Foreign Policy

Gary Johnson Calls for Pot Legalization to End Border Violence

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Gary Johnson is now the only* GOP presidential candidate whose policy position on U.S.-Mexico relations does not involve predator drones or unassailable walls. Instead, the former two-term New Mexico governor made the case in a Washington Times op-ed and again on his "Truth for a Change" blog that border violence is tied to–gasp–drug trafficking:

The border war is not an immigration problem—illegal or otherwise—and even if it were, fences and troops would not solve it. If anything, the crackdown measures of recent years, while doing little or nothing to address illegal immigration, have had the unintended consequence of upping the ante for the cartels trying to move drugs across that same border, resulting in greater crime and violence.

Immigration is a different issue—and one that must be addressed not with fences, but with a system for legal entry and temporary work visas that works. Real border security is knowing who is coming here and why.

Border violence, on the other hand, is a prohibition problem. Just as we did for Al Capone and his murderous colleagues 90 years ago, our drug laws have created the battlefield on which tens of thousands are dying. By doggedly hanging onto marijuana laws that make criminals out of our children while our leaders proudly consume wine at state dinners, we have created an illegal marketplace with such mind-boggling profits that no enforcement measures will ever overcome the motivation, resources and determination of the cartels.

There are ample reasons why millions of Americans, the Global Commission on Drug Policy and, just recently, former Mexican President Vicente Fox are calling for legalization of marijuana as an alternative to the failed and ridiculously costly "war on drugs." Twenty-eight thousand deaths along the border are certainly among those reasons.

Will legalizing marijuana put the criminal cartels out of business? No. But it will immediately deny them their largest profit center and dramatically reduce not only the role of the United States in their business plans, but also the motivation for waging war along our southern border.

National marijuana legalization in the U.S. would probably mitigate border violence, but notice Johnson's caveat: It won't put cartels out of business. The broadest plan on the table, proposed in June by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, only repeals federal prohibition of the drug, meaning that cartels would still have black markets in the nearly three dozen states that don't even have medical marijuana. 

The other problem is that while weed may provide up to 60 percent of their revenues, the cartels also make and sell meth, and coordinate and protect shipments of cocaine coming from South America. Within Mexico, the cartels are engaged in many of the forms of organized crime that plagued the U.S. long after alcohol prohibition was repealed. To say that they'd lose interest in the U.S. if we legalized marijuana is, I think, to severely underestimate their flexibility and interest.  

In terms of broader geopolitical questions, Mexico and many other Caribbean/Central American countries have attempted to reorganize their military and police around drug warring as part of the Merida Initiative. What happens when we admit that was all a huge, stupid mistake? 

*A reader points out that Huntsman is also good–from a liberty perspective–on immigration. 

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  1. start w weed & go fm there one step at a time. dont let the perfect be the enemy of the good.

      1. I lol’d at myself. I hope it was good for you, too.

        1. I know it was good for your mother last night, Trebek!

        2. OO===========D

          1. Good to hear from you again, old friend!

          2. ( o )

            This is what your mother looks like from behind, OO==========D

            1. Settle down Beavis.

            2. (}O{)

              Your mom as goatse!

          3. Re: OO

            V V
            (V)

            This is how your mom looks from the front.

            1. my mother passed away 2 yrs ago.

              1. In that case:
                < >
                (V)

                1. threadwinner

          4. Fucking imposter!

  2. Wow- the only candidate? Based on Paul’s bill that only ends the federal prohibition? Seems like the author would rather see the feds mandate legalization among the states, which is the same overbearing unconstitutional action as prohibiting it. Leave criminal statutes to the states.

    1. It’s ok for “libertarian” reason to ignore the 10th amendment cuz “the right people will be in charge.”

      1. Seems like you all are missing a quote or two from Johnson that says he would cram legalization down the states’ throats. Care to cite a source?

        1. RTFA. Repeal of federal prohibition is presented as leaving those poor pot-prohibiting states as open to the ravenous drug cartels. Johnson’s “national legalization” is presented as somehow eliminating this perceived threat, implying it would be legal in all states via federal dictat.

        2. Re: rev. Blue Moon,

          Seems like you all are missing a quote or two from Johnson that says he would cram legalization down the states’ throats. Care to cite a source?

          That’s not what’s being said, BM. The implication above is that Paul is somehow timid regarding proscribing prohibition because the bill that he co-sponsored only affects the federal government. There’s clear innuendo in that statement – what does Mike want Paul to do, sponsor a law that would violate the 10th Amendment?

          “The broadest plan on the table, proposed in June by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, only repeals federal prohibition of the drug [marijuana.]” [Emphasis mine.]

          That unnecessary conjunctive “only” can only lead to the conclusion that the writer believes Johnson would act differently, as the article is about Johnson.

    2. The only candidate (with the possibility of Huntsman) whose policy does not involve the military and/or walls on the border. That includes Paul.

  3. Wow- the only candidate? Based on Paul’s bill that only ends the federal prohibition? Seems like the author would rather see the feds mandate legalization among the states, which is the same overbearing unconstitutional action as prohibiting it. Leave criminal statutes to the states.

    1. Reason writer’s don’t care about (or are oblivious to) federalism when it negatively affects their pet issues such as drug legalization.

  4. Should be the mierda intiative.

    1. I see what you’re doing there.

  5. If Johnson isn’t going to put forth reasonable or credible policy solutions to winning the War on Drug Users then I don’t know why he’s bothering to run.

    1. Your ideas intrigue me…

  6. Great another tea-bagging ratfucker selling out for Agribusiness.

    WHY DON’T YOU JUST THROW THE CHILDRUNZ INTO A COMBINE AND GET IT OVER WITH, JOHNSON, YOU SICK FUCK?!

    /so-con idiot

  7. Gosh, that sure makes sense to me. The media must love this guy, with all of his practical solutions to real world problems.

    1. *stares at ProL over [expensive Italian] eyeglasses*

      Now….that’s just snarky, ProL…

      1. Snarky? Whatever do you mean? I assume he’s getting all sorts of press and participating in many debates. After all, we need all sorts of ideas at the table, not just the same old dried-up drivel, right?

        1. If snark were poker you would be Phil Helmuth.

          1. That jet-engine sound was this reference sailing over my head…..*google*…

            Oh…hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha!

            1. Phil Helmuth is a self-centered asshole who happens to be good at poker.

        2. Speaking of “old and dried up”, I was with your mother last night, ProL…

          1. I’m not Trebek, but my dad is.

            1. With or without the stache?

              1. They can closest to converging twenty years ago, when Dad still had the mustache and the curly hair.

              2. Without…

                1. With before, without now.

                  1. You didn’t phrase it in the form of a question.

  8. we have created an illegal marketplace with such mind-boggling profits that no enforcement measures will ever overcome the motivation, resources and determination of the cartels.

    It’s as if we cannot out-bribe them.

    Meanwhile, there is a rash of scare stories about how cuts in federal funding have reduced meth lab raids. And evil Tea Party Republicans despoil the lives of little children.

    They hate America, they do.

    1. God damn, the media is such a mass of absolute scumbags.

    2. Prior to the last election, every candidate for FL state AG was pimping their “bash the pill mills” campaign.

      1. I don’t get it. Why would we want to destroy our last tourist market? Junkies buy food, gas and hotel rooms, too.

  9. What happens when we admit that was all a huge, stupid mistake?

    I think we have.

    Now it is up to those who seek and wield power to admit that it was a big mistake.

    But look at the consequences of that happening:

    Letting people free from profitable prisons.
    Police having less power to search people and confiscate private property.
    No excuse to use helicopters to invade peoples’ privacy round harvest time.
    Fewer no-knock raids with fully automatic weapons.
    Less mandated treatment and counseling.
    Nosy parole officers having fewer people to bother.

    Now from the point of view of government and rent seekers, ending the war on drug users would be terrible, which is why it will never happen.

    1. Oh, and the biggest problem of all – politicians being forced to utter the words “We were wrong”.

      That is the major reason why the war against drug users will never end.

      Politicians are pathologically incapable of admitting fault.

      1. This is why term limits or even just voting people out of office regularly could be a good thing: “Yep, those guys fucked up.”

      2. The only way to end the War on Drugs, then, is to come up with a solution that legalizes pot while letting politicians save face….

        Maybe we can pitch legalization as a way to reduce the deficit… You know, then they could say, “Hey, the War on Drugs is working, but we can’t afford it.”

        1. Only when they can point a finger is there a chance of repealing anything.
          Since both parties have played a part, neither can point a finger.
          The war on drug users is here to stay.

          1. How about we let both parties declare victory, and get the hell out of the country.

          2. It’s not the parties per se, it’s not the politicians per se, it’s the people in gen’l.

        2. But it’s for teh chuldrsindadasfasfdasd.

        3. Nope. The pols have to be able to declare victory before they will ever give up the fight. Otherwise the nanny-state assholes will say “you don’t love the children enough”.

          What we need is the President standing on top of a small mountain of dope with his Drug Czar and top DEA folks and a banner proclaiming Mission Accomplished.

          1. Obama had the opportunity to lead on this issue, and chose not to.

            1. Obama had the opportunity to lead on this issue, and chose not to.

              ftfy

    2. Then why did they legalize gold? Why did the USA & several other countries repeal liquor prohib’n? Why did the USA & several other countries legalize abortions? Why did they legalize almost all porn?

      Is the time past forever for changes like that? Forever is an awfully long time. You’re saying the war on drug users will still have been going continuously in the year 87,441? Not a single break in the meantime?

      1. “Why did the USA & several other countries repeal liquor prohib’n?”

        So the feds could tax liquor.

    3. I still don’t understand how the police flying over someone’s farm searching for pot doesn’t violate the fourth amendment. They are searching someone’s property without a warrant. Am I just fucking retarded?

  10. What happens when we admit that was all a huge, stupid mistake?

    We move on to the next huge, stupid mistake.

    Of course good luck on actually getting anyone to admit the first one was a huge, stupid mistake. There are still people defending Prohibition.

    1. You’ve got it right, just out of order. We move on to the next vote-buying, liberty-killing money toilet (War on Terror)& then, maybe, we admit the mistake.

    2. There are, but very few. Practically as soon as repeal happened, everybody said it was stupid, and nobody said they’d changed their minds. Everybody will say they were right all along, and that unidentified other people were the problem. And I don’t mean just politicians, who just reflect the will of everybody else, I mean everybody.

  11. Help us Gary Johnson, you’re our only hope.

    1. Good analogy. Johnson will mysteriously vanish in a duel about 2/3rds through the election cycle.

      1. The media is doing their part to disappear him.

      2. But will his apprentice travel to the distant planet of Texas find his outwardly crazy and curmudgeonly but infinitely wise and powerful new master?

    2. That’s what the article would have you believe, but if anything, Paul is better on the drug issue than Johnson.

      1. Well, no.

        1. “well, no.”

          That’s it???? “Well, no”????

          You’re officially the new Tony, BM. Congratz! I didn’t believe anybody could achieve such a feat, but I guess I was wrong.

          1. Johnson never talks about hard drugs, so I assume he thinks they should remain illegal.

            Ron got people cheering for heroin legalization in SOUTH FREAKIN’ CAROLINA!!!!!

            The reverend above can suck a dick

            1. He got a laugh from the crowd and sphincters convulsing in horror from the media, the other candidates and presumably a large part of the TV audience.

  12. What happens when we admit that was all a huge, stupid mistake?

    Not being an expert, I’d assume people will (rightly) be somewhat annoyed with us. But seeing as how our .gov is years away from admitting the mistake, I don’t think it’s anything we have to worry about soon.

    1. No, people will not be annoyed with “us”. Everybody will instantly switch positions and claim they were always on the new side, and since everybody else will have switched too, there’ll be nobody to call them on it — and no reason to do so, anyway.

  13. With ideas like these, Johnson should run for president.

    1. Say, that’s not a bad idea! You know, he was a two-term governor, which makes him more qualified than the last couple of presidents for sure. I’m surprised no one ever suggested that he run.

      1. Oh that reminds me. Has anyone else heard that Santorum keeps claim in speeches that he is the only candidate to have ever defeated an incumbent amongst all those running? What an imbecile. I can’t wait for him to drop out Sunday.

        1. I have this vivid memory of him getting ousted from the Senate. Maybe that was just a dream.

          1. A beautiful dream, yes. But dreams come true.

          2. A beautiful dream, yes. But dreams come true.

          3. A dream so nice, I had to say it twice.

            1. The best part of political careers is usually their ignoble endings.

          4. Tried to read the linked thread but stopped. Someone went through there 3 years after the original posting and added their own boorish running commentary. Confusing and annoying but it’s always nice to see ChristoFacists like Santorum get the short end of the stick. Great photo.

      2. W was at least a two term governor.

        1. You’re right–I forgot he was re-elected.

  14. Immigration is a different issue – and one that must be addressed not with fences, but with a system for legal entry and temporary work visas that works.

    Nice knowing you, Gary.

  15. Paper Lace: ” The Night Chicago Died”

    In the heat of a summer night
    In the land of the dollar bill
    When the town of Chicago died
    And they talk about it still

    When a man named Al Capone
    Tried to make that town his own
    And he called his gang to war
    With the forces of the law

    I heard my mama cry
    I heard her pray the night Chicago died
    Brother what a night it really was
    Brother what a fight it really was
    Glory be

    I heard my mama cry
    I heard her pray the night Chicago died
    Brother what a night the people saw
    Brother what a fight the people saw
    Yes indeed

    And the sound of the battle rang
    Through the streets of the old east side
    ‘Til the last of the hoodlum gang
    Had surrendered up or died

    There was shouting in the street
    And the sound of running feet
    And I asked someone who said
    Bout a hundred cops are dead

    I heard my mama cry
    I heard her pray the night Chicago died
    Brother what a night it really was
    Brother what a fight it really was
    Glory be!

    I heard my mama cry
    I heard her pray the night Chicago died
    Brother what a night the people saw
    Brother what a fight the people saw
    Yes indeed

    And ther was no sound at all
    But the clock upon the wall
    Then the door burst open wide
    And my daddy stepped inside
    And he kissed my mama’s face
    And he brushed her tears away

    The night Chicago died
    The night Chicago died
    Brother what a night the people saw
    Brother what a fight the people saw
    Yes indeed

    The night Chicago died
    The night Chicago died
    Brother what a night it really was
    Brother what a fight it really was
    Glory be

    The night Chicago died
    The night Chicago died
    Brother what a night the people saw
    Brother what a fight the people saw
    Yes indeed

    1. The horror. The horror.

  16. The broadest plan on the table, proposed in June by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, only repeals federal prohibition of the drug, meaning that cartels would still have black markets in the nearly three dozen states that don’t even have medical marijuana.

    Bullshit. Does the author truly believe that foreign drug cartels who must move their goods across international borders can compete with interstate pot bootleggers? Please explain how.

    1. read where cartels are growing in national & state parks to avoid the increased security at the border.

    2. A lot of weed is grown in KY, damn fine weed too. Yet you can still buy seedy Mexican brick weed if you want. They compete with intrastate pot growers all the time.

      1. Yes, because the feds prosecute both vigorously. How will this remain the case in the absense of federal prohibition?

        1. If KY, as a redtard state, keeps pot illegal, it will compete just fine. The state police go after weed just fine without federal help.

          Mexican pot might even compete better in a feds-free situation, considering that it might make it here by taking a route through pot-friendly states.

          1. You seem to be forgetting that prices will fall. A lot.

            A plant that is grown, harvested, and sold legally and openly in nearby states is going to be cheaper (production and distribution-wise) and of better quality than the same plant that must be clandestinely grown & harvested in another country and smuggled a thousand miles (including past international borders).

            Fallacy of the stolen concept. Read your Rand.

            1. Fallacy of the stolen concept. Read your Rand.

              Explain how he stole a concept.

              1. The concept of a highly profitable price on pot that would entice cartels when the mechanism for the high price is endemic prohibition, which would no longer be present under repeal of the all-encompassing federal prohibition laws. Hence the concept is “stolen.”

          2. Actually, though not a change in their essential position on weed policy, KY just made it so that, on a first offense, possession up to 8 oz is no longer an offense punishable by arrest unless one is otherwise committing some other crime.

            Of course this move was just in an attempt to save cash from an overstrapped penal system, but the move was made nonetheless.

            http://www.state-journal.com/n…..le/4994024

    3. Re: squishua,

      That’s not even the main problem with the author’s attempt at innuendo. What does he want from Paul, that he steps over the 10th Amendment? As a strict constitutionalist, he would only accept a plan that repeals FEDERAL laws, not State laws. Does he want one to believe that Johnson is willing to step over his constitutional bounds and forbid States from prohibiting drug use?

      1. Its definitely an article advocating politics over principles.

  17. The broadest plan on the table, proposed in June by Reps. Barney Frank and Ron Paul, only repeals [the] federal prohibition of the drug[…]

    That’s because it’s the only CONSTITUTIONAL WAY of doing it, you dolt.

    Gary Johnson Calls for Pot Legalization to End Border Violence

    OMG, the guy is a fucking genius! Why has nobody else thought of that before???

    http://www.ronpaul.com/2009-03…..-on-drugs/

    1. Yeah, it’s a tiny bit disingenuous, since Paul is doing what he can from the office he currently holds.

    2. Old Mexican: Proud Member of the Circular Firing Squad since 1962.

      1. Re: Rev. Blue Moon,

        Old Mexican: Proud Member of the Circular Firing Squad since 1962.

        False Facts BLue Moon – new moniker.

        I wasn’t even born in 1962, dimwit.

        1. Wouldn’t that make you, at most, Middle-Age Mexican?

          I Keed!

          1. Re: goneGalt,

            Wouldn’t that make you, at most, Middle-Age Mexican?

            Sure, but look: 40ish Mexican lacks pizazz.

  18. If you don’t like drugs, then don’t use them.

    1. Where the fuck is Juanita to tell us all differently?

      1. Drugs are bad for children. drugs remoove your enhibitchins so you have sex without condoms and get AIDS. Prison guards have good jobs guarding drug crazies, those jobs are important.

  19. Him and Huntsman are the only candidates who don’t want to build a “great wall of America” or militarize the border?

    Sometimes I think Rockwell and Wenzel have a point about you guys. Ron Paul has been saying this stuff for decades, and he happens to be running for President.

    Huntsman? HUNTSMAN?!?!?

    1. Your “kindly old grandfather” type “voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, authorizing an additional 700 miles (1100 kilometers) of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.” So know from whence you speak next time.

      1. Re: Rev. Blue Moon,

        Your “kindly old grandfather” type “voted for the Secure Fence Act of 2006, authorizing an additional 700 miles (1100 kilometers) of double-layered fencing between the U.S. and Mexico.” So know from whence you speak next time.

        Right.

        Sorry, dude, the vote was more symbolic than anything else; anti-immigration xenophobes are NOT happy about Ron Paul:

        http://diplomatdc.wordpress.co…..migration/

        You should know from whence you speak, moonie.

      2. Using evidence with a Rockwellian is like using evidence with a 9/11 Truther. It’s a total waste of your time.

        1. Re: Brandybuck,

          Using evidence with a Rockwellian is like using evidence with a 9/11 Truther. It’s a total waste of your time.

          “Rockwellian”… Right.

          Are you now resorting to inventing labels to badmouth people, B?

    2. Sometimes I think Rockwell and Wenzel have a point about you guys

      P.S. Rockwell never has a point.

  20. “Negro y Azul,” mis amigos, “Negro y Azul.” Heisenberg is not uncertain.

  21. What a foolish article. I’ve given Reason a chance, and consistently read their articles for the last three months, but have never been impressed at the quality of writing or accuracy. The statement that “Gary Johnson is now the only* GOP presidential candidate whose policy position on U.S.-Mexico relations does not involve predator drones or unassailable walls” and then the mention about Huntsman just over-scores how disconnected Reason is from the facts about the candidates and champions of liberty in general. This is eve more ridiculous at a time when the facts are overflowing via campaign communications. At this point I am too interested in keeping up day-by-day with the political news that I don’t have time to sift through and discard Reason articles. I’ll just remove it from my feed. There are a ton of other non-professional hobby-journalists out there that report facts.

    1. The bar is open!

      1. I don’t even know where to start with this anono-B-rad. I agree with juris, the bar is open. Brad, if you’re still here, no one will miss you.

        I mean, he could have at least said, “For a magazine called ‘reason’…”

        I’m guessing he works for the Huntsman campaign… wait a sec…

        DONDEROOOOOOOOOOOOOOOOO

  22. What kind of people would we be to sit by and do nothing while innocent people were being brutally murdered?

    It is physically impossible to end the widespread use of marijuana in the United States, and because people can’t buy it from supermarkets they buy it from the street which provides the Mexican drug cartels with more than $10 billion a year. This is the bulk of the cartels’ funding – their “bread and butter” as the ONDCP called it.

    Do we seriously think that there’s anything in this world that will ever stop the cartels from pursuing this $10 billion a year, or that will stop other impoverished, desperate people from pursuing it if we’re ever lucky enough to wipe out all the existing cartels?

    And more to the point, why don’t we taxpayers simply stop funding the marijuana prohibition and instead allow our supermarkets to sell marijuana to adults with marijuana profits taxed like beer and wine? We’ll save ourselves the cost of the prohibition, earn significant new taxes, rid our streets of drug dealers because they won’t be able to compete with the supermarket prices, and eliminate the bulk of the cartels’ funding in the process. And even better, not a single one of our soldiers will need to be put in harm’s way to achieve this.

    You may not ever wish to purchase beer, wine or marijuana yourself but you should *always* insist on them being legal for supermarkets to sell to adults.

  23. I agree. The USA needs to take a more Netherlands stance on social issues. The Netherlands is the true “Land of the Free” it seems, along with Canada. Too many politicians in America want to tell people what they can and can’t do. If people are smoking pot in their house and not hurting anyone, it’s not my business or yours! Same for gay marriage. Equality. They aren’t hurting anyone.

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