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GEOPOLITICS ANALYSIS DESK

  

Legalize It?  How Do You Excise It?

So it has come to this.  California politicians are once again making feeble attempts to generate revenue in a recessionary climate.  It seems that the debate that Peter Tosh immortalized in the minds of every Phish fan hasn’t even been opened for discussion to the electorate.  In a state that harbors illegal migrants in local bastions euphemized as ‘Sanctuary Cities’, our inept representatives are all but ignoring the citizens’ will for a voice on the issue of legalizing a felonious controlled substance.  Anyone who pays particular attention to these topics is keenly aware that the drug at issue is hardly cannabis.  As in all social movements, ‘going green’ has been co-opted to mean going for the ever more intoxicating addiction to money.

On which either side you find yourself, the issue is purely about money.  Illicit users of marijuana are the only innocents in terms of greed in the entire process.  Every single actor in the supply chain makes a profit on this drug until the bud meets it fateful infernal end in a rolled paper, pipe or vaporizer.  Everyone in the pot industry and its tributaries are party to the distortion of the issue solely for the means of criminal profit.  From the growers, processors, transporters, smugglers, cartel enforcers, corrupt law enforcers, domestic transporters, bulk dealers, organized crime syndicates, gangs, boutique dealers, hemp advocates, and casual dealers to the medical dispensaries – everyone makes a profit.  Some pay an enormous price in the form of incarceration, death and slavery, but their opportunity for enormous profit in the cultivation and distribution of this weed outweigh the potential risks. 

However, the majority involved in this trade are the end-users.  The degenerate pothead is an iconic image that has forged perception of the typical marijuana smoker.  The casual user is much more prolific today and they look much like you.  They are the golfer, the real estate agent, the teacher, the engineer and the plumber.  Their sheer numbers represent the demand that makes this endeavor such a profitable one.  Despite the secular popularity, most casual users recognize the risks and concerns of legalization, and few would argue against the notion that pot is intended only for adults.  Please consider that this is not an essay on the moral relativity of the issue.  That is another discussion.  Here I attempt to address the issue of the feasibility of the legalization effort.

Who, what, where, when and how?  These are all very pertinent questions, but let us add a few more.  Price, Placement, and Promotion are principles taught in business schools world-wide as compulsory elements of a successful product campaign.  I will dive into those topics as well, but the most important question to pose here is ‘Why?’  I don’t refer to the moralistic sense of why.  I mean the practical sense of why, and to what end.  Most will agree that the divorce rate in this country is a product of many things, including the erosion of traditional values.  I feel that the main cause for divorce is a product of increased personal opportunity, generational immaturity of the participants, individual entitlement mentality and a lack of consideration for the endgame.  In answering the question as to why marijuana should be legalized, we must first identify our ultimate objective.  It is this notion of  an ‘endgame’ that I feel has been lost in the discussion.

Why?

This is a very difficult question to answer, depending on whether the person is standing behind or in front of the lectern.  The answer should be an easy determination, but the shame associated with the truth causes politicians to stutter when verbalizing it.  As I have already revealed, money – tax revenue, to be more specific – is ‘why?’  These are the same people who formed the Office for National Drug Care and Prevention and the Drug Enforcement Agency to spearhead a pathetic war on drugs.  Be very clear, I am a staunch supporter and advocate of these initiatives, but my focus is on the dramatic and instantaneous reversal of policy in this regard.  They have spent years and billions of dollars to convince the American Public that drugs are a social cancer that lead to economic paralysis and cultural-porosis.  Criminalization of opiates, cocaine, marijuana and other drugs was accompanied by public outreach campaigns to alert us to Reefer Madness and hot frying pans.  The overall effect has been successful.  The vitality of the American economy was infused by a motivated and lucid population.  Few would argue that the opium dens of the orient contributed to a motivated and productive populace. 

 With our nation’s success, the anti-drug chorus became louder in civilized circles as drug related crime began to constitute the largest percentage of the crime statistics.  I find it particularly irrational to react negatively to that reality.  If the majority of violent and non-violent crime involves illegal drugs, I think that reveals the success of the movement to prohibit these substances.  First, it reveals that our laws have largely mitigated a lawless society and has created a citizenry that aspires to a lawful civilization.  Secondly, the relative rise in drug related crime is the indicator that drugs are the single greatest threat posed upon our society.  The way to discipline an unruly child is not to reduce the severity of consequences.  These consequences should be intense, swift and directed at the source of the problem – the cartels. 

The earliest example of drug cartels emerged during the Period of Prohibition.  Alcohol was another commodity that had an insatiable demand during early 1900’s era of individualistic indulgence.  The cartels during that time were domestic and enforcement was hampered only by demand and corruption.  The parallels between drugs and alcohol end with the discussion of demand.  Every other aspect of the supply chain process is different, which I will dissect later.  The Harrison Act which prohibited drugs was signed by President Wilson in the wake of the opium scourge following the Spanish-American War.  Alcohol gave way to marijuana when soldiers returned from the Great War with hashish and seeds from an amazing Turkish herb that was used by shell-shocked troops for self-medication.    When the depression hit, reefer was easily grown and readily enjoyed by the poor, rural and black populations as a substitute for the urban tonic.   The quantum leap from marijuana to cocaine in the 1970’s led to massive crime in the wake of President Carter’s mishandling of the economy, foreign affairs and domestic policy.  The tumor that originated as a puritanical attempt to revitalize government mandated virtue under the Democratic president Wilson, metastasized into a thriving industry of imported vice under decades of governmental incompetence and massive immigration.

The Clinton Administration certified Columbia as a partner in this war, yet the billions in aid and support were filtered to the cartels through conduits of corruption lubricated by the very politicians he anointed as partners.  The Just Say No and D.A.R.E. campaigns have been confronted with skyrocketing use of illicit drugs among teenagers, yet millions of dollars continue to be funneled into these programs.  Drug addiction has risen precipitously and the sweeping wave of crystal meth took place, in part, due to the widespread availability from clandestine domestic producers who bypassed border control altogether.  Politicians continually ignore the statistics because the disingenuous ‘War on Drugs’ is a politically expedient means of getting re-elected.  I emphasize re-elected because incumbents rarely compromise their office by continuing the change-oriented rhetoric that helped get them elected initially.  Bill Clinton ran on the “I didn’t inhale” platform, but spent more money on drug enforcement than any other President in history.  So, while Peter Tosh may be cranked to ‘11’ on the campaign trail, even liberal voters tend to punish incumbents who choose a decriminalization platform.  Sacramento politicians are hoping that California’s economic plague will convince voters to buck that trend.

Perhaps the most important element in the question of ‘Why?’ lay in the cause rather than the cure.  The reason for the total reversal in public drug policy is the complete corruption and incompetence that exists in the Legislature.  The problem predates the Gray Davis administration and the blame is shared in equal parts by the foolish and gullible California voter, the ballot initiative process, the California state and public labor unions and their offensive pension programs approved by the very politicians that are now suggesting a regulated Pot Industry.  These are also the same representatives that have systematically appropriated public resources to perpetuate a dependent nation of illegal migrants within our state borders.  Money spent to provide illegal persons of all nationalities in-state tuition to state universities is an example of the tax revenue spent to perpetuate a disproportionate distribution of benefits for which California residents aren’t even eligible.  Rather than implement basic reforms to reduce costs associated with undocumented residents of the United States, these legislators now propose a reversal of a century of State and Federal drug policy.  In a sense, they are proposing to quit the war on drugs.  Not because the war is inevitable, but because they can’t balance a budget.  They are addicted to spending your money that they will stop short of nothing – to now include legalizing drugs.  The same drugs that we have stigmatized in our culture to reinforce a vital and civil society, could be a seemingly endless source of revenue for politicians who seek to leach every last dime from the taxpayers in perpetuity.  It is a very simple concept.  It is the same rationalization on which  every member in the Dope Supply Chain operates.  The profit opportunity is so alluring that even Governors want to be drug dealers.  Let us be very direct.  That is exactly what will result from this movement.  The Government will now become the drug dealers, yet they will now be able to control the accurate and efficient infusion of the drugs directly into the society.  It is a politician’s wet dream – a tax that addicts are begging to pay.

Which delivers us to the question of ‘To What End?  The more pertinent question would be, ‘Will there be an end?’  To that question I respond that the answer should be clear…”No!”  Once these corrupt officials are permitted to access seemingly limitless revenue from insatiable marijuana demand, it is not reasonable to expect that they can ever be expected to relinquish that revenue.  To the contrary, the California State Legislature would have spent untold resources on the establishment of a bureaucracy to regulate this newly regulated industry.  Pay no mind to the illegality of the proposal from a Federal context, but imagine the notion that our state government will be financially incentivized to encourage the use of a Schedule I Controlled substance.  The perpetual need for tax revenue by an incompetent and corrupt legislature will ensure the permanence of this social blight.

Stay tuned for Part 2 of this discussion…

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