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The Conservative Case for Legalization

While drug policy reform has often been categorized as an issue largely backed by the political left, drug legalization and regulation is a matter of public importance that spans across political lines. In fact, many of the arguments for legalization and regulation are a natural fit for the conservative platform.

Narco-terrorism is fueled by drug prohibition.


The most common criminal activity for terrorist organizations is to be involved in is the illegal drug trade.[i] Drug cartels use the highly profitable illicit drug market to fund terrorist activity. Regulating drugs would take money and power away from these dangerous organizations.

Cost to taxpayers.


In 2013, the Obama administration requested $25.6 billion in federal spending to be allocated to continued drug war policies – including $15 billion on law enforcement, interdiction and international efforts. The Drug Policy Alliance estimates that when you combine state and local spending on everything from drug-related arrests to prison, spending totals at least $51 billion per year[ii]. Over four decades of the drug war, American taxpayers have spent more than a trillion dollars on prohibition.

We need to prioritize our law enforcement efforts.


The war on drugs has heavily influenced the way the criminal justice system functions. Forfeiture laws have been enacted to allow police departments to keep a significant portion of the drug-related assets acquired via seizure, and drug arrests are incentivized to the point where police departments view meeting drug arrest quotas as a budgetary necessity. This reliance on – and drive toward – nonviolent drug arrests perpetuates a criminal justice system in which solving violent crimes and developing crime-prevention strategies are not prioritized appropriately.  400,000 rape kits in the U.S. haven’t been tested (as far back as 1970), and when victims are able to follow up with their case and obtain DNA evidence years later, the statute of limitation often prevents them from pressing charges.

Drug prohibition risks law enforcement lives


Police officers are put in danger during drug raids, undercover operations and during routine street patrols every day. Officers are injured, accidentally killed, and even brutally murdered while enforcing the failed policy of prohibition. Prohibition created the violent gangs and cartels that commit these acts against officers and innocent civilians who happen to be nearby.

Wasteful spending


According to a 2010 study produced by the Cato Institute, legalizing and regulating all currently illicit drugs could save the government approximately $41.3 billion in law enforcement costs and generate an estimated $46.7 billion in tax revenue. Marijuana alone would account for $8.7 billion of the savings and another $8.7 billion in tax revenue.[iii]

[gun owners notice this]

The drug war increases the size and power of government.


Prohibition fuels a never-ending expansion of the DEA and other drug enforcement entities. As enforcement efforts expand, citizens see their rights decrease with tactics such as civil asset forfeiture, crackdowns on gun ownership, and raids (often targeting and injuring innocent civilians).

Lost wages and economic growth.


Incarceration costs the taxpayers significantly, but the economy further suffers because there are fewer employers, employees, and consumers to promote economic growth. Businesses suffer when such a high percentage of the population has no money to spend or a job to get money in the first place. Jobs and educational opportunities are also further limited for those with drug convictions, so employment opportunities after incarceration are limited, too.

Impact on families.


Families are torn apart due to incarceration. Children are also taken from loving homes because of small amounts of drugs or medical marijuana found in the home. Children who have a parent in prison often suffer from feelings of detachment, trauma, a lack of positive role models, and behavioral issues.

More information can be had a www.leap.cc (LEAP - Law Enforcement Against Prohibition)

[i] Makarenko, Tamara, “The Crime Terror Continuum: Tracing the Interplay between Transnational Organised Crime and Terrorism”,Global Crime, vol. 6, no.1, 2004, p. 134
[ii] http://www.drugpolicy.org/wasted-tax-dollars
[iii] Miron, Jeffrey and Waldock, Katherine, “The Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition,” 2010, p. 1

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Replies to This Discussion

I agree with government staying OUR of our lives...and I considered a Yes vote, but have serious concerns about the way it is written and the fact we have no input now or later...theoretically it can be changed by another initiative, but I do not believe that can happen.

I understand the concern, as I dislike some of it's 'rules'.  However I dislike it's negative effects much worse.  After the NHTSA study identifying the killer drug on our roads, it's no wonder we have such negative views on it.

It can be changed, I believe it's 75% vote or something, so if it is disastrous result (which Colorado & Washington has shown is not the case) it can be modified.

Money goes out of the country now because of this prohibition.  So it could be thought of as do your want to support the drug cartels and gangs or would you rather have it go to schools?  It's pretty simple at the lowest level. 

It's far from perfect, but at least it will be very controlled, much like Medical Marijuana is tracked.  This also will support research, which is most of the misinformation here.

Want kids to know the truth or let them find out for themselves.

I'm sure you'll make the right choice.

And "We the People" are to Trust your words of support for this? I much rather Trust the words of KNOWN facts from the legal mind of Bill Montgomery.  Just who pays your bills, who protect your family? The tobacco industry that has shrunk do to it being ... an addictive "recreational choice" as well? This will have the same addictive outcome. Plus "medical marijuana" is not effected by Prop 205, except to allow more of effects of the "recreational drug" into the hands of anyone over 18.  This appears top me to be just ANOTHER taxing initiative under the name of a "legal drug" ... when the argument for it ... is simply the need for MORE money flowing into government spending coffers !!

First read the bill.

link to the website: https://www.regulatemarijuanainarizona.org/prop205/

From the Prop 205 website:

- It allows a limited number of licensed marijuana retail stores to sell marijuana to adults 21 years of age and older.

- It requires businesses to test marijuana products and adhere to strict packaging and labeling guidelines.

  • It does NOT allow marijuana to be used in public. Public use will remain illegal.
  • It does NOT change existing penalties for possession of more than one ounce of marijuana or cultivation of more than six marijuana plants. It will also remain entirely illegal to sell any amount of marijuana without the proper business license.

Another item is recently the court ruled that Medical Marijuana card holders can't buy firearms.  It is documented that most mass shooters were on a combination of presciption drugs.

Link: http://www.wnd.com/2015/06/big-list-of-drug-induced-killers/

I have yet to see a shooter high on pot. I have seen people shoot when they are drunk yet there are no regulations prohibiting the sale of firearms. If you are an alchoholic or on a cocktail of precription meds you can buy a gun. smart!

Nobody knows how many gun owners are on prescription medication. I can tell you it makes up the majority.

Yes, marijuana has it medical complications. There are many teens turning up in emergency rooms because they can't stop vomiting. This is from abuse. Two friends quit smoking because of this condition. Although I appreciate all the "constitution" and "we the people" comments it all comes down to personal responsibility. Yes, teens will try it. Just like they buy 40oz illegally.

I don't smoke pot, never did.  First I was against it but I saw firsthand the benefits of EBD oil with the treatment of epilepsy and cancer. I do have an issue with the medical card restricting gun ownership. With the passing of this prop you can do it in the privacy of your home with no card...and keep your guns. Again, it all boils down to personal responsibility.

When people want something badly enough, what damage it does to others is rarely a consideration.  The capacity to think that far into the future seems to be missing. In the '80s we became a me, me, me society and it has only gotten worse since.  There will be a great awakening one day that will change everything but until then, we are stuck with the immature and the mature alike.

To use the Constitution to justify this is ridiculous. 

Supporters are just using the Saul Alinsky Rule #4 ... "Make the enemy live up to their own book of rules. You can kill them with this, for they can no more obey their own rules than the Christian church can live up to Christianity".  Now since his Rules for Revolution (radicals) is dedicated to Lucifer ... we should know the supportive hype for Prop 205.

A good read is here: https://alinskydefeater.wordpress.com/2009/10/28/the-alinsky-tactic...

MJ has its benefits........but it IS a gateway drug.  I REMEMBER!  It was for me....a long time ago.  And MOST of the others I knew at the time. And if it's made legal, IT WILL BE ABUSED!  It's already being abused.

Find me something made by man or nature, that man has not abused?  A "gateway" drug by definition has something in it to make you go for other drugs.  This is not the case as they are just drugs.

Did you never taste alcohol before pot?  All suspects I transports and asked about drugs started with marijuana.  Then I found one stated "we just got drunk before". I then started asking about alcohol.  Everyone one had started with alcohol.  If you didn't then the law is working, just like it would for marijuana.  In that case you would have never used in the first place.

Even NIDA (National Institute of Drug Abuse), which has been the worst road block in research, states "most marijuana users don't go on to harder drugs."

Marijuana is not physically addictive, like alcohol or tobacco.  A term they used for alcohol and tobacco probably fits marijuana the best "it's habit forming but not addictive".

If it had not been illegal, you could have easily gotten help.  It's prohibition not the drug.

Link to US Patent # 6,630,507 

http://patft.uspto.gov/netacgi/nph-Parser?Sect1=PTO1&Sect2=HITO...

Link to 1972 report by United States commission on marihuana and drug abuse

https://archive.org/details/marihuanasignalo00unit

That tear-jerker line, "it's impact on families" is always used to draw sympathy and pass something which will wind up destroying even more families when MJ is legalized.  Plus, a person can be high as a kite and 'as long as it's just marijuana', he can drive and won't get ticketed.  THINK ABOUT THAT IF WE LET THIS LAW PASS!   WHILE YOU'RE DRIVING DOWN THE ROAD, YOU'LL NEVER KNOW WHICH PERSON COMING AT YOU  IS HIGH AS A KITE!

Is that sympathies like "will wind up destroying even more families when MJ is legalized"?

Or "marketing marijuana candies to children"?

I watched an 18 year old get arrested, booked sentenced to a year and do six months.  He had a 4.0 GPA and was lined up to go to college.  That all ended. And he didn't even use it, I believe it was a friends. I have many stories that I was there where a family was devastated. Even on this site many have had someone they know addicted and arrested.  They need a doctor at this point not jail.

If you want a blood level that shows intoxication, marijuana's isn't known.  When I was an officer, the breathalyzer was the size of a suitcase, so you didn't whip it out of your pocket and ask to blow.  You did a sobriety test to see if that person was impaired.  If you can't tell they are impaired then they probably are not.  You didn't look at the graph from NHTSA either did you?  Or you wouldn't be making these statements. It's obvious what drug is killing people on the highways and streets, and it's not marijuana or any other illegal drug.

I would like to fix the problems, not, as prohibition has shown us make things worse.  Please look at the links and read them.  It can do nothing but make your argument stronger if you are right.  On a site where there are a zillion links on how the government has been lying to us and many won't even look.

Might want to look at the Washington Post's article about the governmental study:

https://www.washingtonpost.com/news/wonk/wp/2015/02/09/stoned-drive...

I believe myself to be a realist yet a pragmatist. 

The marijuana laws need overhauling, but a "Carte Blanch" full legalization with no restraints or guidelines or penalties is NOT the answer.  Yet, THAT is what the marijuana enthusiasts want.  If it were up to me, they would never get it. 

Yet, the pragmatist in me says that we can not legislate what people incorporate into their definition of freedom.  The liquor licenses are similar.  I drink sometimes, but I will never drive drunk.  And if I were to drive drunk, I would expect to get fined and imprisoned if caught.  ANY mind altering substance (and please don't try to stick coffee in there - let's try to stay in the realm of reasonability) that distorts a person's ability to function in a reasonably expected manner needs to have controls and penalties if broken.

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