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Mon Dec 12, 2011, 03:52 AM

The Alice in Wonderland Drug War: Prohibition is the Cartels' Best Ally


Nice article, via New Zealand, on the state of the current drug war, by Peter Huck.

"It would be hard to point to any public policy in the US that causes so much clear and obvious friction between the federal Government and almost a majority, population-wise, of states," argues Allen St Pierre, executive director of the National Organisation for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.

(Cato Institute) Senior fellow Ted Galen Carpenter argued the savagery of Mexico's drug wars, with 42,000 dead since 2006, had made the US less safe. "Depending on the drug, roughly 90 per cent of the retail price exists because the drugs are illegal."

Legalising cannabis would remove cannabis profits, said Jones. "We would be striking a larger blow at those cartels than any law enforcement effort ever could. What's our exit strategy for the war on drugs?"

Even if the DEA does shutter pot clinics, any victory could be pyrrhic. St Pierre believes Washington's "no quarter" stance on cannabis clashes with grassroots realities. He argues the US has crossed a Rubicon, citing more cannabis-tolerant baby boomers, a need for tax revenue in a deep recession, easy access to cannabis information via the internet and empathy towards the infirm who use the drug.

Prohibition of alcohol ended during the great depression because the FDR administration thought such a move would create jobs and taxable revenue.

Estimated annual revenue from medical cannabis in the U.S., based upon lawsuits against the new govt crackdown: $1.5 billion to $4.5 billion.

Estimated annual sales tax, from the state of California: $50 to $100 million.

Even if a repeal of prohibition caused the price of cannabis to drop, the state could still collect tax revenue adjusted to move the profit from the sale of cannabis from cartels to states in order to fund tax-based services.

But, Huck notes, via Carpenter, that the greatest barrier to any change in prohibition is that politicians are afraid of being branded soft on drugs - because opportunists take such opportunities to attack.

Instead, advancements toward ending the war on drugs take place in the marketplace and at the ballot box when citizens have the opportunity to engage in direct democracy.

As St. Pierre noted, 16 states and DC have passed medical marijuana laws. Of these, approximately 2/3 of the changes in the law occurred because of voters. Of these, an overwhelming majority of voters in these states passed laws with more than 55% of the vote.


These 16 states and D.C. comprise nearly half of the voting population of the U.S. (based upon census data for the voting population.) And that number doesn't adequately gauge the sentiments of the entire voting population because many states do not allow initiatives on their ballots to put this issue to a vote via direct democracy.

Support for medical marijuana, across the U.S. continues to poll at 77%. This support is from all demographic categories: age, gender, political affiliation and region.

We are definitely through the looking glass when the Drug Czar continues to claim there is no medical value to marijuana while 77% of the population disagrees and close to a majority of the voting population has taken action to put that disagreement into law.

What number is the tipping point at which the federal govt. can no longer continue to tout enforcement of laws that so many citizens find unlawful?

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