Voices of Alaska: Tax money does not redeem marijuana’s costs

  • By Stan Welles
  • Monday, July 10, 2017 11:45am
  • Opinion

Tax money does not redeem marijuana’s costs

Have you seen the caption, “Marijuana Taxes Top $1 Million”? I’ve seen it in two or three newspapers including our July 4th Clarion. What a tragedy to mark our Day of Independence!

Why is it that we are so unwilling to ‘Connect the Dots’ and not ‘count-the-cost’ of or choices? “Marijuana Taxes Top $1 Million” as if to say that the State and Boroughs are making money from Marijuana; What complete and udder nonsense!

Move down the trail five to ten years. Who do you think will pay (1) for the millions of dollars in productivity losses, (2) the millions of dollars in traffic crash costs, (3) the millions of dollars in criminal justice and protective services, (4) the millions of dollars in health care costs and (5) the millions of dollars in public assistance and social services costs?

What magnitude of costs are we looking at? The Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse, through the Alaska Department of Health and Social Services, contracted with the McDowell Group to update prior studies on the economic costs of alcohol and drug abuse in Alaska.

The current analysis was prepared in 2012 based on the 2010 census for the Alaska Mental Health Board and the Advisory Board on Alcoholism and Drug Abuse. The bottom line was that for every dollar received, the cost was ten dollars. So, when you read that a million dollars of pot money has been received, count on spending at least ten million dollars in costs! And that is conservative! 2012 was before we, stupidly, legalized marijuana! Those costs don’t even take into account the lost lives and destroyed families. I don’t know about you, but we have already lost a family member due to being rear-ended by a doped-up driver.

Stan Welles

Sterling

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