Pubdate: Fri, 12 Nov 2010
Source: Saipan Tribune (US MP)
Copyright: 2010 Saipan Tribune
Author: Stanley McGinnis Torres
Note: Stanley McGinnis Torres is a representative in the 17th CNMI 


Last of a Three-Part Series

In the past two days, we have looked at two of the three main reasons
we should seriously consider the case for legalizing adult marijuana
possession, use, sales, exports and farming.

First, we looked at the constitutionally guaranteed inalienable right
to liberty and personal freedom and the unconstitutional power-grab by
the federal government that imposes an uneasy prohibition today.

Yesterday, we noted that the legalization of pot does not cause crime
to increase and instead, legalizing it reduces crime and stops the
funding of terrorists and criminals.

Today, we will have a look at the financial and sustainability
considerations of legalizing marijuana use.

In the first installment of this series, I mentioned that in light of
the present pitiful state of the CNMI economy, legalizing this
harmless herb would put billions of dollars into our economy and that
the income produced would far outweigh the paltry losses from federal

Am I crazy?

How could we come up with that much money for our ailing

Billions? Over time, yes, billions.

Specifically, where would the money come from? There are several
possibilities, including a farming tax, a finished product tax, a
stiff export duty and of course the highest income earner would be
from tourists coming here to find a free use area where they are not
harassed by law enforcement for simply enjoying this basically
harmless herb. A value added BGRT, say 15 or 20 percent of gross
receipts on stores or MJ bars, spas or other retail outlets could
infuse huge amounts of tax income directly into our government treasury.

The visitors would come from all over the world to enjoy a safe

Word will spread like wildfire that at last, there is a freedom-loving
society that will allow regulated and taxed marijuana use in a
controlled and safe environment. The multiplier effect will turn each
tourist dollar spent into 3 or 4 more as it circulates in and out of
the CNMI economy.

There are undoubtedly other ways to make sure that significant
portions of the billions of dollars generated stay right here in the
CNMI. Business entrepreneurs and government organizations can find
many other avenues of income generation in a public/private
partnership that revitalizes the CNMI and puts us squarely on the
world stage as a first-class destination with a unique draw.

It is heralded in the newspapers and the world press every day about
how much money is spent on prohibited drugs and herbs.

Who gets most of the money from the "oeillegal"  drug

The answer is criminals, terrorists and others who launder the untaxed
funds and loot the treasuries of the countries they do business in.
Why not let our government and our economy fund itself off of the huge
amounts of money that this trade draws?

There is a massive demand and it will only grow over time, making the
choice to use this income stream a very sustainable long-term choice
for the CNMI. Why not make a legal export trade and grow branded
"oeSaipan Simiya"  or "oeTinian Twang"  or "oeRota Relaxation"  for
taxed export to those U.S. states that allow medical marijuana use and
to those countries where such use and/or personal use is allowed?

Tourists will flock to these shores and I don't mean the backpacking
hippies and hostel stayers.

I mean upscale professionals, doctors, lawyers and Indian chiefs,
etc., who are harassed in their own countries for simply enjoying a
relaxing buzz. I predict that we might soon see a waiting list form
for visitors to be able to arrive here. We currently have the
capability to handle about 750,000 visitors per year. The limiting
factor is hotel accommodations. I foresee new hotel and resort
opportunities on Rota and Tinian as well as increases in the Saipan
inventory of hotel rooms. Tourism will be booming again and it won't
take years; it will happen quickly. Tinian and Rota will share in the
boom this time.

We could have a real sustainable cash export crop by catering to the
many U.S. states and the many other jurisdictions that allow medical
or recreational uses of marijuana.

A farming tax on rolled/packed/cartoned or bulk sales for local use or
for export and on the raw commodity as it exits the fields backed by a
stiff set of penalties for harvesting in "oeunregistered"  or
non-taxpaying fields.

Much of the fantastically abundant farmland on Saipan, Tinian and Rota
could become productive and useful. Remember that there are myriad
other uses of "oehemp"  fiber other than as a recreational smoke or
for making brownies for oral ingestion.

Rope fibers, sustainable cloth production, even "oeplastics"
substitutes plus hundreds of other uses have been invented and
documented for this versatile plant.

In addition to recreational use tourism, we would see a boom in
medically related uses, too. A massive Asian market would open up in
addition to other tourists and patients from around the world.

Clinics will open here which will improve health care for our local
citizenry too.

Some worry about the few tens of millions that might be lost from
dole-outs and begging from the U.S. government. I would suggest that
those federal handouts are tiny in comparison to the income that will
be generated by using medical and personal use marijuana as the CNMI's
new import/export industry. I believe that it would become a
multibillion dollar industry in a relatively short time. We will be
financially independent.

How we use this newfound and sustainable wealth will be up to public
and private decision makers but real infrastructure improvements like
roads and parks and museums and libraries and modern schools and
clean, well lit trails connecting all of these will be within our
means for a change.

Won't it be nice to have the money for these and other improvements
for our beautiful islands?

No, I don't smoke pot and I don't grow any on my farm. I am willing to
look at this form of income because it represents an ideal of personal
freedom and because it has a chance to make all the people who call
the CNMI home have a productive economic base. A truly sustainable
future that we control ourselves is possible if we make this simple
suggestion a reality.

It's not rocket science.

It's simple economics.

Jobs will be created for our local workforce and plenty will be left
over for any guest workers who might want to and are allowed to stay
here. Our islands will be booming again.

Please give this a chance to work for the benefit of
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MAP posted-by: Richard Lake