Sunday, February 15, 2009

Solving the Global Financial Crisis, One Joint at a Time

When the economy is trouble, you need to find a way to make jobs. The best way to make jobs is with government spending - The government has money, that money goes to others and they create jobs and stimulate economic growth.

But while the Republican approach to the economy is misguided at best (and at worst, mildly retarded) they do have one points: It is a scary and dangerous thing to spend a lot of money that you do not have. The Republican alternative, cutting taxes, is a considerably worse idea. But at least they are right that when the government starts spending money they do not have, dangerous things can occur.

So what can they do? The government needs to spend money, but they need to spend money that they have, and they don't have any money. So what are their options?

1) Spend money anyway, take the risk.
2) Don't spend money, take an even bigger risk.
3) Give tax cuts, economy fails, Armageddon comes.
4) Find ways for the government to raise money without raising taxes, and then spending that money.

Clearly number 4 would be best. The Republicans are not fond of the government trying to raise money, but let's face it - if they could find an industry with no competitors that would not push American companies out of business, that would be a great way to make money.

The thing is, that industry already exists, and if it were run by the government it would solve numerous problems at once while earning the government billions of dollars. That industry is the production and sale of marijuana.


Let's be clear: Despite my extreme dislike of most drug laws, I have never once tried, tasted or held Marijuana. This is not the rantings of an individual that wants to make it easier to smoke his next bowl.

But with all of the studies that have been out and all of the sociological research that has gone into marijuana use, if you still think it is a "gateway drug" or even a dangerous drug at all, you are clearly out of your mind. There is pretty much 0 research that claims marijuana use in moderation is dangerous, with the exception of smoking it because of the fumes you receive from the paper and burnt leaves. It has over a dozen benefits and no real side effects, not including an irrational affection for Phish.

In addition, there are numerous problems that arise from it being an illegal substance. It can help support gangs. It can pay for illegal activities. It can be grown and kept in dangerous ways. In reality, the production and sale of marijuana are where most of the dangers arise, as are the perceptions of it being illicit.

The American government should take control of marijuana sales and distribution. It should open research and production plants to grow safe and powerful Marijuana. It should open stores to sell it across the nation. And all of the profits - all of them - should go into the government solely to support government programs. In other words, what they make they spend on infrastructure and other job creating programs.

What can this do?

1) It is estimated that 25,000,000 people in the United States use Marijuana each year. A single gram of marijuana costs an average of 10.00. That means that if only 1 gram of Marijuana was purchased per year, it would generate 250,000,000 in income. It would not be unheard of for the average person to spend ~$1000 on marijuana each year, garnering 25 billion dollars for the government. And that assumes that more people do not start using it when it is legal.

25 billion dollars may not seem like a lot, especially when compared to a 750 billion dollar stimulus bill, but 25 billion in pure profit that can go straight to investments and job creation every year is a lot of money.

2) Thousands of jobs will be created by the government when they have to pay people to grow, distribute and sell the Marijuana.

3) It will stop the illegal selling of marijuana on the street.

4) Etc., etc., etc.

It creates jobs, it makes the streets safer, it gives the government money to spend on projects that will promote greater job creation - there really is no excuse not to legalize marijuana, and regulating it by the government can help stimulate the economy. Am I wrong?

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