Monday, October 11, 2010

Alcohol Tax Increase Vs Marijuana Legalization

Colorado Governor Candidate Tom Tancredo, has publically claimed that marijuana should be legalized. “Legalize it. Regulate it,” said Tancredo. Dan Maes, Tancredo’s main competition, opposes the potential legalization. “If pot was legalized and taxed, the money brought in would probably just be wasted on the expansion of social programs.”

Not to undermine the significance of this issue, but perhaps there is another topic within the drug and alcohol department that’s being overlooked. As cited from my last post (Alcohol Tax Increase), alcohol abuse is the third leading cause of death in the United States while marijuana doesn’t even make the list.

In 1983, Alaska recorded a 29 percent drop among alcohol related deaths following a two-cent per drink increase. Furthermore, Associate Professor David Jernigan’s case study concludes that a 10-cent per drink tax increase will save each state millions in healthcare costs while generating millions in revenues.

After taking these facts into account and considering our nations current economic state, it would seem logical for our government to reevaluate their priorities and put more emphasis on a potential alcohol tax increase. However, often times our governments decision making is not associated with logic. When presented with the affects of a potential alcohol increase, a Stadium Inn bartender said, "it makes sense, in the grand scheme of things, but being a bartender, i know it will have detrimental effects on my paycheck." Although he was skeptical, he did not adamantly oppose a increase if it were to accommodate the refreshment and restaurant business's. He declined to comment weather or not its more important than a potential marijuana legalization.

Both DU's Campus Safety and the Denver Police Department declined to comment about the issue. Various members of the Boarders staff declined to comment as well, their rational being they didn't want to stir anything up, given how all of their old staff was recently fired. However, one group of people that didn't decline to comment was students. One student said, "marijuana draws more attention then a alcohol tax increase because their is more controversy surrounding it. Think about it, marijuana is illegal and is significantly healthier than alcohol. Its bullshit!" Another student said, "people like to smoke, who is the government to tell you that you can't do it?"

A marijuana dispensary employee said, he understands why people oppose recreational smoking, but when a person has a legitiment health issue that requires marijuana assistance, it needs to be provided to them. As for why its taken more seriously than a potential alcohol tax increase, he said "because more people are aware about the legalization of marijuana compared to a tax increase."

When asked why the marijuana issue is taken more seriously then a alcohol tax increase proposal, a John Hickenlooper representative said, "because its at the forefront. We take all issues seriously but we usually have to put more emphasis on issues that have the most attention surrounding them."

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