The Green Party candidate for governor says Illinois should legalize and tax marijuana, but his opponents disagree.
Green candidate Rich Whitney says Illinois could bring in about $300 million a year by taxing marijuana.
I’m not sure how he got to his $300 million figure, but it’s probably close enough for government (or campaign) work. Apparently, 5.74 percent of Illinoisans used marijuana in the past month, according to this site. There are about 13 million people in Illinois, so the numbers work out to 746,200 folks. That’s a bit more than $30 per month per consumer. Not much at all. Of course, because marijuana is illegal, pot dealers don’t check identification. Not all of those users are adults. So the rate per consumer would be a bit higher.
During the 1890s and the early part of the 20th century, there was a powerful national campaign to abolish smoking that was no less intense than the drive for Prohibition.
A key reason the campaign ultimately fizzled out in the 1920s was the government’s need for tobacco tax revenues, especially after alcohol tax revenues dried up. The Republicans’ cuts in income taxes in the 1920s also increased the federal government’s dependence on tobacco tax revenues, which rose from 4 percent of federal receipts in 1920 to 11.2 percent in 1929. The onset of the Great Depression, the concomitant fall in income tax revenues, and the inelasticity of demand for cigarettes caused tobacco revenues to rise to 20.7 percent of all federal receipts by 1932.
In the end, revenue needs trumped sumptuary considerations in the cases of both alcohol and tobacco. This raises the interesting question of whether revenue considerations will drive reform of the laws against illegal drugs.
It should and it ought to. Adults ought to be able to choose what they put into their own bodies without being threatened with confinement in a steel cage with murderers and other mean, ugly, nasty people.
The Democratic Governors Association is dubbing seven GOP gubernatorial nominees “Christine O’Donnell Republicans” in an attempt to portray them as outside the mainstream and unelectable.
In a conference call Wednesday, DGA Executive Director Nathan Daschle tagged Dan Maes in Colorado, Tom Emmer in Minnesota, Bill Brady in Illinois, Carl Paladino in New York, Nathan Deal in Georgia, Rick Scott in Florida and Paul LePage in Maine as the most extreme candidates gracing the top of ballots this fall.
The DGA spent $2 million trying to paint Brady as an extremist over the summer. It failed miserably.
* Back to the Greens and Rich Whitney. He has a new Internet promo video up that will bore you to tears…
will be interesting to watch the results of the ballot initiative
on marijuana in 4 states.
but, Illinois could just move ahead and legalize hemp as
an agricultural product. it was cultivated by the Founding
Fathers and is a wonder plant. aerates the soil, grows huge
and fast, creates rope, a paper substitute, oils, can be turned
into all sorts of products, including edible ones that are
on sale in Illinois. the amount of THC is minute and police
should stop working against this plant. farmers in Illinois
could benefit from a change in the law. the land, literally,
the land, could be better for growing this plant.
I looked up the laws, and found that George Ryan vetoed
a bill that would have placed Industrial Hemp growing
into the hands of the University of Illinois. Just think how
they could have grown themselves out of the financial
situation they are in! Kentucky has passed Industrial
Hemp laws, clearly in anticipation of farmers without
tobacco crops. why can’t we grow a plant for industrial
use, create jobs, raise money? Kentucky is on it, why
Amen, brother Whitney. Now tie your taxing argument in with the prison population, targeting minorities arguments and you could make some real progress with folks. it amazes me more legislators of color do not stand up and say the same thing. simply amazes me.
I think Rich Whitney is right on this point. Despite more than 40 years of effort by the federal government, there is no solid evidence that moderate use of marijuana is significantly harmful to adults, it’s less addictive than caffeine and no one has ever died from an overdose which you can not say about alcohol or even aspirin.
Also, the current prohibition is what allows drug cartels huge profits and therefore influence. Legalization would drastically cut the income of cartels and eliminate the billions of tax payer dollars being spent every year to arrest, prosecute and jail people for the possession of a plant.
Rich, I am in your corner on legalization. But, as long as the effort to maintain the criminalization of pot smoking has the word “WAR” ahead of it, there will be way too much bipartisan support for WAR. Just the knee jerk reaction of politicians to not let the other side get a leg up in the WAR department no matter how badly the WAR is going or how impossible it is to win the WAR. Liberty is just another word and means what the politicians who preach liberty mean it to be.
social issues are the democrat issue firewall and that failed over the summer. They can’t play that card against congressman kirk because he is pro-choice which is why it is so shocking these races are still so close.
Anyone who can be terminally bored in 30 seconds needs to be checked for ADHD!
The devastation caused to families by the mass incarceration of pot smokers, the cost to tax payers and the coarsening of society caused by the prison-industrial complex should be enough reason to legalize pot.
Add to that the obvious point that marijuana is not a particularly dangerous drug, that it has medicinal use, as well as other uses, and that it is widely used although illegal, and it should be obvious that it should be legalized.
It is a civil liberties issue. Not to mention the confiscation laws, which allow the police to arrest someone and keep their personal property for their own financial benefit. Where are the private property advocates in this situation?
There could be a much “higher” multiplier impact if legalized cannabis in Illinois had to be grown in Illinois and purchased solely from Illinois growers and dealers. Cut out all out of state and south of the border sources and keep all the money circulating within Illinois. Sounds like Brady economics to me.
in other words, you would have to smoke literally 10 tons
of rope to get high. Illinois legislated an industrial hemp
commission. Kentucky is in progress for the crop. We
can make money in Illinois not with marijuana, but with
Since this stream is about the legalization of a controlled substance, and the potential (or lack thereof - per RM) for solving the financial woes of this state I wonder why you persist in commenting on hemp. If you can’t tell that the references to smoking hemp are humorous you may need to smoke some pot to get a sense of humor.
Please name a product produced using hemp that could make a serious dent into the financial mess this state is in. I agree it has its’ uses but I hardly think this is the magic bullet you seem to imply.
Educating voters on who are the most extreme candidates for Governor, when the Tea Party is built on a platform of bigotry and giving away money to the rich while leaving the poor and sick jobless and without health care, makes a lot of sense to me.
The only purpose for smoking dope is to become intoxicated; unlike booze, which in theory and in moderation does not cause intoxication (i.e. - wine with dinner). Marijuana smoke is murder on your lungs - worse than tobacco. You don’t have a right to damage your body if you are then asking me and the other taxpayers to pay your resulting higher health care costs. And with legal pot many more people would get high and then drive, which also infringes on my liberty. Mere smokers are not being jailed today. There is no good reason to legalize pot.
Better be careful about commenting like that. Everytime I do it the pro-pot lobby jumps down my throat. It seems most of that pro-pot lobby posts here. Probably because they can’t remember the URLs for other sites.
Marijuana ban & hemp ban are as stupid as prohibition was…and, if we give the poli sci guy a little of the first, perhaps the ad would have had more buzz to it. But, please Whitney, you had more of a chance this time than last and you are blowing it…esp w/ SLC lurking. Quinn, a politico I’ve disliked ever since the cutback and have avoided giving my vote is getting w/in nose-holding range, God help me. How did we ever come to this, Illinois?? Please legalize weed soon, Scotch may not be enough for the next four years.
NEWS FLASH — Mel-o-cream and Dunkin Donuts have made unpresidented influx of dough into the Whitney campaign. Company spokesperson believes that Whitney has great forsight in opening up new merkets that will attract new tax revenue.
Why don’t they look at the sales tax revenue being brought in from the synthetic marijuana?(K2, Cloud 9, whatever they call it) I think that would give everyone a better idea what to expect in sale tax rev.
the legalization of hemp is a longterm strategy for
farming and keeping farm land viable. no, i cannot
put a cost on that. i’m not in the hemp support
business, I just think it is a smart strategy. the
marijuana legalizing business is fine, but other
long term strategies for business in Illinois are
also important. sorry I missed the joking in
RM: No, I said that the legalization of pot would result in “many more” intoxicated drivers than we have now. Applying your logic, let’s legalize all guns and weapons, including Uzis, bombs, and hand grenades, and just punish their mis-use after the fact. Why criminalize a grenade or a bomb?
Legalize it because people want to smoke and will pay for it. Also, there was a Nixon era study which found that alchol usage was more likely to serve as a gateway drug to harder, more portent drugs. President Nixon promptly moved to conceal the report he commissioned. I am not saying marijuana usage is not harmful, or should be tolerated in public places, but we certainly can regulate where it can be used and who can buy it…legally.
Legalization is not going to solve our budget problem or make crime disappear. However, it will allow us to direct resources to areas in need, i.e. law enforcement, business development, etc.
As for our collective concern about the adverse impact legalization may have on the health of users, let us not forget those afflicted with prescription drug and alcohol addiction. We identify individuals afflicted and treat them to the extent possible - a drain of health services, yet we do not prohibit alcohol use do we? No, we tax it to oblivion.
Last, whether people use marijuan, or alcohol, to get intoxicated is not the issue here - it’s a valid position.
You make it sound so easy, Rich. Like we should allow people to fingerpaint because it harms no one.
My past attempts at discussing this issue and presenting contrary points of view have been met with ridicule and comedy. I won’t take it seriously anymore since this is not a place where that will happen. I will, however, make sure I don’t behave badly while I make my comments. Or, if I do, I expect to be deleted, as I should be.
I would like to see a proper research program that evaluates marijuana for its deleterious effects as well as the claims of medicinal benefits, just like any other pharmaceutical substance. I wish the federal gov’t would allow for such research. We make heroin illegal but prescribe it for tx of pain. We should do so for marijuana if it proves to be beneficial for tx of medical conditions. It is a tragedy that some who would benefit can’t because of the ban.
Some of the claims I have read about the medicinal benefits of marijuana go a bit overboard - kind of like the cure-all serums of the 19th century. Let’s figure out, once and for all, what good/bad is involved. Then an informed decision can be made.
Xgman - “You don’t have a right to damage your body if you are then asking me and the other taxpayers to pay your resulting higher health care costs.”
Wow, do you really believe this? No more Twinkies for you. Or soda. Or skydiving. Or rock climbing. Or sports of any kind especially boxing, ultimate fighting, or football. Look at Tyler Colvin. Using your logic we need to ban baseball for our own good so others don’t have to pay for sports injuries.
“Marijuana smoke is murder on your lungs - worse than tobacco.”
Care to cite some scientific evidence from this century to back this up? Sorry, you can’t because the Feds have banned all scientific studies that might actually be useful. People that vaporize or eat cannabis do absolutely no damage to their lungs. The average dose of cannabis is about 1/20 of a standard tobacco cigarette. That silly argument has been around since the prohibitionists were still using the scare tactics that cannabis causes people to like Jazz and makes white women like black men. Xgman, do you still think cannabis turns black people and Hispanics into monsters, like the government told us it did in the 40s and 50s? Anyway, doesn’t alcohol, even in moderation, do damage to livers? That argument falls flat and is hypocritical unless you are calling for a return to alcohol prohibition, and a prohibition on everything else that isn’t “good” for us.
wordslinger - “How do you collect a state tax on a substance banned by the feds?”
Ask the California Board of Equalization. They expect state revenues from medical cannabis to surpass $100 million this year. The State and Feds are already collecting income tax revenue from California cannabis providers also. Oakland is taxing medical cannabis transactions, Sacramento will start soon along with several others locals.
dupage dan - Industrial hemp could absolutely become a multi-billion dollar industry in Illinois. It is used for much more than rope in the rest of the world. American manufacturers import hemp grown in Canada right now. Johnson Controls in Indiana used industrial hemp in the door panels they made for the Chrysler Sebring because they were lighter, stronger, and more fire resistant. EcoCor. That hemp could have come from Illinois farmers instead of Canadians.
Then we have the entire paper product industry. Yes folks, the Declaration of Independence was written on hemp paper, as are a good chunk of the Bibles printed in the world. You can get 7 times more paper from an acre of hemp than from an acre of trees. Ever wonder why WR Hearst was soo against industrial hemp? It had more to do with his business investments in the paper industry than his racism against blacks, Hispanics, and Asians I’d bet.
Quite frankly, the only reason industrial hemp is illegal in the US is because silly people are afraid kids will smoke it and turn into rapists and killers. Senator Peter Fitzgerald supported lifting the ban on industrial hemp.
Driving under the influence of any drug is stupid and dangerous. Still, it could turn out we have fewer drunk drivers when more people stay home and eat junk food instead of going out to bars to get high and driving home.
I think Roosevelt U did a study a few years back that estimated $100 million in savings per year if Illinois stopped putting cannabis users in cages. Cook County is the Drug War capitol of the US with more cannabis arrests than anywhere else in the country. They don’t break it down by type of drug, but its got to be 30% or higher of our criminal system costs. Then Cook County police could spend more time tracking down the 40% of murderers and rapists that they never catch, and keep the violent offenders in jail longer instead of letting violent criminals out early to make room for Tommy Chong and bong.
Other than irrational fear, there is no legitimate reason to continue our cannabis prohibition. Practically overnight we could wipe out 2/3 of the income drug lords reap from cannabis and vastly reduce the amount of violence not just in Mexico, but on the streets of Chicago and elsewhere. The Purple Gangs and Capones of the world stopped killing each other when alcohol prohibition was ended, and the same thing will happen when we start treating drugs as a health problem instead of treating like physical violence.
Portugal is figuring out how to “win” the war on drugs, and it has nothing to do with locking people in cages. Fewer teenagers try cannabis in the Netherlands, where it is “legal”, than in the US where it is not. Why? Its not cool for teenagers anymore when they see their grandparents doing it openly. Prohibition only makes teens want to try it more.
How do we justify our current prohibition policies? Is the drug war working? There is no good reason to keep pot illegal. And yes, mere pot smokers are locked up every minute in the US, to the tune of 800,000 per year for mere possession, with Cook County arresting more of them than anywhere else in the US.
==Probably because they can’t remember the URLs for other sites==
We just use the “bookmark” or “favorite” feature…here’s one: www.norml.org
xp: a stoned driver is much less of a threat than drunk or distracted driver.
The social damage caused by alcohol dwarfs that of recreational marijuana.
I respect those who choose not to smoke, I just want a better response than “It’s illegal.”
As far as funding, there’s this Nigerian banker scam…
Why limit it the the Pacific NW? I hear there’s some good stuff growing in a few local suburban homes - just sayin’.
What I want to know, Word, is at what dose does pot become medicinal? I know what 3 beers does for me - how much pot must I vaporize before my back pain is gone? Or should I ask, “how much pot must I vaporize before I forget I have a back?”
DD, I don’t care about the medicinal. I think pot should be legal. I think it’s stupid to send guns and money to wealthy outlaw paramilitary groups on the southern border over something I consider as mild as beer.
Not only should the state legalize pot, we should replace corn with marijuana as our major state crop. Not only would we undercut the drug lords from Mexico, we could call ourselves the Afghanistan of the Midwest! I say, go for it!
A decent vaporizer dose is to grind some up and use a layer about the size of a dime that’s maybe twice the thickness of a coin. That should fill two or three bags of vapor. Doing any more than that probably won’t get you any more “high” or provide more relief.
With alcohol, you can drink yourself to death. The more you drink, the more it affects you and the more you are poisoning yourself. Same with many legal prescription drugs. They are vastly more dangerous than cannabis because people can and do overdose and die with them.
Cannabis has a ceiling on its intoxicating effects that never reaches the point of death. Doing ten bags of vapor isn’t going to do anything more than two or three bags will do, other than waste good pain medicine. With cannabis, dosage amounts are of very little concern because you can’t OD on it and using more doesn’t provide more benefits.
The FDA has already approved 100% pure THC. Marinol. Cannabis plants are typically less than 20%. Marinol contains no cannabinoids or CBDs, however, so it has a completely different effect than real cannabis. A British pharma company, with former IL drug warrior Dr. Andrea Barthwell on board, is marketing a drug made from cannabis plants that more closely resembles the actual chemical makeup of cannabis than Marinol does. GW Pharmaceuticals’ Sativex.
We already know cannabis is a safe medicine in comparison with all opiates and most other legal drugs. Would you rather your curious 8 year old relative comes across a bottle of cannabis flowers in the medicine cabinet and eats it all, or a bottle of 20 Oxycontin pills and eats them all?
I’d welcome more studies and research, but our human history with cannabis already shows me it is safe enough to be legal. We might find a cure for cancer locked away in the cannabis plant, who knows.
Whitney’s ad must be the worse campaign aid of the year so far, at least for a statewide office. To much of the ad’s time is taken up with the history Bill Kreml and his family, the term corporate parties is not going to gain him votes and seems like childish name calling and he gives very little reason to vote for Whitney.
I think “corporate sponsored parties” is an apt description that nicely sums up the situation and gives a good reason to vote for Whitney (i.e. he’s not “corporate sponsored” and therefore isn’t as easily influenced by corporations as candidates from parties that are “corporate sponsored”.)
I am pretty sure he says corporate parties and not corporate sponsored parties, I suspect that Green party would do better in general if focused on selling their views and policies to the public and not name calling. The Democrats and Republican parties dont win just because they are ” corporate sponsored” but because they do a far better job of selling their ideas, which often for political reasons are closer to the mainstream, to the public.
I disagree. I think they win because they’re corporate sponsored. Because they’re corporate sponsored, they can buy more media; and a big part of the race is simply being seen. People don’t love Brady or Quinn policies–they just think those are the only two choices. The arguments I hear against Greens aren’t usually platform issues–they’re issues of credibility and electability. I do think that this, while still a problem, is becoming less of one.
The “war on drugs” is a mistake in 2010. The war in Vietnam was a mistake in 1970. I was 18 years old in 1970.
Just like 1970 our “experts” now focus on failed solutions like “more intervention”.
How about some honesty?
Our children are intelligent. Our children know drugs can cause destruction.
The parents need to tell the truth.
$ 150 Billion is spent on marijuana every year in the U.S., and because of the prohibition *every* dollar of it goes straight into the hands of criminals. Far from preventing people from using marijuana, the prohibition instead creates zero legal supply amid massive and unrelenting demand.
According to the ONDCP, two-thirds of the Mexican drug cartel’s money comes from selling marijuana in the U.S., and they protect this cash flow by brutally torturing, murdering and dismembering thousands of innocent people. And our solution is lock up the poor. Grow up!
If we can STOP people using marijuana then we need to do so now, but if we can’t then we need to legalize the production and sale of marijuana to adults with after-tax prices set too low for the cartels to match. One way or the other, we have to force the cartels out of the marijuana market and eliminate their highly lucrative marijuana incomes - no business can withstand the loss of two-thirds of its revenue!
To date, the cartels have amassed more than 100,000 “foot soldiers” and operate in 230 U.S. cities, and the longer they’re able to exploit the prohibition the more powerful they’ll get and the more our childrens security is put in jeopardy.