Marijuana is a beautiful plant, but marijuana prohibition is an ugly thing. Sadistic, racist cops all over the country use marijuana prohibition to target minorities, especially minority youth.
Violent drug gangs use marijuana prohibition to finance their weapons purchases.
Bloodthirsty corporations use marijuana prohibition to sell dangerous, addictive and synthetic substitutes,
and many otherwise law abiding citizens have been lured into using it to supplement their income, despite the risks involved
By now, marijuana prohibition has gone on so long that it has become an institutionalized evil. Lots of people have gotten used to making a good deal of money from this one very bad law. At the same time, millions of people go to jail, lose their jobs, suffer needlessly, and pay exorbitant prices for a harmless, hardy weed that, despite over 10,000 years of human consumption, has never killed anyone.
Thanks to marijuana prohibition, however, lots of people lose their lives in the marijuana black market. In this small rural community alone, at least three people have been murdered, and a couple more have gone missing in marijuana prohibition related circumstances in the last few months. They were by no means the first prohibition related murders in Southern Humboldt, nor will they be the last.
Like the frequent law-enforcement caravans that snake through the hills, and the violent raids they inevitably lead to, murders and disappearances have become a fact of life around here. People have gotten used to these events, and hardly bat an eyelash when they occur, but without prohibition, we wouldn’t have the cops, and without the cops, we wouldn’t have the money, and without the money, we wouldn’t have the murders. Prohibition creates this vicious cycle of oppression, crime, and violence that destroys families, ends lives, and creates tremendous hardship and suffering for millions of people.
Prohibition costs a lot of money too. Taxpayers pay for all of those cops, courts, jails, and probation officers that process the 750,000 or so marijuana arrests annually in the US. They also pay for a lot of misleading anti-marijuana propaganda, eradication campaigns, and surveillance. Outdoor grows displace and destroy natural habitat, divert water and pollute the environment. The conversion of residential housing into indoor commercial marijuana farms makes housing more expensive, and the lights, fans and pumps used in clandestine marijuana grows contribute to global climate change, the costs of which continue to mount.
Most of these costs are born by the general public, not by the producers of marijuana. When an industry raids the public commons for profit, pollutes the environment, injures or kills employees without compensating them for their losses, we say they have “externalized” those costs. That means that they’ve managed to keep the real costs of producing their product off of their books, and foisted them onto someone else, who does not share in the profits from the business. Because of the externalized costs involved in marijuana prohibition, most of us, whether we consume marijuana or not, suffer real losses ranging from loss of freedom and income to the loss of home, career or loved ones, while a few people reap tremendous profits which mostly go unreported, undeclared and untaxed.
Yes, marijuana prohibition is a tremendously unfair, but effective method for redistributing the wealth of working, taxpaying citizens to people who don’t play by the rules and don’t care who they hurt. In this way, marijuana prohibition brings out the worst in people, and attracts the worst kinds of people.
Unfortunately, marijuana prohibition attracts these unsavory elements to our charming little rural community. We ignore it, because with this unsavory behavior and these unsavory characters, comes money. It seems that just a little sprinkle of money can make the unsavory, quite palatable, but still, we should not forget where all of that money comes from.
A lot of marijuana money comes from our nation’s youth. High school and college students buy a lot of marijuana. Most of them don’t own homes, so they have no place to grow their own. Besides spending a lot of money on marijuana, young people disproportionately become victims of prohibition related violence, including that metered out by law enforcement and the so called criminal justice system. Of all the things available, and attractive to young people these days, marijuana is one of the safest. It should also be one of the cheapest and most freely available. Prohibition has turned it into an expensive luxury and made it a commodity worth fighting over.
Marijuana smokers endure a lot of workplace discrimination. Arrest records, drug testing and honesty can severely limit a marijuana smokers employment opportunities. As a result, marijuana users tend to work at lower paying jobs. High marijuana prices severely impact their lives, but they prioritize marijuana because, as Freeweelin’ Franklin used to say, “Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope.”
Cancer patients and others who need medical marijuana to treat pain, nausea, seizures, or other conditions, form a rapidly growing segment of marijuana users. Marijuana is an effective medicine, and many argue that it makes a good preventative tonic as well. Marijuana prohibition makes healthy people sick, keeps sick people from medicine that can help them, and people die as a result.
Without a doubt, marijuana money comes disproportionately from the poor, the young, and the sick, the people who can afford it least, and many of them do without other necessities in order to afford the high prices demanded by black-market dealers.
Without marijuana prohibition, Southern Humboldt would be just another poor rural community struggling to cope with economic hardship, but just imagine how much better life would be. Murders would still shock us. The people who work for a living around here could afford to live here. We’d all still have plenty of pot, but so would everyone else in the country, and no one would drive up from the city to try to kill us for it.
Most pot consumers could afford to take a three-day weekend every week because the only reason most of them work on Friday now, is so they can afford the pot they smoke all week. Anyone who wanted to, could grow all of the marijuana they wanted in their garden, and cops wouldn’t bother anyone about it. Anyone who had to deal with serious illness or chronic pain would have access to all of the natural medicine they needed, whether they could afford insurance or not.
In a post-prohibition world, we’d work a four-day work-week, and all of us would have plenty of marijuana. When you got the munchies, you could order a pizza, and have it delivered by a laid-off cop, and when you needed a pick-me-up you could order a cappuccino, and a former drug-dealer would make it for you. Doesn’t that sound like the kind of world you want to live in?