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How to Legalize Drugs Hardcover – May 1, 1998

ISBN-13: 978-0765701510 ISBN-10: 0765701510

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Product Details

  • Hardcover: 704 pages
  • Publisher: Jason Aronson, Inc. (May 1, 1998)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0765701510
  • ISBN-13: 978-0765701510
  • Product Dimensions: 9.2 x 1.8 x 6.3 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 2.4 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
  • Average Customer Review: 5.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (3 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #3,417,067 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Editorial Reviews


Renowned scholars offer compelling logic to the effect that the United States' cure for illegal drug use is worse than the problem. The authors offer reasoned arguments for reform of drug control policies that will be valuable to professionals in the field as well as serve as a base for a national debate on how to end the ill-conceived war on drugs. (Joseph D. McNamara, D.P.A.)

This is a comprehensive, insightful book written by scholars and authorities from a broad range of disciplines looking at different approaches to drug legalization. It is a must for health and criminal justice professionals, politicians, and all other Americans concerned about solutions to our drug and drug-related problems. Many issues associated with drug legalization, both moral and constitutional, are considered. All perspectives are rooted in scientific data, not in feelings or fears. Hopefully, the book will force thinking people to begin to ask critical questions instead of responding emotionally. It should help concerned citizens think through issues to formulate an alternative to our current drugs policy. Once you read this excellent book, you will realize we can no longer do nothing. I highly recommend it for policy makers, physicians, and everyone else concerned about the drug war, especially as it relates to future generations. This book will turn your concern into commitment. (Joycelyn Edlers, M.D.)

About the Author

Jefferson M. Fish, Ph.D., is Professor of Psychology at St. John's University, where he has served as Department Chair and also as Director of the Ph.D. Program in Clinical Psychology. He is a past Chair of the Psychology Section of the New York Academy of Sciences and past President of the Division of Academic Psychology of the New York State Psychological Association, as well as a member of the Board of Directors of Partnership for Responsible Drug Information.

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9 of 9 people found the following review helpful By A Customer on October 20, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Steven Wishnia, copyright © High Times Magazine (October 1999) What would the world of legalization look like, and how would we get there? Jefferson Fish's anthology, How to Legalize Drugs (Jason Aronson), tries to answer those questions. Its 24 essays-by such drug-policy luminaries as Dr. Lester Grinspoon, Ethan Nadelmann, and federal Judge Robert Sweet-discuss the history of the Drug War, strategies for ending it and ways to manage legal drug use and sales. At 660 pages, with chapter titles like "The Transition From Prohibition to Regulation: Lessons from Alcohol Policy for Drug Policy," and "Discontinuous Change and the War on Drugs," it definitely isn't prime baked reading material. But if you want an intense look at specific issues and nuances, you'll be rewarded. What are the differences between the harm-reduction and the rights-based libertarian arguments against the Drug War? How do the language and concepts of drug-related discourse reinforce prohibitionist thinking? ("Marijuana, for example, has never caused a death, but how does one persuade the public to adopt a more accurate view of the pharmacological reality?" the authors ask.) Which drugs should be legalized, and where and how would they be sold? And the ACLU's Kevin Gray, comparing the Drug War's effect on black communities to Jim Crow, calls for "an antiwar movement." Fish, a psychology professor at St. John's University in Queens, NY, suggests a gradual transition to legalization, through steps like legalizing needle exchange and medical marijuana, and moving on to regulating marijuana like alcohol and tobacco, and legalizing coca leaves, psilocybin and MDMA. However, he believes the end of the Drug War will be "discontinuous"-as rapid and sudden as the extinction of the dinosaurs.
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5 of 5 people found the following review helpful By Nicolas Eyle on June 26, 1999
Format: Hardcover
Some books on drug policy reform target the heart, calling attention to the incredible suffering caused by the war on drugs but "How to Legalize Drugs" targets the brain. Jeff Fish has put together an extraordinarily complete collection of essays that covers the range of arguments bout how to reverse our drug policy. This book covers all sorts of theories about how change will occur, what sort of changes is likely, what kind is desirable, what form the transition might take, and what the result of such change might be. Historians, attorneys, pharmacologists, economists, political scientists, psychiatrists - all offer their different perspectives here. So much is discussed - from Douglas Husak's excellent analysis of the two fundamental caps of drug reformers (harm reductionists and Libertarians) to highly specific are of interest like "the impact of the War on Drugs on Puerto Ricans," that it would make a perfect text for a course in drug policy.
If you are new to the movement and find yourself spending more and more time discussing different aspects of reform, this is the book for you. If you've been around the issue for years, and find the subject as interesting as I do, this book is refreshing. With most "arguments" from Drug War warriors consisting of the same old drivel about "the message we're sending the children," someone needs to take the discussion to a more intelligent level. This book does it.
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4 of 5 people found the following review helpful By patrick moore on March 15, 2001
Format: Hardcover
HOW TO LEGALIZE DRUGS by Jefferson Fish,Ph.D.is the most comprehensive & informative publication i've come across addressing the highly charged political & social issues surrounding drug policy reform. Contributing to this masterpeice are 30 thinkers from the disciplines of anthropology, economics, law,philosophy,political science, psychology & sociology with each presenting an in-depth, scholarly & multifaceted dimension to our understanding.
In dedicating this work to the "victims of Drug Prohibition," Dr. Fish describes in painful detail what has become known as "the drug exception to the Bill of Rights." He even considers the entertainment value of the war..."like public executions of the past,or Romans throwing undesirables to the lions...if politics is about giving bread & circuses to the masses, then 'fighting drugs' may provide the kind of exciting entertinment that citizens are willing to pay for!"
LEGALIZE gives ample consideration to both public health (harm reduction) & human rights based approaches to policy reform & unlike many, Dr. Fish maintains hope in the midst of despair. He believes the time is ripe for powerful rapid change as we've seen with the collapse of the Soviet Union after decades of the Cold War & earlier in the century with the end of alcohol prohibition.
LEGALIZE contains 9 different proposals for legalization, from the most limited to the most sweeping, with a variety of health & rights based rationales. Dr. Fish points out that even if only marijuana were legalized, then the war on drugs would shrink drastically & many drug warriers & criminal justice bureaucrats would be out looking for jobs.
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More About the Author

Jefferson M. Fish, PhD is Professor Emeritus of Psychology at St. John's University, New York City, where he served as department chair and also as director of the PhD Program in clinical psychology. He is the author or editor of twelve books dealing with race, culture, therapy, and drug policy.

Dr. Fish's most recent book, The Myth of Race, draws on scientific knowledge to debunk a series of myths that pass as facts, correct false assumptions, and clarify cultural misunderstandings about the highly charged topic of race. Praise for The Myth of Race comes from former U.S. Secretary of Defense William Cohen, and from anthropologist Audrey Smedley, author of Race in North America. Secretary Cohen said, "Writing with stunning clarity, Dr. Fish poses profound and perturbing questions about race...The Myth of Race is must reading."

Here are some of the myths dealt with in the book:
* The myth that humans are divided into Caucasoid, Negroid, and Mongoloid races
* The myth that people cannot change their race
* The myth of the tragic mulatto
* The myth of biologically based differences in intelligence among the races

The Myth of Race demonstrates that the apparently straightforward concept of race is actually a confused mixture of two different concepts; and the confusion often leads to miscommunication. The first concept, biological race, simply doesn't exist in the human species. Instead, what exists is gradual variation in what people look like (e.g., skin color and facial features) and in their genes, as you travel around the planet--with more distant populations appearing more different than closer ones. If you travel in different directions, the populations look different in different ways. The second concept, social race, is a set of cultural categories for labeling people based on how their ancestors were classified, selected aspects of what they look like, or various combinations of both. These sets of categories vary widely from one culture to another.

Dr. Fish's personal background includes marriage to an African American anthropologist who studies the Krikati and related tribes of Brazilian Indians, two years as a visiting professor in Brazil (including a month with the Krikati), and, with his wife, raising a daughter in both the United States and Brazil. These experiences led him to an appreciation of human behavior as more varied than it may appear to psychologists who know only the United States.

Dr. Fish's website is www.jeffersonfish.com, and his Psychology Today blog is Looking in the Cultural Mirror, www.psychologytoday.com/blog/looking-in-the-cultural-mirror.