How much for that Mary Jane?

A friend sent out this article about legalizing (and taxing) pot in California.

Marijuana, Hey at least it’s not crack!

I must confess, that I’ve never smoked a joint in my life. It’s strange because I used to steal nitrous tanks in college and I have inhaled—one cannot live in San Francisco and not inhale that on a daily basis. I went through half my life confusing the smell of patchouli and pot and I needed a friend to explain to me that chronic was a type of weed. My only claim to fame is one year we lost a lot of cases in high school debate running a legalize marijuana plan.

So it is not surprising I had to ask a friend how much an ounce would cost. The answer is between $20-$50 an eighth. This puts the $50 an ounce tax at about a 13% tax.

Out of curiousity, I looked up what the cigarette tax is. It’s $.87 on a $4.15 tax in 1999 and the rate is still the same in 2009. This amounts to a 26% tax. The CDC estimates the health care externality cost to the state is $15.10 per pack. Ouch!

As for me, I’m all for decriminalizing anything related to pot. I find it hard to equate the average pot smoker I met with a person who deserves to be jailed for life under this state’s three strikes law. Nor have I seen any evidence that this is a “gateway drug.” I mean Really?!?

Even though there is an overwhelming amount of evidence showing the hypocrisy in criminalizing marijuana, there are two enforcement issues involving legalizing marijuana. (This is not something I learned when researching in high school cross-examination debate. There, pretty much every argument has to be tied to either nuclear war or species destruction to be worth it’s salt.) The first is that there is no adequate test for driving under the influence and the second is the multiplicative effect of drinking alcohol (which is legal) and smoking pot at the same time.

I don’t know the answers to those, but the motto of this site is to “write to create context for another to think” not to have an answer for everything.

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