Only_Humean wrote:More to the point, why would drug dealers have any economic incentive to make heroin available illegally if vastly cheaper, industry-quality drugs are available elsewhere?
Only_Humean wrote:Point 3 is subsidiary (a knock-on effect) of point 2 - regulation and industrialisation will drive the gangs out of business. I don't think that deflating the power of the gangs will open the way to regulation, unless you are of the opinion that the reason it remains illegal is pressure from drugs barons on the legislature.
Isn't it clear that business is more lucrative when it's unregulated, rather than regulated? If you intend any substantive regulations at all, (which cost), then there will be drug dealers offering a cheaper product. I don't think real, substantive regulation will drive drug gangs out of business, only partly because of this. And when you consider that if heroin is more freely available through legalization/regulation, more people will be likely to become drug dealers, to the addicts who are prevented by the regulations from getting it. They can sell it for profit.
This has already been covered, but it's a huge thread, I'll recap.
I don't think that legalising it will stop people getting their hands on illegal substances. The same happens now with legal pharmaceuticals - tramazepam, for instance. But there's no criminal infrastructure to support it. Some kid steals his mum's valium and makes a few bucks off the tablets - there's no international smuggling, no bribery of officials, no bodyguards to pay off, the goods are pharmaceutical quality. It's not interesting for drugs gangs to illegally produce it, because they'd get no markup on it. Heroin is dozens of times more expensive and lower-quality as an illegal drug than if it were produced industrially... and the cost also leads to much more petty/street crime by addicts.
Drugs gangs aren't dealers, in any significant way - while the dealers are undesirable, they're very small fry. The policing cost comes from the organised crime families behind them, who fund other criminal activities with the drugs money they obtain. It wasn't the barmen during prohibition that were the problem, it was the mafia who financed gunrunning, protection rackets and so forth.
Why would addicts be prevented by regulations from getting it? The point of the regulations isn't to get new users hooked!
I meant that point 2 falls back on point 3 because the point of point two just is either the point of point 3, or of point 1. There's no reason for point 2 unless you have as your goal point 3 or point 1.
Ah, well, I don't want to take heroin, nor do I propose it solely to remove drugs gangs. I just think that given that people take heroin, there are policies that minimise the associated societal problems and ones that maximise them, and that the current situation does not minimise them.
Right, this was the point that I made, before I argued that legalization/regulation would either not hinder drug gangs, or else make heroin as freely available as alcohol is today (as in your example), which would hinder drug gangs. Because it seems to me that if alcohol required a prescription, or something like that, you would absolutely have people bootlegging it. And I'm not sure if you are endorsing the latter point (that heroin be as freely available as alcohol) as something that would be good, or not. Care to clarify?
In Scandinavia alcohol is controlled (again, see earlier in the thread) - there is some limited bootlegging, but the majority of people simply don't bother. The Russian mafia don't get rich smuggling vast quantities of vodka over the border, because most people aren't interested in the risk when it's available legally and conveniently in the shops. Plus, the profits on its sale go to the government rather than criminals (insert satirical libertarian comment here) and is available for policing, healthcare, infrastructure and so forth.
Of course, it may be that as soon as heroin becomes available, 80% of the population goes out and gets addicted. I don't think that would happen, and in my experience most of the people who really want to do heroin aren't deterred by its illegality - it seems to be a pretty minor consideration. I don't know anyone who's quit due to a police caution. There would have to be public education on the risks, and some sort of monitoring system - just like there's a risk with alcohol that people get drunk and go out and drive. But to be clear, I don't think that heroin being available through legal means is necessarily a good thing in itself, but that it would minimise the overall societal consequences of heroin use (that's going on despite it being illegal).