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They were spending $40-100 million each in pot enforcement welfare, and getting nothing for it in return. The change had to start somewhere - they were throwing money down the Federal war on drugs rat hole with no end in sight.
The tragedy of the "War on Drugs" is that politicians characterize the scenario as a "health" issue. First, take the story of a Minneapolis mother who crossses the street to get her kids a treat from the ice cream truck. She gets caught in a gang war cross fire and is killed. Second, drug dealers have planes, boats, submarines dig tunnels miles long and kill indiscreminately. Fact of the matter is the war on drugs is an economic and safety issue. Think of the billions of dollars spent on this so called war on drugs and they are now more prevelent than ever. Tragic that few, if any, politician does not have the guts to call a spade a spade and take the initiative to stop the insanity. Let those who make the decision to do drugs to live with the consequences of their decisions.and take the economics out of the situation.
Re: "Let those who make the decision to do drugs to live with the consequences of their decisions." Gang wars, jdlellis1? Seriously? You do know the issue in Colorado and Washington state involves marijuana--a drug much the same as alcohol, which was prohibited by Amendment XVIII along with alcohol, but not un-prohibited by Amendment XXI?
It is about time. It is illogical for marijuanna to be illegal when alcohol is so widely excepted. Anyone in doubt about the safety of marijuanna should do comparison research on alcohol and marijuanna. There is nothing bad about marijuanna. The benefits are overwhelming and once the federal government grows up and faces the bible belt bullies, the whole country can benefit from legalization. The health benefits are numerous, taxing it would take care of our financial problems, the jails would not longer be unnecessarily overcrowded, and jobs would be created. A whole new market place. My Criminal Justice Professor was a huge advocate of this movement in 1988 - How long will it take for the rest of the country to realize this is the answer to so many of this countries problems?
pumice, appreciate your insight but take a trip to Stillwater or any other major prison, speak to those inside and understand the reality. Head over to the near North Side or Phillips neighborhood of Minneapolis. Speak off the record of the cops. Visit some of the well to do suburbs and get some of the best narcotics available. Does anyone wonder how Lindsey Lohen, Charlie Sheen or numerous professional athletes have such easy, visible access? For years I worked neighborhoods to make a difference that today I would not walk through and hesitant to drive through. The political rhetoric just "ain't" matching the reality.
I think it's a bit of a stretch to say "there's nothing bad about pot" any more than saying "there's nothing bad about alcohol". Of course there are health effects which are harmful. Mostly that smoking anything brings with it carbon monoxide, tars, etc. I've read that one joint is equivalent to smoking 10 cigarettes in terms of harm to the lungs. It also, like alcohol, can be addictive. All beneficial aspects to its use should be reasonably juxtaposed to its potential harm. That being said, I fully agree that it should be legalized, mostly because it'd raise billions in revenue and save billions in prison sentences.
Not sure what JDLELLIS1 and Pumice's argument is about? Seems they both support legalization. It would end a HUGE criminal enterprise and save the taxpayers billions. The drug war is a complete failure and has harmed way more people than drugs ever have. It is VERY important to law enforcement though, as it employs thousands who might not be needed unless they could bust down doors of evil pot smokers. OR, maybe they could be re-assigned to go after violent criminals instead of creating them through cartel drug turf wars.
I grew up in the era of 'Reefer Madness' one of the stupidist, uninformative, scare tactic advertising campaigns...until the SuperPacs got into the act.
What we did was make marijuana available through the drug dealers who could also provide heroin, cocaine, meth, which led to crack cocaine and crystal meth, two of the most addictive substances on the planet and dirt cheap...for one dose!
In anticipation, the cigarette manufacturers got copyrights on some of the names. Think of the decades of lost revenue to the federal government...just as with Prohibition which likewise enriched the gangs and empowered organized crime and turned otherwise law-abiding citizens into criminals.
Worse, we have spent hundreds of millions in the 'war on drugs' while Afghanistan remains the biggest producer of heroin in the world. It's output exceeds worldwide demand!
Passage of these laws is futile as they are trumped by the federal laws but if awareness is raised and the 'prudes' in our society are pushed aside, which may be a battle with the GOP, perhaps it can be legalized, produce a large volume of tax revenue (or would Grover Norquist object?), and destroy the drug dealers while lowering the cost to the consumers.
For the record, I smoked pot and yes, I inhaled! But I lost interest and turned to more accepted things like drinking. See how different that is? It is a social norm. Ask Congress: during Prohibition the majority of them continued to drink just as Kennedy,Schwarzenegger and other luminaries condtinued to smoke their Havana's. It's good to be king!
I think this issue could reinvigorate the idea of federalism, where states should be making the laws they live under while the federal government minds its own business and sticks to the specific powers laid out in the US Constitution. Last time I checked there is no US Constitutional amendment that gives the federal government over marijuana. To make prohibition of alcohol legal there was a US Constitutional amendment passed (of course repealed a decade later), much in the same way the federal government should be required to pass a constitutional amendment to gain such power over marijuana. This is a state issue and should remain a state issue...so that the states can perform as "laboratories of democracy" as intended by the founders of this country.
Who would have believed that it would be the pot heads challenging the Federal Government on the limits to it's power. But here we are and I offer them a tip of the hat for it. Like so many areas the Feds overreach into, this issue belongs to the various states.
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