MuniLand

Decriminalize the marijuana business

By Cate Long
October 17, 2013

 

Slowly, the personal use of marijuana is becoming legal across America. The Council on State Governments reported:

Marijuana remains illegal under federal law, but last year, residents in both Colorado and Washington voted to make recreational use of the drug legal, essentially ignoring the 1970 law. Although these states have legalized a federally identified illegal drug, they are not the first to do so.

Starting with California in 1996, 21 states have made the use of medical marijuana for ailing patients legal. Of those 21, 16 states have decriminalized those found to be holding small amounts marijuana, six of which were added in 2013.

Then, last August, the U.S. Department of Justice affirmed that it would not seek to stop or prohibit the laws passed in Colorado and Washington, easing tensions between the states and federal government.

This was a big step forward for the U.S. Department of Justice, but a federal hurdle remains. The CSG again:

One major issue is the financial regulatory implications of creating a legal marijuana industry. As it is still a federal crime to possess or sell marijuana, many banks are reluctant to accept money from the marijuana dispensaries for fear of prosecution from the federal regulators and law enforcement. This makes marijuana dispensers cash-only businesses, increasing the likelihood of crime, such as robberies. It also makes the industry impossible to audit and even harder to tax.

Now we are getting to the real reason behind the decriminalization push. Strict banking laws will restrict the growth of a new business. How would a dispensary owner deposit the cash it collects? It is also difficult to tax sales handled in cash and it creates hurdles for states that are creating new tax collection systems. Colorado views marijuana taxes as an important new revenue source. The Denver Post Editorial Board writes:

Legalized recreational marijuana was sold to Coloradans as a proposition that not only would pay for its own regulation, but generate millions for school construction, too.

It’s time to make good on those promises.

Within days, voters will receive mail ballots, which will include a question on statewide marijuana taxes dubbed Proposition AA.

The measure proposes a 15 percent marijuana excise tax that would go toward school construction, and a 10 percent sales tax to pay for the retail regulatory structure.

We hope Colorado voters do not hesitate in approving this crucial piece of the effort to normalize personal marijuana use, yet ensure pot is kept out of the hands of children.

A recent poll suggests that Texans are ready to begin decriminalizing marijuana for some interesting reasons:

[Nathan Jones, a postdoctoral fellow in Drug Policy at Rice University] attributes the poll results in part to Texans’ libertarian attitudes on spending tax dollars to enforce the state’s marijuana policy and the cost of incarcerating drug offenders. The state also loses money due to lost productivity, when a non-violent offender is released from prison and is unable to find a good job.

This is one of the most important reasons to decriminalize marijuana. It costs municipalities a lot of money to enforce the law and incarcerate those who violate it. This is certainly money that could be more efficiently spent paying teachers or caring for the elderly.

Pot is becoming legal. The federal government needs to step up its efforts to decriminalize the business.

Comments
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With today’s society it’s profound to send Marijuana offenders to prison when the drug is not resulting in deaths, when there are harden criminals whom are violent offenders roaming free due to over population of jail cells for meaning less crimes such as possession of marijuana.

Allow the people to have marijuana if they choose just like drinking and smoking cigarettes, may not be right, may not be wrong, but either way it was given by god to people to use. The benefits out weigh the ill side effects such as munchy syndrome which benefits the snack food industry.

I am pro marijuana for legal use and taxation just like it used to be before the anti marijuana epidemic brought on by the tree cutting and paper industry and the other various reasons. The first president of the united states smoked marijuana for headaches, Ben Franklin loved his Marijuana also.

Time for our country to climb out of debt and take the high peaceful route! I linked to this post from my face book page, http://www.facebook.com/voteyesforweed in the future please post a link on our page when you cover these types of issues, as it is our goal to provide the latest informational sources for Marijuana Legalization efforts in the united states. Thanks…

Posted by shadowmarketing | Report as abusive
 

Absolutely. Decriminalize all plants, including, coca and poppy. That ends the war on the people and stops the pharma corps from killing, polluting and poisoning so many. Then, there would be no need for foreign wars over plants, and controlling plants. It frees all the people from this insanity.

Posted by 2Borknot2B | Report as abusive
 

I received my Colorado ballot this week and on Prop AA, I voted NO. I voted yes on Amend 64, and completely agree that we need to tax it. But the way that Prop AA is written, it’s too much, plus it gives the Leg. the ability to raise the “Special” tax from 10% to 15% without the approval of the voters, which is required by a law we passed several years ago called TABOR.

Decriminalization is a half step measure that does nothing about who is in control of the market. Anytime you prohibit something, you cede control to those you don’t want controlling anything. Legalization and regulation is the only way to take control from the bad guys. Street dealers don’t check ID, Street dealers push other drugs like crack, meth etc. Street dealers will sell to a 12 year old as fast as a 50 yo. They don’t care. Put the business in the hands of a licensed seller that is actually paying taxes on the product, and NOT selling to your kids.

Posted by Hardrock1a | Report as abusive
 

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