The other day, Attorney General Eric Holder announced
that the federal government will no longer spend its money authorizing (and conducting) raids and arrests of people and institutions licensed at the state level to produce and distribute medicinal marijuana. Said a spokesperson: â€œThe president believes that federal resources should not be used to circumvent state laws.â€ This is dovetailing nicely with another national trend to open up what we tax at the state level. Some cowboys have proposed taxing porn and brothels
, while others suggest taxing marijuana sales. In California, Assemblyman Tom Ammiano, punned, â€œWeâ€™re all jonesing now for money, and thereâ€™s this enormous industry out there.â€
Betty Yee, chairwoman of the California Board of Equalization, the stateâ€™s tax collector, said that legal marijuana could raise nearly $1 billion per year via a $50-per-ounce fee charged to retailers. An additional $400 million could be raised through sales tax on marijuana sold to buyers.
Thatâ€™s a lot of money for a state thatâ€™s seen better days
Coming from Canada, Iâ€™ve never really understood the big deal about marijuana, specifically its criminalization at the federal level. Laws have been a little confusing, particularly under Bush, when the DEA had authority to conduct raids and prosecutions
, even in states where laws have permitted its cultivation, distribution, and use of marijuana for medicinal purposes. This could be a real boon to cancer patients and others grappling with chronic pain.
Naturally, our friends at NORML are thrilled
. So, too, are stonersâ€”by which we mean â€œreally sick people with official papers sanctioning their use of the chronicâ€â€”everywhere.