Social Question

josie's avatar

If marijuana is legalized, who will make the money?

Asked by josie (27865points) October 11th, 2010

First of all, I do not understand why the government would outlaw a substance that was no more or less harmful than alcohol. Human beings have been getting some sort of buzz since the beginning of the species. It is part of the deal of being human. I understand the “cultural politics”, but seriously…
Clearly, the only issue is striking a balance between being entertained by a chemical, and becoming a slave to it. And that is a problem period. But not for me. Only for the ones who become enslaved.
Having said that…
There has been talk for decades about legalizing marijuana. Little by little, certain states have been moving in that direction, either by decriminalizing, or allowing use for medical purposes. It is obvious which way the wind is blowing.
One of the myriad reasons that the government is getting a little more relaxed about marijuana is the opportunity to tax it and make tons of money off the people who grow it, package it , and use it. Right now, people who make alcoholic beverages make money on the sale of their product, as do people who make cigarettes and cigars.
Right now, the people who grow marijuana are criminals, and they have to spend bundles of money to avoid getting caught. Plus the governement spends a lot of money trying to catch them. And all the while, they commit murder and mayhem in the practice of their industry.
Are these people the same ones who will become wealthy, legitimate, entrepreneurs if it becomes legal?
Or will the current criminals be driven out by legitimate farmers, business people etc.?
Besides the government, who will get rich when marijuana is legalized?

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21 Answers

mrlaconic's avatar

I feel that the “current criminals” would become the “farmers” that you speak of… after all, no one else knows product better.

MissAnthrope's avatar

I think a lot of people will probably grow their own, but I think there will also be a portion of people that don’t know anything about it, or aren’t interested in growing themselves, or they don’t trust the federal government to not crack down on them. Those who grow now may be criminals, but they won’t be criminals if Prop 19 passes. I’m betting, though, that a lot of these ‘criminals’ are not the kind of person your mind conjures up when you hear the word. Quite a few people are passionate about the plant, skilled in horticulture, and really enjoy growing it. I am one of these people.

It’s exciting to me that I could very possibly do something I love, am passionate about, and do very well and maybe make some money. If nothing else, I would relish the chance to have my own little crops, even if it’s just for personal use.

I don’t really know what will happen. I mean, people could grow their own tobacco plants, but they don’t. People could brew their own beer, but a lot of people don’t.

meiosis's avatar

Big Tobacco and Government will make the serious money. If Philip Morris haven’t registered Marleys as a trademark for their future spliff range then they’re idiots.

Frenchfry's avatar

The Government and the growers.

thekoukoureport's avatar

Well who makes the money would be like any other fruit or vegetable that gets grown and sold in this country.

Why this has not been done yet is due to the people who will lose money, Pharmaceuticals, alcohol, and tobbacco.

It is not as harmful as any other drug it’s not a drug. It is an ediblle plant that has not seen one person die from an overdose ever. can’t say that about ANY drug.

Zyx's avatar

As I recall marijuana was made illigal because it was too useful. It was being used for paper and clothes and running everyone out of business. The harm a substance can do seemingly doesn’t enter into the equation for the people in charge (where are you idiot puppetmasters?), since marijuana isn’t the only illigal substance less harmful and addictive than alcohol.

CMaz's avatar

“I do not understand why the government would outlaw a substance that was no more or less harmful than alcohol.”

So you are saying two wrongs make a right?

iamthemob's avatar

@ChazMaz

That sentence states that applying the argument to one substance in the category and not the other, on the face, is arbitrary…and therefore unreasonable without support outside arguments that can also be applied to the substance not covered (alcohol). That’s a little different than “two wrongs make a right”.

CMaz's avatar

I do not believe so. Because one is legal (alcohol) the other should also be? First the flaw in the laws that govern alcohol need to be fixed before we go forward with other forms of a buzz.

I see it as, alcohol should not be legal at all, just life pot. Or it should be free for personal consumption only.

As should pot.

But to sell it off as safe or lacking harm is… Silly.

iamthemob's avatar

@ChazMaz

The harm is that any of it is illegal. There is no reason for the government to criminalize something that (1) people will do anyway, and (2) is an act that they consent to and only do harm to themselves in the act of doing it, if there is any harm.

CMaz's avatar

I understand your point. If it was the 1700’s. Stumble drunk into the pond outback and it is your problem. Today, it would be everyone’s, and with a price tag.

Honestly it makes sense on paper. But, the government is the one that has to pay for the damage that people cause by being drunk and/or stoned.

I agree, do not criminalize any of it. But also, do not make it into a form of commerce. Keep it off the streets and in the privacy of your home. Where it is best kept. Then all can be safer.

Money changes everything, including the rules.

iamthemob's avatar

@ChazMaz

But do you know for a fact that the damage caused by someone being stoned would not be offset by tax revenues received by the government?

And health insurance premiums couldn’t include a “smoking penalty” of some sort (note – there may be privacy issues with this, of course.

Further, regulation by the government would help limit sale to minors. Sale now isn’t regulated at all, and drug dealers don’t care who the sell to, which increases the likelihood that someone who is irresponsible will smoke.

Also, if there is a concern with driving, why not raise the driving age? And the penalties and fines paid by people who are pulled over for DUI can help fund costs associated with those that aren’t caught until after the harm is done. Auto insurance could also be a means of offsetting the price.

And if you increase the penalties associated with DUI-related harm, and increase enforcement, you are more likely to reduce the harm, I would think.

I am interested in how you think they shouldn’t be criminalized, but also they shouldn’t be commercialized. How do you avoid the commercialization of a product in demand that has been disassociated from the penalties of its use?

CMaz's avatar

“offset by tax revenues received by the government?”
“the penalties and fines ”

Enforced with laws. Now we are chasing our tails. Taxes, in this sense, are just legal corruption.

“And if you increase the penalties”
Fix the problem, this way of thinking only makes more. Because of greed.

“I am interested in how you think they shouldn’t be criminalized, but also they shouldn’t be commercialized”

Legal for personal consumption only. You want to drink it or smoke it. You have to make it yourself. Get caught selling it, or producing it in mass quantity and you are fucked.
:-)

iamthemob's avatar

Enforced with laws. Now we are chasing our tails

How so? Regulations like this are already in effect for alcohol and tobacco. If people want to use them, I think they should be charged a premium to fund the harm caused by such use generally.

Fix the problem, this way of thinking only makes more. Because of greed.

I’m again unsure what you mean by this. It’s not about greed by necessity. Increasing penalties is a way to manifest the potential harm with a real value for the user. Generally, when we behave in a negligent manner, we don’t think about the consequences because they’re not concrete. This is the way we get a concrete reference.

Legal for personal consumption only. You want to drink it or smoke it. You have to make it yourself. Get caught selling it, or producing it in mass quantity and you are fucked.

Here, you are using the law yourself in order to regulate use. But you also have eliminated the source of funding for the enforcement. How would the government police this, without revenue to support it? It would have to be drawn from general sources, or from the initial sale of materials. If the materials are used in general production (e.g., materials used to make a still), then we’re still generalizing the cost to the public.

Also, we run into the problem of revolutionizing industries that are already in place. Alcohol and tobacco are both sold and produced overseas. Therefore, we’d have to put in new trade regulation to prevent importation. We’d also have to kill businesses here, which would eliminate tens of thousands of jobs. That is compounded by investments lost by shareholders with holdings in public companies. And these negative forces would be outsourced to the other nations of production. If you eliminate cash crops in some areas, you may also (1) destabilize governments who depend on the crops, and (2) create underground markets both here and abroad. With underground markets comes the same seedy behavior already present.’

Are there practical solutions for these issues? Is this a better option than incorporating marijuana production into structures already in place? I never thought about this as the option, and wonder what the solutions to the issues would be.

CMaz's avatar

“Regulations like this are already in effect for alcohol and tobacco.”

You want to find a ballence. For something that is wrong to begin with.

“It’s not about greed by necessity.”
Sure it is. May I ask how old are you?

“Here, you are using the law yourself in order to regulate use.”
Seems like that but it is to protect the people. Tax it, sell it, and you bring the drug dealing back into the equation. Something else that has to be prevented. Make it cheep and available, no drug dealing.

“But you also have eliminated the source of funding for the enforcement. ”
Nope, that come from the fines, levied on the criminal.

“We’d also have to kill businesses here, which would eliminate tens of thousands of jobs. ”
That sucks, does it not? Legal drug dealing. Hmmmm Now we are back to where we started.

Two wrongs making a right.

iamthemob's avatar

You want to find a ballence. For something that is wrong to begin with.

Please explain.

Sure it is. May I ask how old are you?

Of course you may. Why do you ask though?

Seems like that but it is to protect the people.

The laws I mentioned were to protect the people as well. But you initially seemed to criticize the use of law in regulating the industry. If that’s the case, how is one set different from the other, specifically?

Nope, that come from the fines, levied on the criminal.

Solely? Sadly, then, the more effective the enforcement, the less money will come in, as more people will refrain from trying the laws, potentially. This reduces enforcement. Then, more crime. Then enforcement catches up.

That sucks, does it not? Now we are back to where we started.

Where do you think we started? I’m unclear.

Two wrongs making a right.

Again, please explain.

CMaz's avatar

“Please explain.”
Sorry that I am over your head. IE the age question.
Been around the block too many times.
Drugs are and have always been a tool. A fun tool, but still a tool. Its ability to alter your mood has been a powerful tool.

Drugs lead to dependency, dependency leads to opportunity and corruption.
The best kind of corruption. The strong always taking advantage of the weak. Another reason why I asked your age.

You are a fool not to see that. Or, just a kid or old school stoner, chasing after a buzz.

I am all for Weed and booze. But… Tax it, profit from it. And you legalize corruption and drug dealing. That is all a bar owner is. He just has a business where everybody knows your name. And, there always glad you came.

Now if you want to split hares. Yes, there will be profit to be made, taxes to be paid. From how to books, gardening tools, and devices to ascertain your buzz.

Nothing is perfect.

iamthemob's avatar

@ChazMaz

You’re not over my head. You’re just not being articulate. May I ask what level of education you’ve reached? (see, I can imply things through questions suggesting my opinion of what the answer will be too…;-)).

Drugs lead to dependency, dependency leads to opportunity and corruption.

Not by necessity. Not everyone is addicted to drugs of any kind they use. Dependency does lead to opportunity/corruption, but that’s a necessary evil (which may be two wrongs making a right) of a large, global community. Or any community. People attempt to seize power in any situation – money isn’t the cause of this. People are.

But drug use, in a public arena, also means there will be more public education. The same thing has happened with sexuality – and as people have been educated about safer sex and STDs, we’ve seen an almost completely consistent decline in the rate of teenage pregnancy over the past 10+ years and is at its lowest rate since the 70s, which has been attributed causally to such education. Making drugs or whatever in your home would more than likely reduce this beneficial side effect.

But… Tax it, profit from it. And you legalize corruption and drug dealing.

There will inevitably be an underground market, as I mentioned. Therefore, by going your route, there are all the problems I mentioned. And what’s more, they’re secret problems, which lead inevitably to more harm.

I’m asking you how you think that your method is more practical in terms of reducing corruption and dealing instead of increasing it along with unemployment, etc.

You haven’t given me any specific reasoning for why you think it’s better than the other side of the argument, which is why, again, I ask your education level. ;-)

P.S. – it was VERY clear why you asked my age. It was also ridiculous considering you responded to a single practical question that I asked, but don’t explain how it’s not defeated by the follow up, and ignore everything else, and instead just rely on pithy statements. If you want to convince me that we’ll be worse off if it’s in the profit stream, please tell me how to overcome the problems mentioned above. I’m willing to listen despite the fact you’ve attempted to belittle me.

CMaz's avatar

“You’re not over my head. You’re just not being articulate. ”
See how I had to bait you in, to find out your level of understanding.

“Not by necessity. Not everyone is addicted to drugs of any kind they use.”
Now who is not being articulate? I never said addiction.

And I am very clear. Do not need your help to educate others. But TY for holding my hand.

“People attempt to seize power in any situation – money isn’t’t the cause of this. People are.”
Well, you are allowed your opinion.

“The same thing has happened with sexuality”
Sounds good. If pot grew out my ass. Just seems to me you lack life experience. No matter what your age.

“how you think that your method is more practical in terms of reducing corruption and dealing instead of increasing it along with unemployment, etc.”

If it is free. And, freely accessible. It takes the war out of the war on drugs.
You did choose a correct word. “Reducing” as I said nothing is perfect.

But you want to give in and find a “positive” place for it. Seeing the good in it. You might be able to handle it. I can too. But most can’t.
Friend, there is no positive place for it. The only “good” is our right to get as stoned as we want.

Lets face it, you want it. And you will do your best to be creative about it.
I get what you are saying, been there done that. But, it just does not work that way.
Look at tobacco, they put millions into no smoking programs but sell tons of it. With no intent on stopping. Yea, see how long a board of director stays on board if they suggest to stop the manufacturing of it.

Why? MONEY. Otherwise you would be allowed to grow it in your back yard. And you can’t.

Like alcohol, you cant make that either. Why? MONEY. Typical gangster mentality, biased on DEPENDENCY.
No dependency, no need for the product. Or laws to restrict your access to it.

This is drug dealing 101 here. But you be all economics major about it.

iamthemob's avatar

@ChazMaz

The product will be used always as we seek pleasure. THAT is the motivation for drug use. Dependency comes from repeated use. Not everyone will be able to grow drugs that want them. Or make drinks. This is not always because of money – but time and space, etc. Therefore, a market will arise to supply them. It will be underground and violent like the one that’s here now. Like the one that sprouted up during prohibition.

If you’re against the entire system of currency and capitalism as a whole, that’s fine. However, that’s where we start from. You’re not giving any explanation, and I’ve asked you questions. I never was concerned with a good place for drugs – simply the best way to address them in the system we have. Harm reduction.

I can barely understand what you’re saying, though, because the grammar is so upsettingly bad. I’m glad that you can attack me rather than address my questions or points, but really? It sounds like I lack life experience?

I’m amazed at the inadequacy of your approach to the issue.

Paradox's avatar

This question could have several potential answers to it. First of all except for the black market no one else will be making any money as long as there is a federal ban on the substance. Individual state laws decriminalising marijuana still requires users to purchase pot from black market sources such as through drug dealers.

If the federal ban is lifted and states are actually given the option of outright legalising marijuana there are still several variables here that are viable. This would depend on each states own laws because I do not ever see the federal government making pot outright legal by overriding state laws, more than likely if the federal ban on weed is lifted it will be up to each state to manufacture their own laws on this issue.

How will each state respond, will weed be allowed to be sold in “hemp shops” where it being taxed would allow both the shop owners as well as the federal government making money off the taxes, this is not including any local or state taxes that in my opinion would most likely be added on as well. The other option I can think of is if a state would allow people a license to grow their own under very strict conditions. The feds, state and locals again would tax the license and charge a fee itself for the license. More than likely the license to grow option would limit people to growing only for personal use so legally (unless the legal hemp growers broke this law themselves to make a profit) only the different levels of government involved would be profiting through taxtation. The first option mentioned involving hempshops would most likely allow hemp farmers to grow it for this specific purpose so in this case obviously the government would still profit, along with the hempshop owners and farmers themselves. Either way the government will make the most profit off of legalisation.

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