Paying With Our Sins

Now is the time to legalize (and tax) drugs, prostitution, and gambling

The Obama administration's drug czar made news recently by saying he wanted to end all loose talk about a "war on drugs." "We're not at war with people in this country," said the czar, Gil Kerlikowske, who favors forcing people into treatment programs rather than jail cells.

Here's a better idea—and one that will help the federal and state governments fill their coffers: Legalize drugs and then tax sales of them. And while we're at it, welcome all forms of gambling (rather than just the few currently and arbitrarily allowed) and let prostitution go legit too. All of these vices, involving billions of dollars and consenting adults, already take place. They just take place beyond the taxman's reach.

Legalizing the world's oldest profession probably wasn't what Rahm Emanuel, the White House chief of staff, meant when he said that we should never allow a crisis to go to waste. But turning America into a Sin City on a Hill could help President Obama pay for his ambitious plans to overhaul health care, invest in green energy, and create gee-whiz trains that whisk "through towns at speeds over 100 miles an hour." More taxed vices would certainly lead to significant new revenue streams at every level. That's one of the reasons 52 percent of voters in a recent Zogby poll said they support legalizing, taxing and regulating the growth and sale of marijuana. Similar cases could be made for prostitution and all forms of gambling.

In terms of economic stimulation and growth, legalization would end black markets that generate huge amounts of what economists call "deadweight losses," or activity that doesn't contribute to increased productivity. Rather than spending precious time and resources avoiding the law (or, same thing, paying the law off), producers and consumers could more easily get on with business and the huge benefits of working and playing in plain sight.

Consider prostitution. No reliable estimates exist on the number of prostitutes in the United States or aggregate demand for their services. However, Nevada, one of the two states that currently allows paid sex acts, is considering a tax of $5 for each transaction. State Senator Bob Coffin argues further that imposing state taxes on existing brothels could raise $2 million a year (at present, brothels are allowed only in rural counties, which get all the tax revenue), and legalizing prostitution in cities like Las Vegas could swell state coffers by $200 million annually.

A conservative extrapolation from Nevada to the rest of the country would easily mean billions of dollars annually in new tax revenues. Rhode Island, which has never explicitly banned prostitution, is on the verge of finally doing so—but with the state facing a $661 million budget shortfall, perhaps fully legalizing the vice (and then taking a cut) would be the smarter play.

Every state except Hawaii and Utah already permits various types of gambling, from state lotteries to racetracks to casinos. In 2007, such activity generated more than $92 billion in receipts, much of which was earmarked for the elderly and education. Representative Barney Frank, Democrat of Massachusetts, has introduced legislation to repeal the federal ban on online gambling; and a 2008 study by PriceWaterhouseCoopers estimates that legalizing cyberspace betting alone could yield as much as $5 billion a year in new tax revenues. Add to that expanded opportunities for less exotic forms of wagering at, say, the local watering hole and the tax figure would be vastly larger.

Based on estimates from the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, Americans spend at least $64 billion a year on illegal drugs. And according to a 2006 study by the former president of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, Jon Gettman, marijuana is already the top cash crop in a dozen states and among the top five crops in 39 states, with a total annual value of $36 billion.

A 2005 cost-benefit analysis of marijuana prohibition by Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist, calculated that ending marijuana prohibition would save $7.7 billion in direct state and federal law enforcement costs while generating more than $6 billion a year if it were taxed at the same rate as alcohol and tobacco. The drug czar's office says that a gram of pure cocaine costs between $100 and $150; a gram of heroin almost $400; and a bulk gram of marijuana between $15 and $20. Those transactions are now occurring off the books of business and government alike.

As the history of alcohol prohibition underscores, there are also many non-economic reasons to favor legalization of vices: Prohibition rarely achieves its desired goals and instead increases violence (when was the last time a tobacco kingpin was killed in a deal gone wrong?) and destructive behavior (it's hard enough to get help if you're a substance abuser and that much harder if you're a criminal too). And by policing vice, law enforcement is too often distracted at best or corrupted at worst, as familiar headlines about cops pocketing bribes and seized drugs attest. There's a lot to be said for treating consenting adults like, well, adults.

But there is an economic argument as well, one that Franklin Roosevelt understood when he promised to end Prohibition during the 1932 presidential campaign. "Our tax burden would not be so heavy nor the forms that it takes so objectionable," thundered Roosevelt, "if some reasonable proportion of the unaccountable millions now paid to those whose business had been reared upon this stupendous blunder could be made available for the expense of government."

Roosevelt could also have talked about how legitimate fortunes can be made out of goods and services associated with vice. Part of his family fortune came from the opium trade, after all, and he and other leaders during the Depression oversaw a generally orderly re-legalization of the nation's breweries and distilleries.

There's every reason to believe that today's drug lords could go legit as quickly and easily as, say, Ernest and Julio Gallo, the venerable winemakers who once sold their product to Al Capone. Indeed, here's a (I hope soon-to-be-legal) bet worth making: If marijuana is legalized, look for the scion of a marijuana plantation operation to be president within 50 years.

Legalizing vice will not balance government deficits by itself—that will largely depend on spending cuts, which seem beyond the reach of all politicians. But in a time when every penny counts and the economy needs stimulation, allowing prostitution, gambling and drugs could give us all a real lift.

Nick Gillespie is the editor in chief of Reason.com and Reason.tv. A version of this article appeared in the May 16, 2009 edition of The New York Times.

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  • ||

    I love the picture of Obama.

    I can't wait for about 30 years from now when you'll be posting teenage topless pictures of the sitting female president!

  • ||

    ...and then tax sales of them ...They just take place beyond the taxman's reach ...help President Obama pay for his ambitious plans ...More taxed vices ...significant new revenue streams ...taxing



    I can't figure out any other way to read this, except that Nick is flat out advocating taxation.

    Not legalization because it's freedom. Not legalization because it's liberty. Not legalization because it's moral. Not legalization because we have no business compelling behaviors. Not legalization because the government has not business regulation substance ingestion. But legalization for the purpose of taxation.

  • ||

    Obviously Nick is proposing this in a way he thinks will gain traction with the people who have the power to make it happen, but it still sounds horrible.

  • MNG||

    Attention Paleo-Idiots:

    Making things legal that are now illegal, albeit with taxation of those things, makes us more free than keeping things illegal and untaxed. You would be free to buy drugs and prostitution services without risking going to jail, getting a criminal record, losing your student aid, etc. OK?

    You may now return to dreaming about the glory days of that Libertopia the Confederate States of America.

  • MNG||

    That's a shitload of elipses in that quote of yours B-Buck...A fair reading of Nick's paragraph is that given Obama is going to enact these programs, and given the fucker wants to pay for it via debt and new taxes, why not pay for it with the revenue from this type of thing; less tax or debt needed and we get the benefit of getting rid of restrictions that are bullshit anyway.

  • Tyler||

    I wouldn't consider myself a paleolibertarian and I definitely thought that the "tax it" theme was overplayed in this article.

  • MNG||

    Paleo: "Doctor, I've obviously got some bug."
    Doctor: "Well, take this anti-biotic for seven days and you will day by day feel good as new."
    Paleo: "Fuck that, you can't make me totally better right now! I'm outta here commie!"

  • MNG||

    Tyler
    It's not just in this article. I've seen Paleo's on this site say "fuck allowing gay marriage, that's a positive right that will mean government will have to print marriage forms for gay people, hence bigger government, blah blah blah".

    It's the stupid non-compromising letting the perfect be the enemy of the good that I see among that group all the time that irks the ever living fuck out of me.

    Oh that and they are really just conservatives.

  • SIV||

    Except for some states they don't tax drugs.
    We just need to end that schedule I and "permission slip" thing.

    I would think regular sales taxes, business, and occupation licenses would be handled on the state and municipal level like they are now.

  • ||

    Yes, we do curse the good for being imperfect, but the fact is, the shift has been to the left in this country, and accepting that government has a right to levy special taxes on certain groups is that same shift toward statism made manifest. Beside that, a new revenue stream for the feds will just encourage more spending, not less borrowing, especially from the crowd in charge right now. Oh, and it'll never happen anyway. The power derived from circumventing the constitution via drug laws is more precious to politicians than the potential tax revenue from legalization, and not worth the risks to ones personal political career to support. Better to argue for legalization because it is the right thing to do.

  • ||

    Obviously Nick is proposing this in a way he thinks will gain traction with the people who have the power to make it happen, but it still sounds horrible.



    Sort of like how we should work towards getting rid of affirmative action quotas by getting chummy with the racists? That sounds horrible too, but I await Nick's reasoned essay on the matter.

    p.s. If "paleo" means being opposed to taxes, please sign me up!

  • True Libertarian||

    Nick has sold out the movement - and his pleather jacket - all to appear in the NYT.

    Lady Liberty is weeping as I type.

  • NotThatDavid||

    Currently, the penalty for buying marijuana involves going to jail.
    Under the proposal Gillespie talks about, the penalty would be paying taxes.

    It's not perfect, but it's a damn sight better. Anybody who claims to consider paying taxes is a greater loss of freedom than being locked up is either telling a baldfaced lie or answering the question from a prison library.

  • Silver||

    I'd like to know if people here think legalizing these things would seem to condone them as acceptable and thus would be an influence on the culture and people's values.

    Right now they have a pull because they are an undercurrent of society, but do you consider the impact of making them more visible?

  • ||

    MNG, NotThatDavid, et al,

    My point is not that taxation is worse than prison. Of course it isn't! I would most certainly rather have legal taxed marijuana than illegal untaxed marijuana. Stop attacking the stawman, he's already reduced to a pile of chaff! My point is that libertarians should not be ADVOCATING taxes and increased spending.

    What is so hard about this to understand? In the article above Nick Gillespie is quite clearly advocating more taxes and spending. He is expressly advocating taxes for a gee-whiz train. Frankly, Nick's train has jumped the track!

  • Lefiti||

    Isn't the idea that taxation is theft one of the pillars of the True Libertarian faith? Is Nick-Blagoyavic-Look-Alike-Gillespie going to add heresy to his horrible fashion sense and narcissistic "Look at me! Look at me!" interviewing style? Fuck!

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So, wait, Brandybuck, you want him to not sell talking points to the people who actually make a difference in politics?

    He isn't advocating more taxes and spending. He's advocating legalization and selling it as fiscally "responsible" governance. How hard is THAT for you to understand? You're being extremely obtuse here.

  • Tom G||

    Gee, I am glad to see that I am not the only one thinking that Nick's article wasn't nearly as libertarian as one would hope for, given his position in what used to be the pre-eminent mainstream magazine for liberty in this country.

  • Lefiti||

    "He's advocating legalization and selling it as fiscally "responsible" governance."

    Isn't that like advocating legalization of rape and selling it as a time-saving manner of courtship?

  • Lefiti||

    ...what used to be the pre-eminent mainstream magazine for liberty in this country...

    Things started to go down hill when Reason abandoned Ron Paul over some innocent racism.

  • MNG||

    Brandybuck
    I think he can be read to be advocating using the taxes from something like this to fund Obama's projects rather than the tax increases and borrowing that would be used if this revenue stream did not exist. I mean, what would you rather have: Obama's projects paid for with borrowing and boosting already existing taxes, or have him forget that and fund them with the taxes collected from legalizing this stuff? You get the same projects either way, but with the latter you get the net gain in freedom from ending the WOD (and gambling and other vices). Ideal, perhaps not. Progress to be advocated, yes.

    So it's kind of like when paleo's bitch about federal support of stem cell research: if that means federal spending in addition to the amount that would already be spent on various areas of research, just not stem cell research, then I can see the point; but if it only means that X amount of federal dollars that was going to be spent on non-stem cell research anyway can now be spent on that then it's silly (and imo just masks a conservatism dressed up as libertarianism).

  • Elemenope||

    Libertarians want drugs legalized.
    State governments want a new revenue stream.

    So a libertarian shrewdly argues: "Hey you state governments, drugs can be your new revenue stream!"

    State governments are happy.
    Libertarians are happy.

    They can kill each other a different day.
    ---------------

    I'm pretty sure the above sells better than:
    "Hey state governments, I hope you choke and die, and in the meantime we would like you to keep out of our business. Oh, and fuck you." Just a hunch.

    Know your audience.

  • Elemenope||

    Rinse, repeat with nat'l government, obviously.

  • ||

    So, wait, Brandybuck, you want him to not sell talking points to the people who actually make a difference in politics?



    It depends on what those talking points are and how they are presented. I might have grimaced, but still kept my mouth shut, if Nick had said "...oh, and as a bonus you get to tax legal marijuana." But instead he's making that tax bonus his core thesis.

    It's one thing to be aware of liberal sensibilities while making libertarian arguments, but quite another to go too far and start pandering to them.

  • Jimsonweed Jackal||

    I prefer decriminalization of vices rather than their legalization, I dont want the government involved in such matters and btw, even amongst paternalists the argument could be made that legalization would add an air of legitimacy to such behavior (regardless how untrue such an argument is). Decriminalization has no such drawbacks.

  • ||

    Here's a better idea-and one that will help the federal and state governments fill their coffers: >>
    ===========
    Gillespie you are sounding like a socialist.

    The heck will filling government coffers.

    Decriminalize drugs, prostitution and gambling without the taxes. Cut the size of government. Time to lay off those blood suckers and close down government departments.

    Even the idea to legalize assumes that we need the government approval to do these activities.

    Gillespie you have drunk the kool-aid and don't look good as a result

  • MNG||

    "Decriminalization has no such drawbacks."

    Yeah, NOONE would be upset that mere decriminalization would "add an air of legitimacy" to those things...

    And what is meant by decriminalization? That it can be sold at RiteAid, but not taxed? Or that it should not be punished nor taxed. Well of course that would be nice! But the argument is whether it be better to have it legal and taxed than the current situation.

  • The Angry Optimist||

    So, Brandybuck, your real problem is just with the packaging and the emphases. That's your issue.

    Frankly, you need to get over it. If some congressman stands on the floor and says "Look at all this money we're missing out on!", well, if that's the catalyst it takes, that's the catalyst it takes.

  • Elemenope||

    Decriminalize drugs, prostitution and gambling without the taxes. Cut the size of government. Time to lay off those blood suckers and close down government departments.

    So the general says to the army he says, "We have an ironclad battle plan! The plan is as follows:

    1. Win the war
    2. Collect the spoils

    What do you guys think of my plan?"

  • Lefiti||

    Wow, Gillespie's article has made it possible to hear the voices in your heads. Amazing.

  • skr||

    Firstly, this was in the NYT. You have to play to your audience.

    Secondly, fuck you haters.

    Good work Nick. If it means I can buy a joint and a hooker at the gas station it is well worth it.

  • National Review - Lisa Schiffr||

    LIBERAL!!!

  • ||

    Lefiti paused...what was that shrieking he kept hearing? Shaking it off, he took another slug of absinthe, washing down a few more Haldol with it. Those libertards needed him to school them again--he would ruin their house with his anger.

  • Lefiti||

    Back from my hibernation I still see these libtards are not learning the old lesson that bureaucrats are superior human beings that should rule over the mongrel race of people in this country.

    Alas, I need to go buy a slurpee tonight but can't because of the choices, if only the government would fund more money to the agency regulating slurpees telling me which slurpee to buy.

  • robc||

    MNG,

    The good IS the enemy of the perfect.

    Well, sometimes.

    My thought on this issue is, to paraphrase Heinlein: If the tax is tolerable I will tolerate, it if is intolerable, I will use the black market.

    So, as someone who would probably be classified a paleo, Im okay with legalize and tax, I just may have to continue* violating the law (just a different one).

    *I neither smoke pot nor visit hookers, but, you know, hypothetically

  • robc||


    I'd like to know if people here think legalizing these things would seem to condone them as acceptable and thus would be an influence on the culture and people's values.


    No, I blame my Mom for me being a libertarian. She taught me (quite well, I must say) that there were things others were allowed to do that I wasnt allowed to do. I managed to reverse it to: just because it is immoral doesnt mean it shouldnt be legal.

    The law has no connection to morality at all.

  • robc||

    I'm pretty sure the above sells better than:
    "Hey state governments, I hope you choke and die, and in the meantime we would like you to keep out of our business. Oh, and fuck you." Just a hunch.

    Know your audience.


    I see no reason Nick couldnt have included that as a PS.

  • some dude||

    This is why my great grandfather opposed ending slavery. He said, if you allow all those to people to roam free and work for a living they just get taxed.

  • Elemenope||

    I see no reason Nick couldnt have included that as a PS.

    I think that would have queered his pitch.

  • ||

    This is why my great grandfather opposed ending slavery. He said, if you allow all those to people to roam free and work for a living they just get taxed.



    Granted, I'm no history expert, but as near as I can tell, no abolitionist ever preached ending slavery just so we could tax negroes.

    For the life of my I just can't imagine William Lloyd Garrison writing a letter to the New York Times about how freeing the slaves would allow Lincoln to finance a "gee-whiz" Transcontinental Railroad.

  • Elemenope||

    For the life of my I just can't imagine William Lloyd Garrison writing a letter to the New York Times about how freeing the slaves would allow Lincoln to finance a "gee-whiz" Transcontinental Railroad.

    But the mental image is priceless.

  • ||

    Im for it! As a Las Vegas resident, a native, I see prostitutes workin' the streets in the hot days and nights all of the time. It would definetly benefit the prostitutes if it were legalzed because there could be offices and buildings used for that business instead of causing traffic jams on my way into work. Seriously, there is a traffic jam at least once a week all because of someone doesnt want to pull over to the side of the road and instead they want to do the "pick-up" in the middle of the road.

  • BruceM||

    Before we can decriminalize any of these things, we have to criminalize (or at least HIGHLY tax) the use and invocation of the phrase "for the children". Prohibiting one illegitimate, fallacious way of making an argument does not limit free speech in my humble opinion, so I don't see any First Amendment issue in preventing people from invoking "the children" in political/policy discussions.

    Rational debate cannot happen until we take this "the children" crap out of public discourse. The purpose of the First Amendment is to further free and open public debate, not to hinder it, so that is yet another reason why banning the use of this frivolous phrase doesn't implicate free speech.

    As long as "the children" can be discussed without retribution, we will continue to live in a hyperprotective nanny state and have our rights plucked away from us, one by one - none of which we'll ever get back so long as those who support freedom can be accused of wanting to "harm our children." I'm willing to give up my right to cynically invoke "the children" in order to protect all my other rights, and hopefully to regain some of them over time.

    But first we need to address this "for the children" crap.

    As for drugs and taxes, the purpose is not to legalize them for the taxes, but that they could be taxed if they were legalized. We could legalize drugs, get rid of the DEA, get rid of the income tax, get rid of the IRS, and with moderate taxes on drugs (they'd still cost a fraction of the price they now do on the street with the illegality premiums) the government could nearly double its tax revenue. That's replacing the income tax with the drug tax.

    So it's a win-win for everyone. But as long as people are allowed to invoke "the children" this rational course of action will never occur.

  • Marian Kechlibar||

    BruceM: I have a better idea. Let us issue a "for the children" permit.

    The permit allows the use of the phrase "for the children" in political speech, and SHALL be issued to people who can verifiably demonstrate their ability and previous personal (not state-aided or state-funded) activity leading to well-being of some concrete child or children. Renewed on a yearly basis, with a fee.

    I bet that 4/5ths of congressmen, MPs, MKs etc. would be ineligible.

  • MNG||

    "This is why my great grandfather opposed ending slavery. He said, if you allow all those to people to roam free and work for a living they just get taxed."

    As a matter of fact the anti-Slavery GOP of Lincoln sprung from the Free-Soil movement which advocated an end to slavery because it gave slaveowners an economic advantage over non-slave owners.

  • ||

    A word of warning when it comes to legalizing prostitution: Here be unintended consequences.

    Amsterdam has taught us that the market for prostitution is a troublesome one: The price at which the average prostitute is prepared to sell her services turns out to be considerably higher than the price most punters are prepared to pay.

    As a result, there exists an incentive for criminal gangs to traffic women into the country to work in the seedier sort of brothel. And with prostitution legal, it becomes incredibly difficult for the authorities to distinguish between willing professionals and forced slaves. How do they tell the difference between someone willingly selling herself to feed a (legal) drug habit and someone being kept drugged up by a pimp so she won't try to escape?

    Enforcement of a blanket ban on prostitution turns out to be a lot cheaper than the investigatory system necessary to find and protect those prostitutes who are trafficked, so arguing for legal prostitution on financial grounds is not as compelling as the equivalent argument for drugs or gambling.

    Which is not to say legalization's not still the right thing to do; it's just a tougher sell.

  • Tim||

    How about legalize them and subject them to nothing but the normal sales and business income taxes everything else is subject to.

  • ||

    Can we do the same with gay marriage? Legalize and tax it?

  • Granite||

    Good point Neil...

    Any, I'd like to object to the value of the cash crop as an indicator that the taxes will bring in huge revenues. It's the biggest cash crop because it's black market. Legalize, and I'll bet the price drops faster than increased demand can prop it up. (Unless you tax enough to keep the price the same, but that won't fix the foreign crime issue)

    For the rest of ya'll... You don't win an argument by convincing them of your point of view. You win an argument by convincing someone that their point of view favors the action you want them to take.

  • ||

    How about legalize them and subject them to nothing but the normal sales and business income taxes everything else is subject to.

    Because that won't get the votes we need, that's why.

    We're buying votes here, people. Its unfortunate that we need to, but this is America, that's how laws get passed.

  • ||

    Legalize, and I'll bet the price drops faster than increased demand can prop it up.

    Sure. So? We're not advocating a legalize-and-tax package because we want the government to get more tax revenue.

  • ||

    Neil

    While I take your point that life in many Amsterdam brothels is far from perfect, it is worth noting that coercion and abuse of vulnerable women are major facts of life for "working girls" in those places where prostitution is prohibited. And I would venture to say, far more prevalent than they are in legal environments.

    Yes, you are correct that legalization and formalization do not make all problems magically disappear, but the problems of abuse are not necessarily inherent in prostitution itself any more than sexual abuse of teenage girls is inherent in plural marriage.

  • ||

    "Enforcement of a blanket ban on prostitution turns out to be a lot cheaper than the investigatory system necessary to find and protect those prostitutes who are trafficked."

    While this may or may not be true, it doesn't take into account the costs outside of the "investigatory system." Sure, cops may have to spend extra money to do their jobs, but what is the cost of denying hundreds of thousands of women (and men) a livelihood?

  • Victory||

    Legal, taxed marijuana is a recipe for government controlled dirt weed at unaffordable prices. Keep it in the black (free) market. I'd rather see it decriminalized than legal and taxed.

  • Granite||

    Sure. So? We're not advocating a legalize-and-tax package because we want the government to get more tax revenue.

    We are, however, arguing that the government/politicians/general public should support it for just that reason.

  • ||

    to the point made earlier, about legalizaton promoting those activities. Stripper, and porn star are legal, but that's still not something that most of the public wants to do (or have their daughter do). Just because something is legal, doesn't mean that government/society is saying it's a good thing to do.

    Also, legalization not decrimilization is the answer. With legalization, you take stuff away from the gangs, and put in the the drug store (or where ever they sell it). Decriminilzation would leave it in the hands of the drug gangs.

  • ||

    Strictly speaking there is no such thing as a Federal ban on Internet gambling. 29 states use it to take their horse bets, and Illinois just became the fifth state to legalize its lottery ticket sales online.

    Sixteen states and DC don't even have a definition of gambling on their statute books.
    Only eight states even mention the Internet in connection to gambling law.

    Only bets on sporting events are covered by the Wire Act ( except for Nevada, and maybe Delaware, Oregon, and New Jersey.)

    AS a practical matter, however, offshore operators access the US market at will.

  • ||

    So... basically you're saying we can bribe Washington into giving us our basic human freedoms back by paying more taxes? And people say libertarianism is being watered-down...

  • curious||

    What on earth, or at least in the US, is NOT taxed when sold?

    Plus legal weed would make more people who are uptight nannystatists veg out on eletion day!

  • ||

    The Swiss city of Zurich legalized heroin for a few years in the early 90's. Crime went up significantly. They made it illegal again, crime went back to pre-legal heroin levels.

    I'm in favor of legalizing weed, but not ALL drugs.

  • theboxman||

    We should be breaking down these false moral codes. We live in a society where we are not supposed to do certain things but they are so popular that when outlawed people are willing to risk the punishment to do it anyway.

    Legalize it, tax it, regulate it. Then you will free up tax dollars because crime lords and gangs will have no power and those dollars can be reinvested into the community. I mean what is worse legalize prostitution or knowing that our police can't stop it and letting women be abused and exploited. I'm sorry but i don't have a problem letting people pay for sex when we have mentally ill people panhandling for change on the street because they have been cut out of the medical system.
    (see www.street-people.com)

  • ||

    If marijuana is legalized, look for the scion of a marijuana plantation operation to be president within 50 years.

    That's already happened...Washington and Jefferson grew the stuff on their plantations.

  • ||

    Tax it? For what? Why would you willingly advocate supplying the government with more money to dream up the next "sin" to put people behind bars. How about it just becomes legal and people can enjoy it if they please, and others who do not approve can just turn their little noses up in disagreement. Oh the humanity!

    BTW there is no such thing as freedom. There are only priveledges. If you disagree, go to wikipedia and search "japanese american internment." They were free right up until they closed the gates.

  • Victory||

    "The Swiss city of Zurich legalized heroin for a few years in the early 90's. Crime went up significantly. They made it illegal again, crime went back to pre-legal heroin levels.

    I'm in favor of legalizing weed, but not ALL drugs."

    John, heroin is only directly correlated to property crime. The secret to negating this is not just making possession legal, but making the drug affordable. Simply decriminalizing the drug won't reduce costs.

  • Old Rubberlegs||

    Why do people bend over backwards to point out that there will be lots and lots of tax money brought in by legalizing this thing or that?

    To me, it reads: "Oh, please, please, pleeeaaase let us smoke just a little bit of pot! Pweeeze!? We'll let you have some taaax moneeey..."

    Governments never had a right to forbid me from doing such things in the first place. I don't see why I should have to PAY THEM in order to do be allowed to do something that has been withing my rights all along.

    Common, people. They already know that they're going to be able to rape us when, decades from now, we are once again PERMITTED to do these things. There's no need to repeatedly remind them.

    It's "Free Minds and FREE MARKETS". Let's not go trading one for the other, mkay?

  • Old Rubberlegs||

    Oh...and "regulate it"? Why, exactly?

    Putting aside all of the people mowed down by crossfire in the government-instigated War on Drugs. And forgetting the occasional convenience store owner who gets shot in the face so that a junkie can get $1000...in order to buy $5 worth of drugs. All THAT aside, exactly how many deaths have their been due to "poor quality" drugs?

    I doubt we'll ever see anything like meaningful statistics for such a thing, but my guess would be: very few.

    Not that that does anything to stop the torch bearing mob from saying, "legalize it. ...AND REGULATE IT!"

    Who cares whether it needs regulating, we all just know intuitively that a government like ours will not be satisfied idly standing by while something goes (gasp) unregulated! Heck, there are so few things anymore that just go unregulated. Why make an exception?

  • ||

    So if all of you people decrying this appeal based on tax revenue are so sure of your rights, then why haven't you taken it to the next level yet--revolution? If we have been these rights for so long without any justification, isn't it time to fight back?

    Another question, if Nick's appeal based on the state's wants and needs doesn't work, do you think ANYTHING will? The only reason you should complain is if this DOES work to get drugs legalized.

    I am in the same boat as you guys. This is basic freedom. Legalize it is the basic issue.

    Besides, you can't spend an entire article on the principle allowing drug use and add tax revenue as a footnote. They would (and have) dismiss everything you say and then when they get to the tax part they would be too pissed to even listen.

    The core belief is still there, but only a small portion of it is given with an extra sweetener just to get them interested. If this works, it will at least help to get rid of the demonizing people attribute to drugs via ignorance as well as giving us these basic rights. THEN we can go after the principle!

    You may ask for the head of the king from the battlefront, but that doesn't mean they'll hand it over without some persuasion!

  • Old Rubberlegs||

    @Victory: "...John, heroin is only directly correlated to property crime. The secret to negating this is not just making possession legal, but making the drug affordable. Simply decriminalizing the drug won't reduce costs."

    Yes. Absolutely. And a point way too subtle for 95% of people in this country. Keep in mind that the vast majority of people in the US look forward to April 15th because that's when they "get their taxes".

    This is your "voting public".

    There's a very good reason to clearly *enumerate* the powers of government: Democracy is like two wolves and a sheep voting on what's for dinner. And everyone's got to be either a wolf or a sheep.

  • Old Rubberlegs||

    @Danny: "The core belief is still there, but only a small portion of it is given with an extra sweetener just to get them interested. If this works, it will at least help to get rid of the demonizing people attribute to drugs via ignorance as well as giving us these basic rights. THEN we can go after the principle!"

    What? Based on this reasoning, we should have seen taxes go down ...ever. I'll believe that this is a workable strategy when I see the last 100 years of temporary tax increases rolled back.

    "...Just a tiny little increase to pay for The Great War. Promise! We'll lower 'em right back down after that. Really!"

  • Old Rubberlegs||

    @Danny: "...why haven't you taken it to the next level yet--revolution?"

    That's probably just about the most reasonable thing I've read here (interestingly enough.)

    Here's the thing: There is so much stupid in the world. Revolutions seem to work out about 1% of the time. What we would have in this country if some constituency or other decided to go the full "revolution" route is a repeat of 1930s Spain. See your history books for how much fun that was.

    I am delighted to say that I have found a solution to all of this that actually may work: http://seasteading.org/

    Yes folks, it's gotten that fucking ridiculous. You can stay here among the beautiful hills and rivers (seriously, I will miss them) and vote with all your neighbors on who the next VP of HR at GM will be or whether or not the Department of Pills and Surgery will permit and/or reimburse for a Triple-Prince-Albert performed on an Afro-American Albino Midget. I'll be buying me a condo somewhere dozens of miles of the coast of California, just as soon as it comes on market.

    Ugh. Sticky, sticky sea breeze.

  • SunflowerPipes||

    One of the problems inhibiting legalization is that people who smoke a glass pipe are not considered serious or mature. It is this stigma that scares many people who use pot to keep it a secret. It is up to us to be public about our choices and to make sure our voices are heard by the ones that ultimately decide what the rules are. Every letter you send to a representative is considered the voice of a thousand constituents that did not take the time to write.
    IMPIart.com

  • Scarpe Nike Italia||

    is good

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