The growth of the Drug Policy Alliance’s influence and emphasis contributes to the staggering increase in overdose deaths. * DPA gets political mileage from using the term “war on drugs,” and turning it into a negative term. However, the USA officially abandoned the term eight years ago, and then the death rate began to rise.
Read Part 1 and Part 2. Many teens have heard “stoned is safer than drunk.” In the social media, the pot advocates claim to drive more carefully when high on pot. Long-time pot users say ridiculous things which make young people think they’re immune to tragedy. Smoking pot and driving is not safe, and it’s foolish to guess which risky behavior is more dangerous than another.
One of the arguments to legalize marijuana use is that the “War on Drugs” failed. The term “War on Drugs” was adopted by President Nixon nearly 50 years ago, but it was officially dropped in 2009. Like “War on Poverty,” “War on AIDs,” it represents a concerted effort to get rid of something. The Drug Policy Alliance managed to turn it into a derogatory term, even though drug use harms people.
Today we have a “War for Drugs,” in which states think they can legalize marijuana for tax money without considering the other social costs. These costs include car crashes, suicides, mental illness and crime. Furthermore, gangs and cartels moved aggressively into the heroin trade after Colorado and Washington legalized pot. Some states with legalized pot have attracted foreigners who come into areas and buy up properties for illegal marijuana growing.
The idea that the “war on drugs” is a war on black and Hispanic communities is a simplistic way to explain a complex situation. The ACLU, which has had an important stake in legalization efforts in Maine, Vermont and Washington uses these arguments to press legalization of marijuana.
Wealthy white drug dealers can often afford more expensive lawyers than minority drug dealers, leading to disparate sentencing. Black males have been disproportionately jailed for violating drug laws. Michelle Alexander, who wrote The New Jim Crow, supports legalization of all drugs. However, she is laments the fact that legalization has benefited the white males who are now making all the profits.
The drug policy – violence theory also demonstrates a poor understanding of the nature of humanity. Gangs and cartels are money-making paths that bring profits quickly. Anyone can be lured into the profit motive without thinking of the harm, particularly when young and risky behaviors seem exciting. There is a certain “high” that comes from evading the law.
Criminal businesses will be always be attractive to both the rich and the poor. Some cartel leaders are well-educated and even rich. If it were only about income inequality, many would get out of the drug trade sooner. We need to foster opportunities for the poor, so they don’t see drug dealing as a route out of poverty. Regardless of circumstances, drug dealers are hungry for power. They would find other ways to maintain power over people, if legalizing pot truly kept all the profits for government. Experience has shown that they branch out into other crimes, such as human trafficking and selling heroin and fetanyl.
When Drug Wars Occur
Drug wars happen when growers and cartels compete to have the strongest, most potent strains of marijuana. High-THC plants bring higher profits. The marijuana industry pretends that government is to blame for the greedy, violent wars between drug cartels.
We can see the violence that comes with the competition in the drug trade in the book and movie, Savages of 2012, with Benicio del Toro. An earlier movie Blow, in which Johnny Depp played notorious drug dealer George Jung, tries to illicit sympathy for the criminal who was instrumental in bringing the Columbian cocaine trade to the USA. It is clear that greed and adventure motivated Jung, without concern about the harmful consequences to others.
Marijuana advocates who say “drug wars don’t work,” play into current anti-government sentiments. They say anti-pot groups take money from pharmaceutical companies, police unions or the alcohol industry. These claims are without merit. In their twisted logic, they say the US has created cartel violence in Mexico. Violence of course has many causes including poverty. On the other hand, there ‘s evidence that the legalization of pot moved the cartels into other countries of Central America. The legalization of pot made the cartels promote heroin which is killing people in record numbers today.
The cause of racial problems of the United States and drug violence in Central America shouldn’t be seen as one-dimensional issues. Opinions about the “War on Drugs” are irrelevant. The “War for Drugs” is about getting a higher, more potent version of marijuana and making a big profits. It’s a cruel trick the ACLU and Drug Policy Alliance play on the public and a bad deal for minorities, because pot is very harmful.
Social Justice is a pretext, the handy catch phrase to get people to support the legalization of pot. The idea doesn’t come from disadvantaged minorities. “Marijuana legalization is the worst way forward to reforming drug policy for the minority community,” claims Will Jones, founder of Two is Enough D.C.
Jones, whose family has always been involved in the Civil Rights movement, is enraged by the social justice message. “If you aren’t a minority, maybe legalization does look ok because you’re not going to have the deluge of (pot) stores in your community,” Liquor shops are on every block in his neighborhood. Jones admonishes the marijuana industry for “cherry picking criminal justice issues to conveniently pick a statistic that helps them.” Of the places that voted to legalize pot, only Washington DC has managed to stay free of commercial pot stores.
It was easy to cut through the illusion by watching Ethan Nadelmann at the Democratic National Convention last summer. Nadelmann, director of Drug Policy Alliance (DPA), was bragging to his supporters about how profitable the marijuana industry is. At the end of the video, when the cameras was on him, he added “and don’t forget social justice.” It was an afterthought. He must have been joking.
Where’s the Real Social Justice in a Mind-Destroying Drug?
We question the sincerity of those who promote “social justice” as a reason to legalize marijuana. What is the “social justice” in promoting a substance that lowers your IQ, weakens memory and directly contributes to the mental illness as a causal factor? Even without drug testing, using pot makes some people lazy and less likely to get a job or hold onto it.
It’s unfortunate that blacks and Hispanics are arrested more frequently for pot than whites. Complex social problems like police bias never have simplistic solutions.
Alternatives that don’t involve Legalization
Convincing people that hundreds of thousands of people are in prison for marijuana use is one of the false narratives of the legalization movement. The Sacramento Bee recently investigated and couldn’t find a single low level marijuana offender in California prisons.
Those who believe in social justice, should look into policies to reduce drug-related crimes and its ugly bedfellow, drug addiction. Even if the “war on drugs didn’t work,” it’s false to claim legalization and incarceration are the only options. Those trying to legalize marijuana intentionally scramble the messages so the public confuses decriminalization with legalization.
Since legalization, the number of actual marijuana users has increased to 13% of people ages 12 and older. Thirty percent of those users, or 6 million people have Cannabis Use Disorder. The business model of increasing addiction and making money off of those who are addicted is working.
Investors and politicians claim that legalization can end the black market. Evidence from Colorado and Washington shows that cartels are emboldened by legalization and the black market still thrives.
Marijuana Policy Project (MPP) promotes a falsehood that marijuana is safer than alcohol, another delusion. Instead of encouraging less drug use, MPP, DPA, NORML and the ACLU manipulate opinion. Financial opportunists connected to these lobbies pretend pot is harmless and that arrest discrepancies will be solved by legalization. This marijuana industry and drug promotion organizations are devious, not compassionate.