Further thoughts on prohibition, with a surprise guest



It cannot be because of the health impact, because that is exactly the other way around. There has never been a fatality from marijuana use among the 60 million reported users in the United States, whereas tobacco kills hundreds of thousands of people every year. My strong suspicion, though I do not know how to prove it, is that the reason is that marijuana is a weed, you can grow it in your backyard, so there is nobody who would make any money off it if it were legal. Tobacco requires extensive capital inputs and technology, and it can be monopolized, so there are people who can make a ton of money off it. I do not really see any other difference between the two of them, frankly except that tobacco is far more lethal and addictive.

-- Noam Chomsky

Noam Chomsky and I usually don't have anything to say to each other, but this is an interesting idea. I've often wondered why cigarette companies don't push for an end to drug prohibition, knowing that they already have the infrastructure set up to process lots of smokeable plants. Taking ol' Noam on his word here would require me to know that tobacco isn't easy to grow in your backyard/closet/basement [note to Feds: I am not doing this], which I don't, but that would explain why there's not a stronger industry push against prohibition.

Of course, it's a little silly to think that things naturally become illegal if no evil corporation can make money off them. I doubt Chomsky would take that idea all the way, but he'd probably take it a lot farther than I would. Catallarchy readers will know that I also lay a huge, huge amount of the blame on can't-keep-it-to-themselves conservatives. But nothing's as easy as that.

Share this