Monday, March 9, 2015

Legal pot can solve AZ's school funding problem

[Gazette Blog Editor's note: The following from a reader was published as a COMMENT to the Gazette article listed below.  We liked it so much, we thought it deserved its own post.  Thanks, Dave K.]

Dave K has left a new comment on your post "Bud is a burgeoning business in Arizona":

Prohibition results in a total lack of control. Colorado does not have a marijuana problem. Today (February 25, 2015) it was reported that 58% of Colorado voters continue to be happy with their decision to legalize and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Last year they collected close to 70 million dollars in medical and recreational taxes from legal, regulated marijuana. They plan to use this for their schools and to repair their failing infrastructure. Despite concerns before the passage of the initiative, not a single zombie has been seen piloting planes out of Denver’s airports nor are they seen driving their buses.

In Arizona our students receive the lowest per pupil funding in the entire country and mental health services for children are some of the poorest in the nation.

Arizona legislators and prosecutors advocate that we continue a broken and failed system that benefits only the Mexican drug cartels and those Right Wing Nut Jobs who Police for Profit from the citizens of our state. This approach to the “marijuana problem” has resulted in cheaper drugs, more potent drugs, and easier access for our children than when we began the War on Drugs but our politicians who are highly invested in private prisons have prospered. Under the current system marijuana became our number one cash crop, surpassing both wheat and corn combined. In 1937 Harry Anslinger (our first drug czar) testified before congress that 100,000 people had used marijuana just before the passage of the Marijuana Tax Act. Today it is estimated that 100,000,000 of our citizens, including our last three presidents have used it. Marijuana prohibition has resulted in a thousandfold increase in its use. Still, Arizona politicians and those who Police for Profit try to spin this into a win in the War on Drugs. As taxpayers, we paid between 1 and 1.5 TRILLION dollars to have this done to us!

The Mexican drug cartels and the gang bangers that they hire to sell drugs settle their disputes with guns on our streets and in our neighborhoods every day in Arizona. They are estimated to run a 64 billion dollar annual drug business in the US. They currently make available black tar heroin, cocaine, and crystal meth to our kids and any seeking to purchase marijuana.

We are all better off to have marijuana sold in a local and legal retail market that asks for ID’s, sells only marijuana, pays taxes, and settle their disputes in our courts. A visible, local and legal company allows far more societal control than a hidden underground criminal enterprise with no government controls. The primary problems of concern of drug warriors with marijuana appear to occur with early adolescent use. These are the kinds of problems that regulation can improve when those who sell marijuana ask for ID's and do not sell to kids.

The Washington Post recently reported that farmers in the storied “Golden Triangle” region of Mexico’s Sinaloa state, which has produced the country’s most notorious gangsters and biggest marijuana harvests, say they are no longer planting the crop. The wholesale price has collapsed in the past five years, from $100 per kilogram to less than $25. It is clear that legalization and regulation is having a monetary impact on the drug cartels who are estimated to make 60% of their profits from marijuana.

Legalize and regulate in 2016! This is the right thing to do for the citizens of Arizona and especially for our children who may be seeking marijuana but instead are offered black tar heroin by cartel dealers.

Dave K

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