The Economics of Legalizing Pot
Health issues aside, there is a lot of money in marijuana. Regulating sales of the plant could generate substantial revenue and save all the money we spend now to push it underground.
What's the Latest Development?
Some new figures around marijuana use demonstrate the massive revenue the nation could gain by regulating its sales. First, there is money to be saved. Since 1969, we have spent $33 billion on public service announcements that discourage teens from smoking marijuana but the rate of 12th graders who have smoked pot is the same today as it was before all those billions. Prohibition alone costs the nation $7.7 billion each year. There is money to be made, as well. Already, marijuana is the top cash crop in twelve states and the 3rd cash crop is 30 states.
What's the Big Idea?
Regulating the world of marijuana, which exists now as a huge black market, would generate an estimated $6.2 billion in tax revenue annually and another $7 billion would be created through the establishment of legitimate businesses like cannabis coffee shops, medical marijuana dispensaries and industrial hemp. But what about the children, you ask? Of the ten states that have legalized medical marijuana, eight of them have experienced a decrease in teen marijuana use from 1999 to 2006. And, say teens, pot is already easier to get than cigarettes or beer.
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Research by neuroscientists at MIT's Picower Institute for Learning and Memory helps explain how the brain regulates arousal.
The big day has come: You are taking your road test to get your driver's license. As you start your mom's car with a stern-faced evaluator in the passenger seat, you know you'll need to be alert but not so excited that you make mistakes. Even if you are simultaneously sleep-deprived and full of nervous energy, you need your brain to moderate your level of arousal so that you do your best.
A disturbing interview given by a KGB defector in 1984 describes America of today and outlines four stages of mass brainwashing used by the KGB.
- Bezmenov described this process as "a great brainwashing" which has four basic stages.
- The first stage is called "demoralization" which takes from 15 to 20 years to achieve.
- According to the former KGB agent, that is the minimum number of years it takes to re-educate one generation of students that is normally exposed to the ideology of its country.
When these companies compete, in the current system, the people lose.
- When a company reaches the top of the ladder, they typically kick it away so that others cannot climb up on it. The aim? So that another company can't compete.
- When this phenomenon happens in the pharmaceutical world, companies quickly apply for broad protection of their patents, which can last up to 20 years, and fence off research areas for others. The result of this? They stay at the top of the ladder, at the cost of everyday people benefitting from increased competition.
- Since companies have worked out how to legally game the system, Amin argues we need to get rid of this "one size fits all" system, which treats product innovation the same as product invention. Companies should still receive an incentive for coming up with new products, he says, but not 20 years if the product is the result of "tweaking" an existing one.
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