On Mon, 7/6/09, David Borden wrote
> My view, for whatever it's worth -- if a moderate level of
> taxation is what
> political research shows is needed to get marijuana
> legalized, we should go for it.
Hi David & friends,
Your views and work are worth alot to the drug reform effort. Perhaps you're right to have more faith than I have in political research and the system it studies.
The way I understand it, the end of the "drug war" that's currently happening came from the grassroots finally reaching the majority of the people, recognizing the idiocy of prohibition -- not our political system's reasoned wisdom and brilliant leadership. I think the opportunity for people to see the degree of harm & ignorance being imposed on us by a dysfunctional bureaucracy has never been more clear.
The US government has been worse than merely wrong about Cannabis nutrition, bio-fuels, therapeutics, and other dimensions of this plant that are suddenly being recognized as critical to individual health and global security. U.S. "drug war dinosaurs" have institutionalized criminal negligence, imposed scientific censorship and persited with cruel intransigence in failing to acknowledge (let alone secure) our basic human rights.
I definitely agree we should go for it too. In fact if we truly care about the future of this planet and the quality of life on it, we had better go for it all the way -- to a degree that will be certain to work from now on.
The present system doesn't work. If it did, then we wouldn't be headed for extinction. The dysfunctional prohibition was spawned and dragged out to absurdity by the dysfunctional system that now presumes to tax it. That doesn't sound like much progress to me, and is a terrible "message to send to the children."
'IRS' and 'DEA' are the six most expensive letters in the USA. Hardships imposed by the gross corruption and inefficiency of a predatory bureaucracy run amok has made the world unlivable for the vast majority of the people on this planet. We can afford neither the present drug policy nor the present tax system.
Prohibition has shown us how a government can be criminally wrong, beyond moral accountability. How many conclusions can be drawn from an unique and essential "strategic resource" being concurrently classified as a "Schedule One drug?"
Ultimately, the opportunity for shifting from a military industrial, chemically saturated society, to a sustainable, organic economy is what we are talking about. The shift from dependence on government providing energy and food to the people producing their own essential resources makes taxation obsolete.
The income tax system is the most inefficient form of taxation there is. Innumerable hours of people's lives are wasted computing the degree of "involuntary servitude" when simply taxing what people consume, not what they produce would achieve more equitable funding for a vastly reduced bureaucracy.
If we want both a free-market economy and a sustainable society we would eliminate production taxes on industries that heal the planet (gaiatherapeutic industries), and increase consumption taxes on luxury goods and services, not essential ones. The "luxury tax" would include costs associated with the net carbon component of production and delivery of any good or service. The more people spend, the more taxes they would pay.
Getting marijuana legalized is such a
> difficult thing that not a
> single country has achieved it yet, not even the
> Netherlands. People are
> getting arrested for marijuana every day, about 2,000 per
> day here in the
> US. We should not "make the best the enemy of the
> good" by insisting that
> marijuana have tax-free status, while time goes by and
> people continue to
> sit in prison and the arrests continue.
Absolutely. Releasing "drug war" prisoners is at the top of the list of priorities. Every day spent in jail is gone forever. Every day that a child spends without its parents is a crime against family that erodes the foundations of society. Recognizing prohibition as counter-productive to its own stated objectives will achieve the release of prisoners faster than taxing 'pot' to prop up an insolvent government.
That's why some in the drug policy reform community have always advocated the most direct avenues of legal challenge, frustrated as moderate mainstream activists conceding rightful jurisdiction over unique and essential resources. The Cannabis culture has been raped for decades by the system you are proposing we now pay taxes to. Asking for permission to grow the world's most valuable crop is weak.
To hell with the petrochemical war-mongering system. The world's oldest global culture can fund itself. We don't need permission to survive from an expensive, dysfunctional bureaucracy when we can produce our own fuel and food from the same harvest. The government of the U.S was dead wrong about Cannabis all these years, and it still won't recognize the true value of the plant.
Now that prohibition is imploding out of sheer economic necessity, the military/industrial government is trying to retain control by perpetuating rightful jurisdiction, in spite of criminal negligence that's been revealed.
Paying taxes on Cannabis would impact the Cannabis industry's competitiveness with established, toxic industries that are not being taxed.
Personally, I am not willing to settle for "what we can get," when what we need is so much more.
We should do
> whatever is realistic
> and effective that will end prohibition as soon as
Extinction is presently realistic. It makes so much more possible and necessary. Are you willing to exercise "Essential civilian demand" for a "strategic food resource?" That's what made Cannabis illegal in the first place, so why doesn't DRCNet help initiate procedures identified in Executive Order 12919?
What about claiming our First Amendment Right to "every herb bearing seed" and "every green herb" ? Not another law needs to be passed if the spiritual relationship between nature and agriculture is appreciated.
> Besides, as long as there is government, and government
> services, tax
> revenues have to come from somewhere.
Eliminate the IRS and the DEA and we will have trillions to work with. Taxes don't have to be gathered from our income.
Alcohol is used
> safely by most of its
> users, and it is used religiously in many traditions.
> I don't get a tax
> exemption if I buy alcohol for a Jewish ritual, and I don't
> feel that that
> violates my freedom to participate in my familial cultural
Parallels between alcohol and Cannabis don't work. They are at opposite ends of several spectrums, beginning with the difference of their effects on human health and behavior, how they are produced, environmental impacts of crops, etc. Taxation of Cannabis will perpetuate the inertia of the drug war against un-taxed pot.
> were to get such a tax exemption, I would not assume it to
> apply if I went
> to a bar. In some states here in the US there is a
> tax on food, in fact.
Money spent in your community is the most direct and efficient form of "taxation." This isn't figured into the equations around the current Cannabis economy, though it does operate to the benefit of communities where ordinary people profitm from growing & selling 'marijuana'.
> If the tax rates go too high, but it's legal, there will be
> many more
> activists than there are now working to reduce the taxation
Better to consider a simpler route, even if it requires thinking outside the bong.
> personal cultivation will follow in short order too,
> because it will be
> politically untenable at that point to arrest people for
People are already growing marijuana everywhere, because it's increasingly impossible to make ends meet, and marijuana is so easy to grow well.