Category Archives: global marijuana legalization
The push back isn’t just against Oakland. Recently, the Justice Department warned officials in eight other states that
they would be violating federal law if they allowed commercial production of medical marijuana.
“That, in very simple terms, is what drug traffickers do. That is drug trafficking period,” said Tommy LaNier, director
of the National Marijuana Initiative, a program funded by the White House Office on Drug Control Policy.
A change in US marijuana policy would mean significant savings. Full legalisation would bring in an estimated $2.4bn annually if marijuana were taxed like most consumer goods, and $6.2bn annually if it were taxed at rates similar to those on alcohol and tobacco. In fact, legalisation of marijuana – the cessation of prosecutions and tax revenue – could put more than $13bn into government coffers. That would equal the entire budget of the department of labour. Maybe with a budget twice as large, it could focus on creating jobs and getting Americans back to work.
Why should sick patients like Dolin continue to suffer without the medical treatment they need? At a time when tens of millions of people can’t find work, and while pay and healthcare benefits are being cut, why should our sick economy be deprived of so much needed revenue? On this 40th anniversary of the failed drug war, we must, instead, envision a drug policy that is patient-centred and fiscally responsible – a policy that puts Americans first.
States can’t afford not to end prohibition and move toward regulation. On average it costs $25,000 a year to incarcerate a prisoner (not including police work and court costs) and we just keep arresting one after another even though it makes no dent in the drug problem.
Plus, when we legalize and regulate drugs, we can also tax them, generating much-needed new revenue for cash-strapped governments.
Seniors medicating with cannabis are finding it safer and gentler
than harsh standard pharmaceuticals. Medical cannabis can replace
multiple medications and reduce side effects, cutting both drug
costs and toxicity.
Older Americans are no longer satisfied with taking medications
that impair cognition and injure organs. Research has not just
cleared smoking cannabis of any cancer connection, but has also
found strong indications that cannabis may kill cancers. Other
evidence suggests its use could protect seniors from Alzheimer’s
and heart disease. Smokeless methods of ingestion, such as
vaporization, tinctures, medibles, salves and capsules, offer
patients many options.
While San Jose is making mad money on medical marijuana, it’s also working to eliminate all but 10 of its dispensaries under new proposed zoning regulations. According to a May 27 memo from Mayor Chuck Reed’s office, $1.2 million of the $2.5 million projected marijuana business tax revenue in fiscal year 2011-2012 will be used for city management and police positions assigned to San Jose’s new Medical Marijuana Regulatory Program, which is charged with shutting down the pot clubs that don’t make the top 10 and collecting taxes from non-compliant facilities.
In essence, nearly half of the money being raised through the sale of marijuana will go towards shutting down the places that sell it.
“Of course, I’ve had a fair amount of
experience in Cincinnati, which is not really unique among major cities
in this country where drug violence is the primary driver of the
homicide rate,” he adds. “So, I began to think about what can we do
drug policy-wise to stem this violence not only in our American
communities but internationally and began to think about how the drug
market is structured and the relationship between the violence and drug
The conclusions he came to were
inescapable, Rahtz says, and it’s really simple math: Marijuana is the
primary product of the illegal drug market and accounts for 60 percent
of the revenue garnered by drug cartels.
“If we’re serious about choking off the
revenue to these drug traffickers, and that’s my major goal here — if
we’re really serious about choking off the revenue to them — the first
thing we need to do is something about marijuana,” he says.