Guest Opinion: The New Reefer Madness: A Very Bad Idea


By Seth Leibsohn

Since just the beginning of this year, local media—both television news and print—have publicized and promoted at least 10 stories on the effort to legalize recreational marijuana use in Arizona. Two bills are being sponsored in the state Legislature and an initiative aimed at our  electorate for 2016 is being drafted. Little has been said or written as to why all of this is a very bad idea for our state and our country. But it is just that, a very bad idea.

Almost every argument in favor of legalization is, quite simply, wrong. At the economic level, we are told the revenues from legalization would boost our state budget and help solve our deficit. That was a promise made by the pro-legalization movement in Colorado, which predicted $40 million a year for school construction and $30 million for general state funds from marijuana taxes in the state. But, as the non-partisan Tax Foundation found, the numbers thus far have come nowhere close, making it “unlikely to even meet that $40 million need each year, leaving nothing for enforcement costs.”

Ask any governor of any state if they would rather keep all the revenue from alcohol and tobacco taxes or all the monies alcohol and tobacco abuse costs the state, and you’d get the same answer: The costs of substance abuse to each and every state are never even close to covered by the revenues generated by the taxes on those substances. As President Barack Obama’s former senior advisor on drug policy, Dr. Kevin Sabet, has put it, “[S]ocietal costs that accompany increased marijuana use will significantly outweigh any gains in tax revenue. Our experience with alcohol and tobacco shows that for every one dollar gained in taxes, 10 dollars are lost in social costs.”

Criminalizing alcohol and tobacco would be nearly impossible and equally ill-advised at this point. I am not advocating that at all. But adding one more dangerous substance to the list of already too many legal and dangerous substances is pure madness. The debate as to whether marijuana is more or less dangerous than alcohol or tobacco is irrelevant. We need, rather, to understand that marijuana is just, plain dangerous; and adding one more dangerous product (regardless of degree of danger) is more than a bad idea; it is public policy malfeasance.

The New England Journal of Medicine reported just last year that marijuana use by adolescents is associated with everything from increased risk of depression and anxiety to psychosis. And, it “exacerbates the course of illness in patients with schizophrenia.” Marijuana use is also associated with impaired school performance and increases the risk of dropping out of high school. In lay terms, marijuana damages the brain, especially the teen brain. Society has made tremendous strides in marginalizing and thus decreasing the use of cigarette smoking—which negatively affects the lungs and hearts of smokers. It is curious, then, that more and more are now turning toward legalizing a product that not only damages the lungs (like cigarettes), but also the brain.

Many adults think marijuana is relatively harmless based on their experiences in high school and college a generation or more ago. But that marijuana is not today’s marijuana. Today’s marijuana is a different drug, with THC levels reaching into the 20 and 30 percent range of potency, as opposed to the one-and-a-half to five percent potency of the 1970s and 1980s. And it is getting stronger by the day as vendors compete to provide ever stronger affects with an ever more potent product.

The quest to legalize marijuana at the state level is also an unconstitutional nullification of federal law—as a range of Supreme Court Justices from Anthony Kennedy to Stephen Breyer to Antonin Scalia agree. It also negatively impacts other states as pot sold “legally” in one state flows across borders and causes problems in neighboring states, thus nullifying those states’ decisions to remain within the law. Indeed, some 44 percent of the marijuana sold in Colorado is sold to citizens of other states.
Despite what many say—either from unfamiliarity with the science or because of a political point of view or because some people simply want to get high legally—marijuana is dangerous. Making it legal will cost society more in financial and human damage than can ever be made up for by the false promise of tax revenue. And it will further destigmatize what every study on marijuana use and stigmatization has shown: the more society explains the dangers of marijuana, the less it is used; the more society countenances it, the more it is used.  Marijuana is illegal not because of bad policy but because it causes a lot of problems—a lot more than we will ever be able to apologize for if we unload this dangerous product on, and in to, more and more of our state’s and nation’s youth, which is—like alcohol and tobacco—where it will end up and do the most damage.

Seth Leibsohn is the host of The Seth Leibsohn Show, airing nightly on KKNT/960 am, and a Senior Fellow with the Claremont Institute.

Sheriff Paul Babeu to Congress: “Secure the Border First”

Elected officials have used the illegal immigration issue to their political advantage for years. In our opinion, Arizona is blessed with several of those rare elected officials whose commitment to fighting illegal immigration and promoting border security despite the political risks never wavers. I checked in with one of those leaders this week, and offer you readers this update here:

Sheriff Paul BabeuPinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu became a familiar face and household name in April 2010 when he appeared in the “Build the Dang Fence” commercial with Senator John McCain who was battling against J.D. Hayworth to retain his seat in the U.S. Senate.  During that same time, Sheriff Babeu also helped Senators’ McCain and Kyl develop their 10-Point Border Security Plan.  Senator McCain has since abandoned the border security plan and instead he has spent his time working with the “Gang of Eight” to create an amnesty plan for the 12-23 million illegals in the United States today.

The McCain-Kyl “10-Point Border Security” plan mirrored what was already accomplished in the Yuma Sector where border crossings and apprehensions have been reduced by over 96%.  The Yuma Sector as a result of this plan still enjoys this same success today.  Sheriff Babeu was a United States Army Major at the time, and played a key role in the success of this plan as the commanding officer for “Operation Jump Start.”  Through this effort, the Yuma Sector of the border was secured because armed soldiers were placed on the border, the military constructed a double barrier fence, and illegals caught crossing into the U.S. were prosecuted for their crime(s) instead of Pres. Obama’s “catch & release” policy in place today.

Sheriff Paul Babeu has twice served as president of the Arizona Sheriff’s Association, and more recently was voted unanimously as the spokesperson for the Western States Sheriff’s Association on all issues related to immigration and border security.  During July of this year, he worked with Congressmen Goodlatte and Gowdy on their “Strengthen and Fortify Enforcement Act” to help protect American citizens from illegal aliens already in the United States.

Pinal is the third largest county in Arizona.  Unfortunately, it ranks as the “top pass through county” in the nation for both drug- and human smuggling.  They received this distinction because those involved with drug and human smuggling funnel north through Pinal County from the counties below it, a result of both the county’s terrain and the system of roads and highways.

Pinal County residents have seen more than their fair share of crimes as a result of America’s still-unsecured border. Mind you, despite what Homeland IN-Security Secretary Janet Napolitano promises, our border remains very insecure. Almost daily, Sheriff Babeu’s deputies are involved in vehicle pursuits with cartel members smuggling drugs or people. The county has seen executions, and Mexican cartels have now sent assassins into Pinal County to carry out the murders of other cartel members on U.S. soil.

In addition, Mexican drug and human smuggling cartels have sent Rip Crews” into Arizona, including Pinal County, which have been involved in gun battles with other cartel members. These so-called “Rip Crews” (ultra-violent gangs tied to the cartels to steal from other cartels) have conducted traffic stops and been involved in heinous crimes including, but not limited to homicides, home invasions, kidnappings, shootings, sexual assaults, burglaries and thefts.

Pinal Deputies have confronted armed individuals both in the desert and in vehicles, and been involved in shootings and physical confrontations.  Just last month, they caught a smuggler who had already been deported from the United States 11 prior times.  This time when deputies attempted to contact him, he fled in a vehicle, then fled on foot, and when deputies tried to arrest him he assaulted them. And at the time, he was attempting to smuggle 220 pounds of marijuana into the U.S.

As if all that weren’t enough to keep him busy, Sheriff Babeu also helped “Whistle Blower” employees from ICE and U.S. Border Patrol come forward after they were ordered by the Obama Administration to secretly release over 2,000 illegals from detention facilities throughout the United States. As we’ve now learned, many of those illegals released by Pres. Obama into our communities had criminal histories which included manslaughter, child molestation, aggravated assault, weapon offenses, forgery, drug offenses or other serious crimes.

Illegal immigration isn’t the only crime Sheriff Babeu or his dedicated team face in Pinal County, but I asked him why he puts so much effort into this cause. His answer is important for all the right reasons: “Until this administration gets serious and properly secures the border, if we don’t stop it here then it will continue throughout America.”

He continued by telling me, he instructs his deputies, “to dismantle and disrupt drug and human trafficking operations and arrest those responsible.  Every time the cartels change their tactics to try to win the war, we will change ours to defeat them.”

For this blogger, it seems most days the White House and Congress are more interested in winning elections than securing our border, protecting our communities, stopping the flow of drugs into our schools, and saving the lives of any of the women and children lost each year, month, week and day to human trafficking and the global sex trade.

Thankfully there are still elected officials out there who haven’t given up. One of the very finest is Pinal County Sheriff Paul Babeu.

~For God and Country

Maricopa GOP Chair Rallies LD Censures

To all Arizona County and LD Republican Committee Chairmen -
Below is the front page article of the July 15 Arizona Capitol Times. I want to express my appreciation to those courageous and principled County and LD Republican Committees who have already conducted votes of “censure” and/or “no confidence.”
Jan Brewer, the legislators and their crony capitalist friends that support ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion have betrayed Americans, Arizona Republicans and the Republican Party Platform.  Their lack of ethics, integrity and egregious acts are motivated by only two things – greed and the lust for power – at the expense of hard working tax paying Americans.
The law was expected to cost $898 billion over the first decade when the bill was first passed, but this year the Congressional Budget Office revised that estimate to $1.85 trillion.  Money that will have to be borrowed from the Chinese or printed in the backroom of the Federal Reserve.  Latest polls indicate a majority of Americans are opposed to ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion with an overwhelming majority of Republicans in opposition.
During the past six months, we did everything we could to make a solid argument against ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion, we tried to reason with these people and even tried to make them see the light.  Unfortunately, our lobbying efforts fell on deaf ears and without success.
During one of Ronald Reagan’s difficult political battles he said,
               “When you can’t make them see the light, make them feel the heat.”
I’m asking all the County and LD Republican Committees to make these people feel the heat by passing public censures for their actions.  They are elitists who think what they have done should be forgiven. They are mistaken.  We are not going to be able to defeat all of them, but we can defeat a majority of them in the 2014 Primary Election.
You can go to “MCRC Briefs” and get examples of public censures that have already been passed.  Just type “censure” in the search field on the left.
Warmest regards,
 A. J. LaFaro
Chairman, Maricopa County Republican Committee
P.S.  Please encourage all of your PCs to keep up their daily efforts in getting petition signatures for  Getting ObamaCare and Medicaid expansion on the November 2014 ballot will be historic for Arizona’s grassroots conservatives.

Contraindications Warning: Obamacin

One of our creative readers just produced this excellent little video. Let’s help it go viral.

YouTube Preview Image

Richard Carmona Won’t Explain Why He Profited Off Tobacco Companies While Being Top National Crusader Against Smoking

Jeff Flake

Democrat busted for privately investing thousands in product he decried publicly as addictive and dangerous

PHOENIX – Democrat Senate candidate Richard Carmona has said that his fight against smoking and tobacco was a major hallmark of his tenure as U.S. Surgeon General.  However a news report released on Friday shows that, as a candidate for the U.S. Senate, Dr. Carmona held investments valued at up to $90,000 in major tobacco companies like Altria Group and Philip Morris.

“Dr. Carmona’s campaign presents a carefully edited story about their candidate. Clearly the fact that Dr. Carmona privately invested thousands of dollars in a product that he publicly crusaded against as dangerous and addictive is something they left on the cutting room floor,” said Andrew Wilder, communications director for Flake for Senate. “There’s no valid excuse for such outright hypocrisy from a public official. Dr. Carmona now has an obligation to explain to voters why he invested in tobacco companies, when he did, and how much profit he made.”

Dr. Carmona’s fervent public crusade against tobacco is well documented, making the revelation about his private investments all the more curious.

In fact, less than ten years ago, while serving as Surgeon General, Richard Carmona called for an outright ban on tobacco, saying: I see no need for any tobacco products in society” (Kristen B. Mitchell, “Ban All Tobacco, Official Suggests,” Richmond Times-Dispatch, 6/4/03).

Dr. Carmona actively warned the public about the addictiveness of tobacco, saying on NPR in 2003 that: “There are no tobacco products that are good for you, and in my recent congressional testimony is how I stated that, you know, people should not smoke, people should not chew. We still have 4,000 children a day that start smoking, and we have to stop them from starting, because once they begin, it is very difficult for them to withdraw from tobacco” (“Dr. Richard Carmona Discusses His Role As Surgeon General,” Bob Edwards Show, National Public Radio, 11/27/03).

Upon his departure as the U.S. Surgeon General, Dr. Carmona told the AP that he would judge himself successful if he had persuaded one student to make good health choices or one mother to stop smoking (Kevin Freking, “Surgeon General Carmona Leaves Post,” The Associated Press, 8/1/06).

The Arizona Republic report can be read here:

Stay up to date on Richard Carmona’s campaign to be a rubber stamp for Democrats’ liberal agenda in Washington by

For more information on Jeff Flake and why he’s running for the U.S. Senate, please visit his website at


Alcohol and Substance Abuse Prevention and Early Intervention Health Initiative files for 2012 Ballot

This was just filed with the Arizona Secretary of State’s Office. Supporters of this ballot initiative would like to see it appear on the 2012 November ballot:

ALCOHOL AND SUBSTANCE ABUSE PREVENTION AND EARLY INTERVENTION HEALTH INITIATIVE, proposes an alcohol tax of 25 cents on a gallon of spirituous liquor, and one dollar each on a gallon of beer and wine, the equivalent of less than ten cents per drink. Proceeds will fund prevention and early intervention services for any entity that affiliates with a community based prevention coalition. The initiative establishes an eighteen member commission which sets policy. Only the thirteen members, including three tribal representatives are voting members. The non voting members are directors or deputy directors of the Arizona’s governmental departments.

Should this pass it would require the taxpayers of Arizona to create another new tax on a “sin” and get the State of Arizona involved and investing in keeping yet another source of revenue.

One would think that the solution to alcohol and substance abuse prevention would be parents, family, friends, neighbors and the faith-based community and perhaps an ounce of discipline.

Sheriff Babeu: Mr. President – Protect America First

May 26, 2011

Sheriff Paul BabeuPresident Obama says the border is more secure than ever, declared the border fence complete and said, “these people will never be satisfied, until we build a moat and put alligators in the moat.” We don’t need a moat or alligators in Arizona – we simply need the federal government to do their job and secure the border!

Last year, 219,300 illegal immigrants were apprehended in just one sector of Arizona and many with violent felony criminal records. The US Border Patrol estimates another 400,000 made it safely past them in Arizona and now reside in your community.

If the majority of regular illegal immigrants can sneak into America, what does this say about the ability of terrorist sleeper cells? The porous US/Mexican border is the gravest national security threat facing America. This is no longer just a political fight to stop Barak Obama from giving amnesty to over 12 million illegals, it’s also about protecting our nation from terrorist threats. Thousands of illegal entrants hail from State Department countries of interest–Iraq, Iran, Afghanistan, Somalia, Saudi Arabia, Yemen, and others. In some cases, we have confirmed their troubling ties to terrorism. Yet for those we apprehend, how many today live amongst us?

If the border is secure, why did the feds post 15 Billboard signs in Pinal County warning American citizens; Danger – Public Warning – Travel Not Recommended, due to armed drug cartel smuggling? This is 70 miles into Arizona, where Homeland Security confirms that no fewer than 100 of our beautiful mountains have been repurposed as lookouts for the Mexican Drug lords.

America can secure the border if we replicate the success of what was accomplished in the Yuma Sector. The Yuma Sector has now attained a 96% reduction of illegal border crossings. The Senator McCain/Kyl 10-Point Border Security Plan is developed largely from the learned successes of the Yuma Sector during Operation Jump Start.

This plan calls for immediate deployment of 6,000 armed soldiers for a period of two years. While soldiers are deployed, the double barrier fence is completed with video surveillance, lighting, sensors and roads to support rapid deployment of US Border Patrol. Thirdly, fully enforce the law without any diversion option.

We need focus on the solution to secure our border, not on a path to citizenship or amnesty for 12 million. If President Obama were sincere, why did he not pass immigration reform in his first two years, when he had supermajorities in the House and Senate? Instead, in a purely politically and racially divisive manner, he says he’ll fight now when there is little hope of passage. The President has failed to fulfill his core constitutional duty to protect America.

President Obama led us to believe he would end the wars in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’re no closer to leaving than when he made these false promises. He bombs Libya for humanitarian reasons and yet ignores the outcry of neighboring Mexico in their war against the drug cartels, which have claimed over 35,000 lives and nearly toppled their government. Mexico is America’s second largest trading partner and we share nearly 2,000 miles of porous border, which presents a far graver national security threat than anything we face in the middle east.

Mexico is not our enemy. The cartels are the enemy of Mexico and America. They have brought their violence here to America. Local Sheriffs can’t fight them alone. We can address this growing threat, or we can make jokes, laugh and believe the border is more secure than ever.


Paul Babeu, Sheriff
Pinal County, Arizona
President, Arizona Sheriff’s Association
2011 National Sheriff of the Year

(Sheriff Babeu is also a retired Army Major and served as the Commanding Officer for Task Force Yuma)




PCSO Participates in Multi Agency Tactical Detail

CONTACT:  Tim Gaffney

Florence, AZ - The Pinal County Sheriff’s Office Tactical Team attached with U.S. Border Patrol’s “BORTAC Team 5” has completed another operation to deny, degrade, disrupt and dismantle drug and human trafficking operations in Pinal County. The latest detail ran from May 11th – 13th and 18th – 20th. The operation was focused in the Vekol Valley area.

Participating in the detail were law enforcement members from the Pinal County Sheriff’s Office, Maricopa County Sheriff’s Office, Yuma County Sheriff’s Office, Arizona Department of Public Safety, U.S. Border Patrol Tucson and Yuma Sectors, Bureau of Land Management, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Homeland Security Investigations, Immigration and Customs Enforcement – Enforcement and Removal Operations, CBP Office of Air and Marine, Tohono O’odham Police Department, Gila River Police Department, Eloy Police Department, U.S. Attorney’s Office District of Arizona and the Arizona National Guard.

During the six day operation agencies combined arrested 60 suspects, the seizure of 5,433 pounds of marijuana, $115,630 in cash, and 4 firearms. In addition, 5 stolen vehicles were recovered, 7 suspects were prosecuted federally and 38 suspects were prosecuted at the state level. Below are some examples of the cases we were involved with.

May 11th at 1:40 a.m. a group of 12 people were spotted carrying backpacks believed to be containing Marijuana just south of Interstate 8. The group was followed to a location approximately 30 yards south of Interstate 8 where they stopped underneath some brush.

Pinal County SWAT and BORTAC Team 5 moved in and engaged the group. Part of the group was taken into custody under trees at that location along with 10 backpacks of marijuana. Several of the suspects fled south from that location and were captured with the assistance of air support. A total of 10 suspects were apprehended, along with a total of 10 marijuana backpacks (492 lbs), along with a solar charger and other electronic items used for counter surveillance. The suspects and marijuana were turned over to GIITEM for investigation and prosecution.

May 11th at 3:00 a.m. a passenger truck with a flatbed trailer was seen stopped on the south shoulder near milepost 154 on Interstate 8. The driver was observed acting suspiciously, and was observed taking an item from a parked semi trailer at that location and loading it onto his trailer. The truck with the trailer then got back on Interstate 8 and began to travel eastbound. A traffic stop was conducted on the truck on Interstate 8 east of Montgomery Road by AZDPS, Pinal SWAT and Bortac Team 5. The driver was later identified as Hector Armando Quiroz (age 49 of Bonita, California). He was questioned, and subsequently admitted stealing a large crate from the parked semi trailer.

The owner of the semi trailer arrived back at his trailer while this was taking place, and contact was made with him by AZDPS. The semi trailer owner advised that the crate taken contained a turbine worth approximately $100,000. AZDPS then escorted the semi driver to the location of the stop. The semi trailer owner recovered the turbine at the scene of the stop. Quiroz was turned over to PCSO Patrol, and they took the theft case and prosecution on the Quiroz.

May 12th at 11:00 p.m. a group of 8 individuals was observed walking north approximately 3 miles south of Interstate 8 . These 8 individuals walked to I-8, and crossed over the interstate. Pinal SWAT, BORTAC Team 5, and Pinal K-9 moved in to apprehend these individuals, with air assistance. The subjects all fled northwest from that location.

At 2:30 a.m., one of the 8 individuals was apprehended and turned over to Border Patrol. The remainder of the individuals was unable to be located.

May 13th at 8:53 p.m. AZ DPS was involved in a pursuit with a vehicle which was reported stolen out of Glendale. The pursuit ended near Arizona City, and the driver fled on foot. The driver was apprehended by PCSO after a short fight with the deputies. The driver was turned over to AZ DPS for charging.

May 13th at 11:13 p.m. a truck was observed traveling “blacked out” south of Interstate 8. The vehicle was tracked to a location, where it was parked and a driver and passenger were seen “brushing up” the vehicle and leaving it. The driver and passenger were then seen “bedding down” approximately 100 yards from the vehicle.

With the assistance of air, Border Patrol Agents moved in on the driver and passenger, and one of these subjects was taken into custody. Pinal SWAT with BORTAC Team 5 moved in on the vehicle, a 1999 Ford F250, and secured it. The subject in custody was turned over to GIITEM for prosecution. The registration on the vehicle came back to a false address, and the vehicle was seized. The vehicle was a “supply” vehicle used to re-supply scout locations with food, etc.

May 18th at 10:35 p.m. units spotted bodies loading into a car on I-8 east bound. The vehicle then proceeded eastbound on I-8. Pinal SWAT members set up ahead of the vehicle to deploy spikes if needed, and AZDPS initiated a traffic stop. Gila River PD and Pinal SWAT/Bortac Team 5 backed up the DPS unit. The vehicle contained 4 Hispanic males believed to be “scouts”. These subjects were turned over to AZDPS GIITEM and Border Patrol for prosecution.

May 19th at 8:40 p.m. ICE Detention saw multiple subject loading “packs” into a large truck that was also accompanied by two small sedans. These vehicles traveled east on I-8 from that location. With the assistance of ICE and Air, units were able to catch up to the vehicles. A high risk traffic stop was conducted by Gila River PD, BORTAC Team 5 / PCSO SWAT, ICE Agents and AZDPS GIITEM on all three vehicles at approximately milepost 158 on I-8. The passenger of the truck fled, and was quickly apprehended by BORTAC Team 5 K-9. All occupants (total of 8 bodies) were taken into custody, and it was discovered that the cab of the truck had 8 bundles of marijuana weighing approximately 174 lbs.

May 19th at 9:45 p.m. the air unit advised that it had located bodies south of I-8 between Russell Rd and Murphy Rd.. Pinal SWAT and BORTAC Team 5 moved into the location with the assistance of air. No bodies were discovered, and it is believed that the heat signatures were residual from bodies that had been in that location, but made it out before ground units could move in.

May 19th at 10:32 p.m. Pinal SWAT and BORTAC Team 5 had a “blacked out” Ford truck pass one of our elements near Stanfield Road. After passing our personnel, the vehicle immediately fled at a high rate of speed west of Stanfield Rd., and into the desert area. Ground units were unable to maintain a visual on the truck as it traveled further south west into the desert area. Pinal/Bortac attempted to track the vehicle, but eventually lost sign as it traveled toward the gas pipeline road.

Sheriff Paul Babeu stated, “These multi agency details have a much greater impact than just in Pinal County. Pinal County is the number one pass through county in America for drug and human trafficking because of the roadways and terrain. The cartels of Mexico have between 75 to 100 lookout posts through this known drug and human smuggling corridor. They use these high vantage points to ensure their loads, whether they are humans or drugs, make it through. Some of these loads stop in Phoenix but many of them are sent throughout the United States. I appreciate the assistance provided by all of these law enforcement agencies to disrupt the cartels activities. We need this continuous law enforcement presence to help protect America until the border is truly secured.”