Archive for the ‘War on Drugs’ Category

The Slippery Tax Slope

January 29, 2014

Hawaii House Majority Floor Leader Rida Cabanilla wants to legalize cultivation of marijuana in her state for sale and export to foreign jurisdictions where usage is lawful. Admitting that she is not a fan of marijuana, Cabanilla is nonetheless very eager to get her hands on possible revenues and wants federal laws changed to allow Hawaii to rake in the dough.

This is the fuel feeding the frenzy to legalize marijuana. It is not Hippies and stoners chasing a dream and it is not the need for medicinal use. It is the quest for more taxes to pay for runaway spending and ever-increasing government assistance. Dollar signs are trumping warning signs and politicians are jumping on the pot bandwagon.

Statistics have been cherry-picked and data creatively interpreted to show benefits ($$$) of legalization while predictions of negative consequences have been ignored or sneeringly belittled. Sound familiar? It should, because the exact same thing was done with Obamacare and, once again, it will be the children who end up paying.

Why stop at marijuana? There are more taxes waiting to be mined by legalizing cocaine, heroin, prostitution, street drag racing, dog fighting, human trafficking and a host of other activities. Simply dropping the age requirement on the purchase and consumption of alcohol could bring a large increase in tax revenue.

Many sneer at the mention of a slippery slope but it occurs all the time. Abortion became legal only to help women with special circumstances and is now claimed to be a “right”. Free needles for drug users slid down the slope to free crack pipes. Demands for civil unions for gay couples slid quickly into re-defining the institution of marriage. The list is long and varied.

When taxes from marijuana become the government’s main source of revenue, everyone will be expected to smoke their “fair share” to fund the drug rehabs high school seniors will be required to complete before graduating – if they make it that far. Here’s a tip: Buy stock in Frito-Lay now, and make sure you sell it before the government taxes their products out of reach for the common man. It’s a sure thing.

David J. Hentosh

Finally, a Real War on Drugs

January 9, 2014

Vermont Governor Peter Shumlin (D) focused his State of the State Address on the Heroin crisis in his state and, by doing so, showed he is one of the few politicians understanding the epidemic use of heroin (and other opiates) occurring in the country. He may be ridiculed by some for doing so, but he is dead right addressing the rising drug mortality rate.

In Bucks County, there were 136 drug-related deaths in 2013 (2.6 each week) and half of those were people under the age of 34. If you add in the three surrounding counties (Montgomery, Delaware, Philadelphia), the total is over 14 deaths from drugs each week. If that many deaths were occurring because of tainted meat, a chemical spill, or gang violence, it would be the leading news story across the nation each night.

Governor Shumlin made drug deaths a leading news story because in Vermont last year, the number of deaths from drugs doubled from the previous year. Shumlin presented the statistics well and made sure all understood the escalating economic impact. That will hit hard-hearted politicians where it hurts most, the wallet, and possibly spark interest.

Drug use and drug deaths are occurring all around us and most just turn their heads. Governor Shumlin deserves credit for refusing to do so. He presented sensible ideas on how to address the problem and showed an inclination to listen to new ideas. He laid out a battle plan for the lost and forgotten war on drugs that just may make a difference. Legalizing marijuana certainly won’t.

Perhaps the nation will listen. If not, it’s a good bet that the drug mortality rate will continue to increase until a more influential politician experiences it firsthand. It always happens to someone else – until it happens to you. Then, unfortunately,  it becomes all too real and too late to act.

David J. Hentosh