Jerry Brown: clueless on cannabis

Posted on June 30th, 2010 by Global Ganja Report and tagged , , , , .

California attorney general and gubernatorial candidate Jerry Brown has come out strongly against Proposition 19, the voter initiative that would effectively legalize in the state if passed this November. Speaking before the California District Attorneys Association Conference in Monterey, Brown said legalizing would open the flood gates for the ruthless and deadly Mexican drug cartels: "Every year we get more and more marijuana and every year we find more guys with AK-47's coming out of Mexico going into forests and growing more and more dangerous and losing control." (KSBW, June 29)

These words are deftly demolished by Jon Walker, writing on the blog FireDogLake:

It is time for Brown to take an economics 101 course. Brown is saying that legalizing, taxing, and regulated marijuana will increase the power and lawlessness of the Mexican cartels. This assertion, however, has little basis in fact.

The only reason that criminal organizations are the ones profiting off an illicit substance is that legal enterprises can’t be involved in the business. Do Mexican cartels run an orange juice syndicate? Do gangs run the wine trade? Do they control the bicycle business? Do you see illegal asparagus farms buried in state parks? Of course not, those concerns are controlled by law-abiding, tax-paying, regulated companies. And if marijuana were fully legal and regulated like other crops, it would also be controlled by law-abiding companies. Legalizing cannabis would kill the cartels profit stream by redirecting the money they get from cannabis to legal, tax-paying companies.

We know this, not only from basic economic theory, but from the perfect case study of our nation’s last attempt at alcohol prohibition... Ironically, Brown is endorsing the policy position–keeping marijuana illegal–that has allowed the cartels to get wealthier and more dangerous every year.


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