Why the War Against Pot?
by Hardly Waite, Gazette Senior Editor
Have you ever wondered why the United States spends vast piles of money and squanders immeasurable amounts of human talent and natural resources in the effort to combat a benign substance like marijuana?
Have you wondered why the US is now the only industrialized country to criminalize a substance that is obviously far less harmful than the majority of legally sold pharmaceuticals?
Kate Silver, writing in the Nov. 13, 2001 Las Vegas Weekly, has some answers.
In case you haven't guessed, like everything else in the USA, it has to do with money. It has a lot to do with the end of the Cold War, Silver says. When the Cold War ended, " enormous needs for certain technology and personnel were eradicated. Once America declared its infamous War on Drugs, those needs were refilled." It provided a new "enemy" and thus created a vast number of new government jobs and a major new source of technological endeavors to be managed by government bureaucrats. It turned the Cold War inward and allowed us to wage war on our own people at a tidy profit. Silver also points out that as a very nice side-effect, "many powerful Political Action Committees donate money to campaigns to push their own agenda, keeping marijuana illegal."
The toll of this war is, of course, enormous in terms of "jobs, relationships, money and time lost for the crime of smoking a joint." Marijuana arrests take a lot of manpower and a lot of time. "In 2000, police arrested 734,498 people for marijuana violations--the highest ever recorded by the FBI. Of those, 88 percent were for possession. The remaining 88,456 were charged with sale/manufacture."
You probably have noticed that government officials long ago gave up trying to justify the War on Dope with anything resembling logic. Pot has just been added to the ever-growing list of "enemies" we're expected to fight without asking why.
Silver concludes: "Las Vegas Weekly contacted a police source in hopes of getting an argument against legalization, and providing a semblance of balance. Sadly enough, the only reasoning the source could give for pot being illegal is, well, because it's illegal."