• cowmoo728 6 days ago

    "Richard Downing, who oversees the computer crime section of the Justice Department, said he and his colleagues have focused on techniques that create distrust on the sites by encouraging users to believe that sellers and site administrators have already been compromised and are feeding information to law enforcement."

    This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs. In addition, reputation and trust are everything in dark net markets, and reputation is the only thing preventing vendors from selling fake or adulterated drugs.

    I can't see any way that the police intentionally spreading misinformation is a good thing, on a practical or philosophical level.

  • sandworm101 6 days ago

    The police don't know what they are doing. Trying to break the trust of darkweb users is a fool's errand. The system is built on mistrust. The big selling point of these markets is that you don't have to know anything about your dealer, and they need to know almost nothing about you. So there is no trust system to break.

    The other big selling point is that these websites defeat all the violence. There are no turf wars online, at least not physical wars. No dealer can force users to buy from them exclusively. No low-level dealer in a neighborhood must pay homage to a local mob boss. All of that disappears. Any cop that thinks oldschool tactics like spreading distrust within the supply chain to instigate internal mole hunts has watched too many movies. Within Tor it is assumed that everyone is a mole. Each individual protects themselves with the tools available. Every dealer assumes at least some buyers are cops. Every buyer assumes the cops are running sting operations. The market functions nevertheless.

  • mirimir 6 days ago

    > The big selling point of these markets is that you don't have to know anything about your dealer, and they need to know almost nothing about you.

    Huh? Sellers need a physical address. Sure, one can use the address of some senile neighbor, or that of someone on vacation, or an empty house, etc. But I bet that over 90% of buyers use their actual address. I mean, DPR did, when he bought fake ID from SR.

  • SomeOldThrow 5 days ago

    > Sellers need a physical address.

    Still only circumstantial evidence, you can order drugs to any address you want.

    Besides, I highly doubt most buyers have enough activity to justify pursuing legal action.

  • shitlord 5 days ago

    The seller can also perform a dead drop instead of mailing the package. Although, it seems difficult to do a dead drop in a place like NYC without getting caught on camera.

  • michaelt 5 days ago

    That, and presumably a seller would be nervous about using a buyer-chosen dead drop, or reusing a dead drop location buyers knew about.

  • freedomben 6 days ago

    My thoughts exactly. People still have to provide some address to receive it, and if they are buying from a cop then when the package shows up the cops will be watching and when you grab it, you're busted.

    Seems like you still need some level of trust, but please correct me if I've got it wrong.

  • corndoge 6 days ago

    Consider that if I know your address, I can order drugs delivered to you. Then you take the sting. I would think that this factor and the desire to catch the sellers more than the buyers motivates law enforcement to focus on disrupting the chain and tracking down sellers more than pursuing all but the highest volume buyers.

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    That's true, somewhat. If you read the history of the SR1 takedown, you see that the FBI interviewed buyers whose packages had been intercepted by Customs. And from what I've seen, there's no indication that any of them were prosecuted.

    But on the other hand, someone did have heroin sent to Brian Krebs, and planned to trigger a SWAT upon delivery.[0] It was just luck that he found out about it in advance, and filed a police report. For less clueful victims, it's still arguably a substantial risk.

    https://krebsonsecurity.com/2015/10/hacker-who-sent-me-heroi...

  • gwern 5 days ago

    > If you read the history of the SR1 takedown, you see that the FBI interviewed buyers whose packages had been intercepted by Customs. And from what I've seen, there's no indication that any of them were prosecuted.

    At least 65 SR1 buyers are known to have been arrested: https://www.gwern.net/DNM-arrests

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    Wow. Great work! Thanks.

  • millzlane 5 days ago

    Also there is plausible deniability. "I don't know why drugs showed up to my house. Look! That's not even my name...clearly a mistake."

  • Obi_Juan_Kenobi 5 days ago

    FYI fake names is bad OpSec; it's a great way to get a 'care package', i.e. a controlled delivery.

    You have just as much plausible deniability with or without a fake name.

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    Yeah, the postal system is watching. So you gotta have name and address match. Some post offices won't even deliver to unknown names. And some tiny post offices know every resident, by name. I know, because I've received mail addressed to my name and the five-digit postal code. It was a very small town.

  • rjbwork 5 days ago

    That's interesting. I've always used a fake name when conducting P2P transactions online. For instance on RedditGifts, I've always used a fake name. This backfired once when a housemate sent a very expensive chess set sent from Singapore back and the sender never got it. Other than that I've had a good experience.

  • freedomben 5 days ago

    What if they just record you taking the package, follow you home, get a warrant based on probable cause, and search your house and find the package?

  • shroomery 5 days ago

    The book "Drug Interdiction: Partnerships, Legal Principles, and Investigative Methodologies for Law Enforcement" was written by law enforcement, for law enforcement. Here is an excerpt from the section about controlled deliveries:

    >The undercover agent will attempt to solicit any statements in which the suspect may admit knowledge of the parcel delivery. The key to any parcel investigation is for law enforcement to prove that the subject had knowledge of the parcel’s contents. This is critical to the prosecution of the suspect in a parcel investigation. It is virtually impossible to litigate a criminal case without proving knowledge of contents.

    I'll let you draw your own conclusions. Stay safe out there.

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    That's certainly a risk.

    If you're using a market that's not compromised, you trust sellers' ratings. Sellers who were police honeypots would arguably not have high ratings. Unless, of course, police had created user bot armies.

    From what I've read, you place a test order, shipped to your third-party address. Relying on tracking information, you anonymously hire someone to "steal" the package, with the contents as part of the payment. To get the rest of the payment, they need to message you anonymously, and you pay well-mixed Bitcoin. You never actually meet them again.

    If that works out, you place a real order, shipped to the same address. And hire someone else anonymously to "steal" the package, and drop it somewhere for you. And then pay them anonymously, with well-mixed Bitcoin. But it's gotta be a decent payment, comparable to what they could get by selling the contents.

    Too iffy for me.

  • SRTP 5 days ago

    define 'well-mixed Bitcoin' please?

    Is there a threshold that you'd use? How do you judge whether a BTC tx is well-mixed?

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    Between my meatspace identity and Mirimir, which is my least ~anonymous persona, well-mixed means mixing successively by three different services: A, B and C. I mix via Tor, using Whonix VM instances, and Electrum wallets. So three Whonix/Electrum instances: X, Y and Z.

        source to X via A
        A to Y via B
        B to Z via C
    
    Bitcoin in Whonix/Electrum instance Z is available to spend, or transfer to another VM.

    For transfers among ~anonymous personas, I just mix once or twice, depending on the desired compartmentalization level.

  • mirimir 2 days ago

    Damn, I was brain-dead when I wrote that. Make it:

        source to X via A
        X to Y via B
        Y to Z via C
  • SomeOldThrow 5 days ago

    > What if they just record you taking the package, follow you home, get a warrant based on probable cause, and search your house and find the package?

    If someone sends a package to my house, my taking it into my apartment is evidence of about nothing. Why you would send it somewhere without plausible deniability—say, a PO box you only use for drugs—is beyond me.

    Furthermore, they also need to demonstrate you had knowledge of the contents before opening. That's damn hard.

  • vageli 5 days ago

    > What if they just record you taking the package, follow you home, get a warrant based on probable cause, and search your house and find the package?

    What if you never opened the package before the warrant was executed? If you never opened it you can't possibly know what's in it. And if anything receiving a package from a sketchy sender and _not_ immediately opening it sounds totally reasonable.

  • dillonmckay 5 days ago

    Until they shoot your dogs and put you in cuffs...

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Berwyn_Heights,_Maryland_may...

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    > Prince George's County Police later arrested two men in a drug trafficking plan involving the shipment of large parcels of marijuana to addresses of uninvolved residents. After each parcel was delivered outside the addressee's home, another individual would retrieve the drugs. Police seized six packages containing 417 pounds (189 kg) of marijuana.[9]

    Yep, SOP. And the police totally blew it. If they had just contacted the mayor, they could have setup an ambush for the pickup operative.

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    Sure. But they would use your name.

  • Fjolsvith 5 days ago

    And, due to the anonymity of the new market, there's no benefit to busting the chain if you bust a buyer. You can't get the buyer to snitch on who their supplier is.

  • ezoe 5 days ago

    I really doubt that in a country where Swatting resulting cops killing the innocent and unarmed video game players in their house.

  • vageli 5 days ago

    > My thoughts exactly. People still have to provide some address to receive it, and if they are buying from a cop then when the package shows up the cops will be watching and when you grab it, you're busted.

    > Seems like you still need some level of trust, but please correct me if I've got it wrong.

    Is it illegal to receive drugs if you don't know it's drugs? Is merely bringing a package into your home, without inspecting its contents, illegal?

  • mirimir 5 days ago

    If they bust you with an unopened package, they will try to get you to admit that you ordered it. And here's where it gets tricky.

    If you ordered from a police honeypot seller, they have some reason to think that you did order. So if you at first deny ordering, and later admit that you did, you've just admitted to lying to them. Penalties for that can be worse than ordering illegal drugs ;)

  • sandworm101 5 days ago

    Denial of guilt is not considered lying. Otherwise, every contested guilty verdict would have a perjury charge attached. Just say no. Or say nothing. Or one word: lawyer.

  • onetimemanytime 5 days ago

    Say nothing. I think you can stay quiet but if you talk and lie to FBI, you will be Martha Stewart. Totally unrelated to the original case and they can prove this very easily, 2 FBI agents with detailed notes vs you.

  • chipperyman573 5 days ago

    Probably not but most people who order drugs online will probably use them at some point, it's not like the drugs will remain in a sealed box forever.

  • Obi_Juan_Kenobi 5 days ago

    This is foolish.

    Vendor ratings and exchange reputations absolutely matter. It is in no way a trust-less system. Vendors forego significant profit to establish these ratings.

    It is a system where you must constantly guard against malicious actors - cops, exit scams, etc. - but the nash equilibrium achieved depends deeply on trust metrics. Increasing the number of malicious agents is much like increasing parasitism in ecosystems, and has dramatic effects on how the ecosystem performs.

  • azinman2 5 days ago

    But how could you trust the ratings at all? Amazon, with all their resources and ML prowess, is having a very difficult time with fake reviews. These sites don’t stand a chance.

  • __MatrixMan__ 5 days ago

    An Amazon verified purchase is a cheap thing, if I'm buying that widget anyway I could imagine accepting some kickback to let the bots review it in my stead. Why not?

    But a darknet market purchase? That's different. One goes through all kinds of ridiculous gyrations to prevent third parties from being included, and with good reason. Unless you think you can compromise legit user accounts, your bots would have to spend a whole lot of money on real drugs before anybody would give credence to their fake reviews.

  • azinman2 5 days ago

    How do these systems do “verified reviews,” and if they can, wouldn’t it be bitcoin just going back the same person?

  • __MatrixMan__ 3 days ago

    The system is largely the same--I'm prompted to leave a review after a transaction is completed.

    In the Amazon case, it's not a big deal if both me and the shady seller communicate out of band. We can use email or whatever to orchestrate the payback for a positive review, and the penalities for our scheme being compromised are low: maybe we get banned from Amazon and frowned at by our friends, who cares.

    In a darknet market scenario, we rely on the market to handle our identities, and try to stay completely anonymous otherwise. So we have to use some other identity mechanism to orchestrate the kickback, which fails in two ways:

    - Either it's too disconnected from the original transaction, and there's no way for me to hold the seller accountable for the Bitcoin I was promised in exchange for a positive review (aside from buying from the shady seller a second time just for the opportunity to leave a negative review).

    - Or it's too connected to the original transaction. In this case, if our side scheme is uncovered it could be used as evidence against us in court. Which is a significantly scarier outcome than being banned. Although being banned also carries more weight because some sellers won't sell to accounts without positive history, so if you need to reboot your identity you might have to risk getting ripped off a few times before the larger community of sellers trusts you again.

    Also, I'd stay the hell away from any seller that approached me with such an offer, they want me to participant in a scam, which tells me something about them. Why should I trust their drugs?

  • velox_io 6 days ago

    It's also safer than buying it off the streets (aside from dealing with gang members), there is no telling what you are buying (they probably don't know either).

    While it's true that everyone mistrusts each other. Sellers are also competing with each other to offer the best products with the best prices, putting a huge amount of effort to build the best feedback ratings. A world away from gangs using extreme violence to increase turnover (you would think that factors into the priorities). I'd feel safer buying from DreamMarket than I would Ebay.

  • sonnyblarney 6 days ago

    So long as 'trust' is part of the factor for purchase, then by 'Supply and Demand' - the tactic will work.

    Consider that there's an incredible number of 'regular people' who might visit these sites, not super knowledgable. They might have regular jobs, regular lives.

    The thought that they could be caught up in something legal, lose their jobs etc. etc. is a very material risk.

    Without getting into other aspects of this issue ... the tactic they're using is actually reasonable.

    Also, I'll bet their not spending a huge amount of energy on it, it probably boils down to 'keeping an eye on it'.

    As far as your comments bout 'no violence' etc. - really, it'll just move elsewhere.

    Anything that starts making money will be exploited very quickly by nefarious entities for nefarious means.

  • PaulAJ 6 days ago

    Rather puts me in mind of the deliberate poisoning of alcohol by the government during Prohibition. The attitude was that if someone died from drinking poisoned hooch, well it was their fault for drinking it. https://www.snopes.com/fact-check/government-poison-10000-am...

  • __jal 5 days ago

    See also a similar, disturbingly common attitude about acetaminophen/opiate combinations.

    I've heard an RN say the problem is that it doesn't ruin junkies' livers fast enough.

  • refurb 6 days ago

    The government did not poison supplies of alcohol meant for human consumption, nor did it intentionally aim to kill those who drank the tainted products.

    That's a big difference from a deliberate poisoning.

    And that still happens today - you can buy "denatured alcohol" that is unfit for human consumption.

  • dagenix 5 days ago

    Quoting the referenced article, in turn quoting a Slate article:

    > To sell the stolen industrial alcohol, the liquor syndicates employed chemists to “renature” the products, returning them to a drinkable state. The bootleggers paid their chemists a lot more than the government did, and they excelled at their job. Stolen and redistilled alcohol became the primary source of liquor in the country. So federal officials ordered manufacturers to make their products far more deadly.

    They didn't put poison specifically in alcohol for human consumption, but they did put poison into chemicals that they knew would be consumed by humans. At the end of the day, I don't see the difference.

  • refurb 5 days ago

    Fair point. But that still happens today. They add things like benzene, toluene or diesel to alcohol so it can’t be consumed.

    It’s similar to over the counter codeine in Canada. The dose is small and combined with a dose of acetaminophen.

    Seems kind of cruel for addicts to destroy their liver if they take too much.

  • dagenix 5 days ago

    I didn't say that it doesn't still happen today. All I'm saying, is that it doesn't make much difference if the government directly poisons alcohol, or, if it poisons chemicals that it knows people are going to drink. At the end of the day, the people that die as a result don't care about the distinction.

  • refurb 5 days ago

    We'll agree to disagree then. I see that as a major distinction.

  • dagenix 4 days ago

    What is the difference between directly killing someone and taking an action that you know will result in someone's death? The end result is exactly the same.

  • refurb 3 days ago

    Laws call one murder and one manslaughter.

  • rubatuga 5 days ago

    Really isn't that cruel when you look at the solubility of acetaminophen at freezing temperatures.

  • dagenix 5 days ago

    Please explain. Is this a serious comment or a joke about Canada being cold?

  • jascii 6 days ago

    If however, you have vested interests in the private prison industry and benefit from keeping the drug-trade illegal and on the streets it is a very good thing..

  • opo 6 days ago

    Less than 10% of prisoners are in private prisons - getting rid of private prisons would have little impact on support for the drug war.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Private_prison

    Which isn't to say that public sector unions and companies that supply material to prisons, or built prisons don't all support polices that incarcerate more and more people. (For example, the CA prison worker union spends more on political lobbying than all other labor unions in CA.) https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/California_Correctional_Peace_...

  • onetimemanytime 5 days ago

    Said it yourself in the second part.

    >>"The American prison system is massive. So massive that its estimated turnover of $74 billion eclipses the GDP of 133 nations." https://smartasset.com/mortgage/the-economics-of-the-america...

  • barry-cotter 6 days ago

    Alternatively you could have completely open interests in public correctional officers unions. Over 90% of prisons in the US are public and their employees are at least as highly motivated as any investor to lobby for more punitive laws and they can vote.

  • llamataboot 6 days ago

    It's an awful idea. Same thing happens when police departments run ads claiming that there is a bad batch of crystal meth in town and to please bring yours in and the police will dispose of it and then they arrest people that show up.

    Makes it super difficult for legitimate harm reduction organizations to get out actual information about possibly adulterated substances.

  • nerdponx 5 days ago

    Do they seriously do that? Seems so obviously counterproductive.

  • anigbrowl 6 days ago

    This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs.

    How? The whole point of the dark web is that you don't know who you're dealing with so who are you going to seek revenge against if you think you've been wronged? If you mean the second-order effect of people giving up on the dark net and buying drugs of questionable quality from a dealer on a street corner (with all the implicit violence of illegal street crime) that's likely true; but policing is an instrumentality and wishing they weren't is to say that the police should shape policy, which creates a whole new set of problems.

    Without endorsing the drug war, this is going to happen any time you have asymmetric conflict with incomplete information. So while I think all drugs should be legal and we should concentrate on education and harm reduction, the same techniques will be deployed against other things that everyone does agree are crimes, from the manufacture and distribution of child porn to disrupting violent organized crime networks. Wherever there is a demarcation of liability actors on both the supply and demand sides will operate independently to penetrate it and establish a bidirectional channel.

    So while I'd like to see the drug war ended right now and a full pardon for everyone who hasn't committed murder or extreme violence, the philosophical aspect of this is never going to go away because it's a fundamental strategy, arguably rooted in biology if not deeper.

  • decoyworker 6 days ago

    Devil's advocate- just because the violence is not visible doesn't mean it doesn't happen. It's just pushed out of sight. The increased ease of acquiring drugs is probably pretty strongly correlated to stronger cartels elsewhere.

    I think the real solution is legalization of most drugs but until then I see no issue with these tactics.

  • SkyBelow 6 days ago

    Why most and not all?

    Also, given how many existing drugs are already legal, couldn't one say that most already are legal and that hasn't been enough to fix the problem?

  • drawkbox 6 days ago

    > This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs.

    The drug war is the antithetical to harm reduction and safety in production and use. The only solution to the drug war is decriminalization, legalization and improved health systems for harm reduction.

    Most of the issue with the drug war and overdoses is in direct relation to drug illegality. Users get badly produced products, mixed with harsher drugs like fentanyl that are cheaper or people can't get them help due to the criminality of the policy. Drugs can be dangerous, the drug war and illegality makes them more dangerous and obliterates harm reduction. The hard line approach leads to more dangerous synthetics that only exist due to the illegality of the substances they are analogs to. Anyone taking drugs that is addicted and needs help, should get help, not felonies and put in a building with violent criminals, adding to problems problems doesn't solve anything.

    Not only that, the drug war has diverted funds to mafias/cartels that have built them to the size of nation states, making the whole thing extra violent when it is mostly just a non-violent end result. We learned nothing from alcohol prohibition.

    The drug war also makes respecting law and order a joke when drugs like marijuana, LSD, psilocybin and more are treated harshly, these are safe drugs with very low toxicity [1], lower than caffeine, aspirin and nicotine, and keep people from harsher substances.

    Ultimately the drug war is a war on people and plants, that is part of a drug dark age we are in, that will look quite silly in retrospect from the future, same way alcohol prohibition looks today.

    Alcohol is a drug, it is dangerous, but also fun, as long as there is harm reduction and information about it and it is produced safely. When alcohol was illegal, all of that, including production which led to explosions and production of deadly batches, was more dangerous being illegal than legal. It is also safer with the legal market running it rather than the mafia, the reverse is true in other illegal drugs.

    Harm reduction, decriminalization, legalization and bringing a regulated market in will make all substances safer, markets around them efficiently work safety into the system when is has enough market value as there is liability that pushes producers to make safe products and information about harm reduction.

    It is time to throw in the towel on the war on people and the human condition, then turn to a human/health/market focused solution rather than authoritarian enforcement solution. End the drug prohibition dark age. We need a Right to Body amendment that ends this prohibition and future attempts.

    [1] https://imgur.com/gallery/Bkl9QeN

  • freedomben 6 days ago

    Holy cow, I could not agree with you more. As someone who has lost loved ones to drugs (they got something other than what they thought they were buying) and also to suicides over having their legal opioids taken away from them due to the "opioid epidemic," I think you are spot on.

    For the skeptic out there: ask yourself if your loved one wanted to overdose or if it was an accident. I bet the majority of cases were unintentional. Had the drugs been clearly labeled with doses and checked for purity, your brother/sister/father/mother/friend might still be here. Mine would for sure.

  • Galaxeblaffer 6 days ago

    Couldn't have said it better myself. To add to the list of very good and reasonable arguments there's also the social, recreational and medicinal benefits.

    Most people I know are hypocrites when it comes to drugs, on one hand they happily drink alcohol or smoke almost every day as well as consuming huge amounts of caffeine but as soon as illegal drugs of any kind comes up many people get on the fences they really really don't see the similarities, I guess it's just sheepism and brainwashing from early childhood.

    It would be funny if some of these illegal drugs end up curing some of the major problems we have today like depression, social anxiety and loneliness.

    It's just becoming ever more hard to argue rationally and scientificly for prohibition. Many people who are against drugs all have some "exceptional" personal reason like having lost someone close etc. Where in most of these stories, the illegal drug blaimed was a tiny bit of the problem or was laced or impure as a direct consequence of illegality. I'm not denying addiction at all, but iirc all evidence points to addiction levels being steady or falling when you legalize. There'll always be the troubled people who'll struggle more than others and some of them will abuse whatever's available.

  • beenBoutIT 6 days ago

    I agree with what you're saying but that chart isn't accurate at all. GHB isnt toxic except at massive doses, it metabolizes into water and carbon dioxide and is a first-line prescription treatment for narcolepsy.

  • et2o 6 days ago

    What it metabolizes into isn't very important. GHB is quite dangerous when used alongside other respiratory depressants, most commonly alcohol. They have a synergistic effect on respiratory depression.

    It's also pretty habit-forming.

  • hliuhl 5 days ago

    What a drug is metabolised into is sometimes how it treats a patient. Grapefruit can slow down some of the P450 enzymes so drugs like heart condition drugs can kill, and Viagra in combination with grapefruit will give you a priaprism that lasts for hours. 2 Litres of grapefruit juice + 50mg of Viagra to be exact is all you need, and to go down, you need a visit to the A&E dept who will inject both sides of your penis with andrenaline, or getting a couple of epipens from the darkweb could also save you a trip to the A&E dept if you want to do it yourself. Tobacco speeds up the metabolise of some drugs again altering some of the P450 enzymes, like caffeine so instead of it lasting in the body for about 8hrs, its cleared in 4hrs, yet some other prescription drugs including some female contraceptives can make caffeine last in the body for over a day, which explains why some people are sensitive to it. Viagra and poppers is also a big no no as it can cause a fatal drop in blood pressure, but so can ingesting large quantities of potassium. Paracetamol also slows down some P450 enzymes so when combined with alcohol, the alcohol can reach toxic levels in the body and kill. Its an easy suicide method if you know the right amounts to take. To bypass the liver which is like a safety net for the body, inhale drugs like cocaine, hold them under your tongue as the skin is thin there or stick them up your bum which also has thin skin and thus easily absorbed. Pretty much anything is dangerous at the wrong dose, the wrong delivery method and those Lethal Doses can be affected by other foods and drugs which many people may not think anything of, so just be careful.

  • et2o 5 days ago

    I'm familiar with all of that, which does not apply to GHB.

  • nothrabannosir 6 days ago

    Really? Wikipedia lists:

    > single doses over 7000 mg often causing life-threatening respiratory depression, and higher doses still inducing bradycardia and cardiac arrest.

    https://en.m.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gamma-Hydroxybutyric_acid

    As far as I know the danger with depressants is not necessarily poisoning but also cardiac and respiratory arrest. Do you know what the LD50 of GHB is meant to be? I can’t find it.

  • beenBoutIT 6 days ago

    The typical nightly dose for adults is 6-9g and it doesn't cause respiratory depression. Wikipedia isn't a good source on its own.

    https://www.xyremhcp.com/xyrem-dosing-and-titrating-adults

  • et2o 6 days ago

    Replying to the other commentor: The very first listing on the box warning for Xyrem is respiratory depression.

  • beenBoutIT 5 days ago

    The warning has to do with bad combinations. Sedatives/alcohol/etc mixed with GHB can cause respiratory depression and death. On its own 'GHB slows and deepens respiration (causing no net effect on blood gasses) and it slows heart rate'.

    https://life-enhancement.com/pages/the-truth-about-ghb-steve...

  • et2o 5 days ago

    That is just completely inaccurate. The black box warning does not apply to only combinations.

    Don't take medical advice from "life-enhancement.com". There is an extensive body of peer reviewed literature. See for example https://www.ncbi.nlm.nih.gov/pmc/articles/PMC3400846/

    > "The primary effect of GHB on respiration was a dose-dependent decrease in respiratory rate, accompanied by an increase in tidal volume, resulting in little change in minute volume."

    Eventually tidal volume cannot be increased to compensate for decrease in RR. GHB is dangerous because this change occurs at the margins of recreational dosages. This is especially pronounced when combined with other respiratory depressants. I am a medical professional, not making this up. Please do not spread harmful misinformation.

  • beenBoutIT 5 days ago

    The guy's personal views aren't sufficient to make what he's saying untrue. Everything will kill you at some dose, GHB having a lethal dosage doesn't make it especially dangerous.

    'Morse et al. [7] have demonstrated the effects of GHB on breathing. A decrease in respiratory rate occurs, accompanied by a compensatory increase in tidal volume, allowing minute volume to be maintained until doses approach lethality. The concomitant ingestion of ethanol typically alters the concentration-effect relationship, leading to respiratory depression when the compensatory increase in tidal volume is avoided as seen in cases where GHB is administered alone. This deleterious effect from combining GHB and ethanol could be avoided through the administration of GABA-B receptor antagonists. These receptors seem to be involved in its development.'

    http://dual-diagnosis.imedpub.com/sodium-oxybate-and-respira...

  • et2o 4 days ago

    You realize that I referenced the same article? I already addressed this. I also have never seen that journal you referenced; it does not appear to be indexed in PubMed and it's strange.

    You cannot indefinitely increase tidal volume. This study was done in mice. There are established LD50s for GHB which are not far from recreational dosages. GHB causes respiratory depression. It is worse when combined with other agents like ethanol, which it often is. I already wrote that.

  • dewaine 6 days ago

    it makes sense when the goal is not to protect people but to enforce the law for the law's sake

  • jMyles 6 days ago

    Really? What law is being enforced by these actions? This is just a domestic PsyOps operation; I see no adherence to the rule of law here.

  • ijpoijpoihpiuoh 6 days ago

    Broadly speaking, the law in question is Title 21 Chapter 13 of the US Code. Buying and selling controlled substances without appropriate authorization is illegal. Disruption of illegal activities by law enforcement is generally legal, provided no other laws are broken in the process.

    Now, whether buying and selling these substances should be illegal is another question. But it's definitely not obvious that law enforcement is outside its typical role here.

  • jMyles 6 days ago

    I didn't mean to suggest that law enforcement is outside its typical role, just that it is outside its legitimate role if it were behaving in a way, as dewaine suggests, of blindly enforcing a law for that law's sake.

    This action doesn't appear to actually enforce any law, only to create acrimony and violence in communities where some people choose to violate it.

  • ijpoijpoihpiuoh 6 days ago

    > blindly enforcing a law for that law's sake.

    I think this take is really uncharitable. I believe many/most people in the US believe that the laws controlling illegal drugs have at least some good purposes. Sure, most people want weed to be legal (not everyone, but most people). But heroin and fentanyl? I'm guessing support for legalizing those is well below the 50% mark. I bet in an unbiased poll, most people would support efforts to disrupt marketplaces that sell these goods.

    I agree that if law enforcement believed what, say, many HNers believe about the effectiveness of prohibition laws, this type of enforcement would represent a slavish devotion to the law over justice. But I'm guessing they generally believe the law is a good law and that the country is better off with it enforced.

    > This action doesn't appear to actually enforce any law

    I already referenced the law that it enforces. I'm not sure what you mean by reasserting that it doesn't enforce any law, while in the previous paragraph you conceded that "[law enforcement were] enforcing a law for that law's sake." Are they or aren't they enforcing a law?

  • jMyles 6 days ago

    > while in the previous paragraph you conceded that "[law enforcement were] enforcing a law for that law's sake." Are they or aren't they enforcing a law?

    It seems that you've gotten mixed up about who is saying what in this convo. I am actually contesting the notion that anybody was "enforcing a law for that law's sake" - it was dewaine who said that, and has repeated that assertion in a sibling comment to this one.

    The primary thrust of my point is that these sorts of actions don't reflect a devotion to the letter of the law, but rather a nebulous "whatever it takes" approach, even unto naked PsyOps, to achieve a misguided end.

  • dewaine 6 days ago

    They are certainly enforcing the laws against selling and purchasing drugs. It is uncharitable but if the state actually cared about people it would treat drug addiction as a health issue. It can be treated, current policy obviously has done nothing to solve the problem in the US. The police are enforcing the supremacy of the state, these people are flaunting the law and must be punished otherwise the government looks weak. Nobody wants to admit defeat because it is admitting they are much less powerful than they want people to believe they are.

    All of this is conjecture and would of course be unconscious motivation. People want to think they're the good guy, people justify what they're doing so they can sleep at night.

  • jMyles 6 days ago

    > They are certainly enforcing the laws...

    > The police are enforcing the supremacy of the state...

    It strikes me that these two concepts are mutually exclusive; that was the reason for my objection in the first place.

  • Taek 6 days ago

    This might also have the inverse effect. Some websites already do what they can to ensure that the web admins don't have access to communications between the seller and the buyer. Increased paranoia results in more safety guides and increased attention to detail by those who do not want to be prosecuted.

  • bduerst 6 days ago

    The law enforcement are vastly overselling their capabilities and impact here.

    These dark-net markets are already rife with FUD from scammers, and the LE accounts spreading it are painfully obvious to the communities that they exist in.

  • SkyBelow 6 days ago

    >This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs.

    If you believe what they are doing is bad and must be stopped, then it makes such a choice seem like the relevant thing to do. When the violence does come, it provides more support for the laws in the first place. From the view point of someone who disagrees with those laws in general, I find it evil. But seemingly well thought out evil. Given their existing ideology, it makes sense.

  • nothrabannosir 6 days ago

    This is beyond the mere position on whether drugs should be legal. The question raised by op is: at what cost? OP says: this action directly causes violence. Therefore anyone defending the action must defend either one of the following positions:

    - that is wrong, it does not cause violence, or

    - it does cause violence but drugs are so bad that this violence is worth it.

    These are different positions from “drugs are bad and must be stopped.”

    Talking about this is valuable, because everyone has a limit on how far they’re willing to see countermeasures go. E.g. we think DUI is bad and must be stopped, but clearly not at the cost of making alcohol locks mandatory on every car in circulation. But DUI is evil! Well, yes, but apparently not that evil.

    The question then is: ok, you think drugs are evil.. how evil? This evil?

    It’s more than just ideology.

  • SkyBelow 6 days ago

    >it does cause violence but drugs are so bad that this violence is worth it.

    Generally once you want to make something illegal and use the threat of execution to force people into cages for engaging in it, then you have to accept that it is worth the violence to stop it.

    I do see a lot of people who want to make things illegal but don't consider what that actually means for the perspective of someone having the law enforced against them. For example, people who want to make abortion illegal, but when you ask them about what penalty it would be enforced with, they don't want one. Personally, I consider these people to be in a state of still deciding their views on the given issue.

    Once an individual has decided that someone in possession of the wrong plant should be locked in a cage for years and using physical, potentially lethal, violence used if they resist, then it seems quite reasonable they will feel the same about other uses of violence for the same reason.

    > E.g. we think DUI is bad and must be stopped, but clearly not at the cost of making alcohol locks mandatory on every car in circulation.

    Based on the numbers of deaths from alcohol and compared to other movements to restrict rights based on deaths caused (restriction of privacy in the case of terrorism or gun rights in the case of mass shootings), I find it quite surprising there isn't an effort comparable to what you suggest. It makes me begin to question the honesty and sincerity of any held political position.

  • skinnymuch 5 days ago

    Your last paragraph is completely on point. I wonder the same thing as your last sentence.

  • UncleEntity 6 days ago

    I would argue the violence has nothing to do with the drugs and everything to do with the legality -- you, as an upstanding citizen, can't seek legal protection for your chosen trade so have to provide your own protection outside the legal frameworks.

  • russdpale 6 days ago

    Well I mean they gotta tell the brass they are doing something, right? So you create an atmosphere by where it looks like you are doing stuff, but really you know the things you are doing are ineffective and even counter productive to your goals. But you need a job, doesn't everyone? So the cycle of a bumbling war on drugs goes on.

  • pastor_elm 6 days ago

    > I can't see any way that the police intentionally spreading misinformation is a good thing, on a practical or philosophical level.

    Being undercover is spreading misinformation. It's the nature of the job.

  • maxheadroom 6 days ago

    By that logic, the "birther" movement resulted merely from the "nature of politics", yeah?

    At some point, we have to concede that misinformation campaigns can be quite dangerous - like with yelling fire in a crowded theatre.

  • RobertDeNiro 6 days ago

    Seems like a good use of taxpayer money.

  • rolltiide 6 days ago

    This is a really good article on this topic: this is the first mainstream news article I've seen on this topic that wasn't fearmongering and instead showed how benign the services are and merely acknowledged their existence and the accurate complacency of the expanding user base. On the other side, the only other literature are the official releases from governments grandstanding about their takedown efforts, where they aren't even acknowledging that the markets have only grown and gotten more resilient because of their efforts.

    This article balances that all in reality very well.

    It doesn't mix up the terms Deep and Dark web. It doesn't feel the need to explain how bitcoin works, it acknowledges the prevalence of Monero. It mentions the current marketplaces and TOR news sites, it shows the perspective of the software engineers running the websites who realize that prior takedowns are largely a result of error and laziness.

    Lets do more journalism like that

  • wallace_f 5 days ago

    Granted, you're basically right; but still reads as biased to me.

    What if they replaced terms like "narcotics traficking" with "drug purchases?"

    What if they changed "authorities" to "creeps with badges stalking ordinary people for buying drugs?"

    Remember when the Panama Papers were leaked... And nothing happened?

    Our taxpayer dollars are diverted to this crusade and so shouldn't we just call it what it is?

  • nyolfen 5 days ago

    "this is good journalism, reporting solid facts without unnecessary skew and invective"

    "yes, but what if we used skew and invective instead"

  • rolltiide 5 days ago

    (a lot happened with the Panama and Paradise Papers, most of it was benign, some of it had consequences for people whether laws were or weren't broken for those people)

  • rolltiide 5 days ago

    I understand, some things won't gain consensus today so its more productive to report what is happening and this article is much closer to that

  • gwern 6 days ago

    The benefits of experience: Popper has been on the cryptocurrency beat for a long time and has a good idea what he's talking about. (His Bitcoin book, _Digital Gold_, also won't make you want to throw it against the wall.)

  • twrand92688 5 days ago

    (couldn't agree more with what and how you said that!)

    One thing that the article did not mention is that parts of the world apparently now have semi private comunitys run inside sometimes proprietary commercially run walled gardens used to build semi reliable channels for exchanging goods locally. Delivering sometimes not via Standard Post but closer to real-time and possibly even with out the need of a "delivery name/address".

    This can and apparently even is sometimes done with a small RL "onion" fulfillment layers used for delivery in which each of three nodes never sees any of the peers.

    It will be interesting to see with what mechanisms the merchants and markets will come up with.

  • Sargos 6 days ago

    These drug markets are open to the entire internet and the customers and suppliers are global. The fact that US officials consider this their jurisdiction is troubling to say the least. All of this, in my opinion, unsafe propagation of misinformation is harmful to all users of the service and not just those based in the US.

    Would we be okay if Russia decided that Facebook breaks its laws and then went and created fake profiles to cause enough disturbances to make people quit using the service? I would think not.

  • toomanybeersies 5 days ago

    Not that I agree with what the US is doing, but there is kind of an international law against narcotics, the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs [1], so I can see how how US officials consider it their jurisdiction. It's the same sort of thing with child pornography and slavery.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Single_Convention_on_Narcotic_...

  • IIAOPSW 5 days ago

    You make a good point about extraterritoriality in general, but in the case of the most recent busts the lead org was actually the Germans. Really when you see the domains seized there's always about half a dozen European/anglosphere police logos claiming credit.

    The persecution/prosecution of drug users is a multilateral agreement not US big stick diplo.

  • vkou 6 days ago

    > These drug markets are open to the entire internet and the customers and suppliers are global. The fact that US officials consider this their jurisdiction is troubling to say the least.

    If you're marketing securities to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the SEC.

    If you're selling food to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the FDA.

    If you're selling drugs to US citizens, that part of your operations is under the jurisdiction of the DEA.

    I don't understand what's troubling about it. Don't want to be under the jurisdiction of US agencies? Don't do business in the US.

  • nameismypw 6 days ago

    > Don't want to be under the jurisdiction of US agencies? Don't do business in the US.

    The Internet is not "business in the US," hence GP's comment. Am I "doing business in the US" by posting this comment? This is really just digital hegemony from the USA.

  • chii 5 days ago

    > The Internet is not "business in the US,"

    then why does GDPR affect US companies as well?

  • noobiemcfoob 5 days ago

    Because of the same misguided sense of hegemony the parent references.

  • arwineap 5 days ago

    GDPR does not affect US companies that do not collect EU citizens information.

  • lagg 5 days ago

    Sorry for being mildly off-topic but the other comment with regards to police being complete morons and causing violence on purpose is pretty much my take on the situation. Definitely justifies my incredulity at the idea. Even the idea of getting weed in a legal state through the mail is strange to me. Let alone this.

    That said, good luck convincing a great portion of Americans that the US isn't the end-all be-all authority on the internet and that's where all the packets go like a big funnel. Like we never went beyond campuses, token rings and pre-OSI model hackery. The logic is: We engineered the prototype, therefore internet always murika #1.

    (Signed, an American happy that foreigners are finally calling us out on this behavior. Literally took you centuries)

  • rolltiide 6 days ago

    Great article! Aside from the pointing out expansion of the markets I would have liked for the author to show how the costs for taxpayers are rising with the returns for the government diminishing.

    With Silk Road 1.0 it was mostly a single government that had a lengthy expensive investigation that resulted in upwards of $50 million in Bitcoin seized and auctioned off. With the massive expansion of these market places, MULTIPLE governments are involved and barely seize or disrupt $1 million any more.

    A better use of their population's money is consumer protection.

    These market places have enough high quality but regular testing and alerts would protect their citizens. Governments have consequences by being seen to endorse drugs, I think this is a happy medium as the private sector has already picked up the slack here, and the government doesn't need to be seen as legalizing and regulating in stores just to keep people safe. Instead it can just review on these high quality marketplaces.

  • kache_ 6 days ago

    With ring scheme signatures [1], people are now able to prevent police enforcement from tracking cryptocurrency transactions. Many dark web sites are switching to use crypto that implements this protocol.

    This phenomenon is only going to become exacerbated as the population becomes more technologically copmetent. It's use is not only drugs, but also moving money in and out of countries, tax evasion and money laundering.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ring_signature

  • rolltiide 6 days ago

    The article mentions that some sites use Monero and it is getting more prevalent, but it doesn't explain to readers the significance of that.

    That aside, when Monero gets an easier to use Multi-signature capability, people won't even have to deposit onto the marketplace websites anymore. So when the government spends millions to take them down it won't seize anything of value and won't disrupt commerce one bit.

    Before then, JP Morgan and Ernst & Young's open source private Ethereum transactions are a great new mixer for Bitcoin. JP Morgan's Zether and EY's Nightfall allow for erc20 transactions to be private. You can wrap Bitcoin into an Ethereum erc20 asset (WBTC) and clean it and unlink it for use back on the Bitcoin network. Dark Net Marketplaces can also just require private wrapped assets and inherit all of the multisig and contracting capabilities on the Ethereum network right now.

    Bitcoin's Lightning Network can also unlink transactions, but you have to trust that no intermediary nodes are recording transactions. You can just make a payment channel between two addresses you happen control, and then send them onchain from the new address, OR Dark Net Markets can just have payment channels for deposits. It would make the government have to spend even more resources to make their own nodes to track transactions, or would simply just remove their onchain blockchain sleuthing capability.

  • powerset 6 days ago

    > copmetent

    Thought this was a typo at first, but given the context maybe the spelling was intentional and humorous!

  • pfundstein 5 days ago

    This is the tech that Monero is built on which the article does mention markets are implementing.

  • marpstar 6 days ago

    Never forget Ross. He was railroaded hard over Silk Road. https://freeross.org

  • drwl 6 days ago

    just read through that, it's quite unfortunate really. Seems like another case of aaron schwartz where the justice system wanted to send a message.

  • tptacek 6 days ago

    It's Aaron Swartz, not Schwartz. If you're going to wave a bloody shirt, spell the name on it correctly. And I don't think he or his family would appreciate the comparison you're making. Swartz was ultimately prosecuted for actions which, right or wrong, were done selflessly, without remuneration, and in pursuit of a principle. Ulbricht made a fortune facilitating drug sales.

  • z3c0 6 days ago

    To add, Swartz also didn't attempt any assassinations. While I see some overlap in the way that Ulbricht was made an example of, he ultimately shot himself in the foot by resorting to such nefarious means to protect himself.

  • lacampbell 5 days ago

    The wikipedia article for Ross Ulbricht says this:

    On the last day of trial, Serrin Turner, the lead prosecutor, addressed the jury and stated that none of the six contracted murders-for-hire allegations occurred.[27] One charge of procuring murder was originally filed in October 2013 in a separate pending indictment in Maryland (which was later dismissed with prejudice in its entirety in July 2018);[citation needed] the other five allegations were never filed.[37]

    Obviously wikipedia is not a valid source, etc etc. But I've heard the assassination thing before and I'm wondering what information we have about the alleged assassination attempts.

  • rolltiide 5 days ago

    It's nice to see you are thinking about it. Yes the assassinations are not as simple as its made out to be and were used primarily for character assassination in Ross' trial and sentencing.

    The Maryland case was dismissed because it was a super shaky case, and would have revealed so much incompetence that it would mess this railroading up. It was later dismissed in a way that let the government retain some integrity "with prejudice [because he was already convicted]".

    With regard to 1 or 2 of those 6 murders for hire, corrupt DEA and Secret Service agents were stealing and extorting from Ross, including staging a fake assassination. They were tried and convicted.

    > No mention of Carl Mark Force IV made it into Ulbricht's trial. Neither did any mention of Shaun Bridges, the former Secret Service agent charged alongside him. The spree of crimes they committed as Silk Road investigators was under the seal of grand jury secrecy at the time.

    https://www.vice.com/en_us/article/8q845p/dea-agent-who-fake...

    It doesn't help Ross' character, as this fake one had images and a person that played along for a lighter sentence/immunity and then Ross had additional fake assassinations carried out.

    It still hurts the government having a unilateral perception of him, because nobody was EVER trying to get people murdered in this operation until the corrupt investigators created fictional drama so that they could pocket some bitcoins. So far it hasn't mattered for the government, as Ross' appeals have all failed.

    Really illuminates the key areas the government can nab you: not indict you for a worse action but tell everyone about the allegations, withhold key evidence, use those allegations to deny bail, shift jury perception, and rationalize higher sentencing.

  • 55555 5 days ago

    The "assassination attempts" are used to slander his character. It certainly appears that he didn't actually believe anyone was going to be hurt but rather correctly believed he was paying an extortion fee to someone larping as a thug.

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  • aianus 6 days ago

    > Ulbricht made a fortune facilitating drug sales.

    Ulbricht lived in a tiny apartment with roommates in SF and spent his days working from the public library. It really doesn't appear like he was in it for the selfish material rewards.

  • tptacek 6 days ago

    The DOJ seized tens of millions of dollars from him. I don't care where he lived.

  • johndevor 6 days ago

    Maybe he would have given it to charity? It's hard to tell what his motivations are from the outside.

  • tptacek 6 days ago

    We should, I suppose, give every drug kingpin the benefit of this doubt.

  • rolltiide 5 days ago

    Yes, you should. Everyone at the top is usually far isolated from what generates the revenues, and they have their own causes and ideals for wealth just like anyone else.

    Vilifying money itself along side actual sanctions on it is a relatively new legal concept for the Federal government. So yes this has pervaded the culture of the Federal government's subjects, but is only a happy coincidence for the government to maintain support.

  • idlewords 5 days ago

    Rents are high in SF!

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  • fxprq 6 days ago

    Calm your tits, Jew.

  • justforyou 6 days ago

    Doesn't make sense that you've been downvoted.

  • ar_lan 6 days ago

    I don't - I'm not a drug user, but I have a lot of political ideologies that agree with Ross, and I certainly don't believe he deserves what happened to him.

  • modzu 6 days ago

    i thought the harsh sentencing was because he tried to pay a hitman to kill 5 people?

    edit: apparently the murder charges were dropped[0] but the evidence that he hired a hitman was deemed "unambiguous" and factored into his sentencing[1]

    these facts should probably be acknowledged, even if disputed, on the freeross page, otherwise it reads like propaganda.

    a related and interesting twist: it was an fbi informant he paid to be his hitman, who staged the murders. so nobody actually died, even though he believed they did. crazy.

    [0] http://www.dailydot.com/crime/silk-road-murder-charges-ross-...

    [1] https://freeross.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/05/Sentencing_2...

  • anbop 6 days ago

    He forgot the cardinal rule of hiring a hitman... don’t. Your probability of talking to the police or a buffoon who will get you caught is close to 100%. Actual hit men work for established criminal organizations, and don’t look on Craigslist for freelance gigs.

  • modzu 6 days ago

    one has to wonder how much the fbi was involved in entrapment here

  • givinguflac 6 days ago

    Agreed. Just about every “foiled terror plot” in the 00’s were people coerced into the action and provided instructions if not materials for carrying it out by the FBI.

  • dsfyu404ed 6 days ago

    It goes back much farther than that. It took a sawed off shotgun, a bunch of crispy children and a dude with a box truck to convince them to only entrap minorities.

    The FBI and federal law enforcement more broadly has a long sad history of misdeeds.

  • dragonsngoblins 5 days ago

    > It goes back much farther than that. It took a sawed off shotgun, a bunch of crispy children and a dude with a box truck to convince them to only entrap minorities.

    I feel like there is a story there, could you please provide a little more info?

  • dsfyu404ed 5 days ago

    The sawed off shotgun is a reference to Ruby Ridge

    The crispy children is a reference to the Waco siege.

    The box truck is a reference to the Oklahoma City bombing.

    If you choose to research those first two terms they will lead you down a very deep and dark rabbit hole of government misdeeds. You've been warned.

  • ceejayoz 6 days ago

    Sting operations are not entrapment.

    Entrapment requires coercion by the police to push you into something you wouldn't have otherwise done.

    Selling drugs to an undercover cop? Not entrapment.

    Selling drugs to an undercover cop because they said they'd kill your family if you don't get them some drugs? Entrapment.

  • futureastronaut 6 days ago

    There have been "sting operations" where cops offered somebody a ridiculous low price on some drugs, then busted them for going for it. Easy to get caught trafficking several kilos of coke when you paid $100 a kilo. Sounds like entrapment to me though.

  • ceejayoz 6 days ago

    That's not entrapment, at least not in the USA. A normal law abiding person doesn't deal cocaine even if it's really cheap.

  • dragonsngoblins 5 days ago

    I mean, if I'm a regular user and I can afford and obtain a big supply for 1/10th the going rate I'd seriously consider that, even without an interest for selling it on. This would be true of any shelf stable product I use regularly and could effectively store

  • ceejayoz 5 days ago

    "Regular cocaine user" and "law abiding citizen" are in conflict. A cheap price isn't coercion.

  • dragonsngoblins 4 days ago

    Oh I know, I'm not arguing it is coercion.I'm arguing that it indicates an attempt to distribute is tenuous

  • futureastronaut 5 days ago

    A normal wealthy person, maybe. To many people, an offer like that is a ticket out of poverty.

  • ceejayoz 5 days ago

    So's stealing an unattended bag of money off the back of an armored truck. Still criminal; still not a coerced act.

  • modzu 5 days ago

    by "wonder" i mean what actually happened, not what the prosecutor's narrative is. the agents were aggressive in taking down SR and making an example of it even before knowing anything of its operations. did agents approach ulbricht and offer to make his problems go away for a price? did they lead him to believe it was a neccessity for his own safety? etc. we may never know because ulbricht was not actually tried for these crimes.

  • jMyles 6 days ago

    If the government wanted to adjudicate that matter - for sentencing or any other purpose - it needed to charge him with those crimes. It didn't do that, precisely because the evidence is flimsy and most of us don't believe most of it for a second. The government's decision to use this "evidence" only as a public relations tool to justify an insane sentence reads like a fascist tendency, not the actions of the justice system in a free country.

    Free Ross.

  • fru2013 6 days ago

    The murder charges were also mentioned during the appeal. IANAL but listening to it sounds like it played a role in denying his appeal.

    https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:2nd_Cir._oral_argument._1...

  • mevile 6 days ago

    I have a real hard time feeling sympathy for someone who was responsible for the silk road marketplace. I really do. There are better people to feel sympathy for. Bad choices can have bad consequences.

  • Miner49er 6 days ago

    How was the Silk Road bad? IMO it seems the Silk Road likely reduced violence and almost certainly saved lives.

  • FireBeyond 6 days ago

    Do tell the ways in which the Silk Road reduced violence for any of the people living under the influence of the cartels and corruption.

    It arguably increased demand and supply for people who are curious to try such things but "don't have a connection".

    Street level deals? Violence went down, sure.

    But equating the Silk Road to "saving lives and reducing violence" is a martyrdom that, frankly, it doesn't deserve.

  • Miner49er 6 days ago

    I think it's extremely likely it saved people from overdosing or taking the wrong drugs. The review system let people vet their dealers before buying.

    And yeah, I was mainly thinking about street level violence. While I've never lived under the influence of a cartel, I have a hard time believing the Silk Road would make anything worse for anyone in that situation. It seems to me giving cartels the ability to directly sell their drug to people over the internet would only decrease violence. Maybe I'm wrong, though.

  • FireBeyond 5 days ago

    > I think it's extremely likely it saved people from overdosing or taking the wrong drugs. The review system let people vet their dealers before buying.

    Based on what? How many OD victims never lived to give a 3 star rating "overdosed, would not buy again"?

    You should watch Cocaine Diaries (http://exclaim.ca/music/article/blurs_alex_james_in_bbc_doc_...) - a documentary about a rock star, after talking about cocaine fueled parties, was invited to Colombia and met with everyone from villagers to a cartel hitman. To think that there's no violence in the _production_ alone, let alone distribution and retail, would be naive. And to think that giving the cartels safer channels to sell and increase their market would make those precursors safer is something I can't really picture.

  • rum3 5 days ago

    It saved lives by giving more people access to high quality drugs, as well as having a feedback and review system that made the vendors accountable for the shit they sold.

    Harm reduction is a big thing on DNM markets and forums. You have information on how to safely use drugs and places to ask for advice. I bet it saved quite a few lives.

  • ac29 6 days ago

    Easing access to drugs is a bad thing for people struggling with addiction, which has a real societal cost.

  • meestaahjoshee 6 days ago

    So should we stop selling alcohol in bars and grocery stores because some people struggle with alcoholism?

  • rum3 5 days ago

    The access will always be easy anyway. The only difference is that now people have access to high quality drugs which are much less damaging, not some shit that has changed hands ten times, with each duckhead cutting it with whatever they have nearby.

  • modzu 6 days ago

    the most obvious example of harm is probably the opiod epidemic, and the deaths resulting from overdose. of course shutting down the silk road and sending addicts into the streets or to jail is probably exacerbating the risks and is certainly no solution.

  • drwl 6 days ago

    I think if anything, the opioid epidemic was improved through dark web market places. I'm sure if you search on the news throughout the years, there were more overdoses related to substances sold being misrepresented or cut with something like fentanyl.

  • mevile 6 days ago

    The Silk Road was bad because it circumvented the law and the ability of law enforcement to enforce the law. The law is an important thing in a democracy. The rule of law protects us, from each other and from the government. The way to change laws is through your representatives in the government, not go do your own thing. If you do go do your own thing and the law catches up to you, that is a consequence of your actions.

    It would be hypocritical to be upset at politicians like our president and congress for breaking laws, but then to cheer on Ross for his breaking of the law. Justice isn't a pick and choose kind of thing.

  • roywiggins 6 days ago

    > Justice isn't a pick and choose kind of thing.

    Not all laws are just. Not all application of law is just, though it may be lawful. The Constitution even has an escape hatch built in: the presidential pardon. The framers were quite aware that sometimes the law is not just- otherwise, why allow unilateral pardons?

    Sodomy laws were only overturned nationally in 2003. Was everyone involved in consensual buggery before then "hypocritical" for being "upset at politicians like our president and congress for breaking laws"?

    as a practical matter civil disobedience is a pretty fundamental part of how democracies function. I don't think darkweb markets are civil disobedience! but there are many, many worse things than hypocrisy.

    Hypocrisy is another thing that is a fundamental part of how democracies function. Without hypocrisy you can't really have a free society.

  • mevile 6 days ago

    You're earnestly comparing civil disobedience with profiting off of illegal drug trade. Some laws truly are unjust but that doesn't mean you or I can justify breaking whatever law we want because of it. If your conviction about the unjustness of a law is strong enough, then you'll be willing to face the consequences that comes with breaking them.

    That's what Ulbricht is doing, facing his consequences, and I have no sympathy for him. Notice the lack of a public outcry or a huge public movement to come to his rescue. It's because the laws he broke are not unjust. The laws he broke are reasonable, he was a drug trafficker.

  • roywiggins 6 days ago

    Again I'm not saying that darkweb markets are civil disobedience. But first you have to determine that drug laws as we know them are just before you can be sure that shutting darknets down is in the interests of justice.

    For instance, drug possession is illegal, but prosecuting every single person found with small amounts to the maximum extent possible would not be just, and no appeal to the law will make it so. I am hugely sympathetic to people pulled up on minor drug crimes, even though they are technically "facing the consequences" of their actions, because they're unjust consequences. Drug possession isn't civil disobedience but that doesn't mean I'm happy when people go to jail on minor possession charges. Ditto prostitution: not civil disobedience, probably unjust to jail someone for it.

    People often go to jail for too long for too little, and shrugging that the consequences should just be accepted as the price of doing whatever it was does not follow. Should we just say, well, she voted illegally, I guess she (and we) should accept the eight year sentence in the interest of upholding the rule of law? https://reason.com/2018/11/28/8-years-in-prison-for-voting-i... https://reason.com/2018/03/30/texas-woman-gets-sentenced-to-...

    I'm not sympathetic towards him either, but neither am I particularly mad at him over his actions being illegal. Hiring a hitman is wrong regardless of the law. Profiting off drug sales, well that's a more complicated argument than simply "it's illegal." It's probably good that he's behind bars but I don't think you can just point at the statutes he broke and, without reference to anything in the outside world, say that you are certain it's a just consequence. Possibly it was. But you can't just assume that if he really is guilty (he is), the consequences are reasonable.

    Meanwhile, Paul le Roux is very likely to get a light sentence due to his extensive cooperation with the government. le Roux is directly responsible for several completed murders. He sold missile components to Iran! His sentence will almost certainly be much shorter than Ross Ulbricht's. Does that serve justice or not? It's not obvious. https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Paul_Le_Roux

  • lzol 6 days ago

    >Justice isn't a pick and choose kind of thing.

    Yes, it is. That is the entire purpose of the executive branch; choosing what laws to enforce. We don't have the capacity to enforce every law. There are such a ridiculous amount of laws on the books over the last 250 years that enforcing them all is impossible. So, we prioritize things. There is a reason why most lawyers will suggest that you don't talk to the police without an attorney present[0]. If they want to get you for something, they will find something.

    Also, justice and law are not the same at all. We do not have a justice system. We have a legal system. If you have more money, you will almost always have more favorable outcomes in court. I'm not saying to throw the baby out with the bathwater. We need some laws and law enforcement. But legality does not equal morality. You have to weigh things on their own.

    [0]https://m.youtube.com/watch?v=d-7o9xYp7eE

  • bduerst 6 days ago

    Owning slaves was legal and enforced by the law at one point too. Was the underground railroad an immoral drain on society?

    While not all of Silk Road was sunshine and rainbows, the changing attitudes towards marijuana legislature is proof that circumventing the law isn't always this drain on society because the law isn't always caught up to society.

  • Miner49er 6 days ago

    The law and justice have nothing to with eachother. In fact, the law is often used to further cement injustices into society.

  • homonculus1 6 days ago

    >It would be hypocritical to be upset at politicians like our president and congress for breaking laws, but then to cheer on Ross for his breaking of the law.

    There's a lot wrong in your comment but this is the most wrong by far. Citizens are not accountable to the government in the same way that the president is accountable to the country. The latter is a far stricter responsibility and not a two-way relationship. Citizens have no moral obligation other than the threat of force to obey unjust laws; in fact in many cases breaking such laws is closer to moral duty. See civil disobedience.

  • 5 days ago
    [deleted]
  • spraak 6 days ago

    > The packages flowing from China are blamed for compounding the opioid crisis in the United States.

    I doubt they meant it, but it's a pretty good pharmacy related pun [1].

    And more sincerely, this is a very superficial take on the opioid crisis and misplaced blame. The problem with opioids in the US starts in the US with overprescription of opioids, lack of other pain management options, etc.

    [1] https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Compounding

  • adventured 6 days ago

    It's not misplaced blame. It's an accurate statement: China's fentanyl has made the opioid crisis in the US far worse and far more deadly. China entirely deserves blame for the fentanyl coming from their country. They're blatantly allowing very large amounts of fentanyl to flood into the US, even while they know exactly what the end result is. They've hardly lifted a finger to stop it. They're an hyper-surveillence totalitarian dictatorship that can control every aspect of their system, including the ports. If fentanyl is pouring out of China, it's because the authorities there are knowingly allowing it.

  • 1024core 6 days ago

    Some people say that it's payback for the Opium Wars https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Opium_Wars

  • chillacy 5 days ago

    Shouldn't they be shipping the fent to the UK then?

  • dbuder 5 days ago

    ? They are.

  • buildbuildbuild 6 days ago

    Ironically this is best privately viewed in Tor Browser to avoid their “You’re in private mode” paywall. (or at the official nytimes3xbfgragh.onion)

    Also I am questioning my assumptions as to how HN works. I submitted this yesterday, how was a duplicate URL not detected?

    https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20155909

  • freedomben 6 days ago

    This has happened to me before as well. I have no proof at all, but I suspect that certain users just get straight in and can get to the front page with only a few upvotes, while other users (like myself) can get 15 upvotes in an hour or two and never make it above 75.

    Would love a little more transparency from HN. I know it will enable manipulators but it would also help people like us not feel as shafted (which has really disincentivized me against submitting stories).

  • ufmace 6 days ago

    The user that submitted this story has a pretty new account with modest karma and only 5 stories submitted. Odd that they would have some kind of special permission implemented by YC. On the other hand, all 5 of their submitted stories have pretty high number of upvotes. Maybe they know something about HN clickbait and the best time to submit stories? Maybe they're one of a batch of accounts of someone who does have some special top-level exceptions? Pretty strange.

  • robbintt 5 days ago

    I've been lightly submitting personal work to reddit and hacker news for years and it's pretty obvious that post title, time of day, and day of week are the primary driving factors.

  • theturtletalks 6 days ago

    To see how drug sellers are using extensive tech to avoid detection, read this:

    https://opaque.link/post/dropgang/

  • pier25 5 days ago

    The war on drugs is such a waste of money.

    Not only alcohol and tobacco account for many more deaths than all the illegal drugs combined [1], but the effects of alcohol on society are worse than any other substance[2]. This is information from the UK but I very much doubt it will be much different from any other first world country.

    Plus people who want to consume drugs will find a way to do it, legal or not.

    [1] https://www.independent.co.uk/news/health/alcohol-drinking-s...

    [2] https://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/206300.php

  • narag 5 days ago

    I can't help wondering... is alcohol damage worse because more people use it because it's legal? I accept weed is somehow different, but what if opiates or amphetamine were legal and easy to get?

    You can convince me that testing mind-altering drugs as an experience is a human right or something like that. Really, no sarcasm here. But dealing with a sizable portion of a society getting hooked on artificial gratification is on a totally different level.

    Not liking war on drugs, still don't buy that 'alcohol is worse' is a valid point. On the contrary, it seems proof of how things can go astray when you normalize an addictive substance.

  • pier25 5 days ago

    > is alcohol damage worse because more people use it because it's legal?

    It's certainly possible but if we look at countries like Portugal people actually consume less drugs now than before the decriminalization.

    https://beckleyfoundation.org/2018/04/23/lessons-from-portug...

  • narag 5 days ago

    In Portugal they can't buy drugs legally. So they need to resort to black market, just like anywhere else, except countries where weed is legal from authorized vendors. If you're caught with heroin, I understand the government makes an intervention, confiscating the substance and forcing you into some rehab program. Of course better than jail, but still far from walking into a bar and, no joke, asking for a beer.

    As an aside, could somebody (specially someone with specific knowledge) enlighten me about the difference with Spain? Here possesion of weed was legalized in the eighties (though later re-punished in public with a fine and confiscation) and possesion in general was decriminalized while it's an amount small enough to assume it's for own use.

    Has the situation in Portugal really improved there because of legal status or because rehab programs receiving proper funding? Or even economic upturn?

  • pier25 5 days ago

    I'm from Spain actually, but I really don't know the technical differences between the two countries.

  • braindead_in 5 days ago

    No mention of Dream Market. They just shut down. Didn't exit scam, didn't get seized. Probably the admins made enough money and retired.

  • driverdan 6 days ago

    > Dark web markets are viewed as one of the crucial sources of fentanyl and other synthetic opioids.

    [citation needed]

    I strongly doubt this claim. Dark net markets are a fraction of all drug sales.

  • bredren 6 days ago

    “Crucial” != majority. I think dark web may allow people in suburbs and other “nice” places to attain opioids more easily. Deaths are higher profile and possibly a more important voting block.

  • Synaesthesia 6 days ago

    I think that’s possible for the case of fenatyl and similar synthetic opioids. They and other RC’s have been largely popularized through the internet. Because the amounts required are quite low it’s actually plausible.

  • bduerst 6 days ago

    RC's have been a plague on the dark net markets for almost a year now. They're basically the new fentanyl of contaminates, but without easy detection methods and even more unknown side effects.

  • anonymous5133 6 days ago

    So maybe perhaps going after the supply side of the drug trade is a waste of time? As long as there is a demand, there will be a supplier. I think we need to get tougher on drug treatment. Make it a mandatory punishment.

  • jason_slack 5 days ago

    "Shortly before that, American authorities took down a news website, known as DeepDotWeb, that lived on the traditional web, providing reviews and links to dark net sites. The absence of the site is likely to make it harder for newcomers to find their way to dark web markets."

    So, it is illegal to advertise dark web markets? DeepDotWeb must have done something else to get taken down?

  • 5 days ago
    [deleted]
  • noarchy 6 days ago

    >This looks like a good way to spark real-life violence in what is otherwise a remarkably safe way to exchange drugs.

    It seems the entire drug war has managed to spark almost incomprehensible levels of violence. There's some in the US and Canada, to be sure, but it has turned large swaths of Mexico, particularly, into war zones.

    There needs to be a change in thinking. Cracking down on dark net drug sales is nothing but the expansion of a failing war.

  • dang 6 days ago

    We detached this subthread from https://news.ycombinator.com/item?id=20167363.

  • dunstad 5 days ago

    What for?

  • dang 5 days ago

    It was a swerve into a much more generic and well-trodden controversy. Those lead to threads that are more repetitive and less interesting. But because they're such familiar controversies, they also tend to attract a lot of comments, drowning out the original, less obvious topics.

    https://hn.algolia.com/?query=by:dang%20gravitational&sort=b...

  • beenBoutIT 6 days ago

    The war on drugs costs us $51 billon annually* and the only upside is that corporations selling legal drugs like alcoholic beverages and prescription medications get to keep their artificial monopoly. It's easily the biggest scam ever foisted onto a society and with next to no protest.

    As Americans we all pay for this and it works against us by limiting our options and telling us what we can and can't do for recreation. That $51 billon could easily go towards Medicare for All and with more intelligent drug options the number of Americans addicted to Alcohol and Opiates would decline.

    http://www.drugpolicy.org/sites/default/files/DPA_Fact_sheet...

  • stevenicr 6 days ago

    Also increases the cost of cocaine and others right? This lines the pockets of all those who get paid off along the route, and sucks away money from the US economy at a larger scale as well. That appears to be an upside to some people who would like to keep them illegal and the war going right?

  • ficklepickle 6 days ago

    Yep. The fentanyl crisis was directly caused by the "war on drugs".

    Prohibition creates economic incentives to create cheaper substitutes. These substitutes cause more harm than the original substance.

    During alcohol prohibition, methanol was used.

    Pressure on MDMA precursor chemicals has led to many more dangerous substitutes like TFMPP/BZP.

    I wish we could have fact-based policy, and not just with regards to drugs.

  • jaredhansen 6 days ago

    >The war on drugs costs us $51 billon annually and the only upside is that corporations selling legal drugs like alcoholic beverages and prescription medications get to keep their artificial monopoly.*

    That $51B "cost" is known as "income" to those on whom it is spent (cops, prisons, misc security contractors, weapons manufacturers, on and on).

    Similarly, the "only upside is ... artificial monopoly" -- well, for the artificial monopolists, that's a pretty big upside!

    I don't think there's some kind of Grand Conspiracy here (ref. https://slatestarcodex.com/2019/01/14/too-many-people-dare-c... ), but I also don't think one is needed. A whole heck of a lot of people benefit directly from the drug war, and these people are a powerful constituency. The fact that $51B is spent on that constituency instead of on Medicare for All or whatever is, for much of that constituency, a feature and not a bug.

  • mikeash 6 days ago

    The war in drugs got started as a way to go after leftists and minorities: https://www.cnn.com/2016/03/23/politics/john-ehrlichman-rich...

    There are a lot of mundane things keeping it going, but sometimes a little bit of conspiracy ends up being right.

  • opo 6 days ago

    There are reasons to be skeptical of this alleged quote by Ehrlichman.

    As user GatorD42 pointed out when this was brought up before:

    >...Baum claims Ehrlichman said that to him in 1994 while he was researching for a book he published in 1996 about the drug war. He didn't include the quote in that book, but instead published it in 2012 and again in 2016, after Ehrlichman had died (in 1999).

    If the quote was actually said by Ehrlichman, it doesn't actually describe the drug polices of the Nixon administration. While Nixon is remembered for "war on drugs", the actual substance of his policies seem to be different than what people think it was:

    >...I have been fortunate over the years to discuss the distorted memory of Nixon's drug policies with almost all of his key advisors as well as with historians. Their consensus is that because he was dramatically expanding the U.S. treatment system (by 350% in just 18 months!) and cutting criminal penalties, he had to reassure his right wing that he hadn’t gone soft. So he laid on some of the toughest anti-drug rhetoric in history, including making a White House speech declaring a “war on drugs” and calling drugs “public enemy number one”. It worked so well as cover that many people remember that “tough” press event and forget that what Nixon did at it was introduce not a general or a cop or a preacher to be his drug policy chief but…a medical doctor (Jerry Jaffe, a sweet, bookish man who had longish hair and sideburns and often wore the Mickey Mouse tie his kids had given him).

    http://www.samefacts.com/2011/06/drug-policy/who-started-the...

  • rolltiide 6 days ago

    > but it has turned large swaths of Mexico, particularly, into war zones

    Yes, from time to time. At this point some Mexican states and areas have it institutionalized so much that there isn't a war anymore. There is only danger when two competing powers are in the same area.

    Mexico's southern border with Guatemala has an influx of migrants because of Guatemala's now organized drug violence.

  • threwawasy1228 6 days ago

    This is an incredibly naive thing to say. I was on a beach resort area controlled by the Zetas a year or so back on a vacation. It was incredibly dirt cheap and everything seemed really nice and peaceful, the town was under control of only one group afterall. Then all of a sudden one evening there was a screaming man pulled out of a building into a street and brutally beaten in front of everyone that was out there. After this ended he was dragged off and everything went back to normal. It was an extremely shocking flash of violence.

    Just because it isn't a 'war' so much anymore doesn't mean that the violence that comes with areas being under control of gangs magically goes away.

  • thaeli 6 days ago

    So the difference is that they weren't wearing government uniforms? That "flash of violence" doesn't sound out of line for any moderately authoritarian state.

  • nothrabannosir 6 days ago

    The original point was that the American drug policy causes a lot of violence. This public beating was used as an example. Would he have been beaten by a cartel if drugs had been legal(ish) in America? It is reasonable to say: no.

    Authoritarian states beating their subjects has nothing to do with him being beaten in the streets that night.

  • aianus 6 days ago

    > Would he have been beaten by a cartel if drugs had been legal(ish) in America? It is reasonable to say: no.

    While I'm against the drug war, I wonder what career drug dealers (and everyone who's part of their economy) would do if drugs were legalized and commoditized.

    Would it not lead to an increase of "worse" crimes with "real" victims like kidnapping, human trafficking, robbery, etc. as criminals try to replace their income and sustain their lifestyles?

  • filoleg 6 days ago

    A huge chunk of low-level drug dealers are just struggling college students. I imagine if drugs were legal and taxed, they could be helped by some of that tax money going towards funding education.

    Also, a lot of people go into illegal drug dealing because it is a high risk/high reward avenue, compared to many traditional prospects, where you can make a lot of money with comparatively little time investment. If I remember correctly, that was one of the stated reasons for why Notorious B.I.G. went into drug-dealing, despite being a good student and initially considering going to college for a more traditional high-education career.

  • stevenicr 6 days ago

    Could be.. and I wonder further.. if the non-violent state was able to increase it's funding for security while the violent dealers had their monthly profits reduced.. over time 'the people' would have the increased funding and the violent ones would have less money for guns, hired killers, and such..

  • beenBoutIT 6 days ago

    They really should invest in uniforms.

  • SpaceManNabs 6 days ago

    They were the uniform of the streets. You can easily distinguish who is blessed by a drug lord and who is not just by the way they walk or the shoes.

  • nosuchthing 6 days ago

    It sounds like you're saying extreme violence from the local anarcho-capitalist-libertarian business/corporation/cartel is excused and normal because... there are no checks and balances in nation states.. so oh well!

  • rolltiide 6 days ago

    Zetas basically are the government in the Yucatan and some gulf states.

    Better off just acknowledging them as an authoritative single party regime, and staying as far away from drug possession as possible, lets you get confused as a competitor.

  • kolbe 6 days ago

    It's not entirely clear to me why this is any different from many other sovereign justice systems. I think the point stands that people who obey the 'laws' of their 'government' aren't subjected to random acts of violence by non-government entities the way they would be under a two-cartel system. And overall, it's much more peaceful that way.

  • 6 days ago
    [deleted]
  • tyingq 6 days ago

    There were 145 murders in Juarez for April 2019, more than any other month since 2011.

  • eljimmy 6 days ago

    No doubt. Any form of government control over tangible goods creates black markets which have their own set of rules which are most likely also nefarious.

    I think a significant portion of society is aware of this. The problem is that a subset of our society is continuing to push for this antiquated way of life as it is very, very profitable for them. Money makes the world go 'round, after all.

  • 6 days ago
    [deleted]
  • agathocles 6 days ago

    No! More of the same.. but better!

  • lostmymind66 6 days ago

    "but it has turned large swaths of Mexico, particularly, into war zones"

    Legalizing drugs will not fix the problem. The cartels run the government now. Do you actually think they will just pick up their things and go home? The violence will continue and they will move onto the next, illegal, lucrative product to sell.

    The US in the 1930s had the same problem. It was only stopped by stamping out corruption and outright the murdering of criminals. I don't see Mexico having even a small handle on corruption in the next 50 years.

    The Opioid crisis is going on right now..and this is with legal drugs. Drug companies are being sued for millions and millions of dollars.

    From one side, I'm told legal adults should be able to do what they want with their bodies. From the other, when bad things happen..like addiction, I'm told it's the fault of the company that made and sold the drugs. This doesn't make any real sense if we are trying to legalize drugs. It will only increase costs as the result of liability insurance and other risks that are now involved.

    Legalizing MJ in California is turning into a failure. The problem is that companies that sell legal drugs need to pay taxes and go through many more regulations than the guy down the street selling it. The end result is higher costs for legal drugs.

    Legal drug companies selling MJ are being put out of business because the black market is thriving as a result of lower costs and better availability (which will always happen with black markets). The legal market is only helping the black market because there are many people that are using MJ now that otherwise wouldn't have when it was illegal.

    When the legalization of MJ was proposed, the proponents (including many people here on HN) said that there would be no black market after it was legalized. This never made sense to me and now I'm being proven correct. The black market is not only there, it's thriving.

  • theslurmmustflo 6 days ago

    What are you talking about? Your arguments are all over the place.

    How exactly would legalization hurt Mexico? Look at Portugal to see how we should all move towards dealing with drugs and addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem.

    The violence in the 1930s WAS caused by the prohibition, sure it had lasting effects but ending prohibition was still the right move.

    Can you cite the rise of black market marijuana in California? The market is doing well and bringing in good tax revenue in every state I've read about.

    As for the opioid crisis, the issue wasn't that people one day decided they wanted to get hooked on them. The issue was they had pain or were recovering from a surgery and were being prescribed highly addictive medication that was being pushed by pharmaceutical companies without proper warning or care. Marijuana could have been given in these cases and it without the same problems of addiction.

  • gamblor956 6 days ago

    https://www.nytimes.com/2019/04/27/us/marijuana-california-l...

    First search result in Google. Black market for pot growing in CA at the expense of the legalized market.

    The violence in the 1930s WAS caused by the prohibition, sure it had lasting effects but ending prohibition was still the right move.

    No, the violence was caused by criminals funded themselves primarily by breaking prohibition laws. If violence was caused by prohibition, Utah would have been the most violent state in the nation for most of its history, since prohibition was the law in most of Utah for most of its history. It still is the law in parts of Utah.

  • tyingq 6 days ago

    Utah is a somewhat oddball case to cite as evidence around prohibition. They are 60+% Mormon, with a strong religious directive not to drink.

  • gamblor956 6 days ago

    Right, and my point was that it was the people that were responsible for the violence, not prohibition.

    After all, marijuana was technically subject to prohibition until quite recently, and yet the very lucrative pot market was not marred by violence.

  • theslurmmustflo 5 days ago

    Theres been plenty of violence due to marijuana prohibition! Never mind all the human misery from incarseration.

  • UncleEntity 6 days ago

    > Black market for pot growing in CA at the expense of the legalized market.

    The amount of regulation pretty much guaranteed a "market failure" for legal pot.

    Almost like that was the intended outcome...

  • lostmymind66 6 days ago

    Left leaning people want more government regulation and then expect pot legalization with no regulations. Reality doesn't quite work this way.

    One of the arguments was that it would being in all sorts of tax dollars that could be used for great things. Tax Dollars=more expensive pot. So from this perspective, it worked as intended, even though many of the supports may not have actually thought it through.

  • gamblor956 6 days ago

    Left leaning people want more government regulation and then expect pot legalization with no regulations. Reality doesn't quite work this way.

    No, left-leaning people wanted more government regulation--and expected pot legalization with regulations. Which is what they got. But a lot of places, primarily right-leaning, chose to simply continue banning pot stores and deliveries within their jurisdictions.

    Of course, reality doesn't quite work that way. Black market sales are still pretty strong in right-leaning parts of CA. The pot sales are thus still happening there, but they aren't seeing the tax revenues that their more liberal counterparts are seeing.

  • lostmymind66 5 days ago

    "Which is what they got. But a lot of places, primarily right-leaning, chose to simply continue banning pot stores and deliveries within their jurisdictions."

    Yeah, well, this isn't what we're talking about. Left-leaning people wanted pot legalized and regulated and didn't seem to grasp that this means an increase in prices.

    "Of course, reality doesn't quite work that way. Black market sales are still pretty strong in right-leaning parts of CA. The pot sales are thus still happening there, but they aren't seeing the tax revenues that their more liberal counterparts are seeing."

    As stated in the articles I linked to, the black market is thriving in many parts of CA..it has nothing to do with right-leaning areas.

  • gamblor956 5 days ago

    Left-leaning people wanted pot legalized and regulated and didn't seem to grasp that this means an increase in prices.

    Left-leaning people grasped that this meant increased prices...Pot shops do quite well in liberal areas even though they're more expensive than the corner dealer.

    As stated in the articles I linked to, the black market is thriving in many parts of CA..it has nothing to do with right-leaning areas.

    It has everything to do with right-leaning areas since the black market is thriving in the many parts of red CA that still prohibit marijuana sales. The black market (for sales to end-customers) isn't doing as well as it used to in left-leaning areas, though the black market for suppliers is still doing well for the suppliers that haven't yet been caught.

  • pennaMan 5 days ago

    The black market in CA, as per your linked article, is with regards to growing, NOT retail sales. And that's because of bad regulations pushing growers to illicit activity.

  • filoleg 6 days ago

    You are making an unsubstantiated assumption that the cost of complying with regulations is higher than the overhead of costs that come with running an illegal drug manufacturing/selling operation.

    Also, your point was proven factually wrong, as pot is way cheaper in legal states and is way safer, thanks to regulations.

  • lostmymind66 5 days ago

    "You are making an unsubstantiated assumption that the cost of complying with regulations is higher than the overhead of costs that come with running an illegal drug manufacturing/selling operation."

    The proof is the cost of legal weed, which is sometimes double the cost of the black market prices, due to regulations and taxes.

    "Also, your point was proven factually wrong, as pot is way cheaper in legal states and is way safer, thanks to regulations."

    Safer? Maybe. Cheaper? Hardly. You have provided zero proof and your arguments just don't make a lot of sense.

  • gamblor956 5 days ago

    The proof is the cost of legal weed, which is sometimes double the cost of the black market prices, due to regulations and taxes.

    No, the cost of legal weed that is actually 100% what it claims to be is double the cost of black market stuff that might be (or based on police reports and various studies, almost certainly is) adulterated with various contaminants, including lawn grass, actual weeds, and trace amounts of other drugs sold by the dealer or his supplier.

    It's like complaining that organic beef is twice the price of grain-finished hormone-treated beef. No duh. You have to pay extra for quality and the proof of quality.

  • dajohnson89 6 days ago

    I mostly agree with you, but are you sure that marijuana can offer the same level of acute pain relief as opiods?

  • ficklepickle 6 days ago

    No, it can't. But sometimes too much pain relief isn't a good thing. Your body adjusts to no pain, and it becomes difficult to discontinue to drug.

    Pain is an important signal and, in general, should only be treated enough to take the edge off. Ideally, the root cause should be addressed.

    Of course, there are plenty of chronic and terminal conditions where opiates are appropriate.

  • sonnyblarney 6 days ago

    "How exactly would legalization hurt Mexico? Look at Portugal to see how we should all move towards dealing with drugs and addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem."

    Again the 'Portugal' argument is misplaced.

    Portugal has not legalized drugs.

    Portuguese Police will throw you in jail forever if they catch you with large amounts of any drugs.

    The material difference between Portugal and most other advanced nations is how they treat possession of small amounts - instead of jail, you get therapy.

    Great, I wish the same for America.

    But 'Legalizing hard drugs' is a complete different, position, it's not close to reasonable.

    Thanks to 'Fentanyl' the argument becomes glowingly problematic - OD's are skyrocketing everywhere, and 'overdose' now kills considerably more people than guns and cars every year.

    Given that OD's are rising rapidly, and the others are contained - OD's are soon going to be the cause of concern.

    Full legalization of 'hard drugs' would mean it's in your coca-cola (again), meth in your red bull, opiates for any little thing. Though many would stay away, and many frankly can 'handle their drugs' - a material chunk of civilization would be addicted, to the point it would be a massive mental health crisis.

    We are already pushing reforms to seriously limit the number of opioids prescribed because it's such an addiction problem. In Canada, you get sometimes 1, 2 or 3 opiate pills only (!) because of the concern.

    Decriminalization of small amounts may very well help.

    But 'legalization' of hard drugs will yield a health catastrophe pretty quickly.

    I'm always shocked at the sheer lack of understanding of social consequence in these forums. I get the 'Liberty' argument, I get 'Harm Reduction' (though it's not always a great story), I get 'thinking out loud' for bold new ideas.

    But legalization of hard drugs for most civilizations will yield destruction.

    The 'war on drugs' will continue for as long as they are addictive and powerful.

    Fentanyl is just the beginning.

  • velox_io 6 days ago

    There is quite a big difference between the prescription Fentanyl patches and the crap coming out of China and co. It is actually a very effective pain medication for those who need it, I've taken it before and lived to tell the tale.

    What poeple don't talk about is the damage that UNDER-prescription does, politicians (not doctors) are taking away what quality of life people do have left. People receiving pallative care are often being denied pain adiquate pain medication, I wouldn't call that civilised.

    This opioid chrisis stems from doctors carelessly prescriping pain medication and patients (who haven't been educated), being just as careless. The term 'pain killer' has done a huge amount of damage, if you try to kill your pain, you're going to have problems (very fine line between no pain and high), the goel is to be able to function, simple things like be able to sleep.

    I don't think Naloxone is helping matters, it provides a safety net allowing adicts to take ever higher doses.

  • sonnyblarney 6 days ago

    "This opioid chrisis stems from doctors carelessly prescriping pain medication and patients"

    Yes, so think of what would happen if you could buy opioids willy nilly, wherever.

    So yes, thanks - even with 'intelligent actors' in the system, it's also a problem.

    FYI - the crisis is definitely not just 'doctors' - it's a whole assembly of problems. Doctors can be misinformed, patients can be demanding, regulatory issues, pressure from drug companies.

    Apparently America is getting better at prescribing fewer opioids as well, so this is good, but 'getting smart about how to prescribe opioids' (which is good) is one part of the 'war on drugs'.

    As for medical uses of Fentanyl, super, that's great, all for it if there's legitimacy - but it's again it's going to 100% have to be 'a controlled substance', ergo, people arrested for smuggling quantities, which they will, ergo, 'war on drugs' continues.

  • w1nst0nsm1th 6 days ago

    You can legalize hard drug without them necessary being included in coca-cola or red bull. _Regulation_ is the master word here. States can forbid its inclusion in food and drink and control its distribution.

    Beside, the concern about "hard drugs" used recreationally, are the same as with alcohol. Prevention against abuse is the key to reasonnable use.

  • sonnyblarney 6 days ago

    "Beside, the concern about "hard drugs" used recreationally, are the same as with alcohol. "

    They are not, though.

    Weed (not a hard drug), sure.

    But meth, coke and opioids are not very much like alcohol at all really.

    I can see legalization of folks chewing on coca leaves maybe, i.e. something like coffee ... but beyond that ... I don't think it's going to work in any regulatory environment.

    The 'liberty' it provides the few who can a) handle their stuff and b) have safety nets (i.e. middle and upper class) is not enough to warrant the terrible effects it will have on others.

    These things are already a problem in some workplaces: construction, truck driving, because of the intensity of competition etc. - loosening the bounds just creates more problems.

    I do think we should decriminalize, but I don't think that our little party at Burning Man is worth the damage that it will wreak in other places.

  • lostmymind66 6 days ago

    My argument may be 'all over the place', but you seemed to have followed it pretty well.

    "How exactly would legalization hurt Mexico? Look at Portugal to see how we should all move towards dealing with drugs and addiction as a health problem instead of a criminal problem."

    Portugal didn't have cartels running entire sections of the country. Drugs may be part of the problem with Mexico, but the cartels are too powerful and legalizing them will not solve the corruption problem..and the violence will continue.

    "The violence in the 1930s WAS caused by the prohibition, sure it had lasting effects but ending prohibition was still the right move."

    It was. But we had a corruption problem as well. Criminals don't just go away overnight. There are plenty of other ways to make money, once you have money, power, and influence. Legalizing drugs will not solve the corruption problem in Mexico.

    "Can you cite the rise of black market marijuana in California? The market is doing well and bringing in good tax revenue in every state I've read about."

    A simple google search:

    https://reason.com/video/californias-new-recreational-mariju...

    https://www.latimes.com/politics/la-pol-ca-gavin-newsom-crac...

    https://www.forbes.com/sites/kevinmurphy/2019/04/04/cannabis...

    "As for the opioid crisis, the issue wasn't that people one day decided they wanted to get hooked on them. The issue was they had pain or were recovering from a surgery and were being prescribed highly addictive medication that was being pushed by pharmaceutical companies without proper warning or care. Marijuana could have been given in these cases and it without the same problems of addiction."

    Who decides to get hooked on anything? Some people get addicted to things faster than others. No matter how many warnings you give someone, it will happen...and the company will get sued for millions of dollars.

    The cigarette companies are a good example of this. Cigarettes have been know to cause cancer for 50+ years. Yet, we will have people smoking, getting cancer, and suing these companies for millions of dollars.

  • 6 days ago
    [deleted]
  • gefh 6 days ago

    I'm pro-legalization but you bring up good points about the opioid epidemic. Legalization shouldn't mean zero regulation. Legal marijuana seems to be doing well in WA right now though.

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  • throwaway100773 5 days ago

    Yet prescription opioids are still a thing.

  • vernie 6 days ago

    Great.