We were betrayed by our fellow stoners who voted no on Proposition 19.  These selfish, ignorant assholes turned their back on decades of activism because this law wasn’t good enough for them.  Prop 19 wasn’t perfect but you can’t hold out for perfection especially in the United States.

Prop 19 had the full support of every marijuana activism group including: NORML, MPP, SSDP, DPA, LEAP, IDPI and Cannabis Culture.  In addition many, many more non-marijuana advocacy groups supported the legislation including police groups, labor unions, politicians and medical associations.  Check out this list, Support for Prop 19.  Even the Humboldt Medical Marijuana Advisory Panel supported it.  Are the traitors smarter than the overwhelming group of supporters?  Absolutely not.  The traitors are misguided conspiracy theorists and profiteers of the current prohibition.

The reasons that were given by the traitors are as ludicrous as the war on drugs itself.

  • Corporatization of cannabis
  • High taxes on retail marijuana
  • Prop 19 creates more restrictive regulations
  • Medical Law (prop 213) will be abolished

Prop 19 allowed for the commercial production of marijuana.  How is that a bad thing?  The traitors argue that the evil corporations would add hazardous additives to the plant like tobacco companies do.  If that did happen who cares?  Prop 19 allowed you to grow your own pot.  Why the fuck would anyone buy corporate weed if you can grow your own?

Mass production and marketing of marijuana will drastically increase the supply of cheap weed.  That will bring the price down to a much more civilized level.  Current prices vary from $150 to $400 per ounce.  That is because of prohibition.  In fact one of the DEA’s main objectives is to drive up the price of illegal drugs.  Marijuana is a crop like any other and can be produced even easier than most mainstream crops.  At today’s prices corn goes for about $7.50 per bushel.  That’s 8 gallons of corn for $7.50, and corn is many times harder and more expensive to grow than marijuana.  The $50 per ounce tax that Prop 19 calls for would still put  marijuana at a much lower price than today.  If Prop 19 passed high end pot would probably sell for $100 per ounce.

Prop 19 was not perfect and did in fact create some new penalties such as,

  • Every person 21 years of age or older who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone older than the age of 18 but younger than 21, shall be imprisoned in county jail for up to six months and fined up to $1,000 per offense.
  • Any person who is licensed, permitted, or authorized to sell marijuana, who knowingly sells or gives away marijuana to someone under the age of 21 results in them being banned from owning, operating, or being employed by a licensed marijuana establishment for one year.

I don’t agree with any kind of legal age for alcohol, pot or any other substance.  Unfortunately that is the paradigm in the United States.  There are many countries with no legal age for alcohol and they are better off for it but that is an argument for another day.  The traitors argue that Prop 19 would penalize medical users who are otherwise free under California Proposition 215.  That is absolutely false.  Prop 19 clearly states that Proposition 215 and SB 420 laws are exempt from the new law.  “No on Prop 19” claims that there will be stoned drivers and people going to work stoned.  That is clear outright propaganda.

The stoners against Prop 19 also argued that marijuana is still illegal under federal law and that growers, sellers and users could still be prosecuted by the DEA.  That is true but what do you expect?  Prop 19 was isolated to the state of California.  It had zero power at the federal level.  It was unfortunate but expected that the feds announced that they would “vigorously enforce” federal drug laws against Californians who grow or sell marijuana for recreational use even if voters pass the legalization measure.  This kind of federal meddling really casts doubt on the freedom that the US federal government frequently trumpets about.  In addition Govenator Arnold signed bill SB 1449 which reduces simple possession from a misdemeanor to an infraction.  In doing so Schwarzenegger intentionally took some of the wind out of the sails of Prop 19 at a very important time.

Who are the traitors that fucked over Regulate, Control & Tax Cannabis Act?

Dennis Peron

Dennis Peron, author of Prop 215 which legalized medical marijuana in California in 1996.  Prop 215 has done amazing things for the movement.  It allowed medical marijuana to be grown, distributed and used legally as well as the medical marijuana dispensaries that we see today.  Peron opposes Prop 19 because he does not believe in the recreational use of marijuana.  He literally does not believe.  Peron was quoted saying “I don’t even understand what recreational marijuana is, people say they feel high. What were you feeling before that? Not high? Low? In other words, you were depressed.”  Nobody is that naive.  Peron is clearly opposed to Prop 19 because he does not want any competition for his pot friendly bed and breakfast in San Fransisco.

Fortunately Dennis Peron has already tasted justice.  He was recently arrested on hard drug and child porn charges.  Ironically he understands the recreational use of methamphetamine and ecstasy.

Dragonfly De La Luz

Dragonlfly aka Stephanie Taylor is a San Francisco-based cannabis and travel writer for Skunk Magazine.  She has received the most media attention of all the traitors.  Se started a blog titled “Stoners Against the Prop 19 Tax Cannabis Initiative.”  On this blog she spews all kinds of conspiracy theory and misguided information against Prop 19.  Dragonfly erroneously says growers who want to legally cultivate will have to pay $211,000 a year to do so. She was quoted, “Obviously there’s no space for the mom-and-pop small-time farmer who have been living off marijuana legally since 1996.”

Medical Dispensary Owners

In a Huffington Post article a dispensary owner named “Craig” was interviewed.  Here is a quote,

“I’ll give you two reasons, one is big tobacco. Did you know that Phillip Morris just bought 400 acres of land up in Northern California? The minute marijuana becomes legal, they’ll mass produce and flood the market. And of course, they’ll add the same toxins they put in regular cigarettes to get you addicted, and very little THC, so you’ll have to buy more… In short, they’re going to ruin weed.” He gestured around his beloved shop, with every flavor of every strain, in its purist form, selling for at-cost prices. “I like the way things are now.”

Phillip Morris 400 acre thing is a phony conspiracy theory in case you were wondering.

Medical Marijuana Growers

Many growers oppose Prop 19 for the same reason as “Craig”.  They are making a handsome profit the way things are.  I hope these selfish mother fuckers get what they deserve.  Here’s a good article on the growers of Mendocino County in California.

Dragonlfy and the other traitors claim that the godfather of marijuana activism and one of my heros, Jack Herer, opposed Prop 19.  Herer was great activist who did more for the movement than anyone, ever.  He died this year on April 15.  He initially opposed Prop 19 because he wanted full and free legalization.  He saw marijuana as a gift from god and wanted, as we all do, absolutely zero restrictions on its use and cultivation.  Jack’s son Dan Herer wrote the following in a letter to members of the cannabis community,

Jack ‘wanted it all’ and Prop 19 is just part of that dream.  Unfortunately Jack passed away before Prop 19 made the 2010 ballot; so many people think he would still oppose it. We don’t believe that, and we ask that everyone stop saying he would cling to that position as we move toward the Nov. 2 vote. He was smart and had the political savvy to know that once a measure is on the ballot, the time for bickering has passed. That is why he campaigned for Prop 215 despite its shortcomings. That is why, were he able, he would now be telling voters to rally around and Vote Yes on Prop 19.

Unfortunately these traitors, profiteers and conspiracy theorists managed to suck in enough people to vote down Prop 19.  The ballot initiative was defeated with 53.9% of California voters voting ‘No’.  All the marijuana advocacy groups who tried their best to get Prop 19 passed agree that despite the loss a nationwide and perhaps even worldwide debate has been sparked.  People are beginning to listen and the truth is getting a lot harder to hide.  The lies and evils of the war on drugs are more obvious than ever.  Marijuana legalization in North America is no longer a fringe issue.  A new law called the Jack Herer Initiative had been filed in California for 2012.  This new initiative is a much more pure form of legalization than Prop 19.

I just want to say fuck you to the traitors.  I hope you all spend years in a federal prison.

 

The prime minister of Canada, Stephen Harper, had a Youtube just like Obama did a few months ago. Questions were added and voted on by the public on youtube.com/talkcanada. With nearly 170,000 votes on over 6000 questions marijuana legalization took the top 4 spots. Cannabis prohibition also ranked high on the US version but the question was not included in the final Obama interview. Surprisingly the question of marijuana legalization was asked tonight, Harper’s response was not surprising.

The question was,

“A majority of Canadians when polled say they believe marijuana sould be legal for adults and taxed just like alcohol. Why don’t you end the war on drugs and focus on violent criminals.”

What we got was pretty much the kind of response you would expect from a guy like Harper.

He started out ranting about his kids.  Harper went on to say,

[Marijuana use] is the last thing I want to see for my kids or anyone else’s children.

First of all the question said marijuana should be legal for adults. What the fuck does that have to do with his or anyone else’s children. Second, prohibition does absolutely nothing to keep drugs out of the hands of children. High school students continually claim that marijuana is easier to get than alcohol.

“I’ve been very fortunate to live a drug free life and I don’t meet many people who’ve lived drug free life and regret it …”

OK that is your opinion, Harper.  So when you made a bet with Obama during the Olympics involving a case of beer you weren’t going to drink it, right?  What he meant to say is “I’ve been very fortunate to live an illicit drug free life”.  When asked in 2004 if he had ever smoked pot Harper has this to say (source),

No I have not. I was offered a joint once and I was too drunk.

Even though alcohol is a much more dangerous drug it is perfectly acceptable, but marijuana will murder babies in South America.

He basically said the same thing when asked about his proposed mandatory minimum sentences. “We think its bad and we’re going to punish people for it.” He’s going for the moral approach here just like his role model George W Bush.

When people are buying from the drug trade they are not buying from their neighbor they are buying from international cartels that are involved in unbelievable violence and intimidation, social disaster and catastrophe all across the world.

Wow! So my neighbor who grows weed and sells it to me is actually a terrorist in disguise? I guess we’ll just have to take your word for it, Harper. Wonder where he got that idea? It is true that drug cartels and many terrorist groups are funded by drug profits that does not mean drugs = terrorism.

Canada is a marijuana exporter, nearly 100% of the marijuana consumed in Canada is grown in Canada. So we really are buying weed from our neighbor. If it was not for the prohibition induced black market we would have a very successful domestic marijuana economy. Gangs reap massive profits and control the majority of the marijuana black market exactly the same as they did during alcohol prohibition. The organized crime element is caused by prohibition not a reason for it.

I know that some people say if you legalized it you would get the money and all would be well. But I think that rests on the assumption that somehow drugs are bad because they are illegal. The reason drugs are illegal is because they are bad.

Here he used the old debater’s trick, the straw man. He built up a phony aspect of the argument (the straw man) and easily knocked it down. Nobody thinks drugs are bad because they are illegal and nobody would argue that. The question is not whether drugs are bad or not. The question is, why is marijuana illegal when 1/6 Canadians are using it? Good or bad people are going to be using it. The prohibition approach has done nothing to stop people from using pot. Prohibition has done very little in preventing drug use, in fact it has failed completely. Prohibition has made billionaires out of villans and ruined the lives of countless good honest citizens.

… and even if these things were legalized I predict with great confidence that these would never be respectable businesses run by respectable people, because of the very nature of the dependency that they create, the damage that they create, social upheaval they create.

So Harper thinks the marijuana business could never be respectable. I wonder if he thinks all the breweries, wineries, bars, and liquor stores in Canada are respectable? This is another example of his moral objection to marijuana. It is also absolutely false.

To sum up Harper’s arguments

I don’t give a fuck if Canada votes to legalize marijuana I think it is morally wrong.

It’s nice to see someone like you steering the ship Harper. Here’s one more question for you, what is the shelf life for bad legislation?

Harry Ansliger spread the hate on marijuana and essentially began the criminalization of marijuana worldwide.  Richard Nixon took it to the extreme.  In June 1971 Nixon declared the war on drugs which took the drug policy of the United States worldwide.  Nixon and his supporters lableled illegal drugs as public enemy number one in the United States.  Nixon also created the DEA and increased penalties for marijuana. The United State’s first action in the drug war was a massive surprise attack on Mexico’s border by U.S. law enforcement personnel, code named “Operation Intercept.”  In September 1969 Nixon essentially shut down the US-Mexico border under the premise of disrupting the marijuana trade.  Each and every vehicle crossing the boarder was given a 3 minute intensive search.  The operation lasted only 20 days after border delays severly affected the economies of both countries.  The amound of drugs seized was much less than Nixon expected but that was not the true purpose for the unilateral action.  It was to coerce Mexico into funding a domestic drug eradication and enforcement policy in which Operation Intercept was a success.  Decptive and coercive tactics are the hallmarck of the US war on drugs which continues to this day.

Operation Intercept was the first drug related unilateral action against another country by the United States.  It symbolizes the US ‘s inability to accept responsibility for it’s own drug problem.  Instead the US government blames other countries which produce and distribute illegal drugs to the growing black market inside the borders of the United States.

In 1970 the Nixon government passed the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act which included the Controlled Substances Act (CSA).  The CSA created the five schedules which are used today in compliance to the UN Single Convention on Narcotic Drugs.  The CSA increased the search and seizure powers of law enforcement and established a major federal scientific inquiry called the National Commission on Marihuana and Drug Abuse (aka the Shafer Commission).  Marijuana was placed in Schedule 1 of the new law which is the most restrictive.  Crack cocaine and crystal meth are listed under Schedule 2 .  The criteria for a drug to be placed in Schedule 1 as defined by the law are,

  • The drug or other substance has a high potential for abuse.
  • The drug or other substance has no currently accepted medical use in treatment in the United States.
  • There is a lack of accepted safety for use of the drug or other substance under medical supervision.

Marijuana’s inclusion in Shedule 1 was to be temporary pending the results of the Shafer commission.  When the commission released its findings to President Nixon in 1972 he was not pleased.  The Shafer report found, “Neither the marijuana user nor the drug itself can be said to constitute a danger to public safety.”  The report also found that marijuana use caused “no significant physical, biochemical, or mental abnormalities,” and that “most users, young and old, demonstrate an average or above-average degree of social functioning, academic achievement, and job performance.”  The Shafer commission also recomended that marijuana be decriminalized and at least be removed from its Scedule 1 status.  Nixon refused to even read the report and stated in a press conference,

“I am against legalizing marijuana. Even if the Commission does recommend that it be legalized, I will not follow that recommendation.”

In March 1973 Nixon created the Drug Enforcement Agency.  Until that time federal drug enforcement was handled by several different groups.  The new “super agency” was consolidated from the Federal Bureau of Narcotics and Dangerous Drugs (BNDD), Customs, the CIA and the Office of Drug Abuse Law Enforcement (ODALE).  The DEA is the worst agency ever created.  They have abolutely failed in ever part of their job.  Demand for illegal drugs has climbed uninterrupted since 1973, prices have not gone up and criminal gangs reap higher profits than ever.  Since its creation the DEA has succeeded in one thing, wasting vast sums of money.  The DEA budget has increased anually from $75 million in 1973 to $2.5 billion in 2009 (from the DEA website)

Richard Nixon used extensivce propaganda to literally brainwash the US to hate marijuana.  He was the first US President to formally seek media support in spreading drug war propaganda. In 1970, Nixon held a special White House meeting with senior executives and producers from the major TV networks and ad agencies, who were collectively responsible for over 90% of prime-time television. Nixon showed them “shocking” films about narcotics addiction, and then asked them to help America survive the scourge of drugs. Popular shows like Hawaii Five-O, The Mod Squad andMarcus Welby, MD soon began featuring anti-drug storylines.  Nixon then met with senior radio executives, with similar results. Within a year Nixon’s drug war had received an unprecedented $37 million in free advertising, a figure which has grown steadily every year since. Government officials now claim the average American child sees over 140 anti-drug ads each year, and the anti-drug theme is incorporated ever more deeply into mainstream entertainment, including movies, music and TV.

The Nixon regime squached the marijuana decriminalization movement.  When Nixon came into office 11 states had decriminalized marijuana and many more were considering relaxation of marijuana laws.  The General Social Survey showed close to 30 percent support for outright legalization of marijuana.  The science was in, reports like the Shafer and Le Dain commissions showed that marijuana was not dangerous, addictive or anything else the government said it was.  Just like today legalization seemed imminent.  Nixon’s methods of propaganda and continued enthusaism for the war on drugs delivered a heavy blow to the anti-prohibition movement. Just before Nixon’s second term the Watergate scandal erupted.  He was busted in a conspiracy that involved spying on the Democrats in order to keep him in office.  Read the whole story here.  As a result of the investigation Richard Nixon was the first American president in history to resign.  Nixon was a crook and a liar.  Although he was forced out of office his legacy continues to this day.  The drug war is still tearing society apart and marijuana is still listed in Schedule 1 despite overwhelming scientific evidence that shows it does not fit the criteria.  The DEA continues to grow and people still hate marijuana. From the late Hunter S Thompson,

Richard Nixon has never been one of my favorite people anyway. For years I’ve regarded his existence as a monument to all the rancid genes and broken chromosones that corrupt the possibilities of the American Dream; he was a foul caricature of himself, a man with no soul, no inner convictions, with the integrity of a hyena and the style of a poison toad.

Like the members of LEAP Barry Cooper is an ex-cop who became a marijuana activist.  He was one of the top narcotics officers in the US prior to his awakening.  Barry has first hand experience with the corruption of the war on drugs.  The Never Get Busted Again videos are essential to any smart stoner’s education.  In his DVDs Barry explains in detail the methods used by police to search your property and put you in jail.  In the DVDs Barry speaks passionately on the injustice handed out by law enforcement and provides entertaining and accurate information on how to never get busted again.

Barry spent eight years as a narcotics officer in Texas.  He received extensive training and worked joint operations with the ATF, DEA, FBI, U.S. Military and Border Patrol. Barry is well trained in all interdiction methods including undercover operations, reversal operations, search warrants, K-9’s, traffic stops and public transportation narcotics interdiction (buses and airplanes.)  During his career, Barry had accumulated an impressive record of over 300 felony narcotics arrests, 500 misdemeanor narcotics arrests, the seizure of over fifty vehicles and millions in cash and assets.

Barry Cooper is no longer a police officer because he realized the war on drugs is a war on the people.  After conducting numerous raids and seizures it became clear that drug enforcement causes more harm on the people and their families than use of drugs. While on the force he saw other officers lie under oath, use illegal warrants, and plant drugs on people in order to get a conviction.

In his own words,

I knew what I was doing was wrong but my need for fame, adrenaline and peer acceptance overrode my good conscience.

Barry Cooper’s newest project is called Kopbusters. It is a TV show where Barry and his team bust corrupt cops. They use DEA style reverse stings and other tactics to catch corrupt police in the act. In the pilot episode the Kopbusters team set up a fake marijuana grow-op using a big HPS light, ventilation and some christmas trees. If the police conducted a proper investigation they would have never raided the “grow house”. Barry’s team caught police on camera raiding the house on an illegal warrant. Check out the trailer below,

Barry Cooper is a powerful addition to the anti-prohibition movement. His experience and passion are unmatched. It takes a lot of courage to do what he does. He is running for Texas Attorney General check out his website.

Help out Barry by purchasing his DVDs. You cannot make a better investment.
The Never Get Busted DVD’s are available from the Loopy Lettuce Store, product links below,



Advertisements for legal buds, herbal smoke and other legal highs openly suggest that they are alternatives to their illicit counterparts.  On the package the products carry disclaimers like, “not for human consumption”.  The obvious contradiction does not sway consumers from purchasing these fake drugs.

The knock off marijuana is frequently named after famous strains of real pot. Names like Orange Kush, Dutch Haze, and Skunk are used to market the fake weed. So what is in this stuff? The big online stores only give vague descriptions of the product’s ingredients. From internationaloddities.com,

International Oddities offers a unique selection – over 30 custom hybrid plants, and each product has its own unique qualities to be appreciated. For over 20 years our smoking experience has brought the public high quality top smoke at affordable prices

In response to the question “What are the effects?” internationaloddities.com has this to say,  “Sorry – we don’t discuss effects.” The herbal marijuana dealers emphasize that the herbs burn well and are easy to smoke. They carefully steer clear of the actual effect of the “drugs”. The purpose of doing drugs, legal or otherwise, is to get high isn’t it? Otherwise we’d all be smoking bubble gum cigarettes and drinking root beer.

LegalBuds.com lists some of their ingredients:

  • Mugwort
  • Damiana
  • Kava Kava
  • Wild Lettuce
  • Lavendar
  • Mexican Damiana
  • and others

These ingredients are basically all herbal teas.  Why would you pay $50 per ounce online when you can buy these teas for $2 per bag locally?  Why would you smoke herbal tea anyway?

There is another kind of fake marijuana that really gets you high, sort of.  Some newer brands such as Spice, K2 and Red Bliss actually contain synthetic chemicals sprayed onto herbal tea.  In real marijuana there are a whole bunch of chemicals called cannabinoids that contribute to the high.  Delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, abbreviated as THC, is the most well-known cannabinoid.  Many cannabinoids occur naturally in the brain and are part of our everyday function.  Here is a great website that will explain the chemical process of marijuana and other drugs in an easy and fun way, Mouse Party.  The fake pot contains man-created cannabinoids similar to those found in Marinol (the DEA approved cancer medicine).

The cannabinoids in K2 and others produce a high that is similar to marijuana but with more psychological than physical effect.  Users report a head high that lasts approximately 30 minutes then a long period of “grogginess”.  Many users also say they feel hangover-like symptoms the next day.  Marijuana does not produce a hangover effect.  The fake pot that contains synthetic cannabinoids sells for roughly the same price as real marijuana and in many cases more.  It does not show up on standard drug tests and that is why a lot of people use it.

The disclaimer on legalbuds.com reads:

If you choose to smoke these herbs, please be advised that you do so at your own risk.

Most online legal bud suppliers require that you be 18 years old to purchase the fake weed. These are not controlled substances, why put an age restriction on them?

The main assumption that legal drug advertisers rely on is that legal means safe. The legal status is no guarantee that these drugs are safe.  Pharmaceutical companies spend many years testing a product before it is approved for human use.  Illicit drugs have been used for decades and marijuana has been used by humans for over 10,000 years.  There have been many scientific studies done on illicit drugs and while controversial at least there is data on these drugs.  The new legal highs have zero scientific data available to the public.

Attempts have been made to criminalize these legal highs all over the world. Which is more absurd than actually smoking fake pot. Professor Tony Moffat of the London School of Pharmacy says this about fake pot:

“The downside is that it can scramble your brain in large quantities. We don’t know what side effects they have – psychotic episodes, heart attacks, they may cause schizophrenia.”

He completely made that up. The main reason they want to make these drugs illegal is there is no science to back them up. A better approach would be to conduct studies that investigate the effects. In the current paradigm of selective prohibition legislators can pick and choose which drugs are legal based solely on opinion. What a mess.

Marijuana is very safe to use, there has never been a death due to marijuana overdose and no case of cancer, heart disease or emphysema has ever been attributed to cannabis use.  What can be said for the legal highs?  They are expensive and the effects are weak at best.  If you are going to do drugs do real drugs that work.

Myth: Marijuana use causes permanent short-term memory loss.

neuronen-m-synapse

The Truth: Marijuana does cause short-term memory impairment but only when you are high. Just like how alcohol impairs your balance when you are drunk but not the rest of your life. Studies show that chronic smoking of marijuana does not produce major changes in general cognitive abilities like intelligence, memory and the ability to learn. Unfortunately there are marijuana users who help perpetuate this myth.

A study in Jamaica of 30 chronic users and 24 non-users investigated cognitive effects of long-term pot use (Bowman & Pihl 1973). The users smoked an average of 20 joints per day for at least 10 years. The testing took place in many environments from homes, huts to public places. The mobile approach ensured that even the most impaired individuals could participate. The study included many tests of reaction time, learning, perception and memory. The investigators determined that chronic marijuana consumption had no effect on cognitive abilities.

A more recent study looked at mental functioning of 1300 cannabis users in Baltimore over 11 years (Lyketsos; Garrett; Liang; Anthony 1999). The study used the Mini-Mental State Examination to examine the participants. There were no significant differences in cognitive decline between heavy users, light users, and nonusers of cannabis. Read it HERE.

Other studies show that the brain adapts to the acute memory effects (while you’re high) of cannabis.  A laboratory experiment on rats and mice show that short-term memory in the rats dropped initially in the 35 day examination but recovered to pre-drug levels by the end.  This study also shows some interesting stuff regarding cannabinoid effect of the hippocampus.  Read it HERE.  The acute short-term memory effect subsides after prolonged use.  Long time marijuana users will also confirm these results.

Marijuana does not make you dumb or ruin your short-term memory.  The myth was created and perpetuated by the anti-drug groups which continues to this day.  If this myth were true 14% of Canada and 10% of the United States would live by a system of notes, photographs, and tattoos like the guy in Memento.  As mentioned in the Amotivational Syndrome Myth, college students who smoke cannabis demonstrate comparable or even higher grades than their cannabis abstinent classmates, and are more likely to pursue a graduate degree (SOURCE).

The term prison-industrial complex refers to all of the businesses and organizations involved in the construction, operation, and promotion of correctional facilities and the services they provide. Such groups include private corrections companies, corporations that contract prison labour, construction companies, surveillance technology vendors, and the lobbyists and interest groups that plurally represent them. Private prisons began in the 1980s but they really took off in 1990 under Clinton.

prisontowers

The prison industry is the most profitable sector in the US economy today. Consider the growth of the Corrections Corporation of America, the industry leader whose stock price has climbed from $8 a share in 1992 to about $30 today and whose revenue rose by 81 per cent in 1995 alone. Investors in Wackenhut Corrections Corp. have enjoyed an average return of 18 per cent during the past five years and the company is rated by Forbes as one of the top 200 small businesses in the country. At Esmor, another big private prison contractor, revenues have soared from $4.6 million in 1990 to more than $25 million in 1995. The list of companies investing in the prison industry contains the cream of U.S. corporate society: IBM, Boeing, Motorola, Microsoft, AT&T, Wireless, Texas Instrument, Dell, Compaq, Honeywell, Hewlett-Packard, Nortel, Lucent Technologies, 3Com, Intel, Northern Telecom, TWA, Nordstrom’s, Revlon, Macy’s, Pierre Cardin, Target Stores, and many more. The stock price for these major corporations is representative of the number of people in jail. That is a sign of very sick society.

The prison-industrial complex makes approximately 40 billion dollars per year. This entire industry is based on an essentially limitless raw material – prisoners. Just like all massive American corporations the big prison corporations hire big time lobbyists. In 1995, Wackenhut Chairman Tim Cole testified before the Senate Judiciary Committee to urge support for amendments to the Violent Crime Control Act — which subsequently passed — that authorized the expenditure of $10 billion to construct and repair state prisons. The relationship between these corporations and US politicians ensures the prisons will be kept full. These corporations answer directly to their shareholders who want one thing and one thing only – profit. That means cutting costs everywhere possible. As a result private prisons have much  worse conditions than their government run counterparts.

693px-US_incarceration_timeline-clean.svg

In the two decades since the prison boom began crime rates have remained the same while icarceration rates have increased exponentially. Prison populations soared through the 1980s and into the 1990s, making the U.S. the unquestioned world leader in jailing its own populace. By 1990, 421 Americans out of every 100,000 were behind bars, easily outdistancing their closest competitors, South Africa and the then USSR. By 1992, the U.S. rate had climbed to 455. Reagan’s Anti-Drug Abuse Act of 1986 added mandatory minimum sentances for simple drug possesion and trafficing.  The war on drugs is the lifeblood of the prison-industrial complex and they won’t let it go without a fight.