Apr 132003
 
Authors: Oliver Cook

After watching yet another commercial stating that the purchase of marijuana supports terrorism, I realized that I had to write a column illustrating my disdain for the Bush administration, DEA, and inefficient prohibition in general.

If I were not to write this column, I would be engendering the victory of ignorance, religious fanaticism, and the general desire by authoritarian, poorly endowed madmen to tell other individuals how to manage their personal activities.

Enjoy and please read with an open mind…

Unlike the racist religious right who criminalized marijuana in the first place (Harrison Act of 1916), I would like to point out that while marijuana does not contribute to terrorism, the purchase of cocaine does serve to fuel the senseless, decades-long war in Columbia. Right-wing paramilitaries, as well as the brigands who claim to be Marxists, offer protection for drug lords who in turn supply these groups with money and weapons.

The drug lords then use the profits from the cocaine trade to literally buy the government, who in turn looks the other way as insurgency, counterinsurgency, and terrorism occurs. Not only does cocaine cause long-term damage to one’s body and mind, but it also perpetuates a bloody, potentially irrevocably damaging war.

The majority of marijuana, on the other hand, is cultivated domestically, with the two largest foreign suppliers being Mexico and Canada. While there may be large cartels that produce vast amounts of marijuana in any of these three countries, they do not contribute to terrorism.

These cartels are about making money just like any other businessmen, and the less criminal activity they engage in outside of cultivation, the better. The fact is, according to the US Department of Labor, only 40 percent of cultivators are these large-scale operations. The fact that marijuana is the most lucrative cash crop on the continent leads to the other 60 percent of cultivators being made up of individuals and small operations in both rural and urban areas.

A recent statistic shows that the approximate worth of marijuana cultivation to growers is between $15-20 billion. The street retail value on the other hand is between $40-50 billion, and that is were the small businessmen and women come in. Anybody working a dead-end job in the service sector can get a piece of this market through a relatively minor investment and a little patience.

Purchasing marijuana encourages sustainable development within our own country by keeping United States currency in circulation within the country. For example, a Mexican cartel that controls a large operation in California is going to keep their profits within the United States rather than laundering large sums back home.

Also, according to the USDL, the employees of these operations make far more than any other manufacturing industry, and 50 percent of them possess a bachelor’s degree or higher. Their wages stay here, benefiting local economies across the country. The marijuana industry makes money for people through non-violent means – unlike cocaine, crystal meth, heroin, crack, and other amphetamines, which not only squander the economy, but support terrorism and sometimes engender domestic violence.

Why then does the government waste $10 billion a year just on efforts to eradicate marijuana? This $10 billion is only a fraction of the entire “War on Drugs” budget, which is between $40-200 billion in both real and opportunity costs.

It just seems sensible to decriminalize a harmless plant so as to not only make incredible profits from taxation, but to also decrease expenditures, and quit ruining relatively innocent people’s lives in an experiment that has gotten way out of control.

 Posted by at 5:00 pm

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