Elon Musk suggests tackling fentanyl problem with either 'draconian penalties for fentanyl possession' or legalization

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Business magnate Elon Musk has suggested that to tackle the problem of fentanyl deaths, the U.S. should either levy hefty penalties for possession or legalize the drug.

"We either need to legalize fentanyl, so addicts don’t accidentally take lethal doses, or engage in draconian penalties for fentanyl possession. If authorities refuse to do the latter, we should at least try the former to see if fewer tragedies occur," Musk tweeted.

He was responding to a post in which Michael Shellenberger wrote, "People say there's nothing we can do to stop people from abusing fentanyl, but we can. We might not be able to stop it from coming into the US, but we can crack down on open-air drug dealing and mandate rehab to addicts who break the law. If we don't, one million people will die."

— (@)

The U.S. Drug Enforcement Administration has said that two cartels are behind much of the fentanyl flowing into the U.S.

"DEA's mission is to save American lives by defeating the two cartels that are responsible for the vast majority of fentanyl that is flooding our country: the Sinaloa Cartel and the Jalisco Cartel," the agency noted in a January press release.

"While the cartels’ operations are based in Mexico, DEA has identified more than 50 additional countries where these criminal networks operate. DEA has also traced the cartels’ global supply chain around the world. The cartels purchase chemicals from companies in China, mass produce the fentanyl in Mexico, and then traffic and distribute finished fentanyl widely throughout the United States," the DEA noted.

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Elon Musk suggests legalizing, regulating fentanyl would reduce drug deaths

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Billionaire business tycoon Elon Musk has floated the idea of legalizing fentanyl in an attempt to cut down on fentanyl-related deaths.

Self-described PhD candidate Hilary Agro tweeted, "Most fentanyl sellers are people who use it as well, and they are trying to survive under the same destructive, racist system that replaced opium with morphine, then heroin, then fentanyl: the War on Drugs."

Responding to someone who shared a screenshot of Agro's tweet, Musk argued in favor of legalization and regulation.

"I think we should legalize it," Musk declared. "The probability of overdose or a bad batch is greatly reduced if there is actual QA & regulation. Also, crime flourishes when substances are made illegal. Alcohol is very much a 'drug' – it's just a legacy drug from olden times when we had no technology! Prohibition of alcohol in the United States caused the greatest increase in organized crime in our history. How many times do we have to learn this lesson!?"

\u201c@micsolana I think we should legalize it. The probability of overdose or a bad batch is greatly reduced if there is actual QA & regulation.\n\nAlso, crime flourishes when substances are made illegal. Alcohol is very much a \u201cdrug\u201d \u2013 it\u2019s just a legacy drug from olden times when we had no\u2026\u201d
— Mike Solana (@Mike Solana) 1681160043

Musk, who acquired Twitter last year, claimed that fentanyl is currently easy to procure in San Francisco.

"It’s super easy to get Fentanyl *right now*. People buy it in open air drug markets in SF and take it right in front of you in broad daylight! They don't even try to hide. I see this almost every time I drive to Twitter. Just as with alcohol prohibition, people didn't actually stop drinking, but they did start drinking badly made alcohol (Moonshine), which could be poisonous, depending on how it was made and what contaminants were present," Musk tweeted.

"The strength of Fentanyl means that even a small dosage increase can be fatal. People are rarely trying to commit suicide, but they can easily inadvertently take too much. Therefore, it seems likely to me that pharma-grade quality and precise dosage will dramatically reduce deaths. A limited time and location test of this policy is worth trying, as our current approach is failing badly," he wrote.

\u201c@Liv_Boeree @micsolana It\u2019s super easy to get Fentanyl *right now*. People buy it in open air drug markets in SF and take it right in front of you in broad daylight! They don\u2019t even try to hide. I see this almost every time I drive to Twitter.\n\nJust as with alcohol prohibition, people didn\u2019t actually\u2026\u201d
— Mike Solana (@Mike Solana) 1681160043

In late December, Musk tweeted, "I am not endorsing drugs, but I am saying that the evidence suggests that banning them is a net societal negative."

He also agreed with someone who claimed, "Regulation and taxation are a far better path. It will have a net harm reduction and take profits away from organised crime."

\u201c@Jiu_Jase @WholeMarsBlog Exactly\u201d
— Whole Mars Catalog (@Whole Mars Catalog) 1672384890

The U.S. Drug Enforcment Administration seized more than "50.6 million fentanyl-laced, fake prescription pills and more than 10,000 pounds of fentanyl powder" in 2022, according to a December 2022 press release. "The DEA Laboratory estimates that these seizures represent more than 379 million potentially deadly doses of fentanyl," the release noted. "Most of the fentanyl trafficked by the Sinaloa and CJNG Cartels is being mass-produced at secret factories in Mexico with chemicals sourced largely from China."

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