Sunday, April 24, 2011

UP IN SMOKE: The Quest To Legalize Marijuana




There are so many qualifying statements to make I'm not even sure where to begin, so please bare with me.

This blog post is a result of a discussion I had with a friend (we'll call her Lisa S.. no no that's too obvious, L. Simpson) regarding the possibility of legalizing marijuana in the future. The friend is question is a daily marijuana smoker, (he would be offended if I called him addicted as he only does it because he enjoys it.. yes I roll my eyes just like you did) As you know, or you should know by now. I'm as straight edge as they come, no alcohol, cigarettes or illegal drugs for me, personally I think alcohol should be illegal as I think it's much more dangerous than marijuana, but that's a whole other blog post for a different time.

The purpose of this blog post is examining why marijuana is illegal.

My friend and I kicked around many ideas and issues surrounding the whole marijuana debate, it's stigma in society, comparing it to prohibition, the gateway drug theory, but in the end it comes down to one important factor. THE GOVERNMENT CANT MAKE MONEY ON IT.

Yes folks it comes down to what most Governmental decisions come down to- The all mighty dollar. The Government has not come up with a way to guarantee themselves profit with regards to marijuana.

The Comparison To Alcohol:

Some people are quick to make the case between marijuana and alcohol- saying that prohibition failed therefore the same should apply to the "war on marijuana". The key difference is the effort required for home-made alcohol. It's 2011 and yes there are some people who brew their own stuff at home, but how many of those people sell their homemade cocktails? Making alcohol is a complex process especially compared to growing pot where all you need, for the most part, is some plants and lighting.

If you want a beer your first thought isn't to call your local beer-dealer and see if he has any. You goto the store or bar and pay for it, paying tax to the Government while doing so and go on your way- either way the Government gets their piece.

Looking back at history, when the Government abolished Prohibition, the black market alcohol makers went out of business meaning if you wanted alcohol a portion of the price you paid was going to the Government and back in the 1930s that became a huge revenue stream like it still is today. The problem today is, The Government can't guarantee that same profit if they legalize marijuana since the process of growing plants is so simple an idiot can do it (insert stoner joke here).

If the Government were to legalize it, the local dealer down the street does not disappear like the black market alcohol makers did back in the 1930s, if anything the dealer becomes bigger and the Government still does not get their piece. Sure they could set up licensed dealers and have "weed bars" and designated places to buy and sell, but it still won't stop the local dealers from growing and selling it "under the table" and without taxation.

So unless the Government is able to find a way to severely undercut the dealers and sell marijuana dirt cheap forcing the local dealers out of business, it will be a proposition that loses money, and even though most Governments are pros at losing money, it's not something you are going to see legal in this country anytime soon.

It always comes down to money, to further prove this point you just have to look to the Ontario Governments' stance on UFC. For years UFC President Dana White wanted to run events in Toronto and every time he was told no it's a blood sport, it's too dangerous and we have morals that won't allow it..... Then a report was done stating that a UFC event held in Toronto would help bring in multiple millions of dollars for the city, and what do you know, Next Weekend April 30th at the Skydome UFC 129 will be held.

The Government has no problem flip-flopping if the right amount of money is involved

For the right price, anything is achievable.



I know it would have been better if I had released this post on April the 20th, however just to show you pot smokers that us straight edge guys can be cool too, I've released it at 4:20 this afternoon!

**Also please remember to vote on the two polls that I have up on the right side of this page! thanks for your continued support**

13 comments:

  1. I know where you're coming from, even though I see they could still make a profit off legalization. Less, there's always going to be the under-the-table dealers and such, but if they do like they tried (or are trying?) to do in Washington state where they actually give licenses for growth, it would be SOME profit. Frankly at this point, they need all the profit they can. It would be double profit because they spend a lot of money on keeping users and growers in prisons, so even legalizing without making a profit off its sales would be a profit on its own.

    And as a side note, I'm not a smoker, but I prefer to be around high friends than drunk friends. Drunk is much less controllable.

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  2. Drugs are bad, m'kay?
    But seriousness: It is indeed ridiculous that drugs like that are not legal, yet we have drugs that can do much more harm than alcohol or marijuana given out by doctors. But that's because they make money from it.
    As a great man once said "Marijuna is a natural plant that grows in the dirt. You know what's not natural? Eighty-year old dudes with hard-ons but we got pills for that. We're dedicating all of our medical resources to keeping old guys erect but we're arresting people for smoking something that grows in the dirst?"

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  3. well as all lovers are gonna love haters are gonna hate..

    in my case i simply dont care. let them do what they want(people) until the point it messes with what i want/do

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  4. I think they could continue pursuing small dealers, while making it legal for large corporations to produce that stuff in large quantities and become price-competetive and have no risk... However, prohibition works 2 ways for politicians - it helps in getting voter base and it gets invisible support from large drug smugglers, who aren't in such danger as small fries anyway because of their connections.

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  5. there's always a way for the government to make money off of it. legalisation introduced taxes. All of a sudden you'd have large companies mass producing the stuff and the home dealers wouldn't be able to compete or get even close to the prices of mass produced cannabis.

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  6. WOAAAAAAA there, I beg to differ... pot is just as difficult as alcohol to manufacture in the home. It's not just about plants and lighting. You have to cross pollonize and worry about the plants coming out male rather than female.... yada yada yada.

    I'm pro-weed for sure. I don't smoke it everyday and I've decided to quit, but I see nothing wrong in legalizing it. Not to mention the medicinal purposes it holds, mainly over prescription drugs that DO kill and that DO cause real addictions and withdrawals. Your run of the mill pain killers that doctors are so happy to write for people are way more harmful than a weed prescription for the pain.

    I do very much agree about alcohol being worse than weed. Especially since weed related deaths are... unheard of. Drunk driving and such is a real threat.

    Also agree with bloop, if it was legalize there are a lot of different ways the government could tax it. If you didn't know, a lot of dealers are fucking slow at their jobs and the 'waiting' game takes forever. If you have weed in an easily accessible location, people would rather flock to those rather than wait on their dealer to get his ass off the couch to deliver the product.

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  7. Well, being a Cali boy, I can understand where you friend comes from, seeing as how I have alot of friends just like yours. But, I can relate to you more in the straightedge sense.

    The government can find some way, be it taxes, or government funded dispensaries. Gotta make bank, as the once-proud Secretary of Treasury said.

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  8. The first thing I have to say, is that the Marijuana laws are so far unjust it's ridiculous, and there is so much disinformation released by the government that people have a hard time believing that it's a relatively harmless plant. Additionally, if you go back and look at the history of why it was made illegal in the first place, Harry J. Anslinger was a prohibitionist and after that he needed to go after another substance. His first attempt failed to get approval from most of the states because at the time it was well understood that the federal government didn't have the authority to do such a thing without a constitutional amendment. Since, Marijuana was popular with minorities such as black jazz musicians and mexicans, it was much easier to get southern states on board if he could convince the public that Marijuana would cause white women to lay down with black men, and that really fired up the southern states to support the Controlled Substances Act. He sold the country on lies by saying that it causes people to go insane and kill people, and every racially motivated fear tactic he could think of. Also, you have to look at the major funding and smear campaign that Dupont founder William Randolf Hearst had funded because he had millions invested in papermaking using patented petroleum based products and Hemp-based paper did not require the use of such chemicals. Even today, there is no other plant that can provide such a wide range of products, which can completely replace many petroleum-based products from paper, fuel (ethanol/biodiesel), food (seed oil), clothing, building materials, plastics, etc. Henry Ford had built a car that was made from Hemp and also ran on Ethanol from Hemp, because this was the sustainable choice. Our founding fathers, George Washington and Thomas Jefferson saw hemp as a necessity, and even required citizens to grow hemp, they also enjoyed smoking it, as did Abraham Lincoln. Now, we're also finding out that cannabinoids and our own body's endocannabinoid system regulate so many functions of our bodies, that it is impossible to say that there is no medical use. After Anslinger's retirement JFK had planned on legalizing marijuana in his second term, JFK had also used marijuana along with his many prescriptions for pain due to medical conditions, however, I don't pretend to think he used marijuana regularly. Richard Nixon, wondered why the "Jews" were so interested in getting it legalized, and so he commissioned a multi-million dollar study to determine the negative health effects of marijuana, after the commission concluded that it wasn't harmful and that they suggested ending the federal ban. Richard Nixon didn't even read the report, he dissolved the commission, and created the DEA & The War on Drugs, and enemy number one was marijuana. Also, during this time they had discovered that THC killed three times of cancer, the government had pressured universities to halt all cannabis related research and even remove existing information from the libraries. So, ever since there hasn't been much medical research into cannabinoids until recently. After Nixon, Jimmy Carter had planned on reversing the federal ban on marijuana, and many states had already begun to decriminalize possession, until a cabinet member was busted with cocaine, and he had to play politics and get tough on drugs. During this time, the CIA had already begun using the importation of drugs to finance operations, and continues to this day. We learned about this from the Iran-Contra scandal during Reagan's term, George Sr. should know a little about this since he was head of the CIA at the time (Our current Drug Czar was involved in the coverup.)

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  9. It just doesn't make sense, there is so much money being spent locking these people up, and 40% are for marijuana possession only, and they are subjected to the violence within prison and when they get out, that is if they survive. The opportunities for jobs and education are very limited, there aren't as many options left, and crime is one of them. The prison industrial complex is big business and that wouldn't be the case if the war on drugs didn't exist, and the taxpayers have to pay for it. Now, it's not effective, because more than 50% of americans have tried some illicit drug (mostly marijuana), does that means half of the population belongs in jail? So, if the Cannabis plant is so useful, and relatively harmless then why is it still illegal? Well, you still have people who believe the disinformation spread by those who either do not know the truth or those who deliberately want to keep this plant out of the general population. Again, there are many industries that will lose money as a result, pharmaceutical companies want to remove all natural supplements from the shelves, so naturally they've lobbied and donated to organizations that spread bad information. But at the same time, you have companies making synthetic cannabinoids to replace the natural compounds, and even a company from the UK making an natural extract which is currently going through FDA approval. Yet, the federal government still claims that it has no medical value, the reasoning behind putting the plant on Schedule I, with Heroin and LSD, yet Cocaine, Morphine, and Amphetamines are Schedule II drugs that can be prescribed by a doctor. There are over 700,000 people arrested every year for marijuana offenses, and 90% are for simple possession, and the money spent is enormous, this is a LARGE portion of our deficit and principally responsible.

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  10. Now, what would happen if we legalized drugs? Well, countries like Portugal and The Netherlands have already decriminalized possession of many drugs, and in those countries overall usage has gone down, especially teenage use. This is because it is regulated. Also, violent crimes went way down, and, even better alcohol use and associated deaths decreased. We have many former DEA and police officers coming out against the drug war, and their reasoning is that it just doesn't work, and the harms to society caused by the laws outweighs the harms caused by the drugs themselves. Besides, there is no other area where the constitutional rights of citizens are violated so frequently, the 4th amendment protection from unlawful search and seizure is violated daily and many of these citizens are unaware of their rights. If someone wants to smoke a joint after work, it's really not that different than having a beer, although the motor impairment of alcohol is much more dangerous than what is possible under the influence of marijuana. A Dutch study had found that people under the influence of marijuana while driving (although, I do not believe it is a good idea.), did not increase the risk of an accident, actually, people had a tendency to drive slower than if they were completely sober. Sleep deprivation is equally as dangerous as alcohol, and often contributes to alcohol-related accidents, and it's something that people don't talk about. Anyways, we just need to get past all the fear mongering and disinformation within the mainstream media and start thinking critically about how we should handling personal freedoms, and to realize the war on drugs is as much as a war on our freedoms as anything else. Now, the concern about being able to tax, you have people who try and avoid taxes, and you can really only get away with it for so long. But, if marijuana were legalized, there will be so many products to tax, and in general like The Netherlands, the citizens prefer the coffeeshops, because in general you don't have to worry about getting ripped off, and there's quality control, and it's just safer. Something else you may not realize, even though Philip Morris has been fighting marijuana legalization, the company has purchased a large portion of land in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California in preparation of the day the law changes. So, many large corporations are going to get into the business, and there will be plenty of tax revenue from it. Already, Cannabis is America's Biggest Cash Crop, and some cities and counties have already begun taxing, and have seen the benefits of it. Currently, the drug cartels are losing money in California and other states that have medical marijuana, because before there was a vacuum, and now it can be grown locally. But, because not everyone is allowed to grow it, many of the suppliers of the medical marijuana industry do not want to see it fully legalized and taxed, this quasi-legal state keeps the price higher than it would be otherwise. However, without full legalization at the state level, I do not believe any changes will occur at the federal level. Come 2012, you may see over half of the states with medical marijuana legalized, and with the Prop 19 coming so close in California (during a midterm election where the turnout on younger voters 18-34 is generally low and the support for legalization is high), the 2012 election will likely see the first state to legalize marijuana. Legalization needs to happen, we really cannot afford to continue the way we have, and generally speaking the tides are changing, a couple of years ago Prop 19 wouldn't have even came close. I think people are beginning to learn the truth, the internet is changing perceptions, and we're going to see some changes, many changes are going to be necessary for our survival into the future.

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  11. I would legalize all drugs and make the hard ones available through prescription. It's their own choice if they want to ruin their lives with drugs.

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  12. I dont smoke, and I think it should be legalized UNDER certain conditions. Like only smoking in certain places etc...

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  13. i dont smoke it.. and i think if it would be legalized also goverments will have something from it.. not like now.. when some ppl are earning good money with it etc..

    so in my opinion.. i dont rly care

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