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Marijuana Legalization Makes Economic And Common Sense


Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
I'm sitting in a chill wind on the corner as people stream by on their way to or from the Bellingham Farmer's Market and it's threatening rain. I observe and am open to conversation but few stop to sign my petition. The rejection is starting to get to me and I gain a new-found respect for the young traveler making his way across an indifferent America.

I have had better luck in friendlier environments, like near the Food Co-op, or outside Uisce on St. Patrick's day. I have collected better than 400 signatures personally, and met a lot of very nice people.

And overwhelmingly the people I speak with agree with and support Initiative 1068, which removes all civil and criminal penalties in Washington state civil and criminal for adult cultivation, possession, use, transport, and sale of "marijuana" - as hemp (English) and cannabis sativa (Latin scientific name) is referred to in the prohibition statutes.

This prohibition of a plant - this attempted obliteration of a crop that George Washington and Thomas Jefferson grew and that clothed the Revolutionary Army, and provided the paper upon which the Declaration of Independence was drafted - is long overdue to end.

Prohibition didn't work for alcohol, which is actually toxic and addictive. Prohibition creates organized crime, turns the police into racketeers, and diminishes respect for the government. Prohibition is an experiment that has failed dismally.

We have spent more than $1 trillion enforcing prohibition since President Nixon declared the "War on Drugs" in 1970, and here is the result: drugs are as available as ever, more potent, cheaper, and both usage rates and addiction rates are unchanged. The federal government's response? More of the same. George Santayana called it - the federal government must be insane. I'd say "insane, stupid, and utterly corrupt. And, unfortunately, not exactly working for you unless your name is General Electric or Halliburton."

Fortunately, however, we live in an actual democracy in Washington state where the people, by common consent, can make and change laws. And the laws prohibiting cannabis can be changed this year.

Why should we do this? My question in response is "who benefits by continuing this prohibition of what once was the largest cash crop in America?"

Certainly not the thousands of non-violent, non-harmful people whose lives are ruined for daring to possess cannabis.

Certainly not the taxpayers of the state, whose money is wasted: we spend over $150 million per year enforcing cannabis prohibition in Washington alone. Consider what a boon not spending this money on non-productive prohibition enforcement would be to the education and health systems of the state. We could eliminate the waiting list for Basic Health; we could reduce, rather than increase, teacher-pupil ratios; we could actually reduce the state deficit by taxing retail sales of cannabis, which are currently part of the black economy and generate no tax revenues.

How many times does the experiment of prohibition have to fail before we figure out it doesn't work, it has never worked, and it creates more harm than the private, consensual behavior it criminalizes?

The Whatcom County Democrats endorsed I-1068 on May 20th; I expect that the Whatcom County Republicans should do the same since they endorsed Ron Paul in 2008 and Paul is on record for ending drug prohibition.

Any person who is for freedom and against unjust dominion should be outraged by the continuing war on the American people that is called the "War on Drugs" by its perpetrators. I believe this should be a unifying issue, assuming most people have common sense.

How far have we come as a nation from our origins where hemp was the largest industrial crop by tonnage and value, used for fabric, cordage, paper, medicine, lubricants, feed, windbreaks and hedges, and recreation? How did we get from there to here, where such a useful crop has been banned and criminalized by the United States Government? And how can we restore some sanity? Vote "yes" on I-1068.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: The Bellingham Herald
Contact: The Bellingham Herald
Copyright: 2010 The Bellingham Herald
Website: Marijuana legalization makes economic and common sense

* Thanks to MedicalNeed for submitting this article
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