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The argument for legalizing and taxing marijuana

By   /   March 5, 2013  /   No Comments

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA: Three pieces of legislation in the current 60-day session in Santa Fe deal with the effects of legalizing marijuana or reducing penalties for possession.

LEGALIZING MARIJUANA: Three pieces of legislation in the current 60-day session in Santa Fe deal with the effects of legalizing marijuana or reducing penalties for possession.

To legalize or not?

That’s a question New Mexico (and so many other states in the nation) ponders in the wake of Washington state and Colorado recently decriminalizing marijuana.

In the current 60-day legislative session in Santa Fe, there is one bill looking to greatly reduce penalties for pot possession and two memorials in the Senate looking to study the economic and budgetary effects of decriminalizing marijuana.

Proponents of legalization say it will free up law enforcement to tackle violent crimes and libertarians say that what people put in their bodies should be their own choice.

Critics say the economic and law enforcement benefits of decriminalization are overhyped (click here to see former state Rep. Dennis Kintigh make his argument).

Late last week, Jeffrey Miron of Harvard University’s department of economics and a senior fellow at the Cato Institute was in Santa Fe, arguing the economic benefit he sees with taxing and regulating marijuana.

We talked to him outside the Roundhouse. The interview runs 4 minutes:

Miron was the guest of the Rio Grande Foundation and the Drug Policy Alliance.

Full disclosure: New Mexico Watchdog used to be fully funded by the Rio Grande Foundation but is now funded by the Franklin Center for Government and Public Integrity.



Rob is the National Energy Correspondent for Watchdog.org. Rob is an Emmy-winning news anchor who has held many prominent positions in the journalism field for over 10 years working for MSNBC, Fox Sports Net Pittsburgh and several local television stations. He served as the bureau chief for New Mexico Watchdog and Capitol Report New Mexico for four years. Rob can be reached on Twitter at @NMWatchdog or by email at rnikolewski@watchdog.org

  • http://www.jackherer.com/thebook/ Harry Haymuss

    The continued ignorance of those who seek to continue the latest prohibition, that of marijuana which is legal in most of the world but is not in the US because of Hearst and Mellon et al illuminates the puppets in our society. Hopefully the realization of how much they (not to mention the prescription drug industry) have contributed to Global Warming by refusing to allow the sustainable energy production of hemp, at least, will pile on that lack of good will they exhibit in their continued efforts to continue their exhaustion of Earth’s resources. Education is the Key. Yes, this means you.

  • http://www.jamcclure.com James A. McClure

    Legalizing marijuana obviously raises some thorny issues of public safety. However, the production and sale of marijuana may be the only private industry that is actually thriving in New Mexico. There’s a case to be made that legalizing, regulating and taxing marijuana will be an economic asset.

  • Tom M.

    Opening the door to legal marijuana depends on a way to catch and prosecute those who operate machinery and vehicles while under the influence of the drug. Alcohol is probably more dangerous, but two wrongs don’t make it right. Pot can have its inebriating effect with one puff in some cases. Operators of machines have no business drinking or smoking while posing a risk to others.