Decriminalization hasn't reduced overdose deaths in British Columbia, so I guess the next step will be a bigger supply of prescribed heroin. A company caused a kerfuffle by packaging coke to be given away, but apparently it's legit.
Decriminalization hasn't reduced overdose deaths in British Columbia
I was looking more for evidence of actual failure than speculation about possible reasons.The reason the program is failing is because not arresting people for drugs, does not prevent fetanyl, benzos, etc., from being in the drug supply.
On Friday, Kentucky Gov. Andy Beshear signed a bill that makes his state the 38th to allow medical use of marijuana. Kentucky's Republican-controlled legislature approved the bill about four months after Beshear, a Democrat, issued an executive order aimed at protecting patients who use cannabis purchased in other states from prosecution for possessing and transporting it.
Unlike Beshear's order, which was framed as a conditional pardon for patients who meet certain criteria, the new law, S.B. 47, authorizes production and sale of medical marijuana by state-licensed businesses. But that is not scheduled to happen until 2025, and the law is more restrictive than the governor's order in some ways.
S.B. 47 will allow registered patients to purchase cannabis flower, oils, tinctures, and edibles, limited to 10 milligrams of THC per serving. Minors who qualify can use marijuana as a medicine with parental approval, but vaporization will be allowed only for adults 21 or older, while smoking will remain prohibited.
"There are a lot of things this bill doesn't cover, but this is the bill we were able to get," said Elijah Rosenbaum, communications director for the Kentucky chapter of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
"Patients diagnosed with conditions like anxiety and sleep disorders have become caught in the crosshairs of America's opioid crisis, as secret policies mandated by a national opioid settlement have turned filling legitimate prescriptions into a major headache," reports Fortune magazine:
In July, limits went into effect that flag and sometimes block pharmacies' orders of controlled substances such as Adderall and Xanax when they exceed a certain threshold. The requirement stems from a 2021 settlement with the US's three largest drug distributors — AmerisourceBergen Corp., Cardinal Health Inc. and McKesson Corp. But pharmacists said it curtails their ability to fill prescriptions for many different types of controlled substances — not just opioids.
Independent pharmacists said the rules force them come up with creative workarounds. Sometimes, they must send patients on frustrating journeys to find pharmacies that haven't yet exceeded their caps in order to buy prescribed medicines.
"I understand the intention of this policy is to have control of controlled substances so they don't get abused, but it's not working," said Richard Glotzer, an independent pharmacist in Millwood, New York. "There's no reason I should be cut off from ordering these products to dispense to my legitimate patients that need it."
More from Fortune here.
Reason also tackled the Adderall shortage problem in its April issue. In addition to the restrictions on pharmacy orders, the shortage also stems from production limits set by the Drug Enforcement Administration (DEA).
"Each year, the DEA sets production limits for the ingredients of Schedule I and II drugs, and manufacturers apply for pieces of the quotas. Total production of a drug cannot exceed the DEA's ceiling," notes Joe Lancaster. "The DEA says it determines the quotas based on the amount that is annually prescribed. But even after the FDA reported a shortage, the DEA kept the 2022 levels intact in its 2023 quotas for Adderall's ingredients: dextroamphetamine saccharate, amphetamine aspartate, dextroamphetamine sulfate, and amphetamine sulfate."
"For the record, I don't care if people smoke (or drink!), but the imposition of the odor all over public spaces is weird and feels deeply unserious," Chatterton Williams (one of the more reasonable pot critics) added.
And so much harm has indeed been done by policies that throw peaceful users in jail. "In New York City during the Giuliani and Bloomberg administrations, annual arrests for the lowest-level marijuana possession offense, which had averaged fewer than 2,500 under the two mayors who preceded Giuliani, skyrocketed after 1996, peaking at more than 50,000 in 2011," wrote Sullum in 2020.
New York decriminalized weed in 1977. But cannabis that was "burning or open to public view" was still a misdemeanor and, as Sullum noted, "defense attorneys frequently complained that cops were manufacturing misdemeanors by patting down young men, ostensibly for weapons, and pulling out joints or bags of weed, which were then exposed to 'public view.'" Stop-and-frisk resulted, at its height in 2011, in cops stopping some 700,000 people annually, saddling a chunk of them with criminal records for low-level pot-related crimes.
The emergence of the animal tranquilizer xylazine as a fentanyl adulterant, like the emergence of fentanyl as a heroin booster and substitute, has prompted law enforcement officials to agitate for new legal restrictions and criminal penalties. That response is fundamentally misguided, because the threat it aims to address is a familiar consequence of prohibition, which creates a black market in which drug composition is highly variable and unpredictable. Instead of recognizing their complicity in maintaining and magnifying that hazard, drug warriors always think the answer is more of the same.
The Washington Supreme Court effectively decriminalized drug use two years ago, when it ruled that a state law making simple possession a felony even without evidence of intent or knowledge violated the right to due process. State legislators predictably viewed the result of that decision as intolerable, and they promptly approved a law that made possession a misdemeanor on the third offense and required that treatment be offered in lieu of punishment the first two times around.
That law is scheduled to expire on July 1, which prompted a bipartisan panic at the prospect that people might be able to use drugs without risking criminal penalties. During a special one-day legislative session convened this week to avoid that nightmare scenario, legislators approved a new bill criminalizing drug possession, which Gov. Jay Inslee immediately signed into law—"just in time," he says.
Inslee, a Democrat, likewise claims the new law "balances treatment and accountability" by threatening drug users with jail unless they agree to get the help that the state insists they need. Critics of the law complained that it gives prosecutors too much discretion to insist on punishment instead of treatment. But even when arrestees are allowed to pick between the two, that forced choice stands in sharp contrast with Oregon's policy, which is based on "self-identified needs."
The problem with that approach, as Inslee sees it, is that drug users cannot be trusted to decide for themselves what they need. "Drugs have stolen free will from some of these individuals," he says. "But we love them. We care for them. And we want to help. Or, you know, lock them up."
When he ran for president in 2020, Joe Biden repudiated his long history of pushing harsh penalties for nonviolent drug offenses, calling for the abolition of mandatory minimum sentences. "Biden supports an end to mandatory minimums," his campaign said. "As president, he will work for the passage of legislation to repeal mandatory minimums at the federal level." But by endorsing a bill aimed at cracking down on fentanyl analogs, Biden is doing exactly the opposite.
Twenty-one criminal justice reform organizations responded the next day with a letter to Biden that noted the bill's "entrenchment and expansion of mandatory minimums." They added:
You campaigned on a policy of ending mandatory minimums, but the HALT Fentanyl Act does the opposite. Punishing FRS through mandatory minimums is particularly egregious. This is because FRS are defined solely based on their molecular structure and without regard to their pharmacological effect. What this means is that, under the HALT Fentanyl Act, a person could be subject to harsh mandatory minimums for distributing harmless substances or even substances that reverse the effects of fentanyl overdose—just so long as those substances exhibit a particular molecular structure. Enacting a scheme that imposes mandatory 5- or 10-year sentences on people without regard to whether the substance they traffic is harmless or even helpful is, to say the least, inconsistent with the promise to end mandatory minimum sentencing.
Old habits die hard.
Panicked by Fentanyl Analogs, Biden Embraces the Mandatory Minimums He Claims To Oppose
This approach of trying to win the stupid drug war by locking up more and more people for longer and longer terms will continue to fail and wreck lives. I just hope that old habits do, in fact, finally die, hard or not.
If you think about it, who's most likely to be swept up by an expansion of minimum mandatory? The desperate and the inexperienced. Who are probably least likely to be swept up? The experienced and the organizers. Who do you probably WANT to sweep up? The experienced and the organizers.
Fear not, the stupid drug war has replaced them with fentanyl dealers.