Why not regulate (and tax) marijuana?

CNN reported that marijuana is the United States’ largest cash crop:

U.S. growers produce nearly $35 billion worth of marijuana annually, making the illegal drug the country's largest cash crop, bigger than corn and wheat combined, an advocate of medical marijuana use said in a study released Monday.

By comparison, the United States produced an average of nearly $23.3 billion worth of corn annually from 2003 to 2005, $17.6 billion worth of soybeans, $12.2 billion worth of hay, nearly $11.1 billion worth of vegetables and $7.4 billion worth of wheat, the report said.

"Marijuana has become a pervasive and ineradicable part of the economy of the United States," Gettman, a public policy analyst and former head of the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws, said. "The contribution of this market to the nation's gross domestic product is overlooked in the debate over effective control."

"Like all profitable agricultural crops marijuana adds resources and value to the economy," he added. "The focus of public policy should be how to effectively control this market through regulation and taxation in order to achieve immediate and realistic goals, such as reducing teenage access."

Of course, were marijuana decriminalized, regulated and taxed, the value would fall drastically. But it would still be a good source of taxable income for the government.

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Pat - December 22, 2006 7:11 PM

According to the U.N. the annual U.S. retail black market for drugs is worth $ 144 billion.

http://leftindependent.blogspot.com/2006/09/us-illicit-drug-market-value.html

Happy Holidays!

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