Monday, June 06, 2005
Will Bloggers Help Make Marihuana Legal?
Good news for those who pick
flowers and smoke them.
According to Forbes.com,
a group of leading U.S. economists
from Harvard, Stanford, etc.
signed a document Thursday,
June 2, 2005
declaring their opposition,
from economic considerations,
to pot prohibition.
What will bloggers do with this story?
If pro-pot bloggers engage
in prohibition repeal
we could see the end
of cannabis criminalization.
Here are some highlights of
"Milton Friedman: Legalize It!"
by Quentin Hardy, 06.02.05, 12:01 AM ET
SAN FRANCISCO, CA - A founding father of the Reagan Revolution has put his John Hancock on a pro-pot report.
[STREIGHT: Let that sink in for a few moments. A major advocate for the conservative cause is raising his prestigious fist against marihuana laws. This is a potentially cataclysmic development, a tsunami of social reform.]
Milton Friedman leads a list of more than 500 economists from around the U.S. who today will publicly endorse a Harvard University economist's report on the costs of marijuana prohibition and the potential revenue gains from the U.S. government instead legalizing it and taxing its sale.
Ending prohibition enforcement would save $7.7 billion in combined state and federal spending, the report says, while taxation would yield up to $6.2 billion a year.
The report, "The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition," (available at www.prohibitioncosts.org) was written by Jeffrey A. Miron, a professor at Harvard , and largely paid for by the Marijuana Policy Project (MPP), a Washington, D.C., group advocating the review and liberalization of marijuana laws.
At 92, Friedman is revered as one of the great champions of free-market capitalism during the years of U.S. rivalry with Communism. He is also passionate about the need to legalize marijuana, among other drugs, for both financial and moral reasons.
"There is no logical basis for the prohibition of marijuana," the economist says, "$7.7 billion is a lot of money, but that is one of the lesser evils. Our failure to successfully enforce these laws is responsible for the deaths of thousands of people in Colombia. I haven't even included the harm to young people. It's absolutely disgraceful to think of picking up a 22-year-old for smoking pot. More disgraceful is the denial of marijuana for medical purposes."
Securing the signatures of Friedman, along with economists from Cornell, Stanford and Yale universities, among others, is a coup for the MPP, a group largely interested in widening and publicizing debate over the usefulness of laws against pot.
If the laws change, large beneficiaries might include large agricultural groups...
The report will likely not sway all minds. The White House Office of Drug Control Policy recently published an analysis of marijuana incarceration that states that "most people in prison for marijuana are violent criminals, repeat offenders, traffickers or all of the above."
[STREIGHT: This startled me. I have great difficulty believing this propaganda. If you've ever seen people using marihuana, violent is about the last quality you'd ever encounter. The substance seems to make users tranquil, euphoric, keener on music, and introspective.]
The office declined to comment on the marijuana economics study, however, without first analyzing the study's methodology.
Those who are opposed to decriminalization of marihuana on moral grounds will not be interested in economic reasons for legalizing it.
In my opinion, the industries that will suffer most, will get hit the hardest, should pot prohibition be repealed, will be:
* pharmaceutical companies...they are opposed to medicines anyone can grow in their garden.
* alcohol producers and bars...since many who refrain from marihuana purchase and use, due only to its illegal status, resign themselves to using legal intoxicating beverages...and would stop using alcohol, or greatly reduce their consumption, if marihuana was legal.
* military...since people high on pot don't seem too interested in killing others or risking their lives for nationalistic causes.
Posted by steven edward streight at 6/06/2005 11:28:00 AM