Legalize Marijuana for Tax Revenue

The entire U.S. should follow California’s lead—introducing referendums to make marijuana legal, thereby putting the current criminal drug producers and sellers out of business and enabling government to collect tax on pot sold via legitimate channels. Pro or con?

Editor’s Note: The following is an update of a Debate Room edition that originally appeared in 2009

Pro: Fund Crime—or Taxes?

As California readies for its November referendum, the first public test of the marijuana-legalization issue, it makes sense for Americans to have a look in the rearview mirror. The current prohibition on marijuana consumption exactly parallels the 1920s alcohol prohibition.

Every year, a widely consumed illegal substance makes potential criminals of millions and actual criminals of hundreds of thousands. And like booze during Prohibition, this substance, marijuana, is the easy revenue of organized crime, contributing tens of billions of dollars to growers, who commit a variety of bad acts both at home and abroad.

How much money is made from this single illegal substance? In fairness, nobody knows for sure. "Illegal" means hard data are difficult to come by. We do know, however, that according to recent figures, U.S. consumers number anywhere from 25 million to 60 million (depending on how likely survey respondents are to tell the whole truth), and at an average cost of $5 per cigarette (and factoring in one per day for each user), total spending on marijuana may add up to $45 billion to $110 billion a year.

What about possible tax revenue? From Canada we’ve learned that the production cost of (government-sponsored) marijuana is roughly 33¢ a gram. Currently, U.S. marijuana consumers pay at least $10 per gram retail for illegal marijuana. If the cost of retailing and distribution is the same as for legal tobacco cigarettes, about 10¢ a gram, then selling the (legal) product at exactly the same price as on the street today ($10 per gram) could raise $40 billion to $100 billion in new revenue. Not chump change. Government would simply be transferring revenue from organized crime to the public purse.

It is a proven technology. We did it in 1933 when Prohibition ended. It took 50 years for the U.S. to bring in Prohibition and 11 to get rid of it. Certainly, no lawmakers who voted for Prohibition guessed it would fail on such a large scale—just as anti-marijuana laws have. The existence of the California referendum shows support is growing to decriminalize marijuana. Even if the referendum fails this year, it serves as a signal that the U.S. is looking toward a future that doesn’t repeat the mistakes of the past.

Con: A False Economy

Gee, how about collecting taxes from legalized marijuana as a way of helping to deal with the deficit? Sounds great. Doesn’t work. Now our friends in California, who have a history of approving propositions costing billions of dollars with no offsetting revenue, have decided they can pay for their folly by getting tax from marijuana. Californians are great people, but I’m not sure we should use their business models as a way to fix the deficit problem in the U.S.

There are about 170 million users of alcohol in the U.S. and 16 million users of marijuana. This 10-to-1 ratio exists because alcohol is legal and marijuana is not. If we legalize marijuana, everyone agrees (even anti-prohibitionists) that we will have far more users. Ooooh, just think of all that revenue. Except we already have a working model for a legal intoxicant we collect taxes for. Let’s see how well that works:

Studies show that the U.S. collects about $8 billion yearly in taxes from alcohol. The problem is, the total cost to the U.S. in 2008 due to alcohol-related problems was $185 billion, and the government pays about 38% of that cost (approximately $72 billion), all due to consequences of alcohol consumption, according to the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse & Alcoholism. For every dollar the government collects in alcohol taxes, it expends about $9 (for such things as Medicare and Medicaid treatment for alcohol-related health troubles, long-term rehabilitation treatment, unemployment costs, and welfare). Does that seem like a model to emulate?

The legalization of alcohol is grandfathered in, and it is unlikely that major changes will be made. The last thing we should do is replicate this irrational business model. True, even though studies show both drugs are similar, many believe alcohol is worse. But even if we see only half the damages with marijuana, we cannot ignore the math: $4.50 for every $1 we collect is not a good business model.

If we need revenue that badly, why not legalize gambling and prostitution in California? My guess is those would raise more revenue than marijuana. How about a really radical idea—don’t legalize marijuana, prostitution, or gambling, and try spending less!

Opinions and conclusions expressed in the BusinessWeek Debate Room do not necessarily reflect the views of BusinessWeek, BusinessWeek.com, or The McGraw-Hill Companies.

Reader Comments

Damian

Bob, are you equating the socio-economic cost of marijuana use to that of alcahol abuse? If so, from what data did you reach this conclusion? I believe you're comparing a pin prick to the finger to an icepick in the eye.

Joseph

Nice try.

Why would you attempt to draw parallels between the economic effects of ending prohibition of marijuana, to the huge industry that is alcohol sales? Your clearly intelligent enough to know that this is deceit through omission.

The effects of alcohol are in no way similar to marijuana. I'm not sure where you are getting your $185 billion dollar cost figure, but I'm sure whatever part is based in reality includes the massive destruction that alcohol does to the body, on top of the massive problems it creates for those under its influence.

Nobody gets high and beats their spouse and children. Nobody loses their kidneys, a pancreas, or a liver, no matter how much cannabis they consume. And now studies are conclusive that cannabis smoke is non-carcinogenic. There is no such thing as a pot-o-holic. Cannabis does not create any physiological addiction. You know this as well as I do, which reveals your social bias on this subject and the real reason you wrote this article.

Your numbers also don't take into account the huge costs to our society and to societies around the world of prohibition.

Last, nobody that I have ever heard speak on behalf of ending cannabis prohibition believes that we would see massive increases in use. In fact, we believe the opposite, that legalization will lead to a reduction in use as resources are moved toward the scientifically proven most effective way to reduce use, voluntary treatment.

Of course, I may be wrong about this if cannabis producers and distributors are given the wide freedom to advertise the way the alcohol producers and distributors are. No drug should be advertised anywhere at anytime. Period.

Oh yeah.

Prohibition was repealed because it was a massive failure. I don't know what being grand-fathered in has to do with that.

Bryan Horner

After weighing both pros and cons, I have to go with the pro side. Just for the simple matter of demand for the illegal product that the consumers will smoke up without paying taxes, and the revenue goes under the table away from the government coffers that would have to pay for health cost anyway.

It is far better to have some revenue from taxes than none at all to pay for medical expenses. Prohibition just does not work. Might as well have it regulated to have a safer and cleaner product than illegal and maybe toxic marijuana and bathtub gin to go with it.

Ken Stremsky

The United States of America, Mexico, and many other countries should legalize, regulate, and tax the sale of marijuana, heroin, and cocaine for people who are at least 18 years old.

Mexico might have a lot fewer problems dealing with illegal drug dealers. Fewer Mexican soldiers and Mexican police officers might be killed.

If marijuana, heroin, and cocaine are legalized, regulated, and taxed for people who are at least 18 years old, the United States of America might be less likely to have the types of problems Mexico is experiencing.

State governments might be able to save a lot of money jailing nonviolent drug offenders if most nonviolent drug offenders are released from prison.

Marijuana may be a safer and more effective medication for many cancer patients than many prescription drugs that have been known to kill people.

The United States of America should allow farmers in Afghanistan to grow opium and sell it to us and others. The United States of America might have more friends in Afghanistan and our soldiers might be a lot safer. Terrorists might obtain less profits from their opium.

Farmers in the United States of America should be able to grow hemp and make many products from it such as ropes, sneakers, clothing, food, paper, and other things.

I recommend people read

"Obama Has the Chance To Be Another FDR--He Can End the Era of Marijuana Prohibition" by Bob Fitrakis and Harvey Wasserman at

http://www.alternet.org/drugreporter/120365

I discuss reducing poverty on our planet and dealing with the financial crisis on http://sites.google.com/site/kenstremsky/Home/global-thinking-expanded

Bob is an idiot

Bob is pulling facts out of his ass and they are worth anything. Is this really the best argument you prohibitionists can come up with? Seriously? Bob, how about you actually do some research on the topic before you start putting facts onto a paper and call it persuasive. Bob, you sir, fail at your profession.

Friends of Ours

There may be good reasons for legalizing some or all drugs, and in a libertarian vacuum perhaps there is a compelling case that individuals should be free to ingest whatever poisons their mind and bodies desire provided that the government is not required to pick up the costs from the inevitable wreckage in their addicted lives. However, the notion that legalization will remove the involvement of the drug cartels and other organized crime groups simply is preposterous.

The fact is that not only did the repeal of Prohibition fail to eliminate the Mafia in America but it failed even to eliminate the role of the Mafia in the liquor business. For decades after Prohibition organized crime groups controlled neighborhood bars, liquor distributors and licensing boards. Indeed, just last month federal prosecutors in New York City indicted several members and associates of the Genovese crime family for allegedly taking "an ownership interest in a Manhattan bar after its owner could not keep up with weekly interest payments on a series of loans totaling approximately $100,000," and "transporting across state lines eighteen cases of premium vodka that they understood to be stolen." Moreover, from the 1930s through the 1980s there were violent struggles involving murders and arson within and among the Mafia families in American cities for control of the liquor and bar businesses which further provide opportunities for illicit money laundering, drug distribution and profit skimming operations.

The idea that the cartels voluntarily will abandon their lucrative distribution networks and supply lines if drugs become legalized flies in the face of economic reality. Indeed, if anything, the businesses which the drug cartels already have established will become more valuable now that the risks associated with their previous illegality have been removed, and supply is ramped up to meet increasing demand. The men behind the drug cartels are violent, and they will resort to murder to enforce their share of the newly-legalized market just like the mobsters did following the repeal of Prohibition. Indeed, even in the waste carting industry, which always was legal, the Mafia has maintained an entrenched role, and federal prosecutors still are breaking up so-called "property rights" schemes which include the use of mob muscle and political corruption to enforce respective markets.

How violent organized crime will disappear from the market never is addressed by the proponents for drug legalization, and this failure illustrates the naive ignorance of their position.

ThereRnoCons

The only cons to legal marijuana would be an annoying increase in Hacky Sac playing. There is no logical argument to keeping marijuana illegal. The effects of alcohol on the body and psyche and the effects of marijuana on the body and psyche aren't comparable. I would wager that a fraction of a percent of marijuana user commit a violent crime after its consumption. How many violent crimes in the USA are related to alcohol consumption? How many rapes on college campuses each year are related to alcohol consumption? How many murders are committed by someone who consumed alcohol? Relate the same numbers to people under the influence of marijuana. The numbers won't even be comparable. Like I said already, there is no logical conclusion as to why it should be illegal.

Damian Joseph

FYI, the Damian Joseph above is not the same as the one who writes for BW. I know because that Damian is me.

Damian

There is no Damian Joseph above, aside from you. There is a "Damian" who is me, and a Joseph who responded second. Nice to have you in the conversation though, and "FYI", never heard of ya.

Mainer Chick73

We should legalize and tax it and treat it like alcohol. Part of the $185 billion on alcohol related expenses? Some because of death. No one ever died from smoking too much, maybe ate too much.

How much did and do we spend locking people up for it? There are some responsible people who socially drink. This can and could be close to the same.

Oh, it would probably help with the violence and drug cartel issues too. In addition 98% of the entire plant can be used. So, yeah--let's treat like alcohol and tax it.

Jeremy

Bob made a glaring omission with regard to government expenses that would plummet if (and when) marijuana is legalized: incarceration and the justice system.

random

Here's a little question: Has Stutman ever wondered why medical costs are being combined with welfare, unemployment, and other government programs and how exactly was the anti-alcohol think tank able to pin exactly what unemployment checks and Medicaid payments were issued to people suffering from alcohol-related problems?

Probably not. His company benefits from people being afraid that employees are out smoking pot and drinking their lives away. Any statistic that lets him convince clients to hire his company so he can ship off suspected substance abusers to rehab for a fee is a good statistic. Doesn't matter how skewed or how grossly inaccurate it might be. As long as it's scary.

When he was a DEA agent, the government routinely scared people about marijuana overdosing (there's no known case of this ever happening) and "crack babies" (shown to be an urban legend) because they thought scaring people stops them from doing things they don't want them to do. Stutman is simply doing what he was taught to do at the DEA.

J. Smikens

Moot issue, president said absolutely not when answering questions this morning at today's live Internet town hall meeting.

Dante

A better solution would be for the government to start selling poisoned dope. Killing off all the dope heads does great things for the tax base as expenses for enforcement, medical care, welfare, environmental cleanup of dope farms on public land, et al, will be greatly reduced. It will also do the human genome a whole lot of good. Because these dopeheads spawn like roaches.

Strategery

There is a good argument for the government to grow and distribute marijuana, citing potentially huge revenue. The problem is, and the real reason that MJ is illegal is that it grows like a weed (hence the name). If pot were legal, the majority of people who smoked it would have their own 'herb' garden, depriving the government of tax revenue.

Haseeb

So I'm assuming you wrote this article in disagreement with the stereotypical weed lies...that it makes you useless and stupid. I say that because you said weed being legal and taxed won't work because the expenses that will come with it will outweigh profit (similar to your example with alcohol). So my challenge to you and every other idiot that says this is to find one story where someone smoked marijuana and decided to commit a crime like rape or murder.

Brad

Strategery--
I honestly don't think that "the majority of people who smoked it would have their own 'herb' garden." After all, we are Americans. Americans are notoriously lazy and will opt for convenience 9 times out of 10. I can honestly say I would rather go down to the store and pick out exactly what I want, choosing the flavor, color, concentration, whether or not it's edible, or in the form of a lip balm or spray. I could grow my own vegetables too, but I don't. I would even continue to pay street price. Why? Because I'm accustomed to it. It's for the same reason people eventually started to get used to paying $4 a gallon for gas.

Singalbabe

Three big, giant cheers for Eric Holder! Would you also please release all persons who because of "holy herb" are being presently held, or are in, or about to be, jailed and for this victimless "crime" of smoking, trading, or bartering God's gift to us humans on earth.

robinbobbin

Dante, I am very disturbed by your comments. I am assuming that you must be a former dopehead to know the mating rituals of such an individual. Otherwise, you are just being mean spirited and ignorant.

Minotaur

As some have said, it is true some people need some education on the topic of Marijuana. It is classified as a lower graded drug than Alcohol, because it doesn't cause anywhere near as much damage. Just read any of the studies that have been done on it, that have not been done by any US Government sponsored organizations. You shall have a hard time trying to find anything evil about it, but the AMA does try hard with it's propaganda. But as we know, that is just propaganda and you shouldn't believe in those so called lies from the mouths of politicians. It's like believing that All Gore knows everything about the science of Global Warming and is an expert on the matter.

To see whom is really against legalizing it (besides the brainwashed), we should look at who shall suffer the most, criminals and corrupted government officials! As for criminals still controlling the market when it is legalized. It's not going to happen, free enterprise shall prevail with the backing of the law on it's side. For a good example of what would happen to society and how it would transform, look at the Netherlands.

Education is the key, ignorance is not as we have all witnessed. Also why shall Marijuana be different from Alcohol as far as how people acquire it? We have Home Brew kits available everywhere these days, but people still go and purchase alcohol.

Moot issue? Obama has changed his mind on everything he has promised in the past, why should he change now? There are many many more troops being sent overseas these days and the torture in Guantanamo Bay is a lot worse.

DaveL

George W Bush certainly knew the truth about marijuana; he had his head deep in the bong and the glass plate. Yet he let hundreds of thousands of pot smokers languish in U.S. jails for what he did every day. Barack knows the secret also, that alcohol is 100x more dangerous than pot. But politically it is suicide to suggest legalizing or decriminalizing it. Much better than to lock up all these people. Forget about the dollars and cents. In this land of freedom we lock up people for long sentences for things that only affect themselves.

But the drug laws do what they were originally conceived for - to crack down on minorities - mostly Mexicans in the 20s and 30s. Today black males can look forward to a a 30% chance of going to jail - much of that is the war on drugs. All in the land of freedom.

Dante

Tell you what, holier-than-thou "robinbobbin." Why don't you take a drive down to your local dope head hangout and just hang there for about a week or two? Hey, here's an idea, go enlighten yourself first before labeling people who disagree with you as "ignorant," you ignorant rant you. And what is so wrong about selling poisoned dope? It takes out most of the parasites on the human host. It lessens the burden of people who have an IQ. And it prevents continued infestation on the human genome by diseased organisms. And before you post another ignorant rant again, go down there and actually see for yourself, for once.

Alton

After reading some of the comments here comparing the effects of alcohol and marijuana, I find it funny that most of you state that alcohol is the more socially destructive substance. Isn't it then wise for us to ban alcohol? If we as a nation during the 1920s stuck to the prohibition, maybe we wouldn't be faced with the numerous negative side effects of alcohol uses such as alcohol dependency and liver and kidney failure.

Looking back in history, we should see the fallacy in our ways. To legalize marijuana, we will face endlessly more social problems that will corrupt our future as a nation.

Remember the effects of Opium War had on the Chinese. The use of opium was the first step in creating the Communist China we see today.

r. silvestri

Phillip and Morris or whatever they are called now will add highly addictive substances to the "weed" and then what this almost harmless product thus far will become a killer.

MarijuanaLobby

Regarding the economy: See stats on what American cities and states can save if marijuana were decriminalized. This is economic. http://www.marijuanalobby.org.

random

"And what is so wrong about selling poisoned dope?"

It would be murder for one and murder is illegal. Selling poisoned drugs with the intention of systematic killing will land you either life in prison or more likely, get you the death penalty.

"It takes out most of the parasites on the human host."

Parasite is a subjective definition. If your idea of a parasite is someone who just takes from society and gives little to nothing in return, these are subjective measures which depend on who is doing the defining. You could say that AIG is a massive parasite because it took people's money and wasted it on bad bets so now it's taking more. Are you going to go out and sell poisoned drugs to AIG's employees?

Oh and many wealthy and famous corporate tycoons who's companies generated billions of dollars and provided thousands of jobs played around with cocaine in the 1980s. Are they also social parasites for slaughter?

"It lessens the burden of people who have an IQ."

Every person has an IQ and what the IQ measures is up for debate. Modern IQ tests measure patterns and basic logic whereas older tests used to focus on academic knowledge. Such things as creativity and talents aren't measured by these tests and are not used in assigning an IQ score. A drug user could actually have a very high IQ but simply not putting his or her intellect to anything we'd consider useful.

"And it prevents continued infestation on the human genome by diseased organisms."

Note to Dante: social Darwinism is long dead because it fails to take into account basic biology and gets wielded by semi-genocidal sociopaths. Did you know that much of the human genome is actually retroviral DNA code that's been left by both evolution and by our genetic legacy? Everybody's genomes are diseased. Also did you know that human behavior is a product of nurture and environment rather than biologically defined?

So before you go on a killing spree and tell us to "educate yourself" while ranting furiously about people who use drugs as a single undifferentiated group, maybe you should consider that being a holier-than-thou sociopath who wants to determine who lives and who dies on woefully uniformed personal opinions is not a good thing in a civilized society.

MONITOR613

I'm totally stoned out of my gourd so tell me if this makes sense:

God couldn't stop two naked hippies from eating an apple. What's more is that God, in his infinite wisdom, didn't interfere with their free will. So the question is: Why is man so completely arrogant to think not only should he interfere with his brother's free-will even when God doesn't, but that he could actually succeed in doing what God failed to do?

And if laws such as marijuana prohibition are designed to protect me from myself, then why are prisons so dangerous? Clearly by breaking a law I've shown I need extra protection from the scary outside world. It's horribly ironic then that the facility used to rehabilitate me is so much harsher than my comfy house.

And if the issue is one of health and how bad marijuana is bad for your lungs, how come I can transfer the THC to brownies or a cup of tea for an utterly safe transaction of psychoactive chemicals?

And has anyone opposing Marijuana reform successfully explained why nicotine, caffeine, alcohol, sugar, Jesus, Television and other addictive mind-altering substances are compulsory for this culture yet pot, LSD, DMT, MDMA, psilocybin, peyote, and other inherently spiritual (when used correctly) mind-altering substances are deemed dangerous by men who presume to tell us what to do for our own good?

Dwight Nager

I don't smoke it. I support legalization.

Afonso Meneses

It's important to consider the drop in the prices of producing marijuana legally. Thus, the selling price of the product will represent a small basis for tax. It's better to inform the population of the effect of this drug on the human organism. Maybe it's not so dangerous, but certainly nowadays it sounds like a criminal attitude.

Nathan C

Hey Dante, the only ignorant person here is you. It is pretty funny (and sad) to see you attacking someone as ignorant when it is obvious to everyone with a clue that you have no idea what you're talking about.

First off, who the heck calls marijuana "dope"? The 1960s called--they want their terminology back. For your information, half of Americans have tried marijuana at one point or another. I guess you're saying that 50% of America is "diseased organisms" who ought to be poisoned and killed? You would have fit in well in Nazi Germany.

There are a lot of very successful and intelligent individuals who smoke pot regularly. For example, Michael Phelps, who cleaned house at the 2008 Beijing Olympics with a record eight gold medals. He is just one example amongst thousands.

P.S., I smoke dope regularly, and I guarantee my IQ is much higher than yours.

There are a lot of losers who smoke pot, sure. There are also a lot a losers who drink alcohol, smoke cigarettes, drive cars, breathe air, etc. Correlation does not, however, imply causation. Marijuana does not cause people to be stupid. At worst, it causes a temporary reduction in short term memory, which returns to 100% of normal within a few days of not smoking. In fact, marijuana has been shown in scientific studies to help prevent such conditions as Alzheimer's disease.

I suggest you do some more research before running your mouth next time.

Alton, now I will address your comments. Yes, alcohol is an extremely destructive substance, far worse than marijuana. Prohibition came about because of a desire to reduce problems caused by this harmful drug. Unfortunately, prohibition only made things worse. You can't just decide that you don't like a popular activity and then ban it in the hopes that everyone will decide to quit since it's now illegal. It doesn't work like that.

People still wanted to drink alcohol, and organized crime sprang up almost overnight to address their needs. The problems under Prohibition were worse than the problems Prohibition was intended to solve. Thus, Prohibition was repealed in 1933. No, the Mafia did not disappear. They had already grown too large. They were, however, greatly reduced in power and influence.

Now, let's look at marijuana. A large percentage of Americans want to smoke marijuana, and do smoke marijuana, and they are going to continue to smoke it regardless of the laws against it. Marijuana is far, far less harmful than alcohol. Marijuana has never killed anyone. It is not a gateway drug--that has been conclusively proven to be false. Scientific studies have shown it to be far less harmful to the lungs than tobacco smoke, and in fact it is beneficial in some ways. THC (the active ingredient) is theorized to retard cancer cell growth in the lungs. Marijuana does not cause to become violent and make stupid decisions. Drunk drivers swerve all over the road, run red lights, crash into people. Stoned drivers drive very carefully and slowly. In addition, we put thousands of peaceful people behind bars every year for no other crime than the possession of marijuana.

The modern day Prohibition has failed, and it is causing more problems than it is purported to solve. It's time to end Prohibition.

Jim

When you count the costs of policing, incarceration, probation, and military action abroad and add it to the tax revenue, the financial case for legalizing marijuana is quite sound. The human costs are just as important. How many lives have been ruined by a war against a relatively benign drug? How many families have been torn apart and had their assets seized? From a social deviance perspective, weed is about one step worse than speeding, but people pay serious consequences for it. Our recent presidents have all smoked it and yet are considered capable of leading our nation. It is a horrific statement regarding our national character that we think it is okay for them and countless people around us to smoke it, but those who sell it should be condemned to a living hell. Love it or hate it, weed is here to stay. We need to be rational as a society and to find a way to legalize marijuana, tax it, educate our youth about its effects, and return thousands of people from prison to their families and lives.

Dear "Friends of ours"

Dear "Friends of ours," you are an idiot. The Mafia stayed in business because, 1) it had strong ties to the government (and I bet you thought corruption was bad now) and 2) You act as if the gang runs the cannabis bars by making the analogy between alcohol bars run by the Mafia and cannabis bars run by the Mexican drug cartels. Clearly this shows your complete ignorance about the topic.

As you can see, your argument is just a house of cards waiting to be destroyed. How about you go back to the drawing board, drink some whiskey, and beat your children.

LOL at Dante

Wow Dante, you take the cake for being the best prohibitionist. So the best argument you can come up with is "let's commit acts of genocide on the people who use marijuana." Ha ha, way to revert to the same tactics I used in the 1st grade. I guess it's apparent your mind hasn't really developed yet huh? Well I shouldn't be too harsh on such an unstable person. But let's look at you suggestion, shall we? You suggested we go down to the local "dope head hangout" and see the damage it's caused. Why don't we just take a look at "dope heads" around our world, Tiger. Yes, it's tragic, Michael Phelps is screwed up and a mess up because he is a "dope head." Oh wait, little dude. He won more gold medals than you have working brain cells. Sorry, sport. Oh yes, and Barack Obama, he sure is a mess-up, you know making it all the way to presidency. I guess you could do better because you aren't a dope head.

Alton...umm?

Alton, you are suggesting we ban alcohol and go back to prohibition. Pick up a history book, lick the tip of your fingers, and flip to the part about how prohibition failed, only to cause more problems.

david

There are a lot of people earning good money today keeping it illegal and that is the biggest hurdle in legalization. Think those G-men will pick up hoes?

Everett Ward

We should legalize marijuana and tax it as in the case with alcohol. The biggest hurdle will be overcoming all the people earning big bucks to keep it illegal. Prohibition was a total failure and created more problems than it solved, same with marijuana.

I myself

I can understand the financial benefits of legalization. I can also understand how you can make money in prostitution or child pornography. Financial outcome doesn't define right and wrong.

God does give us choice, as some people here have noted. He also expects us to use our choices to maximize our potential.

FBEye

Illegal drugs are not the problem. The problem is that there are millions upon millions of people who want to use them. It's no different from alcohol.

RR

I've never used marijuana but don't understand the logic behind its not being legal in the first place. It's naturally grown unlike the artificially produced liquors, beers, and especially the medically approved substances called drugs. Obviously, something is terribly wrong with this picture. This has nothing to do with its use but has everything to do with this country's leaders growing power--to have total control over our daily existence. We have to see through the smoke-screen, folks.

greg hardy

Hell yeah.

Dante

Hmmm, thanks folks for proving my point on lack of IQ (short hand for intelligence, not that debunked IQ test). It appears to apply to dopehead supporters too. One of you appears to be fixated on the legal definition of "murder." The government sets up the legal terminology. If the government poisons the dope, then I would say it's not illegal. And a whole lot of you appear to be a little too mentally challenged to recognize the difference between physical performance of a repetitive task (swimming strokes or swinging a gulf club) with brain activity.

outlawbirder

I am a retired firefighter who spent the last several years as a fire/EMS dispatcher. The problems with alcohol cannot be compared to marijuana. In my 25 years in the fire service I have never responded to an incident involving marijuana but have responded to thousands involving alcohol. Ask any firefighter/EMS, and I'm sure they will tell you the same thing.

dominica

If you think about it, if we spend about $30,000 dollars a year on people put in jail or prison for marijuana use, we won't only gain money from taxes. But also save money from prisons. I think it is a great idea to both save and make money.

ivan

Forget Bob!

random

"If the government poisons the dope, then I would say it’s not illegal."

Actually it is. Killing one's own citizens without an actual trial and due process by selling poisoned drugs violates the 4th, 5th, 6th, and 8th Amendments to the Constitution. Since the Constitution is the highest law of the land and whatever the government wants to do must past muster with the Constitution, its actions would be declared illegal and whoever was involved would have to stand trial.

The Nixon-esque defense of whatever government decides it wants to do magically becoming legal is a fantasy of authoritarians rather than actual legal writ. If you could do us all a favor, Dante, and actually study up on the things you propose before you post them for the world to see, we would be much obliged. Oh and the righteous indignation with eugenic overtones went out in the 1940s. It's been almost 70 years, so really, it's time to change things up.

College Student

It's interesting to see the logical pro-con debate devolve into a flame war as you continue to scroll down the page.

One thing can safely be said, it is a very polarizing issue that will continue to be debated regardless of the future legality or illegality.

We have a convergence of history repeating with the positions of authority being filled by aging hipsters and the outcome will be interesting to say the least. A quick glance at how any particular drug made the move from legal to illegal can show that in the majority of cases, a drug was made illegal to control the section of society using that drug. Southern blacks and Mexicans for marijuana, West Coast Chinese railroad workers for opium, hippies and LSD, etc. By the 1980s when ecstasy came on the scene, it took fewer deaths nationwide than the number of people killed by lightning to force the criminalization of a legally prescribed drug used out of its context.

I'm kind of surprised that nobody has mentioned that cocaine was legal during prohibition and having a 'Coke and a smile' meant something else besides an ad pitch.

There will always be junkies, pimps, and thieves (more so in a depressed economy). It is how we respond that defines our society and I think we all remember how ridiculed Nancy Reagan was for her 'Just Say No' campaign (done during another depressed economy).

As for a larger picture outlook, I think it is scary that at so many points the American people would rather allow the government to dictate personal responsibility than to be responsible themselves.

Feel free to flame my opinions in my absence since I found this page on a Google search between classes and will in all likelihood never return.

Dante

I see a lot of dope heads here tries to use the higher morality road. Which is hilarious since by definition, dope is low morals. From an anthropological point of view, having members of a society addicted to a substance (weed or alcohol) is bad. It presents a threat to the status quo--the continued well being of a particular social system. For anyone with any brains, just look at China and her opium problems back when the British made it "legal." Society was a mess, and social costs sky rocketed. I have also never heard of a dope head coming out with any earth shattering innovations--except in their own dope-infused grandeur. Also looking back, if the Chinese government had started selling poisoned dope, the problem would have been solved within a year or two and the genetic defects been removed from the human genome. As to the "college student," yes, that type of "I'm jaded cause I'm omniscient" line of bull always comes from the younger imbeciles who don't have the experiences to make sound judgments. They either grow up (very few) or become stock brokers and lawyers--same parasites as dope heads (most of which are dope heads).

attila

Dante, you are the idiot that should be removed from the human genome. Please do the world a favor and kill yourself before you procreate and spawn more mental midgets like you.

Logical Thinker

I support legalization. Let's get some legislation going.

Stewart

Thirty years we have been talking about this. My letter to the editor below states my case. Imagine all we could have done with the revenue from thirty years of taxed substances. This country would be a much better place, not worse.

nytimes.com/1988/08/18/opinion/l-yes-legalize-cocaine-and-fix-its-price-786788.html

Tony

There would be far fewer social problems associated with pot than alcohol. No one has ever died from pot poisoning or overdose. How many times has someone died from a result of alcohol poisoning? A lot. Pot will turn a profit and lessen crime, but alcohol won't.

I have yet to see a decent public debate on the subject. What we need to do is tell the truth like pot in moderation isn't really going to do anything to you. It's time to quit throwing people in jail for smoking a joint.

Bob S!

Oops. I forgot to compare the costs of prohibition of drugs. How much is an innocent child killed in the crossfire of a gun battle by rival gangs worth? How much does it cost to pay the police, lawyers, judges, prison costs, and fees to "therapists" to whom our wise judges are sentencing these evil marijuana users. And how do the drug gangs invest this money, i.e. do they use it to fund further illegal activities? Sorry I just don't get it. Bob S.

Time to catch up with reality

Simply, we will save money by letting people in a free society smoke a plant and not be locked up for it. As a taxpayer, I pay the bills around here, and it's a waste of my money, so if you are an elected official, aka my employee, stop it. Get my law enforcement assets focused on more important things.

Don't expect to make much on the tax end of the equation--everyone who wants it will simply grow it.

Is this really that difficult to understand? Free will! Some "do gooder", who wants to protect us from ourselves, please point out one, just one example where social engineering worked? You want to coddle the world? Fine you pay for it, not me.

Bill Couture

Just why do the politicians think that legalizing pot would be political suicide? Seems to me more people are in favor then against. In fact the polls are probably understating the number in favor. 1) Everyone knows we are wasting tons of money on enforcement that doesn't work. 2) Everyone knows we are losing huge amounts of revenue in taxes. 3) Even if you don't smoke (and I don't) everyone knows lots of successful people who do. In fact if we put everyone in jail who was an accomplice because they knew someone who used it and didn't report it, the problem would be solved as there would be 300-plus million Americans in jail. I don't think that leaves anyone out.

Avraam Jack

It is ridiculous to use budgetary reasons to promote drug legalization.

Legalization should be promoted because society would be better off.

The really bad drugs would be sold very cheaply but only through pharmacies to registered addicts. This would control that problem by allowing us to know who is addicted, offer them treatment, and take the profits out of the business.

Marijuana, being virtually harmless, could be sold in commercial establishments but the diminished supply and risk would drive the price down.

Nothing substantial will happen on the national level for two years. In the meantime, if California or Massachussets legalize cannabis, the facts on the ground will drive policy.

Senator Webb has just submitted a bill to do a thorough review of criminal justice policies. That review will take 18 months. Only then can the government move forward.

.

yer pal

Okay, so marijuana is legal in Holland, but they have 1/2 the number of users per capita? Hmmm, and for what it's worth, to anyone under 50 this is just a nonissue.

Its mostly a moral issue

I can see no substantiation as an argument either way as a product of abuse or legal use. The argument has no value in regard to legality or illegality. Only as a moral issue does it have conversational value. Those with stern morals will believe it to be a sustance than should remain banned. Of course, thay also believe the word hell is a naughty word. Those with lighter morals see it as nothing more than a method of relaxation and entertainment. Of course, they also think that it should not be illegal to run nude through the streets.

In a pro or con discussion like this one needs to start with a base line.

Base Line: A new discovery has been made by Merk Pharmaceuticals in the processing of the hemp plant whereby an individual can smoke the filing of the plant flower to improve ones glaucoma, the FDA is looking into whether it can be otherwise harmful to the human body.

Questions:

Is there a windfall marketing potential for Merk?

How many humans would take-up smoking this new product?

What are the health ramifications to humans?

What are the criminal ramifications should this product be refuted by the FDA?

What are the moral ramifications as identified by religious entities?

What are the economic ramifications from such a product?

What if it wasn't a pharma company that discovered the new product?

And so on.

When you finish answering all the possible questions immagineable to a new product introduction such as cannabis, then ask yourself who has the interest and or agenda in allowing or disallowing such a product to market.

Then ask the same question of who has an interest in allowing or disallowing such a product to (a legal) market as things stand in our current philosophical, political, big business, media, religious, and left and right society that we have today.

The cost to keep it illegal has and always will go up, not only in hard currency capital but human capital, emotional capital, political capital, and just about all other forms of capital one can think of.

The cost to legalize it will also go up but this cost will be at the expense of the privte business world, not the taxpayers and innocent families cought in the rage of anger, greed, and self interest.

adam

It's common sense that we should regulate and tax marijuana.

It all comes down to simple supply and demand. Trying to prohibit something that has a high demand doesn't work and results in more serious problems.

legalization Ghetto slums

Legalizing pot or anything else is plain stupid and self destructive. There is no money of any significance for the government. Who wants a bunch of dumb wits high off their kites being supported off public money? They won't work, sit around fat from over eating, probably have cirrhosis of the liver from drinking to wash down that joint smoke. They probably hang out with dealers and pimps. You can't legalize any criminal element that will remain. They probably have drug induced cardiac and respiratory conditions. People from lower socioeconomic backgrounds use pot while more affluent ones prefer cocaine. I say get rid of them all and put them in jail. Drug addiction is a plague on society. Imagine all the car crashes/deaths/ dropouts/ deadbeats in work/abusive or neglectful parents/addict born infants. Look at any high crime infested neighborhood and see firsthand the effects that drugs, gangs, weapons, and crime have on them. And legalization freaks want to run everyone else into a ghetto for the sake of addiction pleasure.

Nick

As others have pointed out, comparing marijuana to alcohol is apples to oranges. Alcohol kills. By contrast, no one has ever died from marijuana. There are arguments against legalization; don't undercut your case by picking one that is laughable.

Strategery

Brad, you are correct. I doubt that the average pothead could take care of a "house plant." My point was, it is nearly impossible for the government to collect taxes on pot. This is because many people will grow it for their own use or to sell it. Unlike tobacco, which only grows under certain conditions, pot can grow almost anywhere. One of the reasons it is illegal today is because there is no effective way to collect taxes on it. If centralized distribution were possible, don't you think big tobacco would have lobbied to legalize pot already?

There is much more money to be made with our "justice" system for lawyers, judges, police departments, governments, etc. The revolving door keeps people in and out of the system, charging them fees each time they enter and exit.

I don't really care, legal or not, because I will not use it anyway. I'm not wasting anymore time on this subject.

thomas

Just what we need, more people on the street and road who are in another drug haze, killing others in traffic accidents, work related accidents, and the like. Wake up, liberal America. Society is already in the toilet from drugs, alcohol, no daddy at home, no morals, etc. and on and on, sad.

larx

Marijuana should not be legalized to generate tax revenues.

Marijuana should be legalized to reduce violence. Marijuana should be legalized because it it not government's right to tell free human beings what is the proper way to manage their own bodies.

Okie From Muskogee

Howdy folks, a few points

1) Given the medicinal benefits of marijuana, I don't think the pharmaceutical companies will give up without a fight.

2) My personal experience has been that way more violent tendencies come from alcohol than marijuana. If God allowed me to build a society from scratch but I could only allow alcohol or marijuana, I would choose marijuana.

3) The U.S. criminal system should target crime itself, not marijuana. Target the things that harm us like child porn, violence, break-ins, etc.

4) There is still a social stigma that there is a difference between 'drugs' and 'alcohol.' Alcohol is a drug as we all know. And I believe it is a much more devastating drug than marijuana. Don't believe me? Let's have a party with 100 pot smokers in one barn and 100 boozers in the other and see who has more problems.

MarkCinPhx

Con: Legalizing pot would reduce the amount of power and control that the federal and state governments have on a segment of the population. Would the government willingly give up that power?

Also, legalizing pot would put thousands of people out of work. Police, detention personnel, court personnel--the entire Justice system would see a reduction in work. We can't make pot legal. We have too many people that depend on it being against the law for their jobs.

kobe

I strongly disagree with the statement that the use of marijuana should be legalized. More revenue doesn't justify the use of the drugs. Once we are addicted to this stuff, it is difficult to resist the temptation to try it once more, just because of the reliance on the treat.

Steve L.

To sniff out the truth, simply compare these two authors' biographies. One man made/makes his life's income because of Prohibition, same as the drug lords do. The other man is a highly educated intellectual who studies crime, prisons, and child educational issues--and has nothing to gain from stating his position.

Do yourself a favor: Educate yourself. Read the historical legal arguments and Congressional records of how this prohibition started back in the 1930s. Warning: Some of the language used by legislators and pre-DEA agents is appallingly racist.

amr

I believe that alcohol does more damage to the human body than marijuana. People don't get divorced over it and your friends don't get killed from it. Think about it, I have more family members that died from liver damage (due to alcohol) than smoking marijuana. I know people that have been smoking every day for 30+ years and still today maintain a very professional job and never missed a day from work due to smoking marijuana. People who have never done it don't have a leg to stand on. Believe the ones that use--they are telling the truth. Anything that is good for you always has dollar signs attached too it. This is our answer for getting out of debt. It will continue for as long as the sun shines and makes us feel good.

James H.

@ MONITOR613: Amen, brother. Your thoughts are perfectly lucid.

@ Dante: "I see a lot of dope heads here tries to use the higher morality road…" First of all smart guy, take your high IQ and go learn proper English. "It presents a threat to the status quo." The only thing weed presents a threat to is the inventory of Pop-Tarts at your local grocery store. If it were anybody but you, I’d doubt that my eyes actually saw someone compare opium to weed. Really. Let us just compare the most dire situation involved with recreational drugs--a potential overdose. What is the effect of an overdose of opium? Probable death. What is the effect of an overdose of weed? A good nap.

I started smoking weed when I was 23 (6 years now). I haven’t had a single problem aside from an increased grocery bill. My only regret is that I waited so long. I am a successful full time nursing student who works full time as well. It's nice to achieve total release during my down time. My GPA is currently around a 3.6--not too bad for a parasitic dope head, in my opinion. My best friend is a cop and even he turns a blind eye to it. He once told me that he’d rather deal with someone who is high than someone who is drunk because they are much more docile and less dangerous to others in general.

I’m sure you enjoy having your morals dictated by the government, but I personally don't like the bull they're feeding me. What I do in the privacy of my own home should be of no concern to the government as long as I do not harm others. Just out of curiosity, is your last name Anslinger? I only ask because of all of the propaganda you are pushing.

Dante

Funny thing I have noticed about this "debate" on legalizing pot: The dope heads' side of the discussion always falls into one of three categories. 1) You're evil restricting people's freedom to do as they will. 2) Why are there no logical thinking in this issue? 3) No one had died from smoking pot. Here's the answer to these 3 dope head mainstays. 1) People are restricted from doing certain things that may harm society as a whole. Using your argument, child sex is okay as long as the child consents, right man? (Japan does this.) And history has already proven that legalized dope use is highly disruptive and costly to society. Just look at the history of British "legalized" use of opium in China. 2) Lack of logical argument? Just look at the historical precedence as stated in the response to 1) I have yet to see you dope heads come up with a logical point of view. 3) Smoking pot never killed anyone? Try telling it to the family in the mini van that was killed when some pot head ran into them in Long Island. And that is only one incidence. You dope heads have been smoking dope for so long, reality and logic now totally escape you. I repeat: The government should start selling poisoned dope at cut rate prices. These dope heads have proven themselves to be a burden on society. Kill off these parasites, preferably before they had spawned and further infested the human genome.

Geo

I don't need ignorant, finger wagging, self righteous, foaming at the mouth, right wing Nazis like Dante dictating to me what to do with my body. It's time to end the hypocritical prohibition against pot. And what possible reason could there be for the prohibition of hemp, completely non-toxic, non-psychoactive, and one of the most valuable and versatile plants?

"Prohibition... goes beyond the bound of reason in that it attempts to control a man's appetite by legislation and makes a crime out of things that are not crimes. A prohibition law strikes a blow at the very principles upon which our government was founded"
-Abraham Lincoln

RK

The fact remains that in a free society, the government should have no role in dictating what one does to oneself. The current state of America's drug policy is un-Constitutional.

And the so-called medical costs incurred from marijuana use is really a nonargument. The majority of people who would smoke pot after legalization already smoke pot illegally. So therefore we are already paying for any of marijuana's ill effects without collecting any public benefit.

Not to mention the enormous cost incurred in continuing the failed "war on drugs."

mrog

I believe that if we could legalize the use of marijuana it would do us a bit a good. We could support school systems and pay off the debts that our government owes. But I would personally legalize gambling first. Why would we legalize a health concerning substance when gambling is out there not hurting anyone. Gambling should be perfectly legal in Alabama. These idiots are stupid for not thinking of it first. Gambling is legal in some areas, but it does us no good if we are not part of that area. Can't we all just decide on something.

Gatoray

I'll offer a pro perspective that only a few of the writers here have touched on. I am increasingly weary of ever larger amounts of my tax dollars going to finance this vast "drug-ocracy." I think we'd all be aghast if the real total of federal state and local dollars expended on this prohibition effort were revealed. I see way too many personal liberties sacrificed in the name of this phoney baloney "war on drugs."

The drug cartels would lose everything if we legalized. I don't think increased tax revenue is the reason to legalize but rather the ability to make our own consumption decisions, good and bad, and regain some personal freedom and responsibility.

Point of personal information: I smoked in college, haven't for many years. Looking back, it wasn't all that helpful for me. But many adults profess to function just fine with regular use. Hell, if we can tolerate the adverse effects of booze and tobacco, it is past time that the government treats us like children on this issue. I believe in personal responsibility.

Geo

I've known alcoholics and pot heads. Neither are desirable, but the alcoholics are a lot more dysfunctional. Two of my alcoholic friends are dead from cirrhosis and all of my pot head friends are alive and most are gainfully employed. Bottom line: Government should stay out of people's personal lives.

Brian

Assuming we legalized pot, most of the objectionable issues could be managed. For example, same rules apply as tobacco or alcohol. Age limits, driving restrictions, higher health insurance premiums, job ramifications, can't privately grow it, or only in small quantities etc. Since it takes so long to completely leave the human system, though, you could be almost automatically liable for a traffic accident in the event you tested positive even a week or more after use. That's called too bad so sad. Since there are possible temporary or permanent psychological effects to long term use that would have to be dealt with. One way to deal may be to exclude chronic pot smokers from health insurance or charge rates high enough to deal with the consequences. Why should the portion of the population that don't drink, smoke, or use pot subsidize the others. Bottom line though, who cares what people do to themselves if it doesn't hurt the rest of us?

James H.

@ Dante: The only problem with us arguing logic is that you are not capable of it. Please please stay on topic. This article is about weed only. Why do you keep going back to opium in China? Nobody cares about opium really. Opium is a hard narcotic; weed is not. You also compared it to child sex. Excuse me, but are you high right now? How can you even begin to contrast the two? I won't even dignify it with an argument. When you say: "People are restricted from doing certain things that may harm society as a whole," you imply that legalization of weed will turn us into the world's cesspool. Explain the beautiful country of Holland, genius. They seem to operate at a high level of functionality. Weed should be controlled just like alcohol. Nobody here supports smoking and driving, so get off the car accident stories. I'll give you 100 drinking and driving sob stories for every single weed tragedy you can find me. Please give me an overdose story--or one that ends in someone mortgaging their house and selling their body for weed. Whatever you do please keep your argument relevant. Your arguments so far have almost convinced me that your parents dropped acid when you were conceived. It's the only explanation for the obtuse opinions you keep offering.

Dante

Thanks, "James H." For proving my case. I'm sure a lot of the dopes here would be happy to know that their male nurse is high while giving them medication or performing a procedure. As to opium, I know using simple brain cells to generalize from past examples are hard for someone in a haze like you, but try a little bit. It's about the impact of people lazing around on drugs instead of performing work. It's about social costs. Simple logic. But don't let that worry you mon, just keep smoking the monja gonja mon.

Being Goode

War on Drugs:

Hundreds of billions of dollars have been spent on the "war on drugs" over the last 40 years or so. The expenditure of this money has not produced a negligible decrease in usage nor has its affected the availability of this "product" to our citizens. As long as there is a demand for marijuana, the market place will provide the product. Economics and capitalism in its purest form. It is easy to understand why the law enforcement industry refuses to get behind any effort to "decriminalize." Clearly it would have a direct impact on what historically has been increased budgets for law enforcement. It would appear that the "war on drugs" has been its own "economic stimulus" to the law enforcement industry. In addition, there are the costs associated with the increased building and staffing of prisons. The fact that a majority of the current prison population is drug offenders should not be ignored. There are so many similarities to the war on booze during prohibition--criminal enterprise is just one measure. We can all see the results of prohibition. Keep doing the same thing over and over and expecting a different result would seem to be a huge waste of taxpayer dollars. Where are all the fiscal hawks on this boondoggle? Clearly this "war on drugs" affects all of us. As most of the medical experts have pointed out, it is a substance abuse issue, not a criminal issue. As a result, this "war on drugs" is in reality, a war on families. As we see family members and friends criminalized as a result of behavior that should be dealt with in the medical treatment and substance abuse community.

Dante

I totally agree with you, Being Goode. One has to look at this from the standpoint of simple economics. That is why I advocate poisoning the drugs. Take out the demand side of the equation and the supply side will follow. End of the war, the violence, the huge waste of taxpayer dollars that most people like you have a problem with.

Bill Couture

Dante, you are advocating the "final solution". If you don't understand the term, then get yourself a simple history book on WWII. After that, I suggest you report to Nurenburg for processing. Zig Heil

James H.

@ Dante: Nowhere on this site have you seen anyone advocate the usage of drugs on the job, hence the word "recreational." You tried to misdirect the conversation using the whole smoking and driving issue last time--for the last time: It needs to be regulated just like alcohol, end of story. As far as productivity is concerned you needn't be worried. People will do what they are inclined to do. Productive people will produce; lazy people will laze--with or without drugs. With your diminished brain capacity I can see how you struggle with the concept of others having a high level of functionality. "As to opium, I know using simple brain cells to generalize from past examples are hard for someone in a haze like you." Your grammar indicates that you probably didn't study too hard in school, Mr. Productivity. Too busy lazing on opium to study maybe? Your one track mind certainly dwells on it enough. Does anyone else think that maybe he doth protest too much?

controversy

Legalizing marijuana is just not feasible right now in these economic times; it would increase unemployment in law enforcement, prisons, probation officers, the legal profession, bankers (money laundering) and then the follow on ripple effects, a significant number of people would lose there jobs, but could they be retrained for treating the more serious problem of alcohol and drug abuse?

I grew up in a dry (no alcohol sold legally) county, when the issue came up for a vote to go wet (legalize the sale of alcohol--except on Sundays). The largest contributor against legalizing the sale of liquor in the county was the liquor store just over the county line. The walls of the liquor store just over the county line are still there, the roof caved in a more than decade ago. Does this analogy also apply to numbers running and the state run lotteries.

Would there be any correlation to that of the legalization of prostitution? When legalized in one country in Europe, sex crimes in that country dropped significantly.

Also as the government finally realized, that infrastructure to illegally import marijuana can also be used to import anything. Would the government really want to harm that infrastructure, or/and how about the business community.

Billy T

I believe legalization is the only reasonable approach. Take the profit away from the dealers, and let the domestic growers become a part of our agricultural economic system. In all likelihood, drug related violence would fall. Not to mention, US prison population for drug related offenses would dwindle. Furthermore, the $40 billion or so that the US spends per year on the drug war could be applied to more worthy causes, eg counter-terrorism, education.

Many conservatives are repelled by the idea of teens being able to buy marijuana. However, if a teen wants to get his/her hands on it, he or she will find a way. It would ultimately be much safer for a teen to purchase from a licensed retailer than entering a dangerous neighborhood and seeking the drug out.

Our dollars are going to continue to flow south where violence is worse than it is in the US, if we continue to ensure the immense profitability on the black market. Legalize and build our economy, reduce violence and prison population or continue to fight a war that will never be won. It seems like a simple decision to me.

Billy T

One last thing to all here regarding Dante. I think it best for no one in this forum to continue to engage this individual. Sure, he is entitled to his opinion, but no rational human being would suggest poisoning something to kill off people.

Seriously, let's spend our time debating with each other with logical remarks and with ideas that are actual possibilities. We all know that his/her suggestion is not a real possibility unless it were undertaken by some psychotic person(s) that enjoys inflicting harm on others.

Kareem

Bob,
In your calculations of the revenues minus costs of legalization you missed a crucial component: savings. The equation should be revenues + savings - costs.

The savings will be from reduced law enforcement expenditure, court costs, and mostly from fewer prisoners. It costs roughly $45,000 a year to keep one prisoner in the state of New York.

Also I would argue that the societal costs of marijuana wouldn't be as high as for alcohol. I would also argue that those costs are already being born right now because there are already millions of users. So the net increase in this supposed "cost" would not be that high anyway.
Thanks,
Kareem

Dante

Bill Couture wrote: "Dante, you are advocating the 'final solution.'" You exterminate polio, don't you? You sterilize the fungus infesting your skin, don't you? Measles were wiped out, right? So what's wrong with stopping the malignant cancerous sore of dope addicts? Remove the infestation from the human genome, and the species will be better off for it.

Damian Joseph

FYI, the Damian and Joseph above are not the "Damian Joseph" that writes for BusinessWeek.

Dante is an Idiot

Dante seems to be out of touch with every aspect of this issue, not to mention an unbelievable attachment to the word "dope" and a sick fixation on it. Come on man, I would love to know your story. You are a novel throwback and that may be an insult to other oldschoolers out there who grew up before we knew anything about modern health.

Dante

To "Dante is an Idiot": I note that all you dope heads rely on politically correct feel good phrases for your argument. No scientific observations or basic economics. And when all else fails, try character assassination. If you can, you would have tried to shout me down--freedom of speech only applies if people agrees with you, right? But than what would one expect from brain dead dope heads? (But as a clarification, medical marijuana is medical. Not a dope used to get high. So, no, I have no problem with medicine. That's science.)

Richard Brown

Society has failed on alcohol because society is flawed. Marijuana will be no different. The only saving grace for legalizing marijuana is that organized crime, cartels, street pushers, etc., will be largely bypassed and the revenue and control will be in society's hands. Control is the lesser of two evils, but make no mistake none of it is good.

James H.

@ Billy T: Part of me really does want to ignore Dante but I find his "unique" point of view absolutely fascinating. It’s also kind of funny to read his painfully broken grammar as he calls me and my fellow pot users "brain dead"…the only way it could be more fun is if I were high :)

@ Dante: You want science and facts? Would a study commissioned by a Mayor of New York convince you? How about a commission ordered by the President of the United States? If so, keep reading because I have both.

The La Guardia Committee was the first in depth study into the effects of smoking marijuana. The report was prepared by the New York Academy of Medicine, on behalf of a commission appointed in 1939 by New York Mayor Fiorello La Guardia. It systematically contradicted claims made by the U.S. Treasury Department that smoking marijuana results in insanity, deteriorates physical and mental health, assists in criminal behavior and juvenile delinquency, is physically addictive, and is a "gateway" drug to more dangerous drugs. The committee came to the following conclusions:

1. Marijuana is used extensively in the Borough of Manhattan but the problem is not as acute as it is reported to be in other sections of the United States.
2. The introduction of marijuana into this area is recent as compared to other localities.
3. The cost of marijuana is low and therefore within the purchasing power of most persons.
4. The distribution and use of marijuana is centered in Harlem.
5. The majority of marijuana smokers are Blacks and Latin-Americans.
6. The consensus among marijuana smokers is that the use of the drug creates a definite feeling of adequacy.
7. The practice of smoking marijuana does not lead to addiction in the medical sense of the word.
8. The sale and distribution of marijuana is not under the control of any single organized group.
9. The use of marijuana does not lead to morphine or heroin or cocaine addiction and no effort is made to create a market for these narcotics by stimulating the practice of marijuana smoking.
10. Marijuana is not the determining factor in the commission of major crimes.
11. Marijuana smoking is not widespread among school children.
12. Juvenile delinquency is not associated with the practice of smoking marijuana.
13. The publicity concerning the catastrophic effects of marijuana smoking in New York City is unfounded.

Next, on March 22, 1972, The National Commission on Marijuana and Drug Abuse was created by Richard Nixon to study marijuana abuse in the United States. The Commission's chairman, Raymond Shafer, presented a report to Congress and the public entitled "Marijuana, A Signal of Misunderstanding," which favored ending marijuana prohibition and adopting other methods to discourage use. Specifically, the Commission recommended "a social control policy seeking to discourage marihuana use, while concentrating primarily on the prevention of heavy and very heavy use." The report noted that society can provide incentives for certain behavior without prosecuting the unwilling. The Commission recommended decriminalization, finding that (and I quote) "criminal law is too harsh a tool to apply to personal possession even in the effort to discourage use. It implies an overwhelming indictment of the behavior which we believe is not appropriate. The actual and potential harm of use of the drug is not great enough to justify intrusion by the criminal law into private behavior, a step which our society takes only 'with the greatest reluctance." The Commission found that the constitutionality of marijuana prohibition was suspect as well, and that the executive and legislative branches had a responsibility to obey the Constitution, even in the absence of a court ruling to do so, they said that "all policy-makers have a responsibility to consider our constitutional heritage when framing public policy." The report noted that society can provide incentives for certain behavior without prosecuting the unwilling, citing the example that "the family unit and the institution of marriage are preferred means of group-living and child-rearing in our society. As a society, we are not neutral. We officially encourage matrimony by giving married couples favorable tax treatment; but we do not compel people to get married." The Commission also recommended that the distinctions between licit and illicit drugs be dropped, finding that "the use of drugs for pleasure or other non-medical purposes is not inherently irresponsible; alcohol is widely used as an acceptable part of social activities" Before you ask what happened to this commission’s findings I’ll just come out and tell you why it’s still criminalized. Nixon, upon hearing the opposite of what he wanted to hear, simply threw the Commission’s report into the trash…how mature is that?

Next I move to WebMD for some basic info about Marinol (medical marijuana). WebMD says that "Although it is very unlikely to occur, this medication can also result in abnormal drug-seeking behavior (addiction/habit-forming). " and that withdrawal symptoms "may include irritability, trouble sleeping, restlessness, hot flashes, and diarrhea." Seriously, I’ve seen worse side effects for cholesterol medicine. Keep in mind that most "home grown" weed has 17-18 % THC, and that’s the good stuff…Marinol is 100% unadulterated THC. This concentration of THC can lead to accidental overdose. Overdose by the home grown stuff is highly improbable. Which is more dangerous really?

These findings, my fact challenged friend, are science in action.

BigD

I believe that marijuana should be legal. Growing up in San Diego, I had access to just about every kind of drug I could want from the age of 15. It's not a gateway drug. I have never smoked crack in my life or done meth or been addicted to any drug. I have smoked pot regularly from around 15 up until 27 and then quit for personal reasons a few years ago. I smoke now from time to time and should be allowed to. If alcohol is legal, which contributes to the deaths of over 2 million people worldwide, only around 100,000 people a year in the United States, it really does not make sense at all to not legalize marijuana which may have 100 driving accidents due to being under the influence of marijuana per year. Now that's a huge difference. There are on average 75,000 people or more a year arrested on marijuana charges every year. It's political, it's money coming in to the states and the governments that have polluted the already corrupt minds of our politicians.

What they don't understand is that by legalizing marijuana, not only do we rid ourselves of the drug cartels but the money will stay here in the U.S. and the money we are wasting fighting it can be used for other things such as better education. There will be a huge market for taxation and maybe people will stop drinking as much and killing as many people per year as they do now. I drink about 1/4 as much as I do if I am smoking pot and a lot of smokers don't drink either. We are in a country that should not mandate us to abide by rules that make no sense. Lets keep alcohol, the legal drug that kills 75,000-100,000 people a year in drunk driving related deaths over legalizing a drug that doesn't cause death, harm or destruction to anyone. I have yet to understand this one. Someone enlighten me please and while you're at it, just go ahead and legalize it. Once California legalizes it for all and not just the medical uses, then perhaps the federal government will realize they've made a huge mistake in keeping marijuana illegal for so many years.

Dante

So "James H": The family that was killed in their min van because some pothead plowed into them died as a result of an auto accident and not pot use? Good play with semantics there, pothead. Try marijuana myths: http://paranoia.lycaeum.org/marijuana/facts/mj-health-mythology.html. And marijuana use does impair brain functions while in use. If not used for a few days, normal cognitive functions return. http://faculty.washington.edu/chudler/mari.html. But like I said, you're the best example for legalizing marijuana--I'm sure everybody will be happy to have you as their nursie when they're in a bad way. I'm sure you're so confident in this that you will readily admit to your local nurse licensing division that you smoke weed. Or will you just lie like any other dopehead?

Bill Couture

People are not a disease. Treating them as such is not the same as killing a disease. Your reasoning is the same as the Nazis reasoning regarding the Jews. Change the word "dope" to "Jew" and you sound just like Mein Kampf. Your attitude is very dangerous in case you haven't noticed some people regard you as in infestation of the gene pool. Not only that but they seem to out number you. While I support your right to be an idiot and say whatever you want, you might consider that you are just making a fool of yourself.

Prophet

Legalizing marijuana now after making criminal gangs and organizations dependent on the massive illegal income will have to be done in small steps for if these crime organizations lose thirty plus percent of their income, we will have a huge crime wave of every type of crime as they replace lost income. This will come with street and cyber wars world wide. Stupid US law enforcement has created a world wide nightmare to generate business for themselves at terrible cost to society. US law enforcement isn't about public safety, but generating increased business to raise their pay and benefit packages. The last thirty years has proved this. Law enforcement creates crime to create business and now we have a real mess that has to be unwound very carefully or the disaster will be beyond our imagination.

mshootz

Since marijuana is California's biggest cash crop and the state's budget is in the red by an estimated $42 billion (and growing) combined with the fact that marijuana is already legal as a method to reduce the pain caused by disease, you'd think the California Legislature would realize how much tax revenue they could generate by legalizing and regulating the sale of marijuana. But there is hope. Even former Orange County prosecutor and judge Jim Gray has endorsed a bill by Democratic San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Amminano, who is calling for marijuana to be regulated and taxed much like alcohol.

James H.

Dante, Dante, Dante...do you even read what I write in its entirety? Let us review a single statement from an earlier post: “It needs to be regulated just like alcohol.” When I say “it” I mean weed. When I say “regulated” I mean controlled. When I say “just like” I mean identical to. When I say “alcohol” I mean all drinks containing alcohol.

In an effort to help you understand this concept I will give you an example…unfortunately I cannot post any pretty pictures to assist you in following along. Stay with me Dante, this is going to be confusing but I’m going to try my best to make it like one of those “Watch Jack Run” stories you enjoyed so much growing up…

Scenario: Weed is legalized and placed under restrictions similar to alcohol (so if you can’t legally perform a task while under the influence of alcohol then you would not be able to smoke weed and perform the same task).

Example 1: Nurse James goes to work under the influence of weed and he makes a giant mistake involving the dosage of medicine for a patient. As a result Nurse James is fired and loses his license for practicing medicine under the influence. Nurse James got exactly what he deserved.

Example 2: Nurse James decides it would be fun to go downtown and listen to some live music. In order to further enhance the music he decides to partake of some excellent creeper he got his hands on. On his way downtown he becomes preoccupied with the stereo and mows down a small child with his car. Operating a motor vehicle under the influence is illegal. Police arrive on the scene and arrest Nurse James; they prosecute him to the fullest extent of the law. Nurse James receives a sentence of life in prison for involuntary manslaughter. Nurse James got exactly what he deserved.

Example 3: Nurse James goes to Atlanta for a Dave Matthews concert. Nurse James parks his car at the Ritz Carleton in Buckhead. Nurse James has the concierge call him a taxi to take him to the concert. Before the driver arrives Nurse James smokes half a blunt the size of a cannon with his girlfriend. The driver arrives and shuttles Nurse James and his girlfriend to the concert. After planning the driver’s return time Nurse James and his girlfriend enjoy a tailgate party followed by about 2 hours of musical bliss. The driver returns Nurse James and his girlfriend back to the Ritz. Nurse James goes upstairs and finishes the rest of the blunt with his girlfriend, after the high sets in the happy couple has mind blowing sex. Nurse James did not offend any laws or hurt anyone else in the process; he wakes up at noon and returns home after a wonderful experience in the city. Nurse James got exactly what he deserves.

You see Dante, what I’m trying to say is that I am an adult. What I do in my own time is nobody else’s business. I am responsible enough to know when it is appropriate to smoke and when it is not appropriate. I do not need my actions dictated by anyone else to be a responsible adult. I am intelligent and I make grades that rank me in the top third percentile of my class. Whether or not the patient wants me to help them because of my leisure activities I don’t know, but I do suspect 1 thing---they’d rather see me coming than Herr Dante with his calloused attitude.

P Ryan

We hate losing wars, and few politicians want to be the one to announce that we have been fighting a stupid war that we have no chance of winning. Billions of dollars have been wasted on this effort and billions more will be wasted to try and make those first several billion were not spent in vain. It's easy to say in vain because anyone who's ever smoked pot knows that anyone, and I mean anyone, who wants to can get their hands on it. The idea that greater access will lead to more usage is inane. Unless someone can show me that pot legalization will kill almost 500,000 people a year in the US (cancer.og), I'll continue to wonder why pot is illegal and cigarettes are not.

James H.

@ P Ryan: Your observation is dead on, brother!

Jack Rodgers

I agree with Dr. Dean Edell, nationally syndicated radio, and TV medical expert and author. For 25 years he has advocated scientists, including medical doctors, have significant influence on this--not just the politicians.

Bette

I think you have lost many readers by calling each other names and swaying away from the topic with such put-downs.

I am a medicinal marijuana user. I have crippling arthritis throughout my body, and marijuana is the only medicine that helps. I took one medication for the pain and inflammation and ended up with a stroke (cerebral hemorrhage). This, needless to say, almost killed me. That was in 2003.

Do I want marijuana to be legal? No, I would rather continue as a medical patient using it (smoking, vaporizing, eating) to ease my disease. You wonder why?

Take a look at cigarettes (not alcohol) for a moment. What is happening with the control of this substance? Taxation is overwhelming and I do not think we have seen the end of it. Well, my friends, I think this is what will happen should marijuana become legalized and controlled.

Government control leads me to other concerns. For example, I grow for my medical needs. Should the government get involved, the gardens would get taxed or charged in some way to bring in government "revenue." This would make it difficult to take care of my disease. I would not be able to afford the medication I grow. I sure do not want to [resort to] the business of supplying marijuana to distributors.

My marijuana use is as important as the aspirin/Tylenol one takes for a headache. Compassion will need to be adhered.

So, gentlemen, do not be too harsh on Dante as he has a lot to learn. I pray he never gets crippling arthritis, glaucoma, or cancer as I am sure we will hear a different voice speaking should that happen.

this is too funny!

So far, we have everyone in this list in favor of legalization except for one sadly misinformed person who believed the propaganda that pot is addictive, and a person writing under the name "Dante."
You should realize by now that nobody is really as stupid as Dante pretends to be, and this person is just writing this preposterous BS to see how many folks he/she can get to waste their time trashing his/her ridiculous taunts.

As for the arguments, one of Seattle's ex-police chiefs said something to the effect of: "In all my years in service, we never once had to deal with a person who was violent because of the influence of marijuana."

And marijuana users? The ones I know are teachers, truck-drivers, doctors, mayors, lawyers, farmers, business owners, and police officers. Oh yeah, plus the students, who are our future teachers, truck-drivers, doctors, mayors, lawyers, farmers, business owners, and police officers.

thevoice@voicedup.com

It is interesting to see the opportunities that can arise out of crisis. So many things can slip under the radar as we are glued to the chaos on our nightly news. The Bush/Cheney administration used their crisis to wage war and make many of their friends at Halliburton and Blackwater very rich. The current administration is taking a different route. A reversal of the ban on federal funding for stem cell research, the closing of Guantanamo, and a scheduled withdrawal for the troops in Iraq have happened in a short amount of time. These could easily be major fighting points in any election year, yet it all takes a back seat to our ailing economy. Something else may slip under the radar that has the potential to help heal our sick economy. The legalization of marijuana has made strides in the last few weeks that never would have happened under the last administration. Normally this would be a highly debated idea, but in our current state the process may go unnoticed until it is complete.

In 1996 California was the first of 13 states to legalize marijuana for medicinal purposes. President Clinton put in federal restrictions allowing the government to shut down suppliers. President Bush took this one step further and allowed raids on suppliers and growers. These raids continued into this January and February. During a press conference last week our new U.S. Attorney General, Eric Holder, stated that such raids will no longer be a part of president Obama’s policy as he does not intend to use federal resources to circumvent state laws. Since then governor Corzine of New Jersey has said that he would sign medical Marijuana legislation if it came across his desk, adding the Garden State to the list. Personally I do not feel that anyone, government official or health care agency, should have the right to stop a doctor with an M.D. from prescribing a drug to a patient if they feel it is warranted.

This brings me to my final point. A recent report from MSNBC has revealed that San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is proposing a bill that would legalize all marijuana, not just medical, in the state of California for anyone over the age of 21. Government statistics estimate that California residents spend approximately $14 billion in purchasing marijuana illegally each year. Ammiano’s bill can be found here. A $50 per ounce levy and sales tax would total an estimated $1.3 billion in revenue for the state each year. Imagine what would happen if all 50 states legalized it. Think of the billions of dollars that could be generated on sales that are already happening illegally anyway. Don’t forget how much money we would save if we did not arrest, prosecute, and jail people for marijuana charges. It would save every major city time and money in their war on drugs. In such difficult financial times, should states be denied money that could easily flow from the sale of marijuana? Will this slip under the radar if the economy keeps doing poorly or will it be highly debated in the public spotlight first? California will be the test run. Best of luck to them. http://www.voicedup.blogspot.com/

JP

I have used both alcohol and marijuana and I can tell you from first hand experience that both are extremely destructive to society.

If you want to turbocharge a society right into socialism, then this would really do it. Alcohol creates judgment problems and pot creates laziness and obesity. (Too mellowed out. What we really need is a good dose of reality.)

Let me unpack this a little:

1) We have a new socialist president who has no clue about anything.

2) We are smack dab in the middle of the worst economic situation in decades.

3) The only way we can get out of this is to clean up the act of all the corporate scammers trying to make a fast buck at the expense of others. and government control will only help a a little. Examples, Madoff, Ivan Boeski, etc.

4) We need a mega dose of ethics and morality. in the 1950s, families had a greater respect for others and the economy (post WWII/Korea) was "emergent" and actually created a boom market in many areas.

JP

Chris

You're kidding, right?

C'mon People...

Stop arguing with Dante. I think Dante is just typing up nonsensical and illogical comments as a prank to incite and probably laughing his ass off whenever someone offers a serious reply to him.

Dante

This is funnier than watching a bunch of dopeheads trying to turn on the TV. The worst "argument" you can come up with is that I'm the minority non-dopehead among all you dopeheads. That's a hoot. And who said murder besides you dopeheads? I say have the government poison the dope. Think of this as assisted suicide. It's not like anyone is forcing you mental rejects to ingest. You chose to. Just like you chose to do a job (nursing, piloting, driving) while high and putting other people's (who didn't chose to) lives in danger. Who is the dictator here really? The dopes who make the decisions for other people to put their lives in danger, that's who.

Jeff Montgomery

Tax revenue is not a reason to legalize marijuana, but the fact that nobody has the moral right to stop two individuals from trading and using drugs, is. It is nobody's business whether someone smokes or sells pot, any more than it's anyone's business if they drink alcohol or consume trans-fats. It's their life, to do with as they choose. It is a peaceful transaction that hurts no one. I'm sure we'd have less murder if we locked everyone in their homes, but we don't, because until someone actually commits a violent crime, we leave them alone. It should be the same for drugs and other "vices." If you want to care about drug users, then start a free drug treatment clinic.

On the other hand, the devastation wrought by anti-drug laws is extensive and caused solely by our government, just like during Prohibition. It's ruined vast swaths of American inner cities, it's rendered northern Mexico and other areas under the control of violent gangs, it ruins the lives of unhappy escapists who turn to drugs and then lose years of their lives in prison, etc. etc. It's an absolute abomination.

James P Morgan

If marijuana is legal it will not end illegal smuggling, drug addicts and crimes. Drug addicction will continue and crimes will rise. You still need money to buy drugs legally or illegally.

Luis

Legalize. The world will follow, and billions spent on repression will be saved everywhere. Very few people will begin to smoke only because it is legal, and a lot will not start because it is legal.

Roman V.

With no intended offense to Mr. Bob Stutman, your reasoning for the con portion of marijuana legalization is fairly weak. You are assuming that the problems associated with alcohol abuse and addiction would be the same for marijuana smokers. Since we are in the business of assumptions, lets assume many people that become addicted to alcohol do it for stress-related problems surrounding their life to alleviate the pain. This often masks the problems that often lead to disruptive behavior like violence which is costly, I agree. However smoking marijuana often places you in a more comfortable situation. Smoking does not increase angry thoughts and does not have people act solely on emotions much like alcohol. It lets the user relax and sit back to think of their situations. I have never heard of an angry pot-smoker .... has anyone? We are talking about wasting tax dollars on getting rid of a drug that is innocent compared to alcohol, nicotine, meth, and heroine. These same tax dollars should be re-invested into the state especially in today's economy. We should refocus our stance on drugs and go after the "hard" drugs that destroy peoples lives and thus creating more unemployment, violence, etc. With legalization, the U.S. can embrace this extra billion dollar revenue, save money on the drug war by focusing on real drugs that are holding back the economy (meth, crack, pills, heroine), and alleviate many strapped laden government problems that can benefit us as a country, as a people, as a nation. We are the largest consumer for marijuana, might as well embrace it like we did alcohol and tobacco.

For the Pro side, a gram costs more than $10, often being $15-#20 from the research I have gathered for retail street value pricing, thus under-projecting the billions more revenue this country can be benefiting from.

David

Why does the government keep drugs illegal? It doesn't like competition. Don't believe me? Check the Bill Clinton and Mena, Arkansas connection. Where do you think the CIA gets it's black funding money?

That being said, Amsterdam is a great model for marijuana legislation. They have 1/2 the per capita incidence that we do.

Oh, and to the idiot above who says that potheads produce nothing, I'm a 25 year long smoker with an Ivy League MBA, 2 successful businesses, and a high responsibility position at an internet company. I invent more new ideas, websites, business models and concepts on a weekly basis than Dante has in his lifetime. My IQ is 126, (Mensa material) and many of my friends who I smoke with have IQ's in the 150's.

So, Dante, I'm happy to match wits against your witless intellect any day.

diziiralte

What ruubish are you guys saying? This is the 21st century. Haven't you read the bible? We have the right to do anything with our lives, but doing all the things may not always be good for us, so grow up and act like adults.

Rational Economics

When leading conservatives like Bill Buckley and professors at the University of Chicago advocate legalizing weed because the social costs outweigh the health costs to individual users, it proves thinking conservatives can oversome party ideology. Mexico is in deep trouble due directly to the drug and gun trade coming from the U.S. The war on drugs was long ago lost and remains only for conservative ideological reasons.

MKarvan

Right now I take four prescription meds for my pain, and all they do is make me goofy. I cannot drive or operate normally when I take them. So what's the difference? I've spoken to marijuana users, and they all say it really does help certain pains and other ailments. I think the reason the DEA and other federal enforcement agencies do not want it legalized is that their jobs may be in jeopardy. Plus think of all the confiscated valuables and cash they would miss out on. Yeah, it really is all about the money, not what MJ does to you or for you.

And besides, it does not matter what the feds make--illegal, guns, drugs, living, whatever--people will always find a way to do get it or around it it.

Stephen Dee

Bob:
What are you smoking? There might only be 16 million regular users of MJ in the U.S., but I'll bet the population who have at least tried it and would use regularly if it were legal is more like 160 million-plus. I recall a Canadian survey found that roughly 2/3 of Canadians have enjoyed THC.

The trade goes on regardless of whether the government taxes it. As with smoking, recognition of the recreational use of THC and subsequent taxation can not only bring additional revenue to government coffers the way speeding cameras do, but it can add funds for social programs the same way that tobacco taxes fund anti-smoking campaigns. The savings from court cases and imprisonments alone make this worthwhile. Sure, it'd really irritate the indoctrinated law-enforcement types, but they get paid to enforce, not to judge so they'll just have to get over themselves.

I'd love it if law enforcement could focus on preventing or solving murders, breaking up gangs, and getting actual addictive drugs like cocaine, crystal meth and heroin off the streets.

I don't personally need to use MJ, but I recognize that the cost of not legalizing it is far higher to society than just letting it go.

I think that THC regulation should come under the auspices of the FDA (which is where tobacco belongs too) and should have a minimum age for use much like alcohol. This THC prohibitionist mistake has to end. Stalwartly "staying the course" on this issue reminds me of the way a certain political party preaches the benefits of fiscal responsibility when not in office, then blatantly ignoring any call for fiscal restraint or balanced budgets, the second their feet hit the leadership role. I'm frankly astonished that sane people still pay attention to these arguments, but propaganda is a powerful weapon, not to be underestimated.

TheGreen

Maybe they could put some of the money from taxing it into getting more police and trying to reduce the crime.

jack

Why end prohibition? Because it doesn't work. Where there is demand, there will be supply.

Rob

The real justification for the legalization of marijuana is that the government has no right to prescribe what I do with my own body. As long as I do not harm others, the government has no say in my actions.

diAnna

Marijuana needs to be decriminalized not legalized. Making marijuana legal would help/hurt both sides of the issue. Everyone needs to wake up and smell the reefer. Nothing good can come from marijuana's legalization. Those who are against it would just use it to their advantage by growing immeasurable amounts of it on their acre(s) of land and sell it to the public at an unaffordable price. Kind of what is happening right now anyway. The US population now pays it's southern foreign neighbor to grow, deliver, and to keep it comin'. We pay ridiculous amounts of money regulating/disposing of this so called "illegal" substance. We are putting pot users and sellers in jail--why? They should only have to pay a fine. Those who want to grow larger amounts for business purposes should have to obtain permits and business licenses from state and local governments. Look at the jails..Filled with Americans who sold pot and now have a hard time finding a job due to the huge black mark on their criminal records. Shouldn't we be going after heroine/crack dealers?

James

Can't resist responding on this thread. Legalization would absolutely be better. Yes there are some cons--more people might smoke a little more pot, some people might lose their jobs because they can't control themselves, some possibly higher medical bills in the way of substance abuse programs. But there are many more pros with bigger benefits--fewer people abusing alcohol and harder drugs, fewer nonviolent people in jails, reduced mob/cartel crime, some tax revenue for the government, pain treatment for certain ailments.

No, legalization won't end mob behavior. No, it won't fix the huge deficit. No, it won't eliminate the use of hard drugs or alcohol. But in the end the benefits will be greater than the costs, and those of us that enjoy a casual smoke for relaxation will be able to do so freely without any impact on anyone but ourselves, and I would be happy to pay some extra tax for that freedom.

Let's not try to solve every problem in the world or try to legalize all drugs. Let's start small. Let's pick the low hanging fruit. How about starting by selling pot through pharmacies just like Sudaphed decongestant distribution is controlled. This would put some limits on rampant abuse and let us get a better view on the impact--which I am pretty sure will be for the better.

Troy

Although pot smoking has never been proven to cause health problems, I beg to differ. I am living proof that it can and does. After smoking pot for almost twenty years religiously, probably 3 to 4 times a day every day, I have developed heart disease--a heart structural deformation called cardiomyopathy. I have never smoked cigarettes or done any other illegal drugs. I'll never smoke again or live a normal life. Right now I'm only 32 years old, wishing I had never smoked a joint in my life. Enjoy your health.

moldy

Stutman is retired right? Same old arguments from an old drug warrior. They start off talking about legalizing pot then Stutman changes the word pot to drugs and then throws in the old last resort word... KIDS. Like once DRUGS (not pot) are legal we have to give them to our kids? What a piece of work! Scare tactics don't work anymore when they are filled with deceit and lies.

P. Doff

Do we really want the kind of country that can be subsidized by Tommy Chong and Jeff Spiccoli?

James H.

@ Troy: The fact that you started smoking at age 12 can't have helped. Your body was still developing so it's obvious why you're running into these issues now. Why don't we just keep the tentative minimum age for smoking weed at 21 for the time being--this way your body has fully matured by the time you start smoking.

Joe G

It seems that Dante chooses to respond to any criticism and alternate points of view with aggression. Maybe smoking pot from time to time would be good for you, Dante. It will help to build your self confidence and "sense of adequacy."

BusinessWeek magazine is a widely read periodical. Its target market consists of educated, successful, and hard working individuals. Now I ask you to use the basic tools of observation. How many people who have posted comments regarding this article are for the legalization of marijuana versus against that notion? The last time I checked, we were a nation "of the people, by the people, and for the people." So let’s let majority rule and freedom ring.

You are certainly entitled to your opinions, but it has been my experience that there are usually underlying circumstances that shape your opinions other than real facts. Often times, especially when dealing with men in your age demographic, change can be a scary thing, so it is only natural to oppose it with the level of passion and conviction that you have shown in this issue. I warn you, though, do not allow fear and hatred to cloud your judgment or your acceptance and understanding of reality. Scientific research is conducted and entire reports published that clearly and completely paint an accurate picture of the negative and positive physical effects of marijuana. This is not an invitation to pick and choose the facts that support your argument and regurgitate them under the guise that that is the whole story.

Anyone will admit that there will always be people who abuse any substance, legal or illegal: anti-anxiety medications, pain killers (which absolutely lead to the use of heroin), and various other substances including breathing the gas out of a spray can. It is not our responsibility as a society to sacrifice our own freedoms and harmless pleasures in an effort to protect a small minority from their own self-destructive behavior.

Joe G

P.S. Dante

I own two successful businesses, I am extremely well educated with a BS in business and in management, an IQ of 132, a homeowner, taxpayer, loyal friend, and avid pot smoker. Don't hate.

James H.

@ Joe G: Amen! I couldn't have said it better myself.

I am successfully chasing a nursing degree while working full time and running a 4-unit apartment building I purchased a few years ago. In what is left of my spare time, I help my dad run his gunsmithing business (29 years accident free).

Bryan Koistinen

What about the use in Alaska where you can grow your (2 plants) own. Have we heard how things are run there? It seems that everyone has an answer to this, and they are all different and a lot the same in ways. Legalized sounds like everyone wins. Not legalized, it sounds like everyone loses. The only thing I see is the age limit, and growing your own consumption. Respect the consumer and the consumer will respect you. It's the hard drugs that destroy (look at the facts).

Bryan Koistinen

About the revenue on pot: What happens to the billions of dollars that are collected from the drug busts? This money should be plenty to pay for rehab and whatnot that is spent because of the addiction of those that can't control their habits (which falls under any kind of over indulgence).

Allen

Instead of debating so intensely, the calling of names, and the social-political spin, why not let the people of the United States vote? "We the people." This is a democratic republic isn't it?

Kody

Ok,
Look, I’m 14 years old. I smoke weed and cigarettes. My whole family smokes weed, and so do all of my friends and it looks like the politicians just want more people in jail or youth homes than happy and healthy. At least I don’t drink alcohol. I mean millions of people don’t smoke weed because they’re scared of overdose and that’s a proven fact that you can’t, so what I'm trying to get at is that tens of millions of people will get sick and puke to alcohol and not weed, because after a few shots, I will be barfing my liver out—and with weed, I'm calm, relaxed, chill, and concentrate. Right now I'm high. I always am and I'm not a bad kid--good grades. Cigarette sales for minors stopped, so I can’t buy cigs and maybe hopefully if weed is legalized, cigs might be for minors, and like I won’t have to be cooped up in my god damn house all day.

Dante

Thanks for the education, Joe and James. You both made some great points. After rereading all of these posts, I realize that I have been outwitted for the final time. I don't have much happening at home, and I enjoy debating, Since I wasn't very popular in school, I don't have much to say one on one, but on these posts, I can get people talking about me, and it makes me feel important. I mean it's Business Week, right? Millions of people see my name. I would love a job working for Bob Stutman, too. Maybe he will try to contact me because I was doing a pretty good job supporting his stance. Except that you guys pretty much shot me down each and every time. I realize I was grasping at reasons and going in circles with my posts, and I didn't ever really make a good point the whole time. Originally I must have fallen for the conservative propaganda about marijuana. The legalization of marijuana makes sense on so many levels now that I think I might go try to get myself a bag and see what it's all about. Thanks again for the enlightenment. Here is to sharing an inhale or two sometime. Sorry if I upset anyone.
Peace, Dante

jaime

I think marijuana should be legal. There are already all those people in the street who are intoxicated by any kind of drug or any number of combination there after. Even if people grow their own weed and the government loses the tax revenue, it is still OK in my view.

P.M. Jaworski

The social cost of marijuana vs. alcohol:

In Canada, direct health care costs of marijuana are $73 million per year, compared with $3.3 billion for alcohol.

In Canada, we have socialized medicine, so the whole cost is borne by taxpayers.

Canada has the largest proportion of marijuana smokers in the world, at roughly 16% of the population.

In Canada, if pot were legalized, three sources (including me, Harvard's Jeffrey Miron, and SFU's Stephen T. Easton) estimate that tax revenue would be between $1 billion to $3 billion, while total social costs (hospital plus lost productivity) of marijuana would be $100 million (assuming constant rates of use. If the rates of use increase, adjust both the tax revenue and social cost figures proportionately).

There really is no argument. Legal pot would result in massive tax revenues, with very little social costs.

(Source: http://www.ccsa.ca/2007%20CCSA%20Documents/ccsa-011350-2007.pdf)

KC

Interestingly enough, everyone is missing the most obvious misconception about legalizing marijuana and taxing it...What happens when all these users simply grow their own rather than buy it. This isn't rocket science. It's a vessel, some soil, seeds, and you've got 97% of the work done: 6-8 weeks later, you've got your pot. And with most of America being "casual" users, 1-2 plants growing will take care of them. Remember, marijuana/hemp grows wild all over the country. It's not a difficult crop, especially if it's just 1-2 plants. And rest assured, if legal, some company will come out with the $39.95 miracle pot growing system guaranteed to grow bigger, more potent marijuana in 1/2 the time. But back to my point: Legalizing pot won't even bring in 20% of the revenue the pot proponents claim.

ashley james

I disagree. Weed should be legal. Weed does not make people do bad things--beer does, tobaco gives lung cancer and can give people way shorter life, so the law and government are so old fashioned and do not lke change. So if you had more evidence, they would say, no, we nead new laws, and they must be under the age of 50. Of course the people we have now are too old.

Rebecca Ann

I must admit, all these entries are quite entertaining to read.
Personally, I do believe that marijuana should be legalized. I am not just saying that because I'm a "stoner." I am saying so because it's causing way more trouble being illegal than it would being legal. It is everywhere and it's always going to be everywhere. This whole process is just following the Prohibition Act from the 1920s. America has already lost all of its money. Why not legalize it, put a tax on it, and we could perhaps get out of this debt a lot faster than we are now. Come on, Obama, help us out here.

Dan The Man

I'm writing a documented argument essay in favor of legalization for my college English class and I want to say I'm thankful to BusinessWeek for having this page and all the people who made comments. You have been very helpful in my research.

Cody C

As a matter of fact, I'm doing the same thing as "Dan the Man" here. Writing a persuasive essay for my college English class on the legalization and taxation of marijuana in the United States. I hope you all don't mind, but I quoted many of your points of view... just wanted to thank everyone for debating this. Legalize it.

Think Stutman

Bob Stutman ignores the cost we all bear of enforcement, prosecution and defense, and incarceration.

Why?

april

I would like to say that I support wholeheartedly the legalization of pot. I have been an avid pot smoker for going on 15 years now. I must also add that in addition to the two Bachelor's degrees that I currently hold (one in nursing, the other in psychology), I am one semester away from obtaining my Master's in nursing. All of these degrees have come with a proudly held 4.0 GPA. And all were obtained with the daily use of pot. I cannot perceive, from personal experience or debated rhetoric, why pot should not be legal for controlled consuption? P.S. James H: Good Luck in nursing school--it's a great proffesion!

mydnytmover

Dante
March 26, 2009 07:10 PM
"A better solution would be for the government to start selling poisoned dope. Killing off all the dope heads does great things for the tax base as expenses for enforcement, medical care, welfare, environmental cleanup of dope farms on public land, et al, will be greatly reduced. It will also do the human genome a whole lot of good. Because these dopeheads spawn like roaches."

Dante, you prove that Hitler's mentallity is still alive and well, bet you would have no problem putting the dopers in an oven while you drink your booze. You're a disgrace.

Tim

It's been great fun reading all of these entries. Here's my 2 cents--to everyone that says "everyone would just grow their own"--have you actually ever tried growing it? It's not like you can just throw a couple seeds into the ground and "6-8 weeks later" you are all set.
Seriously, go read a book. You are looking at three months at least, not to count the couple weeks it would take to dry the crops out fully.

And what about people who live in colder states? No growing yearround, unless you have an indoor growing area set up, and not everyone can rush out and buy the correct lighting required to grow indoors (a nice light will run you $300 to $400).

I'm no longer a smoker, but I would love for someone to prove, without a doubt, that legalizing this would cause a harm to society.
My hopes are that as time goes on, and the older generation dies out, younger politicians will see this for what it really is--truly a joke. Show me a young and up-and-coming politician that still has these absurd thoughts on this subject.

NoCoNs

The comparison of alcohol and marijuana is completely irrational. There are by no means any adverse health affects of marijuana that are even comparable to that which alcohol can produce. And the fact of which is that if marijuana were to be legalized and regulated, not grown or sold by the big tabacco execs but by the people who have been and know what they are doing (not adding deadly chemicals to a harmless substance), locally regulated dispenseries and smoke shops, there would be no need for government money on adverse health effects. And the 4.50 to 1.00 ratio is absurd when that estimate is directly related to people being jailed for long term on alcohol-related crime and deaths. The people in jail and prison for marijuana issues are small time personal users and growers, and all of which would be irradicated and lower government spending on those people by more than $3 billion a year. Marijuana should be legal, end of story.

ron

I think legalizing marijuana, in this country would be a plus for the economy, and the police could leave pot heads alone, and focus on real crime, like murder, rape, etc. I can see cocaine and drug dealers getting busted, but to put a person in jail for smoking weed is a waste to taxpayers' time. This country wouldn't have a deficit to worry about, because the taxes they could make from legalizing marijuana would be a lot. It's about time this country does something positve about the marijuana laws. More and more states have medical marijuana and all the rest should join in and do the same.

Kevin

Great article! I have to side with the Pro side of this argument. The con side is just full of too many holes. First, if marijuana were to cause so much harm in medical bills for the government, wouldn't this extra income be better than nothing at all? Did anyone consider the rediculous cost of pursuing and jailing users? Or that the health risks don't even remotely compare to alcohol? Or that marijuana has enormous medical potential? Did anyone consider the economic boost we would get from hemp, hemp oils, and hemp plastics as well as in food, movie, and video game industries?

Areyouserious

The law was made for the safety of mankind. I don't agree with every aspect of it, but seriously. I didn't read all of the posts because it started to become redundant. Marijuana is nothing compared to heroin or cocaine. Whoever says to legalize hard substances consists of people who are probably addicted to the stuff. It's absolutely ridiculous that we can't point out the facts. Alcohol causes many problems...it's a known fact.

LAKate

Having read both pro & con arguments, I have to question Bob's comments. I do understand the corelation, but question the facts backing up his arguments. How can we be assured that the dollars spent for alcohol abuse would be the same for MaryJane abuse? There is some argument regarding the wrong way freeway driver who was (supposedly) a regular MaryJane user as well as (supposedly) under the influence of alcohol, who killed many innocents, but the vast, and I do mean vast, majority of users do so as responsible adults. The kind of responsible user that when out and about call cab. Legalization presents many issues on many levels, so why not just decriminalize? I believe that Hawaii, the Big Island, got tired of busting the home grower who had a plant or two on their apt balcony, so they decrimilized. Heck, choclate cake is bad for you in mass quantities--shall we crimilize the abuse of chocolate cake?

LAKate

The best part of this argument? It gets people thinking and talking. And sometimes when people come together for a discussion, peace happens.

Kitty

http://www.leap.cc/cms/index.php Go to the link and read. Most of the questions ask will be answered.

WASHINGTON, D.C.--A group of police and judges who want to legalize drugs pointed to new FBI numbers released today as evidence that the "war on drugs" is a failure that can never be won. The data, from the FBI's "Crime in the United States" report, shows that in 2008 there were 1,702,537 arrests for drug law violations, or one drug arrest every 18 seconds.

"In our current economic climate, we simply cannot afford to keep arresting more than three people every minute in the failed 'war on drugs,'" said Jack Cole, a retired undercover narcotics detective who now heads the group Law Enforcement Against Prohibition (LEAP). "Plus, if we legalized and taxed drug sales, we could actually create new revenue in addition to the money we'd save from ending the cruel policy of arresting users."

M2the1

President George Washington was quoted as saying, "Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed, and sow it everywhere." I wonder if those who enjoy name-calling and treating "potheads" like ignorant bastards are willing to do the same to our founding father? Society has been trained by our government, namely the Reagan administration, that marijuana is somehow morally wrong--question, how did our government come to that conclusion? They didn't. Marijuana was first made illegal by the Harrison Act in 1913 because those who wanted the substance legalized did so because they incorrectly labeled marijuana as a narcotic; scientifically speaking Marijuana is not a narcotic. The good news? We the people can change this by lobbying and contacting your state senators.

workingman1

Bob Stutman, are you scared you can't control a controlled substance? It's OK. Keep it illegal if you're so scared about it. People will use the distribution system currently in place. No problem! The government can still control it by...what? Catching about 5 to 10 percent of the product distributed? That's how it's currently 'controlled.' By the way, if you can't keep it out of a prison, what makes you think you control anything? Either way, people will still get anything they want within a couple of hours. Period. No questions asked. No one carded. No ID's presented. No taxes collected. And all proceeds go into the drug gang's or Mexican cartel’s till. It's OK. That’s your way to handle it right? Business as usual. Stutman, you act like it's going away. It's not going anywhere; you just drove it back underground. Oh, by the way, China called and they want you to quit spending their borrowed money on your stupid prohibition. They're nervous and might call in their loans to us. Business as usual.

El Gato

The fact that we all here debating the pros and cons--consider it legalized. It is already easier to get than alcohol. It's available 24 hours a day. Just a matter of time.

spooner

Dante has to be the dumbest person in the world.

Ankit N.K. Sharma (nuvaite)

Marijuana must not be legalised because it is a addictive drug which may hamper the life of people. Today everywhere is an atmosphere of competition, to remain active. For enchancing the economic growth of the country or for self growth, we cannot ruin the life of people. So, marijuana mustn't be legalized.

Steven

Hopefully many things will change during the Obama administration, including legalizing Sweet Jane. I smoked the stuff for over 20 years, but quit when I got married and had children. I didn't have any trouble quitting, so I agree with those that say that it is not an addictive drug. From my past experiences with weed and alcohol (many times at the same time, and many times not) weed never made me loose my balance or give me double vision, as alcohol can do when you have too much. Weed also doesn't make you vomit. Alcohol is much more dangerous and costly to society. Some people cannot drive when they are straight, and so like everyone else, they should not drive under the influence. I also never smoked cigarettes, and am 46 and very healthy with a steady job. If you don't want to smoke it, don't. Just don't tell me what I can and cannot do with a weed from Earth. Thanks to all who voiced your opinions.

Dante, I'm glad you came around. I hope you found some good herb, are listening to great music (maybe some CSNY, Dylan, Lennon, Bowie, Brian Eno, or early rock and roll in stereo, like you've never heard it before) and having one of the most relaxing times of your life.

We voted for Obama. Let's get behind him. It's time for change, and it's time to get rid of some of our governments out-dated and failed policies.

The politicians and lobbyists who are paying big money for evil doings should be the ones in jail. How do you sleep at night?
We should have Impeached Bush (and Cheney). If you didn't vote for Obama, don't get down on him--he only inherited the mess that Bush (and his dad) created. GOP = Greed Over People. There isn't anyone on the planet that could turn this ship around quickly. Sorry, I got started on politics.

Peace and love.

P.S. Bob Dylan for president 2012

Dante is a dopehead

Dante, a dope head is a heroine addict, so take it easy with that. You and Bob fail.

James II

Too funny--I wrote the actual tax plan and submitted it to our White House on July 27th, 2007. Our White House signed for it on August 3, 2007. The plan includes everything from local taxation to international tariffs but has been buried. So, on Christmas this year you should be able to search YouTube and similar sites for The Acts of Providence("TAP") for a publisher's summary of TAP which will include that exact tax plan and much, much more. Spread the word, Christmas 2009--the Acts of Providence. You're welcome.

Ashley

Have you ever looked at webmd for marijuana effects? I found one where they did a study on mice with human brain cancer. When they gave them the THC the tumors shrunk. There were 2 patients who signed up for a clinical trial for a highly aggressive brain tumor. Basically the THC made the tumor turn on itself, and it shrunk too. So why are we arguing about who is right or wrong?? If it can help cure cancer, why not? If you have seen someone suffer from cancer you will agree, it is worth it.

ComeOnBOB

Seriously Bob? After spending 25 years in the DEA, how is it possible that you have such a loose grasp on the facts about marijuana? I could write page after page about how wrong you are.

I. Wolin

Let's face it. Just about everybody in this country is taking drugs. From small children and even babies to very senior citizens, the answer to not feeling 100% is to take a pill. We must pay very high prices for our legal Rx's. The point is this is a drug-using society. Those who want to use marijuana are doing it despite the generally light enforement effort. Let us legalize it, use the tax money (no matter how little it may be), and free up the law enforcement people who are dealing with it today.

JAYJAY

Well, Dante, you are a moron. I mean seriously your solution is to poison marijuana and kill everyone who smokes, because they have a different view on life than you do. Well, okay Hitler, you gonna kill all the Jews and Muslims, too, because they are not the same religion as you? I mean think before you speak.

Look at the world around you and all the problems you nonsmokers cause that are way worse than smoking such as pollution, wars, and of course the payoffs by executives to keep new non-oil technologies out of the market to increase their own pockets. There are far more moral problems with the ethic's of the world and even legal prescription pills than their are with marijuana. Have you ever actually even got high? Because you cannot say something will affect you if you have not felt that firsthand. Also, I mean, hell marijuana is less of a health concern than sugar. In fact, the only reason the new health bill has not passed is because of concerns like paying for health care for obesity and preventable sicknesses. I mean if you want to keep marijuana illegal and poison it because it makes people lazy and useless, than just poison sugar while you're at it because more people are lazy and unhealthy due to food and sugar than marijuana.

Not to mention, the argument is not marijuana is good for you--it's the ethical argument that says you cannot justify marijuana being illegal as long as tobacco and alcohol are legal, because both are far worse than marijuana.

Oh, and as far as intelligence is concerned there, Damien, marijuana does not affect your intelligence. I smoke marijuana daily and have a 3.7 GPA in college, so there goes that theory.

heydyde

Here's a study that I used for a paper.

Keep drinking the prohibitionist kool-aid, idiot.

http://www.heretohelp.bc.ca/publications/cannabis/bck/7

heydyde

If you look at the study. The costs for society per user are 12% of alcohol ($20 per user). Your 50% (compared to alcohol) less cost to society is completely and utterly false. The only reason it's not legal is from the uninformed public and the relentless assault of propaganda from law enforcement, DEA, and drug-war crusaders. Why? because if it became legal they would lose their pathetic jobs.

Christoph

Although I agree whole heartedly with Stephen's arguments, I do think that his numbers are incredibly inflated. His thinking is that 25 million to 60 million Americans smoke pot every day of the year, when the number is more likely that 3 million adults(let's not forget we should not be promoting marijuana to minors) use the drug every day, some 12 million one to a few times a month, and some 10 million more than once to a few times a year.

Still by a conservative estimate. that results in 3 million to 4 billion uses a year, which by his math of $5 a use, would create revenue of 15 to $20 billion a year. Of course if regulated and legal this price would most likely be half that, but the other half could be retained in taxes, resulting in $7.5 million to $10 billion dollars a year, in sales taxes alone.

If we consider the number of legitimate jobs created in agriculture, manufacturing, distribution, and marketing, marijuana sales would become a major industry. Not to mention the billions we would save in law enforcement and imprisonment costs.

Still on a conservative side, I think the legalization could represent upward of $25 billion to $30 billion dollars in tax revenues a year. Especially in California, where prisons are swamped and the government has no money, it would be as good a fix right now as we could find.

JUAN

The comparison is like apples and oranges, two totally different things. Regulate and tax the hell out of it. The people in Congress are cocktailers that do not burn. Go, Tom and Barney. This is the most stupid thing I have ever seen in my life. George Washington said "Grow hemp and plant it everywhere." Wake up. Crop value: $14 billion in California. Budget deficit: $39 billion. To the Congressman in Illinois that proposed a 25 year sentence, burn in hell.

WTFisBOBtalkingabout??

I love the part where he says that the government pays $185 billion because of alchohol consumption. Pot totally has the same destructive effects as alcohol. That large number is made from things that pot would not effect. Medicare and Medicaid treatment for alcohol-related health troubles, long-term rehabilitation treatment. Pot is not addictive, so rehabilitation isn't needed. Marijuana users do not ruin kidneys and livers, and pot doesn't raise any large medical threats. He also says that we already have a good way to get revenue(alcohol). We recieve only $8 billion, from booze and it is estimated that $40 billion to $100 billion can be raised with a 10-cent per gram tax.I don't understand how these people think they're right.

alex

I am writing a paper about this, and I am looking at both sides. There have been about 700,000 people arrested in the past 10 years or less and all thoese people can't get jobs becuse of the jail time.

Daniel

I don't believe the cost for Marijuana 'abuse' will be anywhere near that of alcohol.
A small experiment took place in the UK comparing drivers' abilities on the road before and after getting high. This is after a similar demonstration in America with alcohol. In both cases, participants drove through a course including sudden stops, soft and hard turns, etc. After everyone had driven the course, the participants went into a room for a few hours to become intoxicated(In America, beer and shots; In the UK, joints and bongs) and take the course again.
The American results were predictable. Major reductions in reaction time as well as an inability to stay within the course. On the other side of the pond, however, Drivers typically showed no change(Or in a couple of cases, actual improvement) in driving ability.
Also, I've never heard of anyone needing to go to the hospital to get their stomache pumped after a night of toking. The reduction of the price of medicare(pain meds, glaucoma meds, etc.) is comparable to the costs of various liver deseases, car accidents, and court costs for DUIs. Bob's idea of a 5-to-1 deficit is a gross misrepresentation of the situation we would be in.

Peter

Okay, let's forget about tax revenue for one second. How much extra do we spend because marijuana is illegal?

Here is a list of cost associated not with marijuana consumption but with its illegal status.

legal aid costs
court costs
policing costs
prison costs
drug test cost

But by far the greatest cost of having marijuana be illegal is the opportunity cost.

People with a criminal record can't get jobs. That means instead of contributing to tax revenue through income taxes, they are costing taxpayer because they need income support.

Legalizing marijuana would eliminate all of these costs.

Peter B

Eighteen years ago I was and 23 year old MBA student at San Diego State University. Being a heavy drinker, I was always careful not to enroll into any classes before 1 pm.

So one morning at the insanely early hour of 11 am, I hear this heavy knocking on my dorm door. The reason for this is that an RA had contacted the police because she had smelled marijuana coming from my room.

At the time I was awakened, I was having a dream that involved me and three lovely coeds. So needless to say I was very upset to be waken up.

I answered the door and a campus police officer asked me in a very negative tone, "Have you been smoking marijuana." I had not because marijuana just gives me a headache. I was, however, quite hungover from the Thursday night keg special at The Huddle so the cop saw my read eyes and looked at me accusingly.

At this point I invited the cop to search my room. Of coarse there was no illegal contraband to be found. But at some point I realized the guy next door was in danger of being caught with illegal substances. This student had proved to me that he was a responsible fellow because he borrowed condemns from me once, which means he overcame potential embarrassment to protect his girl friend from an unwanted pregnancy. Basically he was a good guy.

So to protect him from a criminal record I yelled very loudly. I ain't no pothead, and I have not smoked any pot ever. Shortly after this I heard my dorm mate's toilet flush at which point the cop ran over to his room. My dorm mate did not get a criminal record that day and is probably now a tax-paying worker because of my shouting.

WEDss

You all are dumb. Weed is good and there is no argument why it should be illegal. So legalize it!

Beethoven

Okay, I'm 16 and have been smoking weed for the last 2 years, heavy. Still doesn't have an effect on me. I'm doing a research project on it now for my English class, and I just don't understand why the government just won't legalize it. It ain't gone kill nobody. Never has, never will.

Dexxes

I, too, am giving a persuasive speech at my high school for legalizing, regulating, and taxing marijuana. After reading nearly all of the posts here, I want to thank all concerned for posting everything, great stuff. The fed spends billions of dollars a year on the war on drugs, border control, i.e. drug cartels, etc. Legalization would put drug cartels out of business and cut down on smuggling, arrests for possession, money spent on people in jail (nearly 50 g's a year per person). It obviously would create revenue from taxation--that's plus all money saved from said legalization. As far as regulation goes, it obviously needs to have restrictions that already exist with tobacco, alcohol, etc. It just makes sense. Prohibition of alcohol didn't stop people from getting it, and it's not any different with marijuana. Why not make money off of what is already in place?

Dexxes

To add to my above post, keep marijuana industries in the private sector. When has government ever run anything efficiently and without corruption?

Tojo

Alcohol legalization was never grandfathered in; we just gave up trying to prohibit a popular drug. I guarantee you that if we tried again, the social costs would be greater than anything experienced during its legalization. Yeah, we just need one more drug industry to surrender to the Mexican drug cartels.

cheddi smith

i think that it should be for adult, but the age requirement 18 yrs. an older is what it should be and not 21 and over because what about the ones thats 18 an sicker then someone thats 21 thats not far at all for them i am alments then my cousin but because im 19 and not older its harder for me to recieve one for my medical issues.

to me i say no, don't legalize it at all they just think about money and not the wellness of other and also thats really stupid anyway waht happens when they start robbing the stores were they sell it thats just goin to make things more worse for the cannbis its already not what are trying to do make it seem like if it would be a high priority drug jut leave it were it is juts tax each medical marijuana lab 25% of their profits.

SlackJawdYokel

I don't know if any of you are aware of it, but the government did exactly what Daunte the Tarded is talking about. The started adding poison to alcohol products without informing anyone, resulting in numerous deaths.....maybe Daunte's ex-DEA?

Strategery

Wow, this is an old article. Anyway, the 10th amendment says: "The powers not delegated to the United States by the Constitution, nor prohibited by it to the States, are reserved to the States respectively, or to the people." I think that sums it up. If the state legalizes its use, especially if voters approve, I think it's unconstitutional for the federal government to stop it.

suresh

legalige Pros: would really put some street vendors out of business .
America is a great country which can make any businessman go rich it made pablo escobar 7th richest man in the world ,george jung is one more guy who made millions,franck lucas .......why dont america give a chance to legalize and put the money in tax payers pocket .....

jacobsbella

Wow! First I'd like to say thank you to some of the idiots that are on here. I laughed myself right out of my chair this morning. The idea that that everyone who uses marijuana hangs out with pimps and live in ghettos is the funniest thing I've ever heard. I'll have you know that lots of very successful people smoke pot and trust me, WE don't spend all of our time eating cheese puffs!!
Oh and Dante I won't tell you how big an idiot you are, I just suggest to you mabye you go somewhere where the people are more on your level. My kids like nick jr. You should start there.

serialthrilla

Things to consider:

Legalizing marijuana will not produce the tax bonanza that many believe the U.S. will realize. Pot production is fundamentally different from alcohol production. Producing alcohol is difficult, needing large production facilities to achieve economies of scale to produce it cheaply. Pot can be grown any where by anyone, so regulating it for taxation will be difficult. A hobbyist can easily grow more than enough high-quality pot in his basement to meet his and his friends' needs. Ditto for anyone who has a little open land. A company wanting to sell pot legally would need to set up marketing, production and distribution, all with associated costs. Add federal, state and local taxes to the product and the cost to the consumer to buy it legally would be far greater than buying it illegally or growing it oneself.

scorpio

Wow, in america everything is weighted against money! hwether it profitable or not!
once i went to check a room for renting. the woman was in 40's and high on drugs. her 17 yr old kid was in rehabilitation. her 26 yr old daughter came by that evening to have some weed with her...wow wat a family! this is america!This is what you're planning to build!
you talk about japanese games that are cruel but u want to legalize drugs, just coz it will get you money..more money!! what kind of generation you will have in future? a kid will taste marijuwana first before having mother's milk? Good going america!!

timedonkey

A New Economic Foundation,
Renewable Energy and the Social Contract

We have an opportunity to create a new economic foundation based on renewable natural resources, yielding thousands of green jobs, producing a sustainable replacement for oil and the restoration of social consent and confidence in the body politic. All of that and more made manifest by a stroke of the pen, simply by properly classifying hemp as the medicine and beneficial resource that over 100,000,000 Americans already know it is. Hemp, cannabis is good.

The social benefit of a rational hemp policy would be to restore social consent and confidence in the body politic. Currently, over 100,000,000 Americans have used marijuana and have decided that it is a good thing, not dangerous and should be free, not used to ruin peoples lives by arrest, confiscation and disenfranchisement. Thinking people do their own research and many times conclude that the laws against marijuana are arbitrary, unjust, wrong and that the only people who support them are either uninformed or their jobs depend upon the mandatory acceptance of marijuana prohibition. This is the true silent majority, citizens who think that the marijuana laws are irrational and are afraid of persecution and discrimination if they express their opinions publicly.

Industrial hemp production could provide a domestic and renewable source of fuel, fiber and jobs. Hemp can be grown, produced and processed all across the land by thousands of urban farmers using land, lots, parks and public lands lying fallow and unused. These green jobs are about the growing, harvesting and processing of locally grown organics for food and fuel and could constitute the bedrock of a truly independent economy, intrinsically secure, renewable and stable, sustainable and most importantly doable.

The benefits of a rational hemp policy are financial, social and moral.
The economic impact of is three fold; first is the creation of Jobs based on a sustainable, clean source of fuel, fiber and medicine, estimated at over One Trillion dollars. Good jobs that produce energy and tax revenue that is
The second is the savings to taxpayers by eliminating the money spent on law enforcement, the courts and prisons, estimated at over 8 billion a year. The third is the cost to individuals and families who are criminalized by a system that encourages law enforcement to arrest people, fine them, confiscate their property, and disenfranchise them from the vote, healthcare, professional licenses and credit. This cost is measured in the billions of dollars. All totaled the war on marijuana and the lost opportunities to develop hemp; combined with the needless suffering of those persecuted is over 2 Trillion dollars a year.
The moral benefit is simple; the truth will set us free.

We need to decriminalize marijuana and repel the effects of the 1937 Marijuana Tax Act to restore the production, development and use of the most sustainable, renewable natural resource recorded in history. Hemp production can replace the use of oil as a fuel quickly, efficiently and at low cost. Hemp is a renewable crop that can be grown on land not used for food, improving the land and providing a carbon neutral source of fuel. Hemp production and processing will create jobs all across the land while providing a local and domestic source of energy.
The use of marijuana for medical purposes is the oldest and most universally documented use of any substance in medical history. 13 states have decided that marijuana is a beneficial plant and it is time allow and encourage the use and investigation of medical marijuana and industrial hemp.

Hemp production was the economic foundation of colonial America because it was readily grown and used for over 25,000 different purposes; Hemp was grown for sails, rope, oil for lamps, clothing and high quality paper. The Declaration of Independence was drafted on hemp paper by Thomas Jefferson, an advocate of hemp for commerce, medicine and recreation. George Washington was one of the largest hemp growers in the colonies and the renewable income produced by this plant sustained our first president and his family before, during and after the revolution. It is fair to say that the spirit to be free and independent was made possible by the ability of our fore fathers to be economically independent and free. Hemp production was the backbone of liberty, freedom and economic independence for colonial America and could once again be the keystone of a renewable, sustainable and yes, Independent economy.

timedonkey

The economic benefit of Free Market Hemp is industrial hemp, not smoke. Millions of jobs and all the government needs to do is acknowledge the truth. All true economic patriots should join with me and out great founding father Geroge Washington and declare, "concerning the Indian Hemp, Plant It Everywhere", come on now say it, Plant It Everywhere ..

Cody G.

I'm not going to rant because most of what I would say is covered by the Pro and also the comments below that are also pro-marijuana.

I do just want to bring to peoples attention the amount of revenue that could be created is HUGE. This would create millions of jobs for farmers who could sell the marijuana to many industries. Including users, retailers, clothing, safety equipment, paper industry, book companies, etc.

Just a thought but I hope to someday see Wind Turbines in the same field the marijuana is in which powers the farm that takes care for the crop. That makes sense in today's 'green economy'.

TONS of potential here! Everyone must try to make a difference. We can't have this prohibition affect our lives who want to make this world a better place but is considered a criminal for doing such a thing.

I am a Business student in college who gets good grades and takes life seriously. I would rather smoke then drink but since the government looks at marijuana illegal. I received felony which could potentially ruin my chance an landing a good job. Now i'm on probation and cant smoke. Also to mention the fact the I was forced to plead guilty since without pleading guilty I could have not received a plea bargain. The justice system is corrupt in this manner and is making criminals of people who don't deserve to be labeled a criminal.

If you really wanted to think about whether or not marijuana should be illegal or legal. Look at the facts of marijuana compared to alcohol. I like to drink alcohol and all but I feel it should be the other way around. Alcohol has torn my family apart since my father is an alcoholic. But worst yet is I know alcohol has caused death in some families directly or indirectly.

I just hope to see marijuana legalized someday.

Does anyone know what happened to 'bootleggers' once alcohol turned to be legal? This could be confusing for those who have had past or recent marijuana charges.

What if California does legalize marijuana? Does that mean if I would move to California that my charge would be dropped since my probation would get transferred to a state in which marijuana is legal? Would sure be interesting to see what happens..

Philosopher

I think Doritos is behind the legalization of weed.I mean cmon....the two go hand in hand!!!!

Munchies!

Legalize it and tax it! It will turn cartels into commercial farms who compete on cost and quality not by blood and death

B.Shah

We don't waste money and we do balance our home budget. Why can't state government balance budget?

In India, there is a Gujarat state that has alcohol prohibition as Gujarat is a birth place of Mahatma Gandhi and Mahatma Gandhi was against alcohol. Because of this law (to respect Mahatma Gandhi), Gujarat state of India is losing revenue, but this is much better with values of life than serving alcohol to people of that state.

We should have principles, morality, and ethics value toward our society. We can't accept wrong things in life to generate revenue to balance the state budget and put the next generation in deep darkness with drug addiction.

Michaelb

Legalize it and tax it. By the way, I don't smoke it.

Luis A

Legalize, tax, and put dealers out of business. Here in Brazil we could host a pilot project. Armed dealers live in hills and there are dealer wars for sale spots all the time. People want to smoke it, and dealers have a monopoly.

KenH

Google CIA drug trafficking and you can read why it will never get legalized.

John Smith

You guys are ignorant if you truly believe that by legalizing these drugs that everything will be better, both morally and financialy. You, sirs, all have your facts wrong and if you truly did some research yourselves, you would find that yes, marijuana does cause cancer, it has bad side effects, and no it is not good for our society, illegal or other wise.

The war on drugs cost a lot and yesh, legaligizing it would defetly help the econmony, due to the release of prisoners and the reduce of arrests on drug dealers or what not. This isn't enough to sacrifice the many lives of our country. The drugs impair, like alcohol, and on that basis you have to account for the idea that maybe marijauana is as dangerous as alchol, letting one's mind drift from the set principals that have held out country in tack.

But money is not only a big concern to America and other countries-- it is the prinicple of the matter. If we legalize marijuana, what else are we going to give up? Or worse, what else are we going to allow legal into our country?

Will we someday legalize heroin or cocaine or LSD, all which are of course more harmful then marijuana, and run the risk of losing our society's mind to the compulsive addiction to these lethal, mentally devastaing drug?

It would be a crime to allow marijuana to be legal.

J

Part of the error in the con argument is that amount of revenue that will be generated. Proponents of legalizing and taxing marijuana want to tax it at a rate of several hundred percent--alcohol, on the other hand, is taxed at roughly 10%. Cigarettes are taxed at about 200%, so a 400% to 500% marijuana tax would not be unreasonable. If alcohol was taxed at similar rates, prices would soar sky-high and people would be up in arms; however, the illegal marijuana market has already resulted in an "illegal" tax of 500%+.

S

I am all for legalizing marijuana.

SO here are some pros & cons:

Pros:
1. Tax revenue
2. Elimination of funding of DEA on which the government spends billions of dollar and still people seem to get weed whenever they want.
3. Elimination of many criminal groups who live of selling marijuana because there is a huge profit to be made because it is illegal. Also the violence over the control of this marijuana market would be reduced.

Cons:
1. The supposed argument that people would abuse it and their brain cells would get damaged and blah blah blah.
The fact is unless u consume massive amts of it your brain cells won't die. Anything if abused will lead to negetive outcomes. Try drinking massive amounts of alcohol; you'll die.

2. But how would the society behave if marijuana were to be legalized? Everyone would go crazy. Realy, ever heard of Amsterdam.

Suggetion: To be realistic, since politicians and even people are so skeptical of legalizing marijuana, I think the congress should pass a law legalizing marijuana for a certain period and see hoe America realy reacts to it and what pros and cons come out of it.

Note: Everyone who is interested in the histry of marijuana and the reasons for it being illegal and more importantly to find out why it should be legalized, I suggest watching the documentry "The Union."

TexasTed

I haven't seen any comment that points out the obvious. Marijuana and other drugs have been persecuted for what, a 100 years? Various American levels of government spend what, maybe $30 Billion a year persecuting those involved in drug traffic and purchase? The numbers say that saving people from themselves is a loosing campaign. So, let's give into history and human nature, and use all that money to offer rehabiliation services to the users who do come to realize that they are wasting their lives and let the rest be what that they already are. I am confident that many of the 3,000 or so dead Mexicans would agree with this logic, if they had been given the chance. We will pay either way. Let's handle this in classic American fashion, let's keep the problem in the pockets of the business man. With legization we can regulate the quality and availablity of drugs and tax the ever loving crap out it.

Mark

What about the money we are spending to fight marijuana and the money we are spending putting marijuana offenders behind bars? Where are the numbers to reflect that? Would we *really* be spending more than we spend right now? We are already spending money for health issues from marijuana users as we are alcohol. Legalizing it wont make enough of an impact on those numbers in my opinion.

The bottom line is that people are going to use it whether it is legal or not. We can sit by and not collect tax money on it and keep paying for what we are paying for, or we can collect tax money to help offset what we are already paying for.

x

Dante, you are an ass.

Marijuana Legalization

I bet we see marijuana legalized in 5 years or less.

Legalization of Marijuana

If you support legalization, visit Potlegalization.com and cast your vote.

Weed Legalization

Legalization is the best thing that could happen right now, for so many reasons. I think it's coming soon.

Legalize Marijuana

Marijuana will be legalized in the next 5-10 years tops.

Slurpy Joe

Americans and religious people are the biggest idiots and retards on the world.

Renato Habeeb

There arrives a place that you experienced when “FUN” no longer indicates bar moving, clubbing, being out and about for 4am or drinking excessive. It implies videos, going out to see relatives dishes, going to bed reports, and asleep at 8pm.

Meratvforum

Those numbers are way off. We don’t spend tens of billions on law enforcement just for pot. That figure includes efforts against meth, heroine, crack, etc. So even if you were to legalize pot (reasonable minds can differ on that issue), you wouldn’t get those savings because the enforcement would have to be maintained at essentially the same levels for the other drugs. (FYI, people who say we should legalize all drugs are sort of like Ayn Rand a**holes. You can bombard them with facts all you want, but it won’t get you anywhere.)

Drug Free

Ok..So let’s legalize it and prove once and for all who is right and who is wrong.
I am bored to death of hearing the druggies and drug advocates argue how they know so much better and how they have the answers to drug consumption problems and how they adamantly believe that the laws are the problem and not the consumption of the drug(s).

It seems to me that the pro legalization people and the drug consumers themselves are very, very confident that the problems associated with drug enforcement and government anti-consumption policies will resolve themselves if the drugs are legalized and taxed.

Look at many of the submission posted here and you can clearly see that the druggies and drug reform advocates believe they know what is best.

At this point, it is a untested theory of theirs and yet to be proven correct or not and in effect they are trying to convince the other half that society will be better off and have fewer problems if the drug(s) are legalized.

In effect the pro consumption platform is telling society it is better off for society to allow the drug(s) to be consumed and then try to control the damage and bleeding afterward.

It seems, by what they are saying, they are personally willing to accept the associated consumption costs and any damages incurred to society and or individual tax payers. Based on what they continually argue and advocate, the rest of the citizens should be willing to cooperate and also be willing to absorb any damages occurring and or negative social ramifications of drug consumption afterthe problems evolve.

As long as the citizens are free to choose their drugs of choice and consume them legally, the whole of society will have to come along for a drug induced and drug seduced adventure and a grand social drug consumption experimentation based on a percent of the citizens exercising their rights to consume whatever they want, regardless of the negative ramifications associated with drug substances.

In effect, what they are saying is this: You people have had your chance at dealing with the related drug consumption problems that the drug consumers are creating.

By way of laws and regulations that try to curb or eliminate drug consumption practices, they are causing more problems than the drugs themselves…..mainly by way of law enforcement based agendas!.

Now, we want to have a turn at forming drug-related consumption policies in favor of the nonessential, recreational drug consumption and we believe we know a better way to deal with the consumption of nonessential, recreational drugs consumed by the citizens at large.

In effect advocating: Let the problems occur and evolve and we will deal with them afterward and create solutions and answers to the problems while they are evolving.

I personally want the drugs to be legalized and prove who is right and who is wrong in their beliefs and the often misguided assumptions about how nonessential recreational drug consumption should be handled in a liberal drug consumption society.

It would be a grand experiment indeed. One that I could sit back and watch unfold while history records the positive aspects of liberal, legal drug consumption and the negative aspects of legal liberal drug consumption.

There are many questions to be asked and answered, too, and there will be many problems evolving and having to be dealt with by government officials and law enforcement personal and tax based social services.

When I hear the pro drug consumers and the advocators of liberal drug consumption speak on behalf of liberal drug consumption, I am always very curious to know if they are willing to be personally responsible for what they advocate and vote into practice.

I wonder how many of them will be available to help solve any of the drug-related problems that exist and/or will certainly evolve. I certainly do wonder how the drug consumer will react if the widespread drug consumption personally affects them negatively in any way.

Well, come to think of it, I already know: They will call upon other people to solve their drug-related problems if and when they do occur and demand that government-related tax-based services, including law enforcement, come to their aid and correct the problems.

I surmise that most of them have never suffered any serious negative aspects of drug consumption and probably never will so they are of the opinion that marijuana is harmless…until somehow, someway it does negatively affect them and then they want other people to help them solve the problem they are now subject too.

Drug rehabilitation centers are a thriving business, thanks to drug consumption and part of the solution, but they are, more or less, a band aid effect on a growing infected wound.

Near every drug consumer thinks they would not have any problems with drug consumption until it actually does happen to them and of course they are quick to blame other people, which is one of the standard operating procedures of drug consumers and drug addicts while avoiding any accountability or responsibilities for their own personal drug-related activities and or association with other people's drug-related activities.

You have to wonder just how many of them would be willing to get down in the ditch and get their hands dirty and help to solve the evolving problems of widespread drug consumption. How many of them would be willing to volunteer to work in a drug rehabilitation center, and you wonder how many would develop a different perspective if they had to help person after person cope with their drug habits or drug addictions.

They all want to have their say while pointing at others as the source of the problems, but you wonder how many of them are willing to pitch in and do the real work involved with drug reform and how many of them will abide by any new laws or regulations or drug consumption decorum that is insistently advocated by their drug-consuming brothers and sisters.

You wonder how many of them would be willing to help their brethren when and if they fall on hard times because of drug-related problems?

Better to smoke a joint and think about it rather than physically get involved with helping to solve the problems associated with the drug consumption.

Any problems that other people have with drug consumption are not related to their drug consumption as practiced by each drug consumer and individualized by each drug consumer.

If in the new order of drug-consumption hash houses and drug consumption parlors, for the masses, were to be established in their neighborhoods you wonder how many of them would readily agree to have such establishment set up in their neighborhoods while having to absorb any of the negative aspects of legal drug consumption in their neighborhoods.

If and when any problems at all develop concerning drug-related consumption you wonder if they would be upset if the law enforcement personal that they loathe so much did not bother to respond to their calls for assistance and simply ignored them and their concerns.

If an habitual marijuana consumer breaks into their house and steals their property so he can buy more of the drug that he wants to legally consume, then you wonder why the police should come to the aid of that victim seeing as how marijuana consumption is harmless and there are no associated problems with the consumption of marijuana as adamantly argued by the majority of marijuana consumers.

When the case goes to court and the habitual drug consumer admits that he stole the property because he needed the money to buy more marijuana (but he is not addicted and in no way can be addicted according to the pro marijuana consumers) then that specific aspect of the crime will be totally ignored and stricken from the records as there is no addiction to marijuana and the drug did not compel any person to do anything wrong in any way related to the consumption of the drug.

The actions of the drug-induced person are not relevant to the perpetrated crime because marijuana is harmless as adamantly argued by the drug consumers in defense of the drug.

Or it could be the other way around where the said to be harmless drug is agreed upon to be the compelling reason for the burglary and your loss of property.

However the courts are now sympathetic with the drug addict and the courts calls for leniency and refuse to fine the person and or imprison the drug addict because he is to be pitied and not penalized, just like the drug consumers want it to be.

Your pleas for justice are ignored in the new order of liberal, legal drug consumption because the prosecution of the crime will simply cost the taxpayers a whole lot of money and unnecessary legal expenditures.

While you scream for justice the court and the defense lawyers admonish you while reminding you that you were one of the many, many citizens who adamantly supported that the laws be changed and marijuana related crimes should not be prosecuted because you insisted that the government stop wasting my taxpayers' money.

It is a marijuana-related offense so no need to spend the money on any law administration costs, court costs, and/or prison costs as this is how the drug consumers wanted it to be and adamantly voted to change the laws so marijuana consumption is absolved of any wrongdoing in criminal activities and the justice system should ignore such drug related crimes.

The judges have been previously persuaded by the arguments of the drug consumers who have convinced the world there are no problems with marijuana consumption.

The crime that did happen to you had nothing to do with marijuana consumption and or any related drug consumption activities.

This is a case of having it your way until you personally suffer the negatives of the legal environment you voted to create.

In effect, far, far less legal accountability for drug-consumption-related criminal activities.

A cruel twist to the new order of legal marijuana drug consumption in a liberal, drug consumption environment.

Keeping in mind that the overwhelming majority of drug consumers adamantly and consistently and irresponsibly argue: “There are no problems associated with marijuana consumption as it is a harmless substance."

Based on their adamant arguments that the drug is safe for society to consume and there are no problems to worry about and how it is a “harmless substance” you have to wonder just how many, what percent of them, would be willing to forgo any law enforcement and or government assistance should the conditions evolve where they are in need of any legal assistance and law enforcement services normally afforded to them also

Would the hard-core drug advocator and the incessant drug users be willing to be a card-carrying registered user of the substance, which would give them the right to consume it legally but at the same time waive their rights to any legal assistance and or social assistance needed, relative to their drug consumption and drug consumption activities?

Seeing as they are absoloutley convinced that the consumption of marijuana is harmless, then let them be put to the test and let them consume the drugs legally …but they are on their own concerning any problems that occur.

The rest of society will simply ignore them and their problems related to drug consumption and no one is obligated to address their concerns…including the government and law enforcement.

Addressing drug-related concerns is costing the tax payers too much, so society will ignore the problems of the drug consumer and let the drug consumers suffer on their own.

Would the drug consumers agree to have a self-policing system where the public citizens deal with the drug consumers in their own way and serve justice in their own ways as they see fit for the occasion?

That way we could save hundreds of billions of dollars self policing the drug consumption and the citizens themselves could serve up justice.

Of course that is not going to happen.

The drug dealers and drug consumers demand the rights for legal representation and also demand the services of law enforcement but at the same time loathe the enforcement of the laws if they do not suit their drug consumption agenda.

If a druggie causes problems for the nonconsumer, he has the right to call for law enforcement help. If the druggy has a problem with the nondrug consumer he also has the right to call for law enforcement services.

Let the druggies and drug consumers police themselves and make up their own drug consumption regulations. Then we will surely save many, many billions of dollars ignoring the associated problems they have created for themselves. Just a hypothesis but not an impossible real life scenario.

Let's see just how many insurance companies would want to insure them if they were registered legal card carrying drug consumers.

You wonder how many druggies lie about their drug consumption when they have to “honestly” answer the questionnaires when applying for life insurance and medical insurance.

They will be registered as one of the percent of citizens that consumes the nonessential recreational drugs for pleasure and self-indulgence but, to have their way, they have to agree that they are outside the law and any problems they have, they will have to fix themselves with no assistance from the government agencies or law enforcement or social services.

This way the country could save hundreds of billions of dollars by simply ignoring the drug consumers and any their problems.

Let us say they are free to do what they want concerning drug consumption and learn just how civilized and responsible the drug consumers are in the new liberal, legal drug consumption environment that they have created for themselves.

There will be no need for laws concerning the new liberal drug consumption world as the drug advocates adamantly inform us that it is the laws that cause the problems and not the consumption of drugs.

Let the drug consumers build a separate community and watch how successful their drug-consumption-based community and drug-consumption-based economy functions.

Remembering that the overwhelming majority of marijuana consumers argue till they are blue in the face that marijuana is harmless and causes no problems and a tax-based liberal drug consumption environment is acceptable and will be successful.

One that has no law enforcement to piss them off and no regulations that restrict the amount they want to consume and no laws to hold anyone accountable for their drug-related conduct while supplying the drug and or consuming it. No one is required to be responsible while stoned on the drug(s) because that would involve restrictive rules and regulations and laws and the associated costs that are a tax burden and unnecessary.

No penalties for drug consumption activities in the drug-consuming utopia they have constructed for themselves.

They would all love one another and embrace the various kinds of drug consumption and support one another’s lust for drug consumption all based on their freedom of rights to choose the drugs they want and the knowledge they are free of any criticisms and other people trying to tell them what to do.


Let us put them to the test and see just how liberal they want the drug consumption to be with no rules and regulations and of course no protection and help from outside sources.

But of course that is not going to happen and what will happen is the law enforcement aspect of drug consumption will be diverted to other new and previously unheard of problems evolving with the consumption of legally supplied marijuana and legally consumed drugs.

Of course the drug consumers will have their drug-consumption, drug-seduced drug-induced ideas about how to solve those new problems while pointing the accusing fingers at the people and government entities that exist who will have inherited the new problems associated with legal consumption.

All the while the drug consumers are consuming more drugs and trying to figure out how to solve the problems of drug consumption.

They have very strong convictions relative to what they advocate concerning their opposition to the governments of the world trying to stop their drug consumption and how the laws and enforcement of those laws causes many problems.

They argue the laws create most of the problems and it is time to change the laws in favor of legal liberal drug consumption so as to relieve society of the associated law enforcement problems.

They are right in that aspect concerning the consumption of the recreational drugs and it is clear that all too many people want to try the drugs and or continue to consume the drugs.

Trying to stop that percent of people that foolishly decide to play with such substances has been proven to not stop an unknown percent of the people.

So let’s legalize the marijuana and attempt (repeat attempt) to regulate the drugs so we can legally make those that consume it responsible for their consumption.
Besides, it will create a good number of associated drug related enterprises and services to the drug consumers creating jobs while catering to the drug consumer.

I am not in favor of creating a drug seduced, drug induced national economy that slowly becomes dependant on the consumption of recreational drugs but that is what is evolving anyhow so let’s see how it works in the legal scheme of things.
We can then legally record what works and what does not work and learn just how many of the druggies and drug consumers abide by the rules of consumption and drug consumption decorum.

Let us put the responsibilities onto the drug consumers and let us force them to pay the associated cost of any damages incurred from their drug consumption.

Let’s put the spotlight on them and see how they handle the new environment they have created for themselves and see how the druggies react to any personal discomforts that their drug-induced agenda creates.

But, once again, that is not what will happen.

The drug consumers want their drugs available in a legal-consumption environment but they also demand that the laws that they loathe so much come to their aid and rescue them if their drug consumption agenda affects their well being and or if the drug consumption agenda of other drug users affects their well being.

Imagine if other marijuana consumers where affecting another marijuana consumer in any way because of the drug-consumption activities and the drug-consuming citizen were to call the law enforcement personal and ask for their assistance.

The police look at their data-based drug consumption information and it clearly shows that Citizen A, who made the call and reporting Citizens B,C,and D are all registered marijuana consumers.

The police make the decision: No need to respond as there are no problems with marijuana consumption and the marijuana consumers are on their own now.

It is a false call and best to leave the marijuana consumers to solve their own problems they have created by their continual consumption of the drug.

Besides, it is costing way too much money to enforce the laws related to marijuana consumption anyhow and the marijuana consumers are the biggest complainers of all about the law enforcement costs, so better to listen to them and not enforce any laws related to the problems of marijuana consumption.

But that is not what will happen.

What will happen is the continued stress and strain on the social system and law enforcement to deal with the problems associated with drug consumption and the many individuals that insist on consuming the mind altering and physically altering substances.

Let’s see just how responsible the drug consumers are, as a collective group of citizens and let them pay for all the cost associated with the legalization and consumption of the drugs they crave and lust for and insist should be legal to consume.

When you listen to their arguments and reasoning, you can see they are very, very confident and brash in their confidence relative to their personal and/or collective ideologies, dogma, and convictions. Being so strong and vocal in what they advocate you would assume that they are willing to step up to the plate and take full responsibility for what they advocate and so strongly believe in.

However that is not going to happen because what will happen is the costs of the drug consumption and the costs of that percent of the drug consumers who create the associated costs that the nation has to pay for, one way or another, will be shouldered by everyone in the nation in many direct and or indirect ways.
It will be the government personal and regulatory bodies (Other people) that will be burdened with the responsibilities and accountability related to the administration of public drug consumption policies that cater to the wants and desires of a growing percent of the citizens that insist on consuming the drugs for recreational purposes.

You can already see the drug consumption has caused many problems while dividing the nation in many ways and it is clear that the nation should be more harmonious but it is not because of the consumption of nonessential, recreational drugs that create a long list of contentious issues amongst the citizens.

It is clear to anyone with a brain that even if the drug is legal and even if the drug had no laws whatsoever attached to them the drug consumption comes with various negative social problems that affect the consumers themselves and the people around them and the citizens in general that are affected by the consumption of substances that leave people in a mentally and physically altered state.

That negative aspects of the drug consumption have to be factored into what exactly will evolve and or what the administrators of drug consumption policy will have to account for.

The big social question is this: How does the rest of society make the drug consumers responsible for their drug consumption and any problems or negative ramifications that occur because of the drug consumption and other citizens' participation in the consumption.

For those that do not consume the drugs and or alcohol you can surmise easily enough that they do not see themselves as part of the problem considering nonessential alcohol and drug consumption.

They are basically observers and nonparticipants in what they know is not essential to their own personal well being and nonessential to a harmonious society, but they are still subject to the negatives of drug consumption practiced by so many others.

They recognize that people want to consume the substances if and when the substances are available for consumption and many of them agree that if the substance is available then it should be made legally available because trying to stop the consumption of near any available product is going to create contention.
So it is agreed that some will consume a product or products that other people will not.

It could be any product in many aspects to the argument.

However, drugs and alcohol come with a long list of consumption negatives and detriments to the individuals who consume them and to those around the people that consume them.

It stands out as a problematic substance far more so than the majority of consumer substances available to the public at large.

The detriments and associated consumption negatives are not figments of people's imagine and not propaganda as the drug consumers would have you believe while continually trying to downplay the negatives of marijuana consumption.

Near everything consumed comes with liabilities and detriments in some ways and drugs are no different in that respect, so let's not BS one another about the associated problems related to the consumption of mind altering and physically altering substances.

If we allow the nonessential drugs to be legally and liberally consumed by a percentage of the citizens who decidedly want to try the products and or continue to consume the products, it is not unreasonable to make those particular citizens accept the responsibilities for their consumption of mind altering and physically altering substances that have been proven to come with numerous negative social ramifications.

Just how responsible the rest of society can make the percentage of drug consuming citizens responsible is yet to be proven.

What will evolve in a liberal drug-consuming society is yet to be fully realized
By what we have already witnessed in an illegal drug consumption society for the last 60 years is not really very encouraging and people have real concerns about a legal drug consumption society also.

The nondrug consumers are hardly inclined to listen to the drug consumers as their overall track record is negative on top of negative and then throw in a whole lot of nefarious characters and individuals associated with drug consumption you're not going to easily convince other people the drugs and or the people that consume them are far from innocent or trustworthy individuals.

But the druggies all think they are angels and fun-loving citizens out to have a little bit of fun in the neighborhood and it is all innocent stuff anyhow, so "Lighten up,” they tell everyone else.

It seems that the drug consumers are asking the nondrug consumers to accept their lust and desire to continue to consume substances that have detrimental effects while tolerating the consumption and any negatives that do and or may occur.

As with alcohol consumption, the nation has to absorb any negative ramifications while also paying for the associated social costs and financial costs to the tax payers.

Marijuana will be less of an impact as compared to alcohol, but still the consumption cannot avoid the negative social costs and financial costs and burdens to the nation.

Naturally the nonconsumers and nonparticipants of nonessential recreational drug consumption resent having to pay for any of the associated costs related to the consumption of the substances...whether it be legal or illegal.

They realize that the law enforcement expenditures are costing them money so many agree that they should be relieved of those costs.

The question is: Will they be relieved of the negative social costs and the financial costs of nonessential drug consumption in a legal, liberal drug consumption society.

Most people seriously doubt that will be the case and they will still have to pay, somehow some way, for the consumption of mind-altering drugs consumed by other people.

They are pissed off also and they have the right to oppose drug consumption and they have the laws on their side regardless of how many other people disagree with the present laws.

That percentage of the people who do not consume the drugs or alcohol and in effect do not participate in any of the associated negatives are still very concerned and angered by the associated costs to them of drug consumption by all the other drug-consuming citizens whether it be legal or illegal.

They are also concerned about having to watch society slowly become interdependent on the consumption of drugs and alcohol to support and maintain a society that is increasingly dependant on the consumption of drugs and alcohol and cigarettes and pharmaceutical drugs also.

As stated by many people who oppose the use of nonessential recreational drugs, a drug-based economy is obviously not going to a reliable and well functioning economy based on having maybe as much as 1/3 of the citizens consuming drugs and their consumption of drugs being the basis of revenues to support the nation.
Not a highly recommended business model for a nation to adopt based on drug consumption and drug addiction.

If and when all the more serious problems evolve from the widespread liberal consumption of nonessential, recreational drugs, you have to wonder where the drug consumers, who fought so hard to have it their way, will be and just how fast they will duck and run for cover when they are being held responsible for the problems they have created with their drug consumption.

Of course, I do not expect the drug consumer to agree. I am talking to the nonconsumer who clearly knows that the drug consumer is the first in line to take any blame for any related drug-consumption problems.

Jon

This is the dumbest most ignorant thing I've ever heard. Marijuana is a negitive drug; it is not a cure for anything. Yes, it has properties for cures, but it is noithing but a street sold drug and should stay that way.

I personally make over 1 million dollars a year selling weed. I know hundreds of people all over the U.S. who sell weed, dope, and coke. I don't sell hard core drugs. I believe they force people into addiction. But I can tell you right now you legalize weed, and the billions of dollars criminals make off it will make it off coke and dope. You make those legal and you can kiss the US goodbye. I do it for personal greed to live a easy lifestyle. The goverment should never be greedy. All I have to conclude is you legalize weed, you'd better get ready for the tax dollars toward rehab and programs and clinics. because you legalize weed, my million a year will be a million a year in coke, so nice for flooding the streets with hardcore drugs becuase some hippies want to smoke legal broo.

BIG

Legalizing drugs would not only keep the non-violent drug offenders out of prison: There would be no violent offenders because profit is what drives the violence. Legalize all the drugs and the profit is gone--we let Afghan farmers grow their cash crop and don't waste our soldiers' lives cutting weeds. I didn't read all the posts but the money we don't spend on extra prisons and housing prisoners would be huge.

Ashley to Dante

Dante, it is obvious many people here would disagree with you. First of all it has been proven that marijuana is not addictive unlike alcohol, and to compare marijuana with opium is insane. Marijuana should not even be compared with alcohol or cigarettes; it is far less harmful and not physically addictive. I live in California and have my medical marijuana recommendation, and I use cannabis regularly.

tj

I own a dispansary in Michigan, and I am located in a very big strip mall right between a subway and a Baptist church. I eat at the subway daily and have a great relationship with the minister next door. I have been raided twice and each time they take all of my money, computers, and my medicine. I have never been charged, probably because local drug enforcement teams cannot enforce federal law regarding mmj. I have a masters degree in adult education and do my best to not only dispense to sick patients but also help them the best I can. Many of my patients have cancer, aids, cachexia, etc. You would be amazed how many of these people feel guilt associated with using marijuana. I believe most Americans have been brainwashed by our government, the AMA, and the press. People like Dante fear what they truly do not understand, and instead of learning the facts, they choose to hate their fellow man instead of help him. Alcohol and cigarettes kill more people than all of the other drugs combined. I believe if marijuana is considered a medicine, then why bother to compare to poisons like alcohol and tobacco? Everything will be okay in the near future because once more than half of all states have adopted mmj, the feds will have to put marijuana into schedule 2, removing it from schedule 1, which is the same as heroin. If Dante ever got a terrible disease and felt the emptiness and suffering that afflict so many patients, maybe he would be more compassionate.

ElectroPig von FokkenGruuven

Legalizing Pot

Marijuana will be legalized in the next 5-10 years tops.

Duncan McDuffie

I will also like to say that most people who find themselves with out health insurance are usually students, self-employed and those that are unemployed. More than half of the uninsured are really under the age of Thirty five. They do not think they are wanting health insurance since they're young as well as healthy. Its income is normally spent on housing, food, plus entertainment. Some people that do go to work either entire or part time are not provided insurance through their jobs so they move without because of the rising cost of health insurance in america. Thanks for the concepts you talk about through this web site.

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