America Goes To Pot and Prisons

America Goes To Pot and Prisons
Posted by CN Staff on December 22, 2006 at 09:11:35 PT
By Richard Mathis 
USA -- America can no longer keep the course on the war on drugs. It has been a waste of money while wasting too many lives. It costs three times as much to fight drugs as a criminal problem as the actual cost of damage done by illegal drugs and yet the level of use remains the same. Despite an astronomical increase in prisoners serving harsh sentences for drug offenses since the early 80s, American domestic marijuana production has increased tenfold during the same time frame so that pot is now America's biggest agricultural product with revenues of around $35 tax-free billion dollars annually.
So concluded Jon Gettman, a researcher and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, in a report that found California, Hawaii, Kentucky, Tennessee, and Washington each produce more than a billion dollars worth of pot a year. California alone produces almost $14 billion.Gettman used government estimates that growers produce more than 10,000 metric tons of marijuana annually. Multiply 10,000 metric tones by the average price per pound of $1,606 and that equates to $35.8 billion. That figure does not include the amount Americans spend on imported reefer. The U.S. Office of National Drug Control Policy, estimates that total American drug use is $200 billion annually. Divide that by an estimated 300 million Americans and you get the average American - man, woman, child and all points in between - spending an average of $666.66 each on illegal drugs. The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime estimated that in 2003 worldwide retails sales were $322 billion. The UN estimated that 44% of that market was mostly in the United States. In other words, Americans, who account for 5 percent of the world's population, account for roughly 44% of the world's money spent on illegal drugs. According to the United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime, worldwide illegal drug revenue is greater than the Gross Domestic Product of 163 countries, or 88% of the countries in the world.Revenue generated from American grown marijuana is more than that of corn which averages annually around $23 billion; corn $17.6 billion; soybeans $12 billion; vegetables $11 billion, and $7 billion of wheat. Worldwide, illegal drugs account for 14% of agricultural exports.If American marijuana growers were a single business entity, it would rank number 72 on the Wikipedia list of the top 100 businesses in terms of revenues. American pot growers don't come close to number one, ExxonMobil, with its revenues of $370.6 billion. Yet pot farmers can take pride that their revenues in America exceed worldwide that of Pepsi at $32 billion and Coca-Cola at $23 billion. There has been a 10-fold increase in American pot production since 1981 even though the incarceration rate has also rocketed until now there are more people in federal prison for pot than for violence. Approximately one out of every six federal inmates is in prison on pot related charges.While the United States has only 5 percent of the world's population, it has 25 percent of the world's prison population. The United States puts more people in prison than western Europe puts in prison on all offenses. America has more people in prison than China or Russia, and that America's incarceration rate of 737 people per 100,000 is the highest in the world. In 2005, American authorities arrested 786,545 people on pot charges. According to a study in the Harm Reduction Journal, 88% of the approximate 700,000 arrests for marijuana were for possession in 2002. Since 1990, there has been an 82% increase in arrests on marijuana charges with "virtually all of that increase . . . in possession offenses." However, the study found that only one in 18 of such arrests resulted in a felony conviction, which meant that roughly $4 billion per year was being spent alone on busting people for minor pot violations. One estimate is that the state and local costs per arrest for pot violations average each $10,400. Yet, American authorities keep busting away despite the substantial evidence that growing arrest rates and harsh sentences do nothing to lower the use or production of marijuana. In fifteen states a nonviolent marijuana offense can result in a life sentence. A single pot plant in Montana can draw a life sentence for a first offense. That's nothing compared to the feds who can execute a first time offender for growing or having enough marijuana plants (60,000). In 2004 the Office of National Drug Control Policy issued a report entitled "The Economic Costs of Drug Abuse in the United States." That report had estimates for the costs of fighting drugs versus the negative monetary impact of drug use as measured by premature death, health care, productivity, institutionalization, health care, and property damage. Nearly 70% of the actual monetary costs of drug use were lost productivity and wages from incarceration, being sick, turning to crime and dying. What the study found was that over a ten-year period from 1992 to 2002 that it cost approximately three times as much money to wage a war on drugs as the actual monetary negative costs of drug use. For example, in 2002 it cost an estimated $148.62 billion to fight drugs while the negative economic impact was estimated to have only been $44.73 billion. That's more than $100 billion difference. For the ten-year period study, there was more than a trillion dollars difference between the cost of war on drugs and the actual monetary damage done by illegal drugs in America. Or, given the current estimate of the American deficit at a tad more than $ eight and a half trillion, wasted money on the war on drugs accounts for approximately 11-12% of the record deficit. On the other hand, economic professor Jeffrey A. Miron estimated that legalizing and taxing pot like any other product would yield $2.4 billion annually. Tax pot like booze or cigarettes and that the tax revenue would be $6.2 billion annually. Of course, pot advocates could argue that the medical research on marijuana show it to be nowhere as medically harmful as either alcohol or tobacco.Right now, the United States faces prison overcrowding, largely due to proliferation of people for drug offenses. Other prisoners, including violent offenders, are being paroled early or having their sentences shortened to make room for drug users and dealers. Peoples lives are being ruined, the cost is out of hand, and people are spending more than ever on drugs. Meanwhile, demagogic politicians, the religious right and big drug dealers all agree on one thing: keep the course.B. 1952, GA, USA. D. To Be Determined. Beloved husband of Native American artist Karen Coronado, father, grandfather, and friend of many from bikers to Zen masters; American writer and speaker, known for his criticism of Mammon's unholy trinity of big business, big government and big religion; served the least of them professionally as psychologist and voluntarily as activist for decades; loved to shoot basketball, billiards and the bull; lived free, died game. (memorial sketch by (US)Author: Richard Mathis Published: December 22, 2006Copyright: 2006 OpEdNewsURL: wmrichardmathis gmail.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #8 posted by ekim on December 23, 2006 at 10:24:47 PT
Paul please give Howard a update on your efforts
Please elaborate. What is going on in Iowa Storm Lake, when and who/how
many would be there?Thanks, howard 
Officer Howard J. Wooldridge (retired)
Education Specialist, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (
Washington, DC
Hablo espanol, je parle francais, Deutsch auch
Howard J. Wooldridge
1402 W. 7th Street
Frederick, MD 21702
817-975-1110 (cell)
The mission of LEAP is to reduce the multitude of unintended harmful
consequences resulting from fighting the war on drugs and to lessen the
incidence of death, disease, crime, and addiction by ultimately ending
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on December 22, 2006 at 21:40:43 PT
I don't know if I saw that one but I will keep my eyes opened for it. The March of the Penguins is really good. Any nature or earth related shows always interest me. Thank you.
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Comment #6 posted by ekim on December 22, 2006 at 19:27:09 PT
China just made biggest Ethanol Plant 
Good one FoM last Fri Night on the History ch the show was State of the Earth 2006 -- in the hour doc. it showed a huge plant in China that will be used for making Ethanol but the show said nothing about what will be the feedstock or plant that will be grown for its use.. any sugestions:) Chinese Hemp Industry has Boundless Potential 
Posted by FoM on November 05, 2001 at 09:01:46 PT
Business News 
Source: People's Daily
 As world fashion increasingly moves toward simplicity, comfort and health protection, experts point out that hemp, a major economic crop in China, could have great market prospects after the nation's entry into the World Trade Organization. Being one of the earliest fabrics used in China, hemp's heyday can date back 4,000 years when only nobles and royal families could afford to wear finely spun linen while coarse linen were favored by commoners. The production technology of linen has undergone constant improvement. In 1984, the country made a breakthrough in the degumming technology, bringing worldwide attention to linen products. Paul that was a great write up---i am asking around if Leap has anyspeakers in Iowa. 
Please remember that Sen.Grasley has ordered a paper on all the info on the industrial enzymes and as a resident you might just have the right to access that info. 
Last time i heard the Sen. had asked for info on how long it will take to make a enzyme plant, how much money will it take. 
Maybe he is asking how these enzymes are made and calling on the Schools to make and teach this new tech. 
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Comment #5 posted by FoM on December 22, 2006 at 18:47:39 PT
Interesting News from China
Lab Work to Identify 2,800-Year-Old Mummy of Shaman 
 *** December 22, 2006 
   URUMQI, Dec. 22 (Xinhua) -- Chinese scientists are conducting laboratory work hoping to identify a 2,800-year-old mummy presumably of a shaman in the northwestern Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region.   The well-preserved mummy of a seemingly Caucasian man with a Roman nose and deep-set eyes was unearthed from a cluster of ancient tombs in 2003 and research work has been going on ever since.   Archeologists found the mummy most intriguing because a sack of marijuana leaves was found buried alongside the corpse.   The mummy remains intact in its original outfit despite the passage of time: leather hat, heavy coat and boots, huge earrings of copper and gold, a turquoise necklace, a copper laced stick in the right hand and a bronze ax in the left, according to Li Xiao, head of the heritage bureau in Turpan.   Inside the leather coat, the man was wearing a dainty brown andred mantle, and his hands were crossed in front of his chest, said Li.   "From his outfit and the marijuana leaves, which have been confirmed by international specialists to be ingredients for narcotic, we assume the man had been a shaman and had been between40 and 50 years old when he died," said Li, a noted historian in Xinjiang.   He said the corpse is about 1.2 meters long and its legs are at least 80 centimeters.   Li and his colleagues are taking fabrics from the mummy's clothes for laboratory work, hoping to identify the mummy and unravel more mysteries of shaman clothing, culture and religion.   The mummy was the best preserved one among some 600 excavated in 2003 from a cluster of 2,000 tombs in Turpan. Archeologists assume the tombs, which dated from the Bronze Age to the Tang Dynasty (618 - 907), belonged to several big clans.   The tombs also produced a wide variety of stone implements, bronze ware, color chinaware pieces and knitwear. 
Editor: Ling Zhu Copyright: 2006 Xinhua News Agency
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on December 22, 2006 at 17:59:31 PT
Associated Press Article About CA Pot Farms
Cooperation Pledged in Suburban Sacramento Pot Farm ProbeBy Don Thompson, 
Associated PressDecember 22, 2006SACRAMENTO - Drug agents investigating dozens of sophisticated marijuana farms hidden inside Central Valley homes scored a key break Friday when one of the growers agreed to cooperate in the probe.Complete Article:
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Comment #3 posted by global_warming on December 22, 2006 at 15:44:19 PT
Do You Believe In God?
If you do, then you also believe you have a soul, some unexplainable instrument on this earth. If you have the time, to look at the news, you already know about the war, but did you hear about some war that started some 50 or 60 years ago, I think it was Nixon The Disgraced, Meanwhile, demagogic -( politicians, the religious right and big drug dealers all agree on one thing: keep the course.Hope you have awareness, this solstice cycle has come, bringing another possible fruitless year.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on December 22, 2006 at 13:39:26 PT
I want to wish you a Merry Christmas and I hope everything works out for you. 
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Comment #1 posted by paulpeterson on December 22, 2006 at 13:13:36 PT
Christmas attack across the Delaware
General George Washington commanded a ragtag bunch of frozen soldiers, ill-equipped, poorly dressed, undernourished and in dangerous straights indeed. Right across the Delaware were the redcoats, in just the opposite straights, an orderly camp, well-sentried and sundried.He made a fateful decision-to cross the iceflowed Delaware in small boats, driven by oars that became encrusted in ice as his freezing troops watched the shore approach them, each knowing this might be the end of them all-and of the revolution. They might have had only a few musket-balls each left to fight a greatly superior defense force and perimeter.Washington gave that fateful command that resonates through history-don't shoot until you see the whites of their eyes-each musketball needed to reach its mark-if they had any hope at all of even making a dent in the British line of defense.Of course, as he had hoped, by choosing to attack on Christmas day, noone watched at all as they traversed the icy treachery stretch. Their surprise attack was a stunning victory-almost no defense was presented. They took the fort, and had their Christmas figgy pudding after all-complements of the surrendering officers, thank you.In one fell swoop the entire future of North America was changed-on Christmas day, no less.One might argue, of course, that Washington had no choice in the matter. Faced with mass starvation in his own camp, there was no Christmas feast to hope for at all-he might have been presented with a mass mutiny if he had, instead, chosen to stiff out the day, shivering in the winter of the cold NorthEast.One might also argue, in fact, that it was the British that had grossly overestimated the opposing force-because they were obviously lulled into the assumption that the Americans, as they called themselves then, back when they were patriotic and all, were also celebrating Christmas, as a hallowed religious festival, replete with baked goods and brightly colored twirled confections traditionally concocted by loving groups of revelers bent on enjoying a warm fire with friends. Nobody would expect the stunning advance and invasion that turned the entire tide of the war-on one single day in history history was stopped in its tracks, and a proud nation rose from the ashes of a totalitarian regime bent on rigid authoritative control of dissent.And where is that nation now? The proud Constitution that was enacted, with some even prouder bill of rights, especially the First Amendment Freedoms-religion-speech-assembly-press, are pressed tighter and tighter into little covens that the goons of militarism grinch greater and greater, all to the drum-beats of an invasion foisted on false pretenses, and winnowing down our once proud military "defense" forces.Somewhere, in a far away land, are rumors of three separate mutinies in the making-because our own soldiers, eerily reminiscent of those bunches of musketeers-are critically short of ammunition, without necessary armament, routinely placed in dangerous situations without tactical support or ideas-which places them in dire straights themselves-and troops in repetitive dire straights tend to get shell-shocked, and when shell-shocked go off half cocked-and one of the inevitable results is retaliating against anything that moves in the field of view.Boom-bomb hits the humvee-friends instantly emoliated-and the survivors, that can barely keep consciousness due to the terror and rage of loss, find a house, any house, and kill all the inhabitants-before they even ID who they are, or what they carry, or why they are there in the first place. Any sudden movement startles the only remaining brain center on-line due to the huge rush of adrenaline unleashed in the rush of panic-the rat-a-tat of the machine gun silences the target.And within a few minutes, there are video cameras or cell-phone cameras documenting the carnage that American troops have just caused in the panic. In one such recent episode, played out just last night on CNN, Haditha-28 civilians, mostly women and children, are gunned down by 4 marines-another 4 are implicated in failing to report murder, and failure to move this info up the food chain.8 Americans are now on trial for charges that could put them in jail for life, or beyond. I wonder, in fact, if some of these charges might not be wrongfully made, and brought, to seal the fate of dissenters, that really just want to get the war over, and instead of allowing them to mutiny, or desert, the military concocts a potion of sound-bits and sight-bits to implicate them in trumped up murder charges-to seal off the exits and discredit the ones that would actually be the whistleblowers of the true witches there-just like the true witches in the Spanish Inquisition were the ones that would point the finger of recrimination first.The message here? We gotta catch these goons first-before they goon you down in cold blood for some trumped up charges first. I saw my "mark" in January-a cop gooning a Hispanic boy wearing only a short sleeve shirt-in 19 degree weather. Sure, I got charged, but at the trial two cops committed perjury-and I still got off. Sure, they had me committed and gooned by a religiously intolerant doc-that confirmed, on the transcript, his intolerance of my religious belief system.Now, finally, I attended a church service-for God's sake-and these same goons arrested me and interrogated a baker's dozen Unitarians about who was there and what was discussed, and what I said about God knows what.And today, the last courtdate before Christmas, I dropped a big bomb into the enemy camp-regarding false affidavits filed by a lawyer, that induced the chief judge to issue a false arrest warrant-that was used by religious bigots to defame me again, in a dominant religious sect's newspaper. I actually got to say, in long court documents, that the Chief of Police in this defense perimeter, is also an elder or deacon in a dominant church group-I called him Pope Prosser-because I still am not sure whether he acted in his legal capacity or his ecclesiastical capacity.And I made a fine motion-and I had to name the church as a co-defendant-because of the obtuse topic that was subject for interrogation-the same church that now pays out $75 million or so to bunches of kids gooned by priests attacking from repressed sexual urges.It is called "political defendant" status-and I briefed it in a fine 41 page document I got out-just in time for Christmas. I told the clerks this is an attack on Christmas-just like Washington did. And all over town, not a creature is stirring, not even a mouse. And I've still got dry powder, and enough musketballs to last until spring, and reinforcements right on the horizon-my friend, recently elected as county attorney, to be sworn in at New Year. In other words, I have just been shelling the defense perimeter, so when my troops land, the defense is softened up for a rapid advance and invasion.Merry Christmas, people, I hope you have enjoyed the show. More later. PAUL PETERSON, from Iowa.
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