Posts Tagged ‘taxes’

Top 11 Reasons America Doesn’t Want Marijuana Legalized

By Steve Elliott ~alapoet~ in Culture
Wednesday, June 29, 2011, at 12:57 pm
        Photo: NORML Blog
By Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town
Northern California Correspondent

11. Wars make money for a few and kill the rest…

The War On Drugs makes money for cartels, police, the government, prisons, politicians, crooks, and all those other people we can’t see, like the Glad Bag people and the grow-light industry.
This 100-year revenue stream could dry up if Americans couldn’t be arrested for a drug that has been proven to be less destructive than whole milk.

10. Doesn’t matter what we do?
Barney Frank and Ron Paul cross the aisle for a bi-huggable confabulous (I know, but let me have it) bill supporting the legalization of marijuana.
Lamar Smith (R-Texas, surprise!), drinking buddy of the alcoholic lobbyists everywhere, will single-handedly try to stop the demon weed so that beer, wine and booze will never have to suffer like it did for those 13 long years almost a hundred years ago.
Lamar, according to, makes around 20 grand a year to ensure that the only bud that American kids put to their lips, has an Anheuser-Busch label on it.
Photo: Joe Raedle
​9. Drinking went up during Prohibition.
I know — who cares? — but apparently when you can’t get something, you want it more.
Per capita consumption of alcohol had been declining in the U.S. right before Prohibition started. After alcohol consumption hit an all-time low in 1921, it began to increase starting in 1922.
Especially alarming is economist Mark Thorton’s research finding that the “homicide rate increased from 6 per 100,000 population in the pre-Prohibition period to nearly 10 per 100,000 in 1933.”
8. In 1937, the guy who started this whole fiasco said…
“No one knows, when he places a marijuana cigarette to his lips, whether he will become a philosopher, a joyous reveler in a musical heaven, a mad insensate, a calm philosopher, or a murderer.” ~ Harry J. Anslinger
And people still believe this… Let me help you out, America. You get mellow when you smoke. Whatever was troubling you hurts less now.
Harry was right about it making music and stories better, but murderers and insensate? I haven’t insensate since high school. (Someone should tell me what “insensate” means.)
Arkansans for Compassionate Care
​7. Where are the doctors? The AMA?
When all the false information was produced to scare America into marijuana prohibition in 1937, only one doctor testified before the congressional hearings.
All “evidence” was contrived by a small clique of an American cartel that wanted to do away with industrial hemp.
Where are the doctors now? They’re trying to find a way to market marijuana so it profits just the pharmaceutical companies and the doctors who play ball with a health care industry that is for profit, not for compassion.
6. We do not want to tarnish the memory of Richard Nixon.
The President that had to step down because he lied to America created the Drug Enforcement Administration, a vast network of white, short-sleeved worker bees who hated marijuana.
As of 2009, the DEA has a budget of around $2.6 billion with 83 offices worldwide. For 40 years this agency has destroyed lives and families, making criminals out of otherwise law-abiding citizens.
Does it work? No! Can we stop it? Not unless we want to rethink our whole I-Love-Dick-Nixon-and-all-he-stands-for attitude. After Reagan, secretively, Nixon is the Right’s favorite son.
Graphic: American Patriot Friends Network
​5. Prisons, prisons, prisons!
In a September 2008 report, the Marijuana Policy Project found that between 1995 and 2008 nearly 9.5 million individuals had been arrested due to connections with marijuana (whether it is cultivation, possession, or distribution). In 2007, there were 872,7209 marijuana-related arrests, an all-time record, totaling more arrests than those for all violent crimes combined.

This means, on average, that one person is arrested on marijuana charges every 36 seconds.
Cultivating as little as one marijuana plant is a federal felony. Several states have interjected and slightly decriminalized certain aspects of marijuana policy, but the majority of U.S. states continue to echo federal marijuana laws.
It doesn’t matter that Arizona State Senator Russell Pearce was working with the for-profit prison industry, Corrections Corporation of America, when composing the anti-immigration bill that his state made into law. The bill was about putting butts in the beds and all Russell and his friends were doing was making sure that before they build those big new prisons, Sheriff Joe Arpaio and others would make sure they came. But please, only your browns and blacks.
Every year as pro-medical marijuana legislation and other progressive measures are advanced throughout the country, the correctional officers unions — along with the liquor lobby — are the major contributors to squashing any pro-pot laws.
Why? ‘Cause it ain’t any good for business.
​4. Hemp.
Sorry, but the silent sister of weed is always at the dance, but hardly ever asked to dance. There is so much money to be saved with hemp, meaning there are so many fearful industries that could lose money if there was a cheap alternative available: they’re scared shitless.
A fascinating exploration into the possibilities of hemp can be seen in two issues of Popular Mechanics in 1938 and 1941. An interesting side note is that these issues, which contain extensive praise for the possibilities of hemp production, were written after cannabis was already criminalized in 1937 with the Marihuana Tax Act.
It’s hard to believe that even after a year of cannabis being outlawed in America, Popular Mechanics was still praising the value of hemp. The magazine proudly proclaimed “hemp will produce every grade of paper and government figures estimate than 10,000 acres devoted to hemp will produce as much paper as 40,000 acres of average pulp land.”
Hemp is the standard fiber of the world. It has great tensile strength and durability. It is used to produce more than 5,000 textile products, ranging from rope to fine laces, and the woody “hurds” remaining after the fiber has been removed contain more than 77 percent cellulose, which can be used to produce more than 25,000 products ranging from dynamite to cellophane.
3. Too many Americans still have access to marijuana.
Even though I am an activist fighting for the right of patients to get the medication they need, with that being said, I still know about 40,000 people growing it.
It is America’s number one cash crop. Someone’s got to be growing it.
This pisses off the Powers That Be. Until they can figure out how to stop unregulated growers (in their eyes) from trying to do their thing, Big Money and Big Pharma won’t rest. It’s never been about the weed, it’s about freedom.
Graphic: 303 Magazine
​2. Big Pharma wants to own marijuana.
A study from Mohamed Ben Amar in the Journal of Ethnopharmacology researched the therapeutic effects of cannabinoids in marijuana. The study monitored the effects that cannabinoids had on seriously ill patients in several countries. In this study, Amar concluded:
“[I]t [i]s possible to affirm that cannabinoids exhibit an interesting therapeutic potential as stopping vomiting and nausea, an appetite stimulant in debilitating diseases (cancer and AIDS), analgesic, as well as in the treatment of multiple sclerosis, spinal cord injuries, Tourette’s syndrome, epilepsy and glaucoma.”
It works and they know it!
1. The chief reason Marijuana is still illegal in this country…
Because Big Pharma — even with all their money, scientists and resources — still can’t figure out how to grow the Diggity-Dank like those stoners do!!
Photo: Jack Rikess
Toke of the Town correspondent Jack Rikess blogs from the Haight in San Francisco.

Jack Rikess, a former stand-up comic, writes a regular column most directly found at

Jack delivers real-time coverage following the cannabis community, focusing on politics and culture.

His beat includes San Francisco, the Bay Area and Mendocino-Humboldt counties.

He has been quoted by the national media and is known for his unique view with thoughtful, insightful perspective.


U.S. Can’t Justify Its Drug War Spending: New Reports

Graphic: Break The Matrix

​Name one government program that for 40 years has failed to achieve any of its goals, yet receives bigger and bigger budgets every year. If you said “the War on Drugs,” you’ve been paying attention.

The Obama Administration is unable to show that the billions of dollar spent in the War On Drugs have significantly affected the flow of illicit substances into the United States, according to two government reports and outside experts.

The reports specifically criticize the government’s growing use of U.S. contractors, which were paid more than $3 billion to train local prosecutors and police, help eradicate coca fields, and operate surveillance equipment in the battle against the expanding drug trade in Latin America over the past five years, reports Brian Bennett of the Los Angeles Times.
“We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return,” said Sen. Claire McCaskill (D-MO), who chairs the Senate subcommittee that wrote one of the reports, which was released on Wednesday.

col_bruce bagley flip.jpg
Photo: Colombia In Context
Professor Bruce Bagley, University of Miami:
“I think we have wasted our money hugely”
“I think we have wasted our money hugely,” said Bruce Bagley, an expert in U.S. anti-narcotics efforts. “The effort has had corrosive effects on every country it has touched,” said Bagley, who chairs international studies at the University of Miami at Coral Gables, Florida.
Predictably, Obama Administration officials deny reports that U.S. efforts have failed to reduce drug production and smuggling in Latin America.
White House officials claim the expanding U.S. anti-drug effort occupies a “growing portion” of time for President Obama’s national security team, even though it doesn’t get many Congressional hearings or headlines.
The majority of wasted American counter-narcotics dollars are awarded to five big corporations: DynCorp, Lockheed Martin, Raytheon, ITT and ARINC, according to the report for the contracting oversight committee, part of the Senate Homeland Security and Governmental Affairs Committee.
Counter-narcotics contract spending increased by 32 percent over the five-year period from $482 million in 2005 to $635 million in 2009. Falls Church, Va., based DynCorp got the biggest piece of the wasted pie, a whopping $1.1 billion.
Photo: Politico
Sen. Claire McCaskill: “We are wasting tax dollars and throwing money at a problem without even knowing what we are getting in return”
These contractors have plenty of ways to waste your tax money. They train local police and investigators in anti-drug methods, provide logistical support to intelligence collection centers, and fly airplanes and helicopters that spray herbicides to supposedly eradicate coca crops grown to produce cocaine.
The Department of Defense has wasted $6.1 billion of tax money since 2005 to help spot planes and boats headed north to the U.S. with drug payloads, as well as on surveillance and other intelligence operations.
Some of the expenses are “difficult to characterize,” according to Senate staff members, which is government-speak for “OK, you caught us wasting money again.” The Army wasted $75,000 for paintball supplies for “training exercises” in 2007, for example, and $5,000 for what the military listed as “rubber ducks.”
The “ducks” are rubber replicas of M-16 rifles that are used in training exercises, a Pentagon spokesman claimed.
Even the Defense Department described its own system for tracking these contracts as “error prone,” according to the Senate report, which also says the department doesn’t have reliable data about “how successful” its efforts have been. Go figure.
In a separate report last month by the U.S. Government Accountability Office, the investigative arm of Congress, there is the conclusion that the State Department “does not have a centralized inventory of counter-narcotics contracts” and said the department does not evaluate the overall success of its counter-narcotics program.
“It’s become increasingly clear that our efforts to rein in the narcotics trade in Latin America, especially as it relates to the government’s use of contractors, have largely failed,” Sen. McCaskill said.
The latest criticism of the United States’ War On Drugs comes just a week after a high-profile group of world leaders called the global Drug War a costly failure.
The group, which included former United Nations Secretary General Kofi Annan and past presidents of Mexico, Brazil and Colombia, recommended that regional governments try legalizing and regulating drugs to help stop the flood of cash going to drug cartels and other organized crime groups.
James Gregory, a Pentagon spokesman, demonstrated his willingness to lie his ass off by claiming the Defense Department’s efforts against drugs “have been among the most successful and cost-effective programs” in decades.
“By any reasonable assessment, the U.S. has received ample strategic national security benefits in return for its investments in this area,” said Gregory, who seems to inhabit a particularly improbable alternate reality.
Back in the real world, the only effects most objective observers can see run along these lines: Backed by the United States, Mexico’s stepped-up Drug War has had the unintended effect of pushing drug cartels deeper into Central America, causing violence to soar in Guatemala, Honduras and El Salvador.
Another effect has been the vast expansion of Orwellain surveillance technology, supposedly to combat drugs, but ever-so-useful to the authoritarian regimes in Central America (and in the United States) in suppressing dissent.
The U.S. is currently focusing on improving its efforts to intercept cellphone and Internet traffic (of “drug cartels,” yeah right) in the region, according to U.S. officials who spoke on condition of anonymity.
During a visit to El Salvador in February, William Brownfield, the head of the State Department’s anti-drug programs, opened a wiretapping center in San Salvador, as well as an office to share fingerprints and other data with U.S. law enforcement.

Medical Marijuana Lobbying Debuts in D.C.

The $1.7 billion medical marijuana industry made its lobbying debut in Washington on Wednesday with its official trade association launching an effort for changes in federal tax law that would put medicinal purveyors on equal footing with fully legitimate businesses.

From an underground movement to a legal business in California, 14 other states and Washington, D.C., medical marijuana is emerging as a full-fledged commercial sector with sales that might soon rival those of Viagra, advocates said.

“We simply feel that our industry should be treated like any other legitimate industry,” said Aaron Smith, director of the National Cannabis Industry Association. He spoke at a news conference kicking off the association’s first day of lobbying, which included meetings with lawmakers on Capitol Hill.

Federal law does not recognize Big Pot. The sophisticated marijuana farms sprouting up in Northern California’s Emerald Triangle and elsewhere exist in a legal twilight zone, although the Justice Department has advised its prosecutors not to pursue marijuana providers operating under state law.

The lobbying campaign is aimed at amending a federal tax code provision that categorizes medical marijuana dispensary operators as drug traffickers. Such a categorization prevents them from tax deductions for marijuana-related expenses. It also makes them particularly susceptible to audits from the Internal Revenue Service.

California has 76 percent of the nation’s medical marijuana market and issued 51,550 medical marijuana cards in the past 5 years.

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