Legalize it

Posted: Tuesday, May 06, 2003

It is becoming increasingly difficult to become filthy rich in America. Slavery was abolished in 1865, although with the proposed elimination of the state minimum wage for anyone under 20, maybe that won't matter as much in the future - we'll just need to switch back to children's sweatshops. Of course, one could always "employ" our vast prison population, a $9 billion/year industry. No unemployment insurance to pay, no health benefits, no sick pay and no holidays - what's there not to like?

War profiteering, a once a lucrative enterprise open to even poor poets like Arthur Rimbaud, is turning into a high stakes game. If you don't have a couple of million to open an account with the Carlyle Group, along with the Bushes and bin Ladens, you're pretty much priced right out of the market.

One could always become a captain of industry, although I must warn you the names Capt. Hook and Capt. Harlock have already been taken. If you act quickly, Capt. Haliburton may still be available. There's always the lottery, but frankly, you're statistically more likely to be killed in an avalanche.

That's why it's vitally important for prohibition not to end. The artificially inflated prices that result from keeping marijuana illicit generate $19 billion/year in the United States - tax-free! (It is my understanding that, as far as cash crops are concerned, marijuana is pretty much a "weed" - it doesn't require expensive fertilizers or pesticides, or even particularly good soil. In-depth horticultural knowledge is probably over-kill.)

Legalizing marijuana will only lead to the eradication of the highly popular ($18 billion/year) "War on Drugs" program, and the elimination of one of the few remaining avenues for economic improvement open to the underprivileged.

Not arresting millions of Americans a year for marijuana offenses will have great, unforeseen negative impacts: It will reduce the work available for police officers and the DEA, and the profits of lawyers, advertisers and the owners of private prisons. It must be resisted at all costs.

Michael Christenson

Juneau



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