Prop 19 pushers argue that by taxing and regulating marijuana, the state will reap a tax windfall. But the act would let every landowner grow enough marijuana to produce 24,000 to 240,000 joints a year for “personal consumption.” Who would pay the $50-per-ounce tax on marijuana (a 100 percent tax) when he could grow it himself or buy some (illegally) from a neighbor.
Regular tobacco does not carry its economic weight. In 2007, the government collected $25 billion in tobacco taxes but spent more than $200 billion per year to cover health and other tobacco-related costs. It is the same with alcohol: In 2007, governments collected $14 billion in alcohol taxes but spent $185 billion to cover health, crime, and other alcohol-related costs. The economics of legalized marijuana will be no different, and perhaps worse. Just imagine explaining what is the gravity bong to the people.
Then there are the practical problems of Prop 19. Homeowners growing pot in their backyards will become targets for pot thieves and attendant crime, just as areas immediately around medical-marijuana dispensaries have already experienced an uptick in crime. And there remains the very real fact that possession, cultivation, and consumption of marijuana are still crimes under federal law – an inconvenient truth the act simply ignores. What are federal law enforcement officers to do?
Many opponents to marijuana legalization believe legalizing marijuana would serve little purpose other than to worsen the state’s drug problems – addiction, violence, disorder, and death. Nor will such legalization produce a tax windfall for the state; rather, it will end up costing Californians billions in increased social costs.
Popular marijuana businesses across the nation, including Smoke Cartel, believe the exact opposite. They in fact support the legalization of marijuana fully.