Apparently, our new President is not as progressive as he led us to believe during his campaign. Maintaining the status quo, Obama announced recently that he does not believe marijuana legalization is “good economic policy”, according to the AP. What is very difficult to comprehend is that the current administration is not pursuing a “no stone left unturned” approach to tax revenue. Facing a nearly $10 trillion deficit over the next few years, Obama’s only concern is increasing current tax rates and closing what Democrats are calling “loopholes” in tax law.
Tax It, Dumb Ass
America is desperate for tax revenue to make up for Congress’ insane spending, bailout and stimulus plans, yet the only proposed solution is to increase current tax levels. If marijuana were legalized, packaged and sold in retail outlets substantial tax revenue could be had by local, state and federal governments. But, before we try to prove that revenue could be had, it is important to put aside health concerns. Marijuana is unquestionably safe, as far as drugs are concerned. In fact, I challenge anyone to prove to me that marijuana is more dangerous than alcohol, tobacco, or caffeine.
A Few Assumptions
I will attempt to prove in the next few paragraphs that marijuana tax revenue could be very helpful to federal, state and local governments. First, I will outline a few assumptions.
- Approximately 28.5% of Americans smoke cigarettes and I will assume that a similar number of Americans would smoke marijuana, if legalized, only twice per month.
- A joint, in this experiment, will cost $5 US.
- I will assume a federal tax of 30%, a state tax of 10% and a local tax of 5%.
- Joints are readily available to consumers of legal age.
- Number of joints purchased annually: 2,052,000,000 [two billion fifty two million]
- Annual Revenue: $10,260,000,000 [ten billion two hundred sixty million]
- Federal Tax Revenue: $3,078,000,000 [three billion seventy eight million]
- State Tax Revenue: $1,026,000,000 [one billion twenty six million]
- Local Tax Revenue: $513,000,000 [five hundred thirteen million]
What to do with all that cash?
With over $3 billion in new revenue the federal government would have the ability to significantly increase funding to renewable energy in the Department of Energy. Or, they could increase the budgets of the Department of Labor, the Department of the Interior and the EPA by 10% each. Or maybe increase education spending by 6.5%. Any moron can see that even conservative estimates of the impact marijuana tax revenue would have are staggering.
So why hasn’t the United States legalized marijuana? I would say that there is a deep seeded cultural hatred for it. Between ridiculous propaganda distributed by the government and religious zealots, weed has been demonized to the extent that many consider it as dangerous as cocaine or heroin. There is absolutely no factual basis for its opponents’ opinions. Governments and the uber-religious want one thing: to be in complete control of your mental faculties. For this reason, they don’t want you to ingest anything that will expand your consciousness in any way…unless they approve it first.
Furthermore, it is very disappointing that Obama, who marketed himself under the guise of “change”, refuses to budge on the legalization issue. Who is he trying to appease? What reasons does he have for saying no? These questions beg for answers, but certainly will never be answered.