New York, NY: NORML Executive Director Allen St. Pierre presented a mock check to the U.S. Treasury Department in the sum of $14 billion on Wednesday, April 15 (Tax Day), at a press conference at the steps of the General Post Office in New York City.
The $14 billion check total represents the combined savings and tax revenues that would be generated by regulating the sale and production of cannabis like alcohol, according to a 2005 analysis by Harvard University senior lecturer Jeffrey Miron and endorsed by over 500 distinguished economists.
"We represent the millions of otherwise law-abiding cannabis consumers who are ready, willing, vocal and able to contribute needed tax revenue to America's struggling economy," St Pierre told reporters from Salon, Fox News, Sirius Satellite Radio, and other media outlets. "All we ask in exchange for our $14 billion is that our government respects our decision to use marijuana privately and responsibly."
In March, during President Barack Obama's first-ever Internet Town Hall, questions pertaining to whether legalizing marijuana like alcohol could help boost the economy received more votes from the public than did any other topic. Since then, numerous high-profile media pundits – including Joe Klein (Time Magazine), David Sirota (The Nation), Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune) and Jack Cafferty (Salon) – have called on the administration to consider legalizing marijuana.
"America is in the midst of an economic recession," NORML Deputy Director Paul Armentano said. "Taxing and regulating marijuana in a manner like alcohol – with state-licensed sales and age restrictions – would redirect criminal justice costs toward more serious crimes, raise tax revenue, and greatly reduce, if not eliminate, the involvement of drug cartels in the illicit marijuana trade."
According to a 2007 economic analysis, the total retail value of the U.S. marijuana market is more than $113 billion per year – making pot the nation's most lucrative cash crop.
For more information, please contact either Allen St. Pierre, NORML Executive Director, at (202) 483-5500, or Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director, at: email@example.com.