Why would the value of those plants, had they actually matured, have been so high? Cannabis got the nickname weed because it used to grow quite abundantly naturally given decent conditions, so what made it such a valued commodity? When you take something that people want and make it illegal, people don't just say to themselves, “Well, if the government doesn't want me doing something, no matter how bad I want to, I just won't do it.” Instead, the demand creates a black market. With a black market comes violence and gangs and all the other dangers we associate with drug dealing. Whoever thought that making drugs illegal would eliminate drug use either slept through both their entire economics class and the chapter on the Prohibition era of American history, or is just plain fucking retarded.
Not only does making drug use illegal totally fail at reaching its purported goals, it actually causes the problems it pretends to fight. When you make something illegal, you create a taboo around it, and you associate doing the illegal thing with getting back at or defying the government. Part of the reason that the pothead crowd and the protesters, far liberals, Libertarians and the like overlap so much is because some people see breaking such an unjust law as drug prohibition as a way to “stick it to the man.” (I know that there are a myriad of other reasons that these groups overlap, but you can't deny that this is one of them, albeit a minor one.) Part of the allure of doing an illegal drug is being a part of a group that seems so counter to the average moral standards of the day. I mean, who wouldn't want to be part of a group that was counter to the mindless stupidity and acquiescence to authority that passes for culture these days? If you remove the illegality, you also remove this allure.
Even if the War on Drugs was completely successful and not a waste of time and resources, that wouldn't get it off the hook for being bullshit. If someone is fully aware of the dangers and how they relate in scope to the benefits, it should be their business, and their business alone, to decide what goes into their body. We allow much more dangerous things than marijuana, such as cigarettes (whether or not you believe the studies of the dangers of smoking, you can agree that it's more dangerous than weed) and alcohol, to be sold in our stores, and it's perfectly legal. The excuse given for this is that these are such a part of our culture that getting rid of them would be impossible. The real reason is that the companies that make money off of those products would throw their lobbying weight around and never allow these products to become illegal. Just because cannabis doesn't benefit from that marketing power shouldn't mean that the government should be able to tell me I can't enjoy a few hits from the bong.
“My body, my choice” should apply to my whole body, not just my uterus. Last time I checked, I haven't needed a babysitter in almost a decade, so where did the government get the idea that it should be my nanny? An ineffective, bumbling one at that, one that trips over its own two feet, causing the problems it tries to prevent. If the government truly wants to do something productive about drug use, it should implement the following suggestions:
1.) Make all drugs legal. This is a no-brainer. Whether or not the government wants to help me shouldn't mean that help should be forced upon me. If drugs are legal, their purity and dosage can be assured, eliminating deaths due to dangerous additives and drastically cutting down on overdoses. Also, the profit margin would be immensely reduced, and the profit would go to legitimate businesses, instead of fueling gang warfare and the like. Plus, imagine the shitload of tax money that the government would be poised to make off of drugs. Also, there would be a lot more room in the prison system without non-violent drug offenders being forced into prisons, and they wouldn't end up in that poisonous environment, where they would otherwise learn to be real criminals. You know, the kind that actually hurt other people?
2.) Make rehab available to anyone who wants it. Where would the money come from, you ask? The money from the new taxes and the money that used to go into the War on Drugs. There are so many people who want to help themselves but can't afford to do so. So they made a mistake and fucked part of their life up? They want to fix that, which means they have more responsibility that the average American. Now people besides rich, stuck up celebrities, people who actually want to change, could get the help they need.
3.) Inform the public of the REAL dangers of drug use. No, not the bullshit “Weed is a gateway drug, and if you take LSD you'll jump out of a window and die.” scare tactics that pass for drug education today. I'm talking honest, informative information on how to and how not to go about using a mind-altering chemical. (Check out Erowid.org for the kind of in-depth info I'm talking about. I know, a slightly biased source, but the facts they give are true.) Most people will never bungee jump off of a high bridge or climb Mt. Everest, because both are very dangerous actions. In the same way, most people won't use powerful hallucinogens or stimulants, even in a world where drugs are legal, but some will willingly, and with full knowledge of the risks, decide that the experience is worth the dangers.
I know that this is unlikely to happen any time soon, but I think the end of the War on Drugs could be reached before the end of my lifetime. I still don't comprehend, and probably never will, why some people think that it's their job to tell others how they can and can't live my life. It's just one of the many aspects of humanity in which I will never share. Whether or not you believe in drug use, you should hopefully at least believe in my right to do what I choose without directly hurting others. If you don't, what are you doing here? I think you mistyped foxnews.com, Bill O'Reilly's over that way. ~~points to the abysses of hell~~