We keep hearing about how U.S. Farming is in trouble. Family farms are gobbled up as economies of scale–operating costs, capital equipment and unpredictable crop prices, which may plummet at any moment as fixed prices soar–work against the family farmer. In the meantime, poachers encroach on state and federal park land to plant marijuana. They’re willing to do so because the potential returns far outweigh their perceived risks. While their crops may be discovered, the “farmers” frequently escape prosecution.
I mentioned yesterday that pot grows wild all over Afghanistan. It’s also farmed there. Weather conditions to grow the weed are ideal in many parts of the country. Cannabis grows with little fuss when conditions are right. With minimal effort, it can return excellent profits.
Granted, the fact that it’s illegal makes it more profitable (and dangerous). But were it legal, it would help us in several ways.
First, decriminalizing pot would relieve pressure in an over-burdened penal system. The “War on Drugs” by all accounts is a dismal failure. Tough repeat offender laws corral nonviolent criminals like pot traffickers with hard core, violent criminals, often with bad results.
To evade border detection, Mexican cartels have moved to the U.S., where they use public lands to farm pot. These aren’t “stoners” nursing a few plants, they’re opportunists willing to resort to any means to make huge profits. They’re dangerous and can be violent.
So we have American farmers going out of business because traditional crops often yield less than they need to make a profit after their fixed costs. We have poor neighbors who know how to grow an excellent product and are willing to resort to crime to do it here. And we currently occupy a foreign country riddled with poverty, that after decades of unrest and conflict is unstable, yet possesses a climate perfect for low-cost production of marijuana. They’re going to grow it anyway, as will Mexico and South American nations. We’re already in competition with these nations to meet the demand of our illicit pot use.
Demand won’t disappear. Our efforts to squelch it have failed. Sometimes people realize when they’re being bullshitted-as they have when past government propaganda regarding marijuana use has repeatedly been proven false. Were it legal, demand would certainly increase.
We have citizens who want it, citizens willing to grow it, nations sneaking into our country to grow it to meet existing demand and countless “criminals” clogging our prisons, doing time simply because they realized all of this, decided to say “screw it” and got caught.
We have a cash crop we could grow, tax, import and export. It’s clinically proven less harmful than either tobacco or alcohol consumption, yet both are legal while pot remains illegal.
If the criminalization of marijuana isn’t due to its safety when compared with substances now legal and fully accepted in our society, if it’s not due to cost of rehabilitation among users who can’t control its consumption (like tobacco and alcohol), if it’s not due to the danger pot poses to society at large and especially when, due to consumer demand, it’s inherently MORE dangerous to prohibit it due to increased smuggling, violence and crime, why exactly, do we as a society refuse to legalize it?
I suggest it’s because our puritanical right-wing leaders hold to the belief that it’s sinful to consume intoxicants. That doesn’t stop those same self-righteous individuals from carelessly, illegally aiming a two-ton vehicle after a 4-martini lunch but it keeps the system happy, the captured repeat pot users/traffickers behind bars, it keeps the black market and its kickbacks going.
When asked to justify their actions, we get phony science, religion and BS. It’s time we get over marijuana’s ill-deserved bad reputation, appreciate it for what is and let our nation both enjoy and profit from its legal use.
Here’s a related article on the decline of farming in CA. BTW, pot grows GREAT there.