Pubdate: Thu, 11 Nov 2010
Source: Saipan Tribune (US MP)
Copyright: 2010 Saipan Tribune
Author: Stanley McGinnis Torres
Note: Stanley McGinnis Torres is a representative in the 17th CNMI 


Second Part of a Series

Yesterday we learned that the case for legalizing marijuana has three
main components. In the first section of this article we found that we
citizens have constitutionally granted inalienable right to liberty
and personal freedom and that the government cannot legally take
authority not specifically granted to it. But they have done so illegally.

Today we will take a look at some common misconceptions about crime
and usage in areas where pot is or was perfectly legal. We will
discover that the legalization of pot does not cause crime to
increase; in fact it is the exact opposite, legalizing it reduces
crime and stops funding terrorists and criminals.

Let's look back to the early period of the 20th Century during which
several religious groups and other organizations, notably the WCTU
(Women's Christian Temperance Union), decided to push for legislation
to take alcohol use from being a personal choice for adults to a
substance prohibited by law. In their zeal to legislate the morality
of others they failed to notice (or just looked the other way) that
there would be severe consequences. They managed to get a
constitutional ban placed on alcohol consumption via the 18th
Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and almost instantly ushered in a
reign of terror and organized crime the likes of which this nation had
never seen.

It should have come as no surprise that, when there is a demand for
something and that demand is stifled by force of law or by any other
means, the demand will get satisfied some other way. Black markets in
liquor arose immediately. Once legal shipping lanes became instant
illegal "oerum runners."  The obvious happened: Prices for the now
illegal substance skyrocketed and the quality of the merchandise went
down. Huge armed gangs formed to protect their interests and their
supply lines and retail outlets. Huge profits were to be made and guns
were used by criminals to enforce protection of their turf. Organized
crime was born. Organized crime was, and is, a child of morality
legislation and of Prohibition, not of liquor use.

Why does the black market cause violence and crime? Because the price
of a prohibited substance rises the instant it is not allowed. Demand
remains the same, which causes prices to escalate even higher. Do you
think someone would rob your house or steal copper wire from an
abandoned building if the commodity they desired cost 50 cents or a
dollar instead of the hundreds of dollars demanded by the criminal
element of a black market? Obviously not. The crime and violence comes
as a byproduct of and is caused by the prohibition of the substance,
not by the substance itself.

This becomes a source of money and power and increased influence for
those charged with enforcing the prohibition. They stand to gain a
great deal; job security for themselves and literally billions of
dollars pumped into their coffers to pretend to be able to stop what
should be an adult's own choice to make or not to make. They know they
can't stop it. They know that by trying to stop it, it grows and goes
underground and lets them pretend to have the need to grow ever more
powerful themselves to keep up the pretense. In the U.S., pretending
to stop drug use has grown completely out of control and has become a
multibillion dollar industry consuming a large percentage of our taxes.

Back to the '20s-'30's: Finally after a decade of rampant crime and
with reality staring them in the face the voters demanded a repeal of
Prohibition, and got it via another constitutional amendment, the
21st. But the damage was done, and the entrenched bureaucrats saw the
power they were able to achieve and lusted after more. They knew that
the voters had learned their lesson and would not unleash the harm to
themselves and their families caused by another round of Prohibition
so they resorted to an illegal power grab that continues to this day.
Thus the illegal and unconstitutional prohibition of marijuana and
other substances was born and causes pain, death and destruction even
until today.

If it is legal, it becomes cheap and available simply by going into a
store and buying it, like mongo beans or Spam. No gang needs to form
to protect it, and a whole class of "oecriminals"  become what they
really are, just adults deciding to use or not use a particular herb
over some other herb. Did anyone ever resort to burglary to get a bag
of mongo beans? What would happen if they made mongo beans-"oethe poor
man's meal" -illegal to possess or eat? The price would go way up and
a black market would form and the FBI would chase their tails and
pretend to be our moral guardians and save us from the demon mongo
beans, spending billions of our money on the charade.

In countries where marijuana and other drugs are legal to use, the
actual usage goes down, not up. Witness Australia and Norway, orderly
societies both. Children are protected from using it not by
authorities or by laws but by their parents, just like now. The
difference is that adults who choose to inhale a particular leaf after
setting it on fire are not criminals anymore. They are just consenting
adults minding their own business. If you want to come and force me to
use it, I am just as appalled as I am if you want to stop someone else
from using it. It is simply not a decision that your government should
be making for you. Next time you see someone demonized or jailed for
daring to buy a marijuana cigarette, think about a $25 bag of green

I quoted David Boaz from the Cato Institute yesterday and I think he
has something important to say in today's context as well: He said,
"oeProhibition causes crime and corruption. It diverts law enforcement
resources. It channels money to criminals here and abroad. It
devastates our inner cities. It imposes huge social costs on such
countries as Colombia and Mexico."  His quote ends here but I would
go on to say, "oeand all for no gain at all, except for the few who
maintain power and control over the rest of use by the use of
governmental force of arms."

What if you were to wake up tomorrow morning and the usurpers of
constitutional power had changed their minds and decided that the
"oewar on drugs"  should be fought to force you to take drugs, and
which ones you had to take every day? That is no more irrational and
no more unconstitutional and no more just plain wrong than forcing you
not to ingest the herb of your own choice as they do today. After all
they do call themselves the Drug Enforcement Agency.

Tomorrow we will discuss the money issue. I think you will find that
the CNMI's economy would be booming if adults were allowed to make
their own legal decisions about marijuana farming, possession and usage.
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake