High Times for the Economy?


I have an obsession with Time magazine. It’s true. I have a two year subscription and I get excessively giddy when it arrives every week. I scour the pages and read about what’s happening in the world and am quick to relay fun facts about remote parts of the globe to anyone willing to listen. In addition to the general magazine, I have developed a quiet love affair with the likes of Joel Stein and Joe Klein (despite how many times I’ve said their names, it still makes me laugh that they sound so much alike.) Now, recently (the April 2nd issue of TIME), Joe Klein did a fantastic article on how the legalization of marijuana would contribute to America’s sad economy. Let me first say, I am not a proponent of marijuana use and I don’t find pot smoking to be a fun activity; it’s just not for me. The article did, however, inspire a lot of thoughts on how marijuana could truly stimulate our economy! Although the likelihood of this happening is nearly nonexistent, it’s an interesting thought to entertain.

The article showcased how the US tends to criminalize everything and although we have 5% of the world’s population, we house 25% of the world’s criminals — a little excessive? We spend a ridiculous amount of money on corrections ($68 billion) and apparently a third of those being “corrected” are in for non-violent drug crimes (dumb). Additionally, we spend $150 billion-ish on police & courts, and nearly HALF of all arrests (47.5%) are marijuana-related. Now, before I go on, let me say how perturbing this statistic is. $218 BILLION. As a student, I find that number insulting. They can spend $218 billion on correcting degenerates but they can’t invest a portion of that to help students pay for college? How about investing in a positive future for the country through contributing to higher education rather than investing in the negative through attempting to “correct” those stoners who don’t want to go anywhere in life anyway. (Before I get hate mail, I’m not saying ALL stoners are like this; I am aware of high-functioning stoners who do not fall into this category!) I firmly believe that if people want to waste their lives doing drugs and being unproductive, that’s fine — give me that money so I can pay for graduate school instead of giving it to someone to sit in jail and conceive new ways to get their hands on paraphernalia!

That was a slight tangent, but I felt it fit in well with this topic. Now … how do we make money through legalizing marijuana? In a number of ways actually. First, marijuana happens to be a huge cash crop for California (as many Californians know already!)  As Klein states in his article, in California, annual revenues for the coveted herb are nearly $14B. Imagine a 8.25% tax on this — or a 10% tax on this. We’re looking at between $1B and $1.5B in tax revenues! Wowser. Additionally, think of all of the corrections money that could be saved! Again, I’m not a proponent of stonerism, but as a now-educated person, I am not blind to the benefits of this scheme. The reality is that marijuana is prevalent. We all know people who smoke, if we don’t do so ourselves. Why not cash in on this and pump up the economy? Maybe Obama could be featured on High Times. That would be a milestone, indeed.

To read Klein’s full (fantastic) article, visit the article’s site. You may end up loving him (almost) as much as I do.

My sister, an expert on the power of hemp, will be doing a fun guest post coming up. You’ll be surprised — not only regarding the amount of weed-related knowledge one person can possess, but also on the actual benefits of Calfornia’s largest cash crop. Stay tuned — it’s a must-read <3.


2 responses to this post.

  1. I’ve never been much for any kind of drug, medical or not. I go for organic and herbal when I can, so what about legal highs, do they work?


  2. Hey Jerick — I just checked out that site! Very interesting– thanks for posting it! I’m a pretty huge proponent of holistic healing; I’m not a big fan of prescription drugs either. I like to go the natural route first <3.


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