The Low Down: Legalize It!

The Low Down: Legalize It!
Posted by CN Staff on January 21, 2007 at 21:29:46 PT
By Lowell Torres
Source: Indiana Statesman
Indiana -- It shouldn't be hard to tell what this column is about from the title of it. It's about marijuana, a drug that's much less harmful than cigarettes and alcohol and yet is demonized for reasons that befuddle this writer's mind.I'm not going to lay out the same old tired argument that potheads have used for the past half a century. But you won't see homeless potheads sitting on street corners begging for five bucks to get a bag of weed, or you won't hear about a couple stoners robbing the local gas station to get money to buy some pot. You won't hear about the hundreds of thousands of dead because of its use.
My argument for why marijuana should be legal comes from a strict monetary outlet. The United States can be making so much money off taxing legalized marijuana that a sizable chunk of the federal deficit could be erased within years.Let's look at the numbers.In the Netherlands you can buy an eighth of an ounce of marijuana for the equivalent of 15 dollars American, or so I've read somewhere. Here, people are paying up to 60 dollars and beyond for the stuff, or so I've heard. If the government grew marijuana, it would make almost pure profit, especially if it didn't allow corporations to get their greedy hands on the product.So, let's say the cost of an eighth of an ounce would be 60 dollars. Subtract fifteen dollars for land upkeep, packaging and transportation (if that). Ninety-four million Americans have admitted to smoking marijuana, but we'll go for a safer estimate and say 10 percent of the population would buy one of these eighths. That's over one billion dollars of pure profit, just from each pothead buying once.And it doesn't even include the savings earned from such things as a reduction in law enforcement expenditures. It would effectively neuter some Latin American and Mexican drug kingpins who make their wealth getting the drug into our country. While arrests for driving under the influence would almost surely go up, taxpayer money wouldn't be needed to support the amount of the prison population that is serving time for marijuana possession. College and high school students wouldn't have to worry about losing all chances at federal aid if caught with the slightest bit of weed. Cancer patients and people suffering from other diseases won't have to worry about the cops breaking down their doors for trying to ease their pain in the cheapest way.I'm not saying that marijuana is a good thing. I've seen what it does to some people, robbing them of ambition and intelligence. But I've also seen what cigarettes and alcohol do to people, and those legal drugs are more harmful than marijuana could ever be.Lowell Torres is a senior majoring in history. He can be reached at:  ltorres indstate.eduSource: Indiana Statesman (IN Edu)Author: Lowell TorresPublished: January 22, 2007Copyright: 2007 Indiana StatesmanContact: sasedtpg isugw.indstate.eduWebsite: http://www.indianastatesman.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #20 posted by mimi0577 on February 12, 2007 at 22:49:33 PT
i like it illegal and cheap
i think that is the dumbest idea ever! why would you want to make it legal?? I love it been illegal because it keeps cost down. never in a million years would i pay $60 for an eighth, i like it illegal and i like paying $35-40 for my eighth, plus been illegal is so much better and having your dealer and findin out about new dealers, that is part of the fun of been a real weed smoker . also givin this great power to control weed sales to the goverment would not be a good idea
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Comment #19 posted by FoM on January 23, 2007 at 07:37:27 PT
You're right. If I wanted to change my personal moral behavior I would go to a church. I don't want the government to tell me what I can or cannot do and say it is a moral judgement. They aren't God and should never try to do His work. If we harm another person by our (immoral) actions that's a totally different story. 
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Comment #18 posted by rchandar on January 23, 2007 at 07:29:09 PT:
My theory as to why it hasn't happened has simply to do with the fact that we don't have a strong tradition of striking down useless or counterproductive laws, and as a result many laws remain on the books without serious review.There's a Marxist-style way of understanding it: Americans come from foreign countries, and most do not have a strong concept of the rationale and spirit of laws passed long ago. Therefore, the "new" laws that are put on the books are the ones that matter to them and that they digest in terms of being a "law abiding" American. In other words, immigrants and minorities are defined most strongly in relation to their understanding of laws concerning drugs, taxation, morality--not from the Bill of Rights. Then there's the hubris of government. In other words, billions of dollars are spent and hundreds of thousands of cops and judges are instructed through a long, life-defining and character-defining process. The politicians have to argue for weeks, months, do research, consult colleagues, in the making of laws, but they pass them. Theoretically, it would take that same arduous process to strike them down.I honestly wish politicians wouldn't be defined as "law makers". Rather, they should be elected for the purpose of judging and evaluating existing laws, not generating new ones. If that precedent was strongly established in the public behavior of "lawmakers," our process would be very different. But capital, not public responsibility, is what generates laws and their labor--same as in Marx's evaluation of products and their labor. That being said, what is necessary is a widespread change of heart. The sense among the majority that enough's enough, and that authority has gone too far. That was the only real reason Civil Rights passed--it was unavoidable, the wrongness was so visible and peoples minds and hearts changed. But even THAT took seventy years to come to realization--ditto us?--rchandar
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Comment #17 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 20:50:52 PT
Comment 12
I especially like this in Reykr's letter."I regard the “drug” war as a war carried on by the government, against the people. It is tolerated by most of us because the people who are attacked are minority people, rather than us. However, it establishes a precedent, so useful to those who are planning a police state in this country, that allows our government to wage war against its own citizens."Way to go Reykr! Maybe you'll jostle someone awake with that one.
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Comment #16 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 20:00:34 PT
"mean and violent and vulgar and crazy"
and dangerous, and trigger happy, and terrorizing people.Good guys? Sorry...I just don't buy that. In the least.
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Comment #15 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 19:58:32 PT
Ya know....
one of the most disturbing things about watching this war on drugs things, for me is this.You expect the so called "bad guys" to be mean and violent and vulgar and crazy. But it's been truly strange to see the so called "good guys" and "good" people be the ones who are mean, violent, ignorant, vulgar, and crazy. There's something really wrong with that. Don't you think?I expect the bad guys to be horrible and mean...but I didn't expect it from the ones that were supposed to be the "good" ones. I didn't see that one all!And all in the name of prohibition of a natural plant. 
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Comment #14 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 19:50:23 PT
Back then
I never would have believed that society and our fellow citizens could be so cruel and ignorant that it would still be  prohibiting cannabis in the year 2007.But I was certainly wrong. I thought better and hoped better for people in general back then. I was naive. I don't think that well of them, now. I see them far too clearly. Sadly, I now can say, "I know better."Good grief. I wouldn't have believed it. I harbored brightly the hope that people were better than they are. The cruelty and ignorance of this so called "War on Drugs" has been truly astounding to witness. 
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Comment #13 posted by FoM on January 22, 2007 at 19:35:15 PT
There really was a time when I believed that marijuana was going to be decriminalized and soon. The wonderful smell of incense when you went into a Head Shop. It was so different then it is now. I always believed that when we got old enough they would change the laws. After Reagan got in power and Just Say No was started I knew it would be a longtime. 
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Comment #12 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 19:32:53 PT
Reykr got ink in the University paper.
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Comment #11 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 19:16:38 PT
"for for it!"
Actually managed to cyber-stutter (accidentally) on that one.
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Comment #10 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 19:14:43 PT
Willie said he remembers
I do, too.Vividly.We did occasionally hear rumors back then that people in California had to pay as much as thirty dollars an ounce for for it! Shudder!Dime Bag. Lid. It was ten dollars a big ounce. And it was good. It really was. Well, most of it. And all the beautiful Head Shops and paraphenalia. It was fun and it was not a bad thing...but the government and it's enforcers and the people like S. Bennett and Virtuous Bill bloodied enough heads and destroyed enough lives, and sent enough jack boots and terrorist type dynamic entry teams, home invasion raids and black masked and helmeted and heavily armed raiders, snitches, and killing and imprisoning and persecuting people, to put a damper on the fun part.I believe they did much more harm to this country than they did good. Much more. They did and they still are. I'll be so glad to see their reign of terror over so many people finally cease and disintegrate.
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Comment #9 posted by FoM on January 22, 2007 at 18:19:09 PT
Max Flowers
That all makes sense as far as for profit goes but it is so high. As Willie said he remembers when a dime bag was $10.00.
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Comment #8 posted by Toker00 on January 22, 2007 at 18:16:46 PT
I didn't mean to offend any cannabis connoseuirs. It would be nice to have nice quality smoke for that leisurely time when you can turn loose for a few uninterrupted hours. And I get those times, occasionally. So maybe an eighth would be reasonable...if it were even available.Toke.
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Comment #7 posted by Max Flowers on January 22, 2007 at 18:05:21 PT
I can report to you from California that $50 per eighth oz is typical in medical dispensaries and in "street prices" alike. $60 is just as common.One main reason, I think, is that growing it professionally is a highly underestimated undertaking. People so often think that growing it indoors is some walk in the park... it is not. There are about 20 ways you can screw it up in the last couple of weeks before harvest (or earlier) if you don't know exactly what you're doing. That's after you just paid $1000/month electricity bills for the two months leading up to that point. Not to mention the risk factor, and the money invested in supplies and equipment, and on and on.Outdoor growers face their own set of risks. They accept less from their pounds (wholesale) because they have more of them, but this almost never translates into any drop in the retail price. Hence, it's still $50-60 eighths.All of this is a result of people demanding something they don't want to take the time and trouble to provide for themselves. It's the same reason good wine is $20+ a bottle---try making it yourself sometime. Oops, you don't have a vineyard? Well there you go. If everyone who wanted pot would grow it for themselves, there would be no problems. But 98% of people want to just be able to fork over some money and get it when they want it.
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Comment #6 posted by Hope on January 22, 2007 at 13:54:02 PT
Should take the place of tobacco cigarettes.
It's actually a good route for tobacconists to go. Because tobacco sales will likely decrease rapidly with the legalization of cannabis. They probably know that.Low grade cannabis cigarettes can be enjoyable and replace the tobacco cigarettes and get you off the nicotine easier and faster.I know there are a lot of people, besides myself, that believe the eventual legalization of cannabis will facilitate their giving up the nicotine. I think.Tobacconists rightly should realize that cannabis research and possible production and manufacturing could help replace the loss of tobacco sales...which will likely be pretty drastic, in the years following legalization.It's just business.
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Comment #5 posted by laduncon on January 22, 2007 at 12:05:57 PT
Should cost just a little more than cigarettes...
Whatever today's price of top-quality cannabis is (and I have my thoughts as to that), it should be only marginally more expensive than tobacco. Enlighten those Prohibitionist egos that wish to control others for fear of their own percieved moral weaknesses. It is time that our goverment and society end its exorbinant subsidies for shadowy Al Capone style business practices and instead allow the FREE MARKET to decide the price of cannabis in wide open sight, ending the stigmatization that is attached to its use and hounds its users into forced drug rehabilitation and forces compliance with unlawful searches and seizures. I don't really give that many hoots about the free market but it is an obvious solution in the case of cannabis. It is the police state that thwarts the free market in regards to cannabis, thus the police (some knowingly and others unwittingly) act as armed thugs and enforcers of the status-quo Al Capone rigged system. The fruits of the police state are poisonous and many (need i list them all?), and only able to exist on the detritus of those it swallows whole in its appetite for unquestioned authority and submittance by the populace. Stop feeding the police state and its fruits will no longer be able to flower, thus forcing it to whither and die, once and for all.
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Comment #4 posted by FoM on January 22, 2007 at 07:47:20 PT
I don't live in California. I have heard that top quality Cannabis is around $180 and ounce. 
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Comment #3 posted by thestales on January 22, 2007 at 07:44:27 PT
FOM, Do you not live in CA? 60 an 1/8 is about right for top of the line in many places throughout CA and as far as I can tell, the rest of the country. I am sure in places where there is saturation (san fran, Humboldt LA) you can find 1/8 of goodness for 50-40 or even 30, but I think it is more common for an 1/8 to be at the $50 mark. Again this would be for high quality sin-semilla. And if you were to buy in bulk I imagine the ounces are 300-400. If were are talking about lower quality seeded herb I am sure it is 1/5 the price of quality. So 300-400 for an ounce - 50 for an 1/8 of good. is about right unless you are in the pacific NW. It seems that in Seattle and other areas I have seen it for 30-40. Also, In those areas that are saturated, I am betting it would be hard to find the low quality, bricked from down south. Mostly because at 60 an Oz, it would be almost worthless.
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on January 22, 2007 at 07:12:46 PT
When I was setting up this article I was shocked at the prices that were quoted. Why is it $15 for an eight in Amsterdam and $60 for an eight in California? With all the Dispensaries in certain areas of California the price should be really low and competitive I would think. At $60 for an eight who could possible afford to buy any? Maybe people in California are very rich compared to average folks thruout the USA. It made my head spin. 
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Comment #1 posted by Toker00 on January 22, 2007 at 03:45:41 PT
I like what he's saying,
but I would not pay, nor have I ever paid, $500.00 an ounce for cannabis. No way. I like to be high, but not out of sight.Toke. 
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