Thursday, May 7, 2009
Illegal Drugs in the News
When Michael Phelps took a bong hit, the picture led to unsuccessful press negotiations, an apology, sanctions, and a loss of endorsements. In contrast, when San Francisco Democrat Tom Ammiano drafted a California marijuana bill, he was hailed as a visionary who might be able to use illegal drugs and put up to $50 per ounce of marijuana into the state's coffers.
Even President Obama weighed in on legalization of illegal drugs - specifically the legalization of marijuana - and the Obama marijuana position is a resounding "no" to making this illegal drug legal. California Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger is not yet on the illegal drugs legalization bandwagon, but, according to the Christian Science Monitor, he is making overtures that he is ready to listen and discuss the legalization and taxation of marijuana.
Illegal Drugs Status of Marijuana
The United States Drug Enforcement Administration classifies marijuana as a schedule one illegal drug, asserting that it possessed a heightened possibility of abuse.
Will Legalization of Illegal Drugs Show California the Money?
It may not be the solution to California's budget woes, but it would be more than a drop in the bucket. Estimates suggest that the legalization of marijuana and its taxation could add up to $1.3 billion to the state's strapped budget.
The law of unintended consequences also applies when it comes to illegal drugs and their legalization. For example, if marijuana were made legal in California, sellers and users would no longer be subject to prosecution (at taxpayer cost) and incarceration (also at taxpayer expense); moreover, the tax revenue generated by marijuana sellers and users as they pursue their regular FICA generating jobs remains preserved.
On the flipside, a new government agency or at least office dedicated to overseeing the sale and taxation of marijuana would have to be created. Children would have to be protected from (for them) illegal drugs that would then be so much easier to obtain. Could it be that the California governmental structure might just eat up whatever profits the legalization and taxation of marijuana would yield?
Moreover, the fact that smoking pot and smoking tobacco lead to health problems is undisputed. Will California simply shoot itself in the foot by legalizing marijuana and reaping tax benefits on the front end, while paying out health related costs on the back end?