Mexico is the biggest supplier of marijuana to the United States, and the illegal drug trade is tearing Mexico apart.
Mexico has been wracked by murders connected to the drug trade. Last year, it suffered more than 6,500 drug-related killings, triple the number in 2007. And 2010 looks worse. As of mid-March, more than 2,000 people have died in drug-related homicides – which puts Mexico on pace for more than 10,000 such deaths this year. That’s more than one every hour.
For the terrible numbers from Mexico at a glance, see here.
If your quest were to convince the people of your city to legalize a highly demonized drug which was entirely safe, how would you run your campaign? At the recently concluded True Spin Conference in Denver, I had the opportunity to listen to an animated yet highly focused Mason Tvert describing for the audience how he and his small and not-well-funded organization (“SAFER”) convinced the people of Denver to legalize marijuana in 2005, with 51% of the people voting in favor. He also spearheaded a 2006 campaign to legalize marijuana throughout Colorado. Although that latter measure failed, an astounding 41% of the people of Colorado voted in favor.
In case you’re thinking that I’m promoting the use of marijuana, I am not, but neither would I attempt to prohibit any other adult from using it. I’ve never used marijuana (even though I once worked as a musician and the opportunities were ubiquitous. Millions of gainfully employed and otherwise law abiding people do like to use marijuana, but they are paying dearly for their attempts to feel good and seek stress relief. I am for the legalization of marijuana because that our country arrests more than 750,000 people each year for possessing or using an extremely safe drug that successfully makes people feel good. This destructive and expensive waste of government law enforcement is absolutely shameful. The number of people arrested each year is more than the entire population of South Dakota. and these users include many people you know and respect.
There is rank hypocrisy in the air, given that marijuana inexpensively offers the harmless escape that most of us seek much of the time (in one way or another), without any serious side effects and without the expense of many other methods of escape. If there were no such thing as marijuana, when it was finally invented by a pharmaceutical company, we would hail it as a miracle drug (Big Pharma wouldn’t need to lie about its efficacy or safety, as it does for many other drugs). Governments would allow it to be sold at drugs stores and they would happily tax it.
Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is reporting that Congress is giving the OK to medical marijuana in Washington DC.
A group of police and judges who want to legalize drugs pointed to new FBI numbers released today as evidence that the “war on drugs” is a failure that can never be won. The data, from the FBI’s “Crime in the United States” report, shows that in 2008 there were 1,702,537 arrests for drug law violations, or one drug arrest every 18 seconds.
“In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed ‘war on drugs,'” said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). “Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we’d save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users.”
LEAP’s motto is that while drug use is bad, “The War on Drugs is Worse.”
William Cornwall raises this worthy question:
the focus on drug and steroid testing in sports is absurd when you consider that professional athletes are tested more than Supreme Court Justices, Members of Congress, the President of the United States, and other elected officials. Additionally, despite the disproportionately high incidents of substance abuse among health care practitioners and the undeniable potential risks to their patients, there are no uniform workplace testing programs for health care practitioners that are similar to the testing programs in sports. What is it about possessing the elite athletic prowess that justifies treating a man or woman differently from others whose impact on our lives are potentially much more profound?
Jim Webb introduced a bill to “create a blue-ribbon commission to look at every aspect of our criminal justice system with an eye toward reshaping the process from top to bottom.”
How shall we proceed? A recent amendment to Webb’s bill by Republican Senator Charles Grassley would bar the commission from “considering” “legalization” of presently controlled substances. See also, this post by Law Enforcement Against Prohibition.
Rolling Stone reports in more detail:
Enter unreconstructed drug warrior Sen. Chuck Grassley, who has released the text of an amendment that would ensure the commission not reach any conclusions that threaten 40 years of failure. The commission would be prohibited, thanks to Grassley, from examining any “policies that favor decriminalization of violations of the Controlled Substances Act or the legalization of any controlled substances.”
Here’s the text of Grassley’s proposed gag rule:
SEC. ll. RESTRICTIONS ON AUTHORITY.
The Commission shall have no authority to make findings related to current Federal, State, and local criminal justice policies and practices or reform recommendations that involve, support, or otherwise discuss the decriminalization of any offense under the Controlled Substances Act or the legalization of any controlled substance listed under the Controlled Substances Act.
Therefore . . . let’s figure out how to revamp our criminal justice system but let’s not discuss the elephant in the room: the fact that the “war on drugs” that has ruined more lives than drugs ever could have ruined. It’s important to keep in mind that some conservatives see the light on the “drug war.”
We’re about to spend hundreds of thousands of American dollars incarcerating a Canadian who was busted for selling marijuana seeds. He never set foot in the United States, but he’s being extradited. Who did he hurt?
“There isn’t a single victim in my case, no one who can stand up and say, ‘I was hurt by Marc Emery.’ No one.”
Here’s the conclusion of an article by Ian Mulgrew of the Vancouver Sun:
Emery is facing more jail time than corporate criminals who defraud widows and orphans and longer incarceration than violent offenders who leave their victims dead or in wheelchairs. Whatever else you may think of him — and I know he rankles many — what is happening to him today mocks our independence and our ideal of justice.
Emery’s crime is so incredibly serious that he would have spent an entire month in a Canadian prison for his crime. But, apparently, we have nothing better to do with American tax dollars than incarcerating people who sell marijuana seeds to people who want to buy them.