OK, here’s a piece of news that just came to my attention. Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger (R-CA) signed into law a Marijuana Decriminalization Bill (SB-1449) last Thursday, September 30th. Well, sort of…
Possession heretofore of up to an ounce of reefer in California was a $100 fine, plus an arrest record, court appearance, etc. As of January 1st, it’ll still be a $100 fine, but like a traffic offense, no arrest record.
Interestingly, in a few weeks—November 2nd—California has another pot bill coming up, Proposition 19, the Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act. If passed by a simple majority, it becomes effective the day after the election. The latest polls show it passing (48% in favor, 11% undecided).
In terms of the American Tribune prison experience connection, more than 500,000 people in California have been criminalized for reefer over the past 10 years. Last year alone witnessed over 60,000 busted in the land of sun & fun.
Nationally, an estimated one million arrests occur each year for marijuana, and that number continues to rise. NORML reports that there have been over 8 million arrests nationally in the past 10 years.
As of 2008, the percentage of federal drug prisoners was at 52.4%. There are more than 212,000 prisoners in the federal Bureau of Prisons.
While I applaud the progress toward rationality, I have a strong suspicion that it’s going to be another generation or more before we see truly significant change across the board.
In any event, I’d like to point out that there is more to the laws against certain drugs than a history of racism, nativism, corporate collusion (alcohol and paper companies), pandering media, and whack-a-doodle-doo narco conservatives (with no small measure of complicit liberals).
However we’ve arrived at this point, there are some objective facts that I notice that few others seem to remark upon.
I don’t know if there is a source for this sort of information (outside of the boardrooms and parlours of the ruling elite), but I would guess that somewhere in the area of a third of the American economy is “underground.” That is, under-the-table, cash, untaxed, etc.
Wealth that is made below a certain income level does not generally get invested in that person’s future. Rich folks don’t work for the money, the money works for them.
Nor does it get stashed in the mattress or buried in PVC tubing in the back yard for the rest of us. It gets spent. Unlike with Los Ricos, it goes back directly into the economy. I suspect a lot of merchandising would collapse tomorrow if drugs were made legal overnight.
Money that gets spent goes up, not down. “Trickle-down economics” is a cruel joke played by profiteers to justify their usury theft. And since they by and large assert undue influence over politics at the legislative level and above, they can even make it all “legal.”
On the other end of that equation, billions and billions of that money is secured directly thru dealing illicit products. At the upper levels, that money too goes into the system. But much of that money gets washed as it ascends thru the process. I don’t believe for a moment that bankers and boss don’t know where and how a lot of it gets there.
One has to ask, “Do you really believe that these self-serving criminals are going to give up all that loot voluntarily?” For them, it’s like have a free ATM spewing cash into their living rooms…
From the viewpoint of profit, privilege and power, they pretty much like things just the way they are–however they got that way.