Pubdate: Thu, 05 Apr 2012
Source: Journal-Inquirer (Manchester, CT)
Copyright: 2012 Journal-Inquirer
Author: Joseph H. Brooks


The Merriam-Webster dictionary rates the 2011 most looked-up word as 
pragmatism. The word most often used to describe governmental 
actions, or lack of, is hypocrisy, and everyone knows its meaning.

The study of the drug policies of the United States is riddled with 
examples of the hypocrisy of these policies.

The most glaring of these is the refusal to listen to the will of the 
people, and allow the States to set their own drug laws. The history 
of drugs in this country shows that most heroin and cocaine was used 
by women to combat the problems caused by menstrual and other physical pains.

They were not a problem until the government made them so, based on 
greed, special interest groups, and ignorant,corrupt or racist 
politicians. William Randolph Hearst, Andrew Mellon, Secretary of the 
Treasury and Harry Anslinger, the first Drug Czar, used their 
substantial influence to criminalize all drugs.

That continuing hypocrisy has resulted in our current forty-two year 
ongoing and failed war on drugs.

We have spent a trillion dollars, are working toward our second 
trillion, while making millionaires and billionaires of drug cartel 
members and leaders.

No matter how much research i do, i cannot pin down an accurate 
figure, as their are many expenses that are not known, such as the 
building of eleven rehabilitation centers in Afghanistan with seven 
more planned.

Another glaring hypocrisy of our drug policies is that even though 
all non-pharmaceutical drugs are illegal, with the exception of 
liquor and nicotine, prescription drugs have become the leading cause 
of overdose deaths in this country.

In spite of this, we continue to keep marijuana as a Class 1 drug, 
meaning that it has no medicinal value.

While States have allowed for dispensaries of medicinal marijuana, 
they are still illegal by Federal law. Though the Government collects 
taxes from them, they continue to try to put them out of business.

An example of this conundrum is the Harborside Health Center in 
Oakland, California. In 2010, the Harborside paid 1.1 million dollars 
in taxes to Oakland, 2 million dollars to the State of California and 
500,000 dollars to the Federal Government. The Federal Government has 
levied another 2.5 million dollar claim for back taxes against the 
Center. This claim could most likely put the Center out of business.

This, in spite of the fact that all dispensaries in California are 
non-profit businesses. Their are over one hundred such dispensaries 
in California, and i do not know how much in taxes has been paid by 
all of them. If Harborside is any example, there must be millions 
more in taxes being collected.

In Colorado, the City of Fort Collins collected 440,289 dollars from 
their dispensaries. Denver collected over 2 million dollars, but 
calls it pocket change compared to the amount collected from other 
businesses in that City. That pocket change would allow for numerous 
benefits to many cities and small town across this country and i am 
sure they would welcome it. An excise tax proposed in Colorado, on 
the dispensaries, is estimated to bring in 10 to 15 million dollars annually.

Should this amount of money be dismissed as "pocket change" while our 
society is suffering from a recession?

I do not know how much money would be realized nationwide if 
marijuana alone was legalized, controlled and medicalized, while 
being taxed at every level.

I do know that the billions of dollars currently going to criminal 
enterprise would more productively be going into the coffers of 
local, state and federal governments. Perhaps the State of 
Connecticut would not have to be looking toward allowing greater 
access to alcohol, the most violence producing drug in our society in 
order to realize additional taxes.

While the majority of citizens in this State approve of the 
legalization and control of marijuana, the policy remains the same. 
Why this is, will have to be decided by each person that cares to 
wonder about it. If, in fact, we do not need the money that can be 
realized from taxing just marijuana alone, why has Connecticut passed 
the largest tax increase in its history, and why are the proposals to 
reduce the Federal benefits of Medicare and Social Security being 
considered due to the lack of funds?
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom