Skip to comments.Can Marijuana Help Rescue California's Economy?
Posted on 03/13/2009 9:53:06 AM PDT by Melinda
Could marijuana be the answer to the economic misery facing California? Democratic State Assembly member Tom Ammiano thinks so. Ammiano introduced legislation last month that would legalize pot and allow the state to regulate and tax its sale - a move that could mean billions for the cash-strapped state. Pot is, after all, California's biggest cash crop, responsible for $14 billion in annual sales, dwarfing the state's second largest agricultural commodity - milk and cream - which brings in $7.3 billion annually, according to the most recent USDA statistics. The state's tax collectors estimate the bill would bring in about $1.3 billion in much-needed revenue a year, offsetting some of the billions in service cuts and spending reductions outlined in the recently approved state budget.
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Anyone who really wants to smoke pot already is.
The difference is all their money is exchanged underground instead of where the Govt can get at it.
You? ;-) ***
LOL! Not hardly. I am 62 years old and have never tried any of these things.
The only cocaine I have tasted was when a doctor squirted some down my throat to lance an infected tonsil. Ghastly stuff!
But for reals: Anyone needing info on McGuyver-like smoking devices need only drop me a line. I'm a veritable cornucopia of wisdom regarding them!
I didn't think so. I just saw a funny twist in what you wrote and couldn't help but make a joke about it. ;-)
There is a difference between legalizing drug use and advocating it. Do you realize how many violent crimes are committed by drug dealers to protect turf? When was the last time two liquor store owners had a shoot out over turf? Back in Prohibition. You CANNOT control something if people want it. You can only take away from peoples’ liberties.
Don’t think it can affect you? Just do this: Go tot he airport with no luggage and $10,000 in cash. Pay for a round trip ticket to Phoenix returning the same day and pay in cash. I guarantee you will not leave that airport with your money because the DEA or the cops WILL take it from you and claim that you MIGHT be doing something involving drugs. You have committed no crime and plan on committing no crime but you will not get your money back without spending a large amount on lawyer fees.
Is that the kind of society you want to live in?
“Anyone who really wants to smoke pot already is.”
I disagree. I think the law has a chilling effect. Many many people avoid behaviors simply because they are illegal. Number one, they don’t want to get in trouble (arrest, citation, fine, jail, record). Number two, they are cooperative people who like to be the law abiding type.
In my state, marijuana is basically legal & it's been that way for quite awhile. Under state law, possession up to 100 grams (that's a pretty big bag) of marijuana is a minor misdemeanor. Like jaywalking. (Although some individual cities have slightly stiffer penalties).
Number two, they are cooperative people who like to be the law abiding type.
Mmmm......let's just say it sounds like I've been around the block a couple more times than you.
prime grade pot would still be highly popular. most stoners don’t have the ambition to actually grow thier own and then wait for the plants to flower in order to be able to smoke it. A pot plant doesn’t produce year round, you’d have to wait a couple of months between harvests at least. Much easier to just buy it from the local store.
I live in CA. You may know the “medical marijuana” situation here.
I went to juvenile court with my son who got a ticket for wearing half a seat belt. He had just had surgery on his neck and the ticket was bogus. Because he was a minor I had to go with him to protest. So there we were.
They called up young man after young man, probably ten of them in all, ranging from 18 I guess to 25 or so. Each had been ticketed for possession of a small amount of pot. Each one shuffled up with a note from their “doctor.” Dismissed, dismissed, dismissed. The judge was disgusted. He told them he knew the names of the doctors who’d write prescriptions for a small fee. He said he’s never seen so many young able-bodied men in need of prescription medicine. He said they should get to know some people who are really in need of medication for real problems.
Those young men were a very sad waste of people. I have three sons, and nothing is stronger than a young man that age. But those dumbbells were hunkering up there like ground up weasels. What a waste.
I don’t know how many times you’ve been around the block, but the fact is, most of us do not want to be cited, fined, jailed, embarrassed, or have drug type offenses but on our records. It really is a deterrent for us. Were marijuana legal, I do believe its use would dramatically increase. Maybe you think that is ok. I don’t.
Illegality is what puts the "cash" value in marijuana as a cash crop. Nicotiana tabacum, in the form of Burley tobacco, used for cigarettes, gets a farmer about $1.75 a pound, after drying.
What is Cannabis sativa going to fetch the farmer when it is just another cash crop? More than tobacco? Certainly at first, but for how long?
Today, somebody used to paying $100 an ounce for "cheap" marijuana, and many times that for hydroponically grown, high THC stuff, might think that a $50.00 an ounce tax, (as proposed in Sacramento) in exchange for legalization, is a great deal. Certainly the knowledge that you won't be arrested, or shot in the head, tryuing to buy dope is worth a lot, and the tax will bring in some money the first few years.
But when the untaxed crop is selling for, let's be crazy and say 10 times as much as tobacco, or $17.50 a pound, how great will a tax of $800 a pound seem then? A tax on retailers under the bill under proposal in Sacramento.
Hmmm. If a guy buys weed from a legal retailer, 97.5% of the dealer's raw material cost is for excise tax. If, on the other hand, the weed buyer buys from a production chain that doesn't pay taxes, well he can pay his non-taxed supplier $408.75 a pound for non-taxed weed, or 23 times the $17.50 a pound the farmer in the tax paid distribution chain gets (which is, remember, 10 times what the tobacco farmer gets), and still pay just half the product cost (much less selling price) of the the legal, taxed retailer.
That doesn't sound like a formula for a vast influx of cash to the State coffers. It sounds like changing the offense for marijuana possession to a revenue crime.
Remember all those movies about moonshiners in the 50s, 60s, and 70s? The Federal Excise Tax on distilled liquor was $12.50 a proof gallon, or what, 50-60% of the retail price of rot gut at a licensed, taxed liquor store? This tax is 90%+. Any bets on whether the State of California (again, after a brief burst of revenue) spends more on beefing up its revenue collection efforts than it actually collects at $800 a pound?
So then it’s not the negative effects of the drug that deter you, your friends and your family from smoking pot, it’s simply that pot is illegal and you don’t want to break the law?
So if pot were legal you, your friends and your family would smoke it?
Dutch drug policies do not increase marijuana use, first rigorous comparative study finds
The study was funded by the U.S. National Institute on Drug Abuse (NIDA) and the Dutch Ministry of Health.
“Pay for a round trip ticket to Phoenix returning the same day and pay in cash. I guarantee you will not leave that airport with your money because the DEA or the cops WILL take it from you and claim that you MIGHT be doing something involving drugs.”
You can control something if people want it, you just may not be able to eradicate it. LOL, having paid cash for a ticket once, I simply got a personal escort to the ramp. I didn’t mind at all, and would rather live that way than live in a legalized drug society. Been there, done that, and it isn’t preferable to me by a long shot. I suggest anyone who advocates for legalized drugs do the same before they suggest it for America. It will be our kiss of death.
What "legalized drug society" did you live in?
I’ll trust your word.
I have a hard time growing a good tomato.
Homebrewing beer is a GREAT example!
Homebrewing works fine but it’s difficult to get good to excellent results (the voice of experience here) so it’s much, much easier to go to the packie. (New Engand localism ... sorry. Make it “the liquor store.”)
With that in mind, the price of commercial reefer would hold up fairly well against homegrown, minus the talented hobbyist. And that makes the tax revenue more stable and therefore more attractive.
Of course, we could always ask WHERE IN THE CONSTITUTION DOES IT GIVE THE FEDS THE POWER TO OUTLAW MARIJUANA? But that’s a story for another day.
Yeah, but that is with the "medical" farce, and the very real danger, until our new President was sworn in, that large scale growers would wind up in Federal prison.
What will it sell for when it has been legalized for years. When Monsanto (or some other big company) sells marijuana seeds in 50# sacks, and big corporations plant it not by the acre, but by the square mile. And when it is not smuggled to market, but loaded on railroad cars?
Sure, some folks will pay a premium for quality, just like you can pay $13 for 750ml of industrial grade vodka, or $350 for 750ml of 25 year old Scotch.
My point is that the price of marijuana is overwhelming attributable to the risk premium, and to the economic inefficiencies attributable to its illegality. Legalizing marijuana with a $1 an ounce tax would take most of the incetives for illegal production away. Legalizing marijuana with a $50 an ounce, $800 a pound, tax, just puts a cap on how much the illegal, non-taxed, retailer can charge, just as the $12.50 a gallon federal excise on spirits put a cap on how much the seller of moonshine could charge.
At $800 a pound, the tax on 500 pounds of marijuana would be $400,000. Plenty of incentive for smuggling.