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June 2009
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Inside the mind of a prohibitionist

Once again today, we analyze the torturous mental processes involved in being a prohibition advocate.
Today’s subject: Steve Francis: Debunking call to legalize marijuana: Marijuana usage is a social ill that needs to be fought against – not legalized. in the San Diego News Network. Steve is a former candidate for Mayor and a former Assemblyman.
He starts out with a analyzing specific poll results regarding marijuana legalization and complaining about their bias. Fine. Polls are notorious for providing different results based on the question asked (which is why you look at patterns in polling and don’t just use one (and the pattern on marijuana polling has been consistently moving toward legalization). And while people may be additionally influenced toward supporting a question of legalizing and taxing marijuana because the state is out of money, that doesn’t negate their opinion that marijuana is OK to legalize.
Once he gets past the polling, Francis really gets lost.

Surrendering to drug dealers and the billion-dollar international drug trade is not the fiscally conservative, tough-on-crime solution – quite the opposite. More crimes will be committed with legalized marijuana, just as more related crimes are committed in firearm and alcohol friendly nations than those that are not.

Surrendering? How is taking away the entire business from drug dealers and the billion-dollar international drug trade surrendering? Is this some new meaning of the word?
If I’m negotiating with Coca-Cola for exclusive distribution rights in my stadium, and I don’t like what I’m seeing, so I switch and go exclusively with Pepsi, have I just surrendered to Coke? No. I told them to take a hike! Surrendering to Coke would be if I decided that I didn’t like the current system, but I’d go ahead with it anyway.
And “More crimes will be committed with legalized marijuana”? In what fantasy world is this? And I don’t know about the firearm and alcohol “friendly” nations and crime rates, but what does that have to do with marijuana? How is pot like an AK-47? You do realize that shotgunning marijuana smoke is just a metaphor, right? And why aren’t you comparing crime rates in tobacco-friendly countries to those that are not? Or crime rates in caffeine-friendly countries to those that are not? Those are certainly more apt comparisons to marijuana.
Now check out the contradiction in this next part:

Furthermore, consider that all controlled substances in our county (alcohol, tobacco, firearms, etc.) have grown to develop powerful legal, lobbying and political divisions that seek to reduce corporate liability, weaken regulations and influence public elections to increase profits and market share. Grievous harm and criminal acts inflicted under the influence of controlled substances occur without corporate accountability. Are Golden State citizens to expect anything less from a legitimized marijuana industry?
Taxing pot is not a feasible proposition. Legalization advocates must answer the fundamental question: how would taxes be realistically collected from a controlled substance that is – at its essence – a modicum of soil, a planter, and a weed?

There’s no separation there, no ellipsis showing that I brought those paragraphs from two separate parts of the article. They were right there next to each other. Apparently legalized marijuana will be this massive corporate business, but it won’t be able to be taxed because it’ll only be grown in people’s back yards. That’s the kind of mental disconnect it takes to be a prohibitionist. You have to be able to not know what you just wrote in your previous sentence.
Then he goes on to talk about how the taxes wouldn’t be helpful because…

According to a report released by the Marin Institute last summer, the total economic cost of alcohol use is $38 billion annually, with $8.3 billion shouldered by government agencies for health care treatment of alcohol-caused illnesses and injuries, crime costs, traffic incidents, and reduced worker productivity.

And this relates to marijuana… how?

As recent reports indicated, Los Angeles, which has enforced Proposition 215 for over a decade, now has more dispensaries (600+) than Starbucks coffee shops and McDonald‰s restaurants. If this could happen in lax LA, then why not San Diego?

Who cares?

Our state shouldn‰t consider changes in drug policy when we are unable to treat the drug addicts we already have.

Maybe that’s a good reason to consider changes in drug policy.

According to a recent poll of 505 California adults commissioned by KeepComingBack.com, 45 percent of state residents have tried marijuana, and of those who have abused drugs in the past year, nearly half (42 percent) stated they were not ready to stop using.

What? How does that sentence make any sense at all? Is the second part of the sentence about marijuana?

Our limited public health dollars are better spent upon bringing these addicts into treatment.

Better spent than what? Legalizing and taxing marijuana? How is that costing tax dollars? It is, in fact, increasing tax dollars which you can use for addicts if you’d like.

False restrictions on legalized pot use, such as a minimum smoking age, won‰t deter teenagers and other young people from dangerously experimenting with the drug; the KeepComingBack.com poll found that of those state residents that have tried marijuana, 51% first experimented before they turned eighteen years of age.

What does “dangerously experimenting with the drug” mean? Smoking while standing on railroad tracks? And didn’t that 51% that experimented before they turned 18 do so while the drug was illegal?

Legalizing marijuana is a solution to a problem that doesn‰t exist.

That just baffles me. What is it that doesn’t exist? Marijuana? Marijuana laws? The black market? Corruption? Our fiscal crisis? Maybe Francis didn’t know what he said in the first half of the sentence when he wrote the second half?
This has been another public service in understanding the mind of the prohibitionist.

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