering controlled substances, but I don't think they will get implemented anytime soon/ever. Similar case as nuclear power - irrational fear.

    So let's not get too offtopic I argue that currently, propositions mentioned above in the starting post are not completely victimless - society has to take the burden for them. And unless mechanism of society changes they will stay so.
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      Aug 29 2011: any action influences society. if i watch a TV show, i wear some kind of clothing, eat a certain kind of food, use a certain type of transport.
      • Aug 29 2011: Yes, that's why actions should get ranked by impact they cause on society. Generaly speaking getting drunk, getting high, smoking tobacco is more harmful to society than watching TV shows, wearing certain type of clothing, eating certain type of food and using certain type of transport.
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          Aug 29 2011: i think it is the complete opposite. drinking wine and smoking marijuana are way less harmful than watching TV shows or eating junk food or using a motorcycle.
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          Aug 29 2011: i believe the same as krisztian
  • Aug 28 2011: @Krisztián Pintér

    Well you still have a choice, you can always denounce living in society if you would like (and go back to living with nature). Where exactly do personal liberties mention you have legal right to use illegal substances? You have the right to posses home, you have the right to possess money, you have the right to posess seeds however you do not have the right to plant it's seeds as this would be classified as "manifacture of illegal/controlled substance" which is illegal in Hungary (last time I checked). Rolling it out and smoking is illegal too. Sure you can do it, but you are legally responsible for souch action. It is entirely you problem if you get caught doing it, even if you are ignorant of the law. Seeing Hungarian law regarding souch substances, I believe law is insufficiently structured considering impacts, dangers and classification of substances.
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      Aug 28 2011: you have difficulties following what i say? i explicitly explained you that i use only my own material, and harm nobody. the philosophy of personal liberty has nothing to do with existing laws. it is a philosophy. more about it in an entertaining form:

      http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=muHg86Mys7I
      • Aug 28 2011: Try arguing with your philosophy in court, good luck! Fact we are dealing with usage of your own material is completely irrelevant here, it is still controlled/illegal substance irrelevant of source, you harm yourself like people smoking tobacco, drinking alcohol or swallowing pills. By doing so and getting lung cancer, attending treatment, you suck resources out of "national treasury", which is not only your problem! Maybe you have difficulties following me? Ok, honestly, I don't really care what you do, I only told you that your actions would be illegal according to you law, but you might break the law, which could result in you facing consiquences of your actions (regardless of what philosophy you believe in).
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          Aug 29 2011: we are talking about whether the governments *should* be allowed to do that. not that at this moment, they do or not. courts don't decide such issues.

          the impact on the central budget is a real issue, which can be nicely handled by allowing opt out from government services. i just register myself as a marijuana user, and the government does not have to pay my marijuana related medical costs. clean and simple. it is not enough reason to ban anything.
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      Aug 28 2011: yes, your logic is somewhat fuzzy. do you say that we should prohibit drugs, because it can lead to addiction, which in turn can lead to crime? what about my rights? they don't count? i'm not going to be an addict, but i can't smoke a joint. why not focus on the actual harm? what about personal liberties? not important anymore?

      will the time come that we will prohibit tv shows, because they take away time from learning and doing meaningful things?
      • Aug 28 2011: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fuzzy_logic

        No I'm saying we should limit damage occouring due to drug use by limiting extent of drug use or even prescribe medicinal grade drugs for addicts. You have rights, but you chose to function in context of society, thus you are required to follow it's laws - that's cost of society providing you with almost everything. Laws are implemented only to limit because of people who are susceptible/succumb to those habits. You do not have a legal right to smoke a joint at the moment. Personal liberties do not mention you having a right to smoke joint, however there's possible exception - medical condition or religion, but I don't think you have any of those two. However you can smoke joint outside of the law (like I do). I'm not saying law is consistent and perfect, far from it...

        Hopefully time will come when people will stop doing souch insignificant things as watching TV shows, sports and will stop seeking or will find more productive ways of amusement. But that's just my personal opinion and probably a bit utopic.
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          Aug 28 2011: i didn't choose to function in society. i would choose to, but that choice was not given. i was born into a legal system. i never voted for it, and i repeatedly voted against it.

          personal liberties exactly mention my right to smoke a joint. suppose i have a home. i have money, so i buy some seeds. i plant it in a little pot, i water it, etc. then i dry it out, roll it in a paper, and smoke. all along this path, i used my own stuff, and limited nobody in any way using their stuff. i hurt nobody. any theories of personal liberty exactly say that this is something i can do, and nobody can interfere with it.
  • Aug 28 2011: Yes. It's justified if act damages society and could potentially cause harm to many of it's members.
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      Aug 28 2011: isn't it the very definition of victimless that it has no victims?
      • Aug 28 2011: Actually drug use(drug addict -> can lead to crimes which are not "victimless", also according to some philosophy you are owned by state, thus you should not in any way hurt or kill yourself [drug overdose]), pornography(there is subset of pornography called child pornography in which children are victims, or they are not? Generally also user [if young person sees it it could potentially traumatise him] and possibly actors [before mentioned, but they could also suffer psychologically]), gambling (gambling addict -> For instance he couldn't help his impulse and would gamble all his assets, potentially affecting family if he has any - then again is this completely victimless?), prostitution (user or workers [take some ideas from pornography, I'm in no mood to explain it again]) all have unfavourable impact on society and can have "victims" mentioned in () - thus they are not completely victimless.

        True victimless would imply that there are no victims. But let's take a look at traffic speed regulations they are pretty equivalent to above mentioned possibilities: speeding would be a victimless crime(unless you hit someone or cause an accident), or driving under influence of alcohol (same story). But reason for which those regulations exist is to minimise potential impact on society - unrelated bystanders that could get involved in accidents, even tho they might not neccessarily get involved, but implanting the regulations lowers the probability of souch occourences. Can you name me a completely victimless crime(don't mix it with violation)? Better definition in my opinion would be classification of crimes by their overall impact on society, again fuzzy logic helps a lot in comparison to binary.

        So there is a bloody good reason for some laws to get implemented. Otherwise I'm all for lawless society, if people would be capable of sustaining that, which they are not.
  • Aug 12 2011: OK- 'Synonymous' may have been overstating the point. I just found it amusing at Mr Nunes careless use of the word 'anarchy' to mean 'chaos' resulted in Mr Stella stating that fewer laws would be further from anarchy. I would hold anarchy to be the purest form of libertarianism (in it's social context, not political) which is one one of the topics of this discussion.
    Mr Pintér- I'm not sure I agree that 'anarchism means a leftist movement which is part of the "communism" branch'. To me you might as well say that atheism is a part of the methodist branch of christianity. Anarchy means no government so how can it be part of a political power system?
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      Aug 12 2011: i don't agree with that either, but this is how they use the word. for example anarchists oppose property rights except for personal belongings like a toothbrush. current anarchist movement is strongly anticapitalist.

      i personally think that this is bollocks, and my property can not go public domain just because i stop using it personally. but try to tell this to noam chomsky, or anyone on reddit's anarchism subgroup.

      clarification: theoretical, pure communism is anti-government too.

      ps: actually i'm glad to see that not everyone agrees with that meaning of the word anarchism. maybe there is hope. are you from the US?
      • Aug 12 2011: No, UK I'm afraid.
        I guess the common use of the word anarchy for chaos is, unfortunately, a realistic portrayal of what would occur in an anarchic society. Much as I would love to believe that people are sensible enough to act decently towards one another (you can always depend on the kindness of strangers...) without laws to force their actions, in my experience there are some proper numpties in the world. Too many for any non governmental system to work on any large scale. Maybe if society could be divided into autonomous factions of like minded individuals it could, but that's sounding a bit 'Mad Max'.
        Anyway this is all feeling a bit pedantic and off topic.
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    Aug 11 2011: to Tim blackburn: a reply to "THEY ARE NOT CRIMES. only becuase STUPID PEOPLE made them crimes. decriminalizaion is a solution for our overcrowed prisons. the fact you think its ok to arest and jail drug users is disgusting."

    I don't get this comment. First of all you just say that decriminalization is a solution for our overcrowded prisons after I've said it isn't. By not presenting any valid argument, you're not contributing to the discussion.
    Secondly, I don't see how it can be disgusting for me to think that it is ok to jail drug users. I can't understand your comment. You talk like if I am a fool and I'm saying something that is just wrong. I don't see my position as disgusting when I've the support of the majority of countries (who penalize drug users)
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      Aug 11 2011: I meant is not, my mistake and sorry for the confusion.as for the seconed, if you cant see the war on people, i meen drugs, as a human tragedy, then thats your own problem. SUPPORT? 55% of adult americans see no problem with marijuana decriminalization.

      its like jailing people for burning bibles, you might not agree, but burning that bible did not directly hurt anyone. but for that bible burner to do time with robbers, gangsters, violent offenders in a enviroment more hostile than the inside of a wasp hive? tragedy.
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        Aug 11 2011: can't see the war on people? can you explain better please?
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          Aug 11 2011: the war on drugs is really just a war on people, is it not? its people using drugs. and people moving them. and growing them. even though some of those drugs could be found inside the human brain. and thos people are persued, striped of there rights, fined, jailed, killed, set up, destroying families, friends, memorys, all becuase we think they should be doing it. how many good cops get killed? how many good mothers? fathers? sisters? do you get my point? DEA destroys crops everyday of local busisness for what?

          do you feel safer? are the drugs gone? has addiction droped? has anything changed in the last 50 years other than more bloodshed?
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    Aug 11 2011: Secondly, you can call me close minded, but I wouldn’t like to live in a society where everybody (of course it’s a dramatization, but I hope you can understand what I mean) is drugged. What would happen to our personal relations with other people? A society where no one is conscientious of their actions is not a society, is an anarchy.
    Thirdly, I don’t think “drug money would go to legal business” if it drug use were to be legalized. In the Netherlands, drug use is legal, however, all the drugs come from other countries. Countless carriers are caught in Europe’s peripheral countries that had Netherlands has a destiny. Furthermore, as a good wine, drug quality depends on which site drug plants were grown. The best, I think, probably come from Afghanistan, so, by buying drugs that come from Afghanistan you would be funding the Taliban’s.
    Finally, consider the costs to a country’ heath care programs if drugs were to be legalized. They would grow immensely, making it impossible to have a more socialist heath care program. However, if you think through this prism you would also have to agree that tobacco and alcohol should be prohibited.
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      Aug 11 2011: HA you already do !!!!!! in the last 10 years percription drug use has surged 400%
      plus, there are bars everywhere!
      PLUS drugs have been used by man since the start.
      sorry my friend.
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      Aug 11 2011: You can't honestly tell me that you believe that the simple drug user on the street purchasing drugs is responsible for the deaths of thousands in Mexico? That logic just does not flow. Think of how many acts could be condemned based on your own argument.

      I believe you are wrong in saying that it would over-flow our already crowded prison system. Think of how many people are in jail because of the sale of drugs. Because of prostitution. Because of gambling. Because of so many victimless crimes. These people would be taken out of the prison, and instead, the individuals inside the prisons would be there for ACTUALLY committing a crime.

      I also disagree with your argument that everyone would misuse their right to use drugs. I believe by legalizing the drugs you are forcing people to be more conscientious of their actions and thus are moving farther from anarchy, not closer to it as you suggest.

      If you are worried about where the drugs come from, I must remind you that you are using the same argument that you used in the beginning. By saying that buying drugs from Afghanistan one would be funding the Taliban is fallacious at best. The Taliban is a multinational terrorist organization, and I do not doubt that they have drug trade involved with their group; however, that is not the only way they are funded. On the same token, you should condemn the U.S. government, since recent studies and inquiries into government funding in Afghanistan show that a large percentage of U.S. money overseas is being lost, and some of it being funneled to the Taliban through indirect means.

      I completely and utterly despise any notion of socialistic medicine. The government has absolutely no right to spend tax dollars in that way, and should not ever attempt to interfere with individual life in such a way.

      Small government is the only way to go.
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        Aug 11 2011: First of all, I completely disagree with you when it comes to socialistic medicine. I guess you probably say that the government has absolutely no right to spent tax dollars that way just because you are one of those who are able to afford a health insurance. And what about the other people?
        I think that a country cannot call itself the "greatest country in the world", as President Obama said a few days ago, and have people dieing due not to the lack of resources, but to the lack of character of some people who would rather spend money in other things than in assuring that everybody has an equal opportunity. Some decades ago, M. L. King fought for equal opportunities between black and white people, and know we think that we had to be monsters: how could we not respect people just like us?
        I believe that, a few years ago, you'll look back and be ashamed of the time where people had to die due the greedy health insurance agencies, lobbies and self-centered citizens who only cared about them.


        Moving on the the drug theme, first of all, I don't see your point when you say that I should also condemn the U.S. government, when we were talking about the effects of drug use in Afghanistan. Just because the U.S. government is failing, that doesn't excuse, whatsoever, consumers.

        Furthermore, I must insist and say that consumers' choices have an impact in other countries and in drug cartels (and FYY, one of the Taliban's principal source of money was drug plantation).
        You countless appeals by the Greenpeace to consumers to abstain from buying certain products (some hair lotions, for example, cause deforestation of rain-forests) and consumers broadly support these appeals. Consumers recognize their choices have an impact. Therefore, drug users are responsible, if they buy products from these countries, for these wars.
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          Aug 11 2011: I just don't believe that it is the duty of one individual to fund another's life, nor do I recognize the right of a government to force another to do so.

          As it seems that you have much more knowledge on the subject of the Taliban, I will leave that issue and take you at your word.
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          Aug 11 2011: and who, to this day, will you see protecting the poppy fields? u.s soldiers. and who has no problem with them doing that? everyone else.

          consumers might not help, but theres more to it than that.
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        Aug 11 2011: And if you are so worried about crowded prisoner systems, and think that the solution passes through the legalization of certain crimes, I must say that you are wrong. A crowded prisoner system cannot justify the legalization of crimes. By this rate, you'll only incarcerate murderers. The prisoners systems are crowded? Yes. Is the decriminalization of crimes a solution? No.

        This conversation has showed me that a debate is needed to clarify these subjects, however, this argument of over-crowded prisoner system cannot be used. Crimes need to be penalized. It doesn't matter if there's space for criminals or not. Therefore, the debate need to be held around the subject of what is a crime and not if there is space for criminals.

        "believe by legalizing the drugs you are forcing people to be more conscientious of their actions" - probably. I guess in the U.S. when people reach 21, the legal age for drinking, they are more conscientious than they were when they were 18... However, I can't figure out if it's due to the effect of the "legalization" of drinking or it's due to the growth in the maturity levels of the teenagers.

        However, people can become more conscientious of their actions, but that doesn't solve any of the other issues I raised.
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          Aug 11 2011: THEY ARE NOT CRIMES. only becuase STUPID PEOPLE made them crimes. decriminalizaion is a solution for our overcrowed prisons. the fact you think its ok to arest and jail drug users is disgusting.
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          Aug 11 2011: Thank you Tim. By definition, drug use, prostitution, gambling, etc. are not crimes. As Jason pointed out earlier in the discussion, "A crime by definition is a violation of another's person or property. If there has been no violation, there has been no crime. These are what we call legal "absurdities". It's ridiculous, and a complete violation of personal freedom. "
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          Aug 11 2011: you notice with all this GOVERMENT crack down on users and distributers and CARTELS AND GANGS EXPLOITING this market and the GOVERMENTS making these rules, its the same goverments found suggeling drugs in the first place. AMERCIA and MEXICO dont care about there people at all and places who have more freedom than us have smaller prsion populations and happier people. jus the facts.,
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          Aug 11 2011: You can't blame the consumers for corrupt government officials in Mexico. It is a widely known fact that drug cartels corrupt many political figures and use their power to legitimize their work. And how can you say that the government of America does not care about the people? Have you heard of Operation Gunrunner? It is a joint effort between the governments of America and Mexico to better train and arm Mexican Anti-Cartel forces to combat the atrocities being committed. If the government didn't care about the people, why are we still in Afghanistan and Iraq? Think before you speak please.
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          Aug 11 2011: what about FBI selling guns to cartels to track em when they diddnt track them at alll? what about enforcing these corrupt laws in the first place? we are there in the middle east for buinsess. looks like we have hit a crossroad. but you should seiorusly think if you believe our goverment acts in our own best intrest while the world falls apart and they still get bail outs. lol
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          Aug 11 2011: I don't believe your argument has any logical or political basis. It is not the responsibility of the U.S. government to care for, defend, and provide for every country on the planet. The U.S. government is responsible for the U.S. that is it.
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          Aug 11 2011: You guys are starting to go off-topic.
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          Aug 11 2011: jordan, i agree. i also agree it should treat its citzens like humans, which it does not. Corvida, you are correct.
        • Aug 12 2011: Tim, wait. Illegal drug use is well illegal. Why can't you see that? It is against the law. Now you have two choices, disobey the law and receive the consequences, or attempt to change the law. But in a country that believes in the rule of law, it is against the law to purchase, sell, or use certain illegal substances. Now if you choose option 1 above, then suffer the consequences. Be a man and say ok, I violate the law and accept the consequences of my actions. If you choose the latter, to work to change the laws fine. In the meantime, sorry illegal actions are criminal actions. I do not now believe that criminal actions or fostering criminal actions by others leads to a healthy society.
      • Aug 11 2011: Jordan,
        It is interesting that you believe legalizing drugs would 'be moving farther from anarchy'.
        To my mind the word anarchy is synonymous with 'libertarianism'.
        ;-)
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          Aug 12 2011: anarchism is all about humans and humans rights as humans. i can see the comparison. except where a libertarian would say limited goverment, and anachist would say no goverment.
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          Aug 12 2011: becuase libertarians recgnoize basic human rights and see no need in goverment intervention into such social issues such as anarchist?
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          Aug 12 2011: don't mix different uses of the word. today, "anarchism" means a leftist movement which is part of the "communism" branch. libertarianism in the US means anarcho-capitalism, a very different idea. but originally the word meant left anarchism too. both these ideologies reject the idea of the state.
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    Aug 11 2011: Government criminalizes these acts because they are against the notion of an idealistic society - people selling their bodies for money, depending on drugs for temporary pleasure, screwing up their lives by gambling debt, etc. They are simply not the most beautiful sights. And legalizing these acts may allow them to become a culture, like Amsterdam, for instance, has become known as a place of mindless partying.

    It all depends on how you define the role of a government. Some may argue that the government is responsible for protecting each individual from engaging in potentially dangerous activities to which they could get easily addicted. But some, like you, believe that "one is not obligated to be his brother's keeper." So this discussion, really, is a matter of belief. And the majority, or the more powerful, evidently believes in the former.
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      Aug 11 2011: I have never heard Amsterdam be referred to as a place of mindless partying. In the U.S. at least many people believe Amsterdam is a place where smoking marijuana is legal, and can be done anywhere, but this is not true. It is only legal in certain locations. Actually, if you look at the statistics, by decriminalizing marijuana use, the amount of addicted drugs users was decreased, as well as the amount of crimes involving drugs. History channel actually did a whole documentary showing this very fact.

      Regardless of whether these acts are "pretty sights", the government has no right to criminalize a victimless act. It is the choice of the doer to commit such actions, and he should not be subject to government interference.


      Need I remind everyone in this debate of a little experiment the U.S. tried called Prohibition. Alcohol use, theft, crime, all soared. Not to mention organized crime was formed in most major U.S. cities thanks to Prohibition. I ask you this, does criminalizing these victimless acts make it better? In my opinion, it does not.
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        Aug 11 2011: Jordan, I'm not sure about what people think in the U.S., but I have definitely heard people say it.And with regards to the Prohibition reform, I believe you're talking about the temperance movement in the early 1900s? Well, in that case, I think the experiement lacks time relevancy and is highly less significant as compared to modern drug usage.
        Also, you continue to refer to marijuana use, but how about the other hard drugs? Do you think they should be legalized as well?

        I only said that the reason that the government has criminalized these acts must be simply because they are against what an idealistic society requires. Besides, whether out of ignorance or indifference, the majority supports the prohibition of these acts. Unless you can prove that decriminalizing these acts will improve the situation and decrease the number of prostitutes, drug addicts and other related "crimes," on a large basis, I do not think people would be willing to risk the chance of potentially establishing a culture of increasing drug-dependence and acts of sexual degradation.
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          Aug 11 2011: On principle, I believe that all drugs should be decriminalized.

          I'll concede to your last point. Since the only way to prove that decriminalizing these acts would lower the rate of drug-dependence and other problems, the world may never know.
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        Aug 11 2011: Though I may have sounded against your opinion, I just have no real stance on this issue because I haven't got any solid proof for either sides. Just thought I could share what I thought others may think since you wanted a different perspective.

        It would be interesting to find out though - whether decriminalizing would improve the situation or not.
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      Aug 11 2011: A government should not pass laws that seek to shape society into an ideal one. That kind of government control would be totalitarian and runs contrary to the notion of human rights as it seeks to dictate a conduct that would trump the freedom to self-determination of the individual. I think the real reason all these things are legally-restricted is because the government is seeking to protect its people. That protection in many cases is overkill and sometimes detrimental (drug wars, no health safety for prostitutes). I do think some substances are too dangerous to be legal though. Marijuana is just not one of them.
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        Aug 11 2011: Matthieu, I agree that protection is the primary reason for decriminalizing these acts. But I also think the protection is what the government seeks to do as a part of developing an ideal society. An ideal society where citizens are not left vulnerable to direct or indirect harm by others. Whether they should or shouldn't be able to pass these laws to shape an ideal society depends on your definition of the role of government, and to what extent you believe they should practice interference in order to keep to these responsibilities. And as you've mentioned, "some substances are too dangerous." Well, how do you draw the boundary as to what is too dangerous or what is too interfering? Jordan thinks all drugs should be decriminalized. You think some. How do we settle? Democratically?

        Well, that is what I meant by the "majority," or the more powerful, deciding these acts to be unacceptable. Unless you've got evidence that decriminalizing works, the change will remain hardly likely to happen.
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          Aug 11 2011: well in the case of marijuana it's fairly straightforward. We look at what's already there i.e. cigarettes and acknowledge that marijuana is in fact less of a health hazard. You would also essentially destroy the black market that has formed around it.

          By the way, let me say that I myself don't drink, smoke or do drugs so I don't gain anything from it personally.
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          Aug 12 2011: Matthieu, i knew from the beginning that something is wrong with you. :)
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          Aug 15 2011: Somebody has got to be the spokesperson for the strange people here on TED.
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      Aug 11 2011: portugal has shown it to work. even amsterdam saw a drop in weed use.
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        Aug 12 2011: That's interesting. But that is not a complete proof. We're talking about other hard drugs as well.
    • Aug 11 2011: Actually the belief is that people need to be responsible for their actions, and what they choose to do with their own bodies is their choice and none fo the business of any authority figure. Be it drugs, prostitution, self mutilation, suicide, or any other bizarre choice we might make.
      • Aug 12 2011: That is anarchy. Everyone cannot live as a society, with any sort of cohesion, with the belief "everyone can do what they want." That is living in a world that will never work. No matter what you have been taught, you as an individual do not decide what is right and wrong, good and bad; societies and cultures do.
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    Aug 10 2011: why just marijuana, may i ask?


    RP2012
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      Aug 10 2011: I just used marijuana as a specific. I was talking about all victimless crimes.
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        Aug 10 2011: ah, good call.
        the sad part is, beyond ignorance and politics, there is no reason. becuase the science says otherwise. unfourtanetly we live in a world where people think it is totaly reasonable to do time for such offences. and until they get a right of theres striped away and hauled off to jail for it, they wont see its just humans hurting humans for no reason. :(