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Monday, 10 December 2012 10:39

Speaking of Government Revenue Shortfalls, Tax Marijuana Instead of Prosecuting It

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MARK KARLIN, EDITOR OF BUZZFLASH AT TRUTHOUT             mariju75pierce Why is Obama prosecuting marijuana?

The shark teeth writing of Charles P. Pierce got its jaws-like grip into the Obama administration for its inexplicable continuing crackdown on state and municipal laws legalizing or decriminalizing marijuana use:  

If nothing else, the results in Colorado and in Washington state — and, to a lesser extent, in Massachusetts — indicate that the political salience of the "war on drugs," as applied to marijuana, at least, almost has completely evaporated. It can be argued that there is no more political risk to the president of changing his policy on marijuana now than there was in his "evolving" on gay marriage last year. In both cases, the people out in the states are out ahead of the national politics of the issue.

But, as Pierce points out, the White House and Department of Justice are not only going to likely continue their wasteful prosecution against marijuana, despite laws passed on cities and states, it may very well expand the baffling war on weed, according to a New York Times article:

Senior White House and Justice Department [DOJ] officials are considering plans for legal action against Colorado and Washington that could undermine voter-approved initiatives to legalize the recreational use of marijuana in those states, according to several people familiar with the deliberations….

The Obama administration declined to comment on the deliberations, but pointed to a statement the Justice Department issued on Wednesday — the day before the initiative took effect in Washington — in the name of the United States attorney in Seattle, Jenny A. Durkan. She warned Washington residents that the drug remained illegal.

“In enacting the Controlled Substances Act, Congress determined that marijuana is a Schedule I controlled substance,” she said. “Regardless of any changes in state law, including the change that will go into effect on December 6 in Washington State, growing, selling or possessing any amount of marijuana remains illegal under federal law.”

That's a lot of bureaucratic blather that amounts to the same old marijuana scares of DC politicians who support prosecution while downing alcohol at Capitol Hill social events.  What perplexes Pierce is that usually politicians engage in such counterproductive activity when they believe the majority of the public supports a given policy, but in this case states and cities are whizzing past the DOJ.

Continuing a marijuana legal enforcement policy based on classifying it as a Schedule 1 controlled substance is a tragic farce, the hypocrisy of an alcohol chugging-tobacco-lobby-driven capitol that maintains a peculiar double standard on marijuana.

What's more, as countless persons have pointed out, at a time of debate over revenue shortfalls on all levels of government, wouldn't allowing the legalization of marijuana without federal interference create a tax bonanza for cash-strapped states and cities?

Yes, it would be ludicrous to claim that tax revenues on marijuana would close the federal budget gap (cut military spending and raise taxes on those who need to pay their fair share for the benefits of democracy), but it could surely help contributing to alleviate it.  Many states, counties and cities rely on booze and cigarette taxes to help fill their coffers, not to mention the federal government.

Furthermore, making the marijuana industry a home grown product beyond Humboldt County, California, and other illicit hot spots would keep a lot of dollars that go to growers south of the border in the United States.  Heck, the US might become, in the long-term, a net exporter of marijuana. (Just don't let Monsanto obtain a monopoly GMO patent on the ganja weed.)

And while other drugs, including cocaine and an increasing amount of meth are critical to the narco trafficking through Mexico, allowing marijuana use and cultivation in the US would reduce at least one of the drugs that the US is conducting a crusade against (via the corrupt forces of the Mexican government, military and police), a crusade that is killing tens of thousands of Mexicans in a failed show war.

As Pierce skeptically challenges the White House's obsession with banning the consumption of Alice B. Toklas cookies and the like,

And, after three decades of wasteful spending, truncated personal liberties, and feckless cultural hysteria, we are now preparing to throw that much good money after that much bad? This is not just bad public policy, because it's such an obvious waste of time and resources. And this is not just bad politics, because the president is blowing an opportunity to correct the obvious waste of time and resources, and to do so in a direction in which the country is already moving. This is completely freaking nuts.

If you had two focus groups: one getting drunk on whiskey, and one getting high on marijuana, what would be the different end results?

Well, with the drunk group, you might end up with one or two of the participants getting into car accidents on the way home; if some of them didn't get into fights and arguments during the session; and if any one of them had a gun, all bets are off.

As for the group smoking marijuana, you might end up with one or two of them sitting with their legs crossed mesmerized by a kitten crossing a window sill; three of them listening to music on their I-Pods, with one of them singing along very loudly; and a couple making out.

So why is marijuana the banned control substance?

Like Pearce wrote, "This is completely freaking nuts."

(Photo: Warrantedarrest)