Tuesday, February 10, 2009

The Green Bullet: How to Save the Economy

I have been following the story of Michael Phelps and the infamous bong picture, and have had some very mixed feelings about the whole thing. But finding out he's been suspended, well that was enough for me to go ahead and vent a little bit.

Now, I don't condone pot smoking. I would prefer that my kids not be exposed to inspiring healthy role models hitting the bong all over the news. Kellogg's was right in letting him go. That's not what I want my kids to associate with being a healthy athlete. But at the same time, I also feel the same way about role models who smoke cigarettes too. And for that matter I feel even more strongly about role models who are always pictured with a drink in their hands, or even worse, stars like Paris Hilton who simply personify all the values I DON'T want my kids to have. So relatively speaking good 'old Phelps hitting the bong isn't the worst thing in the world.

In fact it has rekindled something I have felt VERY strongly about for most of my life. I do not think that marijuana is any different than Alcohol or Cigarettes. I've known a number of people who have suffered injuries or death related to both alcohol & cigarette use, but none related to the use of marijuana. The only real dangers of Marijuana are the crimes related to its distribution and sales because it's illegal.

With the failing economy and so many people out of work and scared in these trying times I was inspired when I came across this Esquire article recently. After reading it I suddenly realized that President Obama is right, there is no Silver Bullet to fix the economy, but there could be a Green one that would do just fine.

Legalize Marijuana? Saving the economy? YES.

When FDR completed dinner on the second Sunday of his Presidency, 25% of our nation was out of work. Foreclosures and poverty were plaguing communities in every state across the country, the banks were failing and the Depression was at hand. It’s not very difficult for us to imagine what the general feelings were of the country at that time. There was hope, but it was tainted in fear.

After that Sunday dinner FDR looked around to his table and confidently said, "Now would be a good time for a beer." FDR quickly drafted a document calling Congress to immediately cancel prohibition on beer. That Tuesday it was approved by the House and on that Thursday it passed though the Senate. By Saturday Milwaukee had hired over 600 workers. Detroit heeded the call and within days began building $15 million worth of news cars and trucks for brewers and wholesalers.

Within 48 hours Beer makers had paid $10 million ($157 million today) in Federal, State and Municipal taxes. Talk about a silver bullet.

Now repealing beer that week didn't pull America out of the depression. BUT it did give it the shot in the arm needed to boost jobs, stimulate the dying economy and show everyone first hand that it really could be that easy.

Imagine the money that would be made and saved if the prohibition on Marijuana were to be lifted. More than 500 economists all agree. The savings alone would be epic. With money spent on prohibiting Marijuana, if it were made legal right off the bat somewhere between $10 and $15 BILLION dollars would be saved annually. BILLION.

That's just savings. The money that could be made with the legalization, regulation and taxation by the government is mind-boggling. Not to mention it would suddenly free up police and jails to handle criminals who are committing REAL crimes. Police departments everywhere are low on manpower. Imagine if they were suddenly not bogged down with dealing with petty pot dealers.

Like I said, I don't condone smoking pot. I did when I was in high school, which I think was the last time I had a toke, but not anymore. I don't condone drinking either; I haven't had a drink in 10 years. And I certainly don't encourage smoking. It's been six years since I had one of those as well. But I certainly don't think they should be illegal, and I don't think Pot should be either.

Read more about the economic effects of repealing the prohibition on marijuana.

And this...

1 comment:

Debra Snider said...

I'm thinking any followers you lose because of this post you're better off without! Your thesis reminds me of the wonderful Rolling Stone article from years (maybe decades) ago in which Jann Wenner made compelling & similar arguments about legalizing drugs in general.

Nicely done!