While looking for more information to bring to the discussion of marijuana legalization, I decided to check out what other people are reading and discussing about the debate. After searching for "marijuana legalization in California" on delicious.com, I came across 17 articles relating to the debate about marijuana legalization. Delicious is a social bookmarking site that has more users than any of the others. I felt this would be the best sight for getting useful resources because it has the largest, and presumably most diverse, number of users to give input on the topic. The two most bookmarked articles actually made arguments for the national legalization of all drugs.
In the first story, CNN published a Harvard Economics Professor’s article about how the legalization of all drugs in the United States would greatly reduce violence in the country. Jeffrey A. Miron explains that prohibition actually causes this violence by forcing the markets underground. This prohibits the buyers and sellers of these products from settling their disputes with lawsuits or other legal avenues. Instead they must fall back on organized crime, fear, and violence.
His arguments shed more light on just how detrimental prohibition and the “war on drugs” have become. Because of prohibition, politicians and law enforcement are seen as threats to the profits of these illicit markets. This, in turn, pushes the producers and distributers of these products to threaten, bribe and terrorize these threats in order to protect profits. He argues that this never happens in legal industries.
One of his other points was that drug prohibition is bad for national security, By destroying opium and coca fields in countries such as Columbia and Afghanistan, Miron argues that we are fostering hatred for the United States. He also believes that interfering with trafficking endorses terrorism because many of these traffickers now hire terrorist organizations for protection services. Many if not all of Miron’s arguments could easily be applied to just the marijuana market of California.
Another interesting article I found while searching the delicious social bookmarks explained that the tax revenue predictions for the sales of marijuana have to be grossly overestimated. Michael Hiltzin argues that the estimate that California’s marijuana crop has an anal worth of 14 billion is based on an industry that does not provide financial statements and therefore cannot possibly be accurate. He also feels the mainstream media is buying too much into these guesstimations in the quest for ratings. This article has spurred me to look further into the estimations about weed revenue and really try to figure out what they are based on.
By turning to what sites other people have found interesting about the debate, I have been able to discover not only new things to discuss about legalization implications, but also new viewpoints on previous resources and arguments.