Why Feds Should Take Over U.S. Marijuana Sales 

Why Feds Should Take Over U.S. Marijuana Sales 
Posted by CN Staff on July 30, 2005 at 06:24:32 PT
By Ronald Frazer
Source: Chicago Sun-Times
Illinoisans spend about $207 million each year to enforce state and local marijuana laws. What are these taxpayers getting for their money? Not much, according to a recent study.Jon B. Gettman, a senior fellow at George Mason University's School of Public Policy, prepared the study, ''Crimes of Indiscretion: Marijuana Arrests in the United States,'' for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws.
''Marijuana arrests,'' says Gettman, ''are instruments of a supply-reduction policy.'' But, he adds, ''The doubling of marijuana arrests in the 1990s has produced the opposite of the intended effect in every major indicator. An increase in arrests should produce a reduction in use and the availability of marijuana. However, during the 1990s both use and availability of marijuana increased.''Marijuana possession arrests in the United States totaled 260,000 in 1990. By 2003 that figure topped 662,000.Even failed public policies, however, can cost a bundle.Illinoisans are, in effect, paying for Washington's marijuana prohibition policies. ''The use of criminal law to control the availability and use of marijuana,'' says Gettman, ''is a federal policy that is dependent on local law enforcement for its implementation.'' And state and local costs quickly add up.Boston University economics Professor Jeffrey A. Miron estimates that nationally, state and local officials spend about $5 billion per year enforcing marijuana laws.Illinois' share of this multibillion handout to Uncle Sam looks like this: $84 million for police services; $105 for judicial services, and $18 million for correctional services.The thousands of people arrested on marijuana possession charges in Illinois each year -- especially teenagers -- pay extra. ''Marijuana arrests make criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens,'' Gettman says. ''Indeed, the primary consequence of marijuana arrests is the introduction of hundreds of thousands of young people into the criminal justice system.''Once a teenager has a criminal record, other penalties often follow. In Illinois, for example, employers can ask job applicants about arrests leading to a conviction, and a criminal record may bar a person from public housing.Taking a close look at marijuana patterns, Gettman notes that young people are disproportionately targeted.Nationally, almost 17 percent of all persons arrested for possession of marijuana were between 15 and 17 years old. Another 26 percent were ages 18 to 20.And what do Illinoisans get for these financial and personal costs? Even though state data is not available, it is safe to say that thousands of marijuana possession arrests were made in Illinois each year. But the number of users keeps going up. While 4.8 percent of Illinois' population was estimated to be monthly users in 1999, in 2002 the estimate stood at 5.5 percent.Nationally, monthly users went from 4.9 percent in 1999 to 6.2 percent in 2002.The basic problem, says Gettman, is that, ''The overall supply of marijuana in the United States is far too diversified to be controlled by law enforcement.''If the current marijuana policies are both costly and ineffective, what is the next best strategy? Because marijuana is so widely used, Gettman recommends treating marijuana like a pharmaceutical product subject to Federal Drug Administration testing and regulatory requirements.By shifting to a policy that treats and taxes marijuana like tobacco and alcohol, Illinoisans could gain the following benefits: a decrease in illegal activities surrounding drug sales; government control of marijuana quality; better control of underage access to marijuana, and the removal of the profit motive that attracts sellers, including a substantial number of teenage sellers who, most frequently, supply other teenagers.On top of that, Miron estimates a marijuana sales tax would replace the $207 million a year Illinois taxpayers are now spending to enforce unenforceable laws, with a new revenue pipeline bringing in $35 million a year.Ronald Fraser writes on public policy issues for the DKT Liberty Project, a Washington-based civil liberties organization.Source: Chicago Sun-Times (IL)Author: Ronald FrazerPublished: July 30, 2005Copyright: 2005 The Sun-Times Co.Contact: letters suntimes.comWebsite: Related Articles & Web Sites:NORML Miron Report for a Marijuana Sales Tax High Cost of Prohibition Marijuana Hypocrisy To Save Nation Billions 
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Comment #6 posted by jose melendez on July 31, 2005 at 05:04:54 PT
fight back with cloth and speech
"We put these all in storage, this was in the bottom of my drawer," said Jodie Giesz-Ramsay, assistant editor of Cannabis Culture magazine, pointing to her T-shirt."We never thought we'd have to dig 'em out again. Today seems like a good day to do it."The shirts feature a fist gripping a marijuana leaf and the caption Free Marc Emery. Post editorial board member Adam Radwanski wrote a column in the Ottawa Citizen detailing his experience of wearing a Bureaucrash "Free Marc Emery" t-shirt. He also calls for the legalization of marijuana. Read his column: "Pot-law Debate Was the Easy Part.", from: September 07, 2004 11:23 AM    A lot of you may know what has happened to Marc Emery (if you haven't, he was sentenced to 3 months for "trafficking" after passing a joint at a rally - visit for more info) and the resulting out cry from citizens across the country.My question is this: does anyone know where I can get a "Free Marc Emery" t-shirt?I've seen them in photos but his own damned site doesn't have a link or infrmation on where to get them. I like wearing my propaganda.Here's the answer: Get your local hemp store to carry the Free Marc Emery postcards, which you can send without stamps to the Minister of Justice. And order a Free Marc Emery t-shirt. They look so totally cool, if I say so myself. Call the BCMP Bookstore at 604.682.1172 to find out how you can get the postcards sent to you for distribution in your area.More from the man himself, on: know my friend Jodie was upset about my militant language and posted about it on the forums, but you know, really, the language I used yesterday and the day before is the same philosophical material as in all my Summer of Legalization Tour speeches and the 2004 March-April university tour. I understand that others are confused about my apparent strident language. Let me say here, I am extremely proud and honoured by the outpouring of volunteer activism that is making an impact with regards to my incarceration, from the letters to the editor, to Mike Cust's website, to those who buy and wear a Free Marc Emery t-shirt, to those brave and persistent souls who, every day, hold a vigil for me and my release at the Saskatoon courthouse, the vigil in Ottawa, and the journalists and newspapers and the editorial cartoonists who have articulated well the appalling state of prohibition. Here is the cannabis culture dot com t-shirt store section, maybe they will post them for sale soon: and support CannabisCulture with your business, Marc Emery deserves our unbridled economic and moral support:
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Comment #5 posted by Hope on July 30, 2005 at 10:24:37 PT
"work for $2.50 an hour"
And they are forced by certain laws to pay their "room and board" (incarceration?)out of that.I sense the odor of a wicked conspiring.
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Comment #4 posted by siege on July 30, 2005 at 09:30:17 PT
mess up
0k I mess up it was an example, in fact in third world country's they are luckie to get $7.00 aday for 400 pair of  blue jeans. and they sell here for $25.00 up.  
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Comment #3 posted by runruff on July 30, 2005 at 09:10:33 PT:
one more thing.
He also said that people duing time for marajiuana 
are loved by the prison system. They always have skills 
they are peaceful and cooperative. They do their jobs and do their time. They are valuble assets to the prison system. They love us in there!
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Comment #2 posted by runruff on July 30, 2005 at 09:04:24 PT:
slave labor.
If you look at the Sherridan Prison web site they have 
wages posted for inmates at $.40 to $.70 per hour.A client of mine is a retired prison guard from the California state prison system. He says that Prison work crews fighting fires and forest restoration get $1.00 per hour.
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Comment #1 posted by siege on July 30, 2005 at 08:42:50 PT
 ''Indeed, the primary consequence of marijuana arrests is the introduction of hundreds of thousands of young people into the criminal justice system.'' THIS IS SO THE GOVERNMENT CAN 
HAVE SLAVE LABOR. And they have to work for $2.50 an hour! so the U S A can be like the third world countrys.
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