Shows over folks, and we lost. Spectacularly. At least the ganja part. And frankly this is one war that we now deserve to lose. In the long run we’ll be better off for it. So much has been written on the subject this is all redundant to the point of extreme ridiculousness. Just like the ‘war’ itself.
For the sake of argument let’s break down all the hyperbole to manageable components. The driving factor in this is Sir James Denham-Steuart’s posturing on economic equilibrium or what’s more commonly referred to as the Law of Supply and Demand. The concept is beautiful in its simplicity; supply, demand and price are inextricably interwoven. 1+1=2 If supply goes up, and demand goes down – price goes down. If supply goes down, and demand goes up – price goes up.
We’ve attempted to decrease demand through education, Kicking Drugs out of America, strengthening punishment, paraquat, a point of light within a thousand, portraying users as evil-doers, Just Say No and Reefer Madness. What intrinsic value have we received in exchange for these strategic investments besides a cult movie? Granted, some skirmishes have been won and a tremendous amount of thanks are deserved for the foot soldiers in this war. However, Hitler lost WWII because he chose to fight battles on too many frontiers. He spread his resources too thin and lost focus.
American expenditures are far too vast in this war of many fronts. Here’s a disturbing story that exemplifies why this is an economic dead-end venture. Let’s take a far right-wing radical perspective on this: We’ll assume for a minute that all the man and machine power to search, find, harvest and destroy these marijuana fields were endeavored by a 100% volunteer army. What did we accomplish and what economic damage did we do to the illegal farmers? We didn’t lessen demand; we merely increased it by choking supply. Prices go up. We didn’t even dent the pocket books of the cartel cultivators. All they are absent are some seeds, fertilizer, irrigation and harvest provisions. No taxes were collected, no worker’s compensation, insurance premiums, 401k’s or Christmas party celebrations. No creative CPA’s needed to cook the books like a well run Ponzi Scheme. Their workers were illegal immigrants who now get to return home so they can creep back across our border or go to jail where they can burden our incarceration system. $1.7 billion sounds like a lot but bear in mind this isn’t a definitive fine like ones imposed on BP but an intangible street-price figure spread across numerous entities and layers.
Now, let’s reexamine with the fact this was not a volunteer effort. Here’s what we do know about our government’s investment: We had 450 agents working for three weeks. Let’s look at some highly conservative numbers. We’ll assume that the agents each labored 8 hour days and none were approved for vacation time (except maybe those monitoring the burn pile, chuckle-chuckle). That’s four-hundred and fifty agents multiplied by fifteen business days at eight hours a day (450 x 15 x 8) totaling 54,000 man hours. The average Federal Employee makes about seventy-five grand annually or roughly $37.00 an hour. That’s 2 million tax payer dollars not including hard costs and pay benefits. This money is being spent in a state that is bankrupt, pays civil servants $800,000 a year, has a 25% illegal immigrant population and contained on their own upcoming election ballot is a plebiscite to legalize pot. Mental disturbation. And lest I need to remind you this is but a singular example.
The more resources we throw at eradicating pot possession the more cost is added to the supply. Looking at it another way, factor the available supply divided by the cumulative monies invested. 1+1=2. There is one, and only one, entity that benefits from this equation and its not me and you. We need to concede the cannabis conflict. Now.
Like it or not, we have to recognize more children are born everyday than those we can convince to abstain from a plant. It’s called the Law of Diminishing Returns.
“Change will not come if we wait for some other person or some other time. We are the ones we’ve been waiting for. We are the change that we seek” ~ Barack Obama
This article sponsored by the purveyors at Horizontal Gophers