Transforming the Electoral Oligarchy of the United States of America into a participatory democracy

Drug War

Without going into why drugs, especially marijuana, should be decriminalized and regulated more like other drugs such as pharmaceuticals, tobacco, and alcohol, I am concerned at the moment with a practical solution to the issue of drug crops in other countries.  While our government, through several administrations, has simply tried to create ever more restrictive policies at home, and ever more militaristic ones abroad, we have never tried, as far as I know, a truly practical and simple approach to the issue. Whether we are talking about poppies in Afghanistan, coca in Colombia and its neighbors, or marijuana in any of the various places it is grown, our government could simply use the money that would otherwise be allocated for its militaristic tactics that do not work, and re-routing those funds into purchasing those crops, guaranteeing farmers that they would sell all their crops, albeit perhaps at a negotiated price. This could take off the streets nearly all the crops that are currently going into the black market, becoming a social and legal problem not only in the US but all over the world, and funding gangs and other criminals.

The government could then sell whatever portions of the crops to pharmaceutical companies, as dictated by the market, using the profits from these sales to pay down debts, enhance public services and/or reduce taxes. Furthermore, the reduction of the legal problems associated with these drugs would save even more money.

To prevent this policy from creating a greater demand for these crops in the market, it would also seem beneficial to research other crops that could be grown in the areas where these drug crops are currently cultivated, and offering farmers an equivalent or higher rate of return for these crops, even if it is not consistent with current “market prices” for these alternative crops.  Also, farmers in other parts of the world who might already be growing these alternative crops would also need to be paid the “new market” prices for their crops. To prevent the entire financial burden of this policy from falling entirely on the United States, many other national governments who would benefit from it in comparable fashion could be brought in as partners. These “alternative” crops could then be sold back to the private sector, at cost in the case of crops whose prices have been artificially inflated, and at market value for any crops which have been bought at or under market value.


3 responses

  1. opit

    You are making a good faith argument about how to solve an at least semi fraudulent problem. Much of this hoo-haw is merely associated with power politics and the weapons market. You get strange currents running through a capitalist state. The dynamics of empire, monopoly, etc. are not intuitive and can be contradictory in both appearance and effect.
    Besides, bureaucrats are experts at generating make work and job security. That transcends any notion of ‘ideology’.

    2007-05-23 at 8:58 PM

  2. Yes, I realize that there are some who suggest that this is not a problem that the government wants to solve. And indeed, I think this was a point I hoped someone would make, because this is a problem that “the people” would like to address rationally, I think, but the government, or at least some aspects of it (CIA?) and some corporate players, including but not limited to the private prison-industrial complex, does not really want to solve. The phony “drug war” creates a pretext for putting more people in prison, more cops on the street, and intelligence and military personnel in other countries where there is no other excuse for them. The behind-the-scenes power elites in the military-industrial complex, Big Pharma, and others have economic and/or power politics reasons for wanting such policies to go on, and they are willing apparently to let all of us pay the social costs for their game. This is just another reason why we need massive reform of our governmental system, to put power into the hands of the many, and take it away from the few.

    2007-05-24 at 3:03 PM

  3. opit

    Children’s story/fable. “Who will bell the cat ?” Dissent published a story today about a 9/11 investigator who was tasered and arrested.

    2007-05-25 at 11:39 AM

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