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October 2009
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They finally figured out how to hurt the cartels

Well, duh.

Washington Post: Cartels Face an Economic Battle

Stiff competition from thousands of mom-and-pop marijuana farmers in the United States threatens the bottom line for powerful Mexican drug organizations in a way that decades of arrests and seizures have not, according to law enforcement officials and pot growers in the United States and Mexico.

It’s never been something that arrests and seizures can do. Destroying the cartels (and not just a particular cartel) can only come through market forces. Legalization is the best and quickest way to accomplish it.

Give the cannabis consumer the choice between “Buy American” and “Mexican brick,” and there’s no doubt they’ll go American.

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17 comments to They finally figured out how to hurt the cartels

  • carly

    I think most of this Mexican cartel thing is BS. I have been getting my cannabis from oregon from white hippies for 30 years now.So has everyone I know.

  • Jon Doe

    carly: for those of us in the South (save for those in the larger cities), it’s all still Mexican brick unless you live in a town with a large college population. Then, if you’re lucky, there might be a indoor grow-op or two (but these get routinely shut down.

    But yeah, I agree that the Mexican cartels probably don’t rely on cannabis nearly as much as is claimed. Their big money makers are no doubt coke, E, heroin, and high quality meth (i.e. the stuff you just can’t get from the local trailer park).

  • DdC

    The drug war’s over!
    the enemy just ran out of white flags.

    Situation NORML 2009

    C.W. Nevius of the Chronicle belittled the initiative’s chances of winning. “I doubt voters in conservative Orange County will be thrilled to vote for the Regulate, Control, and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010,” Nevius opined. He was covering sports in 1996 and might not know that Proposition 215 carried Orange County with 52% of the vote, overcoming opposition by Attorney General Dan Lungren, Governor Gray Davis, former Presidents Ford, Carter and Bush, Democratic Senators Barbara Boxer and Dianne Feinstein, 57 of 58 district attorneys ( Terence Hallinan being the lone supporter ), the sheriffs’ lobby, the police chiefs’, the police officers’, and former Surgeon General C. Everett Koop.

    Some of Rich Lee’s former allies are not supporting Tax Cannabis 2010 because it would penalize smoking in the presence of children and stiffen the punishment for providing cannabis to those under 21. Dennis Peron is among the detractors.

    10 Years Of Dealing Pot
    The centre makes a point of telling its clients that although their membership allows them to administer their medication wherever they please, it does not give them immunity from authorities.
    The Cost of the War on Drugs
    Australian governments spend about $4.7 billion a year on the war on drugs. This figure was arrived at using information from the Australian Drug Law Reform Foundation and other sources and is an estimate of how much the Government would save and get in tax revenue if illicit drug sales were regulated and taxed the way tobacco is.
    Prohibition Has Failed
    Then, late in 1970, he received a surprise call from the King. Not a phone call. Elvis Presley turned up, uninvited, at the White House asking to see the president.

    “And I am right in the middle of the whole thing where I can and will do the most good . . . the drug culture, the hippie elements, Black Panthers, etc, do not consider me as their enemy, or as they call it The Establishment. I call it America and I love it, sir.”

    He asked to be made a Federal Agent at Large. Nixon presented him with the badge. Elvis presented Nixon with a World War II-era Colt 45, the pair nicely ticking off America’s twin evils.
    What a dream ticket: Presley, the biggest rock star of all time, would be dead in just over six years, having consumed 19,000 doses of sedatives, stimulants and narcotics in his last 30 months; the gin-soaked Nixon, sometimes too drunk to take calls from other world leaders, liked to pop a mood-altering prescription drug called Dilantin, illegally supplied to him in 1000-capsule bottles.

    The US war on drugs is estimated to have cost more than $1 trillion – — more than enough money to put Osama bin Laden on the moon. It puts a million Americans in jail each year.
    The Murky World Of Informants

  • bill

    America is in a real mess and it’s disheartening seeing generation after generation fed the same lies while continuing to fall for them year after year. It’s insanity.

    On a positive note, as much as I think Marc Emery’s showboating was buffoonish at times, the concept of “Overgrow the government” is opening tens of thousands of tiny cracks in the federal, state and local agency’s ability to control cannabis availability.

    The legal system is struggling against a tidal wave it can’t control.

  • Duncan

    2 lbs @ $9000 a lb from a $100 investment. Where does the line form?

  • Carol

    That this is finally recognized by some other people (other than us I mean) is wonderful news.

    I would like to see small grows of specialty plants, “gourmet” strains if you will.

  • bill

    2 lbs @ $9000 a lb from a $100 investment. Where does the line form?

    .

    Shhh, duncan. All those poor people out there might get ideas and flood the market. 😉

  • Yeah, that was a great article in the Times yesterday and about 100% pro-cannabis in the readers comments.

    There were a couple of silly things in the article (like for instance the idea you can set up a commercially viable grow for $100 worth of materials, but on the whole the article was great, an effective rebuttal to the last weak arguments of the border-guarding feds who still think associating and guilting pot smokers with Mexican violence is a winner. (It’s not like we still don’t remember equally vacuous and unconvincing attempts after 9/11 to associate pot smoking with ‘terrorists’).

    I didn’t leave a comment….most of my thoughts were already somewhere in the hundreds of comments already, but I would have underscored the ironic nature of this Freakinomics real-world-unanticipated-consequences-of-stuff aspect of this article: “This is GOOD NEWS!” or “What do you see that’s wrong with this? Don’t we all want to put a bite into the crime of the Mexican Mafia”? Well, don’t we???

    And yes, it’s all about “overgrowing the government” and pushing the laws or their enforcement or lack thereof towards their next “tipping point”. I’ve met Mr. Emery and though I agree with the idea he’s a buffoon, he’s a buffoon in the way that Abbie Hoffman or Michael Moore (or even Gandhi) is a buffoon. An effective showman, someone who knows how to get and milk publicity and spread the message effectively.

    This story was also picked up on the daily crime news blog/list of the Criminal Justice Journalists.

  • Cliff

    Finally, something Americans can produce which is actually a real, tangible, valuable product and not some kind of financial instrument, fund, derivative, SDR or some other bankster scheme.

    Buy American!

  • DdC

    The drug war’s over!
    … the enemy just ran out of white flags.

  • Cliff

    “I’ve met Mr. Emery and though I agree with the idea he’s a buffoon, he’s a buffoon in the way that Abbie Hoffman or Michael Moore (or even Gandhi) is a buffoon. An effective showman, someone who knows how to get and milk publicity and spread the message effectively.”

    Mr. Emery is a true patriot and he has giant brass huevos.

  • Anybody else do the math in this article? By saying that Mexican cartels supply 35M lbs of our pot, and that it’s about half the American consumption, the piece suggests we’re consuming 70M lbs of pot per year. And if 10% of the American population – or about 32M – smokes pot during a given year, that means each stoner consumes roughly a kilo of pot per annum. And as a fair (but maybe low) estimate of the average price of an ounce is around $200, then each stoner is spending an average of $7000 per year on pot!

    Even in my heyday I never smoked that much. And cannabis consumers skew younger, with most under 40. How many of them do you think can afford $7000 a year for their pleasure?

    Something’s wrong here. If the production numbers are correct, then we have far more stoners than 32M. And if the consumer numbers are correct, then production numbers are way too high. I believe the number of consumers is closer to 50M, and the same for production numbers – which means the average stoner consumes one pound per year.

    But in the final analysis, we really have no clue. The only way to determine our consumption levels is to repeal prohibition and replace it with a regulated market to control sales and distribution, very similar to what we now have for alcohol and tobacco.

  • paul

    It’s coming. I think we are witnessing a slow-motion Berlin Wall moment. There are areas of the country where people feel free to smoke in public and nobody will touch them. California is quite likely to pass the MJ legalization proposition if it gets put before them, (direct from the voters, not through legislation) and there are other movements afoot throughout the country.

    The federal government won’t budge until it becomes obvious all is lost, but even they will crack when they see large parts of the country in open defiance.

    This is why a larger and more powerful federal government = less freedom. If the system was working properly, there would be states that legalize MJ, and other states that don’t. Nobody wants to be ruled by 535 little kings 3000 miles away who YOU and nobody else you know would have voted for under any circumstances.

    Under (properly functioning) federalism, you can always move to another state. So if you consider MJ very important and want to live in a state that permits it, go ahead and move and feel free to light up. If you are terrified of MJ and want to protect your kids from the Devil’s weed, you can move to some county in Alabama where you’ll get a call one day from the police saying they’ve incarcerated your children for MJ possession and you’ll be seeing them again in a couple of years.

    It’s all up to you!

  • Jon Doe

    Dan: even a pound a year seems like a stretch. I mean, that’s 16 ounces, roughly 1.3 a month or a little over 1.2 gram a day. A day. Every day. I’ve been smoking for years, have a fairly healthy tolerance but if smoked over a gram in a single day I would would be literally stoned throughout that day (unless, of course, I just smoked it all in one sitting).

  • Here is a good one: All L.A. County medical pot dispensaries face prosecution, district attorney says

    http://latimesblogs.latimes.com/lanow/2009/10/cooley-says-pot-dispensaries-will-be-prosecuted.html

    When are these state officials going to learn that they cannot enforce federal law? Time for a new DA that is concerned about real crimes instead of moral ones.

  • Duncan

    The Feds supply about 6 lbs a year to those in the IND program.

    Really, how potent the cannabis is makes a difference. 1/4 lb of fan leaves is enough for me for one night. 1/2 gram of ‘not your father’s merrywanna’ ditto. The weight of the carrier material is irrelevant. You really can’t take the weight of mexicrap that’s being consumed and extrapolate it to domestically produced.