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Re: “Reformers Re-Up on Ammo at New Directions California Conference Today

California voters are being told taxing marijuana will solve the State’s budget crisis. “This is a blatant lie,” says Carla Lowe, founder of Citizens Against Legalizing Marijuana, (CALM). She continued, “Proposition 19, The Regulate, Control and Tax Cannabis Act of 2010, might better be called ‘The Now Everyone Can Get Stoned Act,’ and taxpayers will pick up the costs.” Steve Cooley, L.A. County District Attorney, has done a thorough analysis of the measure and has come up with the following conclusions: 1) The State is prevented from charging any taxes on pot, 2) The State is not allowed to regulate or control any aspect of pot cultivation, transportation, sales or use.

Prop 19 restricts the regulating and taxing of marijuana solely to each city and county. The State has no power in these matters. Each city and county must establish its own laws to govern the pot trade. Each city and county will need to establish a new layer of government to deal with licensing, regulating, and enforcing their new laws. In addition, local government will be responsible for all tax collecting with no assistance from either the State or Federal government

A most challenging and costly responsibility of each civic entity will be to establish and fund its own labs to attempt to determine a safe level of Tetrahydrocannabinol (THC) in the marijuana to be sold in pot shops. Current science does not have this capability. THC is the mind-altering, active ingredient in marijuana. Current THC levels range from 10 to 37%. The Office of National Drug Control Policy states this is at least 10 times more toxic than in the 1970’s. Each entity will need to establish and fund its Bureau of Pot Control to monitor compliance with the new laws. Forest Tennant, M.D., Dr. P.H., former Mayor of West Covina, CA, says, “The idea that every city and county in California has the ability to safely and competently control aspirin, much less a drug like cannabis is an idea that is laughable and needs to be rejected.”

Prop 19 allows cities and counties to establish taxes to pay for the cost of monitoring the pot industry. This time intensive responsibility will fall to already over burdened local law enforcement. It will be interesting to see if enough taxes can be collected from the pot providers to pay for all of the additional layers of expense these new mini-bureaucracies will require. If sufficient taxes are not collected from the pot industry to cover these costs, taxpayers will have to pick up the bill.

So where does the government of the State of California fit into this picture? They do have a role…to pay for increased costs of auto accidents, rehabilitation, mental health treatment, emergency room care, increased crime, and broken families that are the result of greater pot use. While it is difficult to quantify these costs, they are likely to be at least as expensive as the social costs of alcohol and tobacco which costs taxpayers $12 for each $1 collected in taxes. These expenses can’t be passed on to the pot industry through taxes because Prop 19 prohibits it: Guess who pays these bills?…California taxpayers! “We’re being asked to subject ourselves to more government regulation, more crime, and higher taxes so that a few people can smoke recreationally. I SAY NO TO THAT,” says Scott Chipman, Southern California Chairman of CALM.

Posted by Activist1 on 07/09/2010 at 7:31 AM

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