Study: Legalizing Marijuana Would Improve Border Safety And Effectiveness

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By Amanda Froelich

If US President Donald Trump was truly invested in protecting Americans citizens, he would push for the decriminalization of marijuana instead of an expensive   Mexico-US border wall. A new analysis from the Cato Institute supports this assertion, as it was discovered that legalizing cannabis for medicinal and recreational use improves border safety and effectiveness.

The analysis looked at Border Patrol marijuana seizures over a period of time.  David Bier, an immigration policy analysis at Cato, wrote: “State-level marijuana legalization has significantly undercut marijuana smuggling. Based on Border Patrol seizures, smuggling has fallen 78 percent over just a five-year period. Because marijuana was the primary drug smuggled between ports of entry, where Border Patrol surveils, the value of the agency’s seizures overall — on a per-agent basis — has declined 70 percent.”

As Forbes reports, the first states to legalize marijuana for recreational use were Colorado and Washington in 2012. In 2014, legal sales began. Each election cycle, additional states have decriminalized the herb which has killed 0 people in the history of mankind. 

“Given these trends, a border wall or more Border Patrol agents to stop drugs between ports of entry makes little sense,” wrote Bier. “State marijuana legalization starting in 2014 did more to reduce marijuana smuggling than the doubling of Border Patrol agents or the construction of hundreds of miles of border fencing did from 2003 to 2009.”

Bier added that between 2003 and 2009, US Border Patrol doubled its workforce, as well as constructed hundreds of miles of fence. Yet, this did nothing to reduce marijuana smuggling. In fact, each agent seized virtually the same amount of marijuana through 2013, “indicating roughly the same overall inflow of the illegal substance,” wrote Bier. 

For years, marijuana advocates have stated that American consumers would much prefer to buy marijuana from licensed producers who test their product for potency and purity, versus the illegal market which might taint crops with unhealthy chemicals. The recent analysis supports this claim.

Republican representative Matt Gaetz supports ending the prohibition on marijuana. That’s why, at a hearing last week, he urged Homeland Security Secretary Kirstejen Nielsen to acknowledge that ending federal marijuana prohibition would make her and her agents’ jobs easier. He said, “Some people think that state-based marijuana is a gateway drug and makes people want illicit products more.”

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“But the people who’ve looked at your agency — and you’ve got this very difficult job—are saying that if states have the ability to innovate and make legal, high-quality medical cannabis available to people, then we’re not going to have as difficult a job for you and your border patrol agents and for the people who live across our border.”

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IMAGE CREDIT: lightwise

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