12/24/2008

Arizona To Legalize Marijuana?

An Air and Marine Operations (AMO) Black Hawk ...Image via Wikipedia
PHOENIX — Attorney General Terry Goddard said Tuesday that he might be willing to consider legalizing marijuana if a way can be found to control its distribution — and figure out who has been smoking it.

Goddard's comments came after a press conference Tuesday announcing the breakup of a major ring police said has been responsible for bringing about 400,000 pounds of marijuana across the border and into Arizona each year since 2003.

The attorney general said marijuana sales make up 75 percent of the money Mexican cartels use for their other operations, including smuggling other drugs and fighting the Army and police in that country.

He said that makes fighting drug distribution here important, to cut off that cash.

Goddard acknowledged those profits could be slashed if possession of marijuana were not a crime in Arizona. But he said a number of other hurdles remain before that even becomes a possibility.

The issue of Arizona drug laws came up during questions about the operation of drug cartels and the violence associated with their operations, particularly in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.

"The key is, they will no longer exist when people don't buy marijuana," said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of the office of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. "This is a market-driven economy and this is a market-driven activity."

Allen said the question of legalization to eliminate those profits is a policy question.

"But if we're going to go down that road, what is the acceptable amount of marijuana that you want a bus driver to have in their system?" he continued.

"I believe it's zero," Goddard said later.

Goddard said a lot of time and money are spent on enforcement activities like the one that resulted in the bust announced Tuesday. He said that requires "a hard look" at the issue.
But Goddard said it's not as easy as simply declaring it legal. He said there would need to be some controls on who gets the drugs — and how much they use.

Drug Enforcement Administration special agentsImage via WikipediaSo far, he said, no one has found a way to put the kind of controls on marijuana he would want before he would consider legalizing it. (AZ Daily Star)

Yes, we all knew it was too good to be true. At the end of the day Goddard and Allen fell back on the same tired old arguments that line the pockets of ICE and Law Enforcement agencies. Of course, I'd ask Mr. Allen and Mr. Goddard how much alcohol was acceptable for a bus driver to have in his system as well. Oh, but wait, alcohol is legal so doesn't matter to them until AFTER he's killed all the passengers.

Come on guys, you almost came up with something original and right just try a little bit harder to ween yourselves off the DEA money and those cool toys that make you outfitted better than Green Berets.

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