Wednesday, July 22, 2009

Oakland raises tax revenue from marijuana

Many cities in America are suffering from budget crises due to the poor economy. The city of Oakland, California is finally doing what many advocated for years: Taxing marijuana sales.

Oakland residents overwhelmingly voted Tuesday to approve a first-of-its kind tax on medical marijuana sold at the city's four cannabis dispensaries...

Oakland's auditor estimates that based on annual sales of $17.5 million for the four clubs, it will generate an estimated $294,000 for city coffers in its first year.

The United States has wasted billions of dollars fighting the consumption of certain chemicals. And yet, after forty years since the War on Drugs was declared, not one beachhead has been secured, not one city has been liberated, not one hilltop has been claimed in victory. We can't keep drugs out of schools, or out of workplaces. We can't even keep them out of prisons. But every year, the war continues at a horrendous cost to our society.

The legalization of medical marijuana in California was a tiny but important step in a sensible policy toward drugs. Lawmakers are slowly waking up to the notion that rather than spending money to suppress a product that will be consumed anyway, they can make money on it instead.

I recently watched the film "Layer Cake", a seedy violent story about back-stabbing drug dealers in the UK. Daniel Craig plays a drug dealer who tries to maintain a level of integrity in his work.

The relevant portion starts at 1:00:
Drugs. Changed. Everything. Always remember that one day all this drug monkey business will all be legal. They won't leave it to people like me. Not once they figure out how much money is in it. Not millions. F*ing BILLIONS. Recreational Drugs PLC: "Giving People What They Want." Good times today, stupor tomorrow. But this is now. So while prohibition lasts, make hay while the sun shines.

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