The Burning Question: Legalize Marijuana? 

The Burning Question: Legalize Marijuana? 
Posted by CN Staff on October 03, 2005 at 07:11:21 PT
By David Schultz & Scott Patterson
Source: Arizona Daily Wildcat
Blame Drug Suppliers, Not UsersMarijuana shouldn't be illegal because it is dangerous (it's not), and it shouldn't be illegal because it's a "gateway drug" (it's not). It should be illegal because of what it does to Latin America. It is an undeniable fact that every time someone buys marijuana, they are helping to fund a horrifically bloody civil war in Latin America that's been going on for decades. Thanks to Americans' drug money, it shows no signs of stopping.
Tom O'Connor, a prominent criminal justice professor at North Carolina Wesleyan College, states on his Web site that 90 percent of the marijuana in the United States is from Latin America. This high demand has given rise to several suppliers, the most vile of those being the FARC (Revolutionary Armed Forces of Columbia). FARC is a drug-funded terrorist organization that is so out of control that, according to O'Connor, they don't even try to conceal their kidnappings anymore; they simply refer to them as "taxes. " This is what America's quest to get high has wrought. One could make the argument that if marijuana were legal, it would be sold by legitimate businesses who wouldn't buy it from Latin American drug cartels, but this is incorrect for two reasons. First, legalization wouldn't stop the flow of illegal marijuana into the United States; if anything, it would make it flow faster and harder. This is because legitimate businesses, if allowed to sell marijuana in America, would have to follow all of the U.S. business laws that the drug cartels laugh at. The price of legal marijuana would then skyrocket compared to its illegal counterpart. For example, would you buy American-made marijuana from RJ Reynolds at $300 an ounce, or would you buy illegal Latin American marijuana from RJ the drug dealer at a tiny fraction of that price? Enough people would choose RJ the drug dealer over RJ Reynolds that it would make legally selling marijuana a non-profitable venture and the drug lords would keep on laughing maniacally all the way to the bank. Second, this argument assumes that the companies who choose to go into the marijuana business (and I'm not talking about landscaping) will refuse to purchase their product from the cartels. This is giving profit-driven entities way too much credit. The history of Americans buying products from companies who procured their wares in less than savory ways (oil, coffee, cotton, et al.) is long and disgraceful. Just as Exxon and Unocal buy oil from Saudi Arabia and pretend not to notice the decapitations, marijuana companies will buy from Latin America without a second thought. Marijuana should stay illegal because America shouldn't throw in the towel in the war on drugs, not when that would be a huge boon to some of the most despicable people on earth. Instead it should end its futile and punitive war against drug consumers in the north and take the war to the real enemies - the drug suppliers down south. David Schultz is a senior majoring in political science and philosophy. He can be reached at: letters The Legalization of Marijuana is Long OverdueThe mere fact that there is no reason to keep the drug illegal is reason enough to legalize it. Just look at the most common arguments put forth by the "marijuana is the devil's harvest" enthusiasts. First, it is contended that marijuana is a "gateway drug" that often leads to heroin, cocaine or other, harder drugs. Anti-drug advocates use the fact that most users of heavier drugs have tried marijuana as proof. Ridiculous. By this logic, the same argument could be made to make alcohol illegal, because a vast majority of heavier-drug users consumed alcohol before moving on to harder drugs. Second, physical damage done to users that abuse the drug and other dangers would be increased. Hypocritical. According to the editors of the prestigious British medical journal, The Lancet, "It would be reasonable to judge cannabis as less of a threat ... than alcohol or tobacco." Furthermore, a federally commissioned report by the National Academy of Sciences' Institute of Medicine states, "Except for the harms associated with smoking, the adverse effects of marijuana use are within the range tolerated for other medications." Cigarettes are legal in this country, so clearly the effects of the smoke are not enough to justify prohibition. The strongest case for marijuana legalization, however, is sheer economics. According to the NORML Report on Sixty Years of Marijuana Prohibition in the U.S., the arrest and prosecution of more than 700,000 people on marijuana charges (close to 90 percent of which for possession alone) cost taxpayers between $7.5 billion and $10 billion annually. If marijuana were legalized, not only would taxpayers no longer have to pay for such needless processes, but private firms would also spring up, sell marijuana, turn a profit and return tax revenues to the government. Just as cigarettes and alcohol generate enormous tax revenues, marijuana would do the same. And for those concerned profits are going back to drug lords in Colombia, don't be. As it stands, marijuana bought today already drives demand that supports Latin American terrorist organizations such as FARC, but legalized marijuana will curtail this demand. Think of legalized marijuana in terms of the oil trade. Currently, the United States is heavily dependent on Middle Eastern oil, which is widely seen as a huge problem. But had the Middle East been, say, Canada, no such problem would exist, and instead of constantly seeking to diversify, America would have been satisfied in dealing with its laid back neighbor to the north. The same goes for marijuana. As new companies emerge, of course they will look first to Latin America, but the political consequences of such an action will soon catch up to them. The result: a massive search to diversify, which, unlike oil, is accomplished much easier in the field of marijuana. Then, over time, marijuana will be produced domestically, and the power of the Latin American drug cartels will diminish. Thus, keeping marijuana illegal is absurd. We must legalize marijuana immediately and begin "reefing" the benefits today. Scott Patterson is an international studies senior. He can be reached at: letters Source: Arizona Daily Wildcat (AZ Edu)Author: David Schultz & Scott Patterson, Arizona Daily WildcatPublished: Monday, October 3, 2005 Copyright: 2005 Arizona Daily WildcatWebsite: editor wildcat.arizona.eduNORML -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on October 06, 2005 at 07:46:36 PT
Thank you for the Letters To the Editor.
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Comment #17 posted by The GCW on October 06, 2005 at 06:46:09 PT
US AZ: PUB LTE: Legalization Of Marijuana Has Biblical's Ecologician, not Ecologist.)-0-US AZ: Edu: PUB LTE: Taxpayers The Big Losers In War On Drugs AZ: Edu: PUB LTE: Legalization Wouldn't Change Latin America Situation AZ: Edu: PUB LTE: Legalization Of Marijuana Wouldn't Drive AZ: PUB LTE: REGULATED MARIJUANA SALES WOULD STYMIE 'GATEWAY EFFECT' AZ: PUB LTE: Prohibition Of Marijuana Does More Bad Than Good AZ: PUB LTE: Homegrown Cannabis Would Prevent Price Hikes
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Comment #16 posted by unkat27 on October 05, 2005 at 05:57:46 PT
Got that right, 420toker
"Marijuana needs its own PR/education campaign"I've been working from just such an angle for almost 10 years now. I started a grass-root zine in '97 to help address this point and work with it. It was effectively sabotaged and censored by young republicans and the local DARE of Western Mass-state.But I never gave up on the project and it finally has a web-site. I can't pay for advertizing so I use whatever other free way i can to pass it on, like these open public forums. It was just updated. Here's this month's front-page funny:
Mad Krow Drug War Pages
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Comment #15 posted by afterburner on October 04, 2005 at 07:40:11 PT
Marijuana Is Bulky, Cocaine Preferred by Smugglers
Note to the Drug Czar and his minions: if medical cannabis is a hoax and its patients just want to get 'high', then why are so many of them opposed to Marinol, synthetic THC, that makes people 'high', the so-called 'active ingredient' of cannabis.
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Comment #14 posted by 420toker on October 04, 2005 at 05:56:24 PT
Don't blame Dave
He may have never smoked a joint in his life and unfortunatly due to its taboo nature it is used often as an excersize at the university level. Dave just doesnt understand the complicated nature of weed. He doesnt realize the multiple grades of weed or of how easy it is to grow. Also unfortunatly he is the way most people see marijuana (though declining). Marijuana needs its own PR/education campaign,Friends don't let Friends smoke dirt weed 
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Comment #13 posted by mayan on October 03, 2005 at 18:00:06 PT
When will these dolts realize that PROHIBITION is the reason cannabis is worth it's weight in gold and the reason why other countries go to the trouble of smuggling it into America. Give Americans a chance to grow their own nuggets and see how many people want to smoke the commercial dirt-weed from south of the border that isn't worth the stems that poke through the baggie!David Schultz probably doesn't even agree with what he wrote. If he does he has zero common sense.
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Comment #12 posted by CorvallisEric on October 03, 2005 at 16:56:28 PT
David Schultz's source
This could be David Schultz's source material from Tom O'Connor:THE SUPPLY REDUCTION EFFORT ON THE LATIN AMERICAN FRONT quotes in blue with my comments in black:About 80% of the cocaine and 90% of the marijuana entering the United States comes from Latin AmericaNotice, that's ENTERING, not IN, the United States.Mexico is most known for its marijuana. For over forty years, 95% of all marijuana in the U.S. came from Mexico. However, since 1990, American domestic cultivation has cut that figure in half. The Columbians never got into the marijuana business because the product is too bulky, and the profit margin is too low. Most imported marijuana to the U.S. still comes from Mexico, although in recent years, U.S. authorities have expressed some concerns about Canada.That's almost all he says about marijuana relative to the big, horrible mess of drugs and Latin America.Tom O'Connor's main page:'s an interesting page of his:A HISTORY OF THE WAR ON DRUGSLots of other countries have had drug problems, but only the United States has had a war on drugs. It started off as an internal war, fought by politicians and law enforcement against a relatively small number of Americans burdened with addictions or bad habits. Then, it escalated into military intervention with an international dimension and foreign policy backdrop, but the first hard question that should be asked is "Who started it?" America wasn't attacked by any narco-terrorists that we know about, and no scientists or doctors recommended starting a drug war. It seems that few people were consulted when the war got started, and indeed, this may be a "politician's war" that doesn't have much public consent. (comment #11) may be right - Schultz may be more idiot than troll, but O'Connor is not to blame.
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Comment #11 posted by Commonsense on October 03, 2005 at 15:15:25 PT
Schultz is an idiot and so is his source
It may be true that 90% of the marijuana consumed in this country comes from Latin America. Almost none of that is coming from Columbia anymore though. Almost all of the Latin American pot coming in this county is coming from Mexico these days. The Columbians gave up for the most part on shipping pot to the U.S. a long time ago when they realized it was much more profitable to ship cocaine here. They still produce some marijuana, but most is being sold in South America now. Mexican product is of much better quality on average than it used to be and it's much cheaper to smuggle into the U.S. than product coming all the way up from Columbia, especially considering that Mexicans control just about all the smuggling routes into the U.S. now and even smuggle the cocaine now for the Columbians. F.A.R.C. isn't making money from American pot smokers. They are making money from Americans who use cocaine, but that's a whole different animal.Schultz is also wrong about marijuana prices if marijuana is legalized. The price won't go up unless we tax it way too much. Actual production costs should drop through the floor compared to what they are now. Grown on a large scale using modern agricultural methods marijuana shouldn't cost much more to produce than any other crop, maybe a few bucks a pound for standard commercial grade product, a little more for high grade product targeted at connoissuers. American grown product could be cheap even with high taxes and regulatory costs.And why would there be more smuggling if marijuana became legal. Wouldn't source countries like Mexico quickly legalize production so they could participate in legal marijuana markets? Of course they would. In no time you'd see "Hecho en Mexico" on packages of pot at the pot shop, with tax stamps and all. Smuggling wouldn't necessary. Why pay some guy fifty grand to hide two tons in his tractor trailer load that might very well get seized when you can fill a whole tractor trailer up with dozens of tons of legal product and declare it at the border? It would be cheaper for them to grow their pot on a large scale legally and send it up here through legal channels. If it's fifty to a hundred bucks a pound bulk from farmers in Mexico now it would be a it would be a fraction of that when legal and grown on a much larger scale (without all the bribes and the risk of crops being seized) and it will still be dirt cheap after being imported into this country even when you include tariffs and that sort of thing.
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Comment #10 posted by CorvallisEric on October 03, 2005 at 15:01:47 PT
The anti argument
I think David Schultz is just trolling; look at his absurd and limited argument but generally good writing, and his rejection of "danger" and "gateway."On the other hand, if he's serious, most of his argument depends on the same big-business-is-corrupt-and-evil attitude that infects our side (... marijuana companies will buy from [presumed gangsters in] Latin America without a second thought.) I fail to see how dealing with criminals (who demand huge profits for the risks they take) benefits business more than dealing with clean domestic farmers.While his essay screams out for domestic and especially home-grow legalization, he makes a good case against decrim-only (proposed Canadian style with increased penalties for growers, etc).
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Comment #9 posted by ekim on October 03, 2005 at 13:34:20 PT
Newshawk: CMAP
 Votes: 0
Pubdate: Mon, 03 Oct 2005
Source: London Free Press (CN ON)
Copyright: 2005 The London Free Press a division of Sun Media Corporation.
Contact: letters
Author: Hank DaniszewskiHEMP PLANT SMOKIN' IDEA A new hemp-processing plant in Manitoba should be a boost to the fledgling industry, says the head of a hemp business near Delaware. "Demand is outstripping supply, so having additional capacity is positive for the whole industry," said Geoff Kime, president of Hempline Inc. Kime said the spiralling cost of crude oil could give the Canadian hemp processing industry a long-awaited breakthrough. He said natural fibres like hemp are now competitive with petroleum-based fibre products. "The rising price of oil has opened up the demand for hemp and flax substantially," he said. A co-op of about 50 hemp growers is planning to construct a $14-million plant near Dauphin, Man., with the help of $6 million in federal and provincial funding. The group is still seeking $3.5 million in private investment. Hemp fibres have a variety of uses, including rope, clothing, and insulation while the seeds can be turned into oil, food products and cosmetics. Hemp is genetically related to marijuana but cannot be used as a drug because it has almost no THC, the active ingredient. Hempline, founded in 1994, processes fibres used in composite materials used for construction, insulation and auto parts. The company also produces hemp chips used for animal bedding. Kime said Hempline did not contract any hemp from local farms last year, relying on existing supplies while concentrating on developing markets. Kime said he is confident the economic conditions and rising oil prices will boost the hemp market in the coming year. He said large chemical companies have shown an interest in using hemp to create composite products. 
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Comment #8 posted by Taylor121 on October 03, 2005 at 13:12:44 PT
Oh wow
So the artificially inflated price of illegal marijuana that isn't grown in a licensed environment that takes on the risk of the illicit market will be cheaper than legit cannabis? Talk about a stretch of the imagination.
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Comment #7 posted by mastercy on October 03, 2005 at 10:27:36 PT
I sent an email saying that David's price estimate was ludicrous. Obviously they would add some sin taxes and other taxes but that wouldn't drive the price up anywhere near where it was. My father does not feed $300 an oz hay to his cattle. However, I still think the government would make quite a bunch of money because most people would not grow it. Hell, a lot of "stoners" that I have talked to think its quite a chore to do so. Of course, those in the know understand how extremely easy it is, and most of us on this board have probably known someone who has done it. The day its legalized will be a great day for all mankind.
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Comment #6 posted by dongenero on October 03, 2005 at 10:05:12 PT
I was going to jump in.......
then I saw that this was froma couple of college kids trying to be jounalists. Ah hell, let's pile on. The flawed premise of the con argument, that RJ Reynolds would have any hope of selling cannabis for $300 dollars an ounce is ridiculous. The reason cannabis is $300 dollars an ounce is Prohibition.
Once it can be grown in your garden for vitually nothing, how well will that fund the drug cartels? There will be no money in it.
As clear as the nose on your face, David.As for the pro argument, he touches on some truths but, honestly, comparing it to oil...Latin America will provide until industry comes online in the US? Hey, who needs a big corporate tomato industry to grow tomatoes in your yard?This is not oil that must be refined, or cotton that must be harvested in mass and milled into fabric to make t-shirts, or even coffee or wine which requires far more raw material up front and considerable processing thereafter to achieve a quality finished product.Our young writers are over thinking this. Grow one plant in a large pot on your patio. Cut it in the fall, hang it up to dry and you will probably have 2 to 10 ounces of top quality product. That's all there is to it. Latin cartels? RJ Reynolds?......who needs them?Ah, but there's the would the US government profit from legalization?
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Comment #5 posted by runruff on October 03, 2005 at 09:58:16 PT:
Funding terrorist?
Maybe if the US were to stop importing oil from the mid-east
this would stop funding terrorist in that region or stop the war there. Oh but 
oil is legal and America is addicted to it. Gee, this could just be a moot point. Hey it's raining out side! See Ya!
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Comment #4 posted by runruff on October 03, 2005 at 09:25:47 PT:
In my youth.
Youth is a beautiful thing. I believe it was Longfellow who said,"youth is such a beautifl thing, it's to bad it is wasted on the young". Well I don't know about that but 
I believe in the balance of nature and that things are the way they are for a reason. But for David and Scott to 
propose they have the answer to such a widely debated subject
with so many issues involved based on this narrow view
is surley a tell tale sign of youth. Their facts are wrong to begin with and at what point does government have the right to step in and start making personal decisions for a free people? Killing seems more acceptable in our society, under
certain circumstances, than the herbal regulation of ones own moods. Or self medication if you will. I still say I am the worlds greatest authority on how I feel. 
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Comment #3 posted by E_Johnson on October 03, 2005 at 08:30:43 PT
I hate correcting people on our side
They're so passionate about their mistake, poor children.
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Comment #2 posted by Sam Adams on October 03, 2005 at 07:52:51 PT
Rhode Island
Anyone else starting to worry about RI? The state where Democrats voted to approve medical MJ, then promised to come back in September to override the governor's veto? Well, they haven't come back yet, and it appears there are rumblings that they won't.  No surprise I guess. What a joke "democracy" has become. can we possibly hope to invade other countries & fix their problems when we're ruled by a bunch of thieving liars? 
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Comment #1 posted by lombar on October 03, 2005 at 07:51:52 PT
Actually this is a wholly deniable assertion.
"It is an undeniable fact that every time someone buys marijuana, they are helping to fund a horrifically bloody civil war in Latin America that's been going on for decades. Thanks to Americans' drug money, it shows no signs of stopping."The US is the leading supplier of its own cannabis. He could have argued that cocaine (prohibition) may fund FARC et al but not cannabis. "First, legalization wouldn't stop the flow of illegal marijuana into the United States; if anything, it would make it flow faster and harder."Sorta like VCRs, DVD players and all the other cheap electronics? Thank globalization policies for that! Legal cannabis in the USA and I am virtually certain that like the wine industry, there would a lot of local variety and the occasional import but the US would still be its own primary supplier, those southern states are probably great for outdoor cannabis growing!!! ;)
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