Haters gon hate

3

October 22, 2012 by cvansick20

Welcome back

Readers have brought up a few important points covered in our first blog post, including inability for effective government regulation of marijuana, harsh effects of sin taxes on the poor, and an increase in marijuana-related violence. We will address these concerns in this post and hopefully allay any worries that could detract from the clear benefits of decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana.

Personal regulation

In response to the concern that the government would need to “regulate [your] garden,” I would like to assure readers that marijuana regulation would follow the pattern of tobacco regulation in that personal production is not illegal or monitored, but corporate sales are regulated and heavily taxed. This ensures that people’s privacy in what they grow in their garden is protected while still controlling and profiting off official retail sales of the substance.

Tax revenues

Federal and state taxes on marijuana would generate much more than the “marginal revenue, if any” description by one of our readers. In fact, a June 2005 report by Harvard Economics Professor Dr. Jeffrey Miron found that combined government savings and tax revenues would be between $10 billion and $14 billion per year - a bit more than chump change.

For additional information on Professor Miron’s position on marijuana legalization, see this video.

Socioeconomic effects

The effects of legal marijuana distribution and taxation have been described as a sin tax by one of our readers, who writes that it would “disproportionately affect the poor.” Dearest reader, if the demand for marijuana is so high among this economic group, do you think legalization will be their first opportunity to obtain the drug? Or do you think those that use marijuana will now have a legal outlet to purchase the drug for a similar price (taxes making up the difference between inflated illegal pricing and the new low price due to mass production)? These profits would no longer be funding the food-chain of drug dealers but rather going to the government in support of drug-use education and violence reduction programs. If that is a sin tax, we may need to reevaluate a little bit more of the current tax code.

Violence

In response to the worry that marijuana legalization would spawn a growth in marijuana-related violence, you must put the situation in perspective. Just as someone may abuse a legal substance like alcohol, there is always the possibility that a marijuana user will act irrationally or possibly violent. But this “violence that the widespread legalization of marijuana would have” is minuscule in comparison to the violence created by a highly profitable black market for the substance. You must think about what is worse – an assault from a crazy man who smoked too much pot, or a 49-person cartel massacre over control of a drug trafficking route. No situation is perfect, but in this case one is clearly better than the other.

Come back soon!

Feel free to voice any more concerns on our stance of decriminalizing and legalizing marijuana; your comments may be chosen to be featured in our next reply post.

3 thoughts on “Haters gon hate

  1. tallymeyer says:

    Your argument is so unclear as to the “sin taxes” that I’m not sure what you’re even trying to say. I said that regressive taxes, like the sales tax you support for marijuana (source1), disproportionally affect the poor not only monetarily, but also morally as the poor are the least likely group of people to have access to education and resources to help them use marijuana responsibly. I think you may be trying to assert that poor people who are currently buying marijuana are paying more than what the government would charge for marijuana, yet you have used absolutely no data to back up this point (if it is, in fact, your point) and we cannot fully take into account any “estimates” that the government may charge until they actually do so. Likewise, even if you bothered to gather data to support this shaky point, you would have to find comprehensive, national data to claim that poor Americans, across all the states, would not be adversely targeted. Even if you could find data to make this incredibly convoluted argument that the poor would not bear an undo financial burden from the regressive marijuana tax, you have done nothing to address the problems on inequitable access to education (and perhaps healthcare) that would make the legalization of marijuana especially dangerous to lower income classes. This article (source 2) explores the way that those in poverty have been adversely affected and targeted by the legalization of tobacco products, showing that the poor have historically been greatly disproportionally affected by “sin taxes” on legalized drugs.

    Source1: http://www.taxesaspolicy.com/taxes-regressive.shtml
    Source2: http://siteresources.worldbank.org/INTETC/Resources/375990-1089904539172/041TO062.PDF

  2. myanhtta says:

    Hey guys! I really appreciate you engaging with me regarding the possible fiscal effects of legalizing. The problem I have with the possible profits is that it is really impossible to KNOW that there will be 10 billion dollars after legalizing. Estimating legal business profits is pretty murky business, but estimating illegal ones? In this article—”You can basically take advantage of economies of scale, and the price of marijuana will go down and government can come in and capture the difference,” Stiffler said.

    Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/mairjuana-legalization-tax-benefits-2012-9#ixzz2AMwkmlWn–the same guy you cited–Jeffrey Miron basically admits that his paper is an estimate, not exactly- full proof science. In the end he still stands for legalization not because of profits but because in his ideology that government should stay out of people’s business, which makes me think that perhaps his research is a bit biased given his incentive to find evidence to support his ideology.

  3. You claim, “I would like to assure readers that marijuana regulation would follow the pattern of tobacco regulation in that personal production is not illegal or monitored, but corporate sales are regulated and heavily taxed. This ensures that people’s privacy in what they grow in their garden is protected while still controlling and profiting off official retail sales of the substance.”
    The closest things to legalizing marijuana in the U.S. are initiatives in Colorado, Oregon, and Washington in which voters have the opportunity to change marijuana laws come November 2012. It would seem logical for Americans to be allowed to grow their own plants in the privacy of their personal garden and you are confident that the government will allow personal production of the substance. Unfortunately for your argument, this is not the case in these initiatives in which it explicitly states that non-regulated marijuana production and use is still considered illegal activity. Thus “this measure would remove state-law prohibitions against producing, processing, and selling marijuana, subject to licensing and regulation.” Growing marijuana would only be permissible if a license was obtained which are usually reserved for businesses. This provides a problem for all of the citizens who are expecting benefits of homegrown weed after the legalization of marijuana.

    In response to your comment: “You must think about what is worse – an assault from a crazy man who smoked too much pot, or a 49-person cartel massacre over control of a drug trafficking route. No situation is perfect, but in this case one is clearly better than the other.”
    Research shows that prolonged use of cannabis actually increases violent behaviors in individuals “due to symptoms of panic, paranoia, and confusion” that marijuana directly causes. If marijuana was legalized and violence from drug cartels decreased, the frequency of the opposite scenario with a violent weed user would increase. As using marijuana would no longer be an illicit activity, more people would use it for extended periods of time. These changes in habit use would negatively impact the safety of our communities as unexpected, violent outburst would increase lowering everyone’s safety. Marijuana should not be legalized to ensure that citizens are not converted into violent criminals due to overuse of this substance.

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