General Question

SergeantQueen's avatar

Should the government make more things legal, as a way to regulate them more?

Asked by SergeantQueen (7295points) February 16th, 2018

Things like drugs. I know when the government banned alcohol, they had no way of regulating alcohol that was made. (It wasn’t illegal to drink it, just make/sell it.) Anyways, people made this “bathtub gin” that ended up killing a lot of people because it was tainted so badly.
I know there are certain alcohols that are banned because they have a high percentage of alcohol in them. By it being legal, the government can control what is too high of a percentage, what age you have to be to consume/sell/buy it. What stores can sell it at what time, etc, etc, etc
Things like drugs though, because most are illegal, can’t really be regulated. I know marijuana is legal in some states, and with that, I’m sure they have regulations on how strong it can be or whatever. (amount of THC in edibles maybe? I don’t know a ton about drugs) But with drugs that are illegal like cocaine, meth, all that, they can’t regulate it. So that increases the chance of someone selling something that is harmful (harmful as in, the person made it with a malicious intent. Outside of the normal effects) and you can’t control how strong people can make it or how much people have.
If they regulate it though, they could come up with ways to make meth and other drugs not as harmful.
I mean, they used to put cocaine in medicines and in coca cola so if it was okay for people to consume then what happened to make it so bad now?
This can apply to guns as well. If the government bans them 100%, that increases the risk of bigger, deadlier guns being bought/sold/whatever.

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11 Answers

seawulf575's avatar

On the surface, I would say that almost sounds reasonable, but I would have to disagree with it. I will say, though, you do ask good questions! The alcohol was legal and then illegal and then legal again. It became legal because the majority of people really wanted it legal and because of the damage being done by the illegal hooch. Marijuana is now legal in several states. I have mixed feelings on this one. There are drawbacks to marijuana that need to be addressed, but I don’t have a particularly bad feeling about it. But in both these cases, it doesn’t necessarily stop the illegal aspect of these things. Stills still exist that make moonshine illegally. It can be sold cheaper than the regulated booze and generally has a higher alcohol content. The pot laws get a little shady when it comes to THC content so it really isn’t doing much towards limiting that. Generally, when the government steps in to regulate something, they do so to make money. They tax it or charge fees to cover the cost of the regulation. So you can grow pot and sell it, but if you sell it legally you pay the cost of the regulation whereas the black market will still allow pot that isn’t regulated. I think the same thing would happen with guns. If you tried outlawing guns, only those people willing to abide by the laws fully would comply. Anyone that didn’t like the law or were criminals wouldn’t. Pretty much how it is now…the law abiding citizens follow the law, those trying to get away with something don’t.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Sure, there will always be some black market. I’m willing to bet, however, that most folks, when allowed the choice, would rather buy legally, with no fuss, from the local market than on some skeevy street corner or alley from some tattooed, armed and paranoid tweeker who’s just as liable to kill or beat you half to death because he decides he doesn’t like the way you looked at him.

RocketGuy's avatar

In terms of purchased products, it is nice to know that they meet certain standards. That takes an overarching agency to do it e.g. % alcohol, %THC, car safety, drug efficacy, etc.

seawulf575's avatar

@Darth_Algar I guess that depends on how expensive it gets.

http://www.latimes.com/local/lanow/la-me-pot-tax-20171105-story.html

With all the taxes California is adding onto pot, it is almost doubling the cost. So yeah, I could easily see the black market taking over. And don’t kid yourself about what the sellers will look or act like. They will look and act like you and I.

stanleybmanly's avatar

Even with the taxes involved, legalization will easily undercut the expenses faced by the cartels when it comes to smuggling drugs, and the profusion of folks growing their own along with those “entrepreneurs” growing a little to peddle on the side will quickly limit the prices “the market will bear”.

Soubresaut's avatar

The way I see it is this: one of the main issues with drugs is their addictive quality. That’s what causes people to take them in excessive, damaging quantities. That’s what leads people to go into debt and commit crimes in their desperation to afford them. Etc.

If one of our goals it to help people not be debilitating-ly addicted to certain substances (to the point that it harms themselves and/or others), then we probably don’t want to encourage them to hide their problem for fear of incarceration (or shame), isolate/shun them from any existing support systems in an unforgiving prison system, give them a criminal record that makes it harder for them to do things like gain stable employment (part of picking their back up) once released, etc… Those kinds of strategies won’t help people move past addiction.

But another strategy may: Short video worth watching.

stanleybmanly's avatar

I’d bet that the number of clandestine pot plants in planters and flowerpots in this town outnumber the rose bushes 20 to 1.

Darth_Algar's avatar

@seawulf575 “With all the taxes California is adding onto pot, it is almost doubling the cost. So yeah, I could easily see the black market taking over.”

No different than cigarettes and yet the vast majority of smokers still choose to buy their smokes down at the neighborhood convenience store. Yeah, there’s a black market for cigarettes, but it’s miniscule compared to the legit market.

seawulf575's avatar

@Darth_Algar Now compare how many people have tobacco farms to how many people are growing pot in the states where it is legalized. And the illegal pot availability was already quite large before the legalization.

Darth_Algar's avatar

Matters little. For ease, for convenience, for minimum risk, the majority will gravitate toward the legal market.

(And, BTW, I do have ample experience with the illicit weed market. I know the mixed bag of people who are involved.)

ARE_you_kidding_me's avatar

@SergeantQueen In some ways yes, I think that is better. Tennessee recently made moonshine legal by allowing distillation in most of the state and not just a handful of counties. The illegal market is still there but who would buy their stuff from Jimbo down in the holler when the liquor store will sell it cheaper, legally and at nearly the same proof. It’s got a better guarantee of not making you blind as a bonus as well. I fully support legal weed as long as it’s highly regulated.

On the flip side, legal opiates have caused unimaginable damage. So much so that I feel like the hammer needs to come down on Docs that write unnecessary opiate prescriptions and manufacturers that promote them as “safe” painkillers.

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