Tax and Regulate meets opposition from Big Liquor

Not that you’d be surprised, but there’s some fierce opposition to the 2010 California ballot initiative to legalize and tax cannabis in the same way alcohol is taxed and regulated. Alcohol lobbyists from big companies like Anheuser-Busch are throwing big chunks of money into fighting the measure in California this November. Their concerns of course lie in the possibility of losing customers to legal cannabis; they have no concern with the health and safety of Californians or of Americans in general.

To fight back against Big Liquor, Tax Cannabis 2010 is trying to raise a whopping $50,000 between now and June 30th, when the Spring fiscal quarter ends. The fundraising numbers will be used by many media outlets, talking heads, and proponents and opponents alike as a barometer for themeasure’s likelihood of passing. Please show your support for a sound cannabis policy that aims to reduce the harm of incarceration and legal penalties for a drug that’s safer than alcohol, tobacco, and many prescription medications. By donating, you’ll make your voice heard in the loudest way possible–and you’ll help bring an end to these outdated laws and set the stage for the nation to follow.

In Drug War, cartels are winning

So far this year 324 police officers and soldiers have been killed as a direct result of the drug war. Photo courtesy of USA Today.

So today I read an article in USA Today about the Mexican drug war escalating. Even further. Apparently cartels are luring officers into ambushes and traps, then opening fire and mowing them down. To give you an idea: on Monday there were 95 drug-related deaths in Mexico, a record since President Calderón’s infamous crackdown in 2006. But the most baffling part of the article was the complete and total absence of any legalization discussion. It even offers a quote from a supposed “crime expert” from a Mexico City graduate school who appears to be puzzled by the behavior of the cartels, saying “These are war-fighting tactics they’re using. It’s gone way beyond the normal strategies of organized crime.”

No shit? The people who traffic drugs, on whom you’ve declared A WAR, are now using war-like tactics against you? I have no idea how this is surprising. What I find surprising is the lack of any logic in this battle against drug trafficking. Here’s the scenario the governments of the U.S. and Mexico are participating in:

Step 1: Ban substances, thus creating a lucrative black market that creates a huge profit motivator to sell these otherwise cheap and available substances (marijuana being the main source of revenue and the most popular among consumers).

Step 2: Declare a war on those who grow, sell, buy and use these substances.

Step 3: Provide as much firepower and armed policemen and National Guardsmen as possible without compromising security to go after the drug traffickers- who are purchasing even more guns and hiring even more men with all of their black market profits.

Step 4: Act really, really confused when these people start killing all of your policemen and stealing all the big guns you bought for them to use to kill more policemen.

Will our governments ever wake up to the real solution to the problem here? When alcohol prohibition was repealed, it was because of a depression. In a depression, statistically drug and alcohol use tends to go up, and of course federal and state budgets tend to go down. Thus the illegal traffickers are raking in more money while law enforcement agencies earn less and less. The scales eventually tip, and the traffickers gain an enormous advantage  in both money and firepower. The only way to successfully end the violence in Mexico and to prevent any violence related to the buying and selling of drugs is to legalize and regulate these substances in some manner. With marijuana, regulation similar to alcohol would be appropriate, and with other substances of course some other method might be preferred, such as allowing doctors or psychologists to prescribe them. But no one should be subject to arrest for possession or sale of any substance. The black market prohibition creates is literally killing our bravest law enforcement officers. End prohibition now, before more cops are needlessly slain.

Using every online opportunity

Hey folks! Sorry my posts have been infrequent lately, I’ve been busier than usual. I just wanted to tell you all about another online opportunity for some political leverage on the marijuana issue. As I’m sure you all know, many elected officials are looking to the internet as a way to measure the general attitudes of their constituents. There are many, and of course some are more influential than others, but I saw a new app on Facebook that has me interested. It’s called Visible Vote, and it’s based over at Visible Vote allows members to promote certain bills, vote yes or no on them, and rate them in importance on a four-star scale. If you have time today, add Visible Vote to your apps, click ‘Vote Now’ and look under the ‘promote a new bill’ tab. On the list of bills, please select the following three to promote:

1. H.R. 2943: Personal Use of Marijuana by Responsible Adults Act of 2009

2. H.R. 2835: Medical Marijuana Patient Protection Act

3. H.R. 1866: Industrial Hemp Farming Act of 2009

These three bills need all the support they can get, and this is just one more platform to raise our voices on the issue. Thanks for your time and keep fighting for re-legalization!