Social Question

Steve_A's avatar

Is it true about marijuana?

Asked by Steve_A (5120points) February 12th, 2010

I hear people say that the only reason that marijuana is not legal is because it can not be taxed.

I don’t smoke or really keep track of these kinds of things but I got to wondering do you think its true?

Do you think it is a bad idea to legalize it?

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59 Answers

grumpyfish's avatar

It can be taxed—infact many states already have marijuana taxes on the books.

http://www.somerset-kentucky.com/editorials/local_story_113100401.html

“The tax rates are set forth in our statutes: $1,000 for each marijuana plant or $3.50 per gram of processed marijuana, $200 for each gram of controlled substances such as cocaine, and $2,000 for each 50 dosage units of controlled substances which are not sold by weight.

The procedure for procuring the tax stamp is theoretically simple. The taxpayer remits the appropriate sum to the Revenue Cabinet who issues a tax stamp. This procedure is confidential. The tax stamp, which is good for one year, must then be affixed to the illegal drugs.

If law enforcement seizes drugs, and no tax stamp is affixed, the offender can be charged with a class C felony for the tax violation in addition to the substance drug crime. Moreover, the offender must also pay a tax penalty with interest on the seized drugs.”

dpworkin's avatar

I f marijuana were legalized, the prices would become competitive and the huge murderous cartels that run the business would lose a source of income. Also the enforcers would lose a source of corrupt payoffs, so don’t look for it to be legalized any time soon.

CMaz's avatar

That is why legalization for personal consumption only, would only work.

jfos's avatar

@dpworkin Not to mention the benefits that hemp could provide in clothes, fuel, paper, etc… Big business would lose money, and since they provide a lot of funding for the government…

LethalCupcake's avatar

I am part of quite a few Marijuana Legalization programs. If you look past the Stoner part of Marijuana and into the science, and Medical, even Economic benifits you would be surprised. Take a look at these sites: here here and here You will find out some things you probably didn’t even know about how Benificial Marijuana can be. In medical studies Marijuana has worked extremely well in Cancer patients and a few other serious diseases. Did you know that it would only take 6% of U.S. land to produce enough hemp for hemp fuel, Enough hemp fuel to make us energy independent from the rest of the world? The economical benifits are huge also…. Look into it – You’ll be surprised!

drClaw's avatar

To add to @jfos post… Weed was first made illegal not because of the drug, but because of the hemp. Hemp is easily grown, and can be used to make stronger building material and paper than trees can. It was for this reason that the paper and lumber companies, which at the time had strong ties to newspapers, felt threatened and started a fear campaign against Marry Jane. Unfortunately their campaign was successful.

Steve_A's avatar

Oh I see wow….now I have reasonable explanation for them. :)

grumpyfish's avatar

@drClaw not quite… industrial hemp was outlawed by lobbying pressure from Hearst (who had invested heavily in a competing product), but that’s independent of the drug laws.

Steve_A's avatar

So the idea of legalizing is good, but would be bad for economics for America, or just bad for big businesses?

jfos's avatar

Bad for big businesses.

jfos's avatar

And as to whether it’s good or not is up to you.

Steve_A's avatar

Why wouldn’t the big businesses take advantage of it and/or invest in it and make more money?

jfos's avatar

@Steve_A Why wouldn’t a marathon runner stop at mile 7 out of 10 and run back to the starting line to change his shoes and shirt?

Snarp's avatar

Why would it not be able to be taxed? You can tax anything that can be bought and sold. Sure you can grow your own, but not everyone (very few) would want to if you could just buy it at the corner store, even with a tax. You can grow your own tobacco, brew your own beer, and grow your own tomatoes, but all these things are bought and sold and taxed.

Cruiser's avatar

Legalizing pot would be very bad for the tobacco industry which happens to have one of the if not the most powerful lobbyist forces in Washington. I used to smoke ciggys years back and would have much rather smoked a joint than Marlboros. RJ Reynolds or Altria the name they are hiding behind will make damn sure pot remains illegal for a long time to come!

CMaz's avatar

“the tobacco industry which happens to have one of the if not the most powerful lobbyist forces in Washington.”

And they call the shots on this matter.

stump's avatar

How about giving the tobacco companies sole rights to import or grow Mary Jane? They have the infrastructure to process and mass market it. It seems like a win-win to me.

jfos's avatar

@stump They already presumably make way too much money. Why would you choose to invite the monopolization of smoking? Then there would be less competition or need for quality or affordability.

drClaw's avatar

@grumpyfish Do you have any links to the history I can read. Everything I know I saw in a documentary about 2 years ago, but I would love to really get the full story from a trusted source.

stump's avatar

@jfos just an idea. Trying to solve the problem of “we can’t do it because big business won’t allow it.” How about a monopoly for 100 years, like Ma Bell had? After that, it’s anybodies game.

Snarp's avatar

Frankly I don’t buy the whole somebody or other won’t allow it argument on marijuana’s legality. There are still plenty of people who think drugs should be illegal, marijuana included. Democrats are afraid to seem soft on crime and Republicans would lose their supposed moral superiority with the religious right. And of course, most people who smoke pot grow up, stop smoking it, and just don’t care all that much one way or the other. The only people willing to lobby for the repeal of marijuana laws are stoners (with a few exceptions) who are not particularly known for their motivation to work hard for a long period of time.

dpworkin's avatar

@Snarp You may be correct, but your model doesn’t explain the fantastic profitability of marijuana as it is distributed now. What’s your analysis of that?

Snarp's avatar

@dpworkin I don’t see why that should be a reason that it is kept illegal. Lots of drugs are illegal and profitable, but that’s not why we don’t legalize heroin or cocaine. Those murderous cartels are mostly in Mexico at this point, how are they controlling the U.S. government to get them to help maintain the profit margins?

Cruiser's avatar

@stump Anybody can easily grow it. It’s a weed it would take over neighborhoods it grows so easily. There is no profit nor tax revenue in free.

Snarp's avatar

@Cruiser just because anyone can grow it doesn’t mean anyone would. And just because it grows like a weed doesn’t mean that it’s easy to grow something that’s actually worth smoking.

Steve_A's avatar

The likely hood of it ever happening though is slim to none then I take it?

Cruiser's avatar

@Snarp 30 miles from my home in N Indiana is where hemp grows wild…and it is called ditch weed because it grows wild in the ditches in and around where the farms that used to grow it for the war efforts were located. You need to smoke an ounce to even catch a buzz. Either way this low grade ditch weed is what people would want to smoke for everyday all day habits. Some of the newer strains of pot will knock you out with one bong and it 100x’s more powerful than your fathers dope. I also know all my old stoner friends would grow their own in a heartbeat if it was legal to do so and start smoking it again as well.

stump's avatar

@Cruiser I wish it would take over my neighborhood.

davidbetterman's avatar

No this is completely untrue. Marijuana can be taxed just like any other cash crop…corn, tomatoes, carrots.

Marijuana is illegal because it robs the user of ambition…specifically, the ambition to earn vast sums of money. The powers that be recognize this as a serious detriment to their living off the rest of us.

jfos's avatar

@davidbetterman Have you heard of Michael Phelps?

Snarp's avatar

@jfos And a number of NFL players as well. Not to mention certain very wealthy musicians.

Cruiser's avatar

@jfos You can add the current President and at least the last 2 presidents to your list.

jfos's avatar

@Cruiser I was thinking that.

Sarcasm's avatar

@Cruiser “Anybody can easily grow it. It’s a weed it would take over neighborhoods it grows so easily. There is no profit nor tax revenue in free.”
As far as plants go, yeah, it’s relatively easy to grow.
But do you grow any of your own veggies? Or fruit? Or wheat? Or anything?
I don’t. I can’t be bothered to. I’d much rather pick up the product at a store and use the energy on other efforts.
If you think that, as soon as pot’s legalized, everyone’s going to have a bush in their yard (or in their closet), I think you really overestimate the amount of effort Americans put into things.

Spirit_of_the_Nomad's avatar

Anything that is sold legally can be taxed…and the sales from that product can be taxed and the profits of the shipping company could be taxed and the wages of the workers who grow, pick, and prepare the buds could be taxed. Legalizing would give the government quite an income boost not to mention a serious cut in crime (as the whole industry is currently illegitimate,) saving huge amounts of money from, my favorite of the noun wars, the war on drugs.

galileogirl's avatar

@dpworkin substitute the word oil for marijuana and you will see how specious your argument is.

davidbetterman's avatar

@jfos
Do you think Phelps was getting high practicing for and during the Olympics?

You casually toss out ”And a number of NFL players as well”. @Snarp, yet you have no proof. As for musicians, their money making is incidental to their artistry.

Besides, you are talking about a very small percentage of hundreds of millions worldwide getting high.

Pot robs most users of ambition…especially ambition to make vast sums of money.

Cruiser's avatar

@Sarcasm I do grow my own veggies and they do cost me more than I could buy them at the store but I enjoy the process as it relaxing for me. I can only imagine that it would be more than worth my while to grow my own pot than pay what ever pot costs today. You must have deeper pockets than me or you have been smoking some of that wacky weed to say what you said!! ;)

DrMC's avatar

someday, they will legalize bamboo.

thriftymaid's avatar

I don’t know who you are listening to, but I would stop. In many states, even where it is not legal in any way to possess, distribute, or use, it is taxable. My state is one such state. If you possess marijuana you are legally required to pay for tax stamps. The actual effect of this is when one is convicted of a marijuana charge, he may also be convicted of a tax evasion charge. Who would walk into the department of revenue and attempt to pay tax on their illegal marijuana is beyond me. Nevertheless, that is the law.

Of course it would/could be taxed if legalized.

Snarp's avatar

@davidbetterman Warren Sapp admitted it. Ricky Williams admitted it and tested positive. I’m sure if I was up to date on the current NFL crop there’s plenty of proof.

phoebusg's avatar

I don’t think we need this drug to be legalized, at least not without prescription and better intake. The sum of dangers – more toxins than a pack of cigs through the usual intake method – medical consequences (some that can be removed, but still) , neuropsychological effects – both with short use and long term use. Most people don’t know that it’s not a non-harming as it’s passed up to be. For someone with mental illness predisposition (cases of schizophrenia) – the disease was set on and turned chronic with just one use.
Do you really need these risks? And I ask – do you really think you cannot get to a similar if not better psychosomatic state without drugs?

davidbetterman's avatar

@Snarp You’re still only talking a tiny percentage of users vs the vast majority. Sorry, that cuts no ice…

Snarp's avatar

@davidbetterman And you’re making an assumption based entirely on conventional wisdom for which there is no statistical evidence. That doesn’t cut ice either

davidbetterman's avatar

@Snarp LOL..I kinda noticed that as soon as I clicked answer. Good catch!

asmonet's avatar

@phoebusg: Um, no. Just no, to basically everything you said.

drClaw's avatar

@davidbetterman you seem to be grossly generalizing the effects of marijuana. All drugs can rob the user of ambition. In fact on of the worst culprits of this is not weed, but alcohol yet plenty of people seem to be able to use it responsibly. the same goes for pot, it can be used responsibly and the fact that it is less physically addictive than other drugs actually makes it easier to use responsibly.

If you are anti-marijuana you will find greater success proving your point by coming up with a less Reefer Madness-esque argument that doesn’t generalize any person who may use or have used it.

davidbetterman's avatar

@drClawalcohol… plenty of people seem to be able to use it responsibly.

Hahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha
HahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaHahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahahaha

drClaw's avatar

@davidbetterman I’m sorry if you or someone close to you has had addiction problems, but you clearly believe that it is impossible to use any substance with restrain.

davidbetterman's avatar

@drClaw Wrong. I clearly believe that it is impossible for most drunks to use alcohol with restraint.

Did you fail to actually read your own words?

CMaz's avatar

I agree with @drClaw .

I like to smoke pot, I even still like to have a drink now and then.
But, I would be a fool to deny the effect that these things cause other people to do.
Including myself on a RARE occasion.
That alone is a good enough reason to not legalize it and, I do not promote anything positive about it.

That doesn’t mean I lack self control. I really do not care either way.
I like it and it is purely selfish and I am a big boy.

That is why I say:
Legalization for personal consumption only.
Through the means of growing your own.

Break those rules, and they throw the book at you.

davidbetterman's avatar

We always tend to argue for our addictions.

drClaw's avatar

Done, sorry for hijacking your thread.

Steve_A's avatar

I am not sure what y’all are getting at anymore?

Axemusica's avatar

@Steve_A yea, I know.

Y’all bring’n down my high.

desiree333's avatar

Cannabis can most definitely be taxed. Ammendment 64 recently passed in Colorado, legalizing the drug for recreational use. It is the first constitutional amendment regarding pro-regulation. Now, in Colorado, federal law has been bent to allow cannabis recreational use and sale. This is quite different from places such as California, Vancouver, Alaska, Oregon, etc. This is because these places have either decriminalized or provide safe access to medical cannabis through a redcard. Ammendment 64 is an amazing breakthrough, and within the next 2 years or so your answer about taxation will be clarified.

When you said that you heard it cannot be taxed, I think you really meant that it cannot be patented. Cannabis is most effective in it’s raw, crude form. Pharmaceutical companies have unsuccessfully isolated and synthesized the main component of the plant: tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). This medicine (Marinol) has been prescribed as an anti-nausea for chemotherapy patients. My point is, since cannabis is a natural growing plant, corporations such as Pfizer cannot patent, or own the rights to sell it individually. Since these conglomerates are in-bed with the government, officials are reluctant to regulate cannabis. Once you end prohibition, you release the drug from the black market. The cartels and gangsters will have no market to grow and sell cannabis to, effectively reducing crime rates and underage people having access to the drug. Also, prosecution for simple possession and the growth of plants will go away. Therefore, taxpayer money will no longer be wasted on housing non-violent offenders based on the possession of cannabis. The economic benefits are also huge.

Cannabis is illegal in the first place not because it is harmful, but because of hemp! Because of competing products, hemp was prohibited. Lobbyist forces that are fueled by profit have hindered the government in ending prohibition. Once you understand the enormous benefits of this medicine, all other questions about why it isn’t legal can be pretty much answered in two words: profit and corruption. You should really watch this and this documentaries. They will change your whole outlook!

desiree333's avatar

@davidbetterman Cannabis does not rob anyone of ambition. I myself am a full-time University student and also work to pay my way. Are you calling me lazy? If someone sits on the couch eating all day while they’re stoned, they are going to do that with or without the drug. Some of the most successful people in the world are daily users of cannabis (or at least occasional enthusiasts). Sir Richard Branson, Michael Phelps, Barack Obama, Montel Williams, Steven King, Arnold Schwarzenegger, Steve Jobs, Carl Sagan, Francis Crick, Margaret Mead, Oliver Sacks, Richard Feynman, Sergey Brin, etc etc.
I am an 18 year old who lives in a province where cannabis is totally illegal and I am more educated on this subject than people like you. Take the time to do the research before you make judgements about people, including those who “live off the rest of us”. And if you still think it makes people lazy, clearly you aren’t getting the point.

desiree333's avatar

@Phoebusg If you believe that having safe access to cannabis should be limited to those with a “prescription”, then you really have it twisted. Let me explain things for you (even though I’m pretty sure this was already settled in the 20’s and 30’s during alcohol prohibition. Al Capone, anyone?): when you take a substance such as cannabis, and prohibit it, it doesn’t cause the market to go away. Instead, cartels and gangs hold the reigns of who grows and sells cannabis. This causes product fluctuation, crime, violence, young children experimenting with drugs, etc. Why is product fluctuation a problem you ask? Because that is money supporting the drug cartels and not the economy.
As for the dangers, honestly, I don’t have the energy to educate you. So lets make this short: Alzheimer’s disease, epilepsy, multiple sclerosis, glaucoma, chronic pain, arthritis, depression, anxiety, hepatitis C, morning sickness, cancer, HIV/AIDS, chemotherapy, etc. There is no evidence in the history of mankind of anyone, ever overdosing on cannabis. The only way is with carbon monoxide poisoning (which is impossible to smoke that much in a period of time anyways, aka suffocation with no additional oxygen). Something like 88% of prescription medications could be eradicated if people just consumed cannabis. If you don’t understand the problem with prescriptions in general, read. It’s not my job to teach you everything.
Also, cannabis has absolutely no negative connection concerning lung cancer, or any other type of cancer for that matter. Even if you smoke regularly and heavily. The main component of cannabis; delta-9-tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) kills aging cells and keeps them from becoming cancerous. It essentially sends a message through the cannabinoid receptors for the cancerous cells to kill themselves.
Lastly for your “neuropsychological effects” claim: cannabis stimulates the creation of new brain cells (neurogenesis). There have been extensive studies involving subjects given 100 times the human psychoactive dose, with no structural impairment of the brain. No change in hippocampal structure, cell size, cell number, or synaptic configuration. Your claims are just simply incorrect in many ways.
Now, I really have to address your schizophrenia claim, because this is just outrageous. The frequency of schizophrenia is about 1% of the world. You would expect with a drug used as often as cannabis in an individual, there would be a rise in this percentage. It doesn’t change and it hasn’t changed. You can find just as much literature to how cannabis is useful to schizophrenic patients as you can negative claims. Again, read up on this please. I want you, and people like you to be informed. You’re welcome.

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