Tuesday, September 27, 2005

Prohibitionists still looking for pot-terrorism connection

Pete at DrugWarRant points us to
an article
I missed. The Saudis are claiming that marijuana is the new source of drug money to finance terrorism.
"In the space of one year, border police intercepted 10 tons of cannabis coming from Iraq," a Saudi source said. "In the past, the [smuggled] merchandise used to consist of alcoholic beverages and prohibited drugs."
One assumes the prohibited drug they reference is probably heroin. If it's true that smugglers have given up dealing in alcohol and smack, they should be happy about it. Marijuana is the least harmful intoxicant available to mankind and their population will be the healthier for it. But with only ten tons of cannabis being intercepted, it seems unlikely that this is true.

It may sound like a lot of pot, but you have to keep in mind that cannabis is a bulky item and a pound of it is worth much less a pound of heroin or cocaine since you use more weight of the product "per dose" if you will. Ten tons seized in a year is almost meaningless.

To put it into context, our government seized almost 36 tons of cocaine in one week in Sept of '89. In 2000, 500 tons of marijuana were seized by the just by the Border Patrol (not the DEA or customs) at the Mexican border and 192 tons (I assume domestically grown) were seized in California alone. The data suggests that the cannabis coming into Saudi Arabia is small time dealing to a domestic cannabis consuming market.

But even taking it at face value, and believing that the cannabis market is now financing terrorist cells, this is simply another argument to end prohibition. Illegal drugs are still the commodity that offers the best return on an investment and will remain so, as long as prohibition supports artificially high profits. If anyone could grow it, legal market competition would force out the illegal dealers and the government would be getting the money in taxes and regulatory fees, instead having the profits circulate uncounted and untaxed in the underground economy.

And it doesn't say much for the effect our foreign policy of "democracy intervention" is having on these countries either. As Pete said,
So let's see, we go to Afghanistan and it becomes the largest source of opium in that part of the world. We go to Iraq, and it becomes the supplier of marijuana to Saudi Arabia.
Not to mention we've spent billions in Colombia fighting coca plants and cocaine has never been purer or more available despite the government's declarations of victory in the fight. A cynical person might think the war on some drugs is only meant to be waged but never really "won."


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