Posted: February 9th, 2011 by Militant Libertarian
For anyone living in a cave, when Obama beat out Hillary Clinton for the Democratic Party’s presidential bid, he gave her a consolation prize by making her Secretary of State. The punch line? If she had been elected, the debate would be whether or not she would be America’s first “woman” president. Badum-cha
Anyway, the job of foot-in-mouth in today’s Washington, D.C. is usually given to Vice President Biden, whose eloquence makes George W. Bush look like a Rhodes Scholar. It appears Biden was on vacation, because the job was apparently given to Hillary; probably in the hopes that the Mexicans would be too busy worrying about getting shot by a passing cartel caravan to notice. Luckily, the world press was on the job.
Hillary was speaking to Mexican news about drugs and let it slip that the U.S. can’t stop the black market dealing by legalizing drugs because “there is just too much money in it.“ Clinton then went on to show the world why she is not an economist and would have made a horrible choice as president – which isn’t saying much, given the horrible choices offered overall in the 2008 elections.
She defied all market sense by declaring that legalization would not work because that would make it easier for the drug dealers to sell it. They would do so, obviously (she believes), by addicting even more young people.
It’s being extremely nice to say that Hillary Clinton’s supposition is ignorant and borderline deranged. She is apparently unable to grasp the simple Economics 101 rule of markets, which goes something like this:
The price of an item is dictated by its supply, demand, and the costs associated with its manufacture and distribution.
Using that simple rule, we see that the cost of, for example, marijuana, figured as such: availability+demand+manufacture+distribution. So let’s put some numbers in that and make a comparison to marijuana as an illegal substance and marijuana as a legal one:
Illegal marijuana: $0 (availability high) + $0 (demand high) + $25 (manufacture – grow, care, cut, process) + $100 (distribution risks) = $125.
Legal marijuana: $0 + $0 + $25 + $10 (distribution, no risk) = $35.
These are hypothetical numbers, but the point is that most of the costs associated with marijuana right now are in the risky distribution. The majority of growers successfully grow their crops. That is a fact that even the DEA will agree with. Most of the risk associated with cannabis is in the distribution (as with all prohibited drugs). Remove that risk (legalize) and the costs drop.
Now let’s look at another maxim of Economics 101:
The easier it is to make and distribute a product, the more competition there will be.
So, if there is more competition for marijuana as a cash crop, there will be even lower prices as these competitors figure out how to make it cheaper and distribute it faster. This means profits, overall, are lower for each participant (manufacturer, seller). That then means those with a high profit expectation (cartels, drug lords, CIA agents) will likely have to find a new product.
In short, what Hillary’s Freudian slip really meant was that there is too much government capital tied up and dependent on drug prohibition. Whole swaths of government are dedicated to the War on (some) Drugs – from military to police, both at the federal and state levels. Additionally, whole political careers and entire methodologies of control and manipulation are based on drug prohibition. Without the Drug War, there would be no reason to conduct midnight raids, random K-9 searches, police “drills” at schools to intimidate the children, and fewer reasons for stringent border checks. Just to name a few.
In fact, the entire paradigm of our nation’s law enforcement efforts (and abuses) would be changed. Whole departments of police units, including thousands of SWAT and undercover narc squads, would become useless. Like Treasury agents after prohibition’s end, armies of newly-obsolete law enforcers would need to find a new line of work (for the historians among you, that was the stimulus for the creation of the BATFE).
Yep, Hillary, you’re right. There’s just too much money in prohibition to be throwing it out. Except that’s our money you’re talking about, Madam Secretary. Maybe some of us could think of better things to do with it at the risk of creating a lot of unemployed drug agents and jailers.
Over the next few days here at CannaCentral.com, I’ll be penning a series of articles detailing why marijuana is illegal, including the history and facts behind its prohibition, and some of what would change were cananbis to suddenly become legal on a national level.