GloucesterTimes.com, Gloucester, MA

November 25, 2012

Letter: Pot trade remains a deadly industry


Gloucester Daily Times

---- — To the Editor;

Two years ago, I wrote a letter to the Daily Times in which I tried to get people to see the connections between the demand for illegal drugs in the U.S. and the horrific violence rocking Mexico.

I wrote that letter the morning after then Mexican President Felipe Calderon had given a powerful speech to the people of his nation urging them not to give up hope in the face of such violence and mayhem. President Calderon, in that speech, also called on the U.S. government and the American people to take responsibility for the fact that it was the huge demand for illegal drugs in the US fueling the violence in Mexico.

Well, saying that whipped up a firestorm in the Daily Times’ anonymous comment threads, with more than a few right wing posters accusing me of always blaming America first. The fact that what Felipe Calderon and I were saying was true mattered not a whit

This letter may tick off as many liberal readers as my first one did. That’s because, after watching a documentary recently here titled “Marijuana Wars”, I’ve realized it’s time to get honest and debunk the myth that buying a little “ganja” is a harmless activity.

With the violence in Mexico raging unabated, and with marijuana sales in the U.S. still the biggest component of the cartels’ huge profits, any American, young or old, who is buying marijuana on the street is, more than likely, buying a product grown by any number of Mexican cartels. These cartels are, increasingly, growing their product, not in Mexico but on vast tracts of isolated, federal lands in the US, particularly in northern California, where the climate is conducive to cultivating a particularly high quality “herb”.

This high quality “herb” is in high demand among American users. It is distributed throughout the U.S. It is a multi-billion dollar a year industry.

These isolated, domestic marijuana plantations are guarded by individuals the cartels arm wih high powered weaponry, including AK-47’s, and all kinds of sophisticated communications equipment.

As in Mexico, the cartels are showing themselves more than willing to use violence to protect their Calfornia “investments” and the profits those “investments” generate.

Ironically, I see these harsh realities as evidence of the need to legalize marijuana and take the power and profits away from the cartels.

I find it offensive, no immoral, that the US government and “law enforcement” continue to enable this violence and corruption, both at home and abroad, just because they cannot admit that their 40-year-old war on drugs has been an abysmal failure.

But until that time comes, people need to realize, if they are buying their marijuana on the street and don’t know where it is coming from, there is a better than even chance that, whether they want to believe it or not, they are, at least indirectly, responsible for the deaths of more than 50,000 people in Mexico, and a growing number of deaths in the U.S. as the cartels do whatever it takes to protect their biggest cash crop of all.

Until marijuana is truly legalized, there really is nothing harmless about it at all — unless you’re buying it from an old hippy friend growing it in his green house to supplement his Social Security.

MICHAEL COOK

Gloucester and Vieques, Puerto Rico