Legalizing Pot Would Hardly Dent Cartels' Revenue
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Legalizing Pot Would Hardly Dent Cartels' Revenue
Posted by CN Staff on October 13, 2010 at 05:15:55 PT
By John Hoeffel, Los Angeles Times
Source: Los Angeles Times 
California -- Proposition 19, which would partially legalize marijuana in California, would do little to curtail the violent Mexican organizations that smuggle it across the border, according to a new study by drug policy researchers that takes aim at one of the main arguments proponents have made for the initiative.The report released Tuesday by Rand Corp., the nonpartisan research institute in Santa Monica, estimates that legalized marijuana could displace the Mexican marijuana sold in California, but concludes that would erase no more than 2% to 4% of the revenues the gangs receive from drug exports.
"It's hard to imagine a scenario where Prop. 19 has a dramatic influence on their revenues. We just don't see that happening," said Beau Kilmer, co-director of Rand's Drug Policy Research Center.The researchers said the only way California's legal pot could cut significantly into cartel revenues is if it were sold across the country. They were skeptical that would happen. "It's very hard to imagine that the feds would sit idly by and just let California marijuana dominate the country," Kilmer said.Much of the analysis rests on the conclusion that drug organizations earn far less from marijuana exported to the United States than previously estimated. Researchers put that income at about $1.5 billion, while federal government reports have set it as high as $14.3 billion.Proposition 19 would allow cities and counties to authorize the cultivation and sales of marijuana. It's unclear how many would do that, but some cities, such as Oakland, are already poised to approve it. It's also unclear whether the Obama administration would allow it, since marijuana is illegal under federal law. The researchers do not address those issues.The initiative would also allow people 21 and older to possess as much as an ounce and grow up to 25 square feet of marijuana.The initiative on the Nov. 2 ballot has triggered a serious debate south of the border, where a four-year campaign against drug gangs has left about 30,000 people dead. Last week, Mexican President Felipe Calderon stressed his opposition, saying that the U.S. has done too little to suppress consumption. But Calderon's predecessor, Vicente Fox, supports the initiative and has called for legalization in Mexico.Stephen Gutwillig, California director of the Drug Policy Alliance and an advocate of the initiative, said marijuana prohibition has failed because it has created a massive underground economy controlled by violent criminals. "Ending marijuana prohibition, bringing the multibillion-dollar marijuana market into the light of day and under the rule of law, will deal a major blow to criminal syndicates on both sides of the border," he said. "California can't put these cartels out of business by itself, but Prop. 19 is a crucial first step."President Obama's drug czar, Gil Kerlikowske, embraced the report's conclusion that Proposition 19 would not put the cartels out of business. "When you're a thug and a criminal and a killer, you're not going to get your MBA and work for a company in Mexico," he said. Kerlikowske, a former Seattle police chief, said that with drug use increasing, more emphasis should be placed on protecting young people from illegal drugs, including marijuana.The Rand analysis dismissed a frequently cited U.S. government estimate that marijuana sales make up about 60% of cartel export revenues. Marijuana revenues fall between 15% and 26%, according to the report.The researchers could find no documentation to support the higher estimate."This 60% figure is a truly mythical number, one that appeared out of nowhere and that has acquired great authority," they wrote. "This figure should not be taken seriously."Kerlikowske said it was based on outdated information and said he is pressing for better data collection. "It's pretty hard to foster support for public policy if your numbers are soft," he said.The report notes that U.S. government estimates of marijuana production "have long been inconsistent and sometimes implausible." To illustrate the absurdity of one production estimate, the researchers calculated that regular users would have to smoke a joint every two hours they are awake.As part of their study, which they acknowledge is replete with uncertainties that could alter the results, the researchers made numerous calculations such as determining the average weight of a joint: 0.46 grams.The researchers conclude that Mexican marijuana, which is lower in quality and and contains less of the main psychoactive ingredient than California-grown pot, has a U.S. market share between 40% and 67%.Comparing the Mexican drug gangs to the American Mafia, the researchers said that they would find other businesses to replace pot, just as the Mafia replaced bootlegging when alcohol prohibition ended. In the short term, they concluded, violence might even increase as gangs fight over smaller revenues.Source: Los Angeles Times (CA)Author:  John Hoeffel, Los Angeles TimesPublished: October 13, 2010Copyright: 2010 Los Angeles TimesContact: letters latimes.comWebsite:  -- Cannabis Archives 
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Comment #6 posted by Paint with light on October 13, 2010 at 21:37:22 PT
OT new names
In the last couple of weeks I have noticed a lot of new names here I haven't seen before.Welcome aboard.We are sailing the re-legalization ship right up the prohibs canal.Full speed ahead(s).Legal like alcohol.
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Comment #5 posted by firedog on October 13, 2010 at 19:04:54 PT
Buy American!
"It's very hard to imagine that the feds would sit idly by and just let California marijuana dominate the country"But they're all right with letting the Mexican cartels' marijuana dominate the country. Okay then.
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Comment #4 posted by NikoKun on October 13, 2010 at 15:06:12 PT
Well, technically, of course prop 19 wont.
It's kind of a silly point to make.We wont put a "dent" in the Cartels' profits UNTIL far more states Legalize Marijuana.1 State legalizing it is a good first step, but if you want to make a difference and take away the profits from the bad-guys, the whole country needs to follow.
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Comment #3 posted by Sam Adams on October 13, 2010 at 09:18:21 PT
propaganda overdrive
so the rationale is....your new smart policy won't stop the cartels because we're continuing our dumb policy in 49 other states.If you could make your change all over, yes, you would stop the evil cartels. But we're (corporations) not going to allow you to do that, so the evil cartels will continue. But we're right and you're still wrong!!!This is all somewhat satisfying for me. Even in Prop. 19 loses this year it's been a great project. The tables have turned complete, the prohibs are on the run, desperately decriminalizing and cranking out absurd propaganda.It is somewhat scary to see the rich elite trying to un-do the Enlightment and return us to the Dark Ages of ignorance. But you have to believe in humanity enough to think that strategy is going to backfire big-time.  I think the corporate prohibs (embodied by Ahnold of course) made a bad mistake in decriminalizing. I would not have done that if I was them. Anyone watching "Boardwalk Empire"?? one of the best anti-WOD shows ever made. They're showing us how it works. The rich elite and political class LOVED prohibition in the 20's...they were already running the political machines, they knew they'd still get their booze and their power and wealth would increase dramatically because they ran the bootlegging themselves!!!Just look at Ahnold's wife - her fortune comes directly from her grandfather's bootlegging in the 20's. I'm sure the Kennedys were ardent fans of Temperence back in the day, they got rich.
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Comment #2 posted by museman on October 13, 2010 at 08:36:39 PT
Rand Corp "estimates"
Based on what information? Statistical analysis of numbers gathered exclusively by whom?Thin, hot air. Steam rising from the barristers and the 'bar.' Corporate daddies dictates to their funded progeny.A lie is still a lie now matter how you dress it up, or how successfully the masses swallow it.The truth is much simpler and needs less words;END PROHIBITION, END BLACK MARKET PROFITS.To quote a good friend, so he doesn't have to 'quote himself' (as much); "In the land of the free prohibition is prohibited! It has never been about the plant Per Se, it has always been about whether or not we are a free nation." -runruffI second that!LEGALIZE FREEDOM
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Comment #1 posted by runruff on October 13, 2010 at 06:35:28 PT
Who's your corporate daddy?
As we read these reports from the corporate media, we are regailed by their Swiss Cheese reasoning.My mind sees gapes as wide as a prairie landscape. They are stretching, they are desperate, they are evil!I will trouble to point out one thing that has been pointed out several times here at C/News already:California alone will not stop herb from coming across the boarder but within 4-10 years enough other states will have joined in that the pot trade at the border will dry up and whither like a Death Valley rose in July!They are pulling out all the old straw man arguments and putting a new twist on some as well.After November, I will look back at these criminal minds and picture the nail biting , sweating and back room brainstorming that must have gone on. 1-[I will toke and smile] 2-[ I will token smile]I heard an argument against prop 19. It was the same old straw man declarations, youth, education, law and order, national work force, everything and everybody will have a national melt down if we legalize "marijuana", all from people who's jobs and personal fortunes depend upon prohibition.I saved the bottom line for the bottom line.In the land of the free prohibition is prohibited! It has never been about the plant Per Se, it has always been about whether or not we are a free nation.-runruffI quote myself, whatta nut! 
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