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Jack Bobridge jailed for drug trafficking

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14 Jul 2019 11:37

Some incredibly insightful posts on this thread. Kudos to all.

It's a very good point from the poster who listed the chart of dangerous drugs. Though why wasn't Ice on that list? Or is it called something else? That is what seems to be causing the most trouble and damage in Australia. And alcohol of course is always a problem, though given the number of people who drink, it's arguably not as big a problem on a "damage caused per user" type of analysis.

The Bobridge situation is a tough one. You can take the attitude of, "drug dealers are the scum of the earth" type of mentality, or that, "he was just making a little extra money on the side, supplying a generally quite harmless drug that many people seem to gain a great deal of happiness from". As stated by LS, Bobridge wasn't doing this for the benefit of others though.

At this point in time, maybe it is simply that the penalty is too harsh. It was his first offence (or first time caught), correct? If we are not talking millions of dollars, and he isn't selling ice, then four years seems like a very long time. Perhaps six months for a first time offence of this would be better? Nobody wants to go to jail full stop, so this could still be somewhat of a deterrent.
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Re:

15 Jul 2019 22:39

Libertine Seguros wrote:Proffate is the one that invoked Godwin's Law, suggesting that imprisoning drug dealers is equivalent to pardoning Nazi camp guards because of following the law at the time, because they don't like the current drug laws, which is how the sliding scale of civil disobedience discussion came about.


I brought up the Nuremberg trials as a clear example of a case where modern civilization expected individuals to apply their own judgment, rather than blindly obeying regulations/laws/orders handed down from their government.

Everyone is focusing on a profit motive here, but you actually have no idea why Jack was in the business. MDMA is legal to prescribe in many countries, and is used for treating mental health conditions such as PTSD. Nearly all adults have some form of trauma, aka baggage, yet most won't jump through the hoops or shoulder the insane expense* required for legal access to MDMA. It's entirely reasonable to guess that Jack might believe recreational and medical access to MDMA is an intrinsic human right, and feel good about enabling others to use it.

I personally don't place much importance in what the majority of Australian voters think. The majority of Americans appear to think bicycles shouldn't be allowed off the sidewalk, but that's due to a lack of education and empathy. Since the 60s at least, psychedelic drugs have been associated with counter culture and thus governments have warred against them, which has included focused disinformation campaigns. I'm not surprised that they've convinced a majority of the population to be afraid.

*Drug companies usually charge something north of 10x the street price for the same substances. If we're interested in what *should* be considered criminal I think that takes the cake. Ketamine (esketamine) was recently approved for depression in the US. It costs $900/hit.
proffate
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Re:

15 Jul 2019 22:46

gregrowlerson wrote:It's a very good point from the poster who listed the chart of dangerous drugs. Though why wasn't Ice on that list? Or is it called something else?


ice = crystal meth (on the chart, methamphetamine).
proffate
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Re: Jack Bobridge jailed for drug trafficking

16 Jul 2019 05:10

For what it's worth, proffate summed up what I was thinking in a more articulate and concise manner.
Also, I was not referring to Bobridge serving life in prison. We all know it is a four-year term. I was referring to people in Canada and the States who are rotting in jail for crimes that are now deemed to be legal.
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Re: Re:

16 Jul 2019 17:18

proffate wrote:Everyone is focusing on a profit motive here, but you actually have no idea why Jack was in the business. MDMA is legal to prescribe in many countries, and is used for treating mental health conditions such as PTSD. Nearly all adults have some form of trauma, aka baggage, yet most won't jump through the hoops or shoulder the insane expense* required for legal access to MDMA. It's entirely reasonable to guess that Jack might believe recreational and medical access to MDMA is an intrinsic human right, and feel good about enabling others to use it.

But it isn't an intrinsic human right, and it does make him a criminal.

As pointed out before, semantics. You can argue that he shouldn't be criminalized (however, users and dealers are two different things from both a legal and a moral standpoint) but you can't argue that he isn't a criminal. Unless you can prove to me that Jack was dealing MDMA only to people who had medical need for it, and I strongly suspect he wasn't, then he is a criminal.

*Drug companies usually charge something north of 10x the street price for the same substances. If we're interested in what *should* be considered criminal I think that takes the cake. Ketamine (esketamine) was recently approved for depression in the US. It costs $900/hit.

I won't argue against you on this point. However, there is a significant difference between believing that control and regulation of the drug market is a good thing, and that this requires decriminalization of the users, and the kind of lionizing that we're seeing in this thread, where we are seeing straight-faced suggestions that Bobridge, for dealing X, is a man wronged by the system. You can argue that the system is wrong, and clearly there are some intrinsic flaws in the system (and that is on both sides of the law - yes, the 'war on drugs' in the western world has had some very negative consequences, but also let's not elevate the status of those on the other side, many of the dealers, traffickers and so forth care for their clientele only in as much as they want to retain their business); but he knew what the system was when he got into it. He's not campaigning against the trampling of basic human rights (and no, MDMA is NOT an intrinsic human right, even if your hypothetical altruistic version of Bobridge may think so, even for medical use, and the denial of the right to take MDMA is not a cross worth dying on that it's a defensible act of civil disobedience), despite the risks, otherwise he'd have been campaigning for it when he was caught. He's not a moral crusader for good. He isn't a martyr. He's a drug dealer, and nothing more.
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Re: Re:

16 Jul 2019 18:21

Libertine Seguros wrote:But it isn't an intrinsic human right


Some old whitey famously proclaimed "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" to be the most basic human rights. That pithy turn of phrase rings true for a lot of people. Does Jack's pursuit of happiness trample on your life or liberty?

Libertine Seguros wrote:then he is a criminal.


No one in this thread said he wasn't a criminal by the definition of "found guilty in a court of law". Can we stop going back to this?

Libertine Seguros wrote:wall of text drug dealer


First of all, yawn. Secondly, yes, he sold a drug. So does your pharmacist. We're debating the societal implications of that. Please do contribute to the discussion.
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16 Jul 2019 19:25

You're the one that said "you follow your own moral compass" and anything else is a dystopic police state. There's a LOT of middle ground between the outlying case you mention (Nuremberg) and the outlying case I mentioned (lynch mobs). You'll even find that in respect of the regulation etc. of drugs that we share a lot of common ground, actually. It's the "ever hear of civil disobedience?" part of the conversation that drew me into the discussion.

However, likening any state other than one where people are free to just do as they please and claim it's because they object to the morals of certain laws to a dystopic police state is way above the level I'm willing to go (don't try to pretend you didn't imply this, it's where you invoked Godwin's Law). As brownbobby says - not somebody I've found plenty of common ground with on the forum on several issues - civil disobedience extended to that suggests to me an uncomfortable grey area, even as it opens the door to the kind of extreme cases I mention. Among the terrible things that he did, there were a lot of people who could put food on the table that otherwise wouldn't because of growing, processing and contributing to the cocaine trade in Colombia in the 80s. Pablo Escobar set up societies, built villages, and provided a lot of people with jobs. But even if in his heart of hearts he held firm to the conviction that - especially bearing in mind that many people subsisted because of this trade - the illegality of global trading in cocaine was immoral and therefore he was under no obligation to treat it as such... that doesn't make all the other things he did in defence of his inalienable right to sell cocaine for profit any better.

You are effectively taking the line that because we can't prove Bobridge didn't deal ecstasy solely out of the goodness of his heart, to improve the lives of others, we can't make the assumption that he was motivated by profit. I am making the assumption that because he hasn't campaigned publicly for relaxation of drug laws or decriminalization of varying factors, that he isn't motivated by the societal benefits of MDMA, and therefore he does not have the best will of his clientele as sole motivation, and profit will to a large extent be the driver of other factors (I mean, at the barest minimum even the most altruistic dealer has to cover the costs, right?). And to continue to profit, one needs a stable clientele and/or new customers - and that's where the potential harm to third parties comes in, which is why you see a difference in public opinion between the decriminalization of personal use of drugs and the decriminalization of the retail of drugs. A lot of it would indeed, as you argue, be negated by proper regulation, which would require a much more liberal drugs policy than the majority of countries have at present.

In Australia, as with other countries which have nationalized, at least on-the-surface NFP health services, a doctor, or pharmacist, or other medical professional, has on-the-surface no motivation other than the wellbeing of his or her clientele. Introducing the profit motive corrupts this. In most progressive societies where health care is nationalized, this is not a problem at the individual doctor level most of the time. Maybe it's different in the US, where the relation between the cost to the end customer and the sale cost from the drug company is much more intertwined.
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Re:

16 Jul 2019 22:31

Libertine Seguros wrote: And to continue to profit, one needs a stable clientele and/or new customers - and that's where the potential harm to third parties comes in, which is why you see a difference in public opinion between the decriminalization of personal use of drugs and the decriminalization of the retail of drugs. A lot of it would indeed, as you argue, be negated by proper regulation, which would require a much more liberal drugs policy than the majority of countries have at present.
Much of the thread evolved into discussion, of surprisingly high quality, of ethical ideals with respect to drug legalization. Beginning with the question "why such a severe sentence for MDMA, a drug with relatively low physical and social harm". Should this policy be changed in Australia, why or why not? To shift the topic to a practical formulation: will MDMA be legalized in Australia as a prescription drug, why or why not?
The answer is it won't be any time soon, and it's related to another important but overlooked part the thread
proffate wrote:
gregrowlerson wrote:It's a very good point from the poster who listed the chart of dangerous drugs. Though why wasn't Ice on that list? Or is it called something else?

ice = crystal meth (on the chart, methamphetamine).
These molecules are structurally almost the same thing, methylenedioxy-methamphetamine (MDMA) versus methamphetamine Image
That dioxy 'bridge' on the side of the benzene ring is the one feature that makes a huge difference in the effects profile between 'ice' (crystal MA) and 'ecstacy' (MDMA). That substituent increases a more contemplative euphoric effect while reducing the straight-up stimulant and addictive properties. Or, in that same table, another drug of increasing concern is MDPV ('bath salts'), and there is a cat-and-mouse game between law enforcement and renegade drug chemists producing variants on the same structure. Meanwhile amphetamine itself is legal as a prescription drug for attention-deficit disorder, and ephedrine / pseudoephedrine are legal as retail cold medications. So what it comes down to in this case is: there has to be very tight regulation based on very small structural differences in analogous molecules. With 'ice' epidemics being the huge bogeyman in Australia / New Zealand at the moment, the way the laws have been laid down on regulations of phenethylamines will be hard to get amended
In Australia, as with other countries which have nationalized, at least on-the-surface NFP health services, a doctor, or pharmacist, or other medical professional, has on-the-surface no motivation other than the wellbeing of his or her clientele. Introducing the profit motive corrupts this.
Amoral profiteers besiege Australia with vast amounts of increasingly pure (addictive per unit) and cheap (flooded global market) methamphetamine. The meth is just out there, on the horizon, coming from China, Philippines, and even Mexico more recently getting into the AUS / NZ action. And literal warfare in Philippines and Indonesia, with the death penalty for meth chemists / dealers. The way that Australian drug policy 'ought to be' versus the the way that it is, what should MDMA advocates do to change things, within the real-world context
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