Obama shouldn’t overlook marijuana as a cash crop, considering how badly we need cash
Originally published on BuzzFlash.com on Wed, 04/01/2009 – 10:55am
Today’s Doonesbury points out the economic realities in Afghanistan. Well, we have our own economic reality here at home.
One of the many problems in dealing with Afghanistan is that the country is so poor that the opium business thrives because there aren’t that many ways otherwise to make money.
Not that the United States is to the point of Afghanistan financially, but there is a cry for producing something we are good at making. And since we aren’t making a whole lot in this country, we could help our situation out and grow hemp — marijuana — pot.
The theme of legalizing marijuana dominated the Obama online town hall recently. Obama did acknowledge the questioning, but said, “I don’t know what this says about the online audience,” Obama said, provoking laughter. “But… the answer is no, I don’t think that is a good strategy to grow our economy.”
One advantage to legalization would be to reduce the violent crime that plagues not only the United States, but also our direct neighbors. The extended violence along the southern border with Mexico extends back to drug dealers, not users. And Vancouver, the site of the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, has been hit with a rash (by Canadian standards) of murders stemming from gangs and drug dealers, again not users.
To be blunt, marijuana users aren’t likely to arm themselves and shoot someone, unless they had the last Twinkie in the house, and probably not even then.
Traditionally, those in the MSM, the corporate media, the fuddy-duddies of the world love getting their noses out of joint. But when Clarence Page of the Chicago Tribune weighs in and it’s not with scorn, laughter, or mocking, perhaps a tide has turned.
If he really cares, Obama could end this reefer madness in much the same way that President Franklin Roosevelt ended the disastrous run of liquor prohibition in 1933. Prohibition had to go. It was too costly to enforce. It demoralized a public already beaten down by the Depression. It wasted a potential tax revenue-producing commodity by intruding unnecessarily into the private lives of otherwise law-abiding Americans. Sounds familiar.
Unlike Roosevelt, Obama does not have to amend the Constitution to end our marijuana confusion. He only has to get out of the way and allow the states to enforce their own drug laws. That’s not a laughable notion. It’s only sensible.
The Economist, no radical publication by any means, described the situation in its March 7 edition: “Prohibition has failed; legalisation is the least bad solution.”
Medical marijuana and the many states that have approved legislation to allow for that have been a great success. The outcries from conservatives were the fears of all the horrible things that would happen if people could consume marijuana, even for medical purposes. Given the corporate media, if there were significant problems, or even non-significant issues, we would have heard them well before now. The only problems have come from the federal government, mocking state laws and breaking down doors in some macho posturing against “weed.”
Now that Attorney General Eric Holder has said the Justice Department would not go after medical marijuana unless it broke both state and federal laws, there is more hope to show that the world won’t go to pot if medical marijuana is allowed to thrive.
This is the time for experimentation. We have plenty of poor areas that would appreciate jobs and employment opportunity. Heck, if we decide to stop building cars in Detroit (and that seems closer to reality than ever), there will be plenty of hands and free time there to make it happen.
And unlike opium in Afghanistan, marijuana in the U.S. would be much less of a threat. Our jails are literally filled with marijuana users, not even dealers. This could be part of Jim Webb’s prison reform push.
If we could legally grow our own marijuana (Buy American), this would reduce the pressure and role of the Mexico and Canada gang-related slayings. It would strengthen our economy without having to worry about getting loans from banks. After all, there isn’t much startup money to grow hemp.
President Obama might not think this is a good strategy to grow our economy. But there are a lot of people who are suffering and have been suffering economically for some time, and we can nip their problems in the bud. The growing, cultivation, distribution, and of course, the taxation could pay for a lot of good programs that would boost your presidency, and of course, our lives.
Politically, Obama might not think it’s viable. But marijuana may be the solution to save our country from going to pot.