Thursday, March 12, 2009

Just exactly how does marijuana legalization work?

I'm asking this seriously. How does the government go about legalizing marijuana and taxing it? Where will it be sold? Will there be little Governmental stores that set up across the country to sell it? Is the government going to guarantee purity and quality? Walk me through it. How will this work?


redante said...

Hi Rikyrah, I'm no expert but I think if the US were to seriously want to do this to first look at other countries overseas who have successfully done so as a model. Let's say the Netherlands -- Amsterdam in particular. I bet we can learn a thing or two in how they regulate, sell and maintain relative law and order in other aspects of their society if marijuana is legal. I know that their legalization of drugs has limits (I don't believe hard drugs like cocaine and heroin are legal there, for example). I'll do some research and come back with some links.

redante said...

This is a link to the online library of the advocacy group the Marijuana Policy Project. They seem to have amassed quite a big library of useful info and anticipated many of the questions we are discussing now.

IThe library has a series of interesting material -- downloadable PDFs -- that relate to issues in marijuana legalization. Some interesting titles:

- Effective Arguments for Medical Marijuana Advocates

- Effective Arguments for Taxing and Regulating Marijuana

- Marijuana Prohibition Facts

- State-by-State Guide to Medical Marijuana Laws

rikyrah said...

thank you, Liberal Arts Dude. I'm serious about this. This wasn't a sarcastic post in the least. I'm watching clips of the Mexican drug wars spreading over the American border, and folks talking about how much profit they get from weed, and I'm watching prisons fill with Black folks who deal drugs, and I want to know how legalization works.

Brian said...


That's dead on arrival. The legalization of Marijuana in this Country isn't going to happen. And even if it were to happen... it wouldn't stop the drug wars in Mexico. It wouldn't stop the domestic drug trade either. Domestically, legalization would lower the price....and may make the preparation and selling of Marijuana a lot less profitable... but the drug dealers would simply move on to selling more lucrative drugs. In fact, collapsing the illegal Marijuana market may lead to more drug violence in this Country as gangs fight over the limited crack cocaine, heroin, meth/speed markets to replace their source of cash flow.

There are several issues surrounding the increase in violence in Mexico. The three main issues are:

#1. The Mexican authorities are putting the squeeze on cartels....more than they ever have before. The cartels are fighting for their survival. And for them... it's a two front war... they are fighting with government troops...AND battling one another for precious territory to operate (which is shrinking), towns, and drug routes.

One of the main ways that the cartels fight is through intimidating officials, killing off witnesses, etc. They threaten and kill police chiefs, judges, drug czars, police officers, property owners, mayors, Prosecutors, Federal officials name it...anyone who stands in their way gets wiped out. They even threaten the families of these officials. That's often enough to get authorities to back least for a while. This is why the Army had to be brought in full force about a year or year and a half ago. It's basically a low level civil war... for North American standards you could say that it's a full fledged civil war.

#2. Economic conditions in North America over the past year have made the U.S. less lucrative for migrants... Many have returned home early...after they ran into problems finding work here. Some have decided not to come at all. This leaves a lot of folks in Mexico who are desperate for a paying job... and the one thing that is thriving there is the underground economy of illegal drugs. The unusual economic picture creates a great recruiting ground for the Cartels. If a man can earn $40, $50, $60 U.S. dollars a day as an armed guard, farmer/producer, driver or courier/messenger...and if he can earn even more money as a drug mule...then why come to the U.S. to slave on Farm fields (where many are mistreated and underpaid), or to wait on corners as a day laborer hoping to get some under the table construction work (when there are few houses going up right now)? The choice is an easy one.

So when a guard in Mexico gets arrested, shot, etc... or when a mule gets captured or killed... they are easily replaced... keeping the cycle going.

#3. There is the issue of corruption in Mexico...where officials are bought off and end up working for the drug lords... tipping them off to raids, etc. That's how things have been there for years. When the Army came in... it disrupted this arrangement a little...and all Hell broke loose. The drug lords are nervous and don't trust anyone right now... so they are killing everyone who they merely suspect might be a problem. And witnesses can't be spared. If mom overheard something...or is caught talking to someone unfamiliar or there is any doubt... they kill her too.

But things may heat up on both sides of the border... because the money flow for these drug lords and gangs in this Country (such as MS13) is probably being disrupted right now.... because of the squeeze being put on their supply.

I'm not worried about the U.S. so much... our law enforcement agencies can dispatch this thing really quick if it begins to threaten peace/social order. The concern should be with Mexico... will their President survive? Will an insurgency grow there? Will the U.S. be able to provide enough support, etc...and can we get the regular economy going again? Because if that happens (economic rebound) may help take the wind out of the illegal drug trade... not wiping it out completely...but isolating it and allowing authorities to dismantle some of the biggest cartels, freeze their assets, and disrupt their routes.