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Won't Someone Please Think of the Drug Dealers?

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In last week's Triangulator, we ran an infographic exploring what North Carolina was missing by not being one of the handful of states that has legalized and taxed recreational or medical marijuana.

"How about we legalize it so people can stop going to jail for it?" writes Cat Flynn on Facebook. "Priorities? What are those?"

"Such a wonderful concept," adds Glenn Maughan. "Grow a plant, make money. Thanks, capitalists."

Johnny Foster, however, proposes an "alternative perspective to the idea that legalization is all rainbows and roses": "Legalization is great for the capitalists who have the massive capital it takes to enter the market and navigate the legal and regulatory requirements that come along with a marketplace for a newly legalized mind-altering substance," he writes. "The rich capitalists are the ones who take advantage of economies of scale to monopolize the market and make boatloads of money; however, this unfortunately puts small-time dealers, for whom drug-dealing/growing/trafficking may be their only means of income, out of business.

"Simply put, legalization leads to rich people getting richer, and poor people getting poorer. Now, many of you could probably care less about the plight of low-level drug dealers who lose out in a legalized marketplace, and all you care about is that legalization is quite simply better for people who smoke weed. But let's be honest—how much of a hassle really is it for you to find weed? Sure, you may be able to get it quicker and cheaper if you can go down to the corner store to buy it. But if you are that much of a fiend that you need it quicker and cheaper, you may want to reexamine your relationship with weed.

"Another argument you may have in favor of legalization is that you don't want to risk getting busted with weed. But how easy is it to avoid getting busted with weed? Fairly easy if you are discreet in your usage. And if you feel that you don't need to be discreet in your usage, you again might need to reexamine your relationship with weed. Just remember, it's not always as simple as you want to believe it is, and every action has second- and third-order unintended consequences that may actually be more detrimental to your ideology of what is fair and socially equitable. I don't think weed should be actively pursued as an illegal substance, but I also don't think it should be fully legal. Because in the end, if it is legalized, we are only reducing opportunity for those we purport to want to support while handing the rich the keys to the candy store. Low-level dealers/growers/traffickers might be able to get jobs working for the capitalists who own the means of production, but they make a fraction of what they were making in an illegal and unregulated market."

Moving on to another mind-altering substance of choice, this one legal. Responding to our reporting last week that political pressure put the kibosh on an effort to allow breweries to more easily self-distribute their product, commenter StarSword writes: "So, in other words, regulations that protect drinking water, air, health care, and working-class citizens are bad, but regulations that protect corporate monopolies from competition are OK. #RepublicanLogic."

While we're on the subject of regulations, dodahman1 responds to a story we wrote a few weeks back on an American Rivers report saying the Neuse River is sick and the hog and poultry industries are to blame—specifically, a suggestion in there that the state buy out farmers who have lagoons in the river's floodplain. "So, reward capitalists for being stupid enough to put facilities in flood plains? JFC, who comes up with this crap? Now that Smithfield is owned by foreign entities, it is time to shut them down. Ruin your own damn country in order to eat shitty pork."

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