Articles Posted in War on Drugs

Here’s a paragraph that makes my libertarian blood boil.

So, while the initial stop itself was illegal (emphasis mine), Grijalva never went beyond the bounds of what would have been constitutionally permissible had the stop in fact been justified at its inception. Under these circumstances, applying the law, as we have explicated it in this opinion, to the undisputed facts of the case in our de novo review, we conclude that the behavior of the arresting officers, although clearly unlawful at the outset, was not so particularly purposeful and flagrant that the discovery of the appellee’s outstanding arrest warrants may not serve to break the causal connection between the illegal stop and the discovery of the ecstasy in the appellee’s pants pocket, thus purging the primary taint.

The cops acted illegally, but that’s ok. Ugh.

Today’s case of the day is Mazuca vs. State, from El Paso.

The most frightening Texas law enforcement story of the day comes from CBS in Dallas. It appears that DPS has an online database that stores your prescription information. DPS has been hacked in the past, one can assume it’s only a matter of time before this database is also breached. Maybe we can finally get the answer to what caused this.

This wholesale invasion of privacy is, of course, another tentacle of our failed drug war, specifically the scourge of “doctor shopping” that keeps up the Prohibitionist busybodies at night. To prevent a few addicts from getting pills, we now have allowed the government to monitor everyone’s medical history, forever. It’s the usual “everyone is guilty until proven innocent attitude” we see with alarmingly regularity these days. On the list of dangers that keep me up at night, the fact that my neighbor might be doctor shopping is pretty damn low. Certainly not high enough that I want DPS in the room with me and my doctor.

Remember, next time you tell your doctor that you are in pain, or suffering from depression or anxiety, this information can and will be used against you.

If drugs were legal, if officers weren’t routinely confronted by thousands, ten of thousands, and hundreds of thousands in black market profits (in cash no less), John McAllister would still be a police officer. Instead, the former head of the Narcotics Unit of Mesquite PD is facing a federal charge for allegedly stealing what he thought was drug dealer cash in an FBI sting. The same Prohibition 2 that gave McAllister a livelihood, also gave him the opportunity to become a criminal himself.

Why did Officer McAllister start pocketing cash from drug busts? The same reason drug dealers go into the business. Assuming as economist do, that we are self interested rational actors, humans make the decision to commit or not commit an offense by weighing the benefits of crime against the probability of apprehension, and the possible punishment if convicted. Factor in other existing opportunities and a person’s moral restraint/self control, and if the numbers work out, a crime is born.

Officer McAllister’s moral compass wasn’t enough to keep him from taxing drug dealers for his own benefit. And why not? The government steals (forfeits) from users and retailers all the time. Officer McAllister just forfeited some cash for his own personal use instead of sending it down the bureaucratic black hole.

If there is one book every prosecutor, LEO, and judge should have to read it is The Economics of Prohibition by Mark Thornton (available for FREE here). TEOP explains, with a precision and clarity that can only be found in economic theory, the set-your-watch-by-it predictability of Prohibition’s horrible externalities. That is, what terrible things happens every time a government chooses to make popular recreational drugs illegal. (Spoiler alert- cartel violence, black markets, mass incarceration, corruption, inter alia). Today’s dreadful consequence of prohibition is the “potency effect”.

From the brilliant Mark Thornton via

Economics provides the best explanation for the surge in popularity of meth despite the disproportionate danger of its use. Increased enforcement of drug laws, backed by increased penalties, led to higher prices and decreased availability of preferred recreational drugs such as marijuana and cocaine. High prices and periodic shortages led drug dealers and consumers to find substitutes — ersatz goods that would produce similar results but at a lower cost.

The system has eaten one of it’s own. The Hammer got 3 to do, and 5 for 10. The same tuff on crime ethos that Tom championed for years has finally bitten him in the ass. Here’s newly minted felon, Tom DeLay, on crime.

From OnTheIssues.Org

Voted NO on funding for alternative sentencing instead of more prisons. (Jun 2000)

In case you missed it, Pat Robertson, yes that Pat Robertson, is questioning the wisdom of cannabis prohibition. I’m amazed it took this long for a Christian Conservative leader to come out against arresting and prosecuting adults for smoking weed. It seems to violate the Golden Rule/ “love your neighbor as yourself” ethos to lock said neighbor in a government cage and steal their money, children, and freedom for consuming a plant.

It also speaks to the glaring inconsistency in mainstream Republican thought. Fiscal conservatism is based on the idea that individuals should be responsible for their own behavior and decisions, and that central planning and oppressive government regulations are bad for America. Free markets, free trade, Adam Smith, self interested rational actors, invisbile hand etc all speak to the idea that individuals, not the State, make better decisions on how to spend money.

Unless you spend that money on “drugs”. Then fiscal conservatism Hulks out and becomes the evil twin, big government social conservatism.

I had my first speaking gig for LEAP today. I’ve been a member of Law Enforcement Against Prohibition for a few years now and I was excited at the opportunity to present some our ideas to the Richardson Rotary Club.

First, I’d like to thank the Rotarians for the opportunity. Really nice people and very receptive to the discussion. I should join the Rotary club someday. The Rotarians mission of service and promoting peace and goodwill actually lines up quite well with the LEAP message.

On a technical note, I used Keynote on the Ipad for the first time. Better to test it out with a non jury audience before taking it to court. It worked fine, but the Ipad doesn’t have a remote control for Keynote- FAIL. You can use your Iphone as a remote if you have a wifi connection. But the Ipad needs a bluetooth remote post haste. I had to stand next to my Ipad and touch the screen to change slides. Not horrible, but it really cuts down on my ability to work the room.

As a cannabis legalization advocate I often email my pols and ask them to consider supporting various common sense reform measures. One recent email to Joe Barton sought support for a measure to end the federal prosecution of state sanctioned medical marijuana patients. Being as the Republican party is, or was, the party of state’s right, local control, and limited government, I was sure that Joe Barton would gladly support this common sense measure. Or maybe not.

Here’s Mr. Barton in his own words.

Dear Mr. Guest:

Texas Ranger’s Manager Ron Washington recently admitted that he used a little blow last year and that it was a one time deal. He’s really sorry and promises not to do it again.

At least one local sportstwriter calling for Ron’s immediate termination. That’s a position that can be debated. Baseball is entertainment and if the Rangers, a private business, want their employees to not use blow, so be it.

That argument aside we should all be grateful that Ron didn’t get arrested. Bosses and employers can be forgiving and understanding. The criminal justice machine, not so much.

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