Everyone is talking about Proposition 19, the initiative that would legalize and tax marijuana sales in California. The question is simple: Does it make any sense to legalize marijuana?

The arguments being presented seem to miss the important facts. Today, it’s legal to not hire people who use tobacco products. Tobacco and marijuana consumers are not a protected class in the eyes of the law. The courts have already determined that, as an employer, you don’t have to hire people who smoke marijuana, even for medical reasons.

Supporters and opponents debate how much money it will generate, but I say that’s not really important. What is more important is the fact that the entire drug trade in California will take a major financial loss, and so will the organized crime it created. That means our police will have to deal with less criminals. With less drug dealers that sell all of the hard drugs on the street the entire market for hard drugs will shrink.

This is Marketing 101. Companies like Best Buy carry products like the Apple iPod and iPhone, not because they’ll make a bunch of profit on Apple products, but because they’ll make ten times more profit selling you the car chargers, carrying cases and other accessories for those products. You might even buy a refrigerator or television while you are in the store. If the drug dealers stop selling high-demand products like marijuana, less people will be exposed to the other items the drug dealer sells. The total number of drug dealers in North America will be reduced. When was the last time you purchased illegal alcohol?

With the number one product sold by the illegal drug industry able to be purchased legally at your corner pharmacy or convenience store, the illegal drug industry will shrink. This will result in massive savings by law enforcement. It also will reduce the total number of people who will destroy their lives, and the lives of those around them, due to hard drug addiction. Any profits made from taxing marijuana will be dwarfed by the social and financial savings that will be gained from the decrease in drug addiction and drug crimes.

When you add in the fact that narco-terrorists control the North American drug market, then taking money away from them will reduce illegal immigration. Since the cartels that are destroying Mexico are forcing hard working people to flee to the safety of America, our cost of illegal immigration will drop, since more immigrants will be able to build a future in their home country.

The fact is the entire United States military is not able to stop the 800 percent growth of heroine production in Afghanistan. In 1919, we amended the United States Constitution in order to abolish alcohol and in 1933 we voted to pass another amendment to reverse that law because banning alcohol created a powerful illegal organized crime movement that took over our country.

When you take into account the fact that 93 percent of the world’s heroine comes from Afghanistan, money that supports the terrorists will also be negatively impacted as well. Less money for the Taliban means we spend less money fighting the terrorists, and that means lower military spending.

Raising the bridge is not the only solution to the problem. We can also lower the water. This is not some grand new experiment. The 21st Amendment worked. In countries that have already done this, the results were that they have lower overall drug use. Even marijuana use dropped in countries that legalized it. Believe it or not our country prospered when marijuana was legal in the United States.

Seventy-three years ago, in August 1937, marijuana became illegal at a federal level. The entire industrial revolution and the boom of the United States into a global superpower happened when people could legally smoke marijuana whenever and wherever they wanted. The reasons why it was made illegal had to do with the business interests of a few powerful people, and not because it was causing America problems.

We all know about Al Capone but can you name a famous marijuana dealer before 1937? Today the names of the drug gangs that make a living selling marijuana are household names. A family member with the LAPD recommended not to list their names for my own safety but suffice it to say all of them make money on the sale and distribution of marijuana. Like Al Capone these groups have grown every year and become more powerful. In the end it was legalization that weakened organized crime and allowed our law enforcement agencies to win the war instead of winning battles.

Marijuana is not the gateway drug, but the dealers themselves are the gateway to hard drugs. So stop thinking small and understand the larger impact of allowing marijuana to remain illegal. Think about all of the costs illegal marijuana has by increasing the use of truly dangerous and addictive drugs, and all of the money that will end up in the hands of evil, dangerous people. How many people will not drink alcohol and kill their spouse. This is time to think globally and learn from our mistakes. The war on drugs has failed. It’s time to do something that has been proven to work. It’s time to lower the water because raising the bridge is not working.

David Alsabery is a Republican with some common sense. He can be reached at alsabery@gmail.com.

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