I’ve been paying very close attention to the situation in Mexico. The drug cartels have basically taken over the government there, especially along the US border, to gain control of drug trafficking routes into the US. They have threatened the Mexican police to either join them, or die. They are making good on the threats and the police have become largely ineffective and non-existent.
What is the main drug they are trafficking? Marijuana.
So what is the solution? Some say we need to deploy the National Guard to protect the borders and our people. Maybe so. But I think the better solution is to decriminalize it, both here and in Mexico.
I know what you are thinking, so let me make myself clear: I’m not a pothead. I don’t smoke it or bake it in my brownies. In fact, I rarely even drink. I’m almost Amish when it comes to that kind of stuff.
The criminalization of marijuana has not been successful because mainly there is no reason it should be illegal. In comparison to alcohol, marijuana is far less dangerous and has far fewer health consequences when used in excess. I don’t think I’ve ever heard of pothead smoking himself to death. Nor have I heard of pothead getting baked and beating the hell out of his wife and children, or getting in car and causing a fatal accident.
The criminalization of marijuana actually creates MORE crime. Much like the prohibition of alcohol in the 1920’s, the criminalization of marijuana puts gangs and thugs in control of a profitable product. And when I say profitable, I mean billions and billions of dollars annually, more than the GDP of some smaller countries. In Mexico, these drug guys are rich and armed better than the police. The enemy is winning the war on drugs by killing anyone who stands in their way.
Legalization of marijuana would do a number of things. For one, it would allow the government to tax and regulate it. The taxing of alcohol generated 9.18 billion dollars in tax revenue for the Federal Government in 2006 alone. For states it was $12.7 billion. That isn’t chump change.
Another thing it would do is alleviate the pressure on our state and federal prison systems. In 1999, one in seven drug prisoners serving time were for marijuana sentences-14% of all prisoners were marijuana inmates, mostly for traffickers.
We could also start growing our own. We wouldn’t have to depend on Mexico to grow it for us. It would create all kinds of jobs from production to packaging to distribution.
I just wonder, would working in the marijuana industry be designated as a “green” job?
Support Norml who are working to reform marijuana laws.