As a cash crop, marijuana has a greater value to farmers than tobacco, what, or cotton, in many states being the largest revenue-producing crop. Only corn, soybeans, and hay rank as more profitable cash crops as marijuana growers get an estimated $15.1 billion with the wholesale market. Moving from the wholesale level, drug dealing is one of the very few kinds of well-paid employment available with the young in poor urban areas. Whats less well reported is that most of the nations drug production is among the nations poorest areas.
If drug reform is indeed needed, how far do we need to go with it? While illicit drugs have been tossed into debate in the past (such as MDMA) the marijuana issue has been the one drug that the nation has been (recently) pushing for policy reform. The debate no longer revolves around the harms of marijuana, as it has in the past. Stephen Kisely cites that cannabis produces “acute effects include accidents with motor vehicles or machinery, and adverse reactions. In the longer-term, cannabis has been associated with cognitive impairment and psychosis, although not consistently, and direct causality is more difficult to establish than for acute effects.” The Runciman Report.
One argument many opponents bring up for the justification of prohibition of marijuana has been the increase in potency through the years and the idea of it being a “gateway drug”. Alcohol and Tobacco was even noted as having stronger evidence to being gateway drugs by the TSTC. Regarding the potency issue, this would probably be due to the drug’s illegal status. As bootleggers would increase the potency and amount of alcohol in their beer and “spirits” during the prohibition of alcohol, much can be said of marijuana’s growing and selling in today’s age.
So what options are on the table for dealing with this issue of the “War on Drugs” (which was uncoined by the new drug czar) and specifically dealing with marijuana prohibition. Health education has pretty much proved to be a dud, as the past forty years a number of commercials, ads, and general announcements have been made of the dangers of drugs. Through all this usage has just continued to rise. Through a comparison study of the United States, Australia, Canada, and 3 European countries showed that marijuana consumption isn’t affected by expenditure on law enforcement. With so much being invested on incarceration of marijuana users, money is essentially being taken away for treatment, research, and prevention for users. While punishment may seem like the easiest method, economically speaking it leaves a big dent in government expenditures for help programs.
Wouldn’t it make sense for us to support Canada/Cuba’s naval counter-narcotic operations? Nations such as Cuba, Mexico and Canada should be financially supported by our government to increase their anti-drug smuggling operations. Cuba, Mexico and Canada are a major line of defense in America’s War on Drugs; they should be given hefty financial/military packages by the U.S. government to support the ongoing War on Drugs.
If we were to aid the Cuban Navy, it would incalculably benefit both Cuba and the U.S. Most contraband that arrives in Florida’s main cities has to pass Cuban waters (Cuba is just 100 miles from Florida). Currently, Cuba’s Navy is obselete and would not be able to conduct proper counter-narcotics operations. We should be supplying Cuba with financial/military aid packages, just as we do to Mexico and Canada. Furthermore, our military should assist in training Cuban forces dealing with counter-narcotics operations.
There are three pillars that describe how we should be fighting the War on Drugs. The first deals directly with U.S. consumption and dependency of illegal drugs. This involves creating public awareness, anti-drug propaganda and access to professional counseling/treatment to illegal drug users. The second pillar is to reduce funds available to illegal drug-producing nations and focusing these funds primarily on increasing drug eradication. The last pillar focuses on using funds that were supposed to be given to these drug producing nations and investing it in securing all of our borders. Furthermore, this will secure our seaports, airports, vehicle checkpoints and railroad terminals. This will not just create more jobs in our nation, but it will make it more difficult for smugglers to get contraband past the border.
Many people who oppose the War on Drugs, believe the legalization of drugs would end the problem immediately. For example, they feel that Mexican drug cartels would vanish over night if all drugs were legalized. These people fail to understand that Mexican drug cartels are organized crime syndicates. The major Mexican drug cartels all engage in different forms of criminal activities, not just drug-related. These cartels end up engaging in illegal activities that range from counterfeiting to human trafficking. How would legalizing drugs make these cartels magically disappear? The majority of their non-drug related illicit activities are profitable enough for them to continue their operations.
Opponents of the War on Drugs, tend to always relate to other issues regarding wasteful government spending linked to the War on Drugs. The issue of our prisons being overcrowded is always mentioned. These people feel that our government cannot keep all of these drug offenders inside of our overcrowded prisons. In reality, is the prison system really controlled/owned by our government? Not at all, it is controlled by the prison-industrial complex. Yes, these are private prison companies that are in business to do what every other business does, make money.