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March 2, 2012Posted in Blog, News

Gary Johnson Links Border Security to Marijuana Prohibition

By D.Reed on March 1, 2012 in News & Articles

Border security has and will likely continue to be a point of debate in this election cycle. While we hear candidates talk about unrealistic and unaffordable “Great Walls” to separate Mexico and the United States, we hear very little in addressing the root causes of violence along our borders.

Giant security walls have not enjoyed their place in history. The GOP has taken a very rigid stance on immigration and border control (click here for a breakdown of recent statements made by GOP candidates regarding border security). However, the Republican modern hero, President Ronald Reagan famously said “Mr. Gorbachev, tear down this wall” and then we all know what happened in Berlin shortly after.

Former republican Gary Johnson has actually decided to engage in a conversation on border security that avoids the typical clichés and talking points. Mr. Johnson, former republican and now libertarian candidate for president, recently told Fox News “It should not be under-emphasized how much the violence on the border has to do with the prohibition of drugs, I think if we legalize marijuana, we will take a huge step toward a rational drug policy.” When asked about building a giant border fence, Gary Johnson responded by saying “It’s a no brainer, don’t build a fence; it’s an incredible waste of money.” The party of supposed fiscal conservatism may have a hard time selling Newt Gingrich’s moon base and extremely costly (approximately 3 million dollars per mile) border projects.

Many Americans truly want to see a new approach to marijuana reform, immigration, and border security. Supporting marijuana reform would go a long way to appease patients and advocates. Taking money and power out of cartel hands with new marijuana laws could also enhance the party’s credentials on border security. Political strategists have identified cannabis supporters and immigrants as vulnerable groups for President Obama as many of them feel he did not live up to expectations on these issues. However, if the policies of the GOP remain on the current path, those groups will likely (even if reluctantly) throw their support behind Barack Obama.

We have to ask ourselves how effective a giant barrier is going to be dividing the Mexican and US border. For one, recently ran a story that described the massively complex tunnel system cartel members are using to smuggle in marijuana. A giant wall will likely result in more cartel resources being directed at the often undetectable tunnels. In a sense, the fence may drive the problems underground, literally, with security becoming even more of a concern. Does ignoring a problem and erecting a barrier ever truly deal with any of our problems on either an emotional or physical level? If we had a problem with our next door neighbor we would not request tax dollars during a troubled economy to separate two homes from view of each other. Additionally, if we erected such massive wall, what would we do about Canada? Would criminals and terrorists direct their efforts to the even larger border we share with Canada? Sooner than later America will set aside all the emotionally charged rhetoric against marijuana and decide to simultaneously improve our security, economic, and healthcare concerns.

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