On Feb. 24 The LA Times released an article stating that California is considering taxing marijuana. Wait a minute . . . yes that means they would make it legal. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed the bill under the impression that marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop.
California’s saving grass
On Feb. 24 The LA Times released an article stating that California is considering taxing marijuana. Wait a minute . . . yes that means they would make it legal. Assemblyman Tom Ammiano proposed the bill under the impression that marijuana is California’s biggest cash crop. A fact that can’t be verified because well, it’s illegal, so it is difficult to calculate how many people are growing it.
It doesn’t make sense to oppose this proposed bill. The industry could potentially be worth $14 billion. How can a government simply let an industry that is bigger than vegetables and grapes (which include wine grapes) simply go untaxed in the state of California?
It can’t. Not when the health risks associated with pot are far less harmful then those associated with tobacco.
In the 1920s the federal government created a law that made the sale of alcohol illegal. The lasting effect that law has had on American society is the creation of the mob and its many endeavors.
Don’t get me wrong, drugs can ruin people’s lives. Whether it’s a bad acid trip, getting hit by a drunk driver or lung cancer, people’s lives get ruined all the time. Recreational use of marijuana is not a contributing factor to anything positive in most people’s lives (unless you’re in the art or music industry), but for the average person, recreational drug use does not help to achieve their goals. Instead, it can actually hinder someone if their drug use gets out of hand, and can damage relationships with friends and family.
At the end of the day, pot is an easy drug to apply enforcement to. Anti-pot laws are currently ineffective. (If you don’t believe me, ask the cashier at the coffee shop you go to tomorrow where you can get some pot.) So why not make it just a little bit more accessible? And in doing so, eliminate pot trafficking (which can and does lead to other illegal, more harmful activities) in California?
Some people against Ammiano’s proposal insist that by legalizing marijuana we will unintentionally create a new monster with adverse side effects that we can’t fathom. They say that drug dealers will target children in schools (because the new law states that you have to be 21 to purchase cannabis products).
Phillip Morris has already copyrighted some 500 street names for marijuana should it ever become legal. Philip Morris isn’t an ethical corporation—they don’t care if their customers’ cause of death is related to the product that was sold to them. However, Phillip Morris is under close supervision by many nonprofit groups.
They file lawsuit after lawsuit, all in attempt to keep Phillip Morris in check—you just can’t have that supervision with so many smaller operations going on.
Legalizing cannabis would eliminate these smaller operations because they would not be able to compete with Phillip Morris, who would ultimately be able to sell marijuana for less and therefore eventually drive out these small two-bit operations. When they legalized alcohol at the end of Prohibition, speakeasies were put out of business. The same logic could be applied to this situation.
Make the right decision and think about the effects this would have on the industry and society. Legalizing marijuana isn’t the end of the road. Our society is capable of harboring distaste for actions we consider to be unacceptable, much like it does with cigarettes. Most people just think that they’re gross. Much like cigarettes, our society could enjoy the benefits of taxing and regulating marijuana.