Is marijuana more harmful if illegal?
Three random selections in this week’s news: Eight men shot to death in a Mexican bar near the U.S. border. Alpine County finds Mexican cartel growing 35,000 marijuana plants in California’s Sierra Nevada. The San Francisco Chronicle publishes an editorial opposing the legalization of marijuana.
One of the weaknesses in American society is that we pass or maintain laws because we believe they are good, without applying a real world understanding of the cost of those laws. The anti-marijuana laws come at enormous cost to our country, and the Mexican drug cartels…ever so violent… have crossed our borders to leverage those laws.
Who knows how much money these criminal enterprises are pouring into opposing California’s Proposition 19 which would legalize marijuana? Think of the billions of dollars these criminals would lose if that should pass. Think of the hundreds of human beings that would not get killed each year in drug lords’ turf wars. Thinks of the Californians who will soon be dying as these murderous cartels move into the Golden State.
And there is the SF Chronicle urging people to vote against Prop 19 for its supposed shortcomings, such as allegedly permitting car passengers (not drivers) to smoke. Why not just modify to Vehicle Code to prohibit that?
The question is not whether marijuana smoking is good or bad. The question is not whether legalizing will perhaps increase the number of smokers by 20%. The question is not eliminating marijuana by pretending that after 40 years people cannot get it or do not use it.
No, the true question is the cost. How many lives will be lost to criminal enterprise? How many dollars are lost to the trade deficit? How many jobs are exported that could still be local? Should we subject our own people to laws that have little effect but to discourage respect of our law and state? What about the destruction of our economy?
Irrespective of how the November 2010 election turns out for Proposition 19, the clear fact is that Californians have decided this issue every day and every year for decades. There will be marijuana whether it is legal or not. We can control it, or we can help the Mexican drug cartels enter our lands and contribute to the corruption of our elected officials.
Respect the law. But make the law respect reality.