Tax and Regulate
For the second time this week, a poll of likely California voters shows Proposition 19, the measure to make marijuana legal for all adults, ahead ‚Äď this time by more than 50 percent.
In a just-released survey of 2,004 adult residents throughout the state, the Public Policy Institute of California shows Prop 19 leading by a margin of 52 to 41 percent. Earlier this week, the California Field Poll found Prop 19 up 49 to 42. Some details from the PPI poll:
Among California‚Äôs likely voters, 52 percent favor the proposition to legalize marijuana. Strong majorities of independent (65%), Democratic (63%), and Latino (63%) likely voters support Proposition 19 when read the full ballot title and label, as do those age 18‚Äď34 (70%). Half of voters (49%) say the outcome of Proposition 19 is very important, with those opposed to the initiative feeling stronger about the outcome:¬†65 percent of those who plan to vote no say the outcome is very important, compared to 42 percent of likely voters who plan to vote yes.
Again, these numbers are promising, but they‚Äôre no guarantee. All Californians who support sensible marijuana policies need to make sure to come out and vote yes on 19 Nov. 2 ‚Äď and tell your friends and family to do so as well.
Check out this great video from LEAP, in which executive director Neill Franklin explains how prohibition has destroyed the relationship between law enforcement officers and the communities they police. “When I talk to young people, they say the only reason you come into our neighborhood is to search us for drugs,” says Franklin, a 33-year law enforcement veteran. “I want us — cops — to be the ones that kids can come up to in the streets when they have an issue or a problem. Not run in the other direction.”
Prohibition, Tax and Regulate
The United States could improve its national budget by nearly $18 billion annually if we taxed and regulated marijuana like alcohol, according to a newly released study from the Cato Institute.
‚ÄúThe Budgetary Impact of Ending Drug Prohibition,‚ÄĚ by Harvard economist Jeffrey A. Miron and Katherine Waldock, a doctoral candidate at the Stern School of Business at New York University, estimates the amount of money state and federal governments could both save from reduced expenditures and make from tax revenue, if marijuana and other drugs were made legal, taxed, and regulated.
The report concludes that, between savings and tax revenue, government budgets would improve by $17.4 billion annually if we regulated marijuana, and approximately $88 billion annually if we regulated all drugs.
Those are some pretty big numbers. But this part of the conclusion is what really caught my eye:
‚ÄúAbout half of the budgetary improvement from legalization is due to reduced criminal justice expenditures. But for this component of the impact to show up in government budgets, policymakers would have to lay off police, prosecutors, prison guards, and the like. Because such a move would be politically painful, it may not occur. It is certainly true that reduced expenditure on enforcing drug prohibition can still be beneficial if those criminal justice resources are re-deployed to better uses, but that outcome is difficult to achieve.‚ÄĚ
Politicians might not have the stomach for it, but luckily we live in a country where many states can enact laws through ballot initiatives, such as Prop 19, the marijuana legalization measure Californians will vote on this November. According to the Cato report, making marijuana legal in California could raise $351.88 million in tax revenue, and save about $959.75 million in government expenditures. That‚Äôs more than $1.3 billion annually.
In July, the California Board of Equalization estimated that the state could collect up to $1.4 billion by ending marijuana prohibition.
Medical Marijuana, Tax and Regulate
You probably guessed wrong.
Peter Shumlin (D), the president pro tempore of the Vermont Senate, is one of only two major-party gubernatorial candidates in the nation to advocate publicly for the decriminalization of marijuana. (The other candidate is Dan Malloy, the Democratic nominee for governor in Connecticut.)
On August 10, just two weeks before Vermont’s primary election, Shumlin said on television, “We simply are penny wise and pound foolish to be using law enforcement dollars to be locking up criminals when they’re dealing with small amounts of marijuana.” He was consistent all the way through the campaign.
By making marijuana decriminalization — the removal of all criminal penalties for possession of small amounts of marijuana — a major campaign issue, Shumlin was able to overcome the odds by prevailing in a five-way Democratic primary.
Tax and Regulate
If California voters pass Prop 19 this November, Oregon state Rep. Peter Buckley (D) says he will introduce a similar measure in the Oregon legislature in 2011 to tax and regulate marijuana for adults. From the Mail Tribune:
In addition to raising revenue, Buckley said, it would dramatically reduce criminal activity now associated with it, including the illegal pot gardens now frequently found on area federal forestlands.
“But what happens in California is the key,” said Buckley, who is co-chairman of the powerful Ways and Means Committee.
“California is huge,” he said. “If California decides to legalize it, I want my colleagues to at least let Oregon voters weigh in on the issue.”
He believes that Oregonians likely would follow California’s lead, followed by residents in Washington state.
Californians approved that state’s landmark medical marijuana law 14 years ago; Oregonians followed suit four years later.
Prop 19 is currently ahead 49-42 in the latest poll. Can you feel the momentum?
Prohibition, Tax and Regulate, Video
Sen. Richard Lugar (R-Ind.) said this weekend that ‚Äú[t]ransnational drug trafficking organizations operating from Mexico represent the most immediate national security threat faced by the United States in the Western Hemisphere.‚ÄĚ
Gee, if only there were some way to cut off their largest source of revenue ‚Ä¶
Meanwhile, the Department of Homeland Security is reportedly using a $7 million surveillance plane to spy on marijuana grows in Colorado.
Glad to see they’ve got their priorities right.
Prohibition, Tax and Regulate
With only about five weeks left until Election Day, a new Field Poll of likely voters shows California‚Äôs Proposition 19 leading 49 to 42 percent, fueled by large majorities of voters younger than 40 and those who live in the San Francisco Bay and Los Angeles metropolitan areas. That‚Äôs an extremely promising increase from the last Field Poll taken in June, which showed the initiative losing 48 to 44.
Another poll last week released by PPP also found the initiative leading 47 to 38.
These numbers indicate steadily expanding support for the measure to make marijuana legal for all adults in California, despite the cowardly opposition of nearly every mainstream politician and newspaper in the state. Read the rest of this entry »
Prohibition, Tax and Regulate
Perhaps as early as next week, Michigan Gov. Jennifer Granholm is expected to sign a series of bills that would outlaw K2 — one of several names given to synthetic cannabinoids (“fake marijuana”) that are sprayed onto different herbs and sold legally in smoke shops across the country.
Such products are labeled “not for human consumption,” but people use them anyway, because, when smoked, they can mimic the effects of marijuana, but they don’t show up on drug tests. More importantly, unlike marijuana, K2 is legal to buy — though perhaps not for long. In just six months, 13 different states have moved to ban the substance, fueled primarily by reports of K2’s adverse health effects. With Granholm’s signature, Michigan would become the 14th.
At first glance, these actions might appear to be a reasonable way to protect the public from a dangerous substance. But — as I’ll explain — they’re really just a testament to the folly of our nation’s marijuana laws. Read the rest of this entry »