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Chelsea Green Blog

As Economy Worsens, Pot-ential Revenue Stream Goes Up in Smoke

A massive economic crisis. Federal and state governments looking everywhere for potential sources of revenue, slashing already underfunded and much-needed public programs. Meanwhile, millions of Americans partake of an illicit—but mostly benign—drug while law enforcement spends billions in taxpayer dollars in arrests, organized crime flourishes, and the peddlers laugh all the way to the bank. Sound familiar? (Think 1920–1933.)

From Alternet:

It looks like the pot debate just got real. As the nation faces its worst economic crisis in generations, California Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced a trailblazing bill to tax and regulate marijuana like alcohol. Hard on the heels of Michael Phelps’ nationally-resonant bong demo, Ammiano’s gesture is a whole lot more intentional. One hopes it will stir the long-overdue national examination of the financial and human price that we pay for criminalizing pot.

The most widely used illicit drug in the western world, marijuana is a fact of life that’s been sampled by upwards of 100,000,000 Americans. Officially prohibited since 1937, we finally seem on the threshold of a promising moment in our nation’s tortured relationship to the drug. On November 4 alone, Massachusetts decriminalized personal pot use, Michigan became the thirteenth state to allow its medical use, and we elected a president who’s openly admitted to smoking it. National polls and the yawn that greeted the Phelps media frenzy indicate that Americans are reconciled to pot’s largely benign role in our culture.

Nevertheless, the mindless prohibition enforcement machine rolls on. In 2007, over 800,000 Americans were arrested for marijuana-related crimes (nearly 90 percent of them for possession), with upwards of 85,000 of them serving sentences in jail or prison. In the U.S., incredibly there are more arrests for marijuana possession each year than for all violent crimes combined. This astounding human toll from enforcing the ban on marijuana costs taxpayers roughly $8 billion each year. And those wasted resources are further compounded by the total capitulation of the massive pot market to an underground economy to gangsters who laugh all the way to the bank.

Amidst a national economic meltdown, California’s budget turmoil is the worst in the nation. After an excruciating three-month deadlock, the dysfunctional Sacramento legislature closed a $42 billion deficit by slashing aid to the most vulnerable in the state, raising a host of taxes and fees, and kicking the can down the road with billions more in borrowing. Meanwhile, California’s largest cash crop was studiously avoided in the frenzied search for politically-viable revenue sources. California’s marijuana yield is conservatively valued at $13.8 billion annually – nearly double the value of the state’s vegetable and grape crops combined.

Read the whole article here.


4 Books for Growing Food in Winter

Don’t let cold weather stop you from producing and enjoying your own food. For many, the coming of winter simply means cultivation moves indoors or under cover. Small farmers, homesteaders, home gardeners, and commercial growers can extend the growing season with techniques outlined in these essential books. There’s no need for urbanites and small-space dwellers […] Read More

Is My Broth (or Stock) Bad?

Are you planning to start the GAPS diet or any other diet aimed at boosting gut health this year? If so, chances are that stocks and broths are critical components. Even if you’re not changing the way you eat, but you often have pots of aromatic goodness bubbling on your stove, you may have wondered, […] Read More

A Simple Way to Grow Fresh Greens Indoors This Winter

Just because the temperatures have started to drop doesn’t mean you have to live without fresh greens until Spring. Author and gardener Peter Burke’s innovative method of growing soil sprouts indoors can help you grow nutrient-dense greens all year long at a fraction of the cost of buying at market. Burke’s book, Year-Round Indoor Salad Gardening, is […] Read More

Recipe: Medlar Cream Cake

If you’re looking for a simple cake to serve guests, try this medlar cream cake. What’s a medlar? The fruit of the medlar tree, Mespilus germanica, tastes like lightly spiced apple butter scooped soft right out of the russeted skin. The Occidental Arts and Ecology Center in California has a small but significant collection of […] Read More

Chelsea Green: In the Media 2016

Oh, 2016. Where did the time go? Each year, Chelsea Green receives hundreds of mentions (well over 1000 in 2016) in the media both big and small. From interviews, to excerpts, to opinion pieces by authors we’re always working to make sure that the mission and message of each book is spread far and wide. […] Read More
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