Pot legalization tax revenue won’t offset cost to government William Bennett co-author tells fresh water advocate

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Bio-Logic Aqua® Research founder and radio host Sharon Kleyne interviews Robert White, co-author of “Going to Pot: How the rush to legalize marijuana is harming America” on marijuana’s social cost.

A frequent argument in support of the current marijuana legalization movement is that legalization would increase tax revenue to local and state governments. According to author Robert A. White, speaking on the Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio show, the assertion is correct. What legalization advocates fail to mention, White asserts, is the many additional expenses to government that would accompany legalization.    

Robert A. White is co-author, with former government war-on-drugs director William Bennett, of the book “Going to Pot: Why the rush to legalize marijuana is harming America,” (Center Street, February, 3015). White is an attorney in Washington DC.

Kleyne interviewed White on the Sharon Kleyne Hour™ Power of Water® radio show of February 16, 2015. For podcasts of that and other past shows, go to http://www.voiceamerica.com/show/2207/the-sharon-kleyne-hour.

The syndicated radio show, hosted by Sharon Kleyne, is heard weekly on VoiceAmerica and Apple iTunes. The education oriented show is sponsored by Bio-Logic Aqua® Research, a global research and technology center founded by Kleyne and specializing in fresh water, the atmosphere and dehydration. Nature’s Mist® Face of the Water® is the Research Center’s signature product for dry and dehydrated skin and eyes.

Legalizing marijuana, according to White, will result in an increase in the medical cost of treating the many health effects of habitual marijuana use and the resulting dehydration. Many of these costs will be paid by government. Expenses also include law enforcement, drug treatment and above all, the cost to society of lost productivity.

Habitual marijuana use, White believes, makes people lethargic and unmotivated. Also, says White, a child who begins smoking marijuana once a week or more in their teens will lose an average of eight IQ points before reaching full maturity.

The medical and social cost of marijuana use, according to Kleyne, may or may not increase as a result of legalization. In either case, these expenses will likely far exceed any revenue increase from taxes. With legalized alcohol, according to White, government tax income is about one tenth the amount of government expenditures on alcohol related crime, auto accidents, associated medical problems and treatment programs. White believes the ratio for legalized marijuana will be similar

Government and society already bear some of the medical and social cost of marijuana use, Kleyne observes. The cost of enforcing the new tax laws, Kleyne suggests, will probably be less than the current cost of arresting and prosecuting people who grow, deal in or possess marijuana.

In some rural counties in northern California and southern Oregon, Kleyne adds, marijuana is already the number one agricultural crop. Legalization would increase production and greatly reduce (but not eliminate) the cost of law enforcement. Medical and social costs would be largely displaced to areas where use is greatest.

One medical problem associated with marijuana smoking that concerns Kleyne is dehydration. According to Kleyne, marijuana is more physically dehydrating to the body than alcohol. Kleyne’s advice for marijuana users – drink a glass or water for each joint smoked.

Ninety-percent of the United States population, Kleyne estimates is moderately to severely dehydrated to begin with and marijuana smoking makes it much worse. Chronic dehydration can cause temporary memory loss, lack of ability to focus, fatigue, cardiac symptoms, constipation, digestive problems, dry mouth malnutrition and tooth decay. Dehydration weakens the body’s immune system and impairs its ability to detoxify harmful substances that enter the body.

Both White and Kleyne praised the statement of California Governor Jerry Brown on marijuana legalization:

"How many people can get stoned and still have a great state or a great nation? The world's pretty dangerous, very competitive. I think we need to stay alert, if not 24 hours a day, more than some of the potheads might be able to put together."*

Fuller, J, “Gov. Jerry Brown on legalized marijuana: How many people can be stoned and still have a great state?” Washington Post, March 2, 2014 http://www.washingtonpost.com/blogs/post-politics/wp/2014/03/02/gov-jerry-brown-on-legalized-marijuana-how-many-people-can-get-stoned-and-still-have-a-great-state.

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