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Why Can’t We Legalize Pot? Ask These 5 Special Interests

April 25, 2012

Despite the fact that everyone from economists, to human rights groups, to the American Medical Association  agrees there is no reason to continue the national prohibition on marijuana, policy changes in Washington are non-existent.  Even as more states legalize medical marijuana, the Federal government expends millions of dollars annually to crack down on these state-approved businesses.

Why? It’s all about the money.  Not the money that could be saved in enforcement costs, were legalization to become a reality (an estimated $7.7 billion annually) — and not the revenues we could realize through regulation and taxation of marijuana (estimated at $2.4 to $6.2 billion annually, depending upon the rate.) [Source: Miron Report] No, instead, we mean the economic concerns of five powerful special interest groups, and the lobbyists who represent them.  The top five groups to blame, according to research by Lee Fang at the Republic Report are:

  1. Police Unions – Police Departments are increasingly dependent on federal drug war grants to finance their budgets
  2. Private Prisons Corporations – Raking in millions incarcerating people on drug charges, they don’t want the gravy train to end
  3. Alcohol and Beer Companies – Competition? No thanks!
  4. Pharmaceutical Corporations – A cheap, effective, natural alternative to high-cost pharmaceuticals? No thanks!
  5. Prison Guard Unions – Just like police and private prison companies, their jobs depend on locking people up

So what if our Drug War has ravaged our neighbor, Mexico? So what if our efforts disproportionately lock-up young men and women of color? It’s about priorities, people.

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