As it becomes clearer that California state government is unable to maintain the lavish social service structure it developed when the economy was in better shape, calls for the elixir of legalized marijuana are growing louder and louder.
And with these calls have come more and more media reports explaining how legalization is gaining traction in the
“What they’re saying,” explained ABC correspondent Brian Rooney, “is that
The Marijuana Public Policy Project, an organization touting the legal sale of recreational pot as a revenue creator, is running TV spots in
“What we have with prohibition is the worst of all possible worlds,” Mirken said. “A drug that’s as common as dirt and totally unregulated and totally untaxed. It makes no sense.”
Estimates vary on how much legalization would bring in, but Rooney reported it could bring in $50 an ounce in tax revenue.
“Proponents of legalization predict a tax windfall,” he said. “It takes about three months to grow marijuana and one high quality plant can produce two ounces with a retail value of about $800, which under the proposed law would give the state a $100 hit.”
But Rooney’s segment ignored the enormous black market that already exists for the drug – a market that wouldn’t necessarily go away with legalization. As Harvard economist and legalization proponent Jeffrey Miron pointed out for Slate.com on June 10, pot smokers may not be interested in paying the taxes levied on legal, regulated weed just for the ability to smoke it legally. If they continue to go to the black market to avoid these taxes, there will be no windfall as advertised.
Even California State Rep. Tom Ammiano of
This sounds simple enough, but still doesn’t address the out-of-control
“A few reform advocates have tried to crunch the numbers. Dale Gieringer, who coordinates NORML’s