Feature: Marijuana is America's Number One Cash Crop, Study Finds

A study released Monday finds that marijuana is now the nation's biggest cash crop, with the value of the annual harvest exceeding that of corn, soybeans or hay -- the country's top three legal cash crops. The study, conducted by public policy analyst and former National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws head Jon Gettman, used official government figures to arrive at an estimate that the annual pot crop is worth $35 billion.

http://stopthedrugwar.org/files/indoormarijuanagrow.jpg
indoor marijuana grow
According to the report, Marijuana Production in the United States (2006), US domestic marijuana production has increased 10-fold in the past quarter-century. This despite ever more intensive eradication programs at the state and federal levels that have seen more than 100 million pot plants seized and destroyed since the early 1980s.

Between 1981 and 2006, US marijuana production increased ten-fold, from 1,000 metric tons (2.2 million pounds) to 10,000 metric tons (22 million pounds), according to government figures cited by Gettman. The massive expansion of pot production in the face of increased eradication efforts suggests that "marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of our national economy" that should be put under a system of legal regulation, Gettman wrote.

And it is everywhere. While California, Tennessee, Kentucky, Hawaii, and Washington are the top producing states, pot is the top cash crop in 12 states and among the top three in 30 states. "There is a lot of demand for marijuana in the US, and it's only natural that production would increase here," Gettman told Drug War Chronicle.

But the increase is also a function of government enforcement efforts, Gettman argued. "In response to the government spraying Mexican marijuana with paraquat in the 1970s, people began to grow in California and Hawaii. Then the government starting flying helicopters and airplanes around looking for marijuana from the sky, so cultivation spread out," he explained. "By 1982, it was in 32 states. Now, it's in all 50 states. Growers also moved to smaller plots and to maximize production with the use of fertilizers, better genetic stock, and the production of sinsemilla, and they moved inside. Everything the government has done to stop marijuana production has caused growers to respond, and now we are at a point where we have diffused cultivation and small-scale production all over the country," the analyst argued.

"This report tells us our marijuana policy is not working very well, and that's an understatement," Gettman summarized. "These are the government's numbers, not mine, and they show there is absolutely no evidence their program is successful in any way, shape, or form."

"The fact that marijuana is America's number one cash crop after more than three decades of governmental eradication efforts is the clearest illustration that our present marijuana laws are a complete failure," said Rob Kampia, executive director of the Marijuana Policy Project, which spearheaded the media outreach following the report's publication. "America's marijuana crop is worth more than our nation's annual production of corn and wheat combined. And our nation's laws guarantee that 100% of the proceeds from marijuana sales go to unregulated criminals rather than to legitimate businesses that pay taxes to support schools, police and roads."

While Gettman did not estimate possible tax revenues from the regulated sale of marijuana, he suggested they would be substantial. "Legal production would bring down the prices, but the fact that people are buying marijuana at black market prices demonstrates that people value marijuana and will pay for it," said Gettman. "Marijuana can be heavily taxed and still provide lower prices than now while providing revenues to the government," he argued.

In California, the state's Campaign Against Marijuana Planting (CAMP) seized nearly 1.7 million plants this year, but based on seizure rates over the last three years, Gettman puts California's pot production at 21 million plants, worth about $13 billion and responsible for a whopping 38% of total US production.

The country should focus on regulating the lucrative trade instead of vainly trying to suppress it, Gettman concluded. "Like all profitable agricultural crops marijuana adds resources and value to the economy," he writes in the report. "The focus for public policy should be how to effectively control this market through regulation and taxation in order to achieve immediate and realistic goals, such as reducing teenage access."

Neither CAMP nor the Office of National Drug Control Policy (ONDCP) returned Chronicle calls for comment on the study, but ONDCP's Tom Riley told the Los Angeles Times that while he wouldn’t argue Gettman's numbers, he disagreed with his conclusions. "Coca is Colombia's largest cash crop and that hasn't worked out for them, and opium poppies are Afghanistan's largest crop, and that has worked out disastrously for them," Riley said. "I don't know why we would venture down that road."

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marijuana

I am for reducing/eliminating prison terms for sales , manufacturing, and posession, but i think we need a black market because the poor are getting poorer and rent is laughable it is so high, if you have any kind of record any decent job is out the window, and poor people need to support themselves somehow, so until housing, employment, and food prices are resonable on a minimum wage job i am for keeping it as a way for the poor to support themselves/and relax as a vacation to hawaii is out of the question if we can't afford to get to work. It is not a violent crime, so leave us alone and go after the rapists and child molesters, and people abusing their positions of power in elected positions that lied to us to get elected. The morale in the US is very low and we need some hope that life will get better for us and our children.

I do agree that there needs

I do agree that there needs to be help for the people in this nation that are poor. However, in my experience with law enforcement there is a large link between drugs violence and cimes. I think if we can bring down the cost of living and make it easier for those who are not making enough to survive. I think a lot of people are becoming very greedy in this country with their wants rather than their needs. However I am not only worried about the drugs being increased and poverty increasing but also the increase in violence all over america. As long as are associated with money and power, there will always be a fight to control them. In many cases most illegal drugs regardless of some people's beliefs drugs are harmful to the body and do cause an increase in crime. There is lots of medical proof of this. And there are many young children being caught in this drug problem. Its not fair to them to have this going on all around them.

Is Rob Kampia Crazy?

It would be interesting to see how much the government actually spends on "enforcing" the drug laws.

If you add up the budgets of federal and state agencies totally devoted to prohibitionism (ONDCP, CAMP, DEA) and the percentages of government budgets partially devoted to the drug war (US Military, CIA, NSA, Local and State Police), as well as the percentage cost from industries devoted to incarceration, and then add in costs associated with prosecution and use of the courts, plus all of the other secondary leeches that feed off of prohibitionist policies (drug testing, "treatment" and "rehabilitation" for "chronic marijuana 'abusers' "), it is DOUBTFUL that a tax would ever come close to paying for all of that.

Far better that we end prohibition, eliminate those "jobs" and "industries" and scale back the government. We wouldn't NEED to be taxed so much. What Kampia and his ilk fail to see is that the government doesn't need marijuana taxes for schools, roads and public works. It already has that market. It is only interested in expansion. It is like one of those overweight people that hasn't left their homes in 20 years because they are so fat they can't get through the door.

AND KAMPIA WANTS TO FEED IT?????

borden's picture

the idea is to legalize and then tax it

The idea is to end prohibition, and then be able to tax it, not to keep prohibition and add a tax (which would be difficult to pull off in any case).

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

Economic benefits of legalization

The University of Florida dept. of Agricultural Sciences did a study in the 1960's that concluded that marijuana, if taxed properly, could allow for the cessation of the income tax in three years. The easiest way to tax it would be by the usage of some sort of license for possession. I hate taxes but I hate jail worse.

Keep your eyes on the prize.

No Dave. The idea is to END PROHIBITION. PERIOD.

No tax. No criminal.

Anyone who wants to use marijuana can grow their own. It is foolish to think a market will exist to tax, once marijuana prohibition is done away with. And, it is downright ignorant to say: "...proceeds from marijuana sales go to unregulated criminals rather than to legitimate businesses that pay taxes to support schools, police and roads." To begin with, marijuana farmers are not criminals because they produce a prohibited crop. Nor are they "unregulated criminals" because they are regulated by the market rather than by a government. A government I might add, that spends billions of it's tax dollars on destroying the lives of it's own citizens, as well as those of citizens of other countries. A criminal is someone who has committed a criminal act, and a criminal act must have a victim. When a marijuana farmer such as myself, is sentenced to the ten year manditory federal sentence for first "offense", do you know what they put on the space that describes "victim impact"? They put, "there is no discernable victim in this case". There is no victim! Check your constitutional guarantees. You must have a victim in order to have a crime. Government cannot be the victim, and society at large cannot be the victim. The victim must be someone who has been hurt, and who is able to prove in a court of law that they have suffered a damage by the person they are accusing. No one guilty of violating only a drug prohibition law is a criminal. So who are the criminals in the drug war? To imprison non-criminals is a criminal act in itself.The government has the right only to imprison "criminals". So that every government official who takes part in imprisoning a non criminal, from legislators who initiate and pass the laws, to the law enforcement agents, from cop, to judge to jailor, becomes a criminal.
Ron

NO TAX. NO CRIMINAL.

I heartily agree with 'Ron' the marijuana farmer about what constitutes a 'crime' and having it involve a victim. Yes, this is true if you cite 'victim' as a real flesh and blood sentient human being, and not the ambiguous term for the people's interest at large (state). Only problem is that under Common Law (the law as written and intended for THE PEOPLE in the supreme documents such as Bill of Rights, United States Constitution, etc.) one truly must directly create a victim for a crime to be lawfully realized. President Nixon did away with the Common Law courts in our country in 1972 and replaced them with Statuatory courts under Admirality Law. Ron is correct in his thinking but NOT in practical terms in today's courts that favor corporations, not THE PEOPLE.
If we can take our country back and scrap the 'anti-people' Statuatory courts with the REAL Common Law courts, all statuatory laws (which all drugs laws are created from) will become NULL & VOID and actual true Freedom could exist again! The People would be FREE to engage in ANY behavior that does not harm another person or their property. Just like smoking Cannabis for the fun of it, or to pursue individual happiness and generally enjoy life without the dictates of government control. Gee, this sounds like the INTENT that our Founding Fathers had when they created our country! I believe that George Washington (a famous Cannabis farmer AND consumer) would be appalled at what 'Ron' our modern day farmer must endure. My great respect and grateful THANKS to 'Ron' and all the other farmers who grow our Cannabis supply for our use. It is hard for me to fathom what it would be like if 'Ron' and the other farmers did not risk their personal liberty and property in simply growing one of God's great herbs for our benefit.
Let's keep the pressure on to DECRIMINALIZE Cannabis use and NOT tie it in with any scheme to TAX a natural herb that is our inherent right to use!
-- Gene for GodSmokesPot.org

homegrown can still be taxed

You can still tax homegrown pot. It would be a form of property tax, and instead of getting busted for growing, you'd get busted for property tax evasion if you didn't report your plants.

Whether or not you think it should be taxed is another matter. I'm just pointing out that it's possible, and that there's precedent.

Lots of things are possible.

It is possible that the American people will sit back and allow the institutionalization of torture, routine spying on its citizens, and the abolition of habeas corpus. Oh wait...they did.

We need to be clear on what we want. END PROHIBITION. PERIOD.

Ron's Comments...

i love you ,ron.

:o)

It is not foolish to think a

It is not foolish to think a market will exist to tax. It is legal to grow your own tobacco and smoke that but people still spend a lot of money on tobacco products. It's also legal to brew your own beer but people still spend a lot of money on that too. You just need a license if you want to produce either commercially. If there was marijuana available to consumers at the gas station or wherever you could buy cigarettes I guarantee people will be there to buy it. It is really ignorant to say that these people are unregulated because they aren't regulated by the government. That is exactly what unregulated means, being regulated by the black market is bullshit. There will always be a demand for marijuana so what exactly is regulating the sales. The criminal act is the growing and sale of an illegal substance. Technically the victim is your potential buyer since marijuana is illegal. They don't know exactly who that may be so "there is no discernible victim". Yeah I think marijuana should be legal but the only way it is going to be legal is if the government is able to tax it. If it became legal then yeah, the government would spend a lot less money on prosecuting and jailing offenders. Not only that but they WOULD make quite a bit of money off of taxing it even if people were growing their own stuff. Not every person knows hows to or has the time to tend to plants or even wants to. That's probably why so many people buy it instead of grow it themselves. You are a farmer as you said, I think you should know these things.

Ditto!

Well put, Ron! All these drugwar fucks should be behind thick, fucking iron bars, for life!
They're scum, pure and simple! I hope they all die screaming their fucking guts out. 'Sorry about using Anglo-Saxon sporting terms.
P.J

sorry, but nowhere in the

sorry, but nowhere in the constitution does it say that a vicitm (in the tangible sense that you mean) is required for there to be a crime. And it is not the VICTIM who proves anything in a court of law - prosecutions are brought by the state. While prosecutors sometimes respect the victims wishes, other times they do not - as in a case where a vicitm of domestic violence recants (presumably due to fear of the abuser) and the prosecution goes forward anyway. Or in the case of drug possession where there is no discernable vicitm at all.

This is not to say that the laws making drug possession a crime are not morally wrong.

I also think it is unlikely that every person who wants marijuana would be willing and able to grow their own. Cultivating (quality) marijuana is something that takes time and effort. Although I agree that if ONLY marijuana prohibition was ended and not prohibition as a whole (and marijuana was then taxed), it seems likely that some would call for that tax money to be used to fund the "war" on harder drugs. And the larger war on drugs is also failing and certainly doesn't need to be "fed."

Remember too, that while the idea of taxed marijuana seems unappealing, the price drop created by the end of prohibition would balance that out. Also, the taxation argument, even if it doesn't appeal to you, can be thought of as a concession - and one worth making to end the disasterous consequences of marijuana prohibition. And our public schools ARE underfunded (at least in poor neighborhoods). Maybe we shouldn't be spending so much $$ on the military, but that's another topic!

-kate

Legalities and common sense

True, there is nothing in the constitution to define crime. However, the dictionary defines crime.

"An action or an instance of negligence that is deemed injurious to the public welfare or morals or to the interests of the state and that is legally prohibited."

Wow... I could think of many things people do/have done that could be described as crimes and yet are not prosecuted for those actions. The state defines crime, and it decides upon enforcement and outlining of crime based on its own interests (in representation of "the people") and yet still decided upon by individuals who are also part of "the people." So in essence, a state decides which people are guilty and which people are innocent of "crime" based on who is in office and there opinions on which actions are "deemed injurious to the public welfare... or to the interests of the state..." 'Power tends to corrupt. Absolute power tends to corrupt absolutely.' -Lord Acton

But we're not really talking about crime, now are we? We're talking about ethics. Is it ethically just for a person to be told what he/she can/cannot put into his/her body by another person/group of people, and threatened with force and coercion if he/she not oblige that person/group of people? I don't believe so.

For school funding, I wouldn't say so much that we aren't paying enough money towards education... the US spends more tuition per pupil than any other nation, and yet we are trumped in scores by many of those. I think schools need to be spending money more efficiently and competitively, not more money in general. Your argument is the common republican/democrat solution "throw more money at it instead of getting to the root of the problem and upsetting more people" I think schools should be more competitive in general, so bad teachers lose their jobs and better teachers replace them.

'And the larger war on drugs is also failing and certainly doesn't need to be "fed." ... Maybe we shouldn't be spending so much $$ on the military,'

I'm glad we agree on something. :D

no concessions, no "compromises"

People must be clear on what they want. I want an end to prohibition period.
No compromises, no excuses, no concessions, no deals, no half-way measures, no "steps in the right direction", no quid pro quo, nothing ...end it.

We don't need to be cringing in the corridors of power, begging and pleading for what is our natural right. We need to be walking though those halls with our heads high AND DEMANDING that our government conform to the will of its people. That's US.

We are all familiar with the polls. An OVERWHELMING majority of people in the US support the right of critically ill people to use marijuana for medical purposes. But has there been any real substantive change in "our" governments policies?

You mention the war. There is again no question that the American people want the war ENDED. There was a "sea change" in the legislature. Most of it driven by animus towards the current war mongering administration.
Can you feel the winds of change? Something blows in Washington but it isn't that.

What is it going to take for us to draw that line in the sand and push back?

If we need anything it is confrontation not some mealy-mouthed compromise.

Straight up. END PROHIBITION.

no concessions, no "compromises"

I think that the post above mine is absolutely right. If people see that the system that they have invested in by paying taxes is not truely working in their interest then why continue to grind the axe. If the elected officials suck, get new ones. If the system sucks, get a new one. I don't advocate a full on violent revolution because I don't want an entirely new government. I just think that The Government should be taught to fear The People, as it should.

Sam

Reply concerning the constitution

Nowhere in the US Constitution is there authorization for the federal government to prohibit any substance----which is why a constitutional amendment was necessary for the prohibition of alcohol. Therefore, the drug war is criminal--as are any govt agents involved in this war.
"Our public schools are underfunded." Really. Some private schools can adequately educate a child for as little as $3000-4000. Our government schools require $10-12,000 per student per year (less than half of the money for salaries goes to teachers). Oh, and did I mention that the majority of our k-12 government schools are a disastrous joke; students can graduate and not be able to read their diploma.
And yes, I agree: we should not be spending so much for the military and a war we are losing (instigated by a psychopathic commander in chief).

elected lawmakers

the people in office stopped listening to " we, the people" long ago. If you can make them do the will of the people, the world will be a much better place quickly

why shouldn't we just grow it

here's a simple idea,

every state should simply legalize it. period. there would be so many people growing it, ( i have seen reports of as much as 50% of the nation in favor of legalization) the feds would not be able to keep up at all. the present federal funding that is currently being used as bribes to the individual states could be replaced by the states taxing the production of the cannibus plants and selling products from the plants such as hemp, seeds ect. because the federal goverment wants nothing to do with cannibus, they would lose out on the the tax generated from the sale of the plant. i'm sure that if this was done, you would see that not only would cannibus be the number one cash crop in the nation, you would see the amount triple.

i know that this is a very simple idea with not much brain power attached but i don't see any way but to do this. the states are afraid of lising their funding from the government. so replace it with cannibus. why not?

here's another one,

Cannabis is like sex. Everyone wants it. No one feels good about paying for it. Enjoying it at home can be down right wholesome. But there is something profoundly wrong, something deeply troubling about the prospect of it being taxed.

Drugs are like sex, yes, and

Drugs are like sex, yes, and prohibition is like the ban on prostitution, how can someone be arrested for paying or selling something that they can give away free anytime? I feel the same way about criminalizing selling organs, though at least the arguments in opposition of that make some SENSE.

"It's hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Re: just grow it

I'm not thrilled with the prospect of taxing cannibus either but if the state gets a piece of the pie, they will have an insentive to leave us alone.

Example:

In the state I live in there are about 18 to 19 million living in that state.

Tax every person living in that state lets say $100.00 for one plant.

that would bring in about $180,000,000 to $190,000,00 in revenues that could be used to make up the difference the feds would take away.

It would not mean you could grow only one plant. You are only being taxed for one.

I don't know what the actual price of a plant is, i am putting out a figure to use.

You could only tax those who

You could only tax those who grew pot, or else people with no plants would being paying the same tax for something they don't even have as someone growing 20 plants. Marijuana would have to be taxed the same way as alcohol, and regulated in much the same way. Moonshine is illegal, I doubt the feds will let just anyone grow pot either, even if it were as legal as alcohol.

"It's hard to make a man understand something when his salary depends on his not understanding it."

Moonshine has nothing to do with it...

People all over the country are brewing 'legal' wines and beers in their homes and not paying taxes on it and the feds could care less. Moonshine is still available legal or not. So what...
It's just to easy to go to the liquor store for beer/wine/hard liquor as compaired to the labor involved in 'growing your own'.
Some will brew their own, most will pay the taxes...

nEW wINE /hOLY sMOKE / hERETICS

Two Prophesies in the Garden of Eden
(Absolute Foundation Prophecy)

God say's, if you eat or even touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that is in the midst of the garden you will Surely Die.

The Serpent / Satan say's, if you eat or even touch the fruit of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that is in the midst of the garden you will Surely Not Die.

Question: When the prophet Jesus comes and offers the gift of eternal life which/whose prophecy does he fulfil.

( considering that muhammad acknowledged jesus as a prophet )

Tanya

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Historical Mixup?

There is a school of thought that say's that the second coming of Jesus may have actually been Muhammad and that Islam is really Christianity take two.

Tanya

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Holy Smoke

There is an interpretation that when God was speaking too Moses from the burning bush Moses was actually smoking cannabis and having hallucinations / visions as is not all too common with those who partake of the holy weed or so it is said if this were true would this mean that Moses was inspired by Satan or God ?

Tanya

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Left handed bible story ( Unorthodox )

Ehud son of Gera the Benjaminite , the left handed man who saved Israel , [Judges 3;12-30, Holman Christian Standard Bible , Biblegateway.com]

Ehud
12 The Israelites again did what was evil in the LORD's sight. He gave Eglon king of Moab (N) power over Israel, because they had done what was evil in the LORD's sight. 13 After Eglon convinced the Ammonites and the Amalekites to join forces with him, he attacked and defeated Israel and took possession of the City of Palms. (O) [i] 14 The Israelites served Eglon king of Moab 18 years.
15 Then the Israelites cried out to the LORD, and He raised up Ehud son of Gera, a left-handed (P) Benjaminite, [j] as a deliverer for them. The Israelites sent him to Eglon king of Moab with tribute (Q) [money].

16 Ehud made himself a double-edged sword 18 inches long. [k] He strapped it to his right thigh under his clothes 17 and brought the tribute to Eglon king of Moab, who was an extremely fat man. 18 When Ehud had finished presenting the tribute, he dismissed the people who had carried it. 19 At the carved images near Gilgal he returned and said, "King [Eglon], I have a secret message for you." The king called for silence, and all his attendants left him. 20 Then Ehud approached him while he was sitting alone in his room upstairs [where it was] cool. Ehud said, "I have a word from God for you," and the king stood up from his throne. [l] 21 Ehud [m] reached with his left hand, took the sword from his right thigh, and plunged it into Eglon's belly. 22 Even the handle went in after the blade, and Eglon's fat closed in over it, so that Ehud did not withdraw the sword from his belly. And Eglon's insides came out. 23 Ehud escaped by way of the porch, closing and locking the doors of the upstairs room behind him.

24 Ehud was gone when Eglon's servants came in. They looked and found the doors of the upstairs room locked and thought he was relieving himself [n] in the cool room. 25 The servants waited until they became worried and saw that he had still not opened the doors of the upstairs room. So they took the key and opened the doors—and there was their lord lying dead on the floor!

26 Ehud escaped while the servants waited. He crossed over [the Jordan] near the carved images and reached Seirah. 27 After he arrived, he sounded the ram's horn throughout the hill country of Ephraim. The Israelites came down with him from the hill country, and he became their leader. 28 He told them, "Follow me, because the LORD has handed over your enemies, the Moabites, to you." So they followed him, captured the fords of the Jordan leading to Moab, and did not allow anyone to cross over. (R) 29 At that time they struck down about 10,000 Moabites, all strong and able-bodied men. Not one of them escaped. 30 Moab became subject to Israel that day, and the land was peaceful 80 years.

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Voodoologique

Question; How many angels can you fit dancing on the head of a pin.

Alternative; How many pins can you fit into the head of a dancing angel.

Tanya

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Does anybody remember 9/11

Don`t cut the military , we need to be able to protect ourselves . That has nothing to do with re-legalizing pot and other drugs. Dosn`t it just kill you when people blame horid behavior on anything other than themselves? Or when some over acheaver of a reporter allows this stuff to continue to be lied about ? And ask such a completly stupid question that your stomach turns? There are so many exampes , I`ll only list the oxycontin scandal a couple of years back . But come on people Vote and vote Libertarian or nothin is ever going to change. get invloved and don`t let the kooks keep running the show.

wow did this get off topic

Look heres the deal...the fact of the matter is..were paying taxes already for pot users that got thrown in jail for having a quarter ounce....me bieng a pot user myself...and barely being able to find someone who doesnt or hasnt used pot shows me that if it were made lagal...we would save money anyways.....and yes if you wanted to put a tax on it so the governmant could get their piece of the largest cash crop in america...Look the effects of pot are nothing compared to those of say liquor with people drinking their livers away and crashing cars into kids.... i realize that this isnt number 1 on the to do list for our law makers but it wouldnt hurt would it

this

wow what this man has so is entirely true i couldnt have said it any better

Reality

I agree that pot could be taxed or licensed and be regulated efficiently. For those that say it won't work you are wrong. It may not be perfect, but it will certainly be better than what's going on now. And if you think I'm wrong here's a perfect example for you: Guns. We license buyers and sellers of guns, owners take classes and need permits/licenses, they are taxed and regulated. However, there is still an illegal gun trade in the U.S. and it's virtually uncontrollable. Yet, we still allow them to be bought, sold, owned and traded. Now, could you imagine the U.S. without gun laws, taxation and regulation, it would be the wild west all over again. So as you can see, although some slip through the cracks, were still better off by regulating the trade.

WTF

Tanya (see comments above) is one of the prime examples of why leagalization will probably never happen. There are too many wierdos who smoke weed. I think that it should be leagalized, but there should be a clause that prevents people who have low IQs from using it.

marijauna

it is bad!!!

American drug laws discussed in China

I'm teaching a news reading class to English majors in China. One of the articles they were required to read was by William Bennett ("Should Drugs be Legalized", Reader's Digest, March 1990). Bennet was the drug Czar under George H.W. Bush. All the students agreed with his conclusion that legalizing drugs would not reduce crime, would not eliminate the black market, would not take the profit out of the illegal drug trade, and in general would be a bad thing. It took me three 90 minute classes to address his arguments. I gave the students a PowerPoint history of the drug laws in America from Prohibition and Harry Anslinger to the present day, when over three quarters of a million Americans are arrested for marijuana possession each year and America has more citizens in jail than ANY other country in the world. Bennett's strongest argument: "The simple fact is that drug use is wrong. And in the end, the moral argument is the most compelling" I showed the students something else that some moralists in America would like to see banned - dancing, especially the tango - and asked them whether the government should be telling people how to be good. It was an interesting class.
The Chinese tend toward a police state authoritarian solution to any social problem, but maybe if people point out how totally unsucessful the war on drugs has been in America, what a destructive disaster it has created, they will look at other approaches. Perhaps they could look to my country, Canada, where harm reduction is replacing criminalization, and actually achieving some results.

Potheads will find any

Potheads will find any excuse to try to get pot legalized.The fact is, potheads are useless members of society and theres no need to legalize marijuana just so more people can become useless stoners, but LEGAL useless stoners.

Pot in America

As far as i can see more people die from beer and wine every year than from smoking pot

Potheads?

"Potheads are usless members of society"? How ignorant can you be? The term 'pothead' has a negative connotation placed on it, when many successful individuals use marijuana, such as doctors, lawyers, wealthy businessmen etc..
Why dont you say people that everybody that drinks is useless becuase all they are are drunk, bums that live on the street and do nothing but beg for money so they could buy more alcohol. Give me a break

Faith

As a marijuana smoker I truly believe Marijuana can be used responsibly with no dependency at all. If myself and other educated people can do it then so can the uneducated. Anything I can do you can do better.
(Chance)

COME ON PEOPLE

Yes, there are useful members of society that can smoke weed recreationally. I know some very educated individuals who still smoke it almost regularly and function fine when it comes to being a member of society. HOWEVER... we forget that there is a large difference btwn socio-economic divides. The educated, functional, recreational users tend to be in the middle, and middle-upper status. These individuals have easier lives, less dependency problems, and usually have a more stable background. The ones that are going to SUFFER from legalization of marijuana are the lower class. In the lower socio-economic areas, where life is usually not cushy and easy, and there is high instances of substance abuse and dependency already, there is going to be mass increase in use of marijuana, with the adolescents and youth being the targets. Sellers will need a bigger market since the price will go down and will target anyone who they can easily influence. The lower-class are more succeptible to addiction and more easily influenced (the fact that lower class are more easily influenced is not stereotyping it is researched-look it up). Since it will be cheaper, the lower class that couldn't afford to smoke it as much will than be able to smoke it more frequently. Therefore the lower class will only fall further behind, and the social divide will only increase. BOTTOM LINE- IF MARIJUANA IS LEGALIZED THE MID -UPPER CLASS WILL BENEFIT AND THE LOWER CLASS WILL BE SCREWED! Think about. Sure Belthlehem, and the Pine Hills area won't see any major increases, or changes if it's legalized, but imagine what Arbor Hill will be like. Oh yeah, another backlash of legalizing marijuan, the prie will drop so the dealers living the ood life selling the minor stuff (dope) will have to resort to selling the harder, more serious stuff in order to make the same kind of living. Let' think this through a little deeper then just our own selfish egos'

Your logic is thin and shallow

Your pretty much stating that if it will be legal, the drug dealers are going to push other drugs? That doesn't mean people are going to buy them. The money that is saved from not filling our prisons up with non-violent pot smokers, would easily pay for the education on drugs, and money to spare for other programs that ARE needed. Keeping innocent kids from BECOMING these 'drug dealers' that you fear. The majority of dealers that deal pot, don't deal with anything else. You stereotyping potheads and all drugs dealers into one giant category. Keeping it illegal, is not going to make things better, but has only showed to make things worse.

We learned all about alcohol and the responsibilities needed when drinking it in health class in high school. But nothing on marijuana, it was all lumped together with the images of meth addicts and crack heads. Lying to children that it's even close to being in the same category as hard drugs, will make them believe that it is ok to do them when they've experimented with pot. "This didn't hurt me like they said it would, so that must mean heroine won't be much different either". The fact that people like you spread fear on something that is more harmless, by a long shot, than alcohol, show how unconnected you are with society. And there will not be a mass increase of use of marijuana. You obviously don't realize how many people in the US already use it as a casual drug, of course they have to hide it because it could ruin their livelihood if they are caught now days because people like you make it a crime. The legal sale of it would obviously have to have the same strict regulations as tobacco and alcohol. Not any kid could just walk up to the Quick-E-Mart and buy a baggie, or pack of pre-rolled weed. If you are unfamiliar with tobacco and alcohol, I'll help you out. They basically put the fine on the cashier who sold to a minor, and on the store. Show some intelligence on regulation before opening your mouth in the frightful, scary conservative tone you employ that it's all just gonna be a free-for-all. It has been used responsibly by humans for thousands of years, and still is in many cultures, where it is cherished, with children present. Up until Christians deemed it 'magic', and all magic belongs to the devil, it was also used in European and American societies. Educate yourself, educate your children, and you won't have a problem. Just because you think it's ethically wrong, doesn't mean the majority of the US does. There was a time and place for people like you, and it died with the movie Reefer Madness.

What Will Happen

This, in roughly chronological order, would be what I think would happen if the federal goverment struck down The Marihuana Tax Act of 1937, thereby making marijuana legal once again(up until then marijuana was 100% legal!)
-Thousands of people will be released from prison. They usually kick out the non-violent (mostly drug offences) offenders whenever there's a state budget cut anyway.
-The price of marijuana could go A) Up, because all the stoners will be celabrating in high fashion, or B) Down, because the costs accociated with cops seizing with a good chunk of the product will vanish, and more people will grow their own.
-The overall crime rate will go down, because A) half the "crimes" currently committed in this country are cannibus-related, and B) many of the crazy people will be peacefully toking away at home instead of going out and committing any crimes.
-Some, then all states will end up taxing marijuna in some way. We like to see green(weed), they like to see green(money) too.
-Rastafarienism-style religions/cults/lifestyles will flourish like Hydro on Gatorade.
-There will be Billy Grahm on TV preaching on the country's lack of morals and reproaching the country for legalizing a "dangerous, sinful substance." The sermon will become the most popular video on youtube, as everybody will laugh at it the way we laugh at "Reefer Madness" now.
-We'll get our own cable TV channel.
-Lotsa celebs will come out and say that they too smoke the good gangha.

My biggest concern with this

My biggest concern with this whole situation with drugs and whether it should be legal is the violence that goes with it and the children that get caught up in it. Has anyone of you thought about that part of it? And don't try telling me that there is not a link between drugs and violence because I am a criminal justice major. I have been studying this for awhile now. As well as that my professor has also been studying it even longer. Between the two of us there is over twenty years of experience with law enforcement. As long as illegal drugs are associated with power and money there will continue to be a need to keep it under control and protect these innocent children.

borden's picture

why the violence?

You raise an interesting point. Our view is that as long as drugs are illegal, they will be a focus of power and money. And so we will continue to see this violence -- because it's not people getting high and being violent because of that, at least not most of the time. Most of the time it's a war over the money that's to be made in the drug trade, and there's nothing inherent in the drugs themselves about that. End prohibition and that will stop.

David Borden, Executive Director
StoptheDrugWar.org: the Drug Reform Coordination Network
Washington, DC
http://stopthedrugwar.org

High School

In my high school, Douglas County High School in Colorado, Marijuana is 10 times easier to get than beer. Why is this. So, we are losing money three ways to make it more abundant? We aren't getting any tax money, we are spending A LOT of tax money, and all of profits that we inflate are shipped to other countries, or like this article says, drug trafficers, probably not paying taxes. 3 ways that I am losing money to make it EASIER? If you regulate it, like we do with tobacco, the only black market will be with the underage population, like tobacco. Increase penalties for selling, like manditory jail time, and increase penalties for consumption by minors. There will still be youths trying it, but if the price is driven up, they won't be able to afford it everyday and probably won't share as much with their friends. So, I am not saying that it will solve the whole problem, but it will not be profitable for someone to grow and sell an ounce for $400 (current price) when people can get it for less.($200?) Regulate it like tobacco, but don't tax it to much, so the government has the monopoly. Strictly controlled, hospital like government owned dispenseraries that undercut any other price. Think about it. Really. Stop and think about it. The only place to go to get it is a huge sanitized building. This will get it out of the schools. Less violence in Mexico, less people in prisons for victimless crimes, and less counter culture rappers promoting it. Yo hommie, so I went down town to the dispenserary. Drugs are a big part of the gang issue, and we literally lose children to gangs. Without drugs, they are common criminals. Just like gangs increased during the last prohibition, they are here today in these schools that kids have at least 20 different options to get marijuana. Yeah, okay. It's working. The argument about it being a personal choice or whether or not it is bad for you is completely moot. Even if it killed you after 3 times, it should still be legal for adults because of how easy it is for kids to get right now. Do you know how hard it is to get a liqour hook up for even weekends? How hard would it be to get enough beer to drink 10 a day. So again, (I am in the Army, I don't smoke weed) I am losing money 3 ways to ingrain pot into our culture and make it 10 times easier to get than alcohol? Get this crap out of our schools.

High School 2

And, let's not forget about terrorism. Let's keep on funding terrorism and making marijuana available to every kid in America! Seriously, marijuana is harder to get as an adult than as a high schooler. I knew people who would go to high schoolers to buy it. So yeah, let's keep on funding terrorism! Read the link below!

http://www.zimbio.com/Opium/articles/15/Afghan+Poppy+Farmers+Stop+Growin...

are you serious grow the hell

are you serious grow the hell up how is that terrorism you dumb ass most high schoolers either grow it them self or buy it from someone that they now that grows it do you see guys with bombs strapped on or AK's out here slinging dime bags cause i sure the hell don't i see people down on there luck needing money because the economy is so fucked

The real story

You people talk about drug dealers, you just are forgetting one thing.  All drugs, marijuana, are control by the Columbia government, They in turn control all Us Police.  There fore, if you throw out all Us Police, you would have no drug dealers, and  the problem would be gone.  Then you could hire a Police force to deal with ever day crime.   And no more Prohibition.

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