Sunday, October 10, 2010

Should We Legalize Pot?

Last week the President of Mexico spoke out against Proposition 19, the move to legalize marijuana in California. He explained that the passage of this proposition would create an inconsistency in the drug laws in this country. Obviously, he is correct. Californians would be able to legally possess the drug, but citizens of the other states would still be arrested and imprisoned for the same practice.

One has to wonder if the good President, for all of his good fight against the drug cartels in his country isn't just a bit concerned that the huge sums of money being returned to his country from the U.S. might be dampened a bit by the legalization of the drug. If California legalizes marijuana, then the other states might begin to follow its lead. Legally sold, marijuana would fetch a much lower price. In addition, in California at least, citizens would be able to grow their own. Oops, Mexico would lose a huge export, illegal though it is.

One would think that President Calderon might be happy that the U.S. might one day legalize marijuana. What a great day it would be for Mexico. The drug cartels would suddenly be out of business. The killing and maiming of Mexican citizens would come to a close. The U.S. border patrol could concentrate more on illegal border crossings instead of the constant search for marijuana. The drug cartels might shift their focus to cocaine and meth, but the demand is not nearly as great.

The years of alcohol prohibition in this country brought a crime wave so very similar to the drug wars in Mexico. Rival gangs battled for territory and supremacy, and there was open warfare. Execution style killings were prevalent, and political corruption, associated with the illegal liquor trade, was rampant. The end of prohibition brought an end to the violent crime.

I have never smoked marijuana, but it appears that the drug is no more harmful than alcohol. In my opinion legalization is the answer. The medical applications for the drug, especially for pain, are a good enough reason in themselves. There are side affects, but it is doubtful that they are any worse, probably less so, than the side effects of so many of the prescription drugs that we take now.

The American public seems to be thinking along these lines, and I believe that the drug war, over marijuana at least, may be coming to an end in the not too distant future. Maybe then, law enforcement can concentrate on cocaine, heroin, and methamphetamine instead of filling the prisons to overflowing with marijuana users.