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Want to stimulate the economy? Decriminalize the cannabis

Want to stimulate the economy? Decriminalize the cannabis

The decriminalization of marijuana has been a long-held position of mine, and with the recent news of “greatest swimmer ever” Michael Phelps having lost major sponsors and receiving a suspension over pictures of his use of the drug, and the current state of our economy, I am once again drawn to the debate with a renewed vigor.

Having done a little research to find statistics for this article, I came across a bill in Congress introduced by Rep. Barney Frank (D-Massachusetts) in April of last year that I was previously unaware of, but was otherwise encouraged to learn about. I further learned about a report by the National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse in 1972, recommending decriminalization of simple possession.

Forgive me if this is old news to you.

However, it is obvious that the barriers to such a logical and reasonable change in public policy are purely political and “moral” in nature. Furthermore, the very recent change in our ideological winds currently blowing through Washington might resurrect the debate somewhat, especially if the debate is supported by the outrageous costs of the criminalization of marijuana in a time of fiscal and financial crisis such as now.

For example, a 2004 study entitled “The Economic Implications of Marijuana Legalization in Alaska” found that the state was spending $25-30 million per year enforcing marijuana laws. This from the state with only 687,000 people, or less than half the population of San Diego.

How much is being spent in a nation of 300 million? Various studies estimate the annual costs range from hundreds of millions to more than $7.6 BILLION nationally.  

To be sure, $7.6 billion might not seem so much when compared to a stimulus package of $780 billion, but when you consider how much as already been proposed to help bailout companies that have lost the life savings of many Americans, wouldn’t it make more sense to actually SAVE money by not incarcerating any more?

 

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16 comments

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12:54PM PDT on Aug 31, 2011

I have a group and petition below for the economy. Here are those links. You people could sign and invite people you know to my group and share the petition with others to get 1,000 signatures at least. That's how many I need.

http://www.care2.com/c2c/group/Reparing

http://www.thepetitionsite.com/1/ridiculous-gas-prices-costing-driving-lessons/

7:01AM PST on Dec 16, 2010

@Hendrik: what an understatement! I've known people whose health was completely ruined by alcohol, one couldn't walk straight anymore (even while NOT drunk!) and couldn't hold her urine anymore, another was told by his doctor that he'll die within a year unless he stops drinking - Cannabis NEVER does anything like this to people! So in my book it's plain absurd that cannabis is illegal while alcohol is not.

@Past Member below, stating that, "Hydroponically grown ANYTHING relies not on nature, but chemistry": LOL!!! Because: NATURE relies on chemistry! In fact, all of biology is built on chemistry. :)

2:31PM PDT on Oct 29, 2010

legalize it, alcohol makes people stupid and aggressive, cannabis doesn't.

11:14AM PST on Feb 18, 2009

If you legalize it, and tax it like alcohol, have distributors, and sell it in state run stores along with alcohol, with an age limit to purchase it, why not legalize it. One, it would take the criminal element out of it, less money spent by the DEA, and other law enforcement agencies in efforts to seek out, destroy and arrest grow operations and growers. Two, it would create a revenue source for the local, state, and federal governments. Three, growers and sales locations could be regulated and licensed, like distilleries, and liquor sales outlets, generating more revenue, and serving as an income base for many people who otherwise may not participate in the workforce or who work under the table (as drug dealers or grow operation employers and employees). Then they could concentrate the law enforcement efforts on getting rid of Meth.

8:56AM PST on Feb 18, 2009

Sure legalize it. Maybe the taxes on it would get the economy going!

5:16AM PST on Feb 18, 2009

Yes to most of the above. The government should have learned a lesson with Prohibition. It is a complete waste of our taxpayer money to searchout and incarcerate marijuana smokers. Instead it should be treated like cigarettes and limited to legal use by those over the age of 18. If it was a government controlled substance ( free of the additives currently contained in cigarettes that cause addiction)and was taxed it would benefit us all. People WILL have a vice one way or another. I believe marijuana is much safer than alcohol.

6:03PM PST on Feb 17, 2009

I believe marijuana should be decriminalized & regulated, but for those who babble on about it not being dangerous are a bit off the mark. No longer is marijuana grown in soil with a little bit of fertilizer here & there, the most popular pot being used is known as "chronic" or "hydro." Hydroponically grown ANYTHING relies not on nature, but chemistry. I find it amusing that many who a clamoring for legaliztion are also those who demand organic & safer food sources, yet will suck down a few bong hits of pot grown hydroponically. Some folks also believe pot to be "safe." Safer than alcohol & other drugs, but just like those who smoke cigarettes, smoking marijuana puts you at risk of blood clots which can lead to deep vein thrombosis & pulmonary embolisms, it is also psychologically addictive & can lead to psychosis. Don't keep your heads in the sand & believe rumors, get facts. It would be nice to legalize marijuana & tax it, but chances are slim to nil that will happen in my lifetime & seriously, there have been NO studies to see how the more popular "hydroponic" pot (& the chemicals used for it to grow) affect the body. Think about how you would rather eat an organically grown apple but will smoke radical amounts of "chronic buds." For me to "feel good" about legalization for use by all (excepting those who use it medically, in that instance it should be legalized without limitations) marijuana should be grown organically &

4:37PM PST on Feb 17, 2009

I remember watching an interview with George Shultz many years ato. He served on Nixon's cabinet. I thought Shultz was a good thinker and a realist. As I recall he was saying that the war on drugs was conterproductive and we should consider alternatives. I'm not sure that pot should be legal but I'm pretty sure that the effort that goes into busting people for pot is silly.

By the way. If we had the FairTax, illegal activity would ultimately get taxed anyway!

Dan

4:07PM PST on Feb 13, 2009

The so-called 'war on drugs' has not stopped drug use in the US but has cost many billions of tax dollars every year. When you try to outlaw an easily grown, relativaly benign and
medicaly usefull herb, all you acomplish is a thriving black
market and lots of people in jail with negligable societal
benefit, and huge financial burdens. Any statistical study
clearly shows that pot is far less destructive to the rest of the world than tobacco or alchohol!! I can't understand
how our polititions don't see the wisdom of saving tons of
money by not chasing pot users, not pursuing
prosecutions and not paying for incarcerations while at the same time losing loads of revenue by not taxing legal,
REGULATED, and very profitable for the government, sales! With the economy in the shape it's in now, it seems so obvious that decrimanalization could be a big part of the recovery we need now. I also feel that personal use in private is a constitutional issue of freedom
, privacy and 'The pursuit of happiness' in our declaration of independence which was written on HEMP by the way!
If it is change that we voted for, this would be a good start! Let freedom ring!!

9:22AM PST on Feb 12, 2009

I'd like to preface this by saying that I don't use marijuana, or any drugs, nor do I use nicotine(in fact,I find cigarettes/most smokers disgusting! You can count the number of drinks I have in the course of a year on one hand. I am no prude. What I am is wholeheartedly FOR the legalization of marijuana and the tax monies it could bring to our economy. Additionally, I am wholehearetedly for MUCH stricter penalties, (including huge fines for first time offenders) for DUI - that means under the influence of alcohol,prescription drugs, or marijuana! This includes selling to minors. If we make marijuana legal,just as we have made nicotine and alcohol, we can clear out our prisons to make way for the REAL criminals who will undoubtedly and irresponsibly drive under the influence(of anything) and sell to minors - they don't deserve a free life! Subsequently, we'll be creating agricultural opportunites/jobs here in America while benefitting from the taxation. As an aside, if Sarah Palin would partake, perhaps she would have a more pacifist world view of the wildlife in her beautiful state rather than being the violent animal - and - Earth abuser that she is! Perhaps Alaska could become the leader in hydroponic pot. Eh, Sarah? ;>)

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