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Saturday, September 10, 2011

Just Legalize It Already

I've said it once, and I'll keep on saying it. That is just way to much money not going too the States.

Home-Grown Marijuana Producers (With A Twist)

A number of Americans in the United States have undertaken the skill of cultivating marijuana in their homes or apartments. The people whom have taken up this endeavor are seeking to modify or supplement their income. They assume that marijuana is a harmless drug akin to the consumption of alcoholic beverages and therefore see themselves as merchants or suppliers of this lucrative market. In theoretical observance of this practice, one could base a conclusion of rational choice to the mindset of such persons. Two noted theorist (Becker 1968; Sullivan 1973) observed that people would analyze the cost and benefit associated with such an endeavor before committing the crime.

In March of 2007, two men were in custody after police officials seized nearly $2 million in marijuana from a Northfield Township home in Illinois. The drugs growing in two bedrooms filled with dozens of plants reaching up to four-feet in height, officials said. Police officials stated that more than 95 pounds of marijuana ready for sale discovered in plastic bins in the living room and attic. The marijuana was hydroponically grown, a more potent and expensive type of the drug. Also found in the home was 300 hits of LSD and 5 grams of heroin. The two men rented the home in the “upscale neighborhood” for more than eight months, according to a news release.

We all know that possession and distribution of any illegal drug comes with a price to pay. A great many of us consider ourselves rational in thought when it comes to making a purchase, such as an automobile, or appliances. One will consider if the cost is worth the benefit prior to making a purchase. If a person or persons find the cost far exceeds the benefit one would naturally decide against the purchase. One would have to look at this classic case and simply deduce that these two individuals made a conscious and rational choice to explore this kind of endeavor. They most certainly knew the risk involved and considered the effect it would bring if discovered. After observing the cost-benefit analysis, they simply concluded that the benefit far exceeded the cost and entered into the endeavor of producing marijuana in their home.

Marijuana is now the biggest crop grown in the United States, exceeding traditional harvests such as wheat, corn, and soybeans, says a new report. The study shows that 10, 000 tons’ of marijuana worth $35.8 billion is grown each year; the street value would be even higher. This dwarfs the $23 billion-worth of corn grown, $17.6 billion-worth of soybeans and $12.2 billion-worth of hay. Marijuana is the biggest cash crop in 12 states, with the value of pot grown outstripping peanuts in Georgia and tobacco in North and South Carolina.

In California, if legalized, tax revenue estimates reach $105.4 million dollars per year (CNN Projects Marijuana Tax Revenue for every U.S. State, 2009) the biggest producer, it is worth $13.8 billion. The report, Marijuana Production in the US, by, which wants marijuana re-classified, says the drug listed as a schedule 1 drug deemed to have no medicinal value and a likelihood of abuse. Other such drugs include heroin. The author, Jon Gettman, states the figures show the war on drugs is not working: “Illicit marijuana cultivation provides considerable unreported revenue for growers without corresponding tax obligations to compensate the public for the social and fiscal costs related to use.” The suggestion that the crop become legalized and taxed was rejected by the White House Office of National Drug Control Policy, which pointed to countries with large drug cash crops, notably Colombia and Afghanistan. The report says output in the United States has grown tenfold in the last 25 years. The report also says that the boom in domestic production gained momentum by tougher border controls after 9/11. As smuggling from Mexico has become more difficult, the drug cartels have moved their operations into the United States, often creating plantations in remote national park land.

One can now see why people are undertaking the skill of cultivating marijuana in their homes and parkland around this country. They use the drug to supplement their income and avoid detection by using natural resources and the privacy of their homes. As rational choice, theory suggest, these people are observing the cost-benefit ratio and in their minds they clearly see the benefits far out-weigh the risk. Gary Becker, from our text Understand Crime Theory and Practice pg. (44) Ch. 2 provided the groundwork for this theory by suggesting that decisions to commit crimes involve the same decision-making process as in buying a car. People make decisions based on an “expected utility principle.” They get information, store it to memory, and use it to analyze for any given situation. Following this theory to the two people from the quiet suburb in Illinois, one would deduce they thought that their chances of apprehension were indeed low. Jon Gettman’s assessment of unreported revenue for the growers is also a clear signal for someone looking to launch a bid into this endeavor. The arrest and report of marijuana growers in the United States from this point of view is clearly in lock step with rational choice theory. We see a conscious and rational decision-making process being developed, and executed because the people involved see the benefits far out-weighing the risk.

Projected marijuana tax revenues* (in millions)
State Tax Revenue

California 105.4
New York 65.5
Florida 48.2
Texas 46.6
Ohio 34.8
Michigan 32.4
Illinois 31.6
Pennsylvania 30.5
Washington 22.0
Virginia 20.9
North Carolina 20.6
Georgia 19.3
New Jersey 19.3
Massachusetts 18.4
Indiana 17.8
Colorado 17.6
Missouri 15.6
Minnesota 14.3
Oregon 14.1
Maryland 13.9
Wisconsin 13.4
Arizona 13.0
Louisiana 13.0
Tennessee 12.2
Kentucky 10.2
Connecticut 9.8
South Carolina 9.1
Alabama 8.9
Oklahoma 8.3
Nevada 7.9
Arkansas 6.7
Kansas 6.6
Mississippi 6.6
Iowa 6.2
New Hampshire 5.6
Nebraska 5.0
New Mexico 4.9
Utah 4.7
Rhode Island 4.6
Maine 4.1
West Virginia 4.1
Hawaii 4.0
Montana 3.6
Idaho 3.3
Alaska 2.8
District of Columbia 2.8
Vermont 2.8
Delaware 2.4
South Dakota 2.0
North Dakota 1.6
Wyoming 1.2

* Revenues based on state-by-state marijuana consumption, assuming pot were legalized. Source: Prof. Jeffrey Miron, “Budgetary Implications of Marijuana Prohibitions,” June 2005.

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