A Post-Prohibition Budget Solution

A Post-Prohibition Budget Solution
Posted by CN Staff on September 14, 2007 at 05:41:45 PT
By Tom Elias
Source: Palo Alto Daily News
California -- Another state budget writing season is over, and another deficit budget adopted (even though Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger won't admit it), with the usual lip service to fixing the so-called "structural deficit," but nothing serious done in that direction. Meanwhile, from deep in the Emerald Triangle of Northern California, long reputed to be the national capital of in-ground marijuana growing, comes a simple idea that could both solve the budget deficit and end the greatest American hypocrisy since Prohibition.
Too bad it has virtually no chance of passage in this decade or, very likely, the next one either.You remember Prohibition, don't you? Liquor was banned by a federal constitutional amendment but still remained available to pretty much anyone who wanted it. Rum-runners got rich and moonshine whiskey was distilled in secret because of a cottage industry in many a hilly rural area. If that sounds a little familiar, substitute pot for booze. It is also readily available today for almost anyone who wants it. Drug cartels and the occasional small private grower get rich from the illicit trade. Pot gardens abound in virtually every wild, woodsy and hilly area of California (not to mention Oregon, Arkansas, Tennessee and many other states). Homes in middle class suburbs like Diamond Bar and Pomona are turned into greenhouses by hydroponic marijuana growers who are sometimes caught when their electric bills become astronomical and attract attention. How much pot is grown in California? The take from the annual Campaign Against Marijuana Production, a joint campaign of state, federal and local authorities, now approaches $7 billion in street value, but law enforcement spokesmen generally estimate they confiscate no more than one-tenth of the crop. That estimate recently spurred the Mendocino County Board of Supervisors to implore its local congressman, Democrat Mike Thompson, to press forward efforts to get marijuana legalized. As medical pot users in California have frequently discovered since passage of Proposition 215 in 1996 attempted to legalize medicinal use with a doctor's recommendation, any significant legalization will have to come from the federal level. State laws are simply too easy for federal agents to overrule. The Mendocino County letter contains the seeds of a budget solution. It was based on one local official's estimate that marijuana contributes about $5 billion annually to the county's overall economy. The estimate is based on the approximate $500 million worth of pot rousted by authorities from Mendocino gardens. The supervisors, of course, are concerned about their always-strapped county budget and figure that if pot were legalized, the county might get about $50 million a year in fresh income. That figure could be very low. Statewide, legalizing pot would produce much, much more for governments at all levels. Do the math: If $7 billion is confiscated, then production in the state is worth about $70 billion, all now completely untaxed. Legalize the weed and you get an immediate $5.77 billion in sales taxes. Legalize it, and you then can track who's getting the money and make sure they pay income taxes, which ought to produce at least another $7 billion or so for state and local coffers. That infusion would rise as the years go by, due to inflation. Taxes produced would be more than what's needed to end the often vilified structural budget deficit. Add an excise tax and you get even more. The federal government wouldn't get enough from California alone to pay for the war in Iraq, but its national take after legalization might be as much as $60 billion a year. This money now all goes into the hands of criminals and their cartels. Because their product is illegal contraband, these growers feel they must guard it. So they booby-trap gardens, employ armed men to patrol around the clock and work to kill off any competition or turf poachers. Legalize marijuana and much of that criminal activity would end because it would be unnecessary. The quality of pot, currently extremely variable and unpredictable, could also be policed. There would no longer be any reason for anyone to fake an illness in order to get a medipot doctor's recommendation, so federal raids on dispensaries would end. And law enforcement could concentrate more on other drugs like methamphetmines, cocaine and heroin. Sure, there is a potential downside: Pot makes users lethargic and unmotivated. It can also be a step toward use of harder drugs. Much the same can be said for alcohol, and was said about it before Prohibition ended. But Prohibition ended because it was flouted to the point of absurdity. The same is true for anti-marijuana laws today. That makes it a shame that, for now, the Mendocino County idea has absolutely no chance of even coming to a vote in Congress. Tom Elias is a syndicated columnist who writes on state affairs. Source: Palo Alto Daily News (CA)Author: Tom EliasPublished: September 14, 2007Copyright: 2007 Palo Alto Daily NewsContact:  letters paloaltodailynews.comWebsite: Articles: Supervisor: Legalized Pot Long Overdue Legalize Pot 
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Comment #26 posted by Toker00 on September 16, 2007 at 13:20:39 PT
Great protest! Thanks, nuevo mexican
Refreshing! Sure wish I could have joined them. Something tells me I will before these stupid wars end.Toke. 
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Comment #25 posted by nuevo mexican on September 16, 2007 at 11:03:21 PT
Photos: big antcrowd:100.000...Oct.27th, next!
Here you go toker00,thanks C-news and FOM, Any news or photos on the Boston Rally, no media coverage on that one either, I guess we live in the former Soviet Union, 
except we seem to be worse, with a million dead Iraqis so far, that is alot of blood on Americas' hands. And this is 2007! from DailyKos![UPDATED - New Pix] Photo Essay: Marchers Demand Impeachment, End to War
by Sycamore
We were at the march today with possum (Jerry Northington, kos blogger who is running for Congress in Delaware) and other Kossacks as they protested the war and demanded impeachment. The crowd was larger than I had expected -- easily over 100,000. It's 2:30 am and I marched for miles today, so I'll let these images speak for themselves. March against the occupation and for impeachment, October 27th! 10 Cities, United for Peace and Justice is the organizer, so let's turn out a Million plus! We've got lots of time to organize, and our lives depend on stopping the war/death/profit machine. media refuses to cover our protests' with any interest, or context, as they know the depth of outrage, and are complicit and should be held partly responsible. Drug war included. More great photos of yesterdays Washington rally you won't see on 'teevee': this fall, people from all walks of life will gather at sites around the country for 10 massive regional demonstrations.People everywhere want the war to end, but Washington has failed to take decisive action. With each passing month, nearly 100 service-people and countless more Iraqis are killed, some 12 billion of our tax dollars are spent, and the death and destruction continue. Our communities – from New Orleans to Minneapolis – are neglected and suffer the consequences.
From Boston to Los Angeles, from New York to New Orleans, on October 27th the people will speak: We want this war to end, and we want it to end now! American Heroes show us how it's done, 189 arrested at 'die-in', more willing to be arrested turned away...... Sheehan in five parts at fighting bobs:'s a week of stop bush/cheney actions, and with Karl Rove gone, bush has no one to control his message.
As you can see with Mr. bushes Thursdays' nightmare spleech and splurge, he's lost it, so let's not call it a surge.Have fun with the links!
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Comment #24 posted by Toker00 on September 15, 2007 at 17:38:28 PT
General story about marches at USA Today.
First one I've read.
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Comment #23 posted by Toker00 on September 15, 2007 at 17:26:35 PT
Just woke up from a nice over due nap. What happened today? I haven't seen any videos of the marches..."The supervisors, of course, are concerned about their always-strapped county budget and figure that if pot were legalized, the county might get about $50 million a year in fresh income."Imagine what the entire State would get. Then Imagine what the entire Nation would get. Then Imagine all the profits cannabis would cost the Corporate Elite from products more efficient to produce and far more environmentally and body friendly and longer lasting than the petroleum based products we kill our world and ourselves with everyday. They would rather kill our world and us than lose Profit and micro-management of the Human Race.That's why cannabis is "illegal". That's why we must convert from Sheeple back to We The People. END CANNABIS PROHIBITION NOW!Gone looking...Toke.
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Comment #22 posted by mayan on September 15, 2007 at 14:26:08 PT
We can virtually march!
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Comment #21 posted by konagold on September 15, 2007 at 11:06:38 PT:
Aloha Whigno I am Rev. Dennis ShieldsAloha
Rev. Dennis Shields
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Comment #20 posted by Hope on September 15, 2007 at 09:32:16 PT
Mark Souder?
Are you feeling the sheer blessedness of all you've accomplished today?Do you feel that you are the purveyor of the righteousness of Jesus Christ? Are you following the only "rule"...."Love one another"?Sure you are. How about you, Andrea? Joyce?Will you be filled with joy at the sight of your God? How about when He lays open to your eyes all that you have done to and for your fellow man? Pleading ignorance, "I didn't know!", won't get it. You've heard the truth... and in your self righteousness, you've rejected it again and again.Are you sure you have your "morality" hat screwed on right, Mr. Souder?
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Comment #19 posted by Hope on September 15, 2007 at 09:23:19 PT
Brian Epis....
Another martyr to prohibitionists' stupidity.How long must this continue?Prohibitionists are worthy to be despised if anyone ever was.Prohibitionists are lying brute beasts. Who has Mr. Epis harmed? Why is he being put in a prison?Lying, hideously vile prohibitionists! And to think, so many of them will sit piously in church pews, tomorrow. They're something worse than hypocrites and heretics. Worse!
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Comment #18 posted by FoM on September 15, 2007 at 06:23:04 PT
News Article from The Sacramento Bee
Medicinal Marijuana User Sentenced for Second TimeBy Denny Walsh - Bee Staff Writers Friday, September 14, 2007 For the second time in five years, Bryan James Epis, the first person associated with a California cannabis buyers' club to be tried in a federal court for growing marijuana, was sentenced Friday in Sacramento to 10 years in prison.Complete Article:
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Comment #17 posted by Toker00 on September 15, 2007 at 06:19:46 PT
I really regret not being able to do more than observe these happenings for freedom today. Circumstances beyond my control won't allow it. My computer is on, my TV will be and my eyes will be here most of the day. Let's see what Mainstream Media avoid today...Toke.
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Comment #16 posted by Toker00 on September 15, 2007 at 06:14:38 PT
Yeah, I'm still tripping on this one...
Grow locally, distribute freely. No one gets busted for enormous amounts being transported, no one gets busted with enormous cash, no one gets busted for enormous gardens, no one gets busted for SELLING anything to narcs. Disrupt the local Black Market, at least where cannabis is concerned. The cops would basically be blind because we would be off the well surveyed Black Market trail...we would become the White Market. The market based on Truth, Honor and Courage. THC. Everyone wants to Free Cannabis and we can with Free Cannabis.I already know the arguments against this, so please spare me the obvious. Like I said, it was just a trip.Toke.
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Comment #15 posted by Toker00 on September 15, 2007 at 05:37:23 PT
Tax Free Cannabis. Tax Exempt Cannabis.
They will allow us to pay tax on Cannabis when that Tax is 1,000 times more than any profit that can be made. If we pay that tax and absorb the entire costs of producing it, could we legally possess it then? Like we would. We can't sell it. We can't buy it. We can't possess it. Yet we do all of those things and don't pay a red cent in taxes on it. Pretty severe tax evasion, I would think. They avoid taxing it proportionately to alcohol because they make much more money by it's prohibition. We have to make Cannabis FREE. We have to grow and give away enough Cannabis to destroy both the Black Market and Prohibition simultaneously. Cannabis use MUST be accepted in this World. The Creator Demands It.This would Truly be a way to Overgrow the Government, the Corporations, and all opposition to Cannabis use. Grow it and share it for free. Our labor could be our freedom. When the jails start clearing of hard drug users and alcoholics who switch to cannabis as a rehabilitative substance and when domestic violence calls dwindle because the users of alcohol will have a Free Safer Alternative that induces in it's users tranquility and interest in things other than Self and when Pharmacies across the land begin to close their overzealous drug storefronts because we really don't need most of that sh*t anyway, then Legalizing and taxing it will become a realistic policy.Giving Cannabis away free will remove many unnecessary chances of charges being filed. Just give under the maximum limit and do it more often if you have to. Smaller possession charges are far less than those for selling/distributing charges. There would still be the risk of manufacturing charges, but they exist whether cannabis is free or grown for profit. What are the cops going to do when they can't catch the dealers in action? What will they do when the volume of confiscations decline? They will claim SUCCESS in the War on Drugs and demand the same budget to keep it that way. Never mind that budget cuts would be the right thing to do.Who do you know right now that wouldn't put down that four dollar six pack (haven't bought any in a very long time so don't hold me to that figure) and pick up a free cannabis cigarette, just to compare the high, if nothing else? How many people grow their own for free right now who just simply aren't telling anyone?It would be next to impossible to get everyone on board with this, but it would work. Even if it were just enough of us to cause some journalistic interest. It would work.Toke.
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Comment #14 posted by mayan on September 15, 2007 at 05:32:38 PT
SEPTEMBER 15 - Mass March in Washington DC! hope today's march is big and peaceful!
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Comment #13 posted by jimijaymz on September 14, 2007 at 20:56:07 PT:
no profanity needed here. the simple facts are that when possession is not illegal, anybody south of about 40 degrees north latitude will have only to grow herb along with corn ( etc ) in the family garden. all of this number play still begets the illusion that the street price of herb would still be an inflated $4000 a pound. the weed will be cheaper than lettuce, it can't be patented, and it will grow out of the cracks in any sidewalk. all the squealing about drug cartels, pesticides and the like will be but a distant memory. " Grandpa, how come weed was illegal for 70+ years when it has a 10,000+ year history of symbiosis with Man ? " know acception. peace. 
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Comment #12 posted by whig on September 14, 2007 at 17:29:33 PT
Yes. The federal government does not respect California law.
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Comment #11 posted by mayan on September 14, 2007 at 17:26:18 PT
Dispensaries are being raided now in California.
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Comment #10 posted by whig on September 14, 2007 at 17:21:35 PT
Medical cannabis is being taxed now in California.
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Comment #9 posted by mayan on September 14, 2007 at 17:19:09 PT
Ian Welsh
Who does he support for prez? Welsh is obviously a gatekeeper of the left.
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Comment #8 posted by aolbites on September 14, 2007 at 17:15:03 PT
"and other social movement organizations."
Scientists Use 'Dark Web' To Snag Extremists And Terrorists Online-=snip=-This is where the Dark Web project comes in. Using advanced techniques such as Web spidering, link analysis, content analysis, authorship analysis, sentiment analysis and multimedia analysis, Chen and his team can find, catalogue and analyze extremist activities online. According to Chen, scenarios involving vast amounts of information and data points are ideal challenges for computational scientists, who use the power of advanced computers and applications to find patterns and connections where humans can not.One of the tools developed by Dark Web is a technique called Writeprint, which automatically extracts thousands of multilingual, structural, and semantic features to determine who is creating 'anonymous' content online. Writeprint can look at a posting on an online bulletin board, for example, and compare it with writings found elsewhere on the Internet. By analyzing these certain features, it can determine with more than 95 percent accuracy if the author has produced other content in the past. The system can then alert analysts when the same author produces new content, as well as where on the Internet the content is being copied, linked to or discussed.-=snip=--=snip=-Dark Web's capabilities are also being used to study the online presence of extremist groups and other social movement organizations. Chen sees applications for this Web mining approach for other academic fields."What we are doing is using this to study societal change," Chen says. "Evidence of this change is appearing online, and computational science can help other disciplines better understand this change."-=snip=-Pissoff Darkweb! This is free speach!!
Scientists Use 'Dark Web' To Snag Extremists And Terrorists Online
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Comment #7 posted by mayan on September 14, 2007 at 17:10:50 PT
The feds won't allow any taxable cannabis. As I've said time and again, their war on industrial and medicinal cannabis outweigh any of our concerns over recreational cannabis as far as they are concerned. And that damned Constitution. Just a document. Flush it. When the pesky,worthless middle-class is totally gone we can thank those who destroyed that silly piece of paper. THE WAY OUT IS THE WAY IN...9/11 explains the impotence of the antiwar movement - By Paul Craig Roberts: 9/11 Truth Event in Bloomington, Indiana: Truth Festival presents the case for an 
"unimpeachable" investigation into 9/11: protesters mark 9/11, seek end of Iraq war: NYC with Alex Jones (video):
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Comment #6 posted by aolbites on September 14, 2007 at 16:34:28 PT
ot: research tool
check out you see the links between websites ..could be usefulat the least it lets you see the insular nature of the ondcp/nida ... all the govt sites pretty much only link to themselves .. never to outside research ..
TouchGraph Google Browser
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Comment #5 posted by whig on September 14, 2007 at 13:41:25 PT
Are you James Kimmel?I just want to be clear if I'm going to write a letter to say whether I know him or how I come to be aware of his situation.
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Comment #4 posted by konagold on September 14, 2007 at 10:30:02 PT:
OT Rev. Kimmel
Man enters unusual plea in drug case
WAILUKU – A man who claims he can use marijuana as a religious sacrament made a very unusual conditional plea of no contest to two drug charges Monday in 2nd Circuit Court.James Kimmel, 72, of Kula was warned by Circuit Judge Joseph Cardoza that he could face up to 30 years in prison, unless his appeal of Cardoza’s earlier ruling succeeds.Kimmel was arrested Feb. 22 at a Paia house where police said they found more than 2 pounds of processed marijuana. Kimmel has not denied using the drug, maintaining instead that he and others were using the marijuana as part of a service for the Religion of Jesus Church, which he founded in 1969 in Sonoma, Calif.In July, Kimmel’s defense attorney, Michael Glenn, moved to dismiss the charges on the First Amendment grounds of freedom of religion. But Cardoza denied the request, saying a marijuana-use requirement in Kimmel’s church appeared to be designed to shield users from prosecution rather than serve as part of a religious belief.Kimmel’s appeal of Cardoza’s ruling has not been decided.Cardoza carefully questioned Kimmel about his understanding of the consequences of his plea. Normally, a no-contest plea precludes any further pretrial motions.Since this is a conditional plea, an exception is made for the appeal, but otherwise, Cardoza told Kimmel, he’d be eligible for a 10-year sentence on the charge of commercial promotion of a dangerous drug, which could be doubled under extended sentencing guidelines.The second charge of possessing paraphernalia associated with drug promotion could bring a five-year term, which again could be doubled.Cardoza said he also could decide to make the sentences consecutive.He asked Kimmel if he were under the influence of drugs or alcohol.Kimmel said he had used only his heart medications. Cardoza asked if those affected his judgment.“Maybe my memory,” said Kimmel, who assured the judge that he was clear-headed Monday morning.Cardoza ordered a pre-sentence report and scheduled sentencing for Nov. 6.Two people arrested with Kimmel, James Greathouse and Liz O’Garvey, are awaiting their trials on drug charges.Aside from the processed marijuana, police said they found 137 pot plants at the Uluu Place house in Paia.September 13 2007 The Letters Editor
The Maui News
Wailuku, HI 96793Aloha,
For the past 38 years, I have been discriminated against by the Governments of California and Hawaii because Cannabis (marijuana) is my sacrament of my religion. Prior to that, I worked for the U.S. Government as a scientist—an ecologist—on the nuclear testing frontier. I started teaching high school in 1967 and my students introduced me to marijuana. As a botanist I had studied about the history of hemp but had never seen nor tried it until my students told me that if I wanted to know the truth about pot I would have to try it. So I did, and I discovered the truth about pot. In less than a year I underwent a paradigm shift in my consciousness from a hard core atheist to a recognizer, realizer and knower of God, a theist. I got setup and busted and fired as a teacher, but the charges against me were dropped after three years.
If you believe in God, recognize the sovereignty of God, believe in the truth of sonship with God, and have faith in the effectiveness of the supreme human desire to do the will of God—to be like God, you are a fellow citizen of the kingdom of heaven, the spiritual brotherhood of man, founded on the eternal fact of the fatherhood of God.
Our most basic Liberty, the freedom to choose good or evil has been stolen in the guise of making pot and many other things illegal. Since you are not free to make your own moral choices relative to these things, you are a slave, and you actually pay to be a slave, which is against the Law under the 13th Amendment of the U. S. Constitution. To pay taxes to pay for the enforcement of the laws that create, support and maintain political slavery is against the Law. Is our use of pot for religious and medical reasons illegal or should the law be declared illegal, unconstitutional? Write Judge Joseph Cardoza, c/o Adult Client Services, Second Circuit Court, 2050 Main Street, Wailuku, 96793, and tell him what you think. Should I go to jail for up to 30 years for using a God-given plant, or not? Do you care about your Liberty of the personal freedom of choice and religion, the right to privacy and equal protection and opportunity under the law, or not? 
Let the voice of freedom cry out for the equal benefit of all. Mahalo, James D. Kimmel
2970 Omaopio Road
Kula, HI 96790
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Comment #3 posted by FoM on September 14, 2007 at 09:54:46 PT
Democracy by Leonard Cohen Lyrics
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Comment #2 posted by FoM on September 14, 2007 at 09:25:35 PT
That is so true. I don't want to go back. I want to look forward to progressive change for our country. All this stuff about the Constitution (not insulting but just don't get it) I don't understand. I look at our country from the eyes of my soul not a document and an idealist view for world dominance. I don't want a one world order. Who would police the Capitalists? They aren't honorable so how can a free market just happen? 
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Comment #1 posted by Dankhank on September 14, 2007 at 09:14:20 PT
OT ... RPaul
not much meat to this story, but interesting ...Libertarians are not friends of the weak ...
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