It's Time To Consider Legalizing Marijuana

It's Time To Consider Legalizing Marijuana
Posted by CN Staff on October 05, 2007 at 06:04:44 PT
By Robert Robb
USA -- A recent Government Accountability Office report on drug interdiction in Mexico is so bleak you have to wonder, what's the point?From 2000 to 2005, according to the GAO, the amount of marijuana flowing into the United States from Mexico increased 44 percent. Cocaine shipments to the United States increased 64 percent. Heroin production for U.S. consumption nearly doubled.
The National Drug Intelligence Center estimates that the total value of the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the United States at between $8 billion and $23 billion.  The upper end of that range has eye-popping significance.Mexico's economy relies heavily on trade with the United States. At the upper end of the range, the illegal drug trade is equivalent to 14 percent of the total value of Mexico's legal exports to the United States. Illegal drugs are probably Mexico's second-leading export to the United States, lagging behind only oil. It is not as though nothing was being done during the period the GAO studied. The U.S. gave Mexico nearly $400 million to assist in drug interdiction. Former President Vicente Fox made interrupting the drug trade a priority. Cartel leaders were targeted. Extraditions to the U.S. increased. A new federal police force was formed to try to bypass the corruption in other agencies. New Mexican President Felipe Calderón is taking even more aggressive action. Regardless of the good will and stern intentions of Mexico's senior federal leadership, however, the money in the illegal drug trade simply overwhelms the rule of law at the local level. That's a serious problem, for Mexico and the U.S.So, what to do about it?Decriminalization for recreational drug use has been a safe haven for those who believe that locking up people strictly for drug use is wrong or have concluded that the war on drugs is futile. I've rested comfortably there for years.However, removing criminal sanctions for drug use won't dismantle the destructive and dangerous criminal supply networks that have taken deep root in Mexico and, increasingly, here in the United States. Only a legal means of production, distribution and sale will do that.That's a far less comfortable proposition. Making the production and sale of drugs commercially available, particularly hard drugs, is unnerving and scary.Perhaps legalizing just marijuana would make the problem manageable.According to a federal study, 6 percent of the population over the age of 12 had used marijuana in the previous month. That's nearly 15 million people. Only about 1 percent of the population had used cocaine in the previous month. The numbers for meth and heroin were even lower, two-tenths of 1 percent and one-tenth of 1 percent respectively. Marijuana accounts for over 60 percent of the proceeds of the illegal drug trade between Mexico and the United States, according to the NDIC estimate.So, perhaps the line on legalization, rather than decriminalization, can be drawn at marijuana. Perhaps that would give Mexican officials a fighting chance to get on top of the remainder of the drug trade and install the rule of law at the local level.Legalization of even marijuana would be a big step into the unknown. Despite the claims of incautious legalization advocates, usage would undoubtedly go up as prices dropped, product became more available and convenient, and risks disappeared. And despite incautious analogies, marijuana isn't like booze. You can drink for reasons other than getting drunk. The only reason to ingest marijuana is to get high.The experience of other countries with legalization of marijuana and some harder drugs is mixed, at best. Recreational drug use becoming a visible part of a culture isn't a good thing.Perhaps the United States could legislate a legalization of marijuana use for private consumption that kept it largely out of sight. That, however, cannot be counted on.What the United States would be like with legal recreational drugs is unknown. Sometimes, however, the known is so bad or futile that a trade for the unknown is the best course of action.That point has been reached regarding the legal status of marijuana. His column appears Sundays, Wednesdays and Fridays. Source: (AZ)Author: Robert RobbPublished: October 5, 2007Copyright: 2007 AZCentral.comWebsite: robert.robb arizonarepublic.comCannabisNews -- Cannabis Archives
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Comment #8 posted by afterburner on October 06, 2007 at 07:42:36 PT
I Don't Usually Quote MADD. However Check this Out
CN ON: Column: Society Ignores Ugly Side of Alcohol, London Free Press, (05 Oct 2007){
Solomon has lots of sobering statistics about alcohol-related deaths. He says at least 25 per cent of suicides are alcohol-related ( and higher for young people ), 40 to 50 per cent of all drowning and boating deaths are alcohol-related, 60 per cent of all-terrain vehicle deaths are alcohol-related, 70 per cent of snowmobile deaths are alcohol-related; and alcohol-related falls put more people in hospital for more days than alcohol-related automobile collisions. And there are the alcohol-related date-rapes, sexual assaults and general violence -- most never reported. ..."Parents will say, 'Thank God my kid doesn't smoke marijuana,'" says Solomon. "And then they watch him take a case of beer to a bush party. I don't get it." It's clear a lot of us don't get it. We live in a culture that regularly reinforces a benign view of alcohol and does everything it can to normalize alcohol consumption. ... And don't tell Solomon the sale of booze helps contribute to jobs and taxes. "For every dollar we gain in tax revenue on alcohol, we spend approximately three dollars in social costs of various kinds," he says. "We still have this view of alcohol that is not consistent with the risks and harms that it poses." 
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Comment #7 posted by FoM on October 05, 2007 at 10:16:29 PT
NYC Has the Most Marijuana Arrests in the World 
October 4, 2007
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Comment #6 posted by FoM on October 05, 2007 at 09:28:07 PT
I Want To Get High!
That's why I drink a couple of cups of coffee every morning. Is that bad?
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Comment #5 posted by OverwhelmSam on October 05, 2007 at 09:17:01 PT
Yes, I Smoke Marijuana to get High!
It's safer than alcohol and no one has ever reasonably explained why getting high is a bad thing?
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Comment #4 posted by Truth on October 05, 2007 at 09:09:05 PT
absolutely untrue
"The only reason to ingest marijuana is to get high"
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on October 05, 2007 at 06:59:18 PT
Thank you. I have it posted now.
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Comment #2 posted by Yanxor on October 05, 2007 at 06:53:46 PT
...Incautiaus analogies?
As a student at one of the biggest party schools, I have to wonder, if not for the getting drunk part, why do people drink?If for the social affects, I'm not quite sure how cannabis wouldn't apply to can smoke socially.And also, one can smoke an amount that doesn't cause the high, but still gives some sort of pain relief. Which occurs at a lower level than the intoxication.
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Comment #1 posted by potpal on October 05, 2007 at 06:07:20 PT
Say it again... 
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