There are many forms of political corruption, and some are worse than others. Ordinary corruption might be when an office holder, in return for some consideration, awards a government contract to a specific contractor. Or when a legislator includes a line or two of text in a bill that creates a tax break or regulatory loophole for a supporter's business.
Then there is systemic corruption, where the law itself is corrupted by a corrupt society, as in the racist laws the Democratic Party wrote and upheld from the time of its founding by Andrew Jackson until the laws were finally changed in the late 1960s.
Money from black market profiteering has an ancient role in corrupting governments. In the last century the key black market has been in illegal drugs. A vast framework of corrupt police and politicians have been fueled by drug money, including here in California.
You can tell which politicians are corrupt by their stands on efforts to legalize these drugs. We supposedly live in a democracy. People want drugs for fun, for energy, for relief from pain. Sure people injure themselves with meth and heroin and other drugs, but it is highly obvious that the bans on these drugs just make them highly profitable.
Most drug-associated crime is because the drugs are artificially expensive because of the costs of running a black market, evading law enforcement and fighting other groups for business. So besides the criminal enterprises that manufacturer and distribute the drugs, the main beneficiaries are political machines like the Democratic Party and Republican Party.
When a politician is against legalizing marijuana, he or she is just protecting the black market rackets of their racketeer friends, and their own "juice."
Lately the top two political figures in the State of California, Governor Jerry Brown and U.S. Senator Dianne Feinstein, have spoken against legalizing marijuana (beyond the current legal status of "medical" marijuana.) Governor Brown asked "How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation?" The kind of nation that can topple 3rd world governments at will, keep the wages for most workers artificially low, and make sure that every poor boy and girl can look forward to a life of selling illegal narcotics.
Diane Feinstein has been politically bullet-proof since most women in California decided to vote for Democratic Party female candidates without looking beyond the issue of reproductive rights. She recently came to Brown's rescue, saying "I saw a lot of where people began with marijuana and went on to hard drugs." Some people start as relatively harmless city council members and go on to become Senators, but does that mean we should abolish city councils?
The depths of Feinstein's corruption and misgovernance are difficult for the average Californian voter to fathom. Unfortunately, the corrupt two-party system in California means her only serious electoral opposition has been from Republican Senatorial candidates who are also anti-drug.
What distinguishes Feinstein is she has a voting record in Congress. She apparently hates animals. She was the co-sponsor in the Senate of the Animal Enterprise Terrorism Act, which makes anyone protesting cruelty to animals a terrorist.
She hates Palestinians, as shown by her constant, vocal support for U.S. taxpayer subsidies for Israeli ethnic cleansing in Palestine. Many California Democrats who think the U.S. wastes a lot of money on war would be surprised at how Feinstein has consistently supported inflating the homeland security and "defense" budgets.
Senator Feinstein's husband is Richard C. Blum, a capitalist, investment banker, and real-estate tycoon (he owns much of San Francisco). There we have at least the appearance of ordinary corruption. One of Blum's many holdings EG&G won a $600 million contract from the U.S. military. Because he is so wealthy he also controls or helps control a number of prestigious non-for-profit (but run by profiteers) groups, notably The Wilderness Society.
There is probably nothing to be done about Senator Feinstein except to wait for her to die from old age. However, California voters will likely have a chance to legalize marijuana in a future referendum.
Illegal drugs generate vast sums of money that corrupt society and our political structure. Because of black-market drugs sales in the U.S., Mexico has become a drug lord's playground. Did no one learn any lessons from the U.S. experiment with alcohol Prohibition?
When you hear a politician tell you marijuana should be illegal, remember they are on the take. When they ask to be re-elected, just say no.
Disclosure: I don't smoke marijuana (but I did when I was younger).