On Friday, I briefly criticized Obama’s glib response to the question of legalizing marijuana. I said, “our marijuana laws, in particular, are much more destructive than the effects of the drug itself. They tear apart families through prison terms and divert/waste government money on an incredible scale.”
In the comments section, Ian thought I went too far by saying that marijuana prohibition tears families apart. However, I think there is plenty of evidence that shows the needlessly destructive nature of our ‘War on Drugs’ aside from the heavy handed prison sentences handed out to non-violent offenders.
Exhibit A is the Mexican civil war with the drug cartels. Already over 8,000 people have been killed as a result of the war. This is a war fueled by what Secretary of State Hillary Clinton calls our “insatiable demand for illegal drugs.” And what drug in particular generates the most money for the armed cartels? You guessed it:
One of Mr. Calderón’s predecessors, Mr. Zedillo, recently joined two other former heads of state from Latin America in pushing for a complete rethinking of the drug war, including the legalization of marijuana, which is considered the top revenue generator for Mexican drug cartels.
There doesn’t actually seem to be any proof that marijuana kills anyone (its negative effect on the respiratory system notwithstanding), so why are we banning it at the cost of the 8,000 plus people that have died in the Mexican drug war, and those killed in drug raids over less than a handful of marijuana? Besides that, how much money are we wasting each year on enforcing this garbage? How many people are denied medical marijuana that could improve their quality of life? How many schools could have been built with the tax revenue we could generate from the lawful sale of marijuana?
This is exactly the sort of thing our country already went through when we banned alcohol in the early 20th century. The blackmarket for beer and liquor thrived, and dealers dealt with competition violently instead of through better marketing or the court system. The ‘cure’ for drinking was certainly worse than the disease. The same thing is true for marijuana, which is certainly less destructive than alcohol.