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Tim Padgett of Time Magazine posted an article on Time's website calling for the legalization of drugs here in the US and for fighting corporate monopolies. For years, the US has been pouring taxpayer dollars into Colombia to interdict the drug cartel there. The reason that it is finally bearing fruit is because Colombia reformed its police and its legal institutions. If the Mexican government can do the same in its country, it is well on the path to replicating the success in Colombia.

Padgett notes that Mexico has a new President whose main focus will be not so much on the war on drugs but on cracking down on corporate monopolies in his country. Our lawmakers realized as early as 1800 that corporate monopolies were bad for business in this country. That is why they passed laws busting the trusts and filed lawsuits to break up companies that were "too big to fail." Now, Mexico is doing the same.

Padgett thinks that this will create headway. I would say that it would for the simple reason that it would create the rule of law in Mexico. It would develop their economy by creating competition and thus creating jobs in that country. That way, people would not turn to the underground drug industry because they have no other places to turn. Their example bears lessons for ours -- the more free enterprise that we can create through competition and not monopolies, the more jobs that we can create and the less likely people will turn to the illegal drug industry.

Furthermore, if the US does its part by legalizing pot, it would cut $10 billion out of revenue from the drug cartels from Mexico, Padgett explains:

As for what happened on election day last fall in the U.S., if I were Peña Nieto I’d urge Obama to do on the federal level what the states of Colorado and Washington did: legalize marijuana. (Mexico should do the same, by the way.) That would do two things: First, deprive Mexico’s drug cartels of more than a third of the $30 billion or so they make each year. Second, save the U.S. the estimated $10 billion it wastes every year chasing down a drug that’s no more harmful than alcohol when used in moderation. It can then steer that money to drug-demand reduction efforts like rehab services, which studies show do more to ease the drug plague than conventional supply-side interdiction does.
Legalizing pot would create more free enterprise, create a bigger tax base for the government so that we could raise revenues and address the deficit without tax increases. It would also create more jobs and allow us to make headway on the U6 rate -- which measures people who have dropped out of the labor force or who are underemployed. It has declined from 17% three years ago to 13.9%; however, that rate is still unacceptably high. Judges could still require people under probation not to use pot and we can enforce laws already on the books against driving under the influence. For hard drugs, we could set up specialized drug courts in every judicial circuit that would require offenders to complete treatment programs; these have been shown to decrease demand more than interdiction does.

Polls show that 35% of Mexicans would consider moving to the US, including 20% who would consider doing it illegally. If the Mexican government follows through on its goal to break up corporate monopolies, then they will considerably drop that number as more and more people will see a better chance to earn a livelihood in Mexico as opposed to moving to the US.

Originally posted to Stop the Police State! on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:30 AM PDT.

Also republished by DKos Cannabis Law and Drug War Reform.

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Comment Preferences

  •  Lawmakers Earlier Than 1900. Even 1800. (15+ / 0-)
    Most Americans don’t know it but Thomas Jefferson, along with James Madison worked assiduously to have an 11th Amendment included into our nation’s original Bill of Rights. This proposed Amendment would have prohibited “monopolies in commerce.” The amendment would have made it illegal for corporations to own other corporations, or to give money to politicians, or to otherwise try to influence elections. Corporations would be chartered by the states for the primary purpose of “serving the public good.” Corporations would possess the legal status not of natural persons but rather of “artificial persons.” This means that they would have only those legal attributes which the state saw fit to grant to them. They would NOT; and indeed could NOT possess the same bundle of rights which actual flesh and blood persons enjoy. Under this proposed amendment neither the 14th Amendment of the US Constitution, nor any provision of that document would protect the artificial entities known of as corporations.

    We are called to speak for the weak, for the voiceless, for victims of our nation and for those it calls enemy.... --ML King "Beyond Vietnam"

    by Gooserock on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:43:34 AM PDT

  •  "Legalizing Pot" (8+ / 0-)

    Simple isn't it. Deny the drug cartels money from our streets, and put our "war on drugs" money to better use. Sometimes there are very simple, easy to do, solutions to very complex problems.

    As to the Mexican government reforming its police and legal institutions -- not so much, at least not while these institutions are awash in cartel money. If we legalize pot, on the other hand, and staunch the flood of cash to the cartels, these institutions may be able to transform when free of narco money.

    As to hard drugs. Keep controlling its cultivation and importation. Poppies and coca bushes are cultivated in very select places, and relatively easy to get to, unlike hemp which is a weed that can grow virtually anywhere on the globe.

    I would legalize the use of hard drugs by certified addicts at government controlled treatment centers, however, and even supply it for free -- if only to keep them from busting into grandma's house to pay for their next hit. And these treatment centers would be available to addicts who would rather try to beat the addiction than continuing with it.

    “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

    by chuco35 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 10:54:04 AM PDT

    •  Simple, regrettably, it is not. (0+ / 0-)

      As things stand, theUN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs, to which we are signatory, mandates that cannabis be maintained in the "most restricted" class of drugs in signatory nations.

      Article Six of the US Constitution states

      This Constitution, and the Laws of the United States which shall be made in Pursuance thereof; and all Treaties made, or which shall be made, under the Authority of the United States, shall be the supreme Law of the Land; and the Judges in every State shall be bound thereby, any Thing in the Constitution or Laws of any State to the Contrary notwithstanding.
      So I don't see a way to call it "legal" w/o renegotiating the Convention- which is , while certainly do-able, not gonna be a simple matter. Too many interested parties.

      Making enforcement of the laws that are on the books a last priority- that's simple.

      •  Certainly a lot more do-able (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Calamity Jean, Praxical

        than winning a war of prohibition, or Mexico bringing the cartels to heel through transformation of its legal institutions. And while it might be hard to accomplish, legalization is certainly a more simple concept to understand, than how we can end demand for drugs in America, how we stop the flow of guns to Mexico, or devising and executing a successful strategy to defeat the cartels.

        “I’m able to fly, do what I want, essentially. I guess that’s what freedom is — no limits.” Marybeth Onyeukwu -- Brooklyn DREAMer.

        by chuco35 on Fri May 03, 2013 at 01:00:48 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  Again, the "UN SIngle Convention" (9+ / 0-)

        is bullshit forced on the UN by the US.

        And it's a treaty.

        HAH!

        Treaties are broken all the time, except this one, of course, the Most Importantest Treaty EVAH.

        That horseshit can be changed with a goddamned vote and a pen.

        God didn't write it: fucking asshole politicians did. Its a fake concern.

      •  Yes ... and no. (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hammerhand

        The US can denounce the treaty.  I'm not up on my UN legalese, so I don't know if this is effectively a withdrawal, but if a sufficient number of signatories denounce it then it self-destructs.  See Article 46.

        The mere threat of the US denouncing the treaty would probably be enough to force renegotiation if we still wanted the treaty to exist in some form.  

        Finally, the treaty is very ... loose in its language, like most UN treaties are, and the parts of the treaty that refer to cannabis and opium allow for the legal production of both.  The treaty's about eliminating the -illicit- trade and manufacture of drugs.  The language about controls and such are mostly either reporting requirements or so nonspecific that a written admonishment to violators, or a $1 fine, or something similarly nonsensical, could serve as 'enforcement'.

  •  Columbia is a city or a university in NY (4+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane, commonmass, mookins, kbman

    Colombia is the country. Please fix.

  •  was it in the paper version? (1+ / 0-)
    Recommended by:
    Lujane

    Although nobody seems to read paper magazines any more so it probably doesn't matter.

  •  I was nervous about people driving while "high" (5+ / 0-)

    But the old research from the seventies indicated that more psycho-motor impairment results from fiddling with your car radio that from having cannabinoids in your system.

    Newer statistical research also suggests that driving while high is a non-problem.

    You all know the old joke: "Drunks drive through red lights, while potheads stop at green lights".

    “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
    he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

    by jjohnjj on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:42:11 AM PDT

    •  Five special interest groups oppose legalization: (8+ / 0-)

      according to an article at Republic Reports:

      1. Police Unions
      2. Beer & Alcohol Industry
      3. Big Pharma
      4. Prison Guard Unions
      5. Private Prison Contractors

      “It is useless to attempt to reason a man out of a thing
      he was never reasoned into” - Jonathan Swift

      by jjohnjj on Fri May 03, 2013 at 11:51:35 AM PDT

      [ Parent ]

      •  Thanks for figure. That is pathetic. "Locking up (3+ / 0-)

        folks is good for my job, so please keep locking them up for any reason at all!"  Can you think of anything more selfish than that?  Every time I see figures like these, I am amazed at how out-of-control we let this insane "war against drugs" become.  

        Mix the blood and make new people!

        by Yonkers Boy on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:29:01 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  The rehab industry is against legalization as well (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hammerhand, isabelle hayes

        Court ordered rehab for casual pot smokers is pretty much their bread and butter.

        There are also police on both sides of the issue. For example, Law Enforcement Against Prohibition was formed to pushback against these stupid laws.

        Law Enforcement Against Prohibition is an international 501(c) 3 nonprofit organization of criminal justice professionals who bear personal witness to the wasteful futility and harms of our current drug policies.

        Our experience on the front lines of the “war on drugs” has led us to call for a repeal of prohibition and its replacement with a tight system of legalized regulation, which will effectively cripple the violent cartels and street dealers who control the current illegal market.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:20:47 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  Jokes don't amount to really good science (3+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      mookins, elkhunter, kbman

      but when marijuana is the topic many people seem more comfortable with anecdotes than hard fact, mostly because it is a highly emotionalized topic.

      "High" is a relative term. I have driven "high" countless times. I have been pulled over when high. Cops are not the experts they want you to believe.

      And there are times when I do not want to drive.

      That said, I don't count because I have driven so much and have ad to drive for a living - hours a day. I'm a very good driver as far as not being responsible for accidents or damage to my own vehicle or anything.

      I remember one time, delivering a pizza and driving high - if I had not been paying attention this stupid lady would have walked right out into my path. She was dressed in dark and walking in shadows at dusk staring at her stupid phone.

      Always pay attention to others because so many others are stupid. You have to take care of them as well as yourself.

      (The last person that hit me was stupid but not intoxicated).

    •  Car&Driver did a test in the late 70's (0+ / 0-)

      and they couldn't find any impairment.

    •  Basically. (0+ / 0-)

      A lot of it comes down to experience with the drug: new users are those most likely to be impaired in a you-shouldn't-be-driving sense.  Stoned drivers also tend to compensate for their impairment by driving slower and actually paying better attention than they would while driving sober.

      Also, I like this revision of that joke better:

      A drunk driver blows through a stop sign and hits the brakes halfway down the block.  A stoned driver stops for the stop sign and waits for it to turn green.

      ;)

  •  This quote from above: "Second, save the U.S. the (6+ / 0-)

    estimated $10 billion it wastes every year chasing down a drug that’s no more harmful than alcohol when used in moderation."  (Emphasis added).  I am sick and tired of people stating the pot is "no more" harmful than alcohol, as if that is where the story ends, open and shut.  Based on my limited research, I have found that vast majorities of scientific studies indicate that pot is less harmful than alcohol on: 1) the liver; 2) society; 3) everything else.  The "when used in moderation" qualifier is lame because where is that not true?  Even drinking water in moderation is better--I believe dying from too much water drinking is actually called fatal or deadly "water intoxication."  And I have not even begun to list the known benefits of pot consumption in moderation.  Mini rant.  Done.

    Mix the blood and make new people!

    by Yonkers Boy on Fri May 03, 2013 at 12:38:12 PM PDT

    •  It's closer to $20 billion + (7+ / 0-)

      depending on one's accounting parameters.

      Pot is nothing like alcohol, to begin with.

      Pot has no fundamental lethal dose.

      Alcohol is toxic and many people OD and die from is each year.

      Alcohol is flammable.

      Pot is used in minute quantities compared to alcohol or tobacco so "liver damage' is a minor concern: the American diet is a bigger insult to your liver.

      The problem is nobody you want to 'sway with tidy factual displays' is able to value or even hear a tidy factual display.

      It's emotional and one needs to more or less make the non-believers mad enough to do their own rsearch.

      Or just forget 'converting" them. All we need to do is win elections.

      This is one thing voting can try to fix HOWEVER... the motherfuckers don't care what we want:

      Washington lawmakers quietly approve bill to re-criminalize some marijuana possession

      Lawmakers in the Washington House and Senate quietly passed a bill over the weekend that will re-criminalize some marijuana possession, reacting to warnings from the state’s crime lab that the current law could make it impossible to prosecute large-quantity possession charges or large-scale marijuana growing operations.

      The Senate passed the measure unanimously on Saturday, according to The Associated Press. The governor was expected to sign the bill as soon as Monday, but had not yet by early afternoon. Scientists at the Washington State Patrol’s Forensic Laboratory Services warned recently that last November’s election changed the definition of marijuana to such an extent that nearly all plants seized by police could be considered hemp.

      We have no other legal avenues than getting issues on state ballots and pushing forward, state by state and finding these fuckers who want to recriminalize and harangue them until they cry.

      This isn't a game.

      •  Cheers, xxdr zombiexx. We are on the same page (2+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        Hammerhand, kbman

        and it is comforting to know that rational minds understand pot.  Thank you for your many posts on this issue.  We simply cannot give up on this, and I am happy to be on the same side of the pot-related issues as you are.  Slowly but surely, I believe the power of knowledge and truth will overcome all of this irrational fear out there about cannabis.  Have a good weekend.

        Mix the blood and make new people!

        by Yonkers Boy on Fri May 03, 2013 at 04:20:02 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

      •  This is yet another reason to push (1+ / 0-)
        Recommended by:
        isabelle hayes

        Jury Nullification. Let them pass whatever laws they will. If people charged under those laws take their case to a jury, they should be able to avoid a conviction. There may not be enough support for clean acquittals, but it only takes one juror to hang a jury.

        Regardless of what voters demand, they will play their backdoor prohibition games as long as they can get away with them. Per se driving laws and upholding firing workers for pot in their urine are at the top of the list.

        Pot? Not Guilty!

        Help spread the word.

        Free: The Authoritarians - all about those who follow strong leaders.

        by kbman on Fri May 03, 2013 at 08:30:21 PM PDT

        [ Parent ]

    •  A-freaking-men. n/t (1+ / 0-)
      Recommended by:
      Hammerhand
    •  excellent rant, now i don't have to write one, nt (0+ / 0-)
  •  the problem with legalizing a plant that never (7+ / 0-)

    kills anybody is that America demands legal things be deadly.

    Pharmaceuticals, gasoline, alcohol, tobacco, firearms. All good, legal things kill people.

    Marijuana doesn't meet that standard.

    In order for marijuana to "kill" it has to remain illegal so cops, righteous defenders of all that is righteous, get to kill you for it. Or beat you up, ruin your life, destroy young people's college opportunities.

    We have PRIORITIES in the country and dammit marijuana needs to start killing hundreds or no legalization.

    Tipped, recced republished

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