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April 2010
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Money money money money

I’m seeing more articles like this these days:

Marijuana starting to look like a new revenue source for states by David Harrison

Mary Lou Dickerson had seen enough. After wrenching cuts to Washington’s state drug and alcohol treatment programs, Dickerson, a Democratic representative, introduced a bill this year to sell marijuana in state liquor stores — and tax it.

Dickerson is an unlikely crusader for marijuana legalization. A 63-year-old grandmother who doesn’t use it, she says money was the only reason for proposing her controversial bill. “According to the state’s own estimates, it would bring in an additional $300 million per biennium,” she says. “I dedicated (in the bill) a great deal of the proceeds from the tax on marijuana to treatment.”

The proposal died in committee, but Dickerson, who chairs the House Human Services Committee, expects to reintroduce it. Other advocates in almost two dozen states have been making similar efforts to loosen marijuana laws.

This has been a bumper year for marijuana legislation, according to state policy observers. Crushing state budget deficits gave advocates in California, Washington, New Hampshire, Rhode Island, New York and elsewhere an opening to pitch marijuana as a new source of tax revenue.

You know what else is interesting about this article?

The lack of puns.

No references to “joint efforts” or “legalizers’ high hopes.”

Maybe it’s my imagination, but is seems like we’re seeing less of that these days. Used to be that every article about pot had some kind of snickering tone. Now, more often, we’re seeing serious news articles and analysis, treating it like a real topic and not “News of the Weird!”

That’s a good step.

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9 comments to Money money money money

  • Just me

    Yes thats a great step. It was just a matter of time. Getting this issue in the media and getting some serious thought and discussion has turned cannabis into a “Buzz word” (sorry couldnt help it lol) all over. I hear more and more talk about it in my neck of the woods where before you wouldnt have unless the talk involved the latest bust. Its up to us, the people of this country, to bring some sanity to our government. They have shown they wont do it on their own.

  • jeff in chicago

    There’s also money to be saved on the other side of the ledger. Eliminating the enforcement costs, imprisonment, and court costs, would also lead to savings, I would hope.

  • kaptinemo

    I, too, have been noticing – and mentioning – the ‘sea change’ in reportage on the issue for some time. Another signpost towards eventual victory.

    As the issue picks up speed and mass, the tendency of the tone of the reportage has shifted from characteristically dismissive condescension to one more respectful. The wind has changed, and the worm is finally turning in our favor, (thanks to the economy) and it’s becoming evident to the news media that there is a great deal of tacit public support for changing the laws. So the media is hopping onto the bandwagon.

    One more sign of our advancement. Now if we can just corral some top-level prohib into a room with a well-prepped reformer while the TV cameras are running…

  • mikekinseattle

    I’m a volunteer signature gatherer for WA’s I-1068, which will remove criminal and civil penalties on marijuana in our state. From my point of view, I sense a real sea change in people’s attitudes: they’re taking this seriously. They understand the money we’ve been wasting, and I don’t hear much about the dangers of marijuana either. Granted, this is Seattle, but I think people are finally starting to get that it’s time for a rational approach to cannabis. I feel like we’re finally on offense.

  • kaptinemo

    MikeInSeattle, the fact is we are on the offense, and now is the time to follow Frederick the Great’s injunction: “L’audace! L’audace! Tonjour l’audace!” As in pressing even harder in our efforts. The public has tired of the waste, the fraud, and the simple stupidity of it all, and is demanding change.

    The economy is forcing those who previously couldn’t care less one way or another what the drug laws did to the country to finally take notice, if only from fiscal dimension. They need the money being squandered on this insane ‘Children’s Crusade’ of a DrugWar. And they need it now. Nothing like facing personal fiscal Armageddon to put a sharp edge on people’s thinking, when previously they just scratched themselves and yawned.

    I said this earlier this late last year, here and in other forums, that NOW IS THE TIME. Our time. The last battles will be the hardest, but the opposition is on the run, now, and all the brave noises they make will not hide the fact that they are making them while walking backwards. It’s time to make them turn and run in earnest.

  • kaptinemo

    Sorry, didn’t proofread as well as I should have but you get the gist. “The stars in their courses’ have come round again, the last tumbler in the lock on the vault has dropped, the moment has arrived…and this time, we’re ready.

    No more half-measures; that got us lost opportunities resulting in 3 decades of misery courtesy of the ramped up Reagan/Clinton/Bush phase of the DrugWar. Drive on until we win this…or face final curtain fall, for we won’t get another chance if we fail. And yes, given what happened with our failure last time, we do indeed face such a future, as the progress of tyranny requires none on the side of freedom. That’s where we were last year, but seemingly in a flash (compared to the long, long years of prohibition), we’re in the ascendancy.

    My generation dropped the ball; I pray the next two learn from our mistake and press the advantage.

  • jrh

    On A sad note late last week Governor Mark {family values} Sanford of Soth Carolina signed into law A bill that will denigh unemployment to persons fired for DRUGS or stealing.

    Oh yhea! thats going to save the state.I am just waitingto see the crime rate soar in this state with one of the highet unemployment rates in the nation at over 12% and climbing.Our prisons are already over crowded and courts backlogged so bad that it takes 4 years to bring A MURDERER to trail. Now we gonna get hit with
    a huge wave of petty theft burgularys and hold ups. just wait and see its coming mark my word.

  • Scott

    Current (and future) generations enjoy communications technology that empowers them (us) to globally publish messages that can persist, even using multimedia to deliver those messages in more interesting and entertaining ways.

    The result is grassroots taken to an amazing new level that can dwarf what the mainstream media is reporting to the same audience.

    The self-proclaimed unbiased mainstream media has demonstrated extreme bias when it comes to drug prohibition over the decades.

    They have had their credibility crushed by Net communications allowing truth to spread despite their contrary reporting.

    Forced to adapt to that crushing, they have no choice but to take us seriously, because not only is the truth kind of on our side, it is completely on our side (the prohibitionists literally do not have a single sustainable point).

    Sadly, I’m getting crushed by the bad economy that is helping our cause, severely hindering my ability to do more at this time, but I do get to post comments on WSJ.com (a strong conservative publication) fairly frequently that addresses two key points to help crush the credibility of prohibitionists:

    1. The claim that legalization will lead to more drug abuse is not only baseless, but the evidence also clearly shows the contrary.

    For that claim to be true, one must assume that drug prohibition works.

    Not only is there no evidence to prove it does, but government (a.k.a. prohibitionist) data in the form of the National Drug Threat Assessment and the National Drug Use & Health Survey shows yearly that it does not work, despite billions of U.S. taxpayer dollars spent.

    There have been multiple instances of reducing the penalties associated with illicit drug use, and despite being to the prohibitionists’ benefit to now prove those disasters to reinforce the one they’re proclaiming now to prevent legalization, no such disasters ever happened.

    I even point to the CIA World Factbook to compare The Netherlands with the U.S. There is no evidence among all of those statistics proving any disaster in The Netherlands.

    2. The New Deal is purely embraced by those with a liberal/progressive agenda, and the New Deal (and the corresponding abuse of the Commerce Clause) is the sole constitutional basis for drug prohibition.

    Conservatives, as we all know, ‘love’ judicial activism. So out of ‘love’, I put the original Commerce Clause next to the basic ruling of Gonzales v. Raich. For any prohibitionist reading this (especially those who have taken an oath to uphold our Constitution), it looks like this:

    “To regulate Commerce, with foreign Nations, and among the several States, and with the Indian Tribes;” – U.S. Constitution (Commerce Clause)

    The free growth, free distribution, and free possession of marijuana, all within a single state, is banned solely due to that clause.

    Any sane person can clearly see that there is a serious misalignment there, which means that the majority of Supreme Court justices, who by law must interpret the law (not make it), have violated their oath to uphold our Constitution (in this case, as recently as 2005).

    It’s all about using the prohibitionists’ claims against them.

    Feel free to strongly bold that last sentence and greatly enlarge it in the drug law reform movement, because I believe it is the key to expediting the end of drug prohibition.

    Crush their credibility (even though it is just perceived credibility) and drug prohibition will end soon after. Their perceived credibility is their key to sustaining this hideous monstrosity of government policy.

    While I don’t know if I’m making an impact, I do notice that critics in the WSJ comments no longer try to strike back at my posts.

    We are winning. Now is indeed the time to push hard, showing everyone what a bunch of ‘hopeless losers’ can do.

    In short:

    We own the Internet, because the truth owns us.