Feds not doing enough to keep organized crime out of medical pot

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Feds not doing enough to keep organized crime out of medical pot
alan smithee alan smithee's picture

That will change when and if it becomes legal in a few months...People will prefer going somewhere where they know what they're getting at a better price. Will it end organized crime? No. Not until they decriminalize ALL drugs,prostitution and make credit card companies slash their interest rates in at least half and kill loan sharking. What will be left for organized crime? Doesn't seem to be much.

voice of the damned

Pornography is an example of a legal industry that has had trouble shaking the mob associations, because it still remains somewhat disreputable, in terms of mainstream businesses wanting to invest in it. So for a while anyway, mafia money remained an influence there.

I don't see the same thing happening with legalized weed, since it's pretty respectable going in. But I think you'd still see mob money invested, albeit legally, in the event of legalized hard drugs. You're probably not gonna see a lot of briefcase toting 9 To 5 suburbanites wanting to get involved in crystal meth labs.

And yes, it's probably contradictory that someone who would be happy to introduce himself as a weapons-maker for General Dynamics Canada would be ashamed to admit he invests money in meth labs. But that's the world we live in.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

voice of the damned wrote:

Pornography is an example of a legal industry that has had trouble shaking the mob associations, because it still remains somewhat disreputable, in terms of mainstream businesses wanting to invest in it. So for a while anyway, mafia money remained an influence there.

I don't see the same thing happening with legalized weed, since it's pretty respectable going in. But I think you'd still see mob money invested, albeit legally, in the event of legalized hard drugs. You're probably not gonna see a lot of briefcase toting 9 To 5 suburbanites wanting to get involved in crystal meth labs.

And yes, it's probably contradictory that someone who would be happy to introduce himself as a weapons-maker for General Dynamics Canada would be ashamed to admit he invests money in meth labs. But that's the world we live in.

 

I agree with you about meth labs. I also think that a drug like LSD would not be of interest to a 9-5er. But if legal,those interested in it could actually have clean LSD 25 manufactured by a reputable chemist and hence be safer then buying it on the street by some stranger.

I don't think there is anything positive about heroin but for the few who get into that,legal heroin would be safer and sold at a much lower price. The smart thing would be to sell heroin at its actual wholesale price. Then addicts would be paying a price on par with cigarettes. I believe heroin sold in Afghanistan works out to $3-$5 a gram. You're still risking your life,you're still ravaged by addiction but at those prices heroin addicts would be functional.

Quite honestly,I don't see hard drugs being legalized. At least in my lifetime. But talk from the federal government in favour of decriminalizing these drugs is positive,not negative. The issue of drugs is a health issue not a criminal issue. The war on drugs is a failure and wasn't logical since the get go of that oppressive policy.

I think at the end of the day,there will always be drugs that will be illegal. Drugs such as meth,krokodil and crack for instance. And in the case of meth and krokodil are 'made in someone's bath tub' drugs that would be obsolete if other drugs were to be tolerated.

Also the government and police could concentrate on putting their time and resources on fetanyl which in the case of heroin (and now for other drugs) would make available clean and safer drugs. Whether they are hard or not.

I think once cannabis is legalized,the natural progression would be legalizing psylocibin ( a soft drug and like cannabis grows wildly and cannabis is just a plant,psylocibin is just a fungus)

And finally,coca leaves should be legal and available to the public. It's a popular leaf people make tea with or just chew. It doesn't pose a huge health hazard if one at all.

I think the underground has been pushed out of the pornography businesss thanks to its acceptance and mainstreaming over the past 30 or 40 years. Sex work legalized,required licensing,would also push organized crime out of it. Human trafficking and exploitation would become obsolete. Just like when the government legalized gambling. And like gambling,certain social diseases would still linger but under control rather than the anarchistic trade ruled by organized crime.

And making credit cards available to all whilst slashing the interest rates for cash advances down to an affordable (let's say) a 10% maximum from the current 20 - 30%. It would put loan sharking out of business.

These are all my opinions. I think some of them make sense.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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I don't think there is anything positive about heroin but for the few who get into that,legal heroin would be safer and sold at a much lower price. The smart thing would be to sell heroin at its actual wholesale price. Then addicts would be paying a price on par with cigarettes. I believe heroin sold in Afghanistan works out to $3-$5 a gram.

The problem with that is that even if heroin were legal in Canada, you'd still be supporting some pretty shady stuff whereever the poppies are grown and processed.  Synthetic heroin might be a better choice (not that I'm saying we have to do that).

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Also the government and police could concentrate on putting their time and resources on fetanyl

Fentanyl would probably be a good heroin substitute, provided it's manufactured, diluted and dosed by someone who knows what they're doing.  The problem right now is some yahoo dumping some into a shipment of heroin all willy-nilly.

If Canada wants to take a bit of a bite out of the fentanyl/carfentanil trade, one thing they could do is authorize Canada Border Services to inspect letter mail without a warrant.  Currently, they can open a package if they think there's a bale of marijuana inside, but fentanyl/carfentanil is so ridiculously concentrated that you can send someone enough to get a small city high (or, kill a slightly smaller city) in a regular envelope.  Right now, CBS can detain such envelopes, and open them if they can convince a judge to issue a warrant, but it's easy to see why that would be less than successful at making a dent.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

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I don't think there is anything positive about heroin but for the few who get into that,legal heroin would be safer and sold at a much lower price. The smart thing would be to sell heroin at its actual wholesale price. Then addicts would be paying a price on par with cigarettes. I believe heroin sold in Afghanistan works out to $3-$5 a gram.

The problem with that is that even if heroin were legal in Canada, you'd still be supporting some pretty shady stuff whereever the poppies are grown and processed.  Synthetic heroin might be a better choice (not that I'm saying we have to do that).

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Also the government and police could concentrate on putting their time and resources on fetanyl

Fentanyl would probably be a good heroin substitute, provided it's manufactured, diluted and dosed by someone who knows what they're doing.  The problem right now is some yahoo dumping some into a shipment of heroin all willy-nilly.

If Canada wants to take a bit of a bite out of the fentanyl/carfentanil trade, one thing they could do is authorize Canada Border Services to inspect letter mail without a warrant.  Currently, they can open a package if they think there's a bale of marijuana inside, but fentanyl/carfentanil is so ridiculously concentrated that you can send someone enough to get a small city high (or, kill a slightly smaller city) in a regular envelope.  Right now, CBS can detain such envelopes, and open them if they can convince a judge to issue a warrant, but it's easy to see why that would be less than successful at making a dent.

 

I agree with you. I'm not an expert.I don't know if actual heroin ios better or worse than fetanyl. Right now,they are finding fetanyl in heroin (most likely completely substituted) and other drugs. I was reading how some blotter acid was being sold with traces of fetanyl/carphetanyl. And for the moment,it's killing people. It's a very powerful drug whose real purpose is for patients who have broken their femur or are on death's door.

Would it be a plausible substitute for heroin? I really have no idea. I never taken heroin (or any opiate save dilaudid when I broke a rib). As a user,I would guess they'd prefer heroin because it is safer than fetanyl. At the moment anyway because of how it's being circulated and sold to unsuspecting users.

You could be right that legal diluted fetanyl would be a better choice to legalize than raiding Afghanistan'and Pakistan's poppie fields or creating a trade deal with Burma for their heroin. I really don't see it happening.

If legal,the question would be what's more affordable. Again,I have no answer for that,although synthetic drugs these days are very pricey. Afghani heroin sells for about $5 a gram. Think about selling heroin at that price for that amount. I don't think there is a junkie out their who goes through a gram of heroin a day.  And if one does,their addiction would cost them roughly the same price as cigarettes. Goodbye residual crime. Goodbye to the Joneses. A junkie would be able to function. (I HATE the word junkie,not sure why I just used it)

So in the end,I think it's all about costs and what is cost effective. Maybe if fetanyl is dirt cheap considering all the fetanyl coming in from China which is kilos,many,many kilos. Someone has to make a profit or nobody would bother.

But once organized crime can't make a profit on something,they are done with that particular business. Which is the reason I support the legalization of all drugs. I'm just smart enough to realize tha it isn't going to happen. In my lifetime,at least. Decriminalizing them and treating drugs as a health issue and not a criminal one would be a good start. I'm glad the feds (first the NDP now the Liberals)  are bouncing that idea around. I think decrimalization will eventually happen in my lifetime.

Rev Pesky

While I'm not sure what I'd do in the case of all 'drugs', I think a differentiation should be made between those drugs that are addictive and those that aren't.

Addictive substances remove the users ability to deal with their own addiction. To me that means the approach we take should probably be different for tobacco or heroin than it is for pot, say.

6079_Smith_W

voice of the damned wrote:

Pornography is an example of a legal industry that has had trouble shaking the mob associations, because it still remains somewhat disreputable, in terms of mainstream businesses wanting to invest in it. So for a while anyway, mafia money remained an influence there.

An aside, but at this point the porn industry is being killed by "the McDonalds of Porn" - PornHub, a company started in Montreal, and built on free content. So whatever ideas we have about it, porn in the post-internet age is nothing like it was before.

As for marijuana, hand out a limited number of licenses and of course it is going to get infiltrated. And while what is addictive and not is important (indeed, one would think it would be with alcohol and tobacco) a more important concern at this point is that all of it is open to being laced with fentanyl.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

6079_Smith_W wrote:

 

As for marijuana, hand out a limited number of licenses and of course it is going to get infiltrated. And while what is addictive and not is important (indeed, one would think it would be with alcohol and tobacco) a more important concern at this point is that all of it is open to being laced with fentanyl.

 

 

This is just another reason why marijuana should be legal. And make no mistake about it,people would much rather going somewhere where they know exactly what they're getting at a price in about half what the black market is charging.

It's also the reason why legalizing all other drugs should be at least considered. There was a story,I believe in Montreal,where some blotter acid was laced with fentanyl. In other words it's being infiltrated by shady dealers in other drugs beside heroin.

It also raises the question of how cheap fentanyl is that a dealer would lace other substances with fentanyl.

This is why Magoo may be right when he suggested a better option than heroin would be diluted fentanyl prepared by someone who knows what they're doing. In other words a professional such as a chemist.

Unfortunately,it's like I suggested,something that isn't going to happen.

That said,I'm happy the feds are contemplating decrimalizing all drugs. Therefore this issue would be treated as it should have always had been. As a health issue,not a criminal issue. This is a positive step,not a negative one.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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It's a very powerful drug whose real purpose is for patients who have broken their femur or are on death's door.

Not carfentanil.  That's really only for veterinary use.  Fentanyl, as you say, is kind of the "big hammer" when someone is in chronic pain, or palliative care.  But if you've ever had surgery under a general anaesthetic, you've probably had some fentanyl; it's a common component of the cocktail of things we call "the anaesthetic".

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I never taken heroin (or any opiate save dilaudid when I broke a rib).

I had diladids after my surgery as well.  FWIW, they're basically synthetic heroin -- hydromorphone.  In some jurisdictions, they're prescribed for addicts as a heroin substitute.  And according to this chart, their potency is about the same as heroin, at least in terms of pain relief, and longer lasting.

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Maybe if fetanyl is dirt cheap considering all the fetanyl coming in from China which is kilos,many,many kilos.

I expect that, kilo for kilo, it might not be cheaper, but remembering that safe dosage of fentanyl is measured in micrograms, it could still be a bargain, particularly if it can be easily manufactured rather than grown and extracted.  To be clear, though, I'm not a pharmacist, and I'm not a heroin user, so I'm just floating a balloon here.  Maybe it's a terrible high, or is way more toxic to the liver, or whatever.

 

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Mr. Magoo wrote:

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It's a very powerful drug whose real purpose is for patients who have broken their femur or are on death's door.

Not carfentanil.  That's really only for veterinary use.  Fentanyl, as you say, is kind of the "big hammer" when someone is in chronic pain, or palliative care.  But if you've ever had surgery under a general anaesthetic, you've probably had some fentanyl; it's a common component of the cocktail of things we call "the anaesthetic".

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I never taken heroin (or any opiate save dilaudid when I broke a rib).

I had diladids after my surgery as well.  FWIW, they're basically synthetic heroin -- hydromorphone.  In some jurisdictions, they're prescribed for addicts as a heroin substitute.  And according to this chart, their potency is about the same as heroin, at least in terms of pain relief, and longer lasting.

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Maybe if fetanyl is dirt cheap considering all the fetanyl coming in from China which is kilos,many,many kilos.

I expect that, kilo for kilo, it might not be cheaper, but remembering that safe dosage of fentanyl is measured in micrograms, it could still be a bargain, particularly if it can be easily manufactured rather than grown and extracted.  To be clear, though, I'm not a pharmacist, and I'm not a heroin user, so I'm just floating a balloon here.  Maybe it's a terrible high, or is way more toxic to the liver, or whatever.

 

Well,I don't know what the high is from heroin or oxycondone or fetanyl. Dilaudid did shit,high-wise,but it did relieve my pain. So I'm a little surprised that it's used as a heroin substitute. Maybe injection is a different story. I only was on pills and only 1 mg at a time. I was given a supposed mix of a sedative and painkiller when I got my colonoscopy. I felt EVERYTHING so the painkiller must have been really low and while I was recommended staying 45 minutes after the procedure,when a nurse came into the room asking who was ready to leave,I was the first to say 'I am' which was just less than 15 minutes after the procedure. I was expecting to be loopy but I was as sober as a nun.

Admittedly I do have a very strong constitution for drugs. I always did. Which can be a good thing but in terms of masking pain,it's a bad thing.

To be honest,I find cannabis more effective. But depending on where the pain is. A tooth abscess is too painful for cannabis.

If fentanyl is as you said 'the big hammer' of painkillers,I wouldn't know. I never beeen under anaesthetic so I have absolutely no experience with such a drug.

As for price,I think the difference with getting your heroin from a plant rather than synthetically is with synthetics,you can have a bottomless supply. This is probably not true with organic heroin.

AFAIK,heroin is weighed by a point of a gram (.1/gram) even half points and I've heard of quarter points. Microgram is a far smaller amount. The only thing about micrograms I'm familiar with is LSD. It's also the only drug I have done that was strong enough to be taken by microgram. When dealing with microgram amounts of any drug,the person preparing it would definitely have to know what they are doing like a chemist or a pharmacist or a talented pharmacist/chemist. An amateur could and would fuck things up and end up circulating something poisonous and dangerous. This is why I don't recommend younger people buying and ingesting LSD. I wouldn't trust it as far as I can throw it these days.

And maybe that's why the fetanyl making its rounds on the street is killing people because whomever is manufacturing it,doesn't have the proper training and education. As an aside,I wouldn't buy mushrooms from a stranger. Some idiot picks a few pounds of what they believe is psylocibin and turns out not to be,could find myself in a morgue.

It's these dangers that make legalization and regulation the right path to go down. Sure,people would be using these drugs but at least they'd be safe.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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Well,I don't know what the high is from heroin or oxycondone or fetanyl. Dilaudid did shit,high-wise,but it did relieve my pain.

Same with me.  I didn't feel high, but at the same time I wouldn't have wanted to have to count to 100 in prime numbers.

Thing is, when you really are in extreme pain, opiods can be your best friend, but they won't get you high the same way they would if you took them recreationally.

Years ago I visited a friend in the hospital after his knee replacement surgery.  He was hooked up to a machine that dispensed morphine any time he pushed the big button on the front.  We might think that was just an "Addict Making Machine", but in fact opiods behave pharmcologically differently in the presence of actual extreme pain -- they're much, much less likely to create a dependency, and much less likely to make you feel stoned.

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If fentanyl is as you said 'the big hammer' of painkillers,I wouldn't know. I never beeen under anaesthetic so I have absolutely no experience with such a drug.

To be fair, even if you had had a general anaesthetic, you wouldn't have had "experience" with fentanyl anyway, what with being out cold and all.  :)

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The only thing about micrograms I'm familiar with is LSD. It's also the only drug I have done that was strong enough to be taken by microgram.

I don't think LSD is an especially lucrative market, seeing as it doesn't seem to create a physical dependency and such.  But if it did, and it were, it would be so easy to smuggle.  Just soak some paper in it, mail it to someone, and let them cut it into little squares.

That's, I think, a big part of why fentanyl remains such a problem.  If you want to move a reasonable amount of weed, you have to hide a tonne of it in a grain shipment.  If you want to move a reasonable amount of fentanyl, you have to hide a few spoonfuls in a ceramic puppydog.  Or, for carfentanil, a few small pinches in an herbal capsule.

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And maybe that's why the fetanyl making its rounds on the street is killing people because whomever is manufacturing it,doesn't have the proper training and education.

If they actually manage to make it, they've done their part.  It's the person who mixes a cheap teaspoon full into a pound of crap/cut heroin to make it "awesome" heroin that's doing the deed.  If THAT guy knew what he was doing, nobody would die, and probably nobody would complain either.  But I don't care how long someone's been selling "stuff", if they bought their scale from the head shop, it doesn't accurately measure micrograms.

alan smithee alan smithee's picture

Well,I'm with you. This talk that's coming out of some people's mouth that we should discontinue oxycodone,for instance, is knee-jerk reactionary bullshit. It's misguided and not at all smart.

These pain meds (meds...a drug is a drug,bur anyway) are highly useful and very much needed. Because some people abuse them is no reason to ban them. But I shouldn't be given a script for oxies for a headache either.

But those who end up abusing these drugs,should they be arrested,prosecuted,criminalized or inprisoned? No. Although I do not use them and have no plans to in the future barring an accident in which I'd actually need them,I still think heroin should be decriminalized and eventually legalized and regulated. If synthetic heroin,or diluted fetanyl carefully prepared by a professional, is more realistic,cost effective and independant from plants (flowers actually) that would have to be imported from an opium growing country,most of which are war zones,then by all means,sell it to those who are adults and old enough to make their own choices. Not my cup of tea but if it is someone else's,frankly it's none of my god damned business.

As for LSD,it's not a particular profitable drug anymore.  I don't think it's as particualy popular as much as it was years ago. And speaking from experience,it's not habit forming. So why can't it be sold legally? I think the profit end you bring up is the only reason why. It's also a drug that would be much,much safer if it were to be clean Albert Hoffmann approved LSD 25 (I know he's dead now,but you know what I mean) A talented chemist could manufacture that. Dr.Hoffmann also isolated the main active chemical of psylocibin and was successful in making psylocibin in pill form. That would certainly be better than eating mushrooms. And I believe,IMHO, that the logical next step after legalizing marijuana is to legalize psylocibin. Legal and regulated it could be sold in pill form. Again,by a talented legitimate chemist.

As with the case with fetanyl,people who are not professional cannot measure out micrograms accurately and this is why black market fentanyl is so deadly. Not to mention making heroin on the steet more dangerous and deadly as it's mixed up with low quality heroin and sold to unsuspecting heroin users who easily overdose because of this.

You can't abolish any substance. They can only discontinue a pharma drug like they did with quaaludes like Mandrax and Seconal. Both legal synthetic heroin in the form of fetanyl and quaaludes should be manufactured to both help and to be used recreationally. In the case of quaaludes,the effect was feeling drunk without drinking and making people horny. It sounds rather benign. And it was sold at 25 cents a pill back in the early 70's. Consider inflation between 1972 and 2018,a pill would cost $2 - $3. Hardly an unaffordable drug. But now I'm being sidetracked from the conversation.

Yes,LSD and fentanyl are easy to smuggle. But it doesn't mean it's of good quality. Particularly LSD which I don't believe is used as popularly as it used to so there's no incentive to manufacture quality acid.

If you can't stop it,legalize it. Regulate it for quality and safety and Bob's your uncle.

Sean in Ottawa

It is not just crime that is in medical pot. There is also snake oil and lots of it. I know many pot supporters are here and will have a fit but the science is not where many claim it to be. Pot is without doubt helpful for some conditions like terminal cancer, possibly other conditions that have tremors like MS.

The science on pot consumption in the past was hampered by legislation and a bias against it but the presumption of a positive determination on all counts is premature.

It is not a good medication for many conditions where people claim it to be -- becuase they want legalization. But why should pot need to be a good medication in order to be legal? Is that the test for alcohol? Refined sugar? People should be free to use pot but the advocacy for this, along with some benefits for a few conditions has led to rampant BS in promoting pot to many people where it would cause more harm than good. And let's face it, if you are not terminal there is no argument for smoking anything -- at least some restrict their promotions to edibles.

There are other potential medications rejected on the basis that while they help they also are dangerous and can also do harm. The evaluation of pot needs to look at both sides. Of course it is also a very common placebo for some and excuse for others. But there are potentially other placebos and excuses that are less potentially harmful.

The requirement to pretend something is healthy in order to make something legal is extremely problematic and will result in  some health conditions likely getting worse as a byproduct of a necessary discussion on legalization. One drug does not fit all and taking drugs becuase they are helpful is better than taking them becuase they might help and are fun.

Much behaviour that is legal is far more dangerous and harmful than pot and making behaviour illegal just becuase it is not a good idea is also wrong. The rush to extremes in this debate is leaving the logical middle empty.

BTW: I am in favour of complete legalization, stong investment in studying the science, and in public campaigns on the health and dangers (where appropriate) rather than coercion and law.

Second BTW: There is a better argument to make junk food illegal than there is to keep pot illegal. Junk food can also be regulated -- let's start banning discounts on multiple units (volume pricing) to try to upsell people who might only have bought and consumed one unit.

Mr. Magoo Mr. Magoo's picture

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These pain meds (meds...a drug is a drug,bur anyway) are highly useful and very much needed. Because some people abuse them is no reason to ban them. But I shouldn't be given a script for oxies for a headache either.

One policy that's intended to curb the street sale or abuse of transdermal fentanyl patches is to require someone who's been prescribed such patches to return their used patch before they're issued another one -- like a bottle deposit.  That seems reasonable to me, since it directly prevents street sale or tampering, while not affecting legitimate use at all.  It could seem punitive to treat every user like they're an addict, but if fentanyl is killing as many people as it seems to be, it's not about morality any more.

Then again, the makers of OxyContin famously reworked that pill into OxyNeo, which couldn't be crushed, dissoved or tampered with, and the complaint was that that only "drove" users to other drugs, so even non-criminal attempts to prevent misuse are unpopular.

Pondering

"Organized crime" is just a catch phrase. It doesn't really mean anything. It's purpose was to make everyone involved in cannabis sales sound dirty so they can be kept out of the legal market. 100% of cannabis sales in compassion clubs are "organized crime".  The farmer with a patch in the middle of his cornfield is involved in "organized crime" if he sells any of it. 

The government is freezing all existing growers and sellers out of the market by defining them as members of "organized crime".  

It won't work because unlike alcohol and cigarettes cannabis needs no more processing than tomatoes. The provinces won't be able to stop current commercial or private grows. They might be able to shut down compassion clubs but not quickly and the long-established ones will go to the Supreme Court. 

Either they don't understand the marketplace, or they do and they just don't care if half the market stays underground as long as the other half is sufficiently lucrative for the right people.   

This is an ideal cottage industry able to generate distributed and varied employment within communities. I fault the existing community for not offering an alternative other than a libertarian free for all. They should have approached unions long ago. They should have proven themselves to be generous employers, perhaps even have established themselves as coops. They have operated in the interests of their owners who often portray themselves as white knights while paying minimum wage or less. In my opinion they are going to switch to mail order sales. How will the post office differienciate between legal and illegal shipments? 

The current distribution networks aren't going to vanish. They are not so much organized crime as word of mouth, friend or friend of a friend, or cousin, or co-worker. The legal system will have to be competitive. Quality, selection, accessibility, and value for dollar will all be factors. I don't see the government doing at all well in that regard given the attitude they are taking. It may not be Reefer Maddess 2.0 but it is close given current levels of knowledge. Any benefits are being kept hush-hush or minimized or reported sceptically.