Legalizing marijuana would cripple drug cartels - East Valley Tribune: Opinion

Legalizing marijuana would cripple drug cartels

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Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler

Posted: Thursday, July 15, 2010 1:28 pm | Updated: 10:18 am, Mon Jul 19, 2010.

A couple of weeks ago Gov. Jan Brewer made a rather startling, if not irresponsible, remark that most people crossing the border illegally from Mexico were drug mules. Though I believe her comments to be hyperbole and another blatant attempt to pander for political gain, they have brought to the forefront the obvious link between the importation of illegal drugs and illegal immigration.

Thank you Gov. Brewer for unwittingly pointing out Arizona’s insatiable desire for recreational drugs, primarily marijuana. Truth be known, we have created the Mexican drug cartels. They wouldn’t exist, much less be killing each other and scores of innocent people, if we weren’t demanding their drugs.

Who are these cartel customers? They’re not just your typical gang member stereotypes. They are business people, working people, young people, housewives, students and, yes, Republicans.

For decades we have attempted to cut off the supply of recreational drugs from south of the border. It’s kind of ironic don’t you think that on the one hand we are demanding their drugs and on the other hand we are screaming “build the dang fence” to stop them from delivering the goods.

Over the same time period, we have attempted to reduce demand by “Just Saying No.” Hasn’t worked. It’s time that we faced the fact that Americans want their recreational drugs. It’s time that we legalized, at the very least, marijuana.

You take away a majority of the demand for recreational drugs from the drug cartels and they will implode from a lack of business. It’s all about the money.

If the United States allowed private businesses to produce marijuana in a similar fashion to how we produce alcohol, we would be able to control the quality and distribution.

In addition to putting the drug cartels out of business, thus ending the endless cycle of killing, think about the positive impact such a change would have upon cash-starved state and local governments with the increased revenue flowing from now collectable sales taxes!

It is human nature to want to do those things that you are told you can’t or shouldn’t do. It is my belief that if you take the mystery and allure away from recreational drug use that over time you will significantly reduce demand for these drugs. They would become boring and passé.

A poll of Arizonans released July 9 found 55 percent in favor of legalizing marijuana. Maybe Bob Marley was right after all. Maybe it is time to “Legalize It.”

Jon Beydler is a 32-year Valley resident and the former mayor of Fountain Hills who now lives in Chandler.

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