Oops! Colorado Pot Legalization To Cost More Than Its Supposed Revenues

The argument over the legalization of marijuana is not a political issue that stirs much enthusiasm in me one way or the other. Stupidity is something else entirely, however. And potheads, boy, they are a stupid bunch.

In 2012, Colorado was one of the few states to have pot legalization on the ballot as a voter initiative. The initiative passed, and blunts are no longer banned there.

One of the largest group of proponents of marijuana legalization are those who claim to be Libertarians looking out for the economy, when really they just want the freedom to smoke a fatty while they laze about on the couch and enjoy a stoner flick, cuddled in their contra-Libertarian Che Guevara t-shirts, man.

Sometimes a stoner quits being high for a day so he can put on some nice slacks and a tie and stand at a podium before the tripping masses to explain that marijuana should be legal because it will increase revenue for the government. It should be taxed and regulated, they say, because apparently Libertarianism is about giving more money to the feds by raising taxes and regulating products.

It’s an entirely dishonest way to sell one’s cause, and I think it prolongs the misery of the pothead. No one takes them seriously because they have turned themselves into jokes by coming up with bogus economic arguments for legalization. Worse than the economic arguments are the medical ones. Unless glaucoma and back problems in young twenty-somethings is a new epidemic in America, “medicinal marijuana” is a crock. Just admit you want to get high and promise us you won’t get into a car while being high, and you just might get more respect and support.

Back to marijuana as it relates to the economy: a study at Colorado State University’s Colorado Futures Center estimates that Colorado potheads consume about 150,000 pounds of the drug per year. This is further estimated to generate $130 million in tax revenues for the state.

But if their estimates are true—and they do admit their estimates may be on the conservative side—then the professed basis for marijuana legalization, at least in Colorado, is a broken one; the $130 million that the legalization is supposed to generate for the state doesn’t even cover the cost of legalization and regulation in the first place. What Colorado has managed to do, in other words, is to create a law that’s supposed to help pay for things and yet cannot even pay for itself. It’s completely redundant.

I am something of a Tenth Amendment purist. When the federal government noses in on something that was not in the Constitution as ratified by the states, it irks me. When individual states handle these issues on their own, as they are supposed to do, even if I don’t like the decision the states come to, I won’t put up much fuss. The recreational use of drugs does bother me, but I recognize it as a state issue. Who am I to say that individual states aren’t allowed to dig themselves into a hole?