PURPLE POLITICS : 12/09
BIPARTISM COLLIGATE PAGE 54
A TIRED WAR PAGE 42
GOV. BLEND KUSH FOR STATE CASH PAGE 37
THE LOUD MOUTH PAGE 48
OENERGY BESIGTE Y A I R R A NORTH M ENERGY Y O BACEKYS ENERGY OREA GAPRIVENERGY I T E Y G O A I B O R O E B R B S A ECONOMY E NS E I O M T RI S ENERGY TT E Y Y HE Y I ENERGY ENERGY A ENERGY G T ENERGY K O G ENERGY A E Y G I R ENERGY G ENERGY ENERGY ENERGY E R A A ENERGY I P A ENERGY ENERGY R ENERGY ENERGY R I R I V A R ENERGY A N R C O R Y M A ENERGY N R A NM THORTH Y O O M A R K B Y O O O T O O G Y H A R K E O B B B B EB KB OE GRO O A S ECONOMY O GAPRIVP RE B E E E O RB ES I O I O V S A S E E P A S T B R A C O B I I I E I S Y V I Y A T T E T S T B E C S O E A I Y E E E C Y Y S Y T E I R Y Y S E S I B G G T G E G T I A Y I S I E T A A E A Y G E E E A T I I T Y I M I I E G Y S E A G G G E R R E E R Y T Y R I ECONOMY G A Y N G R R A A A I R G I G G E R L Y I I I O T A A ECONOMY A R A A I A NA N G N RR A AAENERGY R R R I I ECONOMY N I I E Y T R O O R O A A R R R O M M M R N R R H G M R R I R A R N R O A A A T T T K N N N M R A Y Y T Y H HH R A Y O H I O EQUPG N A H O O O M A A A N R A A T N M M M N N R R K K A Y K O R R R H K O T M O E O O O A O G G M Y T T T R M N M M G R R Y Y Y A R K R R R H H H R T A T RGGIGGA Y T O T T K E E A A A Y H E M A Y Y Y H K K K E N HRO V H HTOHRTEA A RK A P P G A A OR O O GPGG O R R A K EV Y K C K K M R I I O HA R R R A V Y O V I O GPRPA O O V G A A A E E E R A RIP K R A P R Y C C R R C IG A A A E PA PRA V C E Y Y G Y E E E R R A A Y I P A V R I I I P A K A A C P R P P V V V A R Y R E A A A I O R R C V I I I I V C C C A V A P RY V V A Y Y Y A R A A C E C C I Y C C V Y A Y P Y Y A R SAME C I V Y A CONOMY OCONOMY ECONOMY ECONOMY ECONOMY C Y OCONOMY BCONOMY ECONOMY B CONOMY E CONOMY ESECONOMY ECONOMY ECONOMY SITITYY IMMIGRATION IAGENO KO RTH MARR P R I V A CY REA
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PURPLE POLITICS : 12/09
ENERGY THE ENVIRONMENT E
BIPARTISM COLLIGATE 1,000 GRADUATE STUDENTS GET SURVEYED ON POLITICS PAGE 54
A TIRED WAR PAGE 42
GOV. BLEND KUSH FOR STATE CASH PAGE 37
THE LOUD MOUTH PAGE 48
PURPLE POLITICS : 12/09
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Politics As Usual
4 7 8
An Obease Idea
Kush For State Cash
The future of marijuana taxation in the United States.
A recent survey tallies up student views on politics.
A Tired War
Where is the war in the middle east headed?
The Loud Mouth
Michael Moore has a lot to spew about capitalism.
Week in Review Defining Matters A Figure to Know
Consider changing the way you view obesity.
STORIES: GOV. KUSH CASH PAGE 37 A TIRED WAR PAGE 42
BIPARTISM COLLIGATE PAGE 54 THE LOUD MOUTH PAGE 48
STORIES: GOV. KUSH CASH PAGE 37 A TIRED WAR PAGE 42 BIPARTISM COLLIGATE PAGE 54 THE LOUD MOUTH PAGE 48
BIPARTISM COLLIGATE PROFESOR JOSEPH DREW surveyed 1,000 graduate students from around the country about politics.
80 PERCENT voted in the 2008 Presidential Election.
63 PERCENT of the students that voted, felt they did not educate themselves enough on the policies of the candidates.
1 / 3 said they feel the manipulation of facts and opinons in the media had an effect on their vote.
33 / 48 felt peer pressure to vote a certain way.
Q: How would you politically classify yourself? A: Undecided Liberal Republican Conservative Republican Liberal Democrat Conservative Democrat
46 PERCENT HOLD THE SAME POLITICAL VIEWS AS THEIR PARENTS.
71 PERCENT CHECKED NONE WHEN ASKED WHAT PARTY THEY WERE IN.
PERCENT FEEL A PROFFESOR HAS HAD SOME INFLUENCE ON THEIR POLITICAL VIEWS.
9 PERCENT of students surveyed were involved in student government at their colleges. 30 PERCENT of those students strive to be politicans in the future. 37 PERCENT took a political science class while they were in college. 52 PERCENT of those students said it prepa-red them for how they will handle politics and changes in government in their adulthood.
MOST WERE HAPPY TO HAVE THE BUSH ADMINISTRATION OUT OF OFFICE.
SOME WERE NOT.
THE RESULTS proved that the majority of the students were hard to place in the black and white categories of republican or democrat. They were very open minded in how the government should handle issues, but also very firm and definative about how they want to see the final results. We dub this group THE BIPARTISAN COLLIGATE.
STATS& MEASURES The issues that were most important to students: (by scale)
ECON THE WAR IN THE MIDDLE EAST
EDUCATION STEM CELL RESEARCH
SEPERATION OF CHURCH AND STATE
HEALTHCARE DEATH PENALTY
OMY ANIMAL RIGHTS
THE RIGHT TO BEAR ARMS
75% OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER PROTESTED SAID
I DON’T THINK IT WILL CHANGE ANYTHING; IT WILL ONLY CAUSE MORE PROBLEMS. 23 PERCENT admit they do not care about gov.
10 PERCENT dislike our capitalist system IT’S HARDLY A RALLY at Universities today, but they sure do have opinions. Why is it that so many college students decide not to protest. Are they sick of hearing their parents talk about ‘back in the day’? We asked students for feedback on protesting the governmet when they disagree with policy decisions.
2 / 24 have participated in a rally or protest either on or off campus while attending college.
10% OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER PROTESTED ARE AFRAID OF HOW THEY WILL BE JUDGED.
HAVE BEEN TOLD STORIES ABOUT PROTESTS A FAMILY MEMBERS HAS PARTICIPATED IN WHILE THEY WERE IN COLLEGE.
15% OF THOSE WHO HAVE NEVER PROTESTED SAID I DON’T CARE ENOUGH ABOUT A SPECIFIC ISSUE TO PUT MYSELF OUT THERE.
GOV-BLEND KUSH FOR STATE CASH BY KINGSTON LEOPOLD
TAXICOUS HAZE SHOULD THE GOVERNMENT LIFT THE PROHIBITION OF MARIJUANA FOR MONEY?
Advocates believe prohibition reduces marijuana trafficking and use, thereby discouraging crime, improving productivity and increasing health. Critics believe prohibition has only modest effects on trafficking and use while causing many problems typically attributed to marijuana itself. One issue in this debate is the effect of marijuana prohibition on government budgets. Prohibition entails direct enforcement costs, and prohibition prevents taxation of marijuana production and sale. If marijuana were legal, enforcement costs would be negligible and governments could levy taxes on the production and sale of marijuana. Thus, government expenditure would decline and tax revenue would increase. This report estimates the savings in government expenditure and the gains in tax revenue that would result from replacing marijuana prohibition with a regime in which marijuana is legal but taxed and regulated like other goods. The report is not an overall evaluation of marijuana prohibition; the magnitude of any budgetary impact does not by itself determine the wisdom of prohibition. But the costs required to enforce prohibition, and the transfers that occur because income in a prohibited sector is not taxed, are relevant to rational discussion of this policy.
The policy change considered in this report, marijuana legalization, is more substantial than marijuana decriminalization, which means repealing criminal penalties against possession but retaining them against trafficking. The budgetary implications of legalization exceed those of decriminalization for three reasons. First, legalization eliminates arrests for trafficking in addition to eliminating arrests for possession. Second, legalization saves prosecutorial, judicial, and incarceration expenses; these savings are minimal in the case of decriminalization. Third, legalization allows taxation of marijuana production and sale. This report concludes that marijuana legalization would reduce government expenditure by $7.7 billion annually. Marijuana legalization would also generate tax revenue of $2.4 billion annually if marijuana were taxed like all other goods and $6.2 billion annually if marijuana were taxed at rates comparable to those on alcohol and tobacco. These budgetary impacts rely on a range of assumptions, but these probably bias the estimated expenditure reductions and tax revenues downward. The remainder of the report proceeds as follows. Section II estimates state and local expenditure on marijuana prohibition. Section III estimates federal expenditure on marijuana prohibition. Section IV estimates the tax revenue that would accrue from legalized marijuana. Section V discusses caveats and implications.
A HISTORY OF HEMP IN THE UNITED STATES. 1600’s Hemp was first brought to North America by the Puritans from Europe. It was encouraged by the government in the production of rope, sails, medicine and cloth for clothing.
1700’s “Make the most you can of the Indian hemp seed. Sow it everywhere.” -George Washington, in a letter to his farm manager.
To estimate the tax revenue that would result from marijuana legalization, it is necessary to assume a particular tax rate. This report considers two assumptions that plausibly bracket the range of reasonable possibilities.
MARIJUANA LEGALIZATION WOULD GENERATE TAX REVENUE OF $2.4 BILLION ANNUALLY IF MARIJUANA WERE TAXED LIKE ALL OTHER GOODS AND $6.2 BILLION ANNUALLY IF MARIJUANA WERE TAXED AT RATES COMPARABLE TO THOSE ON ALCOHOL AND TOBACCO. The first assumption is that tax policy treats legalized marijuana identically to other goods. In that case tax revenue as a fraction of expenditure would be approximately 30%, implying tax revenue from legalized marijuana of $2.4 billion.  The amount of revenue would be lower if substantial home production occurred under legalization. The evidence suggests, however, that the magnitude of such production would be minimal. In particular, alcohol production switched mostly from the black market to the licit market after repeal of Alcohol Prohibi-
tion in 1933. The second assumption is that tax policy treats legalized marijuana similarly to alcohol or tobacco, imposing a “sin tax” in excess of any tax applicable to other goods. Imposing a high sin tax can force a market underground, thereby reducing rather than increasing tax revenue. Existing evidence, however, suggests that relatively high rates of sin taxation are possible without generating a black market. For example, cigarette taxes in many European countries account for 75–85 percent of the price (US Department of Health and Human Services 2000). One benchmark, therefore, is to assume that an excise tax on legalized marijuana doubles the price. If general taxation accounts for 30% of the price, this additional tax would then make tax revenue account for 80% of the price. This doubling of the price, given an elasticity of -0.5, would cause roughly a 50% increase in expenditure, implying total expenditure on marijuana would be $11.85 billion (=$7.9 x 1.5). Tax revenue would equal 80% of this total, or $9.5 billion. This includes any standard taxation applied to marijuana income as well as the sin tax on marijuana sales.
1930’s Harry Anslinger, head of the Federal Bureau of Narcotics claimed cannabis caused people to commit violent crimes, act irrational, and act overly sexual. The FBN produced propaganda films promoting Anslinger’s views and Anslinger often commented to the press regarding his views on cannabis.
The $9.5 billion figure is not necessarily attainable given the characteristics of marijuana production, however. Small scale, efficient production is possible and occurs widely now, so
1906 The first significant instance of cannabis regulation appeared in District of Columbia.
1920’s The Uniform State Narcotic Act, would ensure that each state had the same regulations on marijuana, and the Federal Bureau of Narcotics was formed.
1936 The Geneva Trafficking Convention) was concluded, and the U.S., led by Ansinger, had attempted to include in the treaty the criminalization of all activities related to the use of opium, coca and cannabis for non-medical and non-scientific purposes. The U.S. refused to sign the final version because it considered the Convention too weak, especially in relation to extradition, extraterritoriality of trafficking profits.
1937 The Marihuana Tax Act made possession or transfer of cannabis illegal throughout the United States under federal law, excluding medical and industrial uses, in which an expensive excise tax was required.
TAXICOUS HAZE cont. the imposition of A substantial tax wedge might encourage a substantial fraction of the market to remain underground. The assumption of a constant demand elasticity in response to a price change of this magnitude is also debatable; more plausibly, the elasticity would increase as the price rose, implying a larger decline in consumption and thus less revenue from excise taxation. The $9.5 figure should therefore be considered an upper bound. These calculations nevertheless indicate the potential for substantial revenue from marijuana taxation. A more modest excise tax, such as one that raises the price 50%, would produce revenue on legalized marijuana of $6.2 billion per year. Distribution of the Marijuana Tax Revenue The estimates of tax revenue discussed so far indicate the total amount that could be collected summing over all levels of government. In practice this total would be divided between state and federal governments. It is therefore useful to estimate how much revenue would accrue to each state, and to state governments versus the federal government, under plausible assumptions.
These calculations ignore the fact that marijuana use rates differ across states, so application of identical policies would yield different amounts of revenue per capita. Wright (2002, Table A.4, p.82), for example, indicates that the percent of those 12 and over reporting marijuana use in the past month ranged in 1999-2000 from a low of 2.79% in Iowa to a high of 9.03% in Massachusetts. Table 4b therefore shows the breakdown of revenue by state under the assumption that tax revenue is proportional to state marijuana use rates. A third possibility, which cannot easily be examined with existing data, is that revenue by state differs depending on the distribution of marijuana production.
Table 4a indicates the tax revenue that would accrue to each state and to the federal government under the assumption that each state collected revenue equal to 10% of the income generated by legalized marijuana and the federal government collected income equal to 20%. This is approximately
1944 New York Mayor Fiorello LaGuardia, started the LaGuardia Commission that in 1944 contradicted the earlier reports of addiction, madness, and overt sexuality.
what occurs now for the economy overall, except that the ratio of tax revenues to income varies across states from the 10% figure assumed here. The table indicates that under these assumptions, the federal government would collect $1.6 billion in additional revenue while on average each state would collect $16 million in additional tax revenue.
1969 The Leary v. United States decision, concluded the Marihuana Tax Act to be unconstitutional since it violated the Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. In response, Congress repealed the Marihuana Tax Act and passed the Controlled Substances Act as Title II of the Comprehensive Drug Abuse Prevention and Control Act of 1970, which repealed the Marihuana Tax Act.
DID YOU KNOW ALASKA IS AMONG THE MOST PROGRESSIVE STATES FOR DECRIMINALIZING MARIJUANA LAWS? MORE ON NEXT PAGE.
1978 Robert Randall sued the federal government for arresting him for using cannabis to treat his glaucoma. The judge ruled Randall needed cannabis for medical purposes and required the Food and Drug Administration set up a program to grow cannabis on a farm at the University of Mississippi and to distribute 300 cannabis cigarettes a month to Randall.
1996 California passed the Compassionate Use Act, which decriminalized medical cannabis by enacting laws that allow regulated cannabis consumption, possession, cultivation, and distribution for medicinal use.
CRONIC STATE OF MIND INFORMATION BASED ON ARTICLES WRITTEN ON WWW.MPP.ORG, 2009
CA AK 1998 Alaskans voted in medical marijuana laws. If a patient suffering from chronic pain, HIV or AIDS, epilepsy and other disorders characterized by seizures, cancer, cachexia, MS, and other disorders characterized by muscle spasms or nausea receives documentation from a physician that they ‘might benefit from the medical use of marijuana, than that patient or their primary caregiver may legally posses and cultivate marijuana. By law, they may possess 1 oz or less and cultivate 6 plants or less, with no more than three being mature. All qualifying patients are put into a confidential state-run registry and are issued identification cards. The DEA estimates that close to 26,000 pounds of marijuana are grown yearly in Alaska, which have a street value of between $128-$205
2010 The Chairman of the Public Safety Committee, assemblyman Tom Ammiano (D-San Francisco) is the author of A.B. 390, legislation that would tax and regulate marijuana in California. This hearing helped to set the stage for a future hearing on A.B.390 which is expected to take place in January. 2009 On November 3, more than 70% of voters in the tiny ski town of Breckenridge voted to remove city-level criminal penalties for possession of up to one ounce of marijuana for adults over 21. While possession of any amount is still illegal under state law, the citizens of Breckenridge undoubtedly sent a message to lawmakers in Colorado—and around the country—by taking this first and necessary step toward the end of marijuana prohibition.
MEDICAL MARIJUANA DISPENSERIES EXIST FOR PATIENTS, AND DECRIMINALIZATION LEGISLATION HAS PASSED. PRO-LEGALIZATION LEGISLATION HAS BEEN IN DISCUSSION NO MEMBERS OF STATE GOV. HAVE TAKEN ACTION
ME 2009 On Tuesday, November 3, Maine voters made history by becoming the first state in the nation to authorize state-licensed and regulated medical marijuana distribution centers by virtue of popular vote.