CBS poll shows even split for marijuana legalization

posted at 11:21 am on November 30, 2012 by Ed Morrissey

Has America become more libertarian on marijuana?  A new poll from CBS shows that respondents split evenly on the question of legalization at 47% either way.  It’s the second year in a row that a majority for prohibition has failed to materialize, and the first time that it failed to get even a plurality:

For the first time since CBS News began asking the question, as many Americans now think marijuana use should be legal as think it should not.

Support for legalizing marijuana inched up slightly from 45 percent in September to 47 percent today, according to a CBS News poll, conducted Nov. 16-19. Another 47 percent think it should remain prohibited. A year ago, a slight majority of Americans, 51 percent, opposed legalizing marijuana use.

This shift in public opinion was seen at the ballot box this month, when Colorado and Washington became the first states in the nation to approve of recreational marijuana use among adults over the age of 21. Marijuana use of any kind, however, is still illegal under federal law. It’s unclear at this point how the Obama administration intends to respond.

The poll shows a significant partisan split on the issue.  Majorities of Democrats and independents favor legalization, but at 51% and 55% respectively, those majorities are not as significant as one might think.  However, two-thirds of Republicans still believe it should be prohibited.

The age demos are more telling on this point. Majorities of age demos below 45 believe in legalization — although again, perhaps not as significantly as one would guess.  The 18-29YO demo favors legalization by only 13 points, 54/41, while 30-44YOs favor it by almost the same amount, 53/42.  The middle-aged demo, of which I’m a member, is almost evenly split at 46/48, but seniors deeply oppose legalization at 30/61.

The numbers are much different for doctor-prescribed marijuana, though:

Eighty-three percent of Americans favor allowing doctors to prescribe small amounts of marijuana for patients suffering from serious illnesses, the poll shows – up from 77 percent a year ago and 62 percent back in 1997. A majority of Americans of all ages – as well as most Republicans, Democrats, and independents – favor allowing this.

The CBS poll doesn’t include age demos on this question; it would be interesting to see how that splits out.  Also interesting is the impression people have about doctor-prescribed marijuana.  Only 29% think doctors mainly prescribe it for “serious medical illness,” while 53% believe doctors prescribe it for “other reasons.”  If so, I wonder why so many back prescription pot but not full legalization.  Perhaps they see it as a stimulus plan for primary-care physicians; they’ll need one under ObamaCare, to be sure.

Earlier this week, I featured Steven Crowder’s look at marijuana in our Green Room, and it got over 120 comments the last time I looked, and it’s worth another look on this post.  Steven argues that there is a valid argument for getting the federal government out of marijuana prohibition, but rebuts the argument that pot is harmless or less harmful than alcohol – as well as provides an entertaining bit of vox populi from Ann Arbor, Michigan.

Update: Scott Rasmussen wrote about legalization two weeks ago, noting that support for it increases when people understand that access will come with significant regulatory oversight:

When we ask Americans simply whether they favor legalization of marijuana, 45 percent say yes and 45 percent say no.

But when we ask about legalizing and regulating marijuana in a similar manner to the way alcohol and cigarettes are regulated, support for legalization increases to 56 percent. Only 36 percent remain opposed.

Most support regulations that would make it illegal for those under 18 to purchase pot, insure that those who drive under the influence would receive strict penalties and favor a ban on smoking marijuana in public places.

Fifty-eight percent support a requirement that marijuana could be purchased only in pharmacies. A plurality thinks that would cut the income of those who continue to sell drugs illegally.

Perhaps the impulse here isn’t entirely libertarian.


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Yeah , until your munchy hungry butt comes to work and I end up losing an arm because you did not see that I had it where it was. watertown on November 30, 2012 at 11:36 AM

But if he comes to work hung over and still half lit from binge drinking the night before, nothing could go wrong.

Akzed on November 30, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Really? Cocaine and Heroin are plants? Can you show me a plant that produces refined heroin or coke?

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 11:51 AM

Just as soon as you show me a plant that produces refined THC. To this day the Chinese still smoke the Poppy Plant and the Colombians still chew the coca leaves, because just like pot, the psychoactive ingredients are in the plants in sufficient quantities to get an individual high.

SWalker on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Rearranging deck chairs on the Titanic.

Fiddling while Rome burns.

Etc.

What a vacuous conversation. I’m sure the Dems love every bit of attention that can be focused on this instead of, you know, important stuff.

Midas on November 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

The same ignorance and disdain for the US Constitution that allows people to argue for national cannabis prohibition in the absence of proper constitutional authority, is the same ignorance and disdain that allows extra-constitutional programs like entitlements to break us.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

It’s like how prostitution is illegal.
If it was legal, there’d be prostitutes.
Because it’s illegal, we don’t have any…
never mind.

verbaluce on November 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Did you have an extra cup of coffee this morning?

Because you’re making an unusual amount of good sense today.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

It’s really distressing to read some of the responses here. Not only do we have trouble convincing liberals and moderates on the virtues of federalism, but it appears that we have a number of conservatives here who also need to be convinced of the virtues of federalism (or at best, are federalists of convenience).

thirteen28 on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

It’s like how prostitution is illegal.

verbaluce on November 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

What do you mean prostitution is illegal?

Nevada laughs…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:16 PM

It’s like how prostitution is illegal.
If it was legal, there’d be prostitutes.
Because it’s illegal, we don’t have any…
never mind.

verbaluce on November 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

So the solution, obviously, is to throw up our hands and legalize prostitution.

MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Bet Obama is evolving on this issue.

profitsbeard on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

The illegality of the drug drives the prices higher. The higher prices are nothing but profit. Something that should sell for $5 based on cost of production and transportation sells for $500 and more. That $5 cost is a very high valuation by the way. Cigarettes, when sold at normal costs without extravagant taxes are less than $1.

Not only does this prohibition fund drug cartels, it funds slave traders and al qaeda.

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Yes, and how much do cigarettes cost to buy? Tobacco is tough to grow and get ready for sale, unlike weed, and the black market to avoid the taxes on it gets bigger everyday. Legalize it will cut down the price the cartels get but if we have the kind of taxes on weed they are talking about then there will still be plenty of profit for the cartels on the black market.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

I’m not entirely sold on the gateway idea. I suspect a lot of people who gravitate to harder stuff are self-medicating their demons. The horror stories you hear from AA folks – they were literally trying to commit suicide by poison.

John the Libertarian on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

I’m not really sold on the gateway thing either, though it does have a convincing aspect.

I was more referring to the idea that if weed is legalized then why not any other drug that people choose to use, including PCP; that’s where all this debating and arguing and pointing fingers while yelling “Hypocrite!” gets interesting.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

So the solution, obviously, is to throw up our hands and legalize prostitution.

MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

What–you don’t think government would love that? It’s a taxable activity!

Liam on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

but sadly, those who are proponents of legalization will probably consider it a offensive idea.

SWalker on November 30, 2012 at 11:38 AM

Interesting how once the discussion gets to employers’ rights they stop listening.

There have actually been a couple of people I HAD to let go for a dirty test. If it weren’t for insurance I might hire one guy back of if paid for his weekly tests. It would be a hassle but frankly there are some people worth their weight. Heh punny.

Capitalist Hog on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Coca plant and opium poppy.

NotCoach on November 30, 2012 at 11:55 AM

BAM!

Bob clearly thinks that drugs are produced from thin air in a trailer park somewhere.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Up until now your arguments have been reasonable but this is sheer poppycock. If people didn’t buy the drugs then the cartels wouldn’t be funded. So the consumption of drugs does fund the cartels. Legal or not somebody is going to get funded since most people won’t grown or synthesize their own.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM

Prohibition is responsible, in the case of cannabis for 90% of the market price. (In drugs like heroin and cocaine, it approaches 99% of the price.) It costs nearly nothing to produce these drugs. The only thing that props up the unusual profits that attract organized crime is prohibition. Legalize it tomorrow, and people planting cannabis will see the same economic returns as those who engage in any other legal industry.

And the cartels simply can’t compete…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM

So the solution, obviously, is to throw up our hands and legalize prostitution.

MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

No policymaker in Nevada is clamoring for prostitution to be prohibited. If anything, people in Vegas and Reno would like to see it legalized in their counties…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:21 PM

1. Let it be known loud and clear that brewing/growing/selling/distributing illegal addictive drugs is a guaranteed way to shorten your lifespan because of the law that will be enforced.

Huh? And pot ain’t addictive.

2. Give up entirely and deal with the consequences as best you can. MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Uh yeah. And drug test for welfare/food stamps etc. Fine with me.

Akzed on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

So the solution, obviously, is to throw up our hands and legalize prostitution.

No, the solution is to keep wasting money and making criminals out of non-violent offenders in a futile attempt to make us feel good about ourselves.

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Milton Friedman once said that he believed other stronger drugs like acid, cocaine, etc. came about because pot was difficult to transport because of it’s size (without getting caught).

I think there’s some truth in that.

matd on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Delta-9 Tetrahydrocannibanol,the active agent in Marijuana, is soluble in lipids. The brain is rich in lipids so in that she is correct. Any other cells (like sperm and fat tissue) that is mainly lipids will concentrate and store the chemical. So occasional short term use of pot shouldn’t create large problems but constant long term use may cause significant problems.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 11:54 AM

Be that as it may…she didn’t get into any level of detrimental consequences by lipid storing THC, or even how much or for how long. But again, pot is just like any other recreational vice…best used in some sort of moderation, just like alcohol.

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

It’s like how prostitution is illegal.
If it was legal, there’d be prostitutes.
Because it’s illegal, we don’t have any…
never mind.

verbaluce on November 30, 2012 at 12:11 PM

Did you have an extra cup of coffee this morning?

Because you’re making an unusual amount of good sense today.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

Not really. That kind of argument is always fallacious.

“It’s like how murder is illegal.
If it was legal, there’d be murderers.
Because it’s illegal, we don’t have any…
never mind.”

The question never is whether making something illegal or not will prevent it entirely. The simple fact that something is illegal reveals the act is committed regardless of its legality.

NotCoach on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

The same ignorance and disdain for the US Constitution that allows people to argue for national cannabis prohibition in the absence of proper constitutional authority, is the same ignorance and disdain that allows extra-constitutional programs like entitlements to break us.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

+1000

thirtyandseven on November 30, 2012 at 12:23 PM

No matter how many doctors or professional substance abuse counselors testify that pot is both physically damaging and psychologically addictive, the legalization proponents insist that those people are lying or being misleading.

SWalker on November 30, 2012 at 12:10 PM

Bullshiite.

Smoking cannabis is both physically harmful and psychologically addictive.

And it should still be legalized.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

You sir, are the exception, not the rule. But bravo for your honesty just the same.

SWalker on November 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM

What–you don’t think government would love that? It’s a taxable activity!

Liam on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Lol. And of course they can surely count on the dregs of society to honestly report their taxable activities. Minus, of course, the big criminal rings who “go legit” to make even more money.

MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:24 PM

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Get off your high horses. I was addressing the absurd statement that consumption didn’t fund cartels.

As to prohibition get rid of it. Treat it like any other marketplace and let adults buy, sell, trade and use to their hearts content. If they commit a crime (DUI, Manslaughter, theft) while impaired then prosecute them for the crime.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Legalize it tomorrow, and people planting cannabis will see the same economic returns as those who engage in any other legal industry.

And the cartels simply can’t compete…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:19 PM

Yes, they can. Politicians only want to legalize weed for the taxes. They are talking about $50 an ounce which is a heck of a lot of weed. But that will never hold. They will push for the taxes to be comparable to cigarettes. How many people do you think will pay $3 to $7 for a pack of 20 joints, and rising every year, when they can grow 100 packs worth in their yard with minimal effort? Or just buy it off the street from the cartels.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

By the way, has anybody noticed the expanding trend in growing and curing your own tobacco to get around all the taxes on cigarettes?

Socratease on November 30, 2012 at 12:09 PM

The wife of a good friend of mine comes from a farming family. They grow a small amount of tobacco on their farm in Tennessee. I am not a smoker except for an occasional cigar (about twice a year). She once gave me a couple of cured leaves and I rolled up a cigarette. That was the strongest tobacco I have ever tried. You’d probably have to smoke about 6 Winstons in a row to get the same effect. I almost passed out.

Tobacco is definitely not for me, and I knew that at a young age.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

What–you don’t think government would love that? It’s a taxable activity!

Liam on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Here in DC, virtually every intersection has a camera to catch speeders and those blowing through on pinkish-yellow lights. The city literally rakes in millions in fines but are quick to claim that they are doing it in the name of public safety and that is the sole motivation. Well, the other shoe dropped yesterday when the city’s finance officer warned that reducing the fines would cause a budget shortfall. In other words, those cameras are nothing but a tax on drivers (mostly from the suburbs) and has absolutely nothing to do with public safety. That they’ve automatically built it into the budget proves that.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

The same ignorance and disdain for the US Constitution that allows people to argue for national cannabis prohibition in the absence of proper constitutional authority, is the same ignorance and disdain that allows extra-constitutional programs like entitlements to break us.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:15 PM

+1000 more.

thirteen28 on November 30, 2012 at 12:27 PM

Smoking cannabis Playing professional football is both physically harmful and psychologically addictive.

And it should still be legalized.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:12 PM

And yet they do it anyway, year after year…

Archivarix on November 30, 2012 at 12:28 PM

Yes, and how much do cigarettes cost to buy? Tobacco is tough to grow and get ready for sale, unlike weed, and the black market to avoid the taxes on it gets bigger everyday. Legalize it will cut down the price the cartels get but if we have the kind of taxes on weed they are talking about then there will still be plenty of profit for the cartels on the black market.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:17 PM

Well, that tells you that the tax rates are too high, nothing more.

The cartels could be making $10 per unit on it in the black market, compared to $495 per unit.

Like I said above in my first post. You still make it legal for employers to fire drug users as it is today. Drive the drug users into the jobs the Mexicans are doing today.

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

legalizing something destructive and treating it like a “right” has horrible consequences.
MelonCollie on November 30, 2012 at 12:13 PM

Cars, motorcycles, guns, electricity, gasoline, chainsaw, brush chipper, bulldozer, solvents, plastic bags, duct tape, knives, baseball bats, wire, rope, chain, sugar, salt, red meat, farm animals, fertilizer, indoor plumbing, …

Horrible consequences are not caused by the thing, right?

Kenosha Kid on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

I am in favor of legalization because of the Police State the drug war has brought us.

Will more people smoke it after legalization? Yes. Will there be consequences to more people smoking? Yes. Will the narco gangs just shift to something worse? Yes. Will we have this same fight again with something else? Yes.

There are problems on both sides of this issue. The trick is to pick which is less problematic. The drug war is largely failed and failed spectacularly. It has financed some of the largest criminal enterprises ever as well as terrorist organizations.

jpmn on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

Any chemical that can be concentrated in tissues runs the risk of being toxic and therefore detrimental to those tissues. But as a culture we use lots of chemicals that can be detrimental to our health. No reason to treat marijuana any different than them.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

Milton Friedman once said that he believed other stronger drugs like acid, cocaine, etc. came about because pot was difficult to transport because of it’s size (without getting caught).

I think there’s some truth in that.

matd on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

I think you mean that recreational abuse of acid, cocaine, etc. came about because pot was difficult to transport. Cocaine, for example, was around before pot was ever outlawed.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

I’m against legalization. First, I have had juvenile clients as young as 12 years old who smoked dope who were a mess and who I am sure are already in adult prisons.

And yet, marijuana is illegal. Go figure. Who said anything about legalizing it for 12 year olds anyway?

Second, I have had two adult acquaintances who also smoked dope who would then get aggressive and paranoid and impossible to be around. With one, his wife left him because of it. The other, her friends did an intervention but she continued to do it and would then lie about it.

Blake

Solid argument. I mean, if interfering with your desire to be around someone isn’t grounds for banning something, I don’t know what is.

xblade on November 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

How would it lessen the crime numbers? I would guess that a lot of the people who are in jail “for pot” are actually there via a plea bargain, where the actual crime they are charged with– in all cases a more serious crime– is lessened to pot possession.
Also it may be a reasonable guess that once the stigma of criminalization is lifted, the behavior becomes more careless and sometimes purposefully arrogant, leading to the crime stats simply changing to other crimes, whether selling drugs or traffic violations, accidents etc.

I agree..there is a lot of misinformation about pot. A lot of it preaching the benefits.
The “medical” uses are mostly a scam and limited feel good/a distraction/placebo/”other drugs would provide the same effects..but I like to get high” schtick.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM

I didn’t say pot legalization would lower crime, I only used guns as an example in the sense that more guns didn’t increase crime, it decreased it. But then again, legal weed would free up tons of time, effort, and money, and court calendars. So in that sense, there would be less crime.

I totally disagree about medical usage. The testimonials of terminal cancer patients, for example, shows it does help immensely, and certainly isn’t any worse than narcotic pain meds. You said yourself that other drugs would work and pot isn’t necessary…either way, it’s drugs, so why not?

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

The question never is whether making something illegal or not will prevent it entirely. The simple fact that something is illegal reveals the act is committed regardless of its legality.

NotCoach on November 30, 2012 at 12:22 PM

That is true. But do you believe that if murder was suddenly legalized, people would go out and just start killing people for fun?

Most people know when something is right or wrong, whether it’s legal or not. Fascists like Mayor Bloomberg can outlaw butter, salt, and 16 ounce sodas all they want, it doesn’t make those things disappear. People who know the risks avoid those things or enjoy them in moderation. But some will always overindulge. No law will ever change that.

People in a free country should be able to make their own decisions on what they put into their bodies.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Yes, they can. Politicians only want to legalize weed for the taxes. They are talking about $50 an ounce which is a heck of a lot of weed. But that will never hold. They will push for the taxes to be comparable to cigarettes. How many people do you think will pay $3 to $7 for a pack of 20 joints, and rising every year, when they can grow 100 packs worth in their yard with minimal effort? Or just buy it off the street from the cartels.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Nonsense.

First of all, even if a government instituted taxes on cannabis comparable to those currently on tobacco, it would still be far less than $50/oz. Tobacco taxes, all told, come to around $5 per oz. While it makes for a nice cottage industry moving smokes from NC to Chicago, it is hardly the billions per year that has attracted the cartels to the trade.

Second, the vast majority of people in America still buy their tobacco from the legitimate market, not from the black market, even though they could save themselves substantial money dealing with the black market. Why? Because it isn’t worth the transaction costs for most people to deal with criminals. They’d rather pay the tax, and have their tobacco purchases protected by color of law.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

think you mean that recreational abuse of acid, cocaine, etc. came about because pot was difficult to transport. Cocaine, for example, was around before pot was ever outlawed.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 12:31 PM

Yes, sorry. I wasn’t very succinct in that.

matd on November 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

Your support for prohibition is what funds the cartels, not consumption of cannabis…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Corner point here but it’s worth noting that the cartels have multiple revenue streams and when it comes to drugs it is HIGHLY unlikely that bulky low-yield-per-kg Pot is their cash chihuahua. That’s probably still cocaine and heroin.

And lets not forget the cartels other large revenue streams:

* People smuggling
* Sex traficking
* Prostitution
* Protection
* Counterfeiting
* Prescription drugs (theft and production of)
* The government

You can legalize pot if you like and it will save the US several billion dollars a year. But the cartels are well diversified and international – it’s hardly like the mini crisis the mob faced when Prohibition ended.

CorporatePiggy on November 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

The gov’t should not be able to ban pot if it cannot ban alcohol without a constitutional amendment.

deadrody on November 30, 2012 at 11:39 AM

Yes, why did we need a CA to ban alcohol, but not drugs?

cptacek on November 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 12:01 PM

Sober people? Wall Street and every bank official would be digging ditches or mowing lawns. Heck, the ranks of congressional staffers would have to become telemarketers.

Al-Ozarka on November 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM

Interesting how once the discussion gets to employers’ rights they stop listening.

There have actually been a couple of people I HAD to let go for a dirty test. If it weren’t for insurance I might hire one guy back of if paid for his weekly tests. It would be a hassle but frankly there are some people worth their weight. Heh punny.

Capitalist Hog on November 30, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Marijuana intoxication will carry the same sort of negatives as alcohol intoxication for employers. Even if it’s made legal, you still don’t want someone operating a train, truck or other heavy machinery after a doober break.

The other thing that’s really going to be fun watching with the liberals who support pot legalization (as opposed to pro-pot libertarians) is the first time someone files a lawsuit or demands a law be passed in a state where marijuana is legal that restricts areas it can be used due to the effects of second-hand smoke, which as become a cause celebre among the left over the past 30 years.

Watching liberals argue that cigarette smokers should be banned from lighting up within 50 miles of a inhabited area (where they can hang out with alcohol drinkers who also are on the outs with the left because evil companies make profits from cigarettes and alcohol), while at the same time claiming people shouldn’t just allow pot smokers free reign everywhere, but should be demanding they blow some smoke in their direction, should be another wonderful demonstration of their selected outrage and rationalization of — if not bad behavior — at least risky behavior to their own health when its something they want to do.

jon1979 on November 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

That is true. But do you believe that if murder was suddenly legalized, people would go out and just start killing people for fun?

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

Yes.

Placing a prohibition on something does have an impact on behavior.

NotCoach on November 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

But as a culture we use lots of chemicals that can be detrimental to our health. No reason to treat marijuana any different than them.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

So turn pot into a Class III drug?

I have no problem with legalizing pot after it is proven that the drug is as harmless as Ron Paul supporters claim. Until then, I’d rather the pot heads remember that their filthy habit is feeding Mexican drug cartels. Hardly harmless no matter how you slice it.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

First, fairly massive amounts of law enforcement resources go into cannabis prohibition. As much as $30 billion per year at all levels. Those are resources that could be directed towards enforcement of laws against other offences.

Second, prohibition, by definition, means that disputes within business relationships are not enforced by contract and law, but by violence. Market position isn’t determined by better business plans, but by murder. Lifting prohibition means taking a $40 billion/year product out of the black market, and into the legitimate market. That, by itself, reduces criminal violence.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:08 PM

First, I find it hard to believe that there are vast amounts of law enforcement resources that are dedicated to only pot enforcement. Actually, it may be the opposite, i.e. the pot charges are a result of interactions with police involving non pot related encounters.
If you have evidence to the contrary, could you provide a link?

Secondly I think you’re overstating the situation for dramatic effect…murder..violence etc. Are you referring to pot or drugs trade in general? Decriminalizing pot would have little effect on the other markets imo. The vast amount of money made by cartels is in harder drugs..money laundering..human trafficking..extortion..prostitution, etc.
That said, there is no reason to believe that legalizing would turn your claimed 40 billion to zero.

What is this “legitimate market” that you speak of? In your scenero, selling pot would also be legalized?
How would that work?..big government involvement to manage and tax the individual…if so, take the cost of that on bureaucracy and manpower, off the “money saved by” side of the ledger.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Good thing you’re not entitled to your own facts. Number of deaths caused by MJ throughout the history of time = 0. Can’t say the same about alcohol.

SirGawain on November 30, 2012 at 11:46 AM

I doubt you can say no one ever has been killed by marijuana. Shell fish, peanuts and bee stings kill people. Why couldn’t this plant?

cptacek on November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM

Just my 2 bits – it’s a great talking point until someone legally under the influence drives a school bus off a cliff and kills their passengers. A few years back, my son photographed and turned in his teacher for smoking pot in her classroom. He was suspended for using his cellphone in class, she was voted Teacher of the Year. Last year, a nearby football coach was busted with a trunkload of various illegal drugs – he’s on paid leave. This year the quarterback was busted for selling cocaine on campus – don’t worry, he was only suspended for 2 games.

The problem for me with legalization is that they will eventually become a protected class for employment discrimination. Just ask the owners of trucking companies about the last Labor Dept fiasco/directive, that they can no longer terminate drivers for DWI offenses or a history of alcohol abuse. It’s lose/lose for employers… if you fire them, you’re going to be sued… if you keep them on the job and they have an accident, you’re liable for millions in damages because you knew their history. Personally, I’d have a really hard time sleeping at night knowing there was the strong possibility that someone driving a truck for me could be under the influence of anything kill someone and my hands were tied. It’s already a risky enough business.

Personally – we had an employee that was a heavy pot user. At the time, we thought it was being Christian to give him a job and help him turn his life around. We quickly learned that he had no intention of quitting and that a regular paycheck just gave him access to more pot. After 6 months, I realized I was “retraining” him almost every week – his long term memory was shot for completing repetitive tasks. The rest of the staff was constantly picking up the slack on incomplete work. We never did figure out how much he cost us by not completing work orders and shoddy work that had to be redone by other employees. We finally fired him for mishandling a critical job for a client which ended up costing us all of their business. I ended up paying unemployment on him because I should have known he was likely stoned and shouldn’t have assigned the job to him – yes, that was the written ruling.

2nd Ammendment Mother on November 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

The left among others spent billions trashing big tobacco but now support big weed? Hypocrites.

jawkneemusic on November 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM

lol, Big Tobacco will just expand to be Big Smokes and distribute both of them.

cptacek on November 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Any chemical that can be concentrated in tissues runs the risk of being toxic and therefore detrimental to those tissues. But as a culture we use lots of chemicals that can be detrimental to our health. No reason to treat marijuana any different than them.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

But how is it detrimental? And how much would be necessary for that? You can’t just say “drugs are bad, m’kay?” you have to show how bad, how often, etc etc. And if that’s a main basis for being against legalization, then you should should believe alcohol and cigs…and fatty foods too…should be illegal, because they all have detrimental effects on the body.

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

By the way, has anybody noticed the expanding trend in growing and curing your own tobacco to get around all the taxes on cigarettes?

Socratease

I wouldn’t expect that to last much longer. See Wickard v. Filburn. It’s only a matter of time before the feds come calling.

xblade on November 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

People in a free country should be able to make their own decisions on what they put into their bodies.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

There’s the dilemma on this whole thing. Imagine having a bunch of meth-heads and PCP junkies living next door to your place, around your kids, traveling your streets. Pot is one thing but those two drugs, hoooo weeee; good times.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Corner point here but it’s worth noting that the cartels have multiple revenue streams and when it comes to drugs it is HIGHLY unlikely that bulky low-yield-per-kg Pot is their cash chihuahua. That’s probably still cocaine and heroin.

CorporatePiggy on November 30, 2012 at 12:34 PM

You know, I used to be certain of that (although I still point out, a billion here, a billion there, soon, you’re talking real money).

But then I read our own government’s estimate that:

More than 60 percent of the cartels’ revenue — $8.6 billion out of $13.8 billion in 2006 — came from U.S. marijuana sales, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

I was shocked, and somewhat incredulous. I’m not one to take ONDCP’s word as gold. But it makes you think…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

Several things. First, I have read about the legal/scientific conflicting or ambiguous threshold of THC’s lingering “high” effect that is different for everybody, unlike the limits outlined for alcohol; ie What constitutes “high”(how much) and not fit to drive a car, or enter the workforce, like those that, say, drink one beer on their lunch hour. Then there is the “gateway” theory that’s out there for marijuana leading to harder drugs, unlike alcohol. I am not a scientist, don’t know the answers. Lastly, there is the marijuana for medicinal purposes which begs the question in my mind, who am I to begrudge a terminally ill patient the right to put marijuana in their brownies?

sunshinek67 on November 30, 2012 at 12:46 PM

Sober people? Wall Street and every bank official would be digging ditches or mowing lawns. Heck, the ranks of congressional staffers would have to become telemarketers.

Al-Ozarka on November 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM

I’m looking for the bad side of your argument at the moment, and it just is not coming to me.

astonerii on November 30, 2012 at 12:47 PM

The feds will sell you a stamp that licenses your pot possession and sales, it’s just that almost no one can get one.

Akzed on November 30, 2012 at 12:48 PM

How many people do you think will pay $3 to $7 for a pack of 20 joints, and rising every year, when they can grow 100 packs worth in their yard with minimal effort? Or just buy it off the street from the cartels.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:25 PM

Heck, $7 for 20 joints? I’d buy it in a second!

I’ve always thought marijuana is essentially as safe/harmful as hard liquor. If it can be regulated, let’s do so and the government raises revenue, and now that I’m no longer in high school or college, I have an easy way to buy it again.

asc85 on November 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

2nd Ammendment Mother on November 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Tell you what then – you can lobby your STATE representatives/governor/etc. to make weed illegal in YOUR state.

Meanwhile, let Colorado, Washington, and every other state in the union decide the legality of marijuana in their states completely independent of what they do in your state (assuming you don’t live in one of the two mentioned here – if you do, start campaigning for reversal).

Plain and simple the federal government has no constitutional authority to tell any state whether or not it can legalize marijuana within its borders. If you turn a blind eye to that, then don’t complain at all about the other encroachments of liberty by the federal government that violates the principles of federalism in doing so.

thirteen28 on November 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM

First, I find it hard to believe that there are vast amounts of law enforcement resources that are dedicated to only pot enforcement.

Based on numbers from 2002, the latest year for which complete data was available, the study found that taxpayers shelled out an average of $10,400 for each pot smoker plucked off the streets by police. Of this more than $7 billion annual total, police costs totaled $3.7 billion, court costs $853 million, and prison costs $3.1 billion. In the nation’s two most populous states, California and New York, taxpayers are faced with an annual marijuana enforcement bill of more than $1 billion.

$30 billion is, admittedly, a bit high. That may be the figure for all drug enforcement. But still… $7 billion. That’s real money where I come from.

Secondly I think you’re overstating the situation for dramatic effect…murder..violence etc. Are you referring to pot or drugs trade in general? Decriminalizing pot would have little effect on the other markets imo. The vast amount of money made by cartels is in harder drugs..money laundering..human trafficking..extortion..prostitution, etc.

More than 60 percent of the cartels’ revenue — $8.6 billion out of $13.8 billion in 2006 — came from U.S. marijuana sales, according to the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy.

ONDCP disagrees with you.

What is this “legitimate market” that you speak of? In your scenero, selling pot would also be legalized?

In 7-11, if I could…

How would that work?..big government involvement to manage and tax the individual…if so, take the cost of that on bureaucracy and manpower, off the “money saved by” side of the ledger.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I don’t know… does alcohol production and distribution require “big government”? Or should we save money and go back to alcohol prohibition?

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

There’s the dilemma on this whole thing. Imagine having a bunch of meth-heads and PCP junkies living next door to your place, around your kids, traveling your streets. Pot is one thing but those two drugs, hoooo weeee; good times.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

There are other issues at play there besides just the substances being (ab)used.

As I’ve been told, one of the reasons that prostitution is illegal is the harm it does to families and communities. I’m no psychologist, but I’m pretty sure that if a married guy needs to go out and pay for a hooker, then there’s a good chance that he has other problems under his roof at home. Single men who can’t otherwise find a date are doing no one any harm by offering a woman some cash for a “good time.” If it’s a fair exchange, they both walk away satisfied with the deal. It’s a win-win.

As far as the effect on communities, well no one wants “ladies of the night” walking around their neighborhood peddling their assets. But they wouldn’t have to be out leaning on lampposts on street corners if they could run ads in the Yellow Pages for their services.

The bottom line is, you can’t legislate morality.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Nonsense.

First of all, even if a government instituted taxes on cannabis comparable to those currently on tobacco, it would still be far less than $50/oz. Tobacco taxes, all told, come to around $5 per oz. While it makes for a nice cottage industry moving smokes from NC to Chicago, it is hardly the billions per year that has attracted the cartels to the trade.

Second, the vast majority of people in America still buy their tobacco from the legitimate market, not from the black market, even though they could save themselves substantial money dealing with the black market. Why? Because it isn’t worth the transaction costs for most people to deal with criminals. They’d rather pay the tax, and have their tobacco purchases protected by color of law.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

You’re wrong. Politicians already have the $50 an ounce tax for weed in prospective bills in California. That doesn’t even account for the federal taxes which are sure to come. The only reason why the vast majority of Americans don’t go to the black market for cigarettes is because tobacco is hard to grow and transport. People already buy weed from some shady guy. It won’t bother them to keep doing it, or grow it themselves and sell some to the neighbors. If tobacco could be grown and made ready for sale as easily as weed how many people do you think would be doing that? I would. There are already many, many thousands doing it for weed. How is law enforcement going to stop it? They can’t even do it now and weed is illegal. It would be like trying to keep people from growing and sharing tomatoes. The drug dealers will move from growing it themselves to buying up on the sly in suburbia and moving into the inner city for sale.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

Sober people? Wall Street and every bank official would be digging ditches or mowing lawns. Heck, the ranks of congressional staffers would have to become telemarketers.

Al-Ozarka on November 30, 2012 at 12:35 PM

This cannot be a bad thing in the long-term. =]

Jeddite on November 30, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Didn’t that face eating guy end up testing positive for MJ only and not for bath salts?

What’s with all this non-violent offenders BS. If your crimes do not involve violence you should not be punished? That makes no sense.

Legalize it all, just don’t tell me that I need to pay for your rehab or food stamps or free lunches for your kids. If you want to get high, then do it on your own dime.

rw on November 30, 2012 at 12:55 PM

Heck, $7 for 20 joints? I’d buy it in a second!

I’ve always thought marijuana is essentially as safe/harmful as hard liquor. If it can be regulated, let’s do so and the government raises revenue, and now that I’m no longer in high school or college, I have an easy way to buy it again.

asc85 on November 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

JohnGalt23 is right on that. For some reason I thought you got a lot more joints out of a lid. But if you look at the regulation in the works the $50 an ounce tax is pretty standard. Which would work out to around $20-$25 tax per pack of 20 joints.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:56 PM

Here is the thing people: This issue is up on the mantle.

Let me frame it for you:

Marijuana prohibition is a freedom inhibiting, criminalizing, statist, big government scheme. Plain and simple. It is a naturally occuring plant on 6 continents. We should be respected enough by our own government to enjoy its benefits responsibly.

Some day soon it is going to be legal. It is a social norm from kids to country music, like it or not. We can either let the Democrats steal it off the mantle like they did with DREAM act, gay marriage, etc., or we can swallow our pride, stand up for individual responsibility and freedom, and formulate a platform around legalizing and decriminalizing marijuana. The proposal would have to be kept secret until the 2016 convention or Dems would steal the proposal from under us and claim as their own.

Its up there on the mantle folks. Its coming down. Who is going to posess it? Is it going to be another feather in the Democrats cap while the R’s have egg on their face and look more like the party of old men?

The electorate is voting for welfare or perceived welfare; truly, gifts. They dont even realize that unless they devote theirselves to a life of poverty, Obamacare costs thousands of dollars every year for the rest of their life. And that is the novelty they voted for. R’s have a chance to provide the electorate with a novelty that wont cost them thousands of dollars, decriminalizes them, and opens up another industry for legal business and tax revenue. Not to mention it keeps another illicit product from being smuggled across the border in a drug war.

R’s could tie it in with the failed and expensive drug war, and more importantly, tie it in with Fast and Furious to damage the current party in power.

There is legal weed up on the mantle folks. Are we going to let the D’s steal it or are we going to stand up for freedom even though we may not like the actual freedom we are defending. My point is that regardless of your personal moral views of weed, the issue is there and it is going to be won by someone. Right now it is all playing into the hands of the D’s. Maybe this will be the issue that implodes the R’s brand for lack of political support and we can look at starting up a true Federalist Party.

dip it in cider on November 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM

CBS poll shows even split for marijuana legalization

How’s that old song go?? Oh yeah,

“Don’t bogart that joint, pass it over to me…..

..roll another one…just like the other one….you’ve
been holding on to it..and I sure would like a Hit”

ToddPA on November 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

I was shocked, and somewhat incredulous. I’m not one to take ONDCP’s word as gold. But it makes you think…

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:41 PM

I hear you but I’d take that with a big pinch of salt.

Leaving aside the fact that the cartels don’t file returns and are expert money launderers, government figures on the value of drugs are always inflated out of all recognition. The next time you hear a metro PD saying they made a drug bust and recovered $2m worth of drugs…divide that number by 10. DEA agents have written about how they headline the street price of the drugs, not the wholesale price.

But that’s where drug dealing and Value Added Tax intersect (yeah, wait for it). Drugs are ‘taxed’ at every stage of production. Harvest, refinement, packaging, transportation, distribution through several layers, and then retail.

Now, this particular VAT is perpetrated by violent utterly amoral criminals who will quite happily deprive you of your right to life, liberty, and the pursuit of happiness if you do not do what they say when they say it.

In other words – they’re Statists much like all leftists. It’s just when they come at you, they dispense with all this ‘social justice’ pap and just take you out.

(Mark Levin – eat your heart out)

CorporatePiggy on November 30, 2012 at 12:59 PM

BTW, I’m not necessarily against legalizing weed. My main concern is normalizing it’s use. But I don’t buy any of the supposed benefits of legalizing it. Pot is harmful and it will save noting on law enforcement etc. If they are ever to get the taxes out of it they want it will take that and more to drive down growth and sales by individuals at home. If anything the bureaucracy will get larger and more expensive.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 1:00 PM

The bottom line is, you can’t legislate morality.

UltimateBob on November 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

I hear ya but that’s why I’m calling this a tough issue to figure out.

A hooker working from her house is one thing, a dude loading up to the gills on PCP in his front yard is another; basically he becomes an almost unstoppable freak that only a pelvis-shattering shot can put down.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM

The problem is that conservatives seem to think that if they legalize something then they’ve personally condoned it.

Ortzinator on November 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM

I also read where there are some banks in Colorado, for example, that are in a conundrum as to whether or not they should grant loans to start up marijuana businesses, given the connection to the Federal Government. And then in Los Angeles it has been reported that the “pot shops” are destroying the local neighborhoods.

http://abclocal.go.com/kabc/story?section=news/local/los_angeles&id=8747107

sunshinek67 on November 30, 2012 at 1:04 PM

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 12:52 PM

You’re wrong. Politicians already have the $50 an ounce tax for weed in prospective bills in California.

That’s what Ammiano wants. That is up for negotiation.

But you are missing the bigger point. Yes, if CA institutes that high of a tax, then people will simply grow it themselves, like they can under the provisions of 215, and presumably under any law removing prohibition. That would be an example fo setting a tax so high that you see lower revenues than you would with a lower tax. And the boys in Sacto are all about maximizing tax revenue.

The only reason why the vast majority of Americans don’t go to the black market for cigarettes is because tobacco is hard to grow and transport.

Once again, nonsense. Growing tobacco isn’t that tough. Dealing with black marketeers, is. For most people, it is something they would prefer an alternative to, even a more expensive alternative.

People already buy weed from some shady guy. It won’t bother them to keep doing it, or grow it themselves and sell some to the neighbors.

And people, especially in NYC and Chicago, can buy their cigs from a smuggler, and same themselves a couple fo bucks a pack. And yet, the vast majority of them prefer to simply pay the tax.

Now why is that?

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

chemical that can be concentrated in tissues runs the risk of being toxic and therefore detrimental to those tissues. But as a culture we use lots of chemicals that can be detrimental to our health. No reason to treat marijuana any different than them.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 12:30 PM

But how is it detrimental? And how much would be necessary for that? You can’t just say “drugs are bad, m’kay?” you have to show how bad, how often, etc etc. And if that’s a main basis for being against legalization, then you should should believe alcohol and cigs…and fatty foods too…should be illegal, because they all have detrimental effects on the body.

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:39 PM

Read for context. You are fixated on a certain point and it is a point I didn’t make.

chemman on November 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

The problem is that conservatives seem to think that if they legalize something then they’ve personally condoned it.

Ortzinator on November 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM

No, they think that means society condones it, which it does. The one upside to legalizing weed is it may lead to some repeals of smoking bans. People are going to want to smoke a joint with their drink or in a park or on the beach and a lot of those people are liberals.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

A hooker working from her house is one thing, a dude loading up to the gills on PCP in his front yard is another; basically he becomes an almost unstoppable freak that only a pelvis-shattering shot can put down.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 1:01 PM

And yet people still load up on PCP, even though it is illegal. The question then becomes, how many more people are going to load up if you take away criminal penalties.

With cannabis, that number is probably significant. But PCP? I know of absolutely nobody whose decision on whether or not to use PCP is based on whether it is legal or not.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Let the states legalize it. If there are a few states in which the majority still opposes it then they can prohibit it in their states. Our founding fathers were wise, we should follow the path of freedom and liberty. Prohibition of MJ was based on lies borne of racism and intolerance, not from science and reason. Putting peaceful, otherwise law abiding people in jail for smoking MJ, when the prohibition of it was based on hatred and lies, not truth, is immoral and un-American. MJ prohibition is a blight on US history not entirely unlike slavery. Locking peaceful people away in prison, denying them their freedom, giving them criminal records that harm their prosperity, damaging families, may not be “slavery”, but it is still a grave moral offense against freedom, liberty and the Constitution.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

I totally disagree about medical usage. The testimonials of terminal cancer patients, for example, shows it does help immensely, and certainly isn’t any worse than narcotic pain meds. You said yourself that other drugs would work and pot isn’t necessary…either way, it’s drugs, so why not?

JetBoy on November 30, 2012 at 12:33 PM

It seems the gun analogy is more apples to oranges.

I didn’t say there was no midical use..I stated it was mostly a scam.
I would like to see more carefully conducted tests on even cancer patients to determine the actual range of effective use. I find it hard to believe that pot is a pain killer beyond the level of pain that could be “treated” by distraction. When I mention placebo effects, I mean how much of the benefits of pot vs other drugs used for the conditions that pot is substituted for..glaucoma pressure..appetite..pain relief etc.( is there any other things?), are the subconscious choices of people who want pot to work. I mean someone who would be given an appetite stimulant and claim it didn’t work…but pot “gives you the munchies” so that does work.

I agree they are both drugs, but what is the evidence that drugs+smoking is better?
I can’t help but wonder what the results would be if pot had to go thru the FDA testing that other drugs have to go thru.
It seems odd that every time a compound is offered that has the “high” removed, the “therapeutic” properties vanish. But when people are offered THC, it doesn’t seem to work the same and some mysterious claim of “complicated chemical interactions” is given as an explanation as to why you have to smoke it. Why do you suppose that is? Could part of the reason be, that the average person cannot refine THC and would have to go to a doctor for a set amount at a set price and go thru lab work and monitoring?
Just askin’

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

Serious question-

One of the reasons given by Ron Paul supporters and other pot heads is the idea that legalizing pot will decrease the prison population because of all those locked up for possessing pot. It is an absurd suggestion because users of pot are seldom even detained. Those in jail are drug dealers.

Are we really to believe that legalizing pot will make those in the distribution chain go legit? Or will they simply stock some other product?

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 1:10 PM

The left among others spent billions trashing big tobacco but now support big weed? Hypocrites.

jawkneemusic on November 30, 2012 at 11:58 AM

The smokers just want it to be legal, man. Like, cool.

The Dems at the top have the bling of regulation and taxation in their eyes. Like, cool.

Both groups are addicts.

Midas on November 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

Legalize sales too?

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

As a child of the 60′s who never used drugs but always wanted to try Acid but was to scared to, I have watched the results of friends who did. It did not turn out well in their 50′s. They all started with pot.

BullShooterAsInElk on November 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

And yet people still load up on PCP, even though it is illegal. The question then becomes, how many more people are going to load up if you take away criminal penalties.

With cannabis, that number is probably significant. But PCP? I know of absolutely nobody whose decision on whether or not to use PCP is based on whether it is legal or not.

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 1:07 PM

Hard to say. How many times have you tried something on a whim just because the packaging caught your eye in the grocery store? I don’t know a single weed dealer much less someone who handles the really heavy stuff, so even if I wanted to try PCP I wouldn’t where to start. But if someone decided they wanted to try meth or whatever and it was readily available and legal, who knows how many might dabble.

Don’t get me wrong, I’m not advocating one way or another at this point, but there are sticky issues to deal with when it comes to drugs that have far more serious effects than weed.

Bishop on November 30, 2012 at 1:13 PM

Legalize sales too?

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:11 PM

Duh.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

But you are missing the bigger point. Yes, if CA institutes that high of a tax, then people will simply grow it themselves, like they can under the provisions of 215, and presumably under any law removing prohibition. That would be an example for setting a tax so high that you see lower revenues than you would with a lower tax. And the boys in Sacto are all about maximizing tax revenue.

They have already reached the point of diminishing returns on tobacco taxes. They still keep raising them. See Obama for an explanation of how that makes sense.

Once again, nonsense. Growing tobacco isn’t that tough. Dealing with black marketeers, is. For most people, it is something they would prefer an alternative to, even a more expensive alternative.

Growing tobacco is tough. Getting it ready for sale is tough. Most people do not want to roll their own. None of those things apply to weed. Were it not so with tobacco you would find the black market would be much bigger than it is and it’s big now and getting bigger with each tax increase.

And people, especially in NYC and Chicago, can buy their cigs from a smuggler, and same themselves a couple fo bucks a pack. And yet, the vast majority of them prefer to simply pay the tax.

Now why is that?

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 1:05 PM

Maybe downtown they do. That”s probably because they are rich anyway so what do they care? The vast majority go to a lower tax area or buy from the black market. That’s why they have to keep raising the tax to try to raise revenue from it. If taxes were as high as the inner city in the rest of the state the black market would be huge.

Rocks on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

As a child of the 60′s who never used drugs but always wanted to try Acid but was to scared to, I have watched the results of friends who did. It did not turn out well in their 50′s. They all started with pot.

I’m sure none of them consumed alcohol.

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

Let the states legalize it. If there are a few states in which the majority still opposes it then they can prohibit it in their states.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:08 PM

The same standard should be applied to abortion. Put that out as part of this very legitimate principle and the left would stop whining about having to buy their pot illegally. Might even shut up the more astute of the the Ron Paul potheads too.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

The left among others spent billions trashing big tobacco but now support big weed? Hypocrites.

The right among others spent billions trashing the nanny state, but support the criminalization of weed? Hypocrites.

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM

R’s could tie it in with the failed and expensive drug war, and more importantly, tie it in with Fast and Furious to damage the current party in power.

dip it in cider on November 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM

I don’t disagree with your points, but what R’s and conservatives really need to do is tie it in with the fundamental principle of federalism and of limiting the federal government to only those powers that it is explicitly granted.

It doesn’t take much to convince a conservative that the federal government has overstepped its constitutional bounds on thousands of other issues. It hardly helps (actually, it undermines) conservative arguments when conservatives are willing to turn a blind eye to the federal government overstepping their bounds on this issue because they personally think marijuana should be illegal.

thirteen28 on November 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

The same standard should be applied to abortion.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I agree, and blame the alcoholics.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

I don’t know… does alcohol production and distribution require “big government”? Or should we save money and go back to alcohol prohibition?

JohnGalt23 on November 30, 2012 at 12:51 PM

Not sure what point you’re trying to make. It seems like a non sequitur.

There can be no comparison to alcohol as far as taxing and controlling the production, tracking, purity of product, consistent levels of active ingredient etc, and pot.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:21 PM

All these supposed conservatives coming out of the woodwork to express their “concern” with the “consequences” of legalizing are expressing their concern in the consequences of freedom. Plain and simple. This is why I am starting to believe that the Republican brand is ruined. They are too old. Too stuck in some false set of morals from the past. Let the Democrats be the party of laws and regulation. There is nothing to be gained in that direction long term.

Everything that can be said about the dangers of a high populace pales in comparison to the dangers of the currently drunk populace. I know that when drunk I drive like a 16 year old kid. When high on pot I drive like a paranoid grandma. Which would you rather have on the road? Its going to happen regardless. This is America, people take risks.

dip it in cider on November 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

dip it in cider on November 30, 2012 at 12:58 PM

Good argument.

And while we’re at it, we may as well legalize prostitution on the same grounds. Morally I disapprove, but am unable to find an argument that anyone is hurt by it, it’s a free market transaction, might benefit from legalization in terms of reducing related crime (pimps, etc), improve related health (screenings and certs, etc).

I dunno.

But gee, at least we aren’t talking about the pending societal/financial suicide or anything important like that, so Obama’s bound to be happy about that.

Midas on November 30, 2012 at 1:22 PM

The right among others spent billions trashing the nanny state, but support the criminalization of weed? Hypocrites.

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 1:17 PM

I don’t think the term “nanny state” means what you think it means.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

jon1979 on November 30, 2012 at 12:36 PM

Interesting stuff. People, read this comment.

Capitalist Hog on November 30, 2012 at 1:27 PM

I don’t think the term “nanny state” means what you think it means.

Mimzey on November 30, 2012 at 1:23 PM

Sure it does, you’re just in denial because you’re a nanny stater.

FloatingRock on November 30, 2012 at 1:29 PM

I’m sure none of them consumed alcohol.

mazer9 on November 30, 2012 at 1:14 PM

I’ve seen both, and can say that almost universally, those that went the drug or drug/alchohol path have fared far worse than the ones that only drank alchohol or did neither.

I had friends that only drank (group a). I had friends that didn’t drink (group b). I had friends that drank and smoked pot, some of which moved on to harder drugs (group c).

Only one of those groups has a history of breaking into homes – of their friends, no less – to steal things in order to obtain more of their habit. Only one of those groups has a history of jail time associated not with the use of the stuff, but with the actions they undertook while influenced (no, not DUI) or in order to keep themselves with the ability to acquire more of the stuff.

Hint – it’s neither group a nor b.

This is anecdotal, and your mileage may vary, and yet… if one scenario is consistently pervasive, might there not be some truth to it, even if you personally don’t want it to be true?

Midas on November 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM

As a child of the 60′s who never used drugs but always wanted to try Acid but was to scared to, I have watched the results of friends who did. It did not turn out well in their 50′s. They all started with pot.

BullShooterAsInElk on November 30, 2012 at 1:12 PM

But how can that be? Part of the pothead mantra is that pot isn’t a gateway drug! That being said, I’ve got to wonder just how enjoyable pot will be for users when it costs $100/carton and is filtered.

Happy Nomad on November 30, 2012 at 1:31 PM

I’m for pot being legal for adults. No, I don’t smoke.

The majority of pro-potheads have the idea that they will be able to light up anywhere, though.

You can’t drink a beer just anywhere. You can’t drink on the job, unless you have a really cool job. Employers will still drug test you via their rules already in place.

What it will do is clear out of the judicial system many people and many millions (billions?) that are being totally thrown away now.

Moesart on November 30, 2012 at 1:37 PM

I say legalize it and it should be the conservative opinion. Here is why…

(1)It will save tax money by not spending valuable law enforcement resources trying to stop marijuana and paying for the incarceration of users and dealers.

(2)It will be good for certain local economies by allowing farmers to plant marijuana to sell and it can be taxed. Taxing is not conservative but at least it will become a net positive to debt problems in states instead a net negative as it is now.

(3)It will reduce the power of Mexican cartels and at least reduce the border crossings of drug runners of marijuana (yes other drugs will still be a problem). Why have American money fly over to Mexico, when it can be kept at home in America?

(4) Also the gateway drug argument can be used on all sorts of other things, like fast food is a gateway to being fat which will lead to a shorter life.

William Eaton on November 30, 2012 at 1:38 PM

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