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Ironduke
30 Jan 11,, 09:26
Objective: discuss the importance of US military and financial assistance in combating drug cartels in Guatemala and Latin America

Questions
should the US provide more military assistance and funding to Latin American governments to combat drug cartels and drug trafficking?
what policies can the US institute domestically to combat hard drug use and undercut the revenues of the drug cartels?
is the current drug war blowback from policies that evolved from Nixon/Reagan War on Drugs?

Fighting Drug Cartels in Guatemala

El Mas Loco (“The Craziest One”), the head of La Familia drug cartel, died in a hail of gunfire with Mexican authorities.

While Mexico touts the killing as another drug kingpin taken care of, Guatemala, Mexico’s neighbor to the south, is worried about what this success might mean for its own safety. The country fears that the cartels will move south across a porous border using Guatemala as a new base for their operations.

The murder rate in Guatemala is already double that of Mexico, where more than 10,000 drug-related murders have taken place this year.

Now there is evidence that one of Mexico’s most vicious cartels, the Zetas, are setting up bases in Guatemala as they come under increasing pressure from Felipe Calderon’s government. The Zetas have set up training camps and are trying to intimidate Guatemalan cartels. So far they’ve forced at least one Guatemalan drug family to leave the country.

“When you have drug traffickers afraid of other drug traffickers, you know its getting pretty bad,” U.S. Ambassador Stephen McFarland told Fox News at the U.S. Embassy in Guatemala City.
Earlier this year one of the cartels sent a message to Guatemalans by leaving several decapitated heads on the steps of Parliament.

The Zetas are in a vicious war with Mexico’s Gulf Cartel and are trying to cut out the middle man as they fights for trafficking routes.

Guatemala has long served as one of the main transit points for cocaine into the U.S. The drug arrives by sea from Colombia and Ecuador and then travels by land through Mexico into America. Last year, between 285 and 350 metric tons of cocaine transited Guatemala.

“Just about all of the drugs going through Mexico into the United States go through Guatemala,” McFarland explained.

But the $13- to $25-billion drug trade amounts to more money than the combined defense budgets of all the Latin American countries.

So how do the cartels get their drugs to the U.S.?

For one, they build small semi-submersible submarines in the triple canopy jungles of South America. The crafts can carry between 4 and 10 metric tons of cocaine on board, a payload worth approximately $100 million. Each with a four man crew, the homemade subs can travel up to 4,000 miles without refueling. They cost about $500,000 apiece for the cartel to build.

For nearly more than 5 years, the Guatemalan and U.S. militaries have seen a surge of such subs and have been able to stop some of them.

In October 2009, Guatemalan special forces caught a submarine and seized the 5 tons of cocaine on board.

These soldiers are trained by U.S. Navy SEALs, but U.S. Special Forces are also training a Guatemalan special force tactical strike team. The military has donated a number of UH-2 helicopters to help with cartel raids.

Fox news was able to visit the base in the Pacific where this training takes place.

Soldiers who took part in the October operation say those they arrested lived in a confined area so small that the occupants could stand or sit but never lie down. These were common conditions, they said.

There are “no heads, and no beds,” one U.S. counter-narcotics official who has experience intercepting these subs laughed. “And the crew lives on Red Bull and spam.”

Crews dump the submersibles off the Pacific coasts of Guatemala and Mexico and transfer the cocaine bundles to waiting ships. These ships speed off to the unguarded coastlines and then take overland routes toward the U.S. border. There, one kilogram of cocaine sells for between $17,000 and $32,000.

“There is a growing reef of these semi-submersibles off the coast of Mexico,” another U.S. official said.

The official is one of many who track the drug movements and shares intelligence at a joint interagency task force center known as JIATF-S based in Key West. At JIATF-S, members of the U.S. military, the Drug Enforcement Agency, Customs and Border Patrol and the Coast Guard work with representatives of most Latin American countries.

On July 27, 2009 JIATF-S intercepted a semi-submersible 300 miles off the coast of Colombia. A year earlier, Congress passed the Drug Trafficking Interdiction Act that essentially makes it an automatic felony for anyone caught onboard these unregistered vessels. The law served as recognition that there is no other use for these homemade subs than for smuggling contraband.

McJustice

In Guatemala, the U.S. embassy and the United States Agency for International Development have helped the government set up a number of 24-hour courts to help deal with the large number of cases emanating from drug cartel violence.

These courts are especially busy with the high rate of murders and kidnappings associated with drug cartel gangs.

The court in downtown Guatemala City looks like a Stop and Shop or 7-11 but in the basement of a high-rise courthouse.

The prisoners are held in a group cell in a lock up in the basement garage. They catcall to passersby. When their names are called, they are escorted to what almost looks like a drive-through window to pick up their police paperwork and charges. A few steps from there, they wait to be assigned a public defender, while the judge sits in an all-glass courtroom just steps away.

The U.S. State Department has also set up a model police precinct in one of Guatemala City’s most crowded and violent suburbs, Villa Nueva, where conviction rates are high and community outreach has led to a very successful tip hotline.

But when a Fox team visited Guatemala’s northern border at El Carmen, the main pedestrian crossing in Guatemala’s southwest, the complexity of helping the government tackle its cartel and border problem became apparent.

Guatemala has a 577-mile long border with Mexico. It has eight official crossing points and 1,200 blind crossings.

Immigration Minister Enrique Degenhart, an affable English-speaking former businessman who was educated at Boston College, traveled with our Fox team to show us the border.

We landed at a military base in a banana grove not far from where the Zetas carried out a brazen prison break earlier in the week, freeing a cartel leader who had murdered a well-known soccer star. Eleven suspects, members of the Zeta cartel, were subsequently arrested and as a result, the minister had to travel with an armed escort and a bodyguard as he showed us the border.

“We are tired of being used. We are tired of organized crime using Guatemala as a transit point for jumping into Mexico and into the U.S.,” Degenhart said.

At the El Carmen crossing, there was chaos. A constant stream of pedestrians simply rolled up their pant legs and waded through the river - a five minute walk from the Guatemalan side of the border into Mexico. Upriver, dozens of truck tire rafts waited to ferry illegal migrants and their contraband across the river - a two minute ride. Authorities are unable to stop the flow.

“Our country is being used as a pipeline or bridge for drugs going into the U.S.,” Degenhart explained.

He walked us toward the bridge that crosses the river to Mexico and pointed out row upon row of trinket sellers and shops who he said were likely front companies for those selling drugs and weapons.

“They probably don’t live off of selling tortillas and rice and beans,” Degenhart told the visiting Fox team.

Not a single policeman was visible. The authorities had recently cut down a series of zip lines that the locals use to cross the river with contraband when the river is too high. On this day, they simply walked.

While we were there, his officers received word that the Zetas had threatened to kidnap members of his team in retaliation, forcing us to cut our visit short.

The U.S. is trying to help Guatemala begin to secure its border with Mexico by investing in new border crossings where the Guatemalan authorities can start checking vehicles. The new border crossing would cost about $7 million.

U.S. officials who specialize in counter-narcotics worry that Al Qaeda will soon realize the porous nature of the Central American-U.S. corridor. They suggest that America’s border problems don’t end at border cities like El Paso and Brownsville, Texas. They say border problem begins in Colombia and must be tackled in Guatemala, where it is easier to intercept the drugs and people before they make their way too far north.
Source: Fox News
America's Third War: Fighting Drug Cartels in Guatemala - FoxNews.com (http://www.foxnews.com/us/2010/12/13/americas-war-fighting-drug-cartels-guatemala/)

xinhui
31 Jan 11,, 05:48
I just can't provide a good solution that answers the proposed questions. Here is a set of number to consider -- the drug trade is worth about 20 billion a year and a Guatemalan cop makes 150 USD a month.

The cartel is not after some revolutionary goal or crazy notions of religious purity, they are after one thing, money. Which makes them so hard to deal with. cut off a cartel, another one will take its place.

For a long term solution, I believe the Guatemalan government must liberalize its economy goaling a greater international trade. Setting up export zones would be a good first step. Still, as long as the 20 billion dollar market exist, there is no hope in eliminating it, but with the export zones in place for those who wants a legit job, they can have one.

tomkent45
31 Jan 11,, 11:12
If cartels were solved in latin america the crime rate in US would lower so much that it would bring positive financial results in the case of law enforcement and security

sappersgt
31 Jan 11,, 19:11
For a long term solution, I believe the Guatemalan government must liberalize its economy goaling a greater international trade. Setting up export zones would be a good first step. Still, as long as the 20 billion dollar market exist, there is no hope in eliminating it, but with the export zones in place for those who wants a legit job, they can have one.

What specific ideas have you got in mind? I'm sure you've bandied some ideas around. I'm always interested in ideas that build economies and countries.
I heard Belize tried with limited success to attract relitively well to do immigrants (like HK Chinese), offering citizenship with long term money invested in the national bank.

Mihais
31 Jan 11,, 19:19
Holly ####.20 billions. Anyone thinks we can gang up and ask one of these bastards a few hard questions.:eek:

xinhui
01 Feb 11,, 04:15
Ok, putting my day dream cap on.

First, issue bonds to fund the long delayed rail linking Puerto Quetza to the capital Guatemala city, Allowing foreign investors 100% ownership of this new rail is totally acceptable. Next, create export zones with zero properties tax inside of the CA triangle (three freeways CA1, CA2 and C19 located between Puerto San Jose and Guatemala city) Start a new police force there that directly report to the presidency. Cut red tapes, cut environmental reviews (I know) and make noise to the IMF to get media coverage.

Minimal investment and utilize the existing infrastructure to kick things off.

Blue
01 Feb 11,, 04:23
Objective: discuss the importance of US military and financial assistance in combating drug cartels in Guatemala and Latin America Our original reason for being in SA and CA was to prevent a foothold and spread of communist regimes in the region. The drug war has complicated that and forced the US to put more effort and money in it since those corrupt govts tend to be attracted to communist regimes. However, certain other US govt agencies seem conflicted as to which side they are on in this effort.


should the US provide more military assistance and funding to Latin American governments to combat drug cartels and drug trafficking?Its a worthwhile but futile effort. What they should do is establish a JTF like JTF-B in Honduras, that focuses on infrastructure as well as security. You can shoot dopers till you run out of ammo, but if the people don't have a pot to piss in, they are going with whoever will buy them one.


what policies can the US institute domestically to combat hard drug use and undercut the revenues of the drug cartels? Legalize marijuana, secure the border, focus on real rehab for those incarcerated, or lessen incarceration and increase rehab efforts on the outside.


is the current drug war blowback from policies that evolved from Nixon/Reagan War on Drugs? Yes, but it was part of the plan.

Ironduke
01 Feb 11,, 07:59
Legalize marijuana, secure the border, focus on real rehab for those incarcerated, or lessen incarceration and increase rehab efforts on the outside.
That's my policy on drug laws - decriminalization for drug use period, legalization for marijuana. It wouldn't exactly be a budget balancer, but we'd save money on law enforcement, prisons, border security, and gain money from tax revenue. Pretty simple, straightforward idea. Anybody who wants marijuana in the United States is going to find a way to get it. Why fund Mexican narco-gangs in the process?

Blue
04 Feb 11,, 02:24
That's my policy on drug laws - decriminalization for drug use period, legalization for marijuana. It wouldn't exactly be a budget balancer, but we'd save money on law enforcement, prisons, border security, and gain money from tax revenue. Pretty simple, straightforward idea. Anybody who wants marijuana in the United States is going to find a way to get it. Why fund Mexican narco-gangs in the process?

I had a bit of an epiphany about '94. After fighting the drug war from Columbia to Kansas as a soldier and then a cop over about 8 years, and a discussion I had with an old accuaintance that was also a former "govt employee", I just walked away from the whole scene. I saw that it was unwinnable by design and that the drug war propagated itself as its own entity. Fed financially by both sides, the addict and the govt. The govt funds the addict and the war on the addicts substance. Odd isn't it?

Think about this.....Where would law enforcement be today without the drug war? We have went from meter maids and neigborhood patrols to militarily equipped and trained "civilian police" with the same hardware our guys are toting in war zones. I have a problem with that.

Ironduke
04 Feb 11,, 07:37
I had a bit of an epiphany about '94. After fighting the drug war from Columbia to Kansas as a soldier and then a cop over about 8 years, and a discussion I had with an old accuaintance that was also a former "govt employee", I just walked away from the whole scene. I saw that it was unwinnable by design and that the drug war propagated itself as its own entity. Fed financially by both sides, the addict and the govt. The govt funds the addict and the war on the addicts substance. Odd isn't it?

Think about this.....Where would law enforcement be today without the drug war? We have went from meter maids and neigborhood patrols to militarily equipped and trained "civilian police" with the same hardware our guys are toting in war zones. I have a problem with that.
What do you think of legalized, regulated marijuana?

I'm also interested in exploring the concept of coca as a regulated, safe stimulant in the same way coffee is used.

It would provide a massive legitimate export market, and give an alternative to Bolivian and Colombian growers, as opposed to the current arrangement with drug lords.

One could buy a tin of coca leaf, shredded, flavored, whatever, for a pick-me-up that is less cancerous than tobacco and gives the kick of a cup of coffee.

It seems native practices in the consumption of coca leaf have minimal negative side effects as far as health is concerned - it's as natural in South America as drinking coffee and smoking a cigarette is in the US.

As we can see, when we mess with what mother nature has given us, it can have devastating effects. Look at the problems with Four Loko and other highly caffeinated, fortified malt liquor energy drinks. Caffeine, generally recognized as safe in coffee and soda, becomes a powerful, dangerous drug when we scientifically mess with it to create concentrated concoctions. That is what is currently being done with coca - it's being scientifically extracted from the leaves and made into powder cocaine and crack.

Blue
05 Feb 11,, 01:55
[QUOTE=Ironduke;786941]What do you think of legalized, regulated marijuana? I'm for it. The govt should be too. They could go from spending millions fighting it to collecting millions in revenue from taxing it. Now why don't we do that? I'd like to hear your take on why it isn't and probably won't happen.


I'm also interested in exploring the concept of coca as a regulated, safe stimulant in the same way coffee is used................ I like your whole concept. I think it is very viable and would again provide tax revenue that you would think the govt wants! It a serious WTF question that we need to be pushing our legislators to be looking at as a serious alternative to the current situation, which all logical people know has no end.

Ironduke
05 Feb 11,, 02:17
I seriously thing by researching and promoting coca leaf as a generally recognized as safe natural stimulant, we could destroy the drug cartels, eliminate the narco-war, by using the free market to allow coca growers a safe, profitable, legitimate alternative. Same with marijuana.

The problem is that people have stereotypes and biases against casual marijuana use, and are only aware of coca as a powder/free base substance, and not its natural use among the people of the Andes.

The US government created the scare about marijuana in the 20s and 30s, and took what was a relatively minor issue up until the 70s (cocaine use) and declared war on it, ingraining into people's minds this negative notion about a drug that has practical and safe applications as a consumable product among regular people.

But yes, legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana and coca leaf would delivers a multi-billion dollar profit to the government, both in saved costs (enforcement, military assistance, imprisonment) and tax revenue. It could be enough to eliminate a major part of the budget deficits we've been experiencing for years.

Talk about unintended consequences, eh?

Blue
05 Feb 11,, 03:07
Talk about unintended consequences, eh? Where they though? What has been gained by who in the drug war?

What industry was behind the banning of marijuana?

Ironduke
05 Feb 11,, 03:53
Where they though? What has been gained by who in the drug war?

What industry was behind the banning of marijuana?
Latin American organized drug syndicates are the winners. The people of North and Latin America are the losers.

From what I'm aware of - people with interests in the oil and timber industries were among those who demonized marijuana in the pursuit of profits. I believe Rudolf Diesel made his first fuels from vegetable oils, and vegetable oils were an early competitor to oil due to the difficulty of refining in the late 19th and early 20th century (at least relative to today). The hemp plant is so universally useful in manufacture of a wide range of industrial and consumer products, that it was a threat to dozens of industries with business interests in other raw materials and commodities.

The cultivation of THC-free hemp is still a highly restricted practice in the United States.

Analogies can be drawn to high sugar tariffs that support US sugar beet production in the Upper Midwest and sugar cane production in Hawaii and the US Gulf states/territories, and are also a boon to the corn industry (high fructose corn syrup).

The Europeans do the same thing with their own agricultural commodities - farmers are one of many powerful interests in the political frameworks in the US and Europe, and we see things such as "mountains of butter" in northwest Europe and "lakes of wine" in France, Italy, and Spain.

I'm not sure what coca is a competitor to in the US market - perhaps other stimulants (tobacco, coffee?). I don't see the same entrenched agricultural interests having been a factor in the banning of coca - it's safe use as coca leaf was something Americans were ignorant of, and when it arrived on the scene, it was in the form of highly addictive and dangerous powder/freebase cocaine, so more of a knee-jerk reaction to a plague that was entering society.

I'm sure there are pharmaceutical interests at work in the bans of cocaine - they make synthetic painkillers and narcotics that are high value added industries - cocaine is useful as a topical anesthetic, localized painkiller (kept on stock by US hospitals for nasal surgery, for example). I'm aware of its use in cocavina (wine mixed with cocaine) that was highly used and popular as a medicinal treatment in the 19th century (a Pope swore by it, and used it everyday).

Moving onto heroin - actually metabolized by the liver into morphine by the body. I see limited legalization/decriminalizations for products of the opium plant - there are tens of millions of people across the world who use opium in a socially acceptable way, with no more damage to the social fabric than say the use of marijuana in the US or coca leaf in the Andes.

Everybody in the world gets a fix somehow - the pharmacist is a dope dealer, just government sanctioned. People use/abuse prescription drugs to get some kind of fix they need to deal with the everyday, painful realities of life. Energy drinks, soda, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, food, whatever - everybody is looking for something to stimulate/depress/alter their brain somehow.

Makes life a little easier - no reason to have thousands dead each year and millions of lives ruined because we cannot conceive a way to discover practical, safe applications for certain plants that have been dragged through the dirt and demonized because somebody found a way to mess with what nature gave us.

Blue
05 Feb 11,, 04:36
[QUOTE=Ironduke;787163]Latin American organized drug syndicates are the winners. The people of North and Latin America are the losers. And so the govtwins because it fuels thier legislation legitimatizing thier expenditures and taxation in the war against it.


From what I'm aware of - people with interests in the oil and timber industries were among those who demonized marijuana in the pursuit of profits. I believe Rudolf Diesel made his first fuels from vegetable oils, and vegetable oils were an early competitor to oil due to the difficulty of refining in the late 19th and early 20th century (at least relative to today). The hemp plant is so universally useful in manufacture of a wide range of industrial and consumer products, that it was a threat to dozens of industries with business interests in other raw materials and commodities. Cotton was the main competitor of hemp, though it doesn't stand up to hemps durability. The fact that you could smoke some hemp for a high was cottons major weapon against it. Some of our founding father were hemp farmers, fought all the way by the cotton industry and the south. Think about it. Cotton can only be grown in the south, hemp can grow anywhere. The main factor was william randolf hearst who ran a campaign against hemp because he thought it would replace wood as a paper source, but IMO it was concerted effort.


The cultivation of THC-free hemp is still a highly restricted practice in the United States. I know, its ridiculous.


Analogies can be drawn to high sugar tariffs that support US sugar beet production in the Upper Midwest and sugar cane production in Hawaii and the US Gulf states/territories, and are also a boon to the corn industry (high fructose corn syrup). That is the same thing just a different twist, good call on that. HFCS is crap, but its king now, just like cotton.


I'm sure there are pharmaceutical interests at work in the bans of cocaine An understatment....big pharma is on track to ban and control all kinds of stuff...its all about the money.


Moving onto heroin - actually metabolized by the liver into morphine by the body. I see limited legalization/decriminalizations for products of the opium plant - there are tens of millions of people across the world who use opium in a socially acceptable way, with no more damage to the social fabric than say the use of marijuana in the US or coca leaf in the Andes.

Everybody in the world gets a fix somehow - the pharmacist is a dope dealer, just government sanctioned. People use/abuse prescription drugs to get some kind of fix they need to deal with the everyday, painful realities of life. Energy drinks, soda, coffee, cigarettes, alcohol, sex, food, whatever - everybody is looking for something to stimulate/depress/alter their brain somehow.

Makes life a little easier - no reason to have thousands dead each year and millions of lives ruined because we cannot conceive a way to discover practical, safe applications for certain plants that have been dragged through the dirt and demonized because somebody found a way to mess with what nature gave us. Good post! I'm all about it. I just wish more could see the logic in it.

Ironduke
05 Feb 11,, 13:46
Good post! I'm all about it. I just wish more could see the logic in it.
The question is - how to divert drug use from highly dangerous, refined products to more natural, safe to consume ones.

A drug is a drug -- it's going to have side effects no matter what. But what's the difference between tobacco, coffee, and alcohol and the rest?

Hard drugs are hard because they're illegal in all varieties. Coca leaf is as equally illegal as cocaine. The opium poppy is as illegal as heroin.

So where do cocaine and heroin come from? At first pharmacuetical purposes in the 19th century, but as far as illicit products are concerned nowadays, necessity. The be able to economically smuggle the product illicitly into export markets (e.g. US), they must be highly refined and concentrated to reduce their bulk.

There's no way to smuggle in tons of coca leaf and opium poppy to the United States, to have a backyard lab refine them into cocaine and heroin. Because it's illegal to import either into the US unless there's a government permit (e.g. Coca-Cola, pharmaceutical narcotics).

Now opium, I don't know enough about the addictiveness of. It's safer than heroin though. There must be a way to safely bring opium into the mainstream economy and destroy the drug cartels and illicit market.

And chewing a coca leaf is definitely no harmful than drinking a cup of coffee. By providing coca farmers with a legal export market, the cartels would be strongly undercut as coca farmers make the correct choice and grow for the legal export market.

Double Edge
05 Feb 11,, 22:26
it's safe use as coca leaf was something Americans were ignorant of, and when it arrived on the scene, it was in the form of highly addictive and dangerous powder/freebase cocaine, so more of a knee-jerk reaction to a plague that was entering society.
Slight quibble here, cocaine is not physically addictive, its psychologically addictive.

Heroin & nicotine are examples of physically addictive. Kicking these is a great deal harder than with cocaine, the withdrawal symptoms are more prononced.


The question is - how to divert drug use from highly dangerous, refined products to more natural, safe to consume ones.
Why make a distinction. To achieve what you want you will have to change stereotypes ppl associate with drug use. Do that and everything else falls into place.

Is it acceptable to do drugs, period. Hard or soft.

We're in this mess because some time back some one decided to make the distinction between the two thus creating an artifical shortage which skyrocketed the price and created & further enriched the cartels in the first place.

Legalising marijuana i think is counter-productive. Yes, it saves resources that could be more effectively diverted to harder stuff but i feel it will just increase the demand for the harder stuff. Because marijuana is a gateway drug, if its legal then its no longer cool and the controlled stuff becomes more desirable which would not be difficult to procure in a ganja smoking crowd anyway.

If you must legalise marijuana then its better to go for the whole hog.


A drug is a drug -- it's going to have side effects no matter what. But what's the difference between tobacco, coffee, and alcohol and the rest?
I like to make a distinction between physically addictive vs otherwise addictive.

Let's say heroin is legal, and your kid of legal age wants to go get a fix. You know if they like it then it will be very hard to kick later on.

Vice going to a bar for a drink or lighting up a cig, the latter also being difficult to quit later.

There seems to be a world of difference between the two isn't there. Why is that.


The be able to economically smuggle the product illicitly into export markets (e.g. US), they must be highly refined and concentrated to reduce their bulk.
All about value add. Skunk is more valuable than mary jane.


Now opium, I don't know enough about the addictiveness of. It's safer than heroin though. There must be a way to safely bring opium into the mainstream economy and destroy the drug cartels and illicit market.
China's experience in the nineteenth century would indicate otherwise. Funny thing is it was grown in India to sell in China but i'm not aware of the same negative reaction here compared to there.

Another point to add is I hear a great deal less about illegal drugs in the media here than I used to when i was in the west. Cocaine is rare but heroin & ganja are plentiful in this part of the world. There have to be many more users here just going by population numbers but it never gets the same negative reaction as alcohol say.

There are a few dry states here, some have been that way for a long time, others tend to flirt hot or cold depending on the electorate. The ones that have banned it for long say Gujarat since '61 do not cause problems with drinkers getting alcohol, it just costs more there than wet states.

What they do with alcohol is add heavy taxes so only the more able can afford it, this way the state gets lots of revenue and it makes it harder to prohibit. The poorer tend to stick to the cheaper arrack and local moonshine.

So is there a germ of a solution here. Legalise hard drugs and charge slightly less than current street prices to undercut the black market. Its pricey enough to make most reconsider whether they really want to do it and the profits are high enough for govt not to ban it. They do this already with cigs. Cost of a pack of cigs has gone up a great deal in the last 20 years and its not because of inflation.

The cartels will intially welcome this move as it allows them to go legit but they will lose out later on as competition builds up. You will have divided them and made them smaller in the process. Your drug wars dissapear, budgets go down in many law enforcement depts the same way they did with the armed forces just after the cold war.

USSWisconsin
05 Feb 11,, 23:04
It's a business, the war on drugs and testing for drugs, a lot of influential groups are making their living here. It will be hard to legalize even marijuana because of the opposition from pharmaceutical companies and law enforcement.

Ironduke
06 Feb 11,, 01:07
Why make a distinction. To achieve what you want you will have to change stereotypes ppl associate with drug use. Do that and everything else falls into place.

Is it acceptable to do drugs, period. Hard or soft.
As we can see, it is necessary to make a distinction.

Crack cocaine is more powerfully addictive and dangerous than powder. Thus, federal laws punish 5 grams of crack as they would 500 grams of powder. The unfortunate side effect is hundreds of thousands of young black men with addiction problem being thrown into prison on felony convictions as drug dealers (when all they have is an addiction problem).

Let's talk about the caffeine/malt liquor combination. Highly dangerous, scientifically concocted alcohol and caffeine extracts in an extremely powerful, potentially lethal combination. By taking the caffeine out of a cup of coffee, and the alcohol of a beer, and concentrating and mixing them with a nice, fruity flavor at a very low price, an extremely dangerous drug was created.

Thus drugs like Four Loko became a hard drug.

Legalising marijuana i think is counter-productive. Yes, it saves resources that could be more effectively diverted to harder stuff but i feel it will just increase the demand for the harder stuff. Because marijuana is a gateway drug, if its legal then its no longer cool and the controlled stuff becomes more desirable which would not be difficult to procure in a ganja smoking crowd anyway.
"Gateway" drug is just a label - the only reason it is a gateway drug is because it is in the illegal market, along with other drugs. A drug dealer will sell anything. If the marijuana is next to the Marlboros at 7-11, the only thing it is a gateway to is a Slurpee and those taco/cheesy meat rolls.

If you must legalise marijuana then its better to go for the whole hog.
Strong disagreement - all products that alter the mind must be established to be "general recognized as safe". Heroin, crack, meth, Four Loko, are not safe.

I like to make a distinction between physically addictive vs otherwise addictive.

Let's say heroin is legal, and your kid of legal age wants to go get a fix. You know if they like it then it will be very hard to kick later on.

Vice going to a bar for a drink or lighting up a cig, the latter also being difficult to quit later.

There seems to be a world of difference between the two isn't there. Why is that.
Almost everybody in the world already abuses physically and psychologically addictive drugs. The hard drugs that are concentrated forms of soft drugs (coca leaf, khat, opium?) are not safe. In their natural form, they are much safer than the scientifically concocted, concentrated extracts known as hard drugs.

All about value add. Skunk is more valuable than mary jane.
The primary reason for the refinement of opium into heroin, coca into crack, and rising THC levels in plants is because they exist in the black market - this stuff has to be transported, and reducing the amount you need for the same effect by a factor of 5 to 100 makes good sense, because it's good economic practice.

China's experience in the nineteenth century would indicate otherwise. Funny thing is it was grown in India to sell in China but i'm not aware of the same negative reaction here compared to there.
China tried to regulate opium consumption in the 19th century. The British fought two wars to allow the opium drug trade to continue, with the Chinese helpless to do anything.

Another point to add is I hear a great deal less about illegal drugs in the media here than I used to when i was in the west. Cocaine is rare but heroin & ganja are plentiful in this part of the world. There have to be many more users here just going by population numbers but it never gets the same negative reaction as alcohol say.
People use the drugs that are made closer to home - cocaine is rare because it's produced in South America. Heroin is in the US, but not as prevalent due to the fact that it is grown in Afghanistan and SE Asia, primarily. Hashish is extremely rare in the US, compared to Europe.

It's about geographic proximity to drug production centers.

So is there a germ of a solution here. Legalise hard drugs and charge slightly less than current street prices to undercut the black market. Its pricey enough to make most reconsider whether they really want to do it and the profits are high enough for govt not to ban it. They do this already with cigs. Cost of a pack of cigs has gone up a great deal in the last 20 years and its not because of inflation.
No, don't legalize hard drugs. They are not safe. If people choose to use them - treat them as addicts in the community instead of criminals. If the plants that are derived from are brought into the legal market as drugs like any other - coffee, tobacco, alcohol - in safe forms (e.g. coca leaf) you mostly destroy the drug cartels and give your population a product that is no worse than anything everybody's abusing now.

The cartels will intially welcome this move as it allows them to go legit but they will lose out later on as competition builds up. You will have divided them and made them smaller in the process. Your drug wars dissapear, budgets go down in many law enforcement depts the same way they did with the armed forces just after the cold war.
I don't think the cartels would welcome the move at all - actors within the cartels would go legit, but not the cartels themselves. This move would make the cartels a house of cards.

But yes, it seems you get the main point of what I was saying with regards to undercutting the cartels by bringing the products they peddle into the mainstream economy - there's just a fundamental disagreement whether the hard or soft forms of coca, opium, etc. should be allowed or not (I believe only soft).

xinhui
06 Feb 11,, 19:18
Fighting drug was the topic of conversation during Mr Rodas's visit.





Remarks With Guatemalan Foreign Minister Haroldo Rodas Before Their Meeting

Remarks
Hillary Rodham Clinton
Secretary of State
Treaty Room
Washington, DC
February 3, 2011

SECRETARY CLINTON: I’m delighted to welcome Minister Rodas here once again. I had the opportunity to meet with him on several occasions concerning Guatemala and its many challenges. We have a good bilateral relationship and we look forward to assisting the government and people of Guatemala to deal with their security and economic and social inclusion issues that have to be addressed.

FOREIGN MINISTER RODAS: Thank you very much for this opportunity to be here. For us it is very important, this relationship between the United States and Guatemala.

(Via interpreter) I thank you so much. This is a very important visit for us, and I agree with what Secretary Clinton has said. We enjoy an excellent relationship between the United States and Guatemala as partners in areas having to do with political issues, economic issues, the environment, security, and many more. And therefore, it is very important for us to be able to continue this dialogue as we are doing today.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you so much, Minister.

FOREIGN MINISTER RODAS: Thank you.

SECRETARY CLINTON: Thank you all very much.

xinhui
06 Feb 11,, 19:20
China tried to regulate opium consumption in the 19th century. The British fought two wars to allow the opium drug trade to continue, with the Chinese helpless to do anything.


Apple and Orange here -- those drug gangs are not an imperial power that can pair with GB

Double Edge
06 Feb 11,, 20:33
As we can see, it is necessary to make a distinction.

Crack cocaine is more powerfully addictive and dangerous than powder. Thus, federal laws punish 5 grams of crack as they would 500 grams of powder. The unfortunate side effect is hundreds of thousands of young black men with addiction problem being thrown into prison on felony convictions as drug dealers (when all they have is an addiction problem).

Let's talk about the caffeine/malt liquor combination. Highly dangerous, scientifically concocted alcohol and caffeine extracts in an extremely powerful, potentially lethal combination. By taking the caffeine out of a cup of coffee, and the alcohol of a beer, and concentrating and mixing them with a nice, fruity flavor at a very low price, an extremely dangerous drug was created.

Thus drugs like Four Loko became a hard drug.
The reason i suggested getting rid of distinctions is because otherwise you're just going to be fighting a war endlessly. You start to decriminalise certain drugs only to find newer creations taking their place. In which case I question whether there is any difference between your position and the status quo :)


"Gateway" drug is just a label - the only reason it is a gateway drug is because it is in the illegal market, along with other drugs. A drug dealer will sell anything. If the marijuana is next to the Marlboros at 7-11, the only thing it is a gateway to is a Slurpee and those taco/cheesy meat rolls.
ok


Strong disagreement - all products that alter the mind must be established to be "general recognized as safe". Heroin, crack, meth, Four Loko, are not safe.
So what would your desired response to 'not safe' be then ?

If I understood you correctly, you are for mandatory detox of anybody caught rather than treating them like criminals. Basically if one were caught with any drugs on their person, a list would be consulted and depending on how 'not safe' it was they would be required to appear in court and show they attended a detox program.

There is a further question here, how they get treated really boils down to how much they were caught with in the first place. At some point 'addiction' turns into 'intent to distribute'. So what should the desired response in this case be ?

Same mandatory detox or a harsher penalty.


Almost everybody in the world already abuses physically and psychologically addictive drugs. The hard drugs that are concentrated forms of soft drugs (coca leaf, khat, opium?) are not safe. In their natural form, they are much safer than the scientifically concocted, concentrated extracts known as hard drugs.
So questions arise as to what govt is doing to tackle the supply side of the equation. You suggest allowing the natural form of the drug to be legally available. The purpose of which isn't clear to me, is it to wean those on the more concentrated form away or other ?

How would you treat those that buy the natural form available in the market but then refine it further in a home lab either for personal consumption or profit ?

I've no idea how easy it is to turn coca leaf into charlie. Could allowing coca leaf to be available be considered a form of abettment. It's like saying we'll sell you flour and its ok if you turn it into a loaf of bread but if you make a croissant then it would be illegal.



People use the drugs that are made closer to home - cocaine is rare because it's produced in South America. Heroin is in the US, but not as prevalent due to the fact that it is grown in Afghanistan and SE Asia, primarily. Hashish is extremely rare in the US, compared to Europe.

It's about geographic proximity to drug production centers.
Sure but the stigma attached to drug use IMO tends to be much higher. You are always hearing about not doing drugs, you hear that from celebrities right up to country leaders. Nancy said to 'just say no', Clinton was involved in DARE.

I don't recall the same amount of advocacy here by anyone in the public eye on this topic.


No, don't legalize hard drugs. They are not safe. If people choose to use them - treat them as addicts in the community instead of criminals. If the plants that are derived from are brought into the legal market as drugs like any other - coffee, tobacco, alcohol - in safe forms (e.g. coca leaf) you mostly destroy the drug cartels and give your population a product that is no worse than anything everybody's abusing now.
Ok, so your idea is to provide a safer alternative.


I don't think the cartels would welcome the move at all - actors within the cartels would go legit, but not the cartels themselves. This move would make the cartels a house of cards.

But yes, it seems you get the main point of what I was saying with regards to undercutting the cartels by bringing the products they peddle into the mainstream economy - there's just a fundamental disagreement whether the hard or soft forms of coca, opium, etc. should be allowed or not (I believe only soft).
If you smoke 'regular', would you shift to 'lights' ?

What i understand here is you can't change the behaviour of those on 'regular' but you might be able to influence those who have not started yet. Question is would it keep them from moving on to harder stuff or not. If they wanted to it would not make any difference. The numbers might be lower, by how much isn't clear, and whether the cartels would be affected isn't clear here either.

sappersgt
13 Feb 11,, 23:59
Ok, putting my day dream cap on.

First, issue bonds to fund the long delayed rail linking Puerto Quetza to the capital Guatemala city, Allowing foreign investors 100% ownership of this new rail is totally acceptable. Next, create export zones with zero properties tax inside of the CA triangle (three freeways CA1, CA2 and C19 located between Puerto San Jose and Guatemala city) Start a new police force there that directly report to the presidency. Cut red tapes, cut environmental reviews (I know) and make noise to the IMF to get media coverage.

Minimal investment and utilize the existing infrastructure to kick things off.

I like the idea of an economic corridor, getting away from the "one city" syndrome a lot of small countries have. Belize was trying something like that when they made Belmopan the capital. Belize City was already big enough, placing all the government infrastructure with it's money and jobs allowed Belmopan to grow. It's had varying degrees of success, I hear the Belize-Belmopan corridor is (finally) filling in. I understand the pilot program of recruiting wealthy immigrants with the offer of citizenship, originally targeted at HK and other empire residents, was not as successful as planned.