We Need to Legalize Marijuana

It seems like every day there’s another article on TTAG about violence in urban areas. And while none of that involves law abiding gun owners, a large percentage of the American public nevertheless sees it and instantly jumps to the conclusion that guns are the root cause of the evil. Its that knee-jerk reaction to violence in inner cities that seems to be driving the current gun grabbing fever, arguing that if those people didn’t have guns, they wouldn’t be killing each other. Therefore guns need to be banned. I disagree. In fact, I think we should add something instead of trying to take something away. We need to legalize pot . . .

Gun grabbers aren’t the most intelligent people on the planet. As Bruce points out just about every time he puts fingers to keyboard, it seems like those who want to ban guns are deathly allergic to facts and operate instead from pure emotion. So it’s no surprise they can’t see past the immediate cause of the death and destruction in come cities (guns, knives, fists, candlesticks, lead pipes…) and figure out the underlying problem that’s fueling these acts. And that underlying cause seems to be, by FAR, the sale and trade of illegal drugs.

People don’t just kill each other for no good reason. Almost never, anyway. There’s just about ALWAYS a motivation behind the actions. The mere fact that I have a loaded firearm in my hand as I write this does not mean I’m going to go screaming out into the pool area outside and start murdering people.

And while criminals may have a personality that gives them a higher propensity to solve their differences in a less than civil manner, the fact remains that they still need a difference to settle before they go off on a murder spree. And from my analysis of the “gun violence” incidents in urban areas, drug trafficking is a theme I see popping up again and again.

From the Department of Justice:

Marijuana is the most widely abused and readily available illicit drug in the United States, with an estimated 11.5 million current users.

And from InsightCrime.org:

Given the lack of solid information on production, there are differing arguments as to how much money there is in the marijuana business. A recent paper on cannabis in the United States said domestic production in the U.S. alone was worth an estimated $35 billion in 2006. And some say that marijuana represents the Mexican drug trafficking organizations’ largest source of income.

We know that Mexican cartels are using deadly force in their home country to keep the supply of illegal drugs flowing to the United States. We also believe that most of their profits come from U.S. customers. Therefore, it logically follows that Mexican gangs and their local distributors would use force within the United States to keep their profits up and keep others from encroaching on their business. In fact, sources in the law enforcement community tell me that DHS reports confirm this and point to illegal drugs as the root cause of the vast majority of gang-related violence in the United States.

If we really want to put a stop to this “gun violence,” both to save lives and to stop it from impacting us as legal gun owners, we need to get to the heart of the problem. We need to look beyond the superficial answer and attack the real reason people in urban areas are killing each other in such high numbers. And in my opinion, illegal drug sales is that reason.

The solution, therefore, is to remove the monetary incentive for the illegal trade of marijuana. In other words, we need to legalize it.

I’ve never smoked pot in my life. Sure I’ve been offered many times, but it’s not my thing. That doesn’t mean I’d begrudge others their chance to indulge. As anyone who has ever read the evidence provided by the good folks at NORML, there really is no medical or social reason why marijuana use needs to be as criminalized as it is currently.

In other words, there’s no harm to society in legalizing its possession and distribution. In fact, being a $35 billion industry, it probably would give the government some much needed tax income. Plus there’s that whole “people won’t kill other people over it” thing.

The observant among you may have noticed something already. The arguments I’m making here were the exact same arguments that were made in the 1930′s against prohibition.

The prohibition of alcohol in the United States bred the most hardened and vicious criminals and mobsters we’d ever seen, and led to some of the ridiculous gun laws that we still have to deal with to this day. For example, the National Firearms Act. Prohibition marked the beginning of the slow decline down the slippery slope of gun control that eventually culminated in the Assault Weapons Ban, and we stand poised to start down that same slope once more unless we take action.

Gun control didn’t stop mobsters in the 1930s and gun control won’t stop the modern day thugs that run the drug trade. The only thing that will stop them now is the same thing that stopped them then: pulling the carpet out from under their whole industry.

We need to stop the violence. We need to legalize marijuana.

We need an organization like Gun Owners for the Legalization of Marijuana. And I’m about three lazy weekends away from starting it.