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PROPOSITION NEWS: Assemblyman says taxing marijuana sales would raise $1.4 billion

Original post made on Oct 7, 2010

A new bill introduced by a San Francisco state assemblyman could generate annually about $1.4 billion in revenue from taxing marijuana, officials said Wednesday.

Read the full story here Web Link posted Thursday, October 7, 2010, 7:44 AM

Comments (23)

Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 7, 2010 at 9:01 am

America already has a huge drug problem, they just happen to be prescribed by your doctor now and have crazy names that don't tell you what they do and most, they're not even sure how they work (think: Ambien).

Might as well tax one of the drugs and get some revenue out of it.


Posted by Maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 7, 2010 at 11:11 am

Just because we are experiencing a financial crisis, now it's okay to legalize and profit from drugs!! What are we made of? What lesson does this teach our children/society, it's okay to change the rules/laws if we get into a mess (that we all created, mind you)and we can't wait for it to work out in due time?

And, just like the California Lottery was supposed to generate all this money for our schools, right? Remember that's how 'they' got us to vote to legalize the lottery. Yeah, our schools are overflowing with funds, aren't they? These pie in the sky plans never live up to their 'projected revenue stream'. Don't open Pandora's Box.


Posted by Mary Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2010 at 1:27 pm

Oh, yes! Let's keep filling the Prison Industrial Complex with pot smokers and paying taxes to keep them locked up for a crime against no one. I guess you'd rather pay to keep these non-violent criminals locked up than collect the revenues from legalization. It's not quite the same thing as the lottery, since they are talking about sales tax collection. Medical patients who frequent pot clubs pay sales tax, are you saying that the state is not currently getting that sales tax for some reason?


Posted by Mary Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 7, 2010 at 1:32 pm

One more thing:

Making it legal for adults to partake of, is in no way equal to saying it's ok for kids to use. Is having alcohol and cigarettes legal equal parents saying it's ok for them to use those substances? Of course not. Do they still use those substances? Yes. There are still age limits and laws. Same with pot. The only real difference is possessing pot will no longer ruin your life if it's found on you.


Posted by Publius, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 7, 2010 at 8:34 pm

I agree with Maja7 that the revenue predictions will likely be realized as they are so often not, however, there will be hidden savings in resources spent by law enforcement that can be redirected to bigger problems. Moreover, Pandora's Box has been opened long ago, whether it was worth fighting is a moot point. Tax revenue notwithstanding, and none feel stronger than me that the last thing govt needs is more of our money to waste; marijuana should be legalized on humanitarian and practical use grounds. Depriving a critically ill person anything, legal or not, that will lessen their pain or discomfort is cruel in the least and more correctly described as barbaric.

The claim by some that MJ is a gateway drug to stronger drugs does not stand up to objective scrutiny. While it is true that many who use MJ recreationally often use stronger and dangerous illegal drugs, it is not the MJ use that drives most to stronger drugs. This behavior is because that is what dealers of illegal MJ sell. Today, no one claims that alcohol is a gateway drug to opium use yet during prohibition many alcohol users (today consumers) experimented with opium because that is what some speakeasies sold in addition to alcohol, along with gambling and prostitution.

Alcohol is, of course, a drug with a known lethal dose, unlike MJ which has no known toxicity level, IE one can not overdose on MJ. Its legalization will cause numerous, and mostly unpredictable, social and legal adjustment but only in the short term. Soon after legalization, this discussion will fade away like the Volstead Act. It will be harder for kids to buy MJ just like alcohol and cigarettes are, some foolish adults will still provide it to kids like they do alcohol, a behavior which carries stiffer penalties today than a teen possessing MJ.


Posted by Archie, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 7, 2010 at 9:17 pm

"It's like drinking beer versus drinking whiskey," said Dr. Nora D. Volkow, director of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, a government agency and a strong opponent of legalizing marijuana. "If you only have access to whiskey, your risk is going to be higher for addiction.
Now that people have access to very high potency marijuana, the game is different." A 2004 study in the Journal of the American Medical Association suggested that the stronger cannabis is contributing to higher addiction rates. The study, conducted for the National Institute on Drug Abuse, compared marijuana use in 2001 and 2002 with use a decade earlier. While the percent of the population using the drug remained stable during that time, dependence or abuse on the drug increased significantly, particularly among black and Hispanic men. Higher concentrations of delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol, known as THC, the study said, was the likely reason for the growing dependency.

-- "Marijuana Is Gateway Drug for Two Debates," New York Times, July 17, 2009
Web Link


Posted by Beaver, a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 7, 2010 at 9:29 pm

I bet 90% of the prisoners in California prisons have an addiction problem and they started with either alcohol or pot..........the starter drugs. No positive benefit to either one.


Posted by Timothy T, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 8, 2010 at 8:39 am

Beaver: That's correlation without causation. If you talk about those in prisons you have to bring up a myriad of other environmental, social, and mental causes. They're not in prison because they smoked pot. People that smoke pot are usually on their couch.

Considering how many people take "legal" drugs that are prescribed by their doctors that have *significant* side effects (including death) and the fact that many prescriptions drugs work but they DON'T KNOW HOW they work, this seems like a pretty mild issue.

I hate pot, but studies have shown that it's far less damaging than either alcohol or cigarettes. We've seen people die from alcohol poisoning, have you ever heard of anyone dying from being stoned?

In regards to the higher levels of THC argument: Give me a person who smokes a pack a day and a person who is a frequent stoner and we'll work on quitting their respective habits, anyone reading this missive already knows who's more likely to succeed in breaking their addiction.

Let's not be against this because "that's the way it's always been" or because of a manufactured stigma against marijuana.

Here's another little aside: Talk to a few law enforcement agents (Police, DEA, whatever). Find out their take. You'll be surprised, I know I was.


Posted by Mary Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 9:27 am

High potency MJ? LOL! Do you know how many pounds you'd have to consume in mere minutes to make high potency an issue?

NO ONE has ever died from an MJ overdose ever. However, many, many people have died from taking Big Pharma's drugs.

Also, it is not physically addictive like alcohol and cigarettes.

Let's end the war on a plant.


Posted by Mary Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 9:29 am

So Beaver, even if they have addictions, should they be locked up for that? Do we locked up alcoholics who have committed no crime?


Posted by Maja7, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 8, 2010 at 10:25 am

I guess I was 'unaware' that our prisons are full of pot smokers!!! Really?! I'd like to see the numbers on that demographic.

I am a compassionate person. My brother died less than a year ago, I saw cancer close up, like unfortunately so many of us. I am for the medical use of marijuana.

What I am not for is the eroding of our sense of what is right & wrong in our society. What we stand for.Today it's marijuana. What drug would you suggest that we legalize next? Cocaine? Heroin? Because you know just as well as I do that the politicians are always going to spend the tax revenue stream (that legalization will supposedly) create and they will need more. It's the economy of the dollar; the more you have the more you spend.

As I have 3 family members in Law Enforcement, I am surprised to hear that the majority of them are for legalizing marijuana! I know my family members are not.


Posted by Don, a resident of Ironwood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 10:35 am

First off I am not a drug user of any kind, so let me put that out there. I tried Marijuana and did not like the feeling. However, that being said, if I were in pain and I knew that would help, I might give it a try again. I have known people over the years that have smoked it for many years and are very successful in life. They have never progressed to harder drugs. I doubt that this drug will ever go away & to legalize and tax it I think is the way to go. It can be done by age limit of course or it can be prescribed by a medical Doctor, as it is now, but handled by the local pharmacist. Some will get into the hands of underage people just like tobacco & alcohol does now for sure. More people die from excess use of alcohol and driving than Marijuana use.


Posted by Mary Jane, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 10:50 am

Maja7,

I can't dig up the number for you right now because I have to run out, but yes, there are huge amounts of people caught for possession sitting in jail right now. Non-violent offenders who have hurt no one. They are jailing productive tax paying citizens and you're paying for it.

Also, why did the Governator did this if it wasn't a problem for our state?

Web Link


Posted by just me, a resident of Highland Oaks
on Oct 8, 2010 at 11:55 am

Just think about the next step, taxing crystal meth. Of course it may be tough to tax cranksters. They have a hard time holding a job what with teeth falling out and all.


Posted by bill, a resident of Downtown
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:27 pm

1.4 billion for the state?! Any word on the increase sales dollars at the local 7-11's and Jack-in-Box?


Posted by Beaver, a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:34 pm

MJ,

I started out drinking and smoking pot when I was 16 and eventually needed money to fund my activities and so I started selling and moved onto meth. Needed money for meth and then got into robbery. Burglarized multiple times and was caught and had a knife on me. I was sent to prison and spent time in San Quentin, Folsom, and the Martinez detention facility before being paroled. Everyone that I met in prison had a similar story. Not many folks can drink and take drugs in moderation.


Posted by Hmmm, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 1:45 pm

So from Beaver and just me's rationale, we should make alcohol illegal again. Let's all go back to Prohibition days. That'll stop them!


Posted by Beaver, a resident of Danbury Park
on Oct 8, 2010 at 3:26 pm

No my point is that you should make it very difficult for underage kids to have access to free unsupervised time and alcohol/drugs. Making it easier for the youth is not the answer and be there when your kids get out of school because for me the hours from when i got out of school and the time my parents got home from work was the witching hour. Nothing is worse than disenfranchised youth.


Posted by Lee, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 8, 2010 at 5:11 pm

Legalizing pot? Taxes for California from this? Are you people crazy? Too many of our young people smoke and drink alcohol and think they are OK. Then the stress of school,peer pressures etc. come in. They don't learn how to deal with pressure; instead they numb themselves with the smoke or alcohol. A life of addiction starts there..I know. I've seen a lot of that as a counselor for high-school and college age kids.

As to taxes for CA from this..we need the money but it is short sighted to think this will solve our economic crisis. We are better than that, we need to think long and hard, and spend the next few years with a plan to solve it.


Posted by FreeDaWeed, a resident of Happy Valley
on Oct 8, 2010 at 9:56 pm

If you all held your breath as long as you held your ignorance.

It is amazing watching people use their fear to posture ignorance as an actual political position. Only in the United States of America can people be so diluted and sheepish that they hold on to things they believe so they won't have to learn.

It can't be stopped. And the plant won't kill you.

So lets keep pretending that our ignorance is working instead of embarking upon a new approach. Unless failure wrapped in the American flag is to sexy for you people to give up. Seems like the behavior of an addict to keep pretending you've not failed enough.

Free the weed!


Posted by Archie, a resident of Vintage Hills Elementary School
on Oct 9, 2010 at 10:56 am

Would Marijuana Users Even Pay Taxes?
The Pasadena Star News points out that marijuana home-grows will supply marijuana but will be difficult to collect taxes from:
"But there is a provision that allows people to cultivate marijuana in their yards and even on empty lots. And how is the state going to tax cannabis plants? Knock on everyone's door and collect? Use Google Earth? Call Homeland Security? Will this really take the drug cartels out of the business?"
Web Link

The Ventura County Star concludes:
"Drug dealers do not pay taxes now and they will not pay taxes if marijuana is labeled legal."
Web Link

Factoring Social Costs
If marijuana is anything like alcohol and tobacco, any tax revenue would be quickly offset by related increases in social costs, as the Ventura County Star reports:
"Currently, for every $1 collected in taxes on alcohol and tobacco, $9 is spent in social costs, according to a study by the Center on Addiction and Substance Abuse at Columbia University."
Web Link


Posted by Bailey, a resident of Another Pleasanton neighborhood
on Oct 9, 2010 at 9:31 pm

Let's all be honest, alcohol leads to far more serious problems than marijuana. Alcohol IS the "Gateway" drug not marijuana. It all starts with alcohol. Please don't give marijuana the stigma of being a gateway drug!


Posted by Monica, a resident of Livermore
on Dec 11, 2011 at 11:30 am

Previously posted by Beaver:
"I started out drinking and smoking pot when I was 16 and eventually needed money to fund my activities and so I started selling and moved onto meth. Needed money for meth and then got into robbery. Burglarized multiple times and was caught and had a knife on me. I was sent to prison and spent time in San Quentin, Folsom, and the Martinez detention facility before being paroled. Everyone that I met in prison had a similar story. Not many folks can drink and take drugs in moderation."

How dare you attribute your crimes and lack of morality and moderaton to a plant that since 2700 B.C. (when its use was first recorded by one of the fathers of Chinese medicine) has never caused a single death. It is the cousin of a miracle plant with over 25,000 uses and it is far superior to the materials we consume already for those uses. One acre of hemp equals to 3 or four times the resources obtained from an average forest. That paper can be recycled several times more than wood paper, and it was used for America's founding documents. The first cannabis law required settlers to grow it, and it used to be that one could pay their taxes in it. It has never cause a single case of lung cancer, doesn't fry your brain cells(the old study on this suffocated the test animals to kill their brain cells, then told the American public it was because of "the world's most dangerous drug".) The history of cannabis and hemp is so long, intricate and fascinating that it deserves far more than a post on this artcle.
I started using cannabis when I was 14, I've since been much more happier, enjoyed life much more, and been a better person in general. It helps me to relax and expand my mind, something a lot of adults (especially politicians) should consider doing, with or without cannabis. It helped me to get back on track at school, raise my grades, and GRADUATE A YEAR EARLY FROM HIGHSCHOOL. I was failing before I started using cannabis.
Of course, not everyone is repsonsible in the way they use it. The same goes for alcohol and tobacco. I hate both of these things, they make me sick and angry because they're so accepted, even though tobacco alone kills someone every eight seconds and for every one of those deaths 20 more people get one or more serious diseases as a result of tobacco. Half of all driving fatalities, and three out of four domestic abuse cases involve the use of alcohol. As the old saying goes, "A drunk driver blazes through a stop sign while a stoned one stops and waits for it to turn green." Stoners aren't stupid, as you have previously read in my post. But the media sure is good at making us look like we are. It's the person, not the plant, that determines intelligence level.

One day I'll be a lawyer, and if you want to prosecute someone for this harmless "crime", you'll have to go through me.


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