Saturday, March 27, 2010

Legalize it

The economic benefits of marijuana legalization are becoming too obvious for fiscally crunched states to ignore:

On Wednesday, the California secretary of state certified a November vote on a ballot measure that would legalize, tax and regulate marijuana, a plan that advocates say could raise $1.4 billion and save precious law enforcement and prison resources.

Indeed, unlike previous efforts at legalization — including a failed 1972 measure in California — the 2010 campaign will not dwell on assertions of marijuana’s harmlessness or its social acceptance, but rather on cold cash.

“We need the tax money,” said Richard Lee, founder of Oaksterdam University, a trade school for marijuana growers, in Oakland, who backed the ballot measure’s successful petition drive. “Second, we need the tax savings on police and law enforcement, and have that law enforcement directed towards real crime.”

I strongly support a more federalist approach to government, meaning that more power resides with local and state governments and not with the feds. This is how our country used to, prior to the Civil War. The information needed to make the right governing decisions is widely dispersed all over the country, so centralizing power in Washington is a recipe for disaster (as history has shown). I also find it hard to believe that the current mortgage crisis would have happened without a federal push for homeownership and if banks had to rely on state governments for their bailouts.

The federal ban on marijuana is one of the most obvious policy blunders of government since alcohol prohibition. If this legislation passes in California, the federal response will be immensely interesting. If the feds just take a passive approach and let states do what they want, many states may choose to ignore other federal mandates like Obamacare. And if the feds strong arm California into maintaining a ban on marijuana, I can't even imagine the legal and political fireworks such a move would produce. Therefore, the feds may finally realize it's time to legalize.


Anonymous said...

Wow! Something we can agree on.

Dinosaur Mom said...


Freemarket said...

Anon 2:02- then we probably agree on a lot, or you're not the least bit consistent in what you believe.