–License and tax marijuana

An alternative to popular faith

Finally, a good idea from government:

5/28/10: (CBS/ AP) “Local governments in California and other Western states have tried to clamp down on medical marijuana, but Oakland has taken a different approach: If you can’t beat ’em, tax ’em. After becoming the first U.S. city to impose a special tax on medical marijuana dispensaries, Oakland soon could become the first to sanction and tax commercial pot growing operations. Selling and growing marijuana remain illegal under federal law.

“Two City Council members are preparing legislation expected to be introduced next month that would allow at least three industrial-scale growing operations. One of the authors, Councilman Larry Reid, said the proposal is more of an effort to bring in money than an endorsement of legalizing marijuana use – although the council has unanimously supported that, too.

“The city is facing a $42 million budget shortfall. The tax voters approved last summer on the four medical marijuana clubs allowed under Oakland law is expected to contribute $1 million to its coffers in the first year, Reid said. A tax on growers’ sales to the clubs could bring in substantially more, he said.

Cigarettes, liquor, gambling. All are addictive. All are harmful. All are legal. All are taxed. Why not drugs? Prohibition didn’t work. In fact, it may have increased the use of alcohol. Similarly, the “war on drugs” is an abysmal failure, causing more gang activity, smuggling, murder and other hardship than it prevents. Outlawing something people want never works. That’s why Oakland has a great idea.

Not only will this reduce crime and addiction, but it will bring the city much-needed revenue. Unlike the federal government, state and local governments are unable to create money at will, and so must rely on taxes and other sources.

Unless the righteous federal government messes things up, this will work, and will be followed by legalized (and licensed and taxed and controlled) poppy products.

Rodger Malcolm Mitchell

No nation can tax itself into prosperity