Pot Legalization: An Idea No Self-Respecting Capitalist Can Resist?

What with the deep divide between Democrats and Republicans on a range of issues these days, might the push to legalize marijuana galvanize erstwhile political opponents to rally behind the issue?

Given the current rancor in Washington, any predictions are fraught, but the marijuana legalization movement thinks it has a bi-partisan winner on its hands.

No thanks to any epiphany in Washington D.C. Rather, pot legalization proponents believe the question is destined to become a states rights issue -helped in no small part by the lure of old-fashioned capitalism.

“To put it crassly, there’s gold in them thar hills and people recognize that,” says California state assembly member, Tom Ammiano. He added that there are increasing feelers from entrepreneurs in his state regarding the question of marijuana legalization. “They smell something important,” he said.

Ammiano was speaking Thursday afternoon on a teleconference organized by the Drug Policy Alliance, an organization that advocates for pot legalization. With the year about to finish up, marijuana advocacy groups like the Drug Policy Alliance point to recent developments as evidence that the debate over marijuana legalization is turning in their favor. In California, for example, more than 680,000 people have signed a petition to up a Tax and Regulate initiative up for a ballot vote next year.

“I think this could become a states rights issue, Ammiano said, adding that “if it is regulated and there is revenue, I think there’ll be a lot of emulation. It won’t be isolated to California.”

Roger Goodman, a state representative in Washington state where he co-authored a bill to regulate marijuana for adult use like alcohol, echoed Ammiano, predicting that the impetus for pot legalization is going to come from the states. Describing the war on drugs as “a bipartisan disaster,” Goodman likewise suggested that economics would force the question onto more state agendas. He has a strong argument. In the aftermath of a nationwide recession that is forcing deep budget cuts, the idea of marijuana becoming a cash crop has suddenly become a rallying cry.

Indeed, in cash-strapped California, where the state is looking at a $22 billion budget deficit, there’s growing grass roots support to legalize and tax cannabis. California Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger said marijuana taxes could raise as much as $1.3 billion. In April, a California Field Poll found that 56% of state voters favored a plan to legalize and tax pot.

An October Gallup poll found U.S. support for pot legalization reaching a new high with 44% in favor and 54% opposed. Though marijuana possession is still a crime in most states, 14 states allow its use in medical situations.

“This is an issue that has been simmering,” said Goodman. “And it is ripe.”

Maybe so but the lingering question is whether economic self-interest can trump cultural conservatism. Even with the recent gains in public opinion support, marijuana legalization advocates need to press their case in a country where majority opinion still remains against them. And with a midterm national election on the horizon – not to mention jockeying for the next presidential race already underway – opposition to pot legalization could easily turn into a campaign issue for “values” candidates.

– Article from CBS News on December 17, 2009.

Comments

9 Comments

  1. Anonymous on

    A tax on it is good. Legalization allows for recreational use which is taxable, like wine.

    No one should be taxed on noncommercial home growing though, just like homemade wine, and veggies from the backyard are not taxed.

    For medical use, it should be tax exempt. Possibly returned to you in your yearly income tax? Or provide a tax exempt card to the pot store and pay less? I don’t know how that would best be done.

  2. Anonymous on

    Down with weed tax. Right now, you need a doctor’s prescription and you need to have it filled by a registered pharmacist in order to get medicine tax free in California. I say weed should be exempt if you have a user card and you shouldn’t have to buy from a pharmacist, because they rarely have good weed anyway.

  3. Anonymous on

    Don’t try to entice the government to legalize Cannabis by appealing to their greed. That’s a sell out. They should make it legal simply because it’s the right thing to do, not to solve the consequences of their political incompetence by charging it to the Cannabis users.

  4. Anonymous on

    To explain further, they should make a “millionaire tax”. For every million dollars that your net worth reaches, you have to pay $100,000 in tax on top of all other normal taxes.

  5. Anonymous on

    Well said, brother, well said. Tax the wealthy, not the Cannabis users.

  6. gstlab3 on

    THE CARTELS AND ORGANIZED CRIME WIN AND WE AS A FREE PEOPLE LOOSE UNTILL THEY MAKE IT COMPLETELY LEGAL FOR ADULTS TO GROW AND USE AND OR PURCHASE IN A PRIVATE SETTING WITH NO INTERFIERANCE FROM THE GOVERNMENT.,
    THE POLICE OR HEALTH CARE OFFICIALS SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED EITHER UNTILL A JUVENILE BECOMES INVOLVED IN A MANNOR WICH BRINGS TRUE AND IRREPERABLE HARM TO THE CHILD.

    THE GOVERNMENT SHOULD NOT BE INVOLVED HERE AT ALL.

    LOOK AT THE MESS WE HAVE WITH ALCOHOL ALONE CONCERNING UNDERAGE USE AND ABUSE!!!!DO YOU THINK THE GOVERNMENT CARES?
    THEY DO’NT!!! THEY JUST WANT TO CREATE MORE TAX REVENUE AND MORE LAWS TO IMPRISON YOU WITH!!! THAT’S ALL THEY DO!!!!
    DO NOT LET THE GOVERNMENT ELITISTS TAX MARIJUANA AND THOSE WHO GROW IT!!!!!
    IT’S A FREE GROWING ETHNOGENITIC PLANT.,THAT MEANS IT HAS BEEN IN MANS CULTURE FOR THOUSANDS OF YEARS IN MANY PLACES ON THE GLOBE AT THE SAME TIME.
    IT’S USE PREDATES WRITTEN HISTORY AND THEY WANT TO STUDY IT “some more” AND TAX IT AND CONTROLL IT?!?
    I DO’NT FUCKING THINK SO MAN!!!!
    GROW YOUR OWN, FREE YOUR MIND, FREE THE PLANET!!!!!!!

  7. Anonymous on

    As a business tax on dispensaries, yes, but not like the tobacco tax, a sales tax on customers.

  8. Anonymous on

    Screw off, medicine tax advocates. When they start taxing your Viagra then you can start calling for a tax on Cannabis, the medicine plant. Try calling for a $100 license fee instead. That would actually be reasonable. You pay once instead of paying every fucking day like you c*nts would like.

  9. Dan-o on

    The issue of prohibition in ALL of it’s forms should ALWAYS have been a states rights issue. The power grubbing politicians misread and twisted the commerce clause (of all the weak ass arguements) to claim enforcement rights in the 1st place. It’s all about power which in our political system means money. They purposefully twisted our founding fathers words to steal from generations of Americans.