Monday, October 18, 2010

Legalize it, tax it, and stop the drug wars.

The first time I smoked pot it was in the eighth grade, a year before High School. The fact the drug was illegal didn’t bother any of us at all, and it never kept me from buying, using, and selling pot.  I was searched once, but all they found on me was three hundred and fifty bucks, the results of selling a pound of pot moments before they caught me.
I quit smoking pot not because it was illegal, but because the high it was giving me wasn’t worth the price I was paying for it.  I remember getting an ounce of pot for twenty dollars, and then it went up to thirty, then thirty-five and suddenly a quarter of an ounce was fifty bucks. I have no idea what it costs now, but I’m betting the price would surprise me. But when I started running and working out, and writing, the pot seemed to have a detrimental effect on all of the above, so slowly but surely, I stopped smoking pot. I still know one or two people who smoke it, but they aren’t like the potheads I once knew. These are people with regular jobs, steady incomes and red eyes. And honestly, if pot was legal tomorrow, I don’t think I’d pick up smoking again.
Pot being illegal does nothing to stop the drug’s availability. It was actually easier to get pot at school, where other kids were smoking than it was when I graduated from High School. It was harder to sell once I left High School. The pot industry is thriving in America’s schools and there isn’t a law on earth going to stop it.

We have three choices, people, and three choices only.

First, we can declare war in a very real sense and have very Draconian laws against the drug industry.
Second, we do what we’re going right now.

Or we can legalize it.

If you want to go with that first option you are going to have to deal with the idea the prisons are going to be overflowing.

The second option is fueling an illegal drug trade that is about to become a very real and very serious problem in this country. The people selling the drugs to Americans are also buying guns from Americans. Mexico is in a near state of chaos because of the drug wars and that state of chaos is creeping north. We are looking at Southern Texas and northern Mexico becoming a free fire zone for drug gangs reaping tremendous profit from drug sells in the United States.

Clearly, what we are doing right now is failing. Clearly, what we are doing right now is getting very close to becoming a national security threat. Clearly, the laws we have in place right now are as effective as a condom with buckshot holes in it. On one hand, we can legalize a drug, tax it, and undercut the drug lords’ profits and on the other hand, we can do nothing and let things get worse.

In the last four years over 30,000 people in Mexico have been murdered in the drug wars. If this continues unabated, the dead from the Drug Wars in Mexico will outnumber the number of American dead in Viet Nam in less than two more years.

Making pot legal, or keeping it illegal makes no difference to those who use it in the United States. Making pot legal, or keeping it illegal makes no difference to those who do not use it in the United States. The laws, ineffective and nonsensical, are making the problem worse.

You can argue all you want about the perils of drug use, but you cannot deny that pot is a multibillion dollar industry. If there is that much demand, and that much supply, what does that tell you about what we’re doing at this very moment, when it comes to stopping drug use? It tell you we are failing to stop drug use with the drug in place, ergo, a change is needed if you want people to stop using drugs.

Legalizing pot isn’t going to change of usage or the availability.  Stop connecting the two.


Look at it like this: If you don’t smoke crack, and you have some pretty good reasons for not smoking crack, if you found a five gallon bucket of crack would you suddenly be tempted to start smoking crack? I might be tempted to sell the five gallon bucket of crack, but then again, it is more likely I could just leave it where it was, and walk away.

The argument against drug usage is pretty strong when it comes to crack, and the idea that pot is some sort of gateway drug, that will lead to harder drug use is oversold. I never smoked crack, never tried heroin, tried coke once and hated it, and more or less didn’t stray far from my drug of choice, which was tequila. I don’t drink nearly as much as I once did, and hey, tequila is still legal. Once again, people, usage and laws are disconnected.

I would be willing to sit this argument out but there is some very seriously horrible things going on South of the Border. We, as Americans, have a responsibility to help stop a problem our laws and drug habits have fueled. That would be enough, in and of itself, but we have problems here back in the states, too. There are a lot of people in jail for possession and selling pot who under a system that made pot a commodity like beer, would be taxpayers and businessmen. Legalize it, tax it, and let’s see who smokes what, and who pays for what, and more or less, allow people to have some sort of freedom in the matter.
The War On Drug was lost a very long time ago. In a very small town in South Georgia I was able to buy and sell pot grown in Mexico without any problems, and I was a teenager. This is still going on, and there is no law in place to stop it.

Legalize it, tax it, and stop the drug wars.

Or do nothing.

Take Care,
Mike

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