October 22, 2012 by cvansick20
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.