It was with more than a just a little amusement that I read the recent article, “A budget cure: Marijuana taxes?” which makes the claim,
“In this desperate economy, some argue that legalizing and taxing marijuana could plug multibillion-dollar holes in federal and state coffers.”
Potheads have for decades been using every angle they can to gain legalization for their habit, but this is a new one, to me.
According to California “medicinal marijuana” retailer, Daniel Stein,
“Cannabis is good for the economy. It’s been here the whole time, but it’s had a bad rap the entire time.”
There are many arguments on pot, both pro and con, with both sides putting forth legitimate views. But, could it really be an “economic boon?” Especially when at the same time, smoking tobacco, a legal product, is being demonized and undergoing restrictive bans on its use?
The article makes the claim that the
“American marijuana trade is $113 billion annually” and “the federal government and the states were losing almost $42 billion a year by keeping marijuana illegal.”
No argument from me on the amount of money flowing from pot sales, we all know it is a highly profitable trade. But, do you honestly believe the average pothead would be willing to give up growing their own or buying it on the street corner in order to pay higher prices to increase treasury receipts by taxing it?
As everyone knows, tobacco was just hit with outrageous tax increases, supposedly to fund children’s health care. The unexpected consequence of receiving those funds is how many smokers will quit, decreasing the amount of funding for the programs. Anti-smoking groups know this and boast they will force smokers to quit with high taxes, defeating the announced reason for such massive increases in taxes.
Why would it be any different for marijuana? Should it be legalized, why shouldn’t it carry similar high taxes as does tobacco and even alcohol? Why would potheads be willing to pay outrageous taxes when they can grow their own or continue buying it off the black market?
I have little doubt that states would crack down on growers and black marketers, negating any savings on decreased law enforcement and possibly having the same affect, decreased use of marijuana by current potheads.
Jon Gettman, a senior fellow at George Mason University's School of Public Policy claims,
“federal and state treasuries would gain more than $6 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like alcohol or tobacco” and estimating another savings of “$8 billion in legal costs.”
While legalizing pot and taxing it looks good on paper, I imagine the reality of it is entirely different when looked at as a “budget cure.”
I remain astonished that while we look to creating new taxes by legalizing marijuana, we completely ignore a ready resource that would not only increase tax receipts measurably, but create a multitude of additional jobs, unlike legalizing marijuana, and without any tax increases.
A recent study commissioned by the American Petroleum Institute found that removing the bars on drilling and refining our own known pools of petroleum
“could generate more than $1.7 trillion in government revenue, create thousands of new jobs and enhance the nation’s energy security by significantly boosting domestic production.”
That is $1,700,000,000,000 compared to $6,000,000,000. And, with the added benefit of putting people back to work in good paying jobs drilling, researching, refining, constructing refineries, drilling platforms and several other collateral job increases associated with creating our own energy.
API President and CEO Jack N. Gerard said,
“This study underscores how the oil and natural gas industry can enhance America’s energy security and help solve our economic problems by increasing production of our nation’s vast oil and natural gas resources. The U.S. oil and natural gas industry supports more than six million jobs, and more drilling for oil and natural gas will mean more energy for America, more well-paying jobs, and trillions of dollars of much-needed revenues that will help federal, state and local governments pay for critical services.”
Ask yourself; just how many high-paying jobs do you think legalizing marijuana and taxing it would create? Maybe a handful? Compare that to estimates of millions of good paying jobs, jobs that each would be paying the current level of taxes that the Treasury doesn’t receive right now because of high unemployment.
We also have the added benefit of decreasing our dependence on foreign oil, which legalizing and taxing pot does not contribute to at all.
API also commissioned a poll by Harris Interactive and discovered that
“61 percent of Americans who voted in the 2008 presidential election support access to offshore oil and natural gas resources. Only 26 percent of those polled opposed exploration and development of those resources.”
A “pro-pot” site proclaims poll numbers as high as 44% approve of legalizing pot and 52% opposed.
Yet, our media especially appears more favorable to legalizing pot then drilling our own petroleum, while Obama admits “Legalizing pot won’t grow the economy.”
Ironically, his administration put the blinders on and seem inclined to reinstate the ban on offshore drilling.
While I am not totally against legalizing marijuana and taxing it and can even admit it might help a little, putting the joint down and drilling our own known sources of petroleum and even discovering new sources, will go a lot further in helping the nation than passing around a legal doobie.
We also have the potential of more incapacitated drivers should we legalize pot, a consequence that drilling our own petroleum does not carry.
To me, it is just common sense to drill and use our own resources to help the economy long before we consider legalizing marijuana in hopes of helping the economy.
As Alfonso of Machosauce Productions says in his video, RINO's and Eggrolls, “all the countries the liberals want us to imitate drill their own oil.” So, why don’t we, America?
I urge you to contact your Senators and Representatives and even the White House and demand they lift the bans on drilling our own petroleum. If you don’t know how to contact them, just enter your zip code at Congress.org and you will be linked to their email addresses.
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Join me in becoming independent, not high.