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Marijuana and Taxes.
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Walkinghairball



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:12 pm    Post subject: Marijuana and Taxes. Reply with quote

A budget cure: Marijuana taxes?

In this desperate economy, some argue that legalizing and taxing marijuana could plug multibillion-dollar holes in federal and state coffers.


This By John Dyer, MSN Money
Daniel Stein says the salvation of U.S. taxpayers could be marijuana.

As Washington breaks the bank on Wall Street bailouts, President Barack Obama's stimulus package and other spend-now, pay-later measures, most observers agree that politicians will eventually need to increase revenue or cut spending to cover the federal government's debts.

Stein believes Washington could begin to balance its books now if politicians would take a serious look at his industry. The owner of two retail outlets that he claims generate $1 million in revenue annually, Stein says he pays around $80,000 a year in sales taxes to the state of California. But the federal government, which does not acknowledge Stein's sales as legitimate commerce, gets nothing from his business.

Sound odd? Not if you know that Stein sells marijuana. See inside a cannabis dispensary

In fact, because federal authorities have spent time trying to close his and other medical-marijuana clubs, Washington is losing money on him.

Imagine how much the feds would save if they stopped cracking down on sellers, Stein says. Lawyer: Why US should legalize pot

"Cannabis is good for the economy," he said. "It's been here the whole time, but it's had a bad rap the entire time."

As more people begin to see the merits in Stein's logic, that bad rap is changing. While legalization, decriminalization and the medical use of marijuana continue to be debated in terms of public health, lawmakers and policy analysts are increasingly touting the economic benefits of regulating and taxing weed, which the Office of National Drug Control Policy says is the most popular illegal drug in the U.S.

Critics of legalizing marijuana say the potential economic benefits of regulating and taxing the drug would obscure the less-tangible, long-term downsides of making it more prevalent in society.

"The argument wholly ignores the issue of the connection between marijuana and criminal activity and also the larger picture of substance abuse," said David Capeless, the district attorney of Berkshire County in Massachusetts and the president of the state's district attorneys association. "It simply sends a bad message to kids about substance abuse in general, which is a wrong message, that it's not a big deal."

A 2004 report by the drug policy office said drugs cost Americans more than $180 billion related to health care, lost productivity and crime in 2002. That study lumped the effects of marijuana in with more-dangerous drugs, such as cocaine and heroin.

But marijuana advocates say history is on their side. They muster arguments similar to those that led to repealing Prohibition during the Great Depression.

"In the early 1930s, one of the reasons that alcohol was brought back was because government revenue was plummeting," Harvard economist Jeff Miron said. "There are some parallels to that now."

Definitive figures on the size of the untapped marijuana market don't exist. It's a gray market, after all. But there are plenty of studies indicating we are not talking about chump change.

In a 2007 study, Jon Gettman, a senior fellow at George Mason University's School of Public Policy, valued the American marijuana trade at $113 billion annually. Between drug enforcement and potential taxes, the federal government and the states were losing almost $42 billion a year by keeping marijuana illegal, the study indicated. Gettman is a former staff member of NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, a nonprofit that lobbies on Capitol Hill for marijuana legalization.

"It's a very large, significant economic phenomenon, and it is diverting an incredible amount of money from the taxable economy," Gettman said.

Miron says he is interested in the topic as a libertarian who believes the government shouldn't ban any drugs. He offers more-conservative numbers, estimating that federal and state treasuries would gain more than $6 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like alcohol or tobacco. At the same time, relaxing laws against use of marijuana would save nearly $8 billion in legal costs, he says.

The Obama administration seems to be inching toward a more permissive stance on marijuana. Last month, U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder announced he would end raids on clubs like Stein's, fulfilling a pledge Obama had made on the campaign trail.

"It's a major break from the 'just say no' mentality," said Allen St. Pierre, the executive director of NORML, referring to Holder's announcement.

Stein is somewhat relieved. The raids had been wreaking havoc on California's budding marijuana industry, he says. Two years ago he was forced to move one of his clubs, The Higher Path, to a new location on Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, after the Drug Enforcement Administration sent his landlord a letter saying agents could seize the building.

"Medical marijuana is very, very satisfying, but it's very nerve-racking and dangerous," Stein said.

St. Pierre says 13 states have adopted laws to allow medical marijuana, while an additional handful have decriminalized possession, meaning the penalties associated with marijuana are negligible.

Of course, critics of decriminalization are also vocal. Calvina Fay, the executive director of the Drug Free America Foundation, says Gettman, Miron and others fail to account for marijuana's adverse side effects, from lethargy to impaired driving to tendencies among weed smokers to try more-serious drugs. "Those who are using drugs are less productive than those who aren't," Fay said.

A spokesman for the drug policy office declined to comment, saying the office wanted to wait until the Senate has confirmed Obama's drug czar nominee, Seattle Police Chief Gil Kerlikowske.

But according to the FBI's most recent data, approximately 870,000 people nationwide were arrested on marijuana violations in 2007. Nearly 15 million Americans use marijuana on a monthly basis, according to the latest National Survey on Drug Use and Health. The same study found that more than 100 million Americans had tried marijuana at least once in their lives. Advocates of decriminalization say those statistics argue against the vision of mass lassitude put forward by their opponents.

"Most people either did the drug themselves or their friends did," Miron said. "They know those extremes are not right."

California has come closest to outright legalization of the marijuana industry. Sacramento already collects around $18 million in sales taxes a year from $200 million worth of medical-marijuana purchases, according to data supplied by California's State Board of Equalization. Now Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, a San Francisco Democrat, is sponsoring new legislation that would legalize marijuana completely -- and tax it. The state estimates the proposal could generate $1.3 billion a year.

"The war on drugs has failed," Ammiano said. "It seems to me there is across both aisles that assessment, and California is in an egregious economic abyss. The economic situation makes (legalization) viable."

The pro-marijuana lobby argues that U.S. agriculture could expand significantly if farmers were allowed to openly cultivate weed. In a 2006 study, Gettman calculated that marijuana was one of the biggest cash crops in the U.S., with 56 million plants worth almost $36 billion.

In the United Kingdom, where restrictions on marijuana research are less onerous than in the U.S., companies such as GW Pharmaceuticals are moving quickly to develop other drugs from the plant. In the company's 2008 annual report, GW executives said they had received approval to market Sativex, a cannabis-derived painkiller, in Canada. The report said the company is seeking approval of the drug from European regulators and is working with the U.S. Food and Drug Administration as well.

A spokesman for the company, John Dineen of the London public-relations firm Financial Dynamics, says executives would prefer not to be quoted in a story about the economic consequences of marijuana legalization.

David Goldman, a patron of the Green Cross, a medical-marijuana dispensary in San Francisco, had no such compunctions. To Goldman, medical marijuana looks like a godsend that should be studied and expanded. After groin surgery a few years ago, he found he had troubling reactions to other painkillers, and he turned to marijuana.

"The constant pain is something I need to accept and is something for which cannabis has been invaluable," he said. "Why should we cede medical cannabis research to the U.K. when some of the best minds in medicine are in this country?"

Produced by Elizabeth Daza

Published April 30, 2009
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Sir Myghin



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 5:33 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

by none other than accessibility theorem always a bad idea. hot fixes are generally retarded anyway.
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Mon Jun 29, 2009 7:17 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

IMHO . . . I think it is a shame when any society will forsake their traditional values for revenues.

Once upon a time, it was considered a bad idea to render one's mind unable to maintain clear, concise thought. Now, there are those among us who are seriously considering condoning it for the sake of money.

Sad. It hurts my heart for mankind.
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Big Blue Owl



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:51 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

I'm sorry it makes you feel bad, Zep, but this plant should not be illegal in the first place. It is not a drug. It is not even in the same league as far as "wackability" as alcohol or other actually mind-affecting drugs, and if we can use it to assist us in not collapsing, then much-much more power to 'em! Check out Amsterdam. What a grand model of life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness. Smile

Decriminalize, legalize, utilize.
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Xanadu



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 10:18 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

http://www.naturalhealthweb.com/articles/Mueller1.html

Article: Cannabis Health Myths - by Cary Mueller

Marijuana is the most popular recreational drug in the Nation. Marijuana is fat soluble, meaning the THC compound attaches itself to fat cells in the human body. The bad news is that THC, being fat soluble stays in the body longer than most other (water soluble) drugs. I have done some research on the truths and fallacis of the effects of marijuana. I wanted to share my summaries with you. References cites: http://www.urinetesting101.com

1. Marijuana causes brain damage

The most celebrated study that claims to show brain damage is the rhesus monkey study of Dr. Robert Heath, done in the late 1970s. This study was reviewed by a distinguished panel of scientists sponsored by the Institute of Medicine and the National Academy of Sciences. Their results were published under the title, Marijuana and Health in 1982. Heath's work was sharply criticised for its insufficient sample size (only four monkeys), its failure to control experimental bias, and the misidentification of normal monkey brain structure as "damaged". Actual studies of human populations of marijuana users have shown no evidence of brain damage. For example, two studies from 1977, published in the Journal of the American Medical Association (JAMA) showed no evidence of brain damage in heavy users of marijuana. That same year, the American Medical Association (AMA) officially came out in favour of decriminalising marijuana. That's not the sort of thing you'd expect if the AMA though! t marijuana damaged the brain.

2. Marijuana damages the reproductive system

This claim is based chiefly on the work of Dr. Gabriel Nahas, who experimented with tissue (cells) isolated in petri dishes, and the work of researchers who dosed animals with near-lethal amounts of cannabinoids (i.e., the intoxicating part of marijuana). Nahas' generalisations from his petri dishes to human beings have been rejected by the scientific community as being invalid. In the case of the animal experiments, the animals that survived their ordeal returned to normal within 30 days of the end of the experiment. Studies of actual human populations have failed to demonstrate that marijuana adversely affects the reproductive system.

3. Marijuana is a "gateway" drug-it leads to hard drugs

This is one of the more persistent myths. A real world example of what happens when marijuana is readily available can be found in Holland. The Dutch partially legalised marijuana in the 1970s. Since then, hard drug use-heroin and cocaine-have DECLINED substantially. If marijuana really were a gateway drug, one would have expected use of hard drugs to have gone up, not down. This apparent "negative gateway" effect has also been observed in the United States. Studies done in the early 1970s showed a negative correlation between use of marijuana and use of alcohol. A 1993 Rand Corporation study that compared drug use in states that had decriminalised marijuana versus those that had not, found that where marijuana was more available-the states that had decriminalised-hard drug abuse as measured by emergency room episodes decreased. In short, what science and actual experience tell us is that marijuana tends to substitute for the much more dangerous hard drugs like alcohol, coca! ine, and heroin.

4. Marijuana suppresses the immune system

Like the studies claiming to show damage to the reproductive system, this myth is based on studies where animals were given extremely high-in many cases, near-lethal-doses of cannabinoids. These results have never been duplicated in human beings. Interestingly, two studies done in 1978 and one done in 1988 showed that hashish and marijuana may have actually stimulated the immune system in the people studied.

5. Marijuana is much more dangerous than tobacco

Smoked marijuana contains about the same amount of carcinogens as does an equivalent amount of tobacco. It should be remembered, however, that a heavy tobacco smoker consumes much more tobacco than a heavy marijuana smoker consumes marijuana. This is because smoked tobacco, with a 90% addiction rate, is the most addictive of all drugs while marijuana is less addictive than caffeine. Two other factors are important. The first is that paraphernalia laws directed against marijuana users make it difficult to smoke safely. These laws make water pipes and bongs, which filter some of the carcinogens out of the smoke, illegal and, hence, unavailable. The second is that, if marijuana were legal, it would be more economical to have cannabis drinks like bhang (a traditional drink in the Middle East) or tea which are totally non-carcinogenic. This is in stark contrast with "smokeless" tobacco products like snuff which can cause cancer of the mouth and throat. When all of these facts are! taken together, it can be clearly seen that the reverse is true: marijuana is much SAFER than tobacco.

6. Legal marijuana would cause carnage on the highways

Although marijuana, when used to intoxication, does impair performance in a manner similar to alcohol, actual studies of the effect of marijuana on the automobile accident rate suggest that it poses LESS of a hazard than alcohol. When a random sample of fatal accident victims was studied, it was initially found that marijuana was associated with RELATIVELY as many accidents as alcohol. In other words, the number of accident victims intoxicated on marijuana relative to the number of marijuana users in society gave a ratio similar to that for accident victims intoxicated on alcohol relative to the total number of alcohol users. However, a closer examination of the victims revealed that around 85% of the people intoxicated on marijuana WERE ALSO INTOXICATED ON ALCOHOL. For people only intoxicated on marijuana, the rate was much lower than for alcohol alone. This finding has been supported by other research using completely different methods. For example, an economic analysis of! the effects of decriminalisation on marijuana usage found that states that had reduced penalties for marijuana possession experienced a rise in marijuana use and a decline in alcohol use with the result that fatal highway accidents decreased. This would suggest that, far from causing "carnage", legal marijuana might actually save lives.

7. Marijuana "flattens" human brainwaves

This is an out-and-out lie perpetrated by the Partnership for a Drug-Free America. A few years ago, they ran a TV ad that purported to show, first, a normal human brainwave, and second, a flat brainwave from a 14-year-old "on marijuana". When researchers called up the TV networks to complain about this commercial, the Partnership had to pull it from the air. It seems that the Partnership faked the flat "marijuana brainwave". In reality, marijuana has the effect of slightly INCREASING alpha wave activity. Alpha waves are associated with meditative and relaxed states which are, in turn, often associated with human creativity.

8. Marijuana is more potent today than in the past

This myth is the result of bad data. The researchers who made the claim of increased potency used as their baseline the THC content of marijuana seized by police in the early 1970s. Poor storage of this marijuana in un-air conditioned evidence rooms caused it to deteriorate and decline in potency before any chemical assay was performed. Contemporaneous, independent assays of unseized "street" marijuana from the early 1970s showed a potency equivalent to that of modern "street" marijuana. Actually, the most potent form of this drug that was generally available was sold legally in the 1920s and 1930s by the pharmaceutical company Smith-Klein under the name, "American Cannabis".

9. Marijuana impairs short-term memory

This is true but misleading. Any impairment of short-term memory disappears when one is no longer under the influence of marijuana. Often, the short-term memory effect is paired with a reference to Dr. Heath's poor rhesus monkeys to imply that the condition is permanent.

10. Marijuana lingers in the body like DDT

This is also true but misleading. Cannabinoids are fat soluble as are innumerable nutrients and, yes, some poisons like DDT. For example, the essential nutrient, Vitamin A, is fat soluble but one never hears people who favour marijuana prohibition making this comparison.

11. There are over a thousand chemicals in marijuana smoke


Again, true but misleading. The 31 August 1990 issue of the magazine Science notes that of the over 800 volatile chemicals present in roasted COFFEE, only 21 have actually been tested on animals and 16 of these cause cancer in rodents. Yet, coffee remains legal and is generally considered fairly safe.

12. No one has ever died of a marijuana overdose

This is true. It was put in to see if you are paying attention. Animal tests have revealed that extremely high doses of cannabinoids are needed to have lethal effect. This has led scientists to conclude that the ratio of the amount of cannabinoids necessary to get a person intoxicated (i.e., stoned) relative to the amount necessary to kill them is 1 to 40,000. In other words, to overdose, you would have to consume 40,000 times as much marijuana as you needed to get stoned. In contrast, the ratio for alcohol varies between 1 to 4 and 1 to 10. It is easy to see how upwards of 5000 people die from alcohol overdoses every year and no one EVER dies of marijuana overdoses.
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 7:59 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

^^^^^^^^^^^
All good points, but I still don't agree.
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Xanadu



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PostPosted: Tue Jun 30, 2009 9:04 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

zepboy wrote:
^^^^^^^^^^^
All good points, but I still don't agree.


Ummmm...why?
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 5:48 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Having been a very heavy user of pot back in the day, I know that it can cause one's mind to go places it ordinarily would not go. I am no longer into that, nor do I any longer think it is wise in regards to clearly understanding the world.

I personally don't agree with using substances that alter a person's perception of reality.

Just one person's opinion. It has nothing to do with the scientific, financial or socio-politcal issues.
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Soup4Rush



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 8:03 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

anything used in excess is bad Zep...
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Xanadu



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:56 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I personally don't agree with using substances that alter a person's perception of reality.

Just one person's opinion. It has nothing to do with the scientific, financial or socio-politcal issues.



That's cool Zep...what works for some doesn't work for all...ya know?

It sounded like in your earlier posts that you were against it being legal for those of us who responsibly use it for whatever reason...medicinal or recreational.
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Big Blue Owl



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 9:57 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

zepboy wrote:


Just one person's opinion. It has nothing to do with the scientific, financial or socio-politcal issues.


Complete and total respect for you and your opinion, buddy.
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Walkinghairball



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 12:36 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Big Blue Owl wrote:
zepboy wrote:


Just one person's opinion. It has nothing to do with the scientific, financial or socio-politcal issues.


Complete and total respect for you and your opinion, buddy.



Same here.
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 3:41 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xanadu wrote:
It sounded like in your earlier posts that you were against it being legal for those of us who responsibly use it for whatever reason...medicinal or recreational.


Truthfully, I don't want to see it legal. It's not that I think morality can/should be legislated, I just don't want to live in a society where drug use of any kind is the norm or tolerated.

For me, the bottom line is my desire for people to self govern with a mindset of what is best for others, not themselves.

I don't agree that legalized use of Mary will benefit society in any way.
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Xanadu



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PostPosted: Wed Jul 01, 2009 10:32 pm    Post subject: Reply with quote

Quote:
I don't agree that legalized use of Mary will benefit society in any way.


So even though many people in our society have major medicinal benefits from it, keep it illegal? Art and music (like Rush) benefit society right? You know a lot of the music you love was inspired by Maryjane.

Quote:
For me, the bottom line is my desire for people to self govern with a mindset of what is best for others, not themselves.


Well guess what...what is best for many others...is MJ...
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zepboy



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PostPosted: Thu Jul 02, 2009 5:44 am    Post subject: Reply with quote

Xanadu wrote:
Well guess what...what is best for many others...is MJ...


I think our society has a twisted idea of what's best.
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