One way marijuana legalization was pushed, politically, in Colorado and Washington, was with the “let’s tax this weed!” agenda. Indeed, the “tax and regulate” approach proved a convenient way for marijuana users to get non-marijuana users “on board” the legalization bandwagon, basically buying off those who were most sympathetic to the prohibitionist status quo.
And it’s the dominant way of thinking, today.
This frustrates many who wanted to return marijuana growth, distribution and usage to its pre-1937 legality, for they saw the prohibitionist program as inherently illiberal, nasty, inhumane. To these legalizers, “taxing and regulating” appears as just a ramped-down version of today’s policy.
Think Genghis Khan, who wanted to kill all Manchurians and turn northern China into a vast grazing land for horses. He was convinced not to do so for reasons of the “Laffer Curve”: he’d get more revenue by taxing Manchurians than killing them.
While taxing and regulating Manchurians was certainly better than genocide, it was still a tyrant’s prerogative.
Apply the same logic to cannabis.
Marijuana has been grown and used for eons. Trying to control or eradicate it as a noxious weed rather than tolerate it as a plant with many uses, seems unjust, not merely inadvisable. The whole “tax and regulate” notion rubs up against the home growing of the plant. Marijuana is easy to grow, but many folks want to prohibit people from growing it out-of-doors — the better to keep it out of the hands of thieving youngsters.
Call me old-fashioned, but it seems to me that thieving youngsters should be nabbed and dealt with in Andy Griffith-style justice.
But then, I missed the marijuana episode of the Andy Griffith Show.
This is Common Sense. I’m Paul Jacob.