As a counselor for both in-class and online drug classes I often discuss the notion of legalized marijuana with my students. Of course I have heard many reasons why it should be legalized.
One reason which is making news lately is that the added tax dollars from marijuana sales will help sagging local and state economies. I can assure you that the added cost of rehab programs will offset just about any revenue gain associated with sales taxes on marijuana.
Medical marijuana proponents have long argued that taxing pot dispensaries could provide sizable revenue to local governments, ushering in a so-called “green rush.” This is pure insanity.
I am all for sin taxes on sugar and fast foods and alcohol, but adding revenue by making a drug like marijuana legal is lunacy.
Marijuana proponents will use any excuse necessary to get their drug of choice legal and even more readily available. They claim that though the profits are in fact relatively small, they are growing. And in a down economy in which states are struggling to balance budgets and debating which services to cut, they’re finding that “every bit helps.” Hogwash!
Last year the state of Colorado collected $5 million from these taxes, double the amount it took the previous year, while Oregon generated $6.7 million, which helped to pay for other health programs in the state. Some of these profits go toward the cost of regulating and administering the medical marijuana industry.
Still, the sizable revenues are motivating some cities and states to try to increase profit levels further by raising the tax rate and increasing the number of licensed dispensaries. But this trend is changing as many municipalities in both California and Colorado are banning dispensaries in their towns because , quite frankly, they don’t want them there.
But a federal crackdown on medical marijuana launched under the Obama administration and particularly fierce in California, the country’s largest marijuana market, makes the green business risky: States are unsure whether the federal government will force dispensaries to close down.
Until the American Medical Association comes up with one legitimate reason for medical marijuana it must remain illegal. If legal for medical reason, sell it in legitimate pharmacies like Walgreen’s where all other prescribed medications are obtained.