Can you smoke enough dope to save California? Legalization estimated to raise $1.4 billion a year

July 16, 2009 – As we know, San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano is pushing a bill to legalize and tax marijuana. On Wednesday, the State Board of Equalization told us just how much that would raise: $1.4 billion a year.6a00d8341c630a53ef011570703ff0970b-320wi

Wow, that’s a lot of pot: 16 million ounces are annually consumed in California, according to the report. You gotta love this state because…uh…uh… we forgot what we were going to say.

Oh, yeah: How in the hell do you figure out how much of an illegal quantity is consumed? It’s not like the average recreational yuppie user — and we all know doctors, lawyers, political leaders and educators who blow the occasional doob — is going to fess up to some alleged “survey taker.” Not that they’re paranoid.

The Board of Equalization’s answer is on page 6 of its report. It is basing its figure on “numerous assumptions, all of which come from law enforcement estimates and academic studies.”

There are a few other interesting tidbits hidden in the stems and seeds of this report:

Dope would be cheaper: “Legalization of marijuana would cause its street price to decline by 50 percent. This 50 percent decline in price would lead to additional consumption of 40 percent.”

But fewer would be smoking: “The imposition of the $50/ounce tax would then lead to reduced consumption of 11 percent.”

So does this mean that fewer people would smoke because they don’t want to pay the tax? And does that mean they’d rather buy from their local dealer — and save the tax?

Up with dope, down with booze and butts: The report says there may be more people smoking dope and fewer smoking cigarettes and drinking. “There could be a ‘substitution effect’ toward marijuana and away from cigarettes and alcohol.”

So would you put down the Marlies and beer if weed was legal?

What about the munchies? The report claims that “consumers choosing to increase their consumption of marijuana would likely do so by reducing their consumption elsewhere, some of which is subject to the sales and use tax (such as cigarettes), some of which is not (such as groceries and most services).” Which means, you know what’s coming next from the Legislature: A Munchies Tax.

California NORML notes that “Not included are savings in law enforcement costs for investigating, arresting, prosecuting, and imprisoning marijuana offenders, which are estimated to total some hundreds of millions per year.”

So are you ready to do your part to plug California’s $26 billion budget gap?

By Joe Garofoli. Source.

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