Ha, ha—wait, what was I just talking about? And is anybody else suddenly hungry for Chunky Monkey or some Fiddle Faddle? Oh yeah, now I remember: Economists estimate California could rake in more than $100 million a year in taxes if marijuana was taxed like cigarettes and alcohol. And that’s not counting the costs of enforcing the marijuana ban—policing, courts and jail time—estimated at an additional $981 million, which, also according to economists, is a lot of freakin‘ money.
Nationally, legalizing marijuana could save $7.7 billion a year on drug-war spending and create an additional $6.7 billion annually in new taxes.
Legalize pot? Sounds like a no-brainer. Who knew the smelly old guy at the flea market selling hemp necklaces and reggae tapes was such a forward-thinking visionary?
But before we as a collective nation pull down the adjustable blinds, switch on the lava lamp and turn up The Dark Side of the Moon, let’s really think about what it would mean to legalize the Nirvana Kush.
I mean we’re already a country full of unmotivated sofa slugs who would rather watch a Bridezillas marathon than get off our business class-sized asses and actually do anything productive.
Take me, for example. Instead of learning a foreign language or serving as a big brother for some impressionable inner city youth, I have probably watched The Shawshank Redemption on TBS about 237 times. And forget marijuana. That was fueled by little more than a jug of Arizona Iced Tea and a box of Hostess Cupcakes.
To be fair, during that time I also won the British Open, defeated the Nazis and knocked out Muhammad Ali to become Heavyweight Champion of the World, but I doubt I can put my PlayStation accomplishments on a resume.
If pot were legal, everyone would smoke it all the time because pot is awesome. That’s why they call it “pot.”
You think the unemployment rate is high now? Make marijuana legal and it’ll give a whole new meaning to the term “high.”
Doctors, firemen, accountants; people who have never ever considered smoking pot will trade their Tupperware lunches and 9-to-5 jobs for a tie-dyed Phish T-shirt, a soul patch and a hacky sack.
Sure, legalizing pot will create millions of dollars in new revenue, but what does it matter if the money is never collected because nobody can stop staring at the way “their fingers totally go all the way into their hands, dude.”
Plus, make marijuana mainstream and corporate America will find a way to screw it up, just like they screwed up “new” Coke and the Pontiac Aztec. Or some hand-wringing health lobbyist will force them to sell a low-fat, sugar-free, kosher pot alternative.
And if you think TV commercials are bad now, just imagine Tommy Chong or Willie Nelson trying to stumble his way through a jingle for the Chia Weed Pet: “Just sprinkle the magic seeds on and watch your ganja hippo grow, man!”
And that’s’ not even taking into consideration the thousands of pot-sniffing airport dogs that would suddenly be out of work if marijuana became legal. Every CVS Pharmacy would be surrounded by a pack of detoxing German Shepherds with the shakes just begging anxious shoppers “for a taste.”
It’s not as if marijuana is completely illegal in California right now. Anybody with a migraine or back condition can get a doctor’s prescription for medicinal marijuana. Hell, flip a few pages back from this column and you’ll probably find a “25 percent off” coupon.” (It’s before the page with the coupons for the complimentary lap dances, but after the buy-one-get-one-free coupons for the massages.)
And that’s the way pot should be: Illegal unless you can come up with some half-assed lame excuse. It’s the way our forefathers intended. And if you don’t believe Thomas Jefferson and Benjamin Franklin were getting high, you’ve never taken a close look at the back of a $1 bill and the creepy eyeball hovering over a pyramid.
So let’s keep pot illegal . . . sort of. Cough. Cough. Wait. What?
Contact Jeff Girod at firstname.lastname@example.org