Wednesday, July 8, 2009

A First In American History

one of the reasons why the united states came into being was because king george III and parliament levied unfair taxes on the colonies. this has been a common theme throughout american history, and americans, more so than our european counterparts, are generally tax-adverse. we even needed a constitutional amendment to institute a national income tax.

so, in what i believe is a first in american history, we actually have an industry, a multi-billion dollar industry no less, that wants to be taxed. the founding fathers would be rolling around in their graves! but what industry, you ask, could be so foolish? i'll give you a hint: its not big oil, nor is it the auto industry. its not investment banks. and its not the construction industry.

give up? its *gasp!* the marijuana (aka the demon weed, reefer, grass, smoke, ganja, herb, wacky tobbacky) industry. again, in the history of the united states has there ever been an industry that has so desperately wanted to be taxed and regulated? estimates for california alone place the value of the crop at $13.8 billion. $13.8 billion. that is a lot of money. taxed at 10% you are talking about over $1 billion for the state of california. this doesn't even take into account the other industries surrounding the sale and consumption of marijuana. downtown oakland is already seeing the benefits of an agglomeration economy emerging around the cannabis co-ops operating in the oaksterdam section of the city (strategy for urban renewal, anyone?). this is something that could be replicated in every state in the union. bringing the underground marijuana economy out of the shadows into the light will help farmers, consumers, states, prison systems, and countless others.

reasonable people can disagree over the health benefits of marijuana or the effect that some argue it has on society (they are wrong on this point...responsible adults can consume marijuana and not have negative effects on society, but whatever) but you cannot argue that there is not a valid economic reason to, in the words of peter tosh, "legalize it".

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