Why the Government and Drug Cartels Don’t Want Legalization


Image via ThoughtPolicy

As I was driving home from Houston along Interstate 10 yesterday, I couldn’t help but notice all the police cars along the route. My passenger didn’t quite understand why, so I launched into a good 30 minute discussion of how small police forces along the interstate supplement their income from drug trafficking seizures. The discussion also covered “Santa Muerta,” drug smuggling routes, and eventually, why the “War on Drugs” is a disastrous failure.

Next year, 2014 will mark one century of the drug prohibition effort here in the United States. 100 years of attempting to regulate human behavior with an end result of probably more people dead from the attempt to control drug use, than the drugs actually killed. The United States has also locked up more than 1 in every 100 people, which is the highest rate of incarceration in the entire world. Furthermore, by making drugs illegal, we’ve given massive wealth and power to some really evil people. You need to look no further than researching the cult of Santa Muerta, which is very popular in narcoculture.

It’s quite obvious to anybody with common sense that something isn’t right here, so why does the government insist on continuing to fund wasteful and dangerous anti-drug campaigns?

It’s all about money, folks. The thing is, there’s a lot of people who have profited greatly from the prohibition of things as relatively harmless as marijuana. It’s not just the government agencies and the defense contractors who don’t want to see it end, it’s the cartels as well. Imagine if all of a sudden, President Obama somehow managed to see the light in regards to this failed war and convinced Congress to do the same? Los Zetas, Sinaloa and all the other cartels would be put out of business. At the same time, it would also create a decrease in demand for weapons by police and cartels, as well as less need for jail cells to house the hundreds of thousands of people convicted of drug “crimes.”

This is a very lucrative market for contractors, the weapons industry, traffickers, police and the cartels. Sadly, until there’s more profit to be made on pizza and ice cream deliveries for those with the munchies, I’m afraid this waste of taxpayer dollars and human lives will not end.


Facebook comments

  • BackSeatJesus

    Don’t forget all the privately owned, for profit prisons that lobby daily against legalization/decriminalization.

    • Don’t for get about the drug companies, alcohol and tobacco they don’t want these currently illegal drugs cutting into their profits either.

    • easterpig

      That’s right … and don’t for get Dow Corp. they make baggies ….. the container of choice for dope packaging …..

      • damspam

        What year is this?

  • Jim Austin

    There WILL BE someone, sometime, that will figure out how to make money on the air that we breath…

    • perri-air

    • Yes indeed. Remember, the President of Nestle does not think that water should be free, but should all be sold to the highest bidder.

      • crabjack

        If they get their way on that, we will surely see the beginning of a revolution against the corporation. Nestle will burn – literally.

    • Shawn Schwartz

      They Already Have It’s A Wind Tax ! !

    • Grazel

      Actually there are already “oxygen bars” that do just that. They’re not quite at the level of fancy bottled water, yet. They are getting there though.

  • I thought Santa Muerta was the saint of death? I didn’t know it was the name for a smuggling route. Guess you learn something new everyday.

    • Kevin

      Santa Muerta is s religion that worships the saint of death and some even think Satan! Most people that belong to the South American drug cartels practice the religion!

      • Grazel

        Or at least utilize the iconography of the cult (it is a cult, not quite up there with a full-blown religion as it’s got no central dogma and is often a sub-sect of Catholicism) for smuggling operations.

  • pierider

    Fuck that. Keep fighting the good fight. We shall overcome them.

  • Tddrage

    The cartels will survive by sinking the mountain of money they have now into new ventures…. Diversification. The pizza delivery prediction at the end of the article, for instance…. There will come a time with legal weed where drivers for competing pizza joints will do drive bys in 30 minutes or less, Papa John will suddenly be called Papie Juan in scared whispers, and every location of The Hut will employ 20 naked teen girls to cut the pizzas.

    • Grazel

      And the crime lord in charge of the Hut will be called Jabba?

  • Don’t forget the lawyers; they make good money from this too,

  • Dee

    So ….. the logic is “because of the corruption that exists in the war on drugs campaign” we just need to legalize drugs. Because marijuana, cocaine, heroin, crack, meth, opium, pcp, LSD ( just to name a few) would be, if legal, better for society vs the corruption ? I just dont understand the logic. I disagree with my government funding other governments in the fight. I believe that tighter controls of our borders and stopping the stuff from coming into our country should be our focus. If we spent what we have given away maybe we’d see some improvements. But to say legalize ALL drugs to stop the corruption within the campaign is the way to go, I don’t see how that is socially responsible.

    • Cathy

      Drugs outside the black community are largely decriminalized — anyone who wants to get drugs can. There are folks who have very serious drug addictions for 20 years or more that have never been arrested, though everyone knows they are addicted, have a good idea who their dealers are, etc. So drug abuse, like alcohol abuse, would become a health issue and dealt with through the health system. Like tobacco, whose benefits are fewer than its downsides, awareness campaigns and significant taxes will help to discourage people from using drugs while pointing them in the appropriate direction to avoid drugs or to get help. Right now, there’s no full discussion or support for drug users, because it is illegal and socially stigmatized. So in fact, by legalizing drugs — beyond the corruption, etc., we will finally see investment in the issues driving people to drug uses, effective treatments, awareness campaigns, etc. And like tobacco, we’ll see significant progress and rapid declines in 30 years … instead of only growth across 100 years of prohibition. In the meantime, the profits that are currently funding gangs, organized crime and corrupt politicians ans business men, will fund legitimate business and federal, state and local taxes.

    • BackSeatJesus

      See recent articles on Portugal’s now ten year long decriminalization for an excellent example on how this would work and work very well at that. And, just as an FYI I believe that the US now grows most of it’s own pot.

    • Grazel

      Yes decriminalize drugs, otherwise we should criminalize all unhealthy habits: tobacco, alcohol, no more OTC drugs, junk food, television, computers (lack of exercise is unhealthy after all, not to mention the eye strain and carpal tunnel risks), and of course any sex other than male-and-female missionary position for the sake of procreation and only for married couples (std risks after all). The way to deal with the negative effects of drugs is to treat them as a mental and physical health issue and get people treated (like Portugal is doing). This is actually shown to decrease the severity and number of addicts. If alcohol prohibition taught us anything it’s that when you make something unhealthy illegal it encourages abuse, and puts power (and money) in the hands of those willing to provide something for the desperate. Drug use doesn’t have any victim other than the user when you take legality out of the equation, desperation because they’re illegal is what causes the danger to others (or to the user in a way not tied directly to the use of the drugs). If someone doesn’t have to risk being arrested and going to jail they’re more likely to seek help for addiction. If it’s legal there’s less teen peer pressure to do it because “its cool” (cut out the rebel appeal) so less abuse or even starting use. Why are drugs that aren’t as harmful as alcohol illegal? I don’t think the argument is to just throw open the doors. The argument (like gun control and prostitution) is to put in place reasonable regulation (and taxation) instead of blanket bans (or blanket freedoms) on them. We have valid, and reasonable laws about sex out there (those that protect children) and I doubt there’s any sane person out there that wants those to be gone just because they say ‘decriminalize sex’ (which SCOTUS did in 2005, to a degree that was reasonable). The same goes with “legalize drugs”, we’re asking for reasonable regulation, not carte blanche. If you’re wondering, I don’t do drugs other than those prescribed to me by my doctor (thyroid and diabetes issues). I generally don’t even take aspirin, cold meds, or other OTC stuff either. I just don’t feel that what should be a matter of personal responsibility is in the hands of some distant group of stuffy old white men who don’t even follow the laws they pass, including drug use.

  • Mr. Smith

    You have to look at some of the largest lobbyists for the prohibition of pot which was extended to realistically every country in the world initiated by the United States, which by the way was legal across the globe till the US Federal efforts to criminalize specifically Marijuana…
    With the industrial revolution came major leaps in research. Pharmaceutical and chemical companies were extensively researching the medicinal and manufacturing properties of marijuana after the turn of the 20th century. once it was discovered the countless medical uses of weed ranging from pain relief to seizure control could not be patented, they went to a great effort to make marijuana illegal not only weed but they even tried to make things like aspirin illegal at the same time. Along with that chemical companies like Du Pont aggressively lobbied along with the drug companies because of synthetics that can be made from the oils of the cannabis plant. Textile, liqueur and tobacco manufacturers got into it as well because of the manufacturing uses and non-toxic non addictive recreational uses. With marijuana available as a commercial product producing far superior products, there was no way to patent THC and the other beneficial compounds, hemp fiber or petroleum from the cannabis plant. The companies had patents on new products that would never have made the companies a dime if cannabis remained commercially available.

    The end product is what we see today. Prisons full of what are actually harmless decent people, good drugs that only the rich can afford that insurance wont pay for, bad drugs that the poor have access to that insurance companies will pay for that have side effects worse the the ailment itself, inferior fabrics, toxic fuels that are not renewable, etc. etc. etc. All because people wanted to make a buck at most of the worlds expense.

    Google ‘commercial uses of cannabis’ the list of things that can be made is approaching something like 60,000 items, from one plant.
    I could go one and one in great detail but I won’t research the subject you will find it fascinating regardless of what preconceived notions you may have.

  • Ekaterina Kaverina

    This President convince this Congress of anything, you are joking? A good plan would be for him to declare an enhanced war on marijuana, in order for them to vote in favor of legalization.

  • Len Woelfel

    I would wager that if pot were legal, and the government collected taxes on only 10 – 20% of the actual current consumption, coupled with the savings in enforcement and punishment, we’d STILL come out ahead.