There are quite a few people in the nation who honestly believe that illegal aliens are “bankrupting” this nation, these people are intellectually lazy dullards who are allergic to critical thought. America’s most respected, M.O.R., middle class rag has come out with a rather intriguing editorial about how to put a large dent into the state of California’s fiscal crisis. Surprisingly, the article manages to cite facts and statistics pointing out both the humanitarian and moral imperative of legalizing marijuana, but also the potential fiscal benefits of the government giving the green light to the popular vice. Even more surprising would be how well legalizing “it” would fall in line with the classical conservative philosophy, spelling out how to wipe out large swaths of government waste and unnecessary power, not to mention the fact that legalization could potentially put a large dent in the income of drug-lords south of the border that are currently decimating Mexico. Below is an excerpt of the article, you can read the whole damn thing here.
But there are big issues here, issues of economy and simple justice, especially on the sentencing side. As Webb pointed out in a cover story in Parade magazine, the U.S. is, by far, the most “criminal” country in the world, with 5% of the world’s population and 25% of its prisoners. We spend $68 billion per year on corrections, and one-third of those being corrected are serving time for nonviolent drug crimes. We spend about $150 billion on policing and courts, and 47.5% of all arrests are marijuana-related. That is an awful lot of money, most of it nonfederal, that could be spent on better schools or infrastructure — or simply returned to the public. (See the top 10 ballot measures.) At the same time, there is an enormous potential windfall in the taxation of marijuana. It is estimated that pot is the largest cash crop in California, with annual revenues approaching $14 billion. A 10% pot tax would yield $1.4 billion in California alone. And that’s probably a fraction of the revenues that would be available — and of the economic impact, with thousands of new jobs in agriculture, packaging, marketing and advertising. A veritable marijuana economic-stimulus package! (Read: “Is Pot Good For You?”)