Updates on marijuana legalization


Besides the bill in the U.S. Senate to make medical marijuana legal everywhere, there are six marijuana bills in the U.S. House of Representatives. All of these bills fail to solve the single most important problem—collecting taxes—as there was a lot of uncontrollable cheating in Colorado and Washington! FYI readers, the inability of the government to apply and collect taxes on marijuana is at the very core of the reasons for marijuana being illegal, not the effects of marijuana. Taxes are still a challenge, which is why it is important that the CNMI have a government operation in partnership with the private sector to address the tax issue and control challenges—the research-based theory for implementing a moratorium to study legalization before a vote, which will be the best methodology for legalization in America.

What our leaders and citizens need to realize is this industry is going to boom with or our without us, so do we really want to be left behind Guam and the rest of America again? Analysts are already predicting the legal U.S. marijuana industry is “in its early growth stage.” It has been predicted that the American marijuana market could eventually reach the size of its alcohol market, a $200 billion annual business; the CNMI is guaranteed to make hundreds of millions.

The current U.S. bills are: 1. HR 262 would exempt medical-marijuana related conduct from real property civil forfeiture under the Controlled Substances Act. 2. HR 667 would authorize healthcare providers at the Department of Veterans Affairs to recommend state marijuana programs to veterans. 3. HR 1013 would remove marijuana from the CSA altogether and give the FDA the same authority over marijuana that it currently has over alcohol. It would also move marijuana jurisdiction from the DEA to the ATFE. 4. HR 1014 would impose a two-year 10 percent recreational marijuana tax that would increase up to 25 percent after five years. 5. HR 1538, which has not been made available, is intended to «extend the principle of federalism to state drug policy, provide access to medical marijuana and enable research into the medicinal properties of marijuana.» 6. S 683 would move marijuana from Schedule I of the CSA to Schedule II and allow banks to accept deposits from growers and retailers.

Marijuana sales may be more complicated than previously thought, which is why legalization should be a government-run operation in partnership with the private sector—better controls in all areas of the industry.

DPS wants to fight ‘ice,’ not marijuana!
It was duly noted by our Police Commissioner that he wants lawmakers to do something about their funding so they can be more aggressive in fighting the use of “ice” as “ice” has infiltrated the police force! In the commissioner’s own words, “There are no serious steps to fund the [“ice] war.” So what will lawmakers do? Are they going to let the opportunity to start a new legal industry that will bring in hundreds of millions just slip away to Guam or will they carpe diem and at least try by declaring a moratorium? The moratorium will have an immediate financial impact and we will have the revenues to fight “ice” usage and do a lot of other things. I also can’t reiterate it enough that we are focusing on the wrong recreational vice by trying to stop marijuana use as “ice,” alcohol, and tobacco are the most dangerous to our society. In fact, what many don’t seem to realize or know about the use of vices for recreational use is that the use of “ice” and alcohol will automatically decline if marijuana were legalized. What better way to pay for fighting a war on real drugs that are destroying lives and even killing people than to use the funding from the sales of a natural growing herb (marijuana)—the preferred recreational vice of our young adults and even the future!

8 more states set to legalize
Just as I predicted, the marijuana reform is moving at a blazing speed across America with more and more states realizing that 1. Marijuana is badly needed for medical purposes 2. The reality we can never eradicate the growth and use of marijuana. 3. The reality that millions of people in the mainland and in the CNMI are smoking pot everyday but only a selected and even targeted few are being held accountable to the law. 4. The reality that marijuana is a billion-dollar industry that will bring money into the state. 5. The fact that marijuana is the least toxic and least addictive of all the recreational drugs (alcohol, heroin, cocaine, tobacco, Ecstasy, meth or ice). 6. The fact that children did not go crazy in states that have already legalized it. 7. The fact that we are wasting money and resources fighting the wrong battle against marijuana that could be used to fight the more deadly vices and crimes that are being perpetrated in our society. Like the President said, “We have far more important and deadly things to worry about than marijuana sales and use.” The President smoked but still became President!

The potential new states are New York, California, Florida, Maine, Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, New Mexico for a total of 32, which will create a clear majority of states where some form of legalization exist. Our nation’s federal marijuana laws are literally going up in smoke! Prosperity is right around the corner but will our leaders take us in the right direction?

Ambrose M Bennett
Kagman, Saipan

Ambrose M. Bennett Dayao
This post is published under the Contributing Author. He/she does not normally work for Saipan Tribune but contributes for a specific topic or series.

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