Crossposted from Town Called Dobson
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Somehow, this just goes against alternative philosophy and the tenants of hippiedom, so I pray Bush never catches on to this fact, even though my camping trips would greatly improve.
This past week, Oakland's Measure Z Oversight Committee released their findings and reported some rather shocking losses of possible tax revenue.
A new report to the Measure Z policy oversight committee, entitled "Revenue & Taxes from Oakland's Cannabis Economy," has concluded that Californians consume between $870 million and $2 billion worth of medical marijuana each year, but because of federal law, loses most of the $70 million to $120 million in state sales taxes that would otherwise be collected.
According to the report, only a fraction of the current 200-plus medical cannabis dispensaries and collectives pay state sales taxes. A substantial portion of the medical cannabis sales remains off the books because of the fear of federal prosecution. Despite this, a growing number of communities, led by Oakland, have begun to legally regulate and license medical cannabis sales through the dispensaries. Although the federal authorities continue to consider the dispensaries as criminal enterprises, most have lawfully complied with local regulations like other legal businesses.
According to the Oakland business tax office, the city’s medical cannabis dispensaries reported $26 million in revenues in fiscal year 2004. Revenues declined in 2005 when all but two of the dispensaries were forced to close, but revenue is expected to rebound again this year, as two new authorized clubs have opened.
That is a lot of pot sold and that is just through the legal channels in Oakland! If you expand what Californians use medicinally to the rest of the country, you start counting towards a billion a year. If you tax recreational use, like alcohol sales, the cash flow gets very high, very fast - no pun intended.
Jeffrey Miron, an economics professor at Harvard University concluded the net gain from legalization is around $14 billion.
According to his calculations, the government would save $7.7 billion a year if it didn't have to spend money policing and prosecuting marijuana activity. Then, if the feds taxed marijuana at a rate comparable to cigarettes and booze, another $6.2 billion would come rolling in.
This would just be more money for Bush to use in his idiotic war in Iraq. But I am thinking the new Democratic Congress won't roll over. But whatever Bush's funding needs may be, legalization of marijuana would be a good thing. Just like it was when Thomas Jefferson was alive.