Sunday, January 6, 2013

The Pot Business

I just heard on NPR news today that domestic Marijuana production in the USA is estimated to be at $40 Billion dollars per year.  That is apparently equal or greater than soy bean production...you know...the stuff they make soy milk, tofu and all kinds of healthy products with.  The only problem is...since most of this pot production is "illegal" and off the grid...there is no taxation or quality control on this obviously popular American past time.

As I have written before on this blog, I do not take a position that smoking pot or consuming other recreational drugs is a "good thing"  or a preferable practice.  Yet, as a fundamental Libertarian (not political but on a moral basis), I believe such products should be available and regulated the same as alcohol and pharmaceuticals that are more harmful and yet legally available. It is dishonest, and obviously a failing policy to try and legislate morality or control products so many people use and want... especially a product like Marijuana that has positive medicinal value for so many diseases and conditions. I continue to be amazed at the stupidity and failure of the international drug wars that the USA has sponsored to a huge measure of failure.  At a time when we can least afford wasting money, we continue to throw good taxpayer money after bad at this failing effort. I have known a number of people in my past whose lives have been almost ruined by this silliness. As I stated in a recent blog on this subject, the only people winning and profiting from prohibition are the cartels, mobs, gangs and never ending lines of "agents"  meeting the demands of global consumers of these drugs.

In addition, government agencies are absconding with billions of dollars in "dirty cash", luxury cars and homes, jewelry and art...all kinds of "things"  that the "illegal" producers continue to convert their profits into.  If these "spoils of war"  somehow made it back into the taxpayers coffers supporting positive efforts in our society, I might not be so critical of the effort.  But...it seems this money just keeps going back into bigger agencies of big government; more guns, airplanes, helicopters and soldiers that in my view do very little to enhance a positive use of these human and financial resources.

I continue to be more convinced that if the powers that be TRULY wanted to clean up "dirty money" and resolve the drug related violence throughout the inner-cities of the USA and world at large...they would simply legalize and regulate these products just as they do most other consumable goods. European liberal countries who have done this have found it to have positive value in getting druggies off the streets, helping versus PERSECUTING addicts, and gaining tax revenue that was previously unrecoverable.  Controlling substances and liberating people from being deemed "criminals"  for simple consumption of certain products has shown to be much more productive and is in my opinion more moral.


The Netherlands effectively decriminalized marijuana use in 1976, and it is available for purchase in small quantities by adults in licensed coffee shops; in the United States, marijuana use carries stiff criminal penalties, and more than 720,000 people were arrested for marijuana offenses in 2001. "Police made 853,838 arrests in 2010 for marijuana-related offenses, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s annual Uniform Crime Report. The arrest total is among the highest ever reported by the agency and is nearly identical to the total number of cannabis-related arrests reported in 2009". How do you rate these statistics as a positive result for the billions spent?  As I have always thought, you cannot  control use by prohibition or obliterating the supply.  You have to control or fulfill the demand...which primarily originates from millions of "normal" Americans and other nationalities who like to "toke"...and what moral right does anyone have to prohibit them as long as they are not impinging on others rights NOT to smoke or hurting other third parties? This is like saying people who don't like coffee are more moral than those who do drink it and therefore coffee should be outlawed.  Can you imagine what would happen with such a law?  You would have many more millions risking prison in order to exercise their right...and in some cases addiction...to such a product. Where does this mentality stop?  Sugar, McDonalds....all foods that cause diseases like diabetes and various cancers? Is our government going to end up controlling every substance a citizen ingests in the name of "morality" or protecting the people from themselves?

This just does not add up and quite honestly I know many more EX pot smokers than current ones. In general I don't believe pot to be any more addictive than ibuprofen or aspirin. Addictive personalities are going to be addicted to SOMETHING. Why should they not have pot as one of their choices? I believe it would be a healthier choice than say...cigarettes...alcohol...or various barbiturates readily available at Walgreens.

I imagine some of my blog followers might be tired of this subject or simply don't care about the millions of people who are criminalized by these archaic and irrational laws...but until I see the prisons emptied of these citizens exercising their right to "life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness" and the unconstitutional use of my tax dollars to limit citizens of these rights...I will continue to speak up on this silly subject.  Its not silly anymore because the war is now costing billions of dollars annually that we can't afford...and worse than that it is destroying millions of innocent lives around the world for no good reason.

Let the pot business thrive and the drug wars subside. This will definitely create a more peaceful and prosperous world than what we now experience where money only changes hands between the "criminals" and governments. This is big business that needs to be redirected in a more positive and tolerant direction.

3 comments:

Bonnie said...

Sometimes I agree with you. Sometimes I disagree with you. Let me just say...I have never agreed with you more....for all of those reasons you ambitiously stated. I kind of lost my concentration about 3/4 of the way through, so don't know if you covered another of my pet peeves...those MANDATORY no tolerance sentences that persecute ( not prosecute ) so many young, male blacks for a little bit of pot smoking, ruin their lives, cost society the loss of any contributions to it they may make in their lifetimes, and cost us unbelievable amounts of money to incarceerate them. Our "war on drugs" is intolerably stupid !

edward said...

I always like when we agree:)...

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