Few national political issues are as clear-cut as the growing movement toward legalization of Marijuana. The reasons for supporting this NOW are numerous and quite financially substantial. With a few more votes and the stroke of a pen, we can take a major step toward trivial matters such as balancing the budget.
According to recent article in Time Magazine, more than 500 prominent economists agree that the legalization case is a no-brainer (http://economics.about.com/od/incometaxestaxcuts/a/legalize_pot.htm).
Odd, that "Marko's Take" was not consulted.
Public sentiment is growing tired of the vestiges of persecution for those involved in minor possession. Recently, a jury in the conservative state of Montana could not be assembled because of the virtually unanimous sense that it was an utter waste of private and public resources (http://billingsgazette.com/news/state-and-regional/montana/article_d6b1aaca-edfc-527f-ad11-f1691fdc6e3b.html).
Marijuana is a massive industry even when compared to other substantial agricultural industries. The largest countries growing, apart from the United States, are clustered in Central and South America (http://edition.cnn.com/2008/WORLD/americas/11/25/paraguay.mexico.marijuana/index.html).
In the United States, California is dominant, with nearly 50% of national production totalling a paltry $12 billion per year (http://www.drugscience.org/Archive/bcr2/domstprod.html). Think citrus is big? According to recent data, the total annual production of Florida's ENTIRE citrus crop is a mere $9 billion (http://www.ehow.com/list_7344390_states-large-amounts-citrus-fruits_.html). California is number 2 in citrus meaning that marijuana is twice as big as this state's citrus industry.
So, let me get this straight. We have a $12 billion industry which is NOT paying taxes, hiring people who are NOT paying taxes and selling a product which has NO sales taxes. And, we have a state budget problem which is forcing cutbacks everywhere. And, one recalls a ballot proposition to legalize that LOST?
So, if I you ever hear someone affected by the state cutbacks complain to you, ask them how they voted on the California referendum to legalize marijuana. If they answer that they voted no, please send them this blog so they'll shut the hell up!
But legalization doesn't just stop with selling the plants for medical or recreation use. The fibre of the cannabis plant, known as hemp, has an amazing variety of uses from clothing, to paper, to biomass, to medical to even jewelry (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hemp). The estimated size of the domestic market for hemp-based products is on the order of $500 million.
But, the benefits hardly stop there. In the next part, we'll discuss more fully the medical and criminal aspects, either of which, alone, would be enough to warrant its legalization.