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

  1. I expect politicians to treat this event like all the others by simply not commenting or turning their heads in silence. We have a better chance of ending prohibtion via the drug wars in Mexico. It’s impossible for politicians to keep turning their heads with so many lives on the line now not to mention the thousands already dead.
    Legalize MJ and stop the blood bath in Mexico!

  2. Keep it up NORML it is about time I can be considered a US citizen again and maybe employable by companies that have refused in the past because of my jaded past with criminals because I enjoy marijuana for personal use. I have a felony for 23 grams of marijuana 1999 which has stopped me being employed by many companies because of government restrictions.
    Americans Battling for NORML!!!!!!

  3. Great Idea! hopefully this will pose this serious question in a more palpable way. let their imaginations run wild with what they could do with 14 billion dollars.
    what would I do with 14 billion?
    keep 4 billion, donate the rest

  4. These are such exciting times! I if I still lived in NY i’d be there in a heart beat. GOOD LUCK!

  5. Rob Drizzle: yeah… why the hell not?! Because if cannabis were legalized overnight, it would cut our DEA off at the knees. 99% of their workload is busting nonviolent cannabis users/traffickers and pulling ditchweed all along the railroad tracks across the country, since it was shipped around by train during ‘Hemp for Victory’ when it was relegalized in 1942 to ‘grow hemp for the war’ to outfit our navy destroyers with rope, uniforms, parachutes…

  6. Have you all completely lost your minds? WE already paid a million times over whatever tax we might have owed for cannabis. We’re not paying a cent!
    Your check is going to bounce. Send them a bill for all the families and liberties destroyed, for the activists tortured or murdered.
    You plan to use BATF on cannabis consumers? You sick, sell out MFs!

  7. I hope NORML provides a link or posts a video of both the press conference and the check presentation. I’d love to be there, but alas, New York is about 1,400 miles away from Kansas.

  8. I will certainly be at this event for support. Everyone needs to keep the pressure on their elected officials and we can win this war. Right now we are closer to witnessing legal marijuana in this country than we have ever been. More and more people every day are speaking out about legalization. The government has even stopped trying to pretend marijuana is bad for you!

  9. Yeah, just legalize it! Don’t wait for that bill by Webb and Specter to legalize it. We still need lots of reform in the criminal justice system, and the legislation can still be good for that.

  10. We need to get as many people to the rallies on the 20th as possible.
    I would love to hear what FOX news says about a pro Cannabis rally outnumbering the tea bag revolution 😉
    If we go, they will cover it right? Fat chance.

  11. Wonder how the 70 year old rich republicans would do if a democrat would legalize marijuana. Probably call them communist.

  12. All i got to say is i would spend the money on pot!!!!…ya know also, if they would like to make pot legal and tax the shit out of it, i would still not complain. tack on another 20 an ounce…make it total 100 an ounce…and im still GRINNING from ear to ear…and I will still be standing in line…waiting for my pack of pot….sounds great…i want it now…CHANGE we can BELIEVE in….starting to believe USA is just a bunch of hypocrites…

  13. Regulating and taxing cannabis makes sense; and is a rational position on such a benign substance. Thus, it has a snowball’s chance. I feel like I’ve been double-parked in the Twilight Zone all my life, why should anything change now?

  14. “””# Bob Says:
    April 14th, 2009 at 1:22 pm
    Keep it up NORML it is about time I can be considered a US citizen again and maybe employable by companies that have refused in the past because of my jaded past with criminals because I enjoy marijuana for personal use. I have a felony for 23 grams of marijuana 1999 which has stopped me being employed by many companies because of government restrictions.
    Americans Battling for NORML!!!!!!”””
    Mr. Allen St. Pierre, should also ask PRESIDENT Obama, if he and the last two Presidents of our great land would want to publicly admit to how many specific events in which they smoked Marijuana. The amounts they were being involved with. And then ask, if they would also like to (since they admitted to breaking a Federal Law) turn themselves in and face the consequences. Noble enough to admit the crime…Noble enough to do the time!
    By keeping Marijuana illegal, they are basically saying it is ok for only certain people to break Federal Laws…and everyone else, just has to pay the price.
    How many lives were destroyed to get President Obama his weed, back in the day….when he was just a kid in the streets? But he didn’t get popped proper, and now he is the leader of the Free World.
    He, himself is living proof….Marijuana doesn’t destroy lives. Only personal choice, destroys lives.
    The Leader of the Free World….and the one before that, and the one before that. Obama, Bush, Clinton.
    Way to go NORML!!! Strike wile the Iron is hot…Keep it hot, and keep on striking!!!

  15. well i am no expert, but if this would help us get jobs and help the economy that much, we need to act on this fast. it is just ridiculous that we haven’t done anything about this yet. i hope that the government will open their eyes to see what this will to for the good of people.

  16. are there going to be any protests in souther california? Please reply if you know of any protests in SAN DIEGO on 4/20. If not we should be at balboa park!

  17. This argument is definitely gaining momentum. So exciting to see.
    HOpefully by this time next year I will be able to smoke in ny home without fear of losing my job, my home, adoption rights or any of the other adult rights that I haven’t done anything to deserve to lose!

  18. Hopefully this event will be taken seriously and will be widely covered by the Media, and hopefully they don’t put the same old negative spin on this situation.

  19. i wish i could be there to see the faces lol. PLEASE video tape this so we can all see even if they do turn their heads and run away. rofl! i can just picture them with their tales tucked, buttholes puckered and running for the door hahaha!!! should do it like sweepstakes people ed mcmann and that clark guy who would pop up your door and give a fat check for winning the sweepstakes and go to every politicians house and do this with video, make them feel very uncomfortible to the point where they just say screw it you can have what you want and just give up.

  20. this is true it will give power to the gov. and take power from the black market think of this. the money shown in the study is all going to crime. takeing away that money will do alot of damige to crime

  21. I feel like we are getting so close to winning this “war”! I think the key to legalization is to first pass decriminalization. In 2004 Barack Obama said “I am in favor of decriminalization…” and he went on to say “I am NOT, however, for legalization.” All my hopes will be with NORML tomorrow, and I wish great success for the counter culture! Viva La Resistance!!!

  22. aside from the money collected in taxes, there would be billions of dollars left in the pockets of americans to be spent right here, in america! it just makes too much sense to legalize, tax & regulate. wish ya all the best of luck tomorrow. represent!!!

  23. One thing a bureaucracy is not,is stupid, and they,the govm’t,know that as soon as they legalize cannabis, they will loose all control over it. That is why they will never legalize it.
    Thank you very much……..

  24. I for one am sick of the mexican ditchweed the Federally mandated Black Market brings to my neck of the woods. I’d just as soon send my smoke money to NORML to deposit into an account. Let’s start collecting a Voluntary Marijuana Tax fund. Mock checks are a great symobology, but a bank account with 14billion dollars in it would get their attention more. Remember Ron Paul’s internet cash bombs? Money talks to politicians, not votes.

  25. Print out the 14 BILLION DOLLAR check and attach to your tax returns ..
    Legalization is way over due ..

  26. One day I would like to sit on my front porch and smoke a joint, however, like always I will have to hide in my closet, to conceal the terrible truth, that I have smoked marijuana for 30 years, and had to deal with ridicule, prosecution, and a condecending attitude from, from the police, the courts, and moral majority, which is neither.

  27. Postcards of that check to send to my representatives would be handy.
    Would be great if I could make a donation for a small supply from you guys.
    Guess I’ll have to print some out on my own.
    And make a donation anyways. 😛

  28. Awesome symbolism. Let’s just try to get more and more events off the ground while we still have momentum. Free events draw people in, especially since many people have nothing to do due to job loss. Might as well take this time to spread the word.
    It seems like we’re gonna need an all-out blitz for marijuana reform: events, advertisements, lobbying, etc.
    Let’s get one of the legalization bills in either California or Massachusetts through also. We need just one final push before we no longer are fighting uphill, but are rolling downwards with our momentum.
    Donate to NORML, contact your legislators, participate in events, just do whatever it takes.

  29. That 14 billion is just from taxing the plant too, imagine if the hemp industry was given a chance. DuPont, and a shit load of other chemical/textile companies won’t like it. Screw dupont, screw all the corrupt, greedy CEO’s. They deserve to be overthrown by a plant. If i was in NY, i would skip school, and whatever else, to attend. Unfortunately i’m in bumfuck South Carolina. Cops here are ignorant as they are most everywhere. I have a simple posession charge because they got me with 5.5 grams…there goes my chance for driving for UPS, and potentially finding a decent job. NORML all the way, goodluck.

  30. so, is this all a mock check, or is there really gonna be 14 billion paid on the 15th?
    good idea, i hope this brings change.

  31. We all need to donate to NORML for what they’re doing for us. If each of the estimated 20 MILLION regular marijuana smokers each donated $10, prohibition would end almost immediately. Money talks!
    I am looking foward to the day I don’t have to fear loaing my job, being arrested, worrying about asset forefeiture, time in jail, losing custody of my children. Imagine being equal with our beer drinking friends!
    Please donate generously to NORML.
    Johnny D

  32. Great!!! I hope Allen St. Pierre really gets their attention. Media attention will be great to see our government officials squirm as they hear and see the truth!!!! Keep the pressure on our leaders. Soon, even they will not like to be seen as the impediment to solving the war on drugs!!! Now they will have another chance to make a difference for the people!!!
    I for one, would love to work in the Legal Marijuana Industry, when the Federal Government finally sees the need for a regulated market and makes it LAW!!! What a glorious day that will be!!!!

  33. I once saw a documentary a while back on appalaicha (sp?) with Billy Ray Cyrus .I think it was called Hillbillies.. anyone else see that? I cannot find it online, but it was such a good program that showed how the mountainous region was affected through alcohol prohobition and now with MJ.
    We will not solve our economy with just schooling and training, we need to provide jobs of all types because we are a country of all types.
    I do think that we need to create new jobs since so many have been shipped away, and this is one way we could really offer more at home. There would be many benefits beyond tax creation.
    Best of luck to all who are fighting for what is right!

  34. @ 37
    The Government doesn’t control it now, violent drug cartels control illegal drug trade. That is the problem. OH, and bureaucracy IS stupid; and wasteful.

  35. NORML needs to get more media recognition and attention. I have yet to see any main news coverage out of the broadcast news stations outlets.
    NORML needs to be more aggressive or savy when it wants covered by the main stream media for these kinds of events…
    The ridiculous Tea Party fiasco has recieved more attention! It has overshadowed a more serious subject matter to the issue of tases.

    1. Hello ‘Supporter’,
      NORML’s grassroots ‘let’s tax cannabis’ protest in NYC to the multimillion dollar effort led by the GOP, numerous business-supported ‘front groups’ and so-called ‘right wing’ radio hosts from coast to coast to bash Congress and Obama can’t be fairly compared.
      BTW, NORML has done numerous media interviews about tax day…and CNN has contacted the organization as well.
      Or course, I invite you to download a NORML Tax Day protest sign from http://www.norml.org and attempt to be all ‘savvy’ and ‘aggressive’ to attract your LOCAL media. Go track down where your local TV news are doing their ‘last minute tax return’ remotes, and with you and your like-minded friend and family, you can probably get on the news, and promote cannabis law reform.
      Otherwise, the coverage will be about the ‘tea baggers’ protesting taxes…when cannabis consumers want to PAY taxes.
      That is a ready-made local media story!
      -Allen St. Pierre

  36. hey, with the terrible drug-profit-fueled wars going on in Mexico, legalization is the ONLY sane policy to that horror…

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