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Marijuana Dealers Offer Schwarzenegger One Billion Dollars

Submitted by smorgan on
As California faces a $1 billion budget shortfall, the marijuana industry offers a commonsense solution to the state's fiscal problems:
August 6 -- A coalition of California marijuana growers and dealers has offered Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger one billion dollars to solve the current state budget crisis. The group, calling itself Let Us Pay Taxes makes the offer through its web site The offer comes at a time when the California legislature is deadlocked on a new budget and California has stopped issuing checks for vitally needed social services. Legislators are currently arguing over which programs will be cut in order to balance the budget. [link]
This effort is the brainchild of drug policy expert/activist Cliff Shaffer, who has hit the nail square on its head. The failure of prohibitionists to grasp the inherent economic lunacy of the drug war has always been particularly startling to me. I grudgingly accept that drug war supporters feel no sympathy for the victims of harsh laws, and even that they clumsily attribute the harmful effects of prohibition to the drugs themselves. Yet, tragic and irrational as these beliefs may be, they do not explain the willingness of government to cast aside billions in taxable commerce.

Marijuana is, after all, the #1 cash crop in the nation. This fact cleanly illustrates the failure of prohibition, while vividly depicting the massive windfall available to any state with the wisdom to pursue regulation. And all this is to say nothing of the incalculable value of discontinuing our current marijuana policy, which is as wasteful and ineffective as can be.

Gov. Schwarzenegger is unlikely to be impressed with this offer, unfortunately, having vetoed California's hemp bill over concerns regarding conflict with federal law. Yet, as Shaffer points out, there is truly nothing the DEA can do to prevent state level regulation of marijuana. The vastly smaller medical marijuana industry has already overwhelmed the agency's enforcement capacity. Ongoing DEA raids are merely a face-saving gesture, designed to confuse legislators in prospective medical marijuana states. The full-scale regulation of the marijuana economy in any state would reveal DEA's genuine impotence, permanently burying the myth that conflict with federal law ensures some sort of brutal showdown.

Having failed to get the point across in so many ways, it's about time to start offering people a billion dollars.

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