Let’s talk about profit. The Santa Barbara Sheriff’s Dept. recently raided the local medical marijuana dispensary Helping Hands Wellness Center to confiscate a hundred pounds of pot, over a thousand cannabis plants and twenty grand in cash. The narcotics detectives seized the weed products because, as Public Information Officer Drew Sugars said, the Compassionate Use Act passed by California voters in 1996 is only there “to help sick people” and that “nowhere does it say that people can make a profit from dealing marijuana.” There are two established points in this statement by our Sheriff’s department: first, that cannabis is medicine under state law, and second, that because cannabis is medicine, you may not profit from selling it.

[media-credit id=20135 align=”alignleft” width=”215″][/media-credit]Of all the big businesses, which are the most profitable? In 2009, after network equipment and Internet retail, pharmaceuticals were the most profitable industry with a 19.3 percent return on revenue. I get the fact that marijuana currently falls under special laws, but otherwise there is very little sense in Sugars’ words. Marijuana is medicine, but since when can businesses not profit from selling medicine? A land of free enterprise rewards the people who act productively. On the day of the raid, the workers of Helping Hands Wellness Center created more value through productive action than did the Santa Barbara Sheriff’s narcotics detectives, but their labor became loot for the local “Justice” league.

The profitability of a business enterprise is influenced by the ability of the customer to access an acceptable alternative to the product being sold. Networking equipment is new technology that is widely needed for computing — no real substitute is available. Internet retail itself is a substitute to “brick-and-mortar” retail stores, so naturally it thrives. But wait, are there substitutes for prescription drugs?

Of the 10 most profitable prescription drugs, four are made to treat diseases that may also be effectively treated with the drug marijuana. These top four drugs treat depression, psychosis, asthma and high blood pressure, and collectively earn $18.4 billion in yearly sales. Oh, so that’s where all that “anti-drug” campaign money comes from!

The Partnership for a Drug-Free America began in 1986 to educate youth on the harm of ‘illegal’ drugs. Their funding is generally kept secret, but a 1991 tax return for the Partnership reveals the names of GlaxoSmithKline, Johnson & Johnson, Bristol-Meyers Squibb, Hoffman-La Roche and Merck — the usual suspects of “Big Pharma.” In the three years from 1988 to 1991, pharmaceutical companies and their beneficiaries supplied at least 54 percent of the Partnership’s funding. Unlisted are other donations from big tobacco and alcohol corporations like Philip Morris, Anheuser-Busch, Fortune Brands and R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Company. You guys want me off “drugs?” Yeah, right — fuck off, pigs.

It’s déjà vu all over again: prohibition edition. When the government bans a certain activity and enforces it with violence, those involved with the activity must work in a violent environment, and must become more violent to survive. If we lift the state’s violence, the market violence will disappear as well — I guarantee it. It’s already happened once in the last American century.

In 1917, those square sober bastards came up to Congress with something called the 18th amendment and by 1920, it was law. It was the lamest legislation in U.S. history, banning alcohol consumption for all Americans. Most of America, stunned and wondering, “How did they get up so early?” simply took their drinking underground to an illicit “speakeasy.” These shenanigans continued until the St. Valentine’s Day massacre, when in 1929 seven people were murdered in a battle between an Irish gang led by Bugs Moran and an Italian gang led by Al Capone. At that point, the American people realized that their hopeless fantasies of sobriety were unnatural and dangerous, and that by shoving a legitimate industry underground, they had spawned a violent criminal society.

Franklin D. Roosevelt was elected on March 4, 1933. Eleven days later, he signed the Cullen-Harrison Act, in effect legalizing light beer. Immediately, alcohol prices fell, legitimate producers of alcohol began hiring, residents of cities no longer lived under gunfire and “law and order” returned. Beer tax revenue flowed in, public school budgets were balanced and people were happier. The repeal of prohibition is one of the reasons that most of the American people truly appreciated his presidency.

Ours is a land of free people who enjoy pleasure. The more we try and twist ourselves into sober robots being moral for the sake of morality, the more we will support an underground criminal society while reaping zero public benefit. We have established that cannabis is medicine. If anyone is unfamiliar with the concept of supporting oneself by performing valued services or distributing useful goods (commonly known as “enterprise” for “profit”), I guess I have only one thing to say: Welcome to America.