When responding to media questions directed at him last Tuesday in regards to a big cannabis smuggling ring being taken down by local law enforcement, Arizona Attorney General Terry Goddard (D) either delivered a gaffe (i.e., a politician saying something they believe to be true but didn’t mean to reveal publicly…) or is amenable to alternatives to cannabis prohibition laws. If the latter, Mr. Goddard has immediately arrived on NORML’s radar scope.
Why the question of legalization because of a large bust in Arizona? Why did the NEVER asked question of legalization come into play because of a single cannabis bust in Arizona? Because this bust, like so many thousands of previous cases along the US border, indicates strong Mexican cartel involvement and currently Mexico is going through a very violent period under North American cannabis prohibition laws. In so many respects, the very question of cannabis legalization itself in a southwest border state borders on the self-evident and obvious. Interestingly, along with Goddard’s refreshing embrace of possible alternatives to cannabis prohibition laws, Goddard appeared to be seconding the interests in legalization first raised by, of all folks, a federal ICE agent:
The issue of Arizona drug laws came up during questions about the operation of drug cartels and the violence associated with their operations, particularly in the Mexican state of Sinaloa.
“The key is, they will no longer exist when people don’t buy marijuana,” said Matthew Allen, special agent in charge of the office of investigations for U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement. “This is a market-driven economy and this is a market-driven activity.”
Allen said the question of legalization to eliminate those profits is a policy question.”But if we’re going to go down that road, what is the acceptable amount of marijuana that you want a bus driver to have in their system?” he continued.
“I believe it’s zero,” Goddard said later.
Goddard said a lot of time and money are spent on enforcement activities like the one that resulted in the bust announced Tuesday. He said that requires “a hard look” at the issue.
But Goddard said it’s not as easy as simply declaring it legal. He said there would need to be some controls on who gets the drugs — and how much they use.
So far, he said, no one has found a way to put the kind of controls on marijuana he would want before he would consider legalizing it. Allen echoed the concern that smuggling operations are not simply about marijuana. He said Mexican cartels also are in the business of smuggling cocaine and other drugs on behalf of other cartels in places like Colombia.
He said they make up the money they lose when those drugs are seized through the profits they make selling marijuana in the United States.
Mr. Goddard indicated in the Arizona Star article above that he’d be interested in cannabis legalization if two important concerns of his can be addressed:
-Controlled distribution for adults;
-Controlling and measuring cannabis use among drivers
If these are Mr. Goddard’s genuine concerns then he should consider joining NORML’s staff on a ‘fact finding’ mission to Amsterdam to see how readily cannabis can be distributed to adults for responsible use and his staff should download and read NORML’s drugged driving information and recommendations.