US Marijuana Laws Costly Failure

Dec 5, 2011

In 1913, El Paso became one of the first cities to ban mar­i­juana. Other com­mu­ni­ties soon fol­lowed suit, and by 1937 the drug was banned by the fed­eral gov­ern­ment. The drive to pro­hibit mar­i­juana was not moti­vated by efforts to reduce depen­dence, improve health out­comes or alle­vi­ate crim­i­nal activ­ity in the gen­eral pop­u­la­tion. Its pro­hi­bi­tion has a much more dubi­ous prove­nance in the fears and prej­u­dices that accom­pa­nied grow­ing Mex­i­can migra­tion at the begin­ning of the 20th cen­tury. That march towards mar­i­juana pro­hi­bi­tion has helped cre­ate a lucra­tive mar­i­juana econ­omy. Mex­i­can drug car­tels smug­gle many things into the US, but mar­i­juana is the most prof­itable por­tion of the cartel’s port­fo­lio. Mar­i­juana has the larger cus­tomer base with the most sta­ble demand and steady prices. And, the Mex­i­can car­tels own the value of the mar­i­juana from farm to mar­ket. Nearly 100 years after El Paso enacted its ini­tial ban on mar­i­juana, the city bears daily wit­ness to the vio­lence that the mar­i­juana econ­omy inflicts on Juarez, our neigh­bor on the U.S./Mexico bor­der. Since 2008, more than 9,000 peo­ple have been mur­dered in Juarez. The vio­lence stems at least in part from a declared war between the two largest car­tels for con­trol of the El Paso/Juarez trade cor­ri­dor. In a ground-breaking 2010 Asso­ci­ated Press report, Martha Men­doza found that the U.S. has spent over $1 tril­lion on the drug war since it was first declared in the Nixon admin­is­tra­tion. And our return on that invest­ment? In 2010, 35 per­cent of high school seniors reported that they had used mar­i­juana, a num­ber that has been fairly con­sis­tent since 1975. In fact, more high school sopho­mores tried mar­i­juana last year than tobacco. At some point, sooner rather than later, we must admit that our cur­rent course has not worked. It has made things worse for those who are most vul­ner­a­ble (chil­dren and addicts), has led to bloated enforce­ment bud­gets at every level of gov­ern­ment, has invited con­tempt for law and jus­tice, has destroyed thou­sands of lives, and has left us bil­lions of dol­lars poorer as a result. At some point, we must chal­lenge our elected lead­ers to enact laws that reflect real­ity and not an unat­tain­able ide­ol­ogy. We must come to a reck­on­ing, much the same way we did 80 years ago, and repeal a pro­hi­bi­tion that does more harm than good. If Wash­ing­ton won’t do any­thing dif­fer­ent, if Mex­ico City won’t do any­thing dif­fer­ent, then it is up to us — the cit­i­zens of the bor­der who under­stand the futil­ity and tragedy of this cur­rent pol­icy first hand — to lead the way. Source: San Anto­nio Express-News (TX) Copy­right: 2011 San Anto­nio Express-News Con­tact: http://​www​.mysanan​to​nio​.com/​a​b​o​u​t​_​u​s​/​f​e​e​d​b​ack Web­site: http://​www​.mysanan​to​nio​.com/​n​e​ws/ Authors: Beto O’Rourke and Susie Byrd

Here is the orig­i­nal post:
US Mar­i­juana Laws Costly Failure

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