US stock market daily report (January 03, 2014, Friday)
January 6, 2014, Monday, 06:21 GMT | 01:21 EST | 11:51 IST | 14:21 SGT
According to a poll, non-users of Marijuana no longer see it as a gateway drug that automatically leads to the use of more serious drugs. We are seeing a steady increase in the number of people who believe the legalization of Marijuana will actually curb the use of harder drugs. For 2013 the number rose to 17% compared to 10% in 2010. It is evident that cash-strapped state governments are taking a hard look at reaping the benefits of Marijuana, to assist their bottom line with desperately needed tax dollars. Additionally, states look to cut spending on law enforcement and prisons, with the legalization of Marijuana. The state of California anticipates a savings in the hundreds of millions of dollars a year for both, with the legalization of Marijuana.
On January 1, 2014, Colorado became the first place anywhere in the world to allow legal marijuana sales to anyone over the age of 21, for any purpose. Tax from the sale of Marijuana is expected to be nearly 29%. New Year's Day 2014 was the first day that Marijuana could be sold to anyone over 21 at specially licensed stores. There are over two dozen shops in Colorado that now sell, recreational Marijuana. Actually, Colorado voter-approved Amendment 64 went into effect on December 10, 2012 making it legal for anyone age 21 and older to use or possess up to an ounce of marijuana for any purpose, even if it is just, as Rolling Stone magazine put it, "for getting high purposes." Individuals possessing a Colorado ID can buy up to one ounce of Marijuana at a time while out-of-state residents can buy up to a quarter ounce, at a time. Public consumption of Marijuana is banned and will be strictly enforced.
Denver Department of Environmental Health has the 'Nasal Ranger' to sniff out any potential pot smell. The Nasal Ranger is a cone like contraption that Ben Siller attaches to his nose to dial in the strength of the odor. Marijuana smoking or grow facilities won't reach a level to set off the 'Nasal Ranger', Siller said.
Grover Glenn Norquist, an American political advocate as well as, founder and president of Americans for Tax Reform, an organization that opposes all tax increases, surprisingly gave his approval to tax Marijuana. Norquist views taxing Marijuana as merely an extension of existing taxes on cigarettes and liquor applied to a comparable commodity, rather than a new tax per se.
The dire need by governments for additional tax revenue gave way to lifting the prohibition of cigarettes. After the Great Depression decimated government budgets, taxing cigarettes was a rescue for dwindling government funds. Just as was the removal of the prohibition of alcohol, tax collected provided a heavy helping hand to governments. It’s worth remembering that during the early 1900's, tax collected on alcohol and cigarettes constituted 'half' of all federal revenues.
Currently, principal opponents of Marijuana legalization are industries that presently benefit from it being illegal. In 2010, it is reported that the beer industry invested heavily against the Marijuana legalization initiative in California, that ultimately failed. Other vested interests that currently benefit from the outlawing of marijuana include police unions, private prison industry, prison guard unions and pharmaceutical companies fearing that low-cost legal marijuana could replace profitable high-cost prescription drugs such as Vicodin.
President Barack Obama previously said that the feds will not arrest individual marijuana users in the states of Colorado and Washington. Eight federal priorities Department of Justice have identified as as regulatory issues such as 'preventing': marijuana distribution to minors; money from marijuana sales going to criminal groups; the diversion of marijuana from states where it is legal to states where it is illegal; criminal groups from using state laws as cover for trafficking of other illegal drugs; violence and the use of illegal firearms; drugged driving and marijuana-related public health problems; the growing of marijuana on public lands; marijuana possession or use on federal property.
Potential tax collected on the sale of legalized Marijuana across the USA could provide a much needed boost to many states, feeble budgets.