Report: The Costly Fraud of Marijuana Normalization


 

California, Colorado, Washington D.C., and Washington State are convincing proof that marijuana normalization brings with it a sea of wreckage and red ink.   The broad and deep costs are well beyond the ability of states to afford, and far beyond tax revenues collected.

Marijuana “legalization” is a cruel hoax.  Marijuana is not legalized when the State establishes itself as the Monopoly Drug Cartel.   A complex new set of criminal and civil laws guarantee dominance of the state monopoly.  With few exceptions, growing, distribution, sales, substance abuse, crimes, and DUI are just as illegal and prosecutable as before. Crime rates then explode when foreign cartels battle the state for the drug addict’s dollar in a sea of green.  This translates into more arrests than before.  For example, in Colorado, arrests of black and latino youth increased 58% and 29% respectively after marijuana was normalized.

The Rocky Mountain High Intensity Drug Trafficking Area report thoroughly documents a litany of longitudinal problems caused by marijuana normalization.  The Chronic State is an excellent short documentary documenting the surprising array of health, policing, criminal, and environmental consequences.

My previous article “Marijuana is a national health and political crisis” revealed some of the health, political, and legal problems caused by marijuana normalization.

This report covers the sea of red ink occurring in states that normalized marijuana never previously discussed or estimated.

The Big Truth of marijuana normalization: Public pocketbooks are being picked by the Marijuana State.  Cities, counties, police, Chambers of Commerce, social services, hospitals, insurance companies, businesses, and every private citizen are being systematically looted, while local jurisdictions are stuck paying for all the costly problems.

Why is this true?

The consequences of marijuana normalization are actuallyt worse than for other drugs.  States are aggressively going into business as Drug Cartels and doctors dealing addictive drugs.   States hijacked to act as criminal enterprises are driving drug addiction under the guise of social justice.  The monetary and social wreckage is not predicted or paid for by the state.  Vast expenses are dumped by design on cities, counties, businesses, and taxpayers.

The galaxy of problems inventoried in the above documents have never been costed out or totaled.  No economic impact study has ever been done either before or after legalization.  Every state has a fiscal duty to assess these things in advance.  This duty had been shirked by politicos bought and paid for by the powerful tobacco lobby now hawking pot.

How much do these hundreds of problems cost the state, cities, and taxpayers?  Who pays for it all?  Is the state really making money from running a drug cartel?  Have we been sold a progressive bill of goods?

This short paper does not pretend to be an exhaustive study of the total costs of marijuana normalization. That is a project requiring significant resources beyond the capacity of a small non-profit to deliver.   Below, some of the major costs associated with marijuana legalization are highlighted and the costs conservatively estimated.

The purpose of this document is to show that the consequential costs of marijuana normalization run so wide and deep as to be devastating from economic, Constitutional, legal, medical, social, safety, and public policy perspectives.

Summary of Findings:

  1. The economic costs of marijuana normalization over short and long terms are broad, deep, and intergenerational. The costs far outweigh possible tax receipts from sales of marijuana.  The size of these costs is so large as to form an existential threat to states and local jurisdictions who may fail to exist as going concerns.
  2. States should ban the use of any marijuana product that is not approved by the FDA and sold in pharmacies, or authorized for scientific study pursuant to rigorous control-group study methods.
  3. The federal government must vigorously enforce federal drug and banking laws because socioeconomic damage is expanding demand for means-tested welfare, crime, and other federal subsidies despite a roaring economy. Pressure to increase taxes is building at both state and federal levels. Sanctuary states condoning illegal immigration and/or illegal drugs are both motivated by destructive revolutionary principals and organizations.
  4. Businesses, banks, and insurance companies must staunchly oppose marijuana normalization. Extraordinarily-high socioeconomic damage caused by state-run drug cartels are being stolen from businesses hit from all sides with taxes, litigation, and employment problems.
  5. Marijuana normalization must be opposed because it is a blunt Progressive instrument that creates disastrous public problems that force cities to implement social justice agenda such as Universal Basic Income, free health care, and guaranteed free housing. These ideas are proven failures everywhere they have been implemented.
  6. Cities, counties, police, courts, social services, and Chambers of Commerce must flatly reject marijuana normalization. Demand expenditures far exceed tax revenues.   States take the profits but cannot afford to fund the handling of the galaxy of regulatory, social, criminal, environmental and other problems that result from state-sponsored drug addiction.
  7. It is Unconstitutional public policy for the State to become a monopoly drug cartel selling recreational drugs under the guise of a shadow “administrative medical system”, where doctors are “licensed” as street drug dealers and fully immunized from legal or professional liability.
    1. The harm to the general welfare, safety, and economy of citizens is significant , certain, and therefore Unconstitutional.
    2. Foreseeable but concealed unfunded mandates thrust on local jurisdictions by voters or the State may likely be Unconstitutional.
    3. Most “Medical marijuana” legislation and initiatives may be Unconstitutional because they are fraudulently mistitled. They usually allow back-room legalization of THC-laden recreational marijuana and stores by Administrative fiat.
  8. States should not normalize marijuana containing THC without first publishing a thorough impact study itemizing the short and long-term economic costs. Funding to pay for consequences must be secured in the legislation.
  9. President Trump should aggressively block legalization, seize cartel monies, and prosecute sales of all THC-containing, non-FDA-approved marijuana products. All marijuana products must be formally prescribed, tracked, and sold in traditional drug stores.
  10. President Trump should order funded fast-track state pilot programs that will harness “The People” to kick drug abuse out of their neighborhoods and communities. Substance abuse is the primary predictor of gun and domestic violence, death, community failure, and welfare spending.  The “Family Substance Abuse” Order created by the Center for Marriage Policy gives every parent and spouse a power tool that will replace death and riots with recovery, one family at a time.   Let Fred Trump’s passing save others from a similar fate.

Section 1: Marijuana drives state and local budget problems

  • Fake medicine: “Medical marijuana” bills are often fraudulently crafted. Advocates inundate legislators and the public with false information about the efficacy of marijuana.  Pot is marketed to the public as an elixir for veterans, the elderly, and individuals in great pain.  Legislation almost always contains administrative back-doors to silently legalize recreational pot behind closed doors by dumbing-down definitions of “medical conditions”.

Since the FDA approved Epidiolex (which does not get people high), states should modify state laws to conform to FDA approval of non-THC drugs.

Most politicians are being suckered by the pot lobby.  Republicans will do anything for veterans and elderly in pain.   Consumers and politicized public policy are being hijacked by fraudulent claims about pot’s magical powers healing cancer, preventing AIDS, low birth weight, premature birth and other serious diseases  and problems.  Michigan now claims that pot heals autism and arthritis when there are no significant peer-reviewed studies showing efficacy.

The marijuana cartels, which are backed by tobacco companies swapping tobacco for marijuana, devote significant resources promoting drug abuse while covering up the dysfunctional “stoner” lifestyle.   They are doing today exactly what they did with cigarettes decades ago.

States are being looted for the personal profit of powerful politicos running the State Cartel.  Willie Nelson, Tommy Chong, Melissa Etheridge, Bethenny Frankel, Whoopi Goldberg, Snoop Dogg, and six other Hollywood drug dealers are getting rich by looting your state.

Big Tobacco is moving political mountains to replace cigarettes with drug addiction:

“Make no mistake, the marijuana industry is laying the groundwork to take center stage as Big Tobacco 2.0. Tobacco companies have been eyeing marijuana as the next big addictive enterprise since the 1970’s, and now they’re getting in on this cash cow in the ultimate quid pro quo: taking money in return for shaping the language of today’s marijuana legalization initiatives.”

However, legalizing “medical marijuana” is completely unnecessary since the F.D.A. approved CBD-based Epidiolex medical marijuana.  Doctors can now legally prescribe medical-grade marijuana legally for anything they want.  There is no need for legislation on medical pot.   States only need to enact legislation to conform with FDA approvals.

Medical marijuana has never been proponent’s goal.  It is the excuse for legalizing recreational pot as fake medicine.

THC-laden marijuana is not good medicine, nor is it safe for recreational use.  You do not smoke medicine.  Good medicine does not turn you into a forgetful, blithering idiot or lay you out cold in front of the television set.  Good medicine does not kill you in a car accident or put you in prison for child neglect.

Marijuana is not a pain killer.  It is a pain distractor at best.  THC-laden marijuana users feel more pain that is extended it longer.  There is little evidence that marijuana helps reduce pain, and overwhelming evidence that THC-containing pot causes many serious health, mental, and public safety problems.   Those who smoke pot until they pass out are substance abusers, not managing pain.

Substance abusers of all stripes swear that drugs or alcohol make them feel better.  The emotional distraction marijuana addicts report is not a healer or pain killer.  It is the excuse addicts and alcoholics use every day to justify their substance abuse habit!

Smart Approaches to Marijuana has credibly demonstrated that the costs of marijuana normalization far outweigh tax revenues.

“Because marijuana legalization would increase use, any tax revenue gained from legal marijuana would be quickly offset by the social costs.”

Focus On the Family reports that “research tells us that embracing legalization—and the new tobacco-like industry that comes with it—is a grave mistake.”

Even CNBC found that marijuana normalization drives red ink, noting that Alaska “legalized” marijuana in the 1970’s only to reverse course when economic consequences changed their mind:
“After years of heavy spending, California, for example, is facing a $42 billion deficit. To address this staggering shortfall, some legislators are proposing the legalization of marijuana to boost tax revenue.”

“Do we really want our governments to sell substances known to be toxic to the body, and which has no medical value that is recognized by the medical community, for the sake of sheer profit? If this were a corporation proposing such a thing, it would be taken to court.”

Occupational Health and Safety points out that marijuana normalization will be very high because it has resulted in a known-destructive drug to be sold by the state without passing any FDA testing or requirement that adverse effects be reported.

Marijuana legalization compounds homelessness caused by opioids and heroin addiction by adding a “cool”, legal, way to destroy one’s life.  What is the evidence?  When an entire city smells of marijuana, the problem is endemic.

Cities in states that legalized marijuana and have high property values are the ones with serious, homelessness problems.  Los Angeles, San Francisco, Orange County, Denver, New York, and Seattle have all suffered crippling increases in homelessness, crime, mental health, divorce, illegitimacy, educational failure, incarceration, car accidents, suicide, law enforcement, prisons, unemployment, and other problems on a scale far greater than seen in non-marijuana cities.

Marijuana abuse causes amotivational syndrome, psychosis, acute psychosis, schizophrenia, tachycardia, postural hypotension, cyclic vomiting syndrome, attention impairment, hypotension, panic, anxiety, myoclonic jerking/hyperkinesis, delirium, respiratory depression, ataxia, and conjunctivitis.   Half of young adults in Massachusetts report using marijuana.  Marijuana smoke is significantly more damaging to heart, lungs, and circulatory system than cigarette smoke.  A long list of credible studies prove this point.

In California, at least 1 in 10 pregnant women use marijuana for morning sickness,  despite the fact it is known to cause serious brain development problems in children up to age 24.  In school, marijuana-exposed children are more likely to show gaps in problem-solving skills, memory, the ability to remain attentive, low birth weight, and decreased motor development.  MRI scans confirm damage to the prefrontal cortex.  Pediatricians strongly discourage use of marijuana during pregnancy.  The delayed fiscal costs dealing with education, crime, mental health, insurance, and welfare costs will be predictably high, with the source of the problem mentioned only in journal studies.

Trying marijuana by age 15 doubles the risk of addiction.   Marijuana is a mixer drug.  60% of Marijuana users also misuse illegal and prescription drugs.  A major 20-year-lkong study issued by Kings College to the World Health Organization bears a long list of serious impacts to children and adults.

This noted large-group controlled study by Harvard psycho-biologist Dr. Bertha Madras, analyzing  65,454 brain scans from 31,227 people age 9 months to 105 years proved that marijuana cuts blood flow (and ages brains) similarly to bipolar disorder, ADHD, and schizophrenia.   Reduced blood flow is also linked to dementia and stroke.

The increase in divorce that always accompanies substance abuse translates into more uninsured patients and dysfunctional indigent seniors who end up homeless or become a burden on children.   Parental support laws in 30 states require adult children to support indigent parents.  These “filial responsibility” laws left over from Roman times are essentially unlimited in scope.   They have gone unused since the advent of Medicare, but are recently being invoked again. In 2016, Hillary Clinton advocated for tax credits and FMLA protections for children who must care for elderly parents, and there were unrequited hints that Medicare should eventually provide long term care.    As America’s hippies become mental patients, this issue will emerge an election issue because government will have to find a way to pay for a growing tide of indigent elderly, and insurance companies will demand recompense.

Beside permanent damage to brains, heart, and lungs, marijuana causes genetic changes that can be passed on to children.   The  smoke is up to 5 times harder on the lungs than one cigarette.

Twice as many baby boomers are smoking pot now as in 2006.    The proven impact on blood flow to the brain and impact on cardiovascular system will result in more insurance costs for dementia, schizophrenia, stroke, and heart/lung problems.

According to the CDC, marijuana is the most commonly used illegal drug in the United States, with 37.6 million users in the past year (14% of Americans over the age of 10).  The CDC has perhaps the most complete list of health problems caused by marijuana use.   The costs to insurance companies will be extended and costly.  Welfare, divorce, disability, crime, and homelessness expand.  “Failure to launch” kids end up on welfare and disability for life, if not prison, where nearly half of inmates are drug users.

  • Marijuana “normalization” results in state-condoned child abuse and neglect: Drug addiction leads to child abuse and neglect.  But with marijuana a legal state-sponsored enterprise, the state casts a blind eye to child abuse and neglect until great damage is done to the child.

There many proven stories of adults getting babies or children stoned, abusing them, neglecting them, babies born “high”, children being raised in marijuana “grow” operations, and leaving marijuana where children can use it.

The prevalence of marijuana-related child abuse and neglect in Colorado is high enough to require implementation of special training and processes to detect and interdict CAN by child protective services.

A Colorado School of Public Health study recognized that children are being “prescribed” THC-containing marijuana in Colorado and that parents use pot as a “parenting tool” to calm themselves (p. 33). It ignores the truth that second-hand pot smoke gets children high. The state is being urged to consider marijuana an acceptable parental and child-rearing chemical despite a large body of scientific proof that it causes brain damage and behavioral problems in children!

The report fully ignores the very risks of marijuana on children.  It recommended that the state take action only when “use of marijuana by a parent, guardian, relative or adult who cares for the child threatens, or results in harm to the child’s health or welfare. Adult use with no other concern should not be assigned.”I (p. 38).

In a startling juggernaut of scientific magic,  the Colorado Study ignored a large body of peer-reviewed science when it administratively pre-declared a “low” Quality of Evidence risk to children “if there was less than four rigorous peer-reviewed articles published OR we did not conduct a formal review of the evidence and relied on the knowledge of experts in the field who participated in the stakeholder group” (Table 1., p. 39). This is what happens when marijuana activists twiddle the levers of State power.

In California, at least 1 in 10 pregnant women use marijuana for morning sickness,  despite the fact it is known to cause serious brain development problems in children up to age 24.  In school, marijuana-exposed children are more likely to show gaps in problem-solving skills, memory, the ability to remain attentive, low birth weight, and decreased motor development.  MRI scans confirm damage to the prefrontal cortex.  Pediatricians strongly discourage use of marijuana during pregnancy.  The delayed fiscal costs dealing with education, crime, mental health, insurance, and welfare costs will be predictably high, with the source of the problem mentioned only in journal studies.

Businesses lose productivity and have more workplace accidents because marijuana users have anxiety, anger issues, and impaired motor performance when withdrawing from a “high” for up to 24 hours after using marijuana.     Substance abusers are unpredictable, unreliable, often do not mean what they say, and often do not do what they say they will do.

Elon Musk’s bizarre behavior demonstrates the steep financial impact of “legitimized” pot and other drugs on business. Musk and Joe Rogan, who were both already stoned to the point of incoherency at the start of the interview, took a wild rambling 2-1/2 hour “trip” on Joe Rogan’s blog reminiscent of the insane banter in Cheech and Chong movies.  Rationalizing that pot is “legal”, Musk hinted that he often uses “mushrooms”, smoked a big joint on camera (while claiming that pot does not affect him), claimed to be an “alien”, and talked nonsense about our world being a virtual simulation of reality occurring nowhere in space-time.  Tesla stockholders took a $3.1 billion bloodbath in just one day having a drug abuser running the company.  The CAO, HR, and VP of communications promptly resigned.   Despite Tesla being in big financial trouble, Musk previously wasted billions “launching himself” in a Tesla to Mars and made a phony statement about having the funding to take Tesla private that brought financial regulators down on him.  His other wild projects have progressive futurists drooling and Wall Street gasping.

In contrast, alcohol does not impact thinking, memory, and coordination for 24 hours after use.  Marijuana impacts serotonin in the brain, just like other addictive drugs, which is why it is a Class-I drug.  Marijuana significantly impacts serotonin receptors in the brain, and magnifies alcohol’s impact on the brain, which is why marijuana and alcohol are often partners in addiction, psychosis, death, and massive costs to businesses and insurance companies.

Oregon is flooded with marijuana but not planting even half of its legal growing capacity.  “Overproduction is rampant, and the illegal transport of product out-of-state … continues unchecked”.  Instead of tax revenues, states are stuck with much higher costs for interdiction.

In Washington State, legal production is 300% of sales demand, and prices for “regulated” pot are half of black market prices.  So growers are illegally exporting large quantities of pot to non-marijuana states.

In Denver and at least 9 other American cities, laws banning the smoking of marijuana publicly are broadly ignored.  Los Angeles just charged over 500 people running illegal pot businesses.  Marijuana is being illegally grown in plain sight.   Pot advocates teach people to believe it is safe to drive stoned when in fact it is dangerous.  As we might expect, drugged driving is now the leading cause of traffic deaths.

The public perception is that marijuana is as safe as iced tea when in fact it is not.  With marijuana being a “multiplier drug” enhancing the effects of alcohol, many individuals drive when they are drunk and stoned, resulting in many more deaths.   Driving drunk and stoned doubles the driving risk.

When so many people feel that pot is OK, the consequences scale expansively into mass violations of law and mass safety problems.  Costs to government and insurance companies expand proportionally.

  • No forensic or actuarial accounting: No state (or the Government Accounting Office) has ever done a study to either predict or quantify the total cost of marijuana legalization at either state or federal levels. As marijuana is legalized, impacted states and cities are unable to fund pensions, salaries, find monies to mitigate consequential problems, and are in danger of going bankrupt.
  • Recurring annual costs of substance abuse add up dramatically: Let’s take one easily-estimated substance-abuse-driven problem – marriage-absence.  Each divorce or case of illegitimacy costs government about $18,000 – $14-billion for the 827,261 divorces in 2016 (not including CA,GA,HI,IN,MN,and NM), and 1,569,796 illegitimate births in 2016 costing another  $28 billion.  If marijuana abuse increases divorce and illegitimacy only 1% nationally, the cost to Federal government would be about $4.2 billion, not counting costs to states.
  • State as drug cartel: Turning states into monopolistic drug cartels and doctors into street-corner drug dealers is a destructive and costly disaster. Powerful corporate forces are at work to merge corporate profits with corrupt state politics by converting the opioid crisis into a money-losing state enterprise driven by a constitutional right to be an addict.
  • Profit at the sacrifice of citizens: Nearly all mood-altering, non-alcoholic substances impact serotonin in the brain — resulting in predictable consequences.  Labelling some street drugs “bad” and others “good” is scientific fraud.  Marketing marijuana as “candy”, “soda” or “haute cuisine” to kids and adults is medical fraud and an inhumane business model.  Too many marijuana users end up sick, disabled, psychotic, or dead.  I knew a few of them who are no longer with us.  The chances are that you do too.
  • The Costs of “Shadow Medicine”: Marijuana legalization is “shadow medicine” bearing serious and costly constitutional and legal implications.   We all understand the existential threat of “sanctuary cities” to public safety, law and order, and the political process. Conservatives instinctively know that “sanctuary cities” is not a “state’s rights” issue.Shadow medicine bears similar risks.  States are thumbing their noses at settled federal law and administrative law assuring safety of medicine, medical practice, and interstate consistency thereto.   Shadow medicine pits HIPAA privacy and doctor-patient regulations against revolutionarist state regulations allowing freewheeling use of drugs.  State laws almost always fully immunize doctors from discipline or malpractice lawsuits.  They can get away with recommending pot for babies and pregnant mothers.  When addicts “go Postal”, doctors cannot be sued (unlike when they overprescribe opioids).How can states and companies assure safety by testing for drugs in the workplace or discipline substance-abusing employees when drug-abuse is protected by HIPAA and patient-client privilege?   Decades of unnecessary deaths and accidents, lawsuits, insurance settlements, and tort suits against companies will be frightfully expensive and result in great disparities in how these issues are mishandled at the state level.
  • Unconstitutional State Overreach: The state must not be allowed to empower doctors to hand out destructive drugs and immunize them from professional punishment or lawsuits for giving people recreational drugs that do more harm than good – an act far worse than doctors recommending cigarettes nearly 60 years ago!

 

Section II:  Estimating the economic impact of marijuana normalization on states:

Here is a brief look at how marijuana legalization has jeopardized the financial integrity of some states.

  • California: Massive economic consequences

San Francisco is spending $280-million annually on homelessness — over $37,000 per person – not including another $65-million on street cleanup – for a total of $345-million in expenses for just one city.  Orange County is wasting nearly $300-million on homelessness.  The problem is so bad that the conventions are moving elsewhere. Tourists are terrified.  Los Angeles County is blowing out $1-billion annually on homelessness with no end in sight.

California has about 134,278 homeless, which at a HUD-estimated cost of $40,000 each is nearly $5.4-billion. Voluntarily-vagrant youth is a major problem.   Over 400 polluted grow sites exist in California in public forests.

In San Joaquin County CA, where the County seat of Stockton declared bankruptcy in 2012, 2% of the population  (1500 out of 745,424 residents) are homeless.  This costs the county about $60-million annually, or 3.6% of the county budget of $1.634 billion, not counting any other of the long list of costs associated with substance abuse.  This overhead, combined with irresponsible city spending and a property bubble, put the city in bankruptcy in 2014 .  Homelessness remains such a big problem in Stockton that it is experimenting with a ‘universal basic income” scheme to bury the problem alive.

Pot prices have collapsed due to new rules to test pot for pesticides, potency, and microbiological contaminants.

Tax income of a paltry $630-million on pot sales estimated for 2018 is far less than expected.  Given the long list of consequences of drug abuse, this income does not nearly offset consequential costs of marijuana legalization.

  • Colorado’s Costly Socioeconomic disaster

Colorado had a 24% increase — the nation’s biggest — in homeless veterans, at a time when Veteran homelessness is declining nationally.  Progressive policy makers say it is cheaper to provide free housing in Denver than it is to leave them on the streets.  But most of the problem would disappear if the State did not push people into state-endorsed drug addiction.

After marijuana “normalization”, crime rates in Colorado rose by 20% at great cost to everyone.

Colorado had only $247-million income from marijuana in 2107.  This does not nearly offset total consequential costs of marijuana legalization.

Crime is increasing in Colorado at a much higher rate than the rest of the country.  Children are poisoned and end up in the hospital or intentionally abused.  Kids get high and suffer from asthma from second-hand pot smoke, and are too often given pot by their parents.  Traffic deaths rose by 66% since 2013.

Governor Hickenlooper is now under siege for opposing bills the pot industry wants to pass to expand addiction industry infrastructure in the State of Colorado.

Colorado cannot solve its socioeconomic disaster with taxes.  Nobody ever solved a problem by creating more of it.

  • Colorado — A shirtsleeve estimate of the dollar costs of marijuana normalization.

I am focusing on costs of marijuana legalization in Colorado because of the breadth and depth of longitudinal information easily available.  What I reveal below indicates that a full actuarial accounting of costs in every state is necessary both before and after marijuana with THC content is normalized.  Below, a few major line items of spending affected by marijuana abuse are estimated.  The very large mismatch between tax revenues and marijuana-driven costs is stunning.

Colorado saw a 66% rise in cannibis-related traffic deaths between 2013 and 2016.  In 2017, 123 fatalities involved marijuana users, costing the state, insurance companies, and families untold millions of dollars.   A highlighted 2017 CDOT survey found that 55% of marijuana users surveyed drove a vehicle within two hours of smoking pot, with only 32% believing they were “safe to drive”.   With marijuana impacting judgement, motor skills, and coordination for at least 24 hours after ingestion, we know there is a lot of economic damage to businesses, citizens, and state.

Similar to other urban cores in states that normalized marijuana, homelessness is an unplanned and very costly disaster the Denver is struggling with. Chronic homelessness in Denver is at a 10-year high in 2017.   So, the city of Denver hit taxpayers with an extra “420 weed tax” on top of the existing 20% marijuana tax to build a 3,000 apartment, modern-day Pruitt-Igoe high rise plantation.  This project is guaranteed to fail in a sea of crime and drug abuse.  Colorado is also co-opting public facilities including prisons for conversion to free housing.  Durango, a resort town, is besot with stoned vagrants and rising panhandling, homelessness, and crime problems.

Street bums from Texas and other states are arriving in droves for this free lunch.

Colorado’s state-run drug cartel rationalizes repeating past failures by claiming it is cheaper to provide free housing and perks than it is to leave drug addicts on the streets.  It would be much cheaper to shut down the drug cartel and focus state resources on discouraging marijuana use.

Policing the Marijuana State is impossible. The “litany of conflicts created by [the paradigm shift of] legal marijuana” have made policing and enforcement expensive, laborious, and difficult.  Police can no longer search a car based on the smell of pot – which previously established probable cause.  There is no good way to easily test for marijuana DUI.  The time and cost of dragging people to the hospital is steep.

The Marijuana State is habitually lawless.  Marijuana users openly flout public use restrictions, creating an otherworldly fog of pollution at public events, and a safety hazard for children and drivers in the vicinity.  Cities that opted out of allowing marijuana sales are inundated with pot coming in from other areas without having any tax revenue to offset costs.

The marijuana “grey market” is a significant problem.  To compete with cartels, legal growers illegally divert some of their product to out-of-state exports, creating significant interdiction, enforcement problems and expense for both Colorado and other states.  An “obscene amount of money” both legal and illegal is being made by people “intoxicated” by the monies.

Violent crime increased by 40% in Denver since “medical marijuana” was “legalized”.   2017 was tied for Denver’s deadliest year in a decade – with the state covering up drug abuse that is driving the violence.   Colorado’s crime rate grew at a rate 11 times higher than that reported by the nation’s 30 largest citiesViolent juvenile crime was up 11% between 2013 and 2015.  Taxpayers are being silently soaked for the costs by a state pretending to be unware of the reason why it is happening.

Facts Revealed by the Colorado Budget:  Colorado’s budget reveals what is really happening in Colorado.  The state is running off with the tax monies and doing nothing to help cities under economic siege from drug abuse.

The puny $500,000 the state spent encouraging citizens to not drive stoned is not effective (p. 199).   Accordingly, Colorado enacted a new DUI statute making 3 or more DUI convictions a class-4 felony at a cost of about $10-million annually (p. 235).

Spending on public schools was up 2.9%, at $5.34-billion, but spending dealing with marijuana-using or troubled children is not itemized.  However, we can surmise what troubled children in schools might cost.  If only ½% of public school spending is driven by marijuana-related problems, it would add up to $26.7 million.
Colorado spent over $2-billion on prisons, $426 million on corrections, $5.8 billion on education, $9.1 billion on Health Care, $1.9 billion on HHS (+1.1%)  in 2016.  The costs for early childhood intervention and Community-based behavioral health programs for substance abuse disorder (SUD) and mental health grew by over 50% — $30-million – in FY 2016-17.    Spending for halfway houses increased 19.5% between 2012 and 2018 (p. 171).  Foster care programs rose $3.1% (p. 281).

About 80% of Colorado’s Child Welfare budget of $473.4-million (p. 318) is borne by the state.  If only 15% of child welfare monies are propelled by marijuana abuse, the state would be spending $71 million on marijuana abuse — negating 28% of Colorado’s  $247.3 million in marijuana tax receipts on this line item alone.  When we add in all the other costs of marijuana normalization, it is clear the marijuana is driving unsustainable deficit spending.

The State of Colorado is covering up impact of marijuana use on public health in favor of selling more marijuana.  Only $7-million was spent on substance abuse programs, and the medical marijuana fund had insufficient funds to meet objectives (p. 162).  34 times more money was spent on marijuana-positive health research than on suicide prevention.

Despite the known significant impact of marijuana on mental health, the State of Colorado is spending a pittance of $259.6-million (p. 324) on mental health services.  In fact, they are taking $500,000 out of the mental health budget and putting it into a “Marijuana Tax Cash Fund Adjustment” that provides services only to individuals in Arkansas County (p. 326).   The rest of the state gets nothing.

There is no budget to deal with or mitigate marijuana abuse by Veterans, those disabled because of marijuana abuse, or adult assistance programs.  A pittance of about $3-million is allocated for jail-based behavioral services (p.333).

Despite a roaring economy, a 9.5% increase in Unemployment Insurance was funded.  (p. 363).

Despite significant increases in illegal grows and importation of foreign cartel pot, funding for marijuana prosecutions was decreased. (p. 379).  Legal services prosecuting environmental crimes grew only 2.7%, despite a big increase in environmental damage from illegal grows (p. 379).

There was some shadow legislation apparently allowing hidden interests by investors both in and out of state in marijuana businesses. (p. 383).

It is evident that Colorado is covering up what marijuana is doing to the state:

  • There is no funding for cleanup of illegal marijuana grows in the Department of Natural Resources or Water Resources budget.
  • Department of Public Health and Environment shows a risibly tiny increase of $24,058 for substance abuse treatment paid from the Marijuana Tax Fund ( 439).
  • There is plenty of funding for a “Medical Marijuana Card” registry that is no longer needed since Colorado legalized recreational marijuana in 2012 ( 440).
  • A tiny sum of $238,000 is allocated to monitor health effects of marijuana and collect data at the county level ( 440).
  • There is no funding for hazardous waste or waste cleanup from illegal grows
  • A tiny sum of $343,622 was allocated for grant study of health effects of retail marijuana ( 451).
  • Chronic Disease Prevention program covers tobacco-related health problems but not one penny for the same or worse problem caused by marijuana ( 453).
  • Some monies from the Marijuana Tax Fund were transferred to handle women’s and children’s health, injury, and suicide prevention but nothing specifically allocated to marijuana related probleMS ( 453).
  • Monies from Colorado’s Tobacco settlement tax fund are used for many things, but none of these monies are applied towards marijuana-related problems. This is outrageous in light of the fact that tobacco companies are the biggest political sponsors of marijuana normalization.

Spending on public health and environment increased 4.8% over 2015 – a $25,762-million increase.   It is doubtful that this increase covers the costs of the environmental cleanups that may affect up to 10% of Colorado homes, which are often operated by foreign cartels in plain sight.

Colorado’s enforcement budget that increased 40% in the past six years without putting a dent in the “giant, cartel-driven grows”.

Colorado’s Legalized Marijuana Cost-Benefit Analysis Interim Study Committee did not report any costs or benefits.  It reported problems and sought more funds for continued “study”.

The amount of marijuana sold in Colorado is tremendous.  There are 491 marijuana stores, but only 392 Starbucks and 208 McDonalds restaurants, in spite of the fact that many towns do not allow sales of marijuana.

The Colorado initiative that legalized marijuana by Constitutional legalized marijuana by Constitutional amendment has made it difficult for the state to mitigate problems or improve policies.  The State of Colorado is now a Constitutional drug cartel.  Constitutional litigation proving harm to the public is the only method I see to return the state to control of the citizens.

The bottom line:  Where Colorado marijuana taxes generated only $247.3  million in 2017, there is no question that marijuana is massive money loser in Colorado.  The comparatively small amount of tax revenue made by the state pales in comparison with the sums of money that growers, stores, gray-market sales, and cartel sales generate.   The focus on how the state struggles and fails with the anachronism of marijuana legalization distracts from the piles of dirty money going to the industry itself, while corrupting legal and the political systems to continue the lie that marijuana legalization is a boon to citizens, economy, and state.

  • Chicago, Illinois: Gang wars fueled by marijuana legalization

In 2106, a wise Bloomberg columnist warned that marijuana litigation would ignite drug cartel wars in Chicago, not end the war on drugs (which is the pot lobby’s phony sales pitch).  Two years later, Chicago if becoming a dystopian killing field of unsolved violence.  Despite record numbers of police on duty, guerilla-like shootings and killings are at record levels.  Legalization increased demand for cheap cartel pot, and cartels are battling for millions.  Losing $10-million worth of pot in a bust is small potatoes in a city the size of Chicago.   The impact to kids is tremendous.  Fear and distraction of violence has reduce test scores by 10% according to John Hopkins University.   The downstream costs of so many children failing to integrate into the workforce, but instead end up in the underground economy of crime and welfare, will make it increasingly difficult for Illinois and Chicago to avoid insolvency in the future.

  • Saint Louis: A troubled city cannot afford marijuana legalization

Despite marijuana being illegal in Missouri, Saint Louis consistently has one of the highest violent crime rates – about 5 times the national norm in the United States — because Interstate 44 is a drug transit hub between Mexico, Chicago, and the Eastern United States.   Marijuana is a major factor, driving both gang violence and corner dealer turf wars.  Marijuana was a central factor in the Michael Brown Ferguson shooting.  Brown was a well-known pot hustler trying to make a deal at the store he visited just before his altercation with Officer Darren Wilson.

If enacted, Missouri marijuana normalization ballot initiatives this fall will drive already record crime rates and fiscal problems to new records.  Why?  The underground market will have a significant pricing advantage.  Cartels and politicos will get rich while St. Louis and Kansas City are socked with costs for expanding crime, violence, homelessness, disaffected youth, while more businesses and economically-mobile citizens flee the City.

  • Oregon

Oregon businesses cannot find enough employees who can pass drug tests for safety-related positions.

The U.S. Attorney in Oregon declared that marijuana production is “out of control”. 

“The industry’s considerable and negative impacts on land use, water, and underage consumption must be addressed immediately” …. “What is often lost in this discussion is the link between marijuana and serious, interstate criminal activity.”

As in California and Colorado, we see Oregon consistently devoting resources towards maximizing marijuana profits while ignoring problems that can be pawned off on local jurisdictions.

  • Washington, D.C.

In 2016, Washington D.C. had the highest homelessness rate in the nation, doubling between 2009 and 2016, despite spending $100-million on affordable housing.  Washington D.C. also reeks of weed, everywhere, all the time, during the summer and residents do not even care.  It is an unrestricted free for all.  This is what we expect from well-to-do Adminstrative branch elites and their ultra-poor political beneficiaries sharing the same swamp land.

  • Washington State

In Washington state, marijuana taxes brought in only $388-million.   Homelessness in Washington exploded after marijuana normalization, with 11,643 homeless in Seattle alone, costing $68-million annually.

Homelessness in Seattle grew by 44% between 2015 and 2017 on the heels of recreational marijuana being legalized in November, 2012.   Fatal car accidents involving stoned drivers doubled after marijuana normalization.

Public use of marijuana is illegal, but that

Despite city revenues growing from $2.8 billion in 2010 to $4.2 billion in 2017 (without a significant population increase), the City of Seattle planned to impose a $500 homelessness head tax on every employee in companies with more than $20-million in revenue.  An enraged Amazon threatened to cancel its new headquarters, so the City passed a reduced a $275 head tax.  Starbucks and Amazon are questioning their commitments and may leave in the future.

The bottom line:

Business proposals and public policies by definition always contain a bottom line accounting of costs and estimated profit.   When costs are exorcised from a proposal, the idea is categorically invalid.   Such is the surreal notion of marijuana normalization.

We cannot fix imaginary problems by creating a bottomless pit of real problems.  We cannot fix substance abuse or stop foreign cartels by converting drug abuse into a formal state enterprise.  We cannot possibly estimate the cost of converting the United States into its own foreign drug cartel.

President Trump’s emphasis on prosecuting drug crimes is as important as ever, but it is only half the well-worn answer we have pursued for decades.  We have never implemented the most obvious and effective policy that will stop drug abuse — and the one that could have saved his brother.

The little people are sick and tired of living in dangerous neighborhoods.  Substance abuse is the primary factor driving destruction of family, social safety, church, state, and ultimately, the Nation.

The nuclear family has been the cornerstone of social stability and economic success of every successful nation in history.  Therefore, the most important policy we can pursue today is to empower responsible little people in every family from Venice Beach to the Bronx to drive substance abuse problems out of their neighborhoods, one family at a time.   Citizens cannot beat the drug revolution unless they have the weapons to protect their families.  The alternative is to do nothing and passively let the radical Sixth Phase of the Progressive Plantation seize control, one state at a time.

The time to “just say no” to drugs is behind us.  We must say “Hell No” by giving every American a policy weapon they can use to stand their ground and defend their family and Nation from the Sixth Plantation.

David R. Usher is President of the Center for Marriage Policy

© 2018