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Everybody's Doing It, So Tax It!

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Nug of the Month: Aug 2008
Hemp is by far one of the most useful plants in the world. It makes paper, fabric, bio-diesel and plastics, among other materials. One acre of hemp can produce three times more paper than an acre of the most paper-producing trees–while according to a Harvard study by Jeffery Miron, Oregon spends $61.5 million enforcing out-of-date cannabis and hemp laws.

The proposed law in the Oregon Cannabis Tax Act 2010 can change all of it for the better. The certified ballot title says that OCTA "permits personal marijuana, hemp cultivation/use without license; commission to regulate commercial marijuana cultivation/sale."

On April 20, the "4/20 festival" near Saturday market ranked Portland as the city with the sixth-highest number of pot smokers in the U.S. Which means OCTA could give many benefits to the region.

Some of these benefits that are listed in the context of the bill itself include putting a percentage of the pot revenue sold at liquor stores towards funding drug abuse education and treatment programs. Perhaps this may sound like a contradiction, as some consider pot to be a drug–it doesn't matter when it comes to funding programs that otherwise get nothing from the state budget these days.

Because the majority of people smoke pot anyway, why not actually have it work towards something of use? If people are going to smoke pot and get medical marijuana cards, some for no real reason regardless of the law, it is more practical to just legalize it–and tax it. No one is saying Oregon farmers are going to get the benefits overnight, but they are more likely to in the future once everything gets settled in.

Portland holds its rank at sixth in the nation, yet we don't even legalize it. That should say something about how much revenue is there that we are not taking advantage of.

If OCTA passes, $300 million resulting from combined tax revenues of hemp production and legalizing marijuana will be added to Oregon's budget.

In the unregulated marijuana market that Oregon has today, anyone can purchase cannabis. For example, prices could be set by some 16-year-old who is in charge of selling it. If there was regulation, the overall costs would go down while at the same time making it harder for the same 16-year-old to obtain marijuana, since it will be sold in liquor stores.

Taking into consideration the revenue that pot can create for state programs and the safety it increases for those under 21, it is difficult to understand the logic behind not legalizing marijuana. Even if you are not a pot smoker, the benefits go to you also because the revenue will be putting money into education and health programs.

More so, the initiative would legalize the ability to grow and tax hemp.

George Washington grew cannabis for more than 30 years and, while he was president, said, "The artificial preparation of hemp is really a curiosity." He would also tell his Secretary of the Treasury, Alexander Hamilton, that he was "suggesting the policy of encouraging the growth of hemp."

Thomas Jefferson also invented a device to process cannabis, while cannabis fiber was used for most clothing and paper production until the invention of the cotton gin.

Why are we rejecting $300 million in tax revenues? Vote "YES" on OCTA 2010.

NewsHawk: Ganjarden: 420 MAGAZINE
Source: The Daily Vanguard
Author: Natalia Grozina
Contact: The Daily Vanguard
Copyright: 2010 The Daily Vanguard Online
Website: Everybody's doing it, so tax it!

* Thanks to MedicalNeed for submitting this article
marijuana will not be sold in liquor stores, it will be sold in stores regulated by the state.
Oregon Cannabis Control Commission, or the OCCC. The OCCC shall regulate the sale of cannabis and cultivation of cannabis for sale. The OCCC shall consist of seven members, with a minimum of five members chosen for their expertise in the cultivation of cannabis and assuring the quality of the resulting products.