The River

Friday, July 10, 2009

California should pay its people in pot

By ‘Thomas Paine’
Online Journal Guest Writer

Jul 10, 2009, 00:21

California’s state finances have gone to pot, and that’s what it should use to pay its employees.

Right now the state is issuing IOUs to those who work for it. Sacramento says they are worth the paper they’re printed on, but most Californians know that’s true only if they are used to roll joints.

The state’s key available assets are in its farms and fields. . . . and in its prisons and legal system.

Medical marijuana is legal in California. Estimates put last year’s traffic in prescription-approved pot at around a billion dollars. If the state were properly organized to tax that and non-medical marijuana -- whose dollar volume is many times greater -- it might actually have enough money to pay its employees.

By legalizing marijuana, California could immediately free tens of thousands of prisoners at a savings of tens of millions of dollars. Those quick savings could be a down payment on the salaries of its employees (and cover the unemployment benefits that will be due prison builders and guards who will be laid off).

But they, in turn, could go to work GROWING marijuana. With its huge agricultural resources, California could immediately become the world hub of the legal marijuana trade. (Mendocino and other counties are already vying for this title).


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