A Different Kind Of 'Tea Party!'

What would you do with an extra $14 billion dollars? NORML will be asking the Obama administration that very question tomorrow when Executive Director Allen St. Pierre will present a mock check to the U.S. Treasury Office at a press conference on the steps of the General Post Office in Midtown Manhattan in New York City.
Representatives of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, including NORML’s National Director Allen St. Pierre, and New York NORML
Marijuana law reformers will present a $14 billion check to the U.S. Treasury
April 15th, 2009 at 8:00 AM (press conference with mock check) and 4:20 PM presentation of check with NORML supporters.
The steps of the General Post Office in Manhattan
441 Eighth Ave
New York, NY
If you reside in the New York area, please consider showing your support for marijuana legalization by attending this event.  Taxing and regulating doesn’t just make sense, it makes ‘cents’ too!

Legalizing Pot Makes Lots of Cents for Our Cash-Starved Government
via Alternet.org
What could you do with an extra $14 billion dollars? Members of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws (NORML) and other likeminded organizations will be asking government officials that very question on Wednesday, April 15th, when they present a mock check to the U.S. Treasury Office.
“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,” says Allen St. Pierre, NORML’s Executive Director. “All we ask in exchange for our $14 billion is that our government respects our decision to use marijuana privately and responsibly.”
But it’s not just NORML that is calling on lawmakers to tax and regulate marijuana. In today’s economic climate, the question is: who isn’t?
Late last month, 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. The questions’ popularity — and the President’s half-hearted reply (“No,” he laughed.) — stimulated a torrent of mainstream media attention. In the past two weeks alone, commentators like David Sirota (The Nation), Kathleen Parker (Washington Post), Paul Jacob (TownHall.com), Clarence Page (Chicago Tribune), and Jack Cafferty (CNN) have all expressed sympathy for regulating pot. Even Joe Klein at Time Magazine weighed in on the issue, writing this month that “legalizing marijuana makes sense.”
It makes cents too.

According to a 2005 analysis by Harvard University senior lecturer Jeffrey Miron — and endorsed by over 500 distinguished economists — replacing pot prohibition with a system of taxation and regulation similar to that used for alcohol would produce combined savings and tax revenues of between $10 billion and $14 billion per year.
A separate economic analysis, conducted by George Mason University professor Jon Gettman in 2007, estimates that the total amount of tax revenue derived from cannabis could be far higher. According to Gettman, the retail value of the total U.S. marijuana market now stands at a whopping $113 billion per year. Using standard tax percentages obtained from the Office of Management and Budget, he calculates that the diversion of this market from the taxable economy deprives taxpayers of $31.1 billion annually.
For local and state governments, taxing and regulating pot could help reduce growing deficits. For instance, in Oakland, California the City Council gave preliminary approval last week to a proposal to raise the business tax paid by city-licensed medical marijuana dispensary operators. Council members estimate that the new tax will raise anywhere from $400,000 to a “couple million” dollars annually.
Likewise, lawmakers in Massachusetts and California are debating statewide measures to tax and regulate the production and sale of cannabis to adults. Both state proposals would impose a fixed excise tax on the retail production of marijuana — non-retail cultivation would remain untaxed — as well as sales taxes on the commercial sale of the drug to anyone 21 years and older.
“The revenue effect of the proposed Act is an estimated annual revenue gain of $1.339 billion,” says the California State Board of Equalization and Taxation, which is backing the measure. A more liberal economic assessment performed by California NORML’s Dr. Dale Gieringer estimates that the annual revenues raised via the advent of a legal cannabis industry in California could be far higher.
“A comparable example would be California’s wine industry,” Gieringer wrote in a 2009 report. “With $12.3 billion in retail sales, the wine industry generates 309,000 jobs, $10.1 billion in wages, and $2 billion in tourist expenditures. Extrapolating these figures to a legal marijuana market, … one might expect $12 to $18 billion in total economic activity, with 60,000 to 110,000 new jobs created, and $2.5 to $3.5 billion in legal wages, which would generate additional income and business taxes for the state.”
Finally, taxing and regulating cannabis would have the added bonus of taking the production and trafficking of pot out of the hands of criminal enterprises and, increasingly, drug gangs. According to the Associated Press, marijuana is the “biggest source of income” for Mexican drug cartels. Legalizing pot would eliminate this primary income source for these cartels and, in turn, eliminate much of the growing violence and turf battles that currently surround the drug’s illegal importation from Mexico.
Any way you look at it, legalizing cannabis just “makes sense.” So why aren’t we doing it?

0 thoughts


  2. Think of prohibition this way:drug dealers don’t ask for identification.Compassion clubs do. Create more jobs,generate huge revenue,switch to the safer alternative.Grow your own at home so the dealers would’nt make a profit on the street.This would also create jobs in the hydroponic sector.Legalize Hemp for:clean fuel,food,clothing,medicine,rubber, etc. This creates Job,jobs,and more jobs.Economy saved.

  3. I want to know there is nothing on any of the major news sites???? WTF??? Any one seen this even advertised on any news site?

  4. @# 47
    The Drug cartels would not exist if they did not have a product that some people are willing to pay up to $300 /oz.for.People would NOT be buying from the cartels if it were legalized, ask yourself who keeps it illegal, the Government, RIGHT? Therefore the government controls,and do you think all of those DEA ,ATF people want to lose their jobs ? Keeping Cannabis illegal is good business for both the drug cartels AND the LEOs, and our Government is the one that keeps the game going by keeping it illegal……think about it!

  5. Great idea with the check guys,,glad to see you guys on it like that! Its greatly appreciated!!

  6. Im not sure any of this will work, I just dont see it. If they havent done anything by now why will they anytime soon?
    I just cant see why when all the facts are here and the truth is out, science has proven what Norml has been saying for years. We have pointed out the problems with Prohibition and drug gangs in mexico are just the newest issue that its causing. We have shown the medical benifits and how well it works for the sick and dieing, we have years of data on users now from California. We have countrys that for years have decrimilized and are haveing great resolts with less kids using and Better educated citizens. We have the lagest prison population and arrest more poeple for non violent offences then any country in the world.
    All these are facts, they are out here for all to see. So why are we still fighting? Thats my point, it seems to be nothing to do with any of that!
    Is it the big drug, alcohol, tobacco, textile and chemical makers that are paying to keep prohibition going? Is it still just education of the facts, even my state senator himself Mitch McConnell wrote to me and said, “there is no medical benifit from marijuana”, where has he been? I think he knows the truth but will not support anything to do with marijuana. What can we do at that point, when all the facts are on our side and we still are fighting, what do we do? We need to elect Marijuana supporters, not these old guys with no clue of what you or me go through daily!
    Ill write my weekly letters just like I have for 30 years, Ill make my phone calls and try my best, but I just cant see how we will change anything till we get our own supporters into these government positions! In the mean time we have Americans suffering in 37 states without Medical Marijuana laws, let alone the arrests of nonviolent drug users. Its just sad, we really cant wait even one more day!
    I just dont know what will work to drive this home, A March on DC this summer??? If we could get 1/2 the pot smokers in this nation to drive, walk, hitch, or whatever, get to DC and we can stand our ground till they hear us and make a change to prohibiton! Five million poeple at there door step, they will have to take note!
    We are a larger minority then any group, yet minority groups they get legilation in there favor, why cant we make a stand and march for our rights? We need something big or we will be here in 10 years wondering why with all the facts and studies and medical reveiws, how did we loose? Lets organize a March on DC this summer, let do it, lets show them we are strong and will not back down! I think we need to do something BIG!

  7. how come i havent heard nothing yet??? WTH come on NORML you guys need to be more aggressive and get more events planned out way earlier than we usely do.
    How much more is it for tv ads? You guys got to have better ways of havin ppl donate at least one dollar for every person that supports marijuana would that not be a lot of money….come on NORML get your advertising stragety to another level expend your mind….come on dosent HEMP help you do that LOL….But seriously Im not joking!

  8. Not My Words
    Blather about getting the “federal government out” of an issue is only libertarian if you are also trying to evict the state and local governments from that domain as well. Barr’s position is classic conservatism and utterly unlibertarian. It is not another variation of libertarianism. It is, however, another version of statism.
    But ever since Ron Paul got away with this sort of crap the bar has been lowered and lowered some more.
    Article here
    “The Constitution Party will uphold the right of states and localities to restrict access to drugs and to enforce such restrictions.”
    ”Yesterday, September 22, Congressman Ron Paul publicly gave me his endorsement for the office of President of the United States. In his blog at the Campaign for Liberty web site, he said, “I’m supporting Chuck Baldwin, the Constitution Party candidate.”
    Under a Paulist regime you will not got to jail for violating Federal Marijuana Laws.
    Under a Paulist regime you will be prosecuted for violating God’s law.

  9. It would be so, so, easy to bring about real reform via the 2002 Incumbent Killer strategy. If we would have continued this in 04 06 and 08 we would already be a lot closer if not there already. Unfortunatly Paulist in the Libertarian Party canceled it. Nothing will change without organized voting. Not publicity stunts, marches, online polls, or any other nonsense.

  10. @54
    That is not control; that is idiocy. These drug cartels don’t sell wine, liquor, beer, or cigarettes; because the gov’t actually controls the sale of these things. Taking advantage of a bullshit law is not control; it’s just immoral. And dangerous. Get a clue.

  11. Imagine how much bigger the numerical value on that check would be if we included potential production (as opposed to importation) of industrial hemp, too!

  12. With so much talk about having a march in DC, why doesn’t NORML organize one? Different NORML chapters could organize some buses and perhaps provide either free or discounted fares for the selected date.
    This is all assuming that NORML has the money to do so, of course. I would still prefer the money be put towards changing state laws, particularly legalization, though.
    All we need is ONE state to legalize marijuana. It’s all downhill from there.

  13. # 57 Brent, Here is why.
    Just substitue pot smoker for uninsured.
    The uninsured “do not provide political benefit for the aid you give them,” said Robert Blendon, a professor of health policy and political analysis at the Harvard School of Public Health. “That’s one of the dilemmas in getting all this money. If I’m in Congress, and I help out farmers, they’ll help me out politically. But if I help out the uninsured, they are not likely to help members of Congress get re-elected.”

  14. Thank you Allen St. Pierre for responding to my post.
    I apologize if I insulted your efforts. NOT MY INTENTION AT ALL!. I respect EVERY effort that NORML puts forth.
    Im only upset that its not getting the same attention.
    If their wasn’t such the unfair stigma about the use of marijuana, I believe that this ” grassroots ” movement would be more like the ACLU or NRA.
    Im sure the risk of having a random drug test at work is much less for some then others who go on national television.

  15. Sorry that link expired.
    If interested try this one or goodgle “no strength in numbers for the uninsured”
    Reading this site shows that pot smokers exist all over all Demographic and political spectrums. There is little REAL political pressure on a congressman’s reelection to support us and a massive organized effort for prohibition. There simply is little to gain (and a lot of pain) politically by supporting MJ reform. In a nutshell we can’t put our differences aside for a common goal. It’s not that the politicians don’t care enough. It’s that we don’t.
    “We must, indeed, all hang together or, most assuredly, we shall all hang separately”
    Benjamin Franklin

  16. I just think that when two opposing factions get together like this topic to tax Cannabis and stop taxing people, that the best way to get attention would be to start demonstrating at these Tea Party activities/rallies and other forums like these to get the media attention it deserves. Lets take advantage and use those ” multimillion dollar supported “demon”-strations in favor of our cause and use their media coverage for our purpose…

  17. Just as representatives & senators might hide their true feelings about Marijuana whether it is becuase of contributions from Big Lobby organizations like tobacco etc.. or just out of fear from not being re-elected from their christian base or who ever they feel is against the legalization of marijuana and is for them because of their prohibition stand.. American Citizens hide the fact that they support NORML for fear of their job and stigma, unfair or not.

  18. Keep up the good work everybody. Im proud of everyone. Thank you NORML, It couldnt happen without you.

  19. We don’t want to LEGALIZE, no! We want to DECRIMINALIZE. The difference is that if it were legalized, regulated, and taxed, that means that the GOVERNMENT OWNS ALL CANNABIS. Oregon has proposed legalizing and taxing, completely monopolizing cannabis cultivation. Anyone that competes with the government operation will be punished.
    Cannabis should be as free as growing tomatoes or flowers.
    Please don’t be fooled!

  20. Unfortunately I think this great gesture was lost in all the media coverage of tea parties and protests. I’ve been watching the news for hours now on tivo and can’t find anything. I think it’s a great idea and a good effort though.
    I’m so angry at how many lives have been destroyed simply for comsuming weed. I too got a letter saying something along the lines of ‘there is no benefit from marijuana it is a gateway drug’ last year from sam graves and several other state reps. I’m just so frustrated. I wish I could talk face to face with these people, sit them down, let them read the research honestly explaining from a medical perspective the findings and the lies and then have them look me in the eyes and say that to my face. Then, I’ll know who to vote for next election.

  21. Why is it that my comments have been sensored? Nothing that I have written has been vulgar, incendiary or hostile language…
    Seams like this NORML website is doing the same thing as the government is wanting to do with NORML supporters… If you dont like what they have to say on a topic, deny and ignore it.
    Alienating your supporters isn’t a good way to build a “grassroots” movement.
    what I have said:
    ” Im just upset that NORML is not getting the same attention it deserves & these Tea Parties Have.
    If their wasn’t such the unfair stigma about the use of marijuana, I believe that this ” grassroots ” movement would be more like the ACLU or NRA.
    Im sure the risk of having a random drug test at work is much less for some then others who go on national television.
    Just as representatives & senators might hide their true feelings about Marijuana whether it is becuase of contributions from Big Lobby organizations like tobacco etc.. or just out of fear from not being re-elected from their christian base or who ever they feel is against the legalization of marijuana and is for them because of their prohibition stand.. American Citizens hide the fact that they support NORML for fear of their job and stigma, unfair or not.
    From the looks of the pictures of the Tea Party and the NORML presentation, that the Marijuana supporters still have jobs to go to while this recession must have hit those anti-tax protesters hard… See, if Marijuana/Cannabis/Hemp was legal they might still have a job or at least be applying for one of the thousand opportunities that would open up if it was legal.
    I guess Cannibas users can hold down a job.
    I just think that when two opposing factions get together like this topic to tax Cannabis and stop taxing people, that the best way to get attention would be to start demonstrating at these Tea Party activities/rallies and other forums like these to get the media attention it deserves. Lets take advantage and use those ” multimillion dollar supported “demon”-strations in favor of our own cause and use their media coverage for our get out the message purpose. “

  22. Why do pols fear the NRA so much? I`m a firm believer in copying what works. I want the pols to fear us just as much.People need to pull on the same rope with us on one side and the government on the other.How much does the NRA charge for membership? People who smoke should step up and be counted and support with cash and by marching! The Veitnam War ended because of all the marching on the capital.The war on drugs needs to end in the same way. PEACE LOVE AND A LITTLE WEED !

  23. #77
    You’re NOT being censored.
    – Sometimes, blog-posts just take awhile to be
    (As long as 24 hours)
    By the looks of things,
    National NORML was QUITE BUSY Wednesday.

  24. @ Supporter.
    You were not censored. Just a human delay.
    You can thank trash bots for posting links to V**gra and what not for the need to moderate “blog” style feedback columns. This unfortunately does take a human to read the submission and see that its from another human to be approved. I’ve yet to get a bot to work in filtering out those ads. The other bots just are too good at what they do. Take a look at MPP’s user comment threads before they get cleaned up after the fact for an example.
    The NORML website also tends to run a little lean on staffing to approve messages and can run into delays. Sad fact is that NORML just doesn’t have the cash flow/support to ensure a steady flow of feedback will appear in real time.
    Though perhaps this year NORML will see an increase in funds to help fix that problem. (hint hint)

  25. Obama stated today he was renewing his effort to crack down on drugs. So much for the hopes of many.

  26. To all you marijuana activist’s out there who are trying to get the
    plant legalized now is the time.
    Copy and Paste this entire message and spread it onto every forum
    that you know. Now is the time for us to be heard and let the rest of
    the country hear us.
    America has fallen on hard times and our economy and it’s people can’t
    stand on their own for much longer.
    Marijuana is the worlds #1 cash crop and it has more medicinal purposes
    then the media will let on. The plant itself will stop the destruction
    of the rainforest and will raise the oxygen levels in the air if we are
    allowed to cultivate it as we do corn.
    The war on drugs is a failure and the prohibition of marijuana doesent
    just affect you it affects your entire family.
    The plant itself is used in the production of -Paper,Insulation,
    clothing,and many many other thing’s. It can and will end this
    economic crisis we are in.
    Legalizing it would put a stop to the cartels who make more money
    then you can believe off it being illegal. The cartels who kill women
    and children profit off of it being illegal.
    There are no deaths resulting from marijuana ever recorded and it is
    Safer then alcohol will ever be and it is not addictive.
    Legalizing the plant will create job’s and opportunities to start
    small business’s all over the country.
    For medicinal purposes it can help with depression, insomnia, and
    eating disorder’s.
    It has been stated over and over again that marijuana is not a
    dangerous drug to use and in a since it can’t even be labeled as a drug.
    I myself know that the legalizing of this plant will help the world
    in a good way, not bad. and for all of the people that are
    Anti marijuana i have to say look up video’s and don’t believe
    everything the media tries to tell you.
    Put an age limit on the purchasing and consumption of marijuana, and
    it will put the regulation of the plant into the hand’s of the
    companies themselves and will work alot better at keeping your children
    off the “Plant” till they are at a sutable age to decide for themselves
    and control themselves and when they are out of highschool.
    Drug dealer’s will not make anymore money off of this plant being
    illegal and your children will barely be able to get their hands on it
    till they are the proper age, same as alcohol. Cause it being illegal
    just make’s it easier for children to get ahold of it.
    I say Americans need to work together and end the prohibition on
    Marijuana and Remember Saying YES to Legalize marijuana Doesent mean
    you saying yes to legalize the “Other” and more serious drugs.
    America has alot to learn and this is going to be the start of the
    Revolution. We are the American people and we don’t need the media
    and the government to tell us what is right and what is wrong.
    Think for yourself’s Save America and save the world as we know it.
    While you are spreading the message around please remember to copy
    from “To all you marijuana activist’s” down to this last sentence.

  27. first, thanks to norml for the chance to express ourselves and for all this website does with what money it gets from us poor folk. my only wish is that more people would speak up. i know many that i share (the remedy) with wont make themselves heard becauce of fear. the remedy is worth speaking out for. i have used it off and on for thirty years responsibly until my job of thirty years started random testing. then all this hit home for me. if more of us were to reach deeper into our pockets and open our mouths for what we believe in….just imagine the difference we could make. i have an a.d.d. condition that mj have had a great effect on and, more now than ever, i want legalization to work. im not one to step out about stuff but i believe enough in marijuana (the remedy) that more and more, i want to support normls cause , our cause. we and us, are small words but together, can make a difference if their is any freedom left in america.

  28. Obama acknowledged he’s unlikely to get Congress to reimpose the Clinton-era ban on assault-style weapons. That can be seen as a positive sign in the right directional push to then legalize Marijuana. If they are not able to stop the demand for Marijuana in the United States. Whats easier… to fight the NRA & the 2nd amendment right or to abolish marijuana prohibition and giving americans our individual civil liberties back? Its a hopeful sign.

  29. #81
    Oblama NEVER said he was going to end the War On some Drugs,
    he only said that “we need to re-think…we’re not doing a very good job…”
    It was vague-@ss terminology from the beginnig…

  30. I just called Norml wanting to know what happened when norml presented this 14 billion dollar fake check to the us treasury , which i am not happy about. They said it was more symbolic to show how much money the treasury would be recieving, based on statistics years ago, if government legalized marijuana. Im so sick of seeing no results . Stop making the government “think” or “imagine” what would happen if they legalized marijuana , stop presenting fake checks with no real face value. why dont you wave a REAL 14 billion dollar check in front of their faces and see what happens if they need the money so bad . if they dont take the check then go public with this shit or go to the news. Is anybody goin to do anything real and major in this organization to show some results? Stop the games please, stop dreaming, and start getting shit done . im sick and tired of these false hopes you and this whole organization are installing in the American people as well as myself .

  31. #81
    Oblama NEVER said he was going to end the War On some Drugs,
    he only said that “we need to re-think…we’re not doing a very good job…”
    It was vague-@ss terminology from the beginning…

  32. The GREEN MACHINE is growing little at a time. One of these days the government will figure out that the ASS GOES IN FRONT OF THE WAGON-NOT THE REAR OF THE WAGON. Thats why we have MARIJUANA PROHIBITION-EVERYTHING IS ASS BACKWARDS. 420 ALL THE WAY!

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