Your Tax Dollars At Work

  • by Paul Armentano, NORML Deputy Director August 25, 2010

    Drug Czar Gil Kerlikowske, along with five previous drug czars (including gambling addict William Bennett), have an op/ed in today’s Los Angeles Times condemning California’s Prop. 19.

    Given that the Drug Czar is required by law to oppose any and all efforts that would seek to legalize marijuana — including “any study … relating to the legalization (for a medical use or any other use) of” cannabis — his vitriol should not come as a surprise. Nevertheless, his commentary clearly begs the question: How is it appropriate for Californians to pay taxes to cover the salary of a federal official who spends a significant part of his time telling these same taxpayers how to vote on a statewide ballot measure?

    As far as Kerlikowske’s specific allegations against Prop. 19, suffice to say that you’ve heard them all before — including this whopper, “Law enforcement officers do not currently focus much effort on arresting adults whose only crime is possessing small amounts of marijuana.” (Really? Then how do you explain this? Or this? Or this?)

    NORML has already submitted a rebuttal to the L.A. Times. Our allies at Fire Dog Lake also have posted a strong refutation which you can read here. No doubt the headline says it all: “CA Prop 19: Drug Czars’ Latest Anti-Marijuana Propaganda is Easily Refuted.”

    Here’s a snippet:

    Their argument that a tax on legal marijuana would raise almost no money is just plain silly.

    “Regarding the supposed economic benefits of taxing marijuana, some comparison with two drugs that are already regulated and taxed — alcohol and tobacco — is worth considering. People don’t typically grow their own tobacco or distill their own spirits, so consumers accept high taxes on them as retail products. Marijuana, though, is easy and cheap to cultivate, indoors or out, and Proposition 19 would allow individuals to grow as much as 25 square feet of marijuana for ‘personal consumption.’

    “Why would people volunteer to pay high taxes on marijuana if it were legalized? The answer is that many would not, and the underground market, adapting to undercut any new taxes, would barely diminish at all.”

    I guess the Drug Czars have never heard of convenience before. Most people don’t actually like dealing with criminals or drug dealers. They would rather buy their vodka or marijuana from the liquor store down the street than spend their time tracking down some shady criminal smuggler to save a few bucks on taxes. The end of alcohol prohibition is in fact the perfect test case for this insane theory that legalization would result in almost no decrease of the black market. The reality was an almost immediate destruction of the black market for alcohol. Do you or any of your friends or family currently get liquor on the black market? I doubt it.

    It’s a sound response — to which I would add, I guess the Drug Czar has never heard of supermarkets; because last time I checked these facilities had entire sections of the store dedicated to the sale of fruits, vegetables, and plenty of other food stuffs that folks could grow cheaply and easily on their own — but most don’t. Why? For the same reason most marijuana users, even under legalization, won’t likely grow their own pot: they either don’t have the time, the space, or the expertise to do so. And even among those who do — most folks would simply prefer to pay a premium for the convenience of not having had to do it themselves.

    As for the rest of the Czar’s rhetoric, it’s simply more of the same and the folks at FDL nail it.

    This is what makes the fight to end our war on marijuana so difficult. The other side is not interested in an honest policy debate. Instead of honest argument, they rely on half-truths, distortions, twisted logic, ridiculous statements and naked propaganda. Sadly, America, this op-ed from Kerlikowske and friends is your wasted tax dollars at work.

    61 responses to “Your Tax Dollars At Work”

    1. freedom says:


      Another fine example of why our drug policies HAVE TO BE CHANGED. Get over it gil, you and your friends dont have a leg to stand on anymore.

    2. Boy , you can say that again !

      America is waging a war against its own people . Many of these people have chosen death over years of imprisonment . Many have been killed by those who enforce these silly laws and many more have been murdered while in prison or smuggling Marijuana to and from the border or because criminals will kill a grower rather than pay for it .

      America is commiting genocide against its own people .

    3. Phil E. Drifter says:

      It’s in the drug czar’s job requirements that he say *whatever he wants* to dissuade cannabis use.

      Even if that means lying.

      I’ll say that again:

      This job office in our US government REQUIRES that the drug czar lie, if necessary, to protect the illegal drug trade.

    4. DB says:

      When can we have a serious debate with the opposition?

      …one that involves each side actually answering each others’ questions in a public forum?

      Why hasn’t this happened yet? When is this gonna happen? Will it ever happen?

    5. old vet says:

      of coarse not these men are proffit driven despicable proffiteers in human misery and are crimnals in the eyes of 80 percent of americans .they know soon enough they will be tried for war crimes against american citzens . funny i think that a tall tree and a hemp rope is thier future and we the people will have as much mercy on them as they have had on us i say let em swing

    6. Nick says:

      All communities can use the extra money, but hasn’t anyone thought about the economic damages associated with less alcohol and opiate abuse? We might put some rehab facilities and funeral homes out of business. We’ll also need less emergency vehicle drivers, police officers, homicide detectives, domestic violence social service workers, corrections officers, coroners, dialysis technicians, and crime scene technicians. Where will they go? And I just know we’re going to miss the Mexican cartels once they’re gone.

    7. Z32TEUFELHUNDEN300ZX says:

      By oppressions woes and pains!

      By our sons in servile chains!

      We will drain our dearest veins,

      But they shall be free!

      Lay the proud usurpers low!

      Tyrants fall in every foe!

      Libertys in every blow!—

      Let us do or die!

    8. Jed The head says:

      And to think that we pay this smuck to spew this trash on our public. We are a country of fools.

    9. Fred Flintstoned says:

      As you well know, Appearances can be deceiving, Which brings me to mention how this hypocrisy is still continued. We are under the illusion of being controlled, whether it be from a badge, or a gun, It is all the same. What WE as humans(no persons excluded)must do is keep living the life WE want to live. No beaurocrat can take our happiness away. Information is contagious. Spread it. Live life as free as possible – Fred Flintstoned – – – – – — — – – — –

    10. Fred Flintstoned says:

      Oh yeah , one more thing. LEGALIZE /=}