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

More in Opinion

Anselm Staack (Courtesy Photo)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s fiscally irresponsible and deceptive plan

Constitutions are about broad policy objectives and legal boundaries — not about the day-to-day.

New direction for the Tongass will help grow businesses, a sustainable economy

Now is the time to chart a new course for Southeast’s future.

Alaska Chief Medical Officer Anne Zink promotes getting immunized with the flu shot this winter. (Photo courtesy Alaska Department of Health and Social Services)
Immunize when you winterize

An annual flu shot plus the COVID-19 vaccine protects Alaskans and our health care system, too.

(Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Dunleavy’s first act as governor was unconstitutional

That’s according to a ruling by Senior U.S. District Judge John Sedwick.

This Aug. 3, 2021, photo shows Juneau International Airport.  The Federal Aviation Administration shared recommendations on Thursday for improving aviation safety in the state. (Michael S. Lockett / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: How the FAA will improve the margin of aviation safety in Alaska

Alaska depends on aviation more than any other state…

Central Peninsula Hospital is seen in Soldotna on Wednesday, Oct. 13, 2021. (Camille Botello/Peninsula Clarion)
Voices of the Peninsula: Perspective of an educator in a ‘high-risk’ group, part 2

During some of the darkest days of my time in ICU, it was obvious where we all live is a special place.

Lawmakers havereturned to the Alaska State Capitol for a fourth special session. (Peter Segall / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion: Revenues should be determined before more PFD spending

The governor believes the dividend drives the entire calculation. Sadly, he has it backwards

Ronnie Leach. (Photo provided)
Point of View: For Domestic Violence Awareness Month, #weareresilient

At the onset of COVID-19, we expanded our services in a way to ensure COVID-19 consciousness.

Rep. Don Young talks during a June 2021 interview with the Empire. (Ben Hohenstatt / Juneau Empire File)
Opinion:Where’s Don Young when America needs him?

Once upon a time, avoiding political controversy was completely out of character for Young.

Peter Zuyus
Voices of the Peninsula: Seniors appreciate vaccination efforts

To those who have worked to encourage vaccination we say: Be proud, you are, in fact, saving lives.

Jackson Blackwell (courtesy photo)
Voices of the Peninsula: Carbon dividends are the bipartisan climate solution

By levying a gradually increasing price on carbon, U.S. emissions will be slashed by 50% in 15 years.

Gov. Mike Dunleavy holds a press conference at the Capitol on Tuesday, April 9, 2019. (Juneau Empire file photo)
Dunleavy: Facts Matter

Political opportunists care more about spreading political untruths than accepting the facts.