Donald Trump was visiting troops in Iraq on the day after Christmas, his first such visit since taking office, when he started in on a very familiar topic for him these days – the border wall.
You know the one we’re talking about, right?
The one he promised during his 2016 campaign.
So yeah he was telling active duty troops in a warzone that their government is currently shut down back at home because his political opponents won’t make the American taxpayers pay for the wall.
Why do we need the wall?
Well, in his very first rally as a hopeful presidential candidate, Trump told the crowd, and the world, that Mexico is sending “drug dealers, criminals, and rapists” across the border.
He has also cited drug smuggling as a top threat to our nation and he points to our southern border as the source of the problem.
Well, we have a solution for him on that front – one that Canada already implemented to our north, and Mexico is considering to our south.
End the federal prohibition of the cannabis plant and remove it completely and permanently from the Controlled Substances Act
Leaving medical marijuana aside for this discussion, 10 states plus Washington D.C. have legalized the adult recreational use of cannabis. This trend began in 2012 when Washington and Colorado voters made those two states the first to blaze this trail. Their laws were implemented in 2014.
Since then, cannabis smuggling at the U.S.-Mexico border (1,085 miles from the Washington state border & 549 miles from the Colorado border) has dropped by a whopping 78%.
In fact, in those same four short years the value of drug seizures overall at the border has plummeted by 70%.
Simple… If legal weed ten states has such a massive impact on border security, making it legal nationwide would be profound.
Koch-funded libertarian think tank, the Cato Institute, agrees in a scathing report released just before Christmas that offers some interesting insight into the topic.
In it, author David Bier takes the president to task over his alleged need for the wall due to drug smuggling, and then takes it a step further.
Pointing to that 78% reduction in cannabis smuggling since 2014, Bier rightly points out that legalizing weed state-by-state over the past four years “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.”
He goes on, “From FY 2003 to FY 2009, Border Patrol doubled its workforce and constructed hundreds of miles of fences, yet this increased enforcement did not reduce marijuana smuggling. Each agent annually seized virtually the same quantity of marijuana through 2013, indicating roughly the same overall inflow of the illegal substance.”
Now, with legal weed cropping up across the U.S., those border seizure numbers are falling quickly and consistently based not on law enforcement or politics, but the natural forces of the free market.
I mean, when’s the last time you bought weed from Mexico? Nineteen-ninety-what?
Bier argues that every dollar spent on securing the spaces between actual ports of entry – where the real smuggling occurs – is a dollar wasted that could have been allocated to real national security measures.
According to Bier’s report, the average port inspector seized 8x more cocaine, 17x more fentanyl, 23x more meth, and 36x more heroin than the average agent seized along the actual border in late 2018.
Bier expertly summarizes and blends the issues together into a concept so simple to understand, even Trump might have a shot if they read it real slow to him.
It goes like this
When you legalize marijuana in the U.S., making it easier to obtain, you see a drastic drop in illegal smuggling of marijuana across the U.S.-Mexico border.
So if you then were to make it easier to gain legal immigration status to become a U.S. citizen, it stands to reason that you’d not only see a drop in human trafficking across the border, but in illegal immigration overall.
Once again cannabis proves to be a gateway… to democracy.