Sunday, January 08, 2006

Letter to Editor - Kingpins and Body Bags

In her New York Times column, "Reform the Reforms", Leslie Crocker states, "Sentences for kingpins shouldn't be reduced except in rare instances." This makes sense on the surface; many kingpins are ruthless individuals who fund terrorists and are willing to murder to maintain their black market profits. But those immense profits, not the drugs, are the driving force behind the majority of purportedly "drug-related" violence.

Consider this... It costs the United States Government approximately 90 cents per ounce to produce medical marijuana for NIDA's Investigational New Drug program (http://www.drugabuse.gov/about/organization/nacda/marijuanastatement.html), including administrative and security costs. That same ounce could easily sell on the streets for $300. Most kingpins (and the terrorists they support) would prefer to receive 90% of $300 (the other 10% seized by government officials), rather than receive 100% of a mere 90 cents (which would likely be the per ounce wholesale value of cannabis, plus tax, were it allowed in a regulated marketplace).

In other words, the kingpins don't care if our agents catch 10% of their shipments, so long as our drug policies are making the other 90% of their product worth more than its weight in gold, tax free. As long as our policies fight this fire with gasoline, the kingpins and body bags will multiply.

Your Iconoclast,

Christopher Largen

P.S. Though most readers would likely consider a federal medical marijuana program newsworthy, particularly in light of recent Supreme Court rulings, the New York Times has never covered the federal medical marijuana program in all of it's 28 years of existence. Is there a legitimate reason why this is so?

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