Make Mary Jane legal and taxing it will save the state of California? Get real!
California is bankrupt. Ten weeks after a nasty budget fight concluding in a compromise that everyone hates the state is broke. They've legalized gambling and the state is still broke. They've raised the alcohol tax and the state is still broke. They've raised the tobacco tax and the state is still broke.
So the new push: Legalize Pot, tax it and we'll all be saved.
Don't get me wrong: if you want to legalize Mary Jane go ahead. I don't have a problem with the drug or people who smoke it. But if you think this will be the magical fix all, give me a break. You want to legalize pot and tax it so the state can make money? Why would I do that when I can grow it in my basement for almost free? Most Potheads are doing this already. Making it legal will only make it legal.
You also have to factor in that the minute you make it legal, the price of Marijuana is going to DROP. The only reason it's expensive now is because it's a controlled substance. Most of the cost on the street comes from the rarity of the product and attempts to keep the cops out of the deals. Once Pot is available at every 7-11 it'll be a lot cheaper.
The second question that comes to my mind is where are you going to smoke this stuff? California has some of the most strict anti smoking laws in the country. Bars, restaurants, air ports, offices - all smoke free. Some California cities have banned smoking in parks. You can't smoke in a car if there are children under 18 in the passenger seats. A few towns have even gone so far as to propose smoking everywhere in the city limits. All of these laws have been passed under the same battle cry: "It's for the kids."
Pot smoke is just as bad as cigarette smoke. In fact it may be worse. Any teenager knows it's possible to get a second hand high if you're around a pot smoker. And when you take that stuff into your lungs, you're getting all those particles that have been in the stuff in somebody else's lungs. At the very least you're taking a dose of carbon dioxide with every puff...and the EPA now lists carbon dioxide as a pollutant.
Most Potheads I know are all for the environment -- interesting that they don't have a problem with it when their favorite hobby is involved.
Remember when the states sued to the tobacco companies for smokers jacking up health care costs? What do you think a bunch of pot heads are going to do to health care?
You cigarette smokers must feel pretty stupid now eh? For years you've been demonized and some of you surrendered to the rhetoric. Ironically the same left that's been skinning you alive for the decades is the same bunch pushing for Pot.
The last question I have to wonder about is the idea that this will make California a place that people want to travel to and live. The latest census data shows that people are leaving California. When surveyed, taxes, excessive regulation and unemployment are the biggest reasons listed for the exodus. Marijuana isn't going to change the minds of people who are being ground into the dirt by government red tape.
The people who will move to California for the dope aren't the types of people that the State of California is going to want. California wants successful people who don't mind having their incomes confiscated by an overbearing state that uses the money to undermine said private individuals. The Potheads who show up will be (for the most part) unskilled and uneducated. They'll put a drag on the system and make California's problems worse.
But these people can be counted on to vote liberal Democrat. So that makes it all the more likely.
Jeremy Meister is a radio host and film maker in a hidden location in the Midwest. He can be reached at Meister@windstream.net.