Jason Samir Santiago
“Just because I was charged with a half-ounce of weed does NOT imply I am forever worthless or that I am incapable of educating myself and becoming a better citizen. I believe that with this deeper level of understanding I could easily change the direction the country is going, into debt, and that I could also easily change the percentage of unemployment and homelessness to 0%.”
It is my Uneducated opinion that OUR economy is in great crisis not only based on the fact that to pay off one credit card THEY borrowed from another, but the fact that WE are using none of this money to bring up the lowest sections of OUR country. Those lower sections being unemployment and homelessness. With programs to better the technical schooling of all OUR people WE could become educated enough ourselves to handle any crisis OUR world can throw.
WE as THE PEOPLE have the right to have access to this money to create new jobs, new companies, and prosperity.
This money was borrowed for OUR benefit correct?
If so then why do WE THE PEOPLE have NO say in where it is going within OUR economy?
Why should the government tell us what to spend OUR money on?
I don’t want to buy holiday gifts; I want to buy stock and precious metals. THEY say independent investing is not allowed with this money.
Why not I ask?
Maybe it’s because THEY want CONTROL of every market in OUR nation?
Think about it THEY just bought out everything!
WE need to band together and tell the Government WE can spend OUR own money.
WE know that to create a strong economy WE NEED to allow these weaker companies to die. WE need to allow the stronger companies the opportunity to rise as did their predecessors. Taking this natural system of checks and balances out will ultimately end up in destruction of OUR own economy.
When THEY maxed out all THEIR credit cards at 7.5% APR and THEY saw another card offering free transfer of debt from all cards to this new card with an APR of 7%.
THEY still owe the money just paying someone else the interest, and now one country owns everything WE have.
Now let’s talk money $13,750,000,000,000.
That is the number of OUR national debt.
Did you get that?
It says OUR national debt.
THEY borrowed 800 billion from China.
Now that is something huh?
THEY rack up all the bills and WE THE PEOPLE have to foot the bill.
800 Billion dollars any one want to figure out the interest WE have to pay every month?
THEY chose to borrow this money against OUR countries credit, within this credit lies all OUR land and all OUR homes.
For any reason if THEY default what happens to OUR country, OUR land, and OUR homes?
WE need NO government spending.
WE need oversight committee’s ran “BY THE PEOPLE AND FOR THE PEOPLE.” (Remember that?)
WE need MORE social responsibility with-in OUR PEOPLE.
Why are there not programs based on the upbringing of OUR youth to a higher education that warrants more.
Do THEY have any kind of plan to repay this money?
Do THEY have anything legit awaiting approval of President Obama?
THEY have nothing.
I have a plan that WE THE PEOPLE can easily bring into working order and fix the two major issues that drain on OUR economy more than anything, also within cutting off the “Leak” (what I will call the problems draining OUR economy for the remainder of this article), With the “Leak” taken care of WE can also take hold of this new agricultural opportunity which could in effect take OUR country out of the epidemic of Unemployment and Homelessness. First I will address the 4 issues that face us (2 in the "Leak" 2 in the remainder)then I will identify my plan to reform OUR justice system, restructure OUR country, and recreate OUR economy. WE can free ourselves to a whole new private growth enterprise opportunity that would alleviate the two major factors facing the economy.
#1. The “War on Drugs”
Each year, the government spends $16 billion in the "war on drugs" to kick in doors, fill jails and build new ones, and evict families from public housing. A wide range of repressive laws and court rulings justify ubiquitous police searches, wiretapping and spying on people. The common perception is that all this is aimed mainly at users of cocaine and heroin, if not big-time dealers. But the fact is, most drug busts are for marijuana, and the overwhelming majority of those are for possession. Michael Pollan wrote in the New York Times Magazine (July 20, 1997), "Remove the millions of marijuana users from the ranks of illicit drug users and WE would be left with a `drug abuse epidemic' involving roughly two million regular heroin and cocaine users--a public health problem to be sure, but hardly one big enough to justify spending $16 billion a year." Without the criminalization of marijuana, the whole justification for the "war on drugs" goes up in smoke. The commanders of the "war on drugs" straight up lie about the target of their attacks. In a recent debate on the Internet service America Online, former Drug Czar Lee Brown stated, "It's not true that people are going to prison for consuming marijuana." No? Tell that to the 30 people doing life in prison for marijuana, and the tens of thousands more who are serving time in state, local and federal jails. The National Organization for Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML), the group that has done the most research into marijuana sentencing, estimates that over nine million people have been busted for marijuana laws in the U.S. since 1965, and that someone is arrested every two minutes. The FBI's Uniform Crime Report says that over 80 percent of these are for possession. Many others are serving long jail sentences for "distribution" because many state laws automatically classify people who grow their own plants as "distributors." The government doesn't keep count, but activists estimate that between 40,000 and 70,000 people in the United States are currently locked up for marijuana offenses. Penalties for marijuana possession vary from state to state. In some states, getting caught with a small amount of marijuana is punishable by a fine. But in many states penalties are truly draconian. In Alabama, cultivating marijuana can carry a sentence of life in prison, and a second conviction for selling marijuana carries a fixed sentence of life in prison without possibility of parole. In Indiana "knowingly visiting a place where drugs are used" carries a sentence of up to 180 days in jail and a $1,000 fine-- effectively criminalizing all kinds of public and social gatherings. A possession conviction can carry a sentence of 20 years hard labor in a Louisiana prison. Cultivating a single plant in your home can carry a prison sentence of 15 years in Missouri. You can get life in prison in Montana if you share marijuana from your plant with someone else. Other states where simply growing your own marijuana plants can get you life in prison include Oklahoma and Rhode Island. Federal penalties as well can get you life in prison for cultivating over 100 plants. In Oklahoma, Will Foster, a 38-year-old father of three, is serving a 93-year sentence for growing medical marijuana for his own use--he got 70 years for growing the plants, 20 years for possessing marijuana in the presence of a child and extra time for not paying drug taxes! Another man, Larry Jackson, was convicted of having less than a hundredth of an ounce of marijuana and is serving a life sentence in Oklahoma. In prison, searches for marijuana are used to increase the brutality suffered by prisoners. A videotape of the beating of Missouri prisoners at a privately run Texas jail became public last month. It showed guards beating inmates, forcing them to crawl, and allowing a dog to bite an inmate. Inmates were shot with a stun gun. Jail officials justified these brutal attacks by saying that they suspected the inmates were smoking marijuana. A Missouri attorney and NORML leader, Dan Viets, said "Missouri jails are operating well over 100 percent capacity and forcing state inmates to be housed in other states like Texas--this overcrowding is because 80 percent of inmates entering the Missouri Department of Corrections are non-violent offenders, many of them convicted on marijuana charges." Viets, who said he has clients doing time in Texas jails for marijuana convictions, said, "Have suspected marijuana users been demonized to the point where WENew York Times Magazine (2/19/95) reported that "under the crime bill passed last summer, the cultivation of 60,000 marijuana plants is an offense punishable by death"! Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested, jailed, fined, served probation or community service sentences, or in other ways had their lives messed up by marijuana busts. And according to NORML, Blacks and Latinos are over-represented both in numbers of arrests and in the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated. In some states, the police can take your car if you are found with any marijuana in it. allow them to be beaten, stunned and bitten?" In Hawaii, the government sprays dangerous herbicides to kill marijuana plants. Throughout California paramilitary CAMP units swoop down on farms with helicopters and send swat-squads into the fields to destroy marijuana plants. Donnie Clark, a lifetime farmer, was busted by federal agents along with 28 other farmers. Clark was the only defendant who refused to plea bargain in the case, and after he was convicted he was sentenced to life in prison for conspiracy to grow over a million marijuana plants. His son, who reportedly developed a technique for growing marijuana in swamps, was sentenced to 10 years in federal prison. The federal judge who sentenced Donnie said, "These (sentencing) guidelines are harsh, but harsher ones are coming. Soon someone is going to seek the death penalty for what you've done. This country is perhaps going overboard out of frustration with this drug problem." In fact, a 1995 article in the New York Times Magazine (2/19/95) reported that "under the crime bill passed last summer, the cultivation of 60,000 marijuana plants is an offense punishable by death"! Hundreds of thousands of people have been arrested, jailed, fined, served probation or community service sentences, or in other ways had their lives messed up by marijuana busts. And according to NORML, Blacks and Latinos are over-represented both in numbers of arrests and in the number of marijuana offenders incarcerated. In some states, the police can take your car if you are found with any marijuana in it. ."
#2. The Justice system.
Ending America's Domestic Quagmire
By PAUL ARMENTANO
A growing number of political pundits are questioning America's military efforts in Iraq and Afghanistan, and some are beginning to draw parallels to lawmakers' much longer domestic war effort: the so-called war on drugs. The comparison is apropos.
For nearly 100 years, starting with the passage of America's first federal anti-drug law in 1914, lawmakers have relied on the mantra "Do drugs, do time." As in the Middle East, the human and fiscal consequences of this inflexible policy have been steadily mounting.
America now spends nearly $50 billion dollars per year targeting, prosecuting, and incarcerating illicit-drug users. As a result, the population of illicit-drug offenders now behind bars is greater than the entire U.S. prison population in 1980. Since the mid 1990s, drug offenders have accounted for nearly 50 percent of the total federal prison population growth and some 40 percent of all state prison population growth. For marijuana alone, law enforcement currently spends between $7 billion and $10 billion dollars annually targeting users -- primarily low-level offenders -- and taxpayers spend more than $1 billion annually to incarcerate them.
Despite these unprecedented punitive efforts, illicit drugs remain cheaper and more plentiful than ever. (Who ever heard of crack, ice, Ecstasy, GHB, or Special K 30 years ago?) Among children, the percentage using illicit drugs is little different than it was in 1975, when the government first began monitoring teen drug use (though, comparatively, adolescents' use of cigarettes has fallen dramatically during this time). Illicit-drug use among adults has also remained virtually unchanged; however, far more users are overdosing and dying from substance abuse than ever before.
Americans are also dying in greater numbers a result of drug-war enforcement. For example, members of Georgia's narcotics task force shot and killed 92-year-old Kathryn Johnston in November 2006 during a no-knock drug raid of her home. Two officers in the raid eventually pled guilty to manslaughter and admitted that THEY planted drugs in Ms. Johnston's house as a cover story for their actions.
A similar fate befell 44-year-old housewife Cheryl Noel of Baltimore, who was shot and killed by police in 2005 during a 5 o'clock a.m. "flash-bang" raid of her home. Noel's husband and 19-year-old son were later charged with possession of marijuana and drug paraphernalia.
Nevertheless, despite the drug war's growing expense and civilian casualties, lawmakers continue to offer few, if any, strategies other than to stay the course. Such a mindset is epitomized by the outgoing House Drug Policy Subcommittee chairman, Mark Souder (RInd.), who authored federal legislation to withhold financial aid from convicted drug offenders, recently pushed for the use of mycoherbicides as biological agents to kill drug crops overseas, and continues to publicly lambaste drug czar John Walters for employing an oversoft (in Souder's opinion) drug-war battle-plan. The families of Kathryn Johnston and Cheryl Noel would most likely beg to differ.
However, in contrast to politicians who call for a review of the U.S. military's Middle East policies, few lawmakers are demanding a timetable to bring about a cease-fire to the war on drugs -- or are even calling for a reduction in the number of "troops" ( i.e., narcotics detectives, DEA agents, et cetera) serving on the front lines. THEY ought to. If American lawmakers want to take a serious look at the United States's war strategies, let them begin by reassessing -- and ending -- their failed war here at home.
Paul Armentano is the senior policy analyst for NORML and the NORML Foundation in Washington, D.C. He may be contacted at firstname.lastname@example.org
Factor 1 = Ok WE have FAFSA, Not really though if you count the number of drug related felons in America today that are NOT eligible. Today in OUR country THEY are instituting new laws everyday that make the simple possession of marijuana a felony. With NO teaching of these laws THEY chose how are WE to prepare OUR children for this fight? It is estimated that by 2015 50% of the population has been in DOC or will be in DOC. For those who do not know DOC is Department Of Corrections. With this information WE can surmise that anyone that has ever been caught with or in a transaction involving drugs now have so FEW opportunities to better themselves creating a circle that pulls people back into their old ways no matter how badly THEY desire change.
Factor 2 = Now WE have said felons unable to educate themselves to better aid in the transition to become a productive member of society. Felons not only have FEW opportunities for schooling it is near impossible to pass a felons application past a corporate (internet) hiring process. So WE are left with a stigma that needs to be revamped and educated all around.
Factor 3 = All this new information now shows us where OUR main problems lie. OUR prison system has so many faults it is ridiculous, The Justice system implementing these HORENDOUS sentences for simple possession, and Corporate America making it impossible to secure employment causing a rise in unemployment and homelessness. Not only do THEIR prisons allow more freedom than THEIR “NOT GUILTY HOLDING” counterparts (county jails) but THEY do not allow the inmates proper educating tools (especially within these county institutions).
WE are not allowing these said felons the ability to properly educate themselves so that THEY DO NOT fall back into these “Pot (;-)-Holes of Life”.
WE need an education system in place in all County and State Institutions of Incarceration.
Not only do WE NEED this educational system but WE need to go back over what WE feel is a major crime against society; i.e. Marijuana crimes. For marijuana alone, law enforcement currently spends between $7 and $10 billion dollars annually targeting users -- primarily low-level offenders -- and taxpayers spend more than $1 billion annually to incarcerate them. Tell me this is NOT a problem. Somebody, Anybody? That’s what I thought. WE are spending a BILLION dollars a year to house people that only smoked some pot! WTF!
Ok now WE have $12.8 billion in the “War on Drugs” (Prosecuting, Judges, court reporters, and thousands of other people PAID by US to be there) and lets just call it $8.5 billion being spent on targeting (spying, tapping, and watching) then there is the last $1 billion being spent to feed, clothe, and bathe the people in these institutions. That brings US to a grand total of $22.3 BILLION DOLLARS SPENT EVERY YEAR ON MARIJUANA CRIMES ALONE.
How big is the marijuana market?
Marijuana is illegal at the Federal level. Therefore, it is difficult to collect accurate statistics on the marijuana market. Alcohol is regulated, and producers pay taxes on the amounts THEY produce. Therefore, economists can make reasonably accurate estimates of the size of the alcohol market. This is not possible with marijuana because producers are not licensed and there are no taxes levied, other than general sales taxes, in the cases where it is sold through store front operations. Throughout most of the United States, the entire marijuana market is underground and therefore deliberately hidden from anyone who might want to get details. The bottom line is that WE really don't know how big the market is.
Therefore, here are the various guesses at the size of the market. Each has its own merits and rationale. Just for comparison's sake, the market for brewed beverages in the US is a little over $100 billion.
Jeffrey Miron estimates the national marijuana market at about $10 billion per year.
Dale Geiringer of California NORML estimates the market in California to be about $3-5 billion. If California is about ten percent of the national market, this would indicate a national market of $30 to $50 billion.
Jon Gettman estimates the size of the domestically grown marijuana crop at about $35 billion, based on DEA figures. Note that this is just the estimate for the dollar value of marijuana grown within the United States. It would not include imports. He has estimated the total size of the national market at around $100 billion.
The officials involved in CAMP (Campaign Against Marijuana Planting) have estimated that THEY seized $7 billion worth of marijuana in California alone. Federal Government officials have estimated that, at best, THEY only seize about ten percent of the crop. That would put the size of the market at about $70 billion, minimum, if California was the only place growing it.
There are no estimates for the dollar value of the marijuana that is imported from other countries. Even the US Government does not attempt to offer figures. By any method of estimate, it would have to be in the billions.
Marijuana Business News has done its own research by surveying the marijuana clubs currently operating in the Los Angeles area. Because OUR research is limited to the Los Angeles area, WE cannot make estimates for anywhere but the Los Angeles area. WE expect to release the details of these surveys in 2008.
From OUR survey, WE would now estimate that the sales of the combined marijuana stores in the Los Angeles area (geographically, from about the 10 Freeway north to the top of the San Fernando Valley) is probably at least $1 billion to $1.5 billion per year. It should be noted that this is the estimated sales for the openly operating medical marijuana clubs. These are clubs that advertise openly in local papers and on the Internet. Many of them have catalogs of their current products on the Internet. People who buy from these clubs must either be qualified medical marijuana patients, or THEY must be registered caregivers for qualified patients.
OUR estimate does not include any sales through more "traditional" methods -- the black market for marijuana that has always existed. It is difficult to tell what percentage of marijuana users go through the trouble of obtaining medical marijuana recommendations. Obtaining a recommendation requires a visit to a doctor and the paying of a fee, usually around 100 dollars. Marijuana is generally freely available through the black market so many people just don't bother. Also, some don't want to have paperwork that connects them with marijuana.
As nearly as WE can determine, the biggest portion of the marijuana market is NOT serviced by these clubs. The biggest portion of the market apparently still goes to "traditional" dealers, by a margin that WE would estimate as two or three to one. That is, the medical marijuana clubs may service only a third or less of the total market.
For example, most clubs report that THEY have only a handful of clients who are under 25. The majority of the clients of these clubs are over 30, and many are over 40. THEY are typically baby boomers, who are settled with jobs and families and like the convenience and the selection afforded by the marijuana clubs. THEY are tired of running around to friends' houses to get their marijuana.
Considering those factors, the total market for marijuana in one limited area of Los Angeles could be estimated at a minimum of $2 billion to $3 billion dollars per year, and maybe more. If this is correct, WE$100 billion believe it would argue in favor of Jon Gettman's estimate of a national market in the neighborhood of
OK now WE have a “Leak” of $22.3 BILLION and a possible income of $100 BILLION.
If WE combine the two this model tells me that WE could be earning an extra income of $122.3 BILLION. Ok, Ok on the LARGE government scale maybe that’s not that much…
In my scale that would be 7yrs and WE could pay off THEIR credit cards. Not only does Full legalization need to be brought to the table for the economic purposes but the humanitarian applications need to be addressed as well. The FACT that people are being abused, incarcerated, and killed over marijuana is an understatement to the level of punishment one endures when convicted of a simple marijuana crime as demonstrated above. With the eradication of said crimes WE free up largely needed resources. WE free up corporate America for everyone. The growth of marijuana would not only create its own stimulus it would create jobs in transport, security, cultivation, management, medical, and professional fields.
Think of all the farmers that would not have to be paid to not grow anything.
Think of all the homeless who could be housed in earth-friendly hemp homes made with the waste of growing marijuana.
Not only does this plan take control of OUR economy it also takes control of OUR earth and the FACT that global warming is a problem and WE have to do something NOW!!!!
The science behind hemp and its ability to eradicate greenhouse gases (3 x the carbon dioxide as a tree) in the air is proven.
IF WE used these two plans in conjunction with one another it would slow the effects of global warming.
IF WE could get the world involved WE could stop it altogether.
Think about the implications.
WE can save OUR economy.
WE can save OUR youth.
WE can save OUR earth.
WE THE PEOPLE need to band together and tell the white house what’s up.
WE want marijuana legalized and the profits used to pay off THEIR debt and that’s all.
NO luxury jets, NO houses, JUST DEBT.
With programs such as these WE THE PEOPLE would be making decisions and learning more about OUR economy, and with that knowledge the ability to avert future crisis.
Let us take this to Obama, WE need to join together and stop this problem while WE still have a hold on the reigns.
WE know what is best for us.