OK, I know I could be blogging about out ineffective government, and how nothing but crap comes out of Washington, but Garbage in/Garbage out. Plus, maybe I’ll talk about that tomorrow when I am sitting at home not working. For now, I want to post about an idea that would have the government turning a profit in a few years. An idea that will never get out of Washington. Let’s legalize pot. OK, nothing new, but hear me out.
1. Cost savings – Think of all the money our government uses to enforce the law on pot. Billions of dollars go into the drug war. Now, I know, legalizing pot will not stop the drug war, and nor should it, but at least the portion we spend on pot could go to better use. Also, one must consider jails and the cost of putting pot smokers into prison. That would free up a lot of cells and reduce costs there.
2. Taxes – Now, here is where I go a little further out on a limb. Let’s not tax pot. I can just hear some people asking “Why the hell not?” Well, I say don’t tax pot, tax junk food! Pot smokers alone could balance the budget. However, this policy would have other positive effects. One of the reasons we have such high healthcare costs is that obesity in this country is skyrocketing. We are one of the fattest countries in the world, and now we are paying the price with health care costs. And we are all paying it, not just the obese. In theory (and I know this is only in theory), raising the costs of junk food would decrease the demand. Maybe, as a country, we would get a little bit healthier. Putting my economics degree to good use here.
3. Regulation – Now this would actually increase the government’s budget. However, If the government regulates marijuana, the customer could be a little more sure of what he is getting. Fewer pollutants in what current pot smokers are going to use anyway. And maybe with regulations, we could make those users, and the public as a whole, safe in other aspects (like fewer high drivers?).
4. And think of the money that could be made if one legalizes pot. Right now only criminals are raking in the profits. You could build entire businesses around the pot industry. Sellers, growers, pot bars. The rich could use this to get even richer! Now how can congress not support that?
I admit, this is not a perfect plan, but it’s better then the failed plan currently in place. And before people start saying “great, another idea from a pot smoker”, I am not a smoker, and nor do I want to be. Cigarettes are legal, and I am not a pack-a-day smoker, hell, I won’t touch them at all. I just think that our time and money can be put to better use.