Posted by | December 5, 2011 20:13 | Filed under: Top Stories

By Yashwanth Manjunath

I always used to love getting high. One of the best parts of finishing final exams was being able to relax, light up a celebratory blunt, and watch Harold and Kumar or 2001: A Space Odyssey. But I didn’t just limit my marijuana habit to the end of semesters; I smoked several times a month for all three of my years at Rutgers and I still graduated from the honors program last May with a 3.7 GPA. Marijuana didn’t ruin my life, like D.A.R.E told me it would. It wasn’t a “gateway drug” that left me homeless, offering hand jobs for a crack rock. But I’m going to regret every one of those damn blunts for the rest of my life, because I’ll always have to wonder how many people died because I wanted to get high.

Since 2006, there has been a civil war going on in Mexico between the government, and the drug cartels, and the cartels have been winning. More than 40,000 people have been killed and 61 more people continue to die each day. In many instances the drug cartels are better armed and have more soldiers than the Mexican military. According to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, 60% of the profits the Mexican drug cartels use to finance their reign of terror comes from marijuana sales in the United States. The FBI estimates that the cartels now control distribution in more than 230 American cities, from the Southwest to New England. But beyond all of the hard data that indicates continued marijuana consumption in the United States is slowly destroying the country of Mexico and driving them towards narco-statism, the personal stories of the Mexican drug war are even more gut-wrenching.

Back in July four members of the the main Juarez-based cartel gunned down 15 teenagers at a party in the border town of Ciudad Juarez. The cartel ordered the hit because members of a rival gang were reported to be in attendance. It turns out the kids they murdered were just ordinary students trying to enjoy themselves after studying.

In September a couple were found hanging from a bridge in the Mexican border city of Nuevo Laredo. They weren’t just killed; they were tortured first, and then disemboweled and mutilated by their attackers. Their offense? They criticized the drug cartels in a tweet. Next to their corpses was a sign reading “This is going to happen to all those posting funny things on the internet, You better (expletive) pay attention. I’m about to get you.” To those of you who still smoke marijuana, I want you to think about those dead kids at that party and that tortured, mutilated couple hanging from that bridge,before purchasing that next dime bag, because marijuana really does destroy lives, just not for the reasons that we learned in D.A.R.E.

Until our government finally wises up and ends the ridiculous policy of marijuana prohibition, like it did with alcohol prohibition exactly 78 years ago, all of us should “Just Say No.”

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