Map of life expectancy at birth from Global Education Project.

Sunday, May 30, 2010

Simple answers to complex problems

I was down on the farm the last couple of days -- got in some more sweet corn, beans and tomatoes, and fought to keep the jungle at bay. As long-time readers know, my rural property is surrounded by state forest and farm fields. The state of Connecticut, which has been slashing funding for public health, early childhood services, and other useless commie programs, has plenty of money to spend flying the pot chopper -- a state police helicopter on the lookout for marijuana plants -- 100 feet over my head every Saturday. My farmer friend Festus tells me they visit his neck of the woods in Lebanon on Fridays. It's a 7 day a week program.

A couple of years ago they actually spotted something. A convoy of SUVs full of guys with buzz cuts in black uniforms with body armor and assault rifles went up into the woods and came back down with 8 little pot plants. Civilization was saved!

It is quite odd, in my view, but you probably don't even know that possession and use of marijuana is effectively legal in Massachusetts. It has been for more than a year since the voters passed a referendum -- overwhelmingly, I might add. In principle the cops can write you a hundred dollar ticket but they don't even bother. You aren't required to show ID or give your real name. Once they figured out that everybody they busted was named Count Chocula, they pretty much gave up. What I say is odd is that this monumental historical development has essentially been ignored nationwide, and even right here in Massachusetts. As far as I know the only discernible consequence is that the police and courts can spend their time on better things and fewer people are going to jail or bothering probation officers. But the state hasn't even bothered to report on that.

Other than that, nothing has happened. Our youth are no more corrupted or dissolute than previously, our workplace productivity is unaffected, our traffic safety remains the same. Cross the state line into Massachusetts, and you won't even get a contact high.

Meanwhile, Mexico is on the verge of becoming a failed state as violent drug gangs have taken over entire cities and regions. Federal and state governments in the U.S. spend tens of billions of dollars every year on helicopters and SWAT raids and prosecutions and locking people away who have done nothing but raise, trade and smoke flowers. Lives are ruined, and taxpayers drained.

All of this could stop, overnight, with no negative repercussions whatever. Make it legal to grow, sell, possess and use cannabis in the United States. Regulate it, tax it, keep it away from minors. Bust people for impaired driving, can workers who show up high and can't do their jobs, all that stuff, just like we already do. Just make it legal. 100% of problem solved.


Anonymous said...

Do you think that if pot use were legalized nationwide, the tobacco companies would jump at the opportunity to add it to their product line?

roger said...

all the people making money in the eradication industry might see a negative repercussion. they like the war on some drugs.

Cervantes said...

Anon, it is certainly true that megacorporations would jump into the business, not just tobacco companies but probably ADM and Dole and you name it. In fact, I've read that folks up in Humboldt County fear legalization because they figure they're prices will tank.

My view is that if a farmer is willing to work hard and take the job seriously, cannabis lends itself to small scale, local growing and distribution for many reasons. And there are lots of folks who would gladly pay a premium for organically grown, local product. So I think it would be good for the farm economy ultimately.

Yep, there's a huge vested interest in the status quo.

robin andrea said...

Reasonable thinking and logic are not tolerated in our republic. Please refrain.