Warm Southern Breeze

"… there is no such thing as nothing."

Medical, Scientific, and Economically Valid Reasons To Legalize #Marijuana In Sweet Home Alabama #ALpolitics

Posted by Warm Southern Breeze on Thursday, November 12, 2015

It’s no joke, Colorado is ROLLING (pun intended) in revenue from the taxes and licensing fees associated with legal cannabis sales.

From the Colorado Department of Revenue:
Colorado Marijuana Tax Data
Total marijuana tax revenue includes the 2.9% retail and medical marijuana sales tax, 10% retail marijuana special sales tax, 15% marijuana excise tax, and retail/medical marijuana application and license fees.

For the month of September 2015 (reported October 2015), Colorado had TOTAL (Total All Marijuana Taxes, Licenses) $11,656,736.

On an annualized basis, that’s at least $139,880,832.

The rhetorical question is:
What could Sweet Home do with even half the money like that?

Consider also this: That the legalization of cannabis also largely eliminates criminal penalties associated with prohibition violation, and thereby reduces strain & burden upon the Legal/Judicial system.

Translation: Reduced prison population & all associated costs, including those of law enforcement.

Now… consider also this:
Recently (late October 2015), according to published reports, 1800 marijuana plants were confiscated in a wooded area of Cullman County, near “Highway 91 in the Bug Tussle and Arkadelphia area.” Local Law Enforcement Officers said the value of the confiscation was estimated between $2,000 – $3,000, per plant, or TOTAL between $3,600,000 and $5,000,000.

On average, each cannabis plant can produce 500g (17.5oz – slightly over 1 pound) per plant, finished product.

Nationally, the sales price per ounce (~30g) of marijuana varies from $200-$387, but averages $300. (See also: “How the price of pot differs in 50 states and 8 major cities”)

For simplicity, the average cost of marijuana per gram is $10.

Each plant (on average) can produce 500g product with a total value per plant of $5000. (500g x $10/g = $5000)

Simple math shows the value of the Cullman haul to be:
1800 plants x $5000 value per plant =
TOTAL $9,000,000

Now think about it. That’s UNTAXED income to somebody.
The County, City, State & Nation get no benefit from it, and rather, have expended tens of thousands (or more) to confiscate and eradicate, and are now diligently expending precious investigative re$ource$ to find those who had anything to do with it.

Meanwhile, according to statistics from the newly-created Alabama Law Enforcement Agency, in 2014, Cullman County had a Clearance Rate (rate of successfully solved crimes) of:
Burglary – 17%
Larceny – 23%
Motor Vehicle Theft – 34%
Homicide – 50%
Rape – 68%
Robbery – 75%

And… those same crimes saw year-to-year changes from 2013-2014 – increases or (decreases) of _%_ in the same period, as follows:
Burglary – (4%)
Larceny – 15%
Motor Vehicle Theft – 55%
Homicide – (33%)
Rape – 3%
Robbery – 700%

The problems are glaringly obvious.

But, if pure dollars and cents numbers aren’t enough, consider the facts that show a REDUCTION in deaths from opioid usage in states which have legalized marijuana.

From JAMA – Journal of the American Medical Association:
Medical Cannabis Laws and Opioid Analgesic Overdose Mortality in the United States, 1999-2010
Original Investigation | October 2014

“In an analysis of death certificate data from 1999 to 2010, we found that states with medical cannabis laws had lower mean opioid analgesic overdose mortality rates compared with states without such laws. This finding persisted when excluding intentional overdose deaths (ie, suicide), suggesting that medical cannabis laws are associated with lower opioid analgesic overdose mortality among individuals using opioid analgesics for medical indications.”

“Approximately 60% of all opioid analgesic overdoses occur among patients who have legitimate prescriptions from a single provider.”

“…the mean annual opioid analgesic overdose mortality rate was lower in states with medical cannabis laws compared with states without such laws…”

Conclusion:
“…the present study provides evidence that medical cannabis laws are associated with reductions in opioid analgesic overdose mortality on a population level…”

Milton Friedman, 500+ Economists Call for Marijuana Regulation Debate:
New Report Projects $10-14 Billion Annual Savings and Revenues
The Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibition
June 2005
Replacing marijuana prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcoholic beverages would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year, finds a June 2005 report by Dr. Jeffrey Miron, visiting professor of economics at Harvard University.

A June 2013 report by the American Civil Liberties Union entitled “The War on Marijuana in Black and White” that examined marijuana possession arrest rates by race for all 50 states (and the District of Columbia) and their respective counties from 2001 to 2010 found that “the total national expenditure of enforcing marijuana possession laws at approximately $3.613 billion. In 2010, states spent an estimated$1,747,157,206 policing marijuana possession arrests, $1,371,200,815 adjudicating marijuana possession cases, and $495,611,826 incarcerating individuals for marijuana possession.”

From 2001 – 2010, there were “8 million marijuana arrests in the United States, 88% of which were for possession. Marijuana arrests have increased between 2001 and 2010 and now account for over half (52%) of all drug arrests in the United States, and marijuana possession arrests account for nearly half (46%) of all drug arrests.”

Of particularly sad note, the research found that “in Alabama, 60% of the marijuana possession arrests are of Blacks, yet Blacks account for less than 25% of the population.”

The Consequences and Costs of Marijuana Prohibition
by Katherine Beckett, Associate Professor, Department of Sociology, Law, Societies and Justice Program, and Steve Herbert, Associate Professor Department of Geography, Law, Societies and Justice Program.

“…examining the relationship between marijuana arrests and marijuana, there is nothing to support the claim that marijuana use is reduced by increasing arrests.”

“…use of marijuana did not increase in states that decriminalized marijuana possession.”

“…the majority of the $4.9 billion increase in domestic law enforcement spending was allocated to the enforcement of marijuana laws.”

“There is little systematic data available that would enable us to assess on a national level how widely asset forfeiture provisions are utilized in marijuana cases and how the proceeds are distributed. Even if it were possible, however, such an analysis begs the question of whether permitting governmental agencies to fund public law enforcement by seizing private property from people suspected (and not necessarily convicted) of committing marijuana law violations is sound public policy.”

“…the evidence suggests that drug arrests in general, and marijuana arrests in particular, do not lower criminal activity, and may actually increase crime.”

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