The marijuana lobby is spreading lies about the effects of marijuana on society. What they fail to share is that many of the financial backers of the marijuana movement directly benefit from legalization, such and dispensaries and growers. For example, the startup weed maps.com contributed over 2 million dollars to fund pro-marijuana groups and candidates. Such financially invested groups and individuals are not sharing the whole truth.
The truth is that there is a social and financial cost to legalizing marijuana.
The marijuana tax myth
Many proponents claim that legalized marijuana, if taxed, will present the government will a substantial source of revenue. The costs of treating the outcomes of marijuana still heavily outweigh the benefits of the tax. We see some similar effects with alcohol and tobacco. In 2005, for every $1 collected in taxes on alcohol and tobacco, almost $14 was spent to repair the vast social damages caused by their use. With every policy enacted there is be a social cost, such as emergency services, hospital costs, and regulation.
State budget data from Colorado, one of the few states to legalize the drug, shows that tax revenues from marijuana represent an extremely small portion of the state general funds. Only 0.7% of Colorado’s general fund revenue comes from the taxes on the drug. The proposal to legalize marijuana in Arizona will accompany the establishment of new regulatory policy and a new regulatory agency, leading to even higher government costs. It is unclear if the proposed tax will even be sufficient to cover the cost of the new agency.
The Social Costs
One of the most detrimental outcomes of legalization in Colorado was the shift in culture. Children are now being raised in a society where using certain drugs is not only acceptable, but very common. This causes children to be more accepting of trying drugs, and even alcohol. Colorado school officials have noted the shift in the culture.
“We got sold that marijuana legalization was going to positively impact our schools,” said Christine Harms, director of the Colorado School Safety Resource Center. “And there is the school infrastructure aspect, but we’re not seeing tremendous changes with marijuana prevention programs, and our students are paying the price.”
Even worse, there is a growing marketing campaign of marijuana products that target children with candy laced with THC. Jeff Whitmore, director of transportation for Bayfield School District in southwestern Colorado stated
“At first, I thought it was similar to alcohol and that the kids would do it anyway and all that, but it’s like they’re disguising alcohol as Kool-Aid and marketing it to kids. These edibles are cookies and gummy bears, and they’re filled with high amounts of THC.”
The question regarding legalization is one that will affect everyone in the state, especially are children. Arizona voters need to be well informed before they take the step to legalize marijuana.