President Obama today held an online interview fielding questions from millions of people in a virtual town hall meeting in cyberspace. The most frequently asked questions roach clipped around one burning theme. A majority of the online audience were all a buzzed about whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy.
The president, a little lost for words but ever the coolest head of state in the art of the brush-off of difficult questions, chuckled and rhetorically answered if this popular question said something about the state of the online audience.
All had a good laugh. Then the president walked away from the podium, mike in hand. He is not a man who walks the walk as much as he is a man who walks to talk. Pacing seems to help him form his thoughts. One could feel the president’s mind zig and zag about the question, then he just answered simply, around a nodding smile that he thought marijuana was not the answer to growing the economy.
Obama imbibed in his youth. I never smoked marijuana. Being an Opera singer during the bulk of my rapscallion days of teen-and-early twenty something, a post puff reefer reedy tone to my Fs and Gs above middle C as a baritone was a no blow show. A breathy weedy rumble the likes of Leonard Cohen ruminating songs is great in clubs but tone death when singing Sharpless in Madame Butterfly or Figaro in Mozart’s Figaro. I wanted to sing Papagano not Pot-pagan-o in the Magic Flute. Therefore, before I make the following prophetic comments, I want people to understand that I do this not in a haze of praise of marijuana. Still, for the prophetic record I have something to say which may be shockingly proven true in eight-to-ten years’ time:
Marijuana will be legal in the United States.
The cause of this will not be from the success of the usual pot grower and toker’s argument that marijuana has many beneficial and medical advantages unlike legalized alcohol. Moreover, they argue that legal alcohol abuse, the injury and deaths of thousands each year at the hands of alcohol juiced domestic violence and driving accidents, far exceeds anything comparable to the abuse of mellow-making marijuana, or being stoned.
Ending prohibition of alcohol in the 1930s? Meet ending prohibition of cannabis in the early twenty-teens. Legalizing booze ended the mafia-gangster entrepreneurship of people like Al Capone and the cross the border business of contraband booze smuggling. Legalizing marijuana will undermine the infrastructure and cut off the pipeline of Mexican drug cartels into America.
It will clear US prisons of thousands of potheads occupying the space real and violent criminals ought to inhabit. Law enforcement will have sizable resources freed. For instance, the Californian state sheriff department reports it would save $1 billion a year if pot fields were left alone and not searched and burnt down. An estimated $44 billion is spent on anti-pot enforcement in the United States. Legalizing weed could earn the government $33 billion in new tax revenues.
The cost of legalized pot, like booze in the 1930s, would plummet, making it untenable for the “Alphonse and Juan” Capones of today’s drug cartels because marijuana traffic is the foundation on which all rat lines of harder fare are logistically established and smuggled into America.
Marijuana use in the next decade becomes legal even though the president laughed it off today. If he has two terms in office, he may see states move to have pot legalized. I am sure this president will find a way to brush cannabis off his shoulder like he famously brushed other problems and criticisms like dandruff during the 2008 primary campaign because it will break the financial back of the Mexican drug cartels. Their profits after pot prohibition ends will go up in happy high contact smoke.
(26 March 2009)