On this April 20th, the case to legalize marijuana is a no-brainer. There are at least 7 things that could be accomplished by legalizing it:
- Stabilize Mexico. The drug cartels are waging a war against the Mexican government and each other funded mainly by the profits from marijuana sales in the United States. Legalizing marijuana would create an opportunity for the current government’s attacks on the cartels to succeed – as the cartels would need to scramble to find alternate sources of revenue while fighting a war against a military bolstered by American aid.
- Stop wasting money on a failure. Barack Obama called the war on drugs “an utter failure.” Since he took office, he has vowed to cut the fat from the federal budget and eliminate failed programs. At a time when our tax dollars are at a premium, why should we continue to waste money on a failed government program?
- Protect the legitimacy of our laws. Almost half of all Americans admit to have tried marijuana – including 3 of our past 3 presidents – which means that they all broke the law. Such flagrant law-breaking undermines respect for the Rule of Law – and more important, once Americans break the law they can see how distorted the government propaganda campaign against marijuana is – further undermining respect for the government. America is currently waging a war on its citizens the likes of which have rarely been seen in history – as we imprison a greater percentage of our population than any other nation on earth and continue to militarize our police as they stop enforcing community standards and instead impose federal policies using extreme force.
- Stop aiding terrorists. According to a 2004 Congressional report, the illegality of drugs has incentivized a vast system of money laundering, smuggling, and corrupting of government officials – as well as created failed states and lawless regions – all of which aid terrorists seeking to carry out attacks on the United States. The criminalization of marijuana creates the biggest incentive on all of these fronts.
- Reduce crime. The War on Drugs has been militarizing America’s police forces and eating up resources which has led to a statistical uptick in non-drug related theft and violent crime synchronous with this shift. As police resources are spent enforcing federal drug laws – arresting, testifying, surveiling – and as the police become more militarized and distant from the communities they are charged with policing – serious non-drug related crimes increase. One report quantified this by explaining that every additional drug arrest leads to an increase of 0.7 Index (serious) crimes [page 6 of the pdf].
- Stimulate the economy. Obama may have tittered at the question, but there is precedent – the repeal of the prohibition of alcohol when FDR took office during the Great Depression.
- …I’ll let Tim Meadows make the final point for legalization by explaining why not to smoke marijuana:
[Image by Torben H. licensed under Creative Commons.]