War on drugs hits home

The War on Drugs has made it a point to crack down on the amount of marijuana being smuggled into the country over the Mexican border. But what federal officials have been unable to effectively combat has been the ongoing problem of Mexican drug cartels growing large volumes of pot in our own national parks. It is not only a public policy concern, as it undermines our national stance against the production, distribution and use of marijuana, but due to the large amount of dangerous pesticides and fertilizers needed to provide for a bountiful harvest in unfertile, secluded areas of national parks, it is also becoming a big environmental problem.

The problem caused by pesticide and fertilizer legally used by the agricultural industry have been the subject of scrutiny as of late, as they eventually seep into the groundwater to the detriment of the surrounding environment and, occasionally, the public water supplies. But the possible ramifications of the pesticides and fertilizers used by these Mexican cartels are much more serious, as many of these chemicals are not even legal to use in the United States. Not only do they wind up all over the finished marijuana product, and eventually in the lungs of the consumer, they are also wreaking untold damage to the sensitive ecosystems of our national parks.

And the government is doing comparatively little to halt or reverse this environmental damage. So far, unpaid volunteers, who go out into the national parks to dispose of these materials, have launched the only cleanup efforts, and the government has not put aside money to boost these initiatives. Also an issue is the fact that the DEA spends untold sums of money annually in attempts to slow the production of marijuana by American citizens, often employing loopholes in the Patriot Act that allow them to engage in shady methods of search and seizure against American citizens on their own private property. For the government to spend so much money investigating, prosecuting and incarcerating its own citizens, while refusing to supply money to reverse the more heinous damage caused by illegal immigrants, is completely unreasonable.

The issue of marijuana in America has come to a point, much like alcohol during the era of prohibition, where it is getting harder and harder to argue that the proliferation of the drug is doing more harm than the government's efforts to curtail it. If even a fraction of the money spent by the government in the war on marijuana were pumped into public institutions like health care and education, it wouldn't be long before we saw real progress on these fronts. If there government wanted to be even more progressive and legalize pot entirely, they would reap an enormous financial benefit from taxation, which could go a long way toward alleviating the current financial crisis.

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