|Sunday Morning Reflections: How about a truce in the War on Drugs|
|Written by Dee Holzel|
|Sunday, April 10 2011 06:16|
WINNEMUCCA — The two funniest words used together in the English language are “controlled” and “substances”. Every time I write that someone has been charged with possession of a controlled substance I want to laugh.
There’s control? Really? ‘Cause I’m not seeing control.
What I’m seeing are the laws handed down by the government in opposition to the basic principles of business.
Demand + opportunity for profit = supply. Every time. Everywhere. Only the law of gravity is more consistent.
Marijuana has been the #1 cash crop in the US for 40 years and the threat of jail or prison doesn’t seem to be deterring anyone. We’re paying for more cops, more jails, and more lawyers than any free country in the world. Nevada’s incarceration rate is particularly high.
There are some folks who think the government should be run like a business. Well, the War on Drugs is just bad business. It’s costing us money and there’s no return for that investment.
Consider this: No other area of government has a larger failure rate than the one dedicated to drug control.
Oh, say the cops, but we arrested this guy with marijuana; oh, says the district attorney, we prosecuted that guy to the fullest extent of the law; oh, says the court, we punished that person for their illegal activity.
While that guy is working his way through the system a new pot dealer has taken his corner and the whole process starts again. All those arrests and incarcerations make very little dent in the problem.
While we’re funding the drug folly, our schools and infrastructure are deteriorating. It’s one of the few things most of us agree on. People come to school board meetings and write letters to the editor demanding better educational outcomes for our tax dollars.
People are outraged at the state of education in the US. “Why are we paying for this failed system?” they demand to know.
At the same time the criminal justice system sucks up our dollars like a vacuum, provides no results to speak of, and there’s no end in sight.
Where’s the outrage?
Some have argued we can’t decriminalize marijuana because it’s a gateway drug. Smoking pot leads to more serious drug use, they argue.
I don’t know if that’s true or not, but any fool can see that criminalizing marijuana isn’t stopping its use.
With legalization comes actual control and not the pretend control there is now. Legalized marijuana vendors aren’t going to sell to kids, just like alcohol vendors aren’t going to sell to kids, because the consequences are too high.
Drug dealers have no such scruples.
Sure, kids will still get their hands on marijuana, just like they manage to get their hands on alcohol, but let's focus on keeping drugs out of the hands of kids and stop fretting over what consenting adults do.
Legalizing marijuana is simply win-win.
With marijuana off the table cops can focus on really bad people. I don’t care where the pot smokers are; I want to know where the rapist and child molesters are.
The best part of legalizing marijuana is there’s so much money to be made. Legalize marijuana, tax it, and let’s start rebuilding our educational system. And putting people back to work. That's just smart business.
In the end, we may have no choice. The only outcome from Prohibition was the rise of organized crime. In retrospect, hindsight being 20-20 and all, that wasn’t very smart.
So, why are we doing it all over again?