Legalizing Medical Marijuana, and the Power of Tax (in Debates)

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 12:58 PM EDT

I might be reaching a little bit to call this a "debate", but I'm curious as to what folks think of this:

(I know it is a HuffPost -- generally very liberal -- article, but considering it is pretty much entirely critical of the Obama/Fed administration, and even a Rolling Stone -- traditionally VERY liberal -- quote agrees in the text, I figured it was pretty balanced, overall...)

Of main concern to me was this blurb from the article:

The IRS has joined in the attack, invoking an arcane tax code provision originally intended to stymie druglords. That law, known as IRS Code Section 280E, is an uncontroversial measure aimed at preventing criminals from deducting the costs of their illicit activities from their taxable income. But the IRS has interpreted it to apply to medical marijuana dispensaries in such a way that they can no longer deduct the cost of salaries, rent, inventory and other operating expenses. Few brick-and-mortar businesses are able to survive under those terms, as taxes end up being substantially larger than profits.

From my end:

-- Boo on the Feds, and boo on the Obama administration. Just boo.
-- Never even considered "taxation without legalization" because I had no idea the IRS could tax something that they knew about, that was state-legal, yet they could consider it ILLEGAL enough to disallow tax deductions.
-- This is what I meant on the individual mandate (new health care bill) discussion several weeks back: the gov't can do a LOT more via gross taxation (active) than mandating someone not lack something (passive).

Let's just put it this way: if this kind of stuff with state-legal medical marijuana is going on, we've got a LOT more to worry about in our Federal gov't (in my opinion) than the individual mandate. And the supposedly liberal, socialist Obama certainly appears to be part of the federal problem.

And did I mention: "boo"?

Lord Bob April 18 2012 1:12 PM EDT

Obama has been absolutely horrible on this. Horrible. I really hope someone hits him hard on this during the campaign. I'll still be voting for him though, because what am I going to do, vote Romney?

And forget medical marijuana. Legalize it across the board! This is coming from a guy who has no interest in smoking it himself. I just support anyone elses' right to do it if they choose.

Lord Bob April 18 2012 1:15 PM EDT

I really hope someone hits him hard on this during the campaign.
I should note that this is exactly the reason why I supported Ron Paul in the Republican primary, and voted for him.

AdminTitan [The Sky Forge] April 18 2012 1:19 PM EDT

Yeah, Marijuana should be legal. I would guess you'll have a hard time finding someone to argue against you on CB.

QBRanger April 18 2012 1:25 PM EDT

I support Mary Jane being legalized. Unlike the harder drugs such as PCP or Cocaine, it does have medical usage.

The problem most people have it that they believe, likely rightfully, that it is a gateway drug.

In addition, we have tons of people in jail due to marijuana possession/usage. That is stupid.

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 1:26 PM EDT

I agree about Ron Paul in this topic -- pure Libertarianism works for me when it comes to things like legalizing drugs.

Now, if only RP weren't such a crackpot otherwise... *smile*

I think what is most disappointing about Obama in all this is that I don't get it from a consistency/re-election standpoint -- what does he hope to gain? Hell, Fox News probably won't even report on this story because it is about some whiny crippled hippie who wants to toke up and teach others how to do so. Does Obama think he is winning votes from someone? Who?

The far Left = Probably aren't going to dig this at all, and even if they do, they were already in Obama's camp, anyway.

The far Right = Like I said, they probably don't even know about this. If they did hear about it and support it, attribution bias would put it firmly in the mindset of: "So? He did one thing right the way it should be done. Still hate his guts!"

The Middle = I don't think this will hold any net sway either way. When it comes to this issue, I think people tend to think in a fairly polarized fashion. So, see my comments above. Even with independents, they are probably either OK with medical marijuana (and so would be dismayed by this), or they just think this is the way things are done (and so don't really shift much). End result? Some lost votes, some gained votes for an even wash.

What is your point in doing/allowing this, President Obama, especially when you stated you were OK with medical marijuana in years back?

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 1:30 PM EDT

Yeah, Marijuana should be legal. I would guess you'll have a hard time finding someone to argue against you on CB.

Titan, I didn't figure I'd get much debate on that particular point, was more interested in the shadiness of the Federal stance on this -- that opened my eyes more than anything, especially the IRS tax policy portion.

I wouldn't even say I was that disappointed in having Obama taken to task for it in the article (except for the head-scratching consistency issues I mention in the post above). When it comes to a lot of these somewhat ancillary things, Obama has been a disappointment to me: rampant TSA abuses, copyright issues, patent issues... Nothing has really changed in any of these areas -- it's been all status quo if not growing worse. I guess he didn't have time to "pivot" to them yet...

Lord Bob April 18 2012 1:36 PM EDT

What is your point in doing/allowing this, President Obama, especially when you stated you were OK with medical marijuana in years back?
You know, the worst thing is how dismissive he has been on this issue. Such responses as "the answer is no" show that he has no real argument to support his behaviour and has no interest in having a discussion on the topic.

Ron Paul would have forced him to have a discussion on it, which is why I wanted him to win the nomination in order to pull Obama toward the Left (well, kind of..) on this one issue.

QBRanger April 18 2012 1:40 PM EDT

-- Never even considered "taxation without legalization" because I had no idea the IRS could tax something that they knew about, that was state-legal, yet they could consider it ILLEGAL enough to disallow tax deductions.

Even though individual states have legalized medical marijuana, the federal government still has it on the books as illegal and the federal law supersedes state law on this issue.

It is the same issue as to why the feds are suing Arizona on their immigration law. Federal law trumps state law.

So the IRS is just doing the job the federal government is telling them to.

Now if any president wants to try to legalize Mary J, s/he can try but I bet it will be a political loser overall.

QBRanger April 18 2012 1:42 PM EDT

What is your point in doing/allowing this, President Obama, especially when you stated you were OK with medical marijuana in years back?

As we all know, what one says on the campaign trail and what one sees as reality when one enters the oval office can be completely different.

Things like Guantanamo Bay come to mind. Politically it is a losing proposition.

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 1:56 PM EDT

Yeah, that Fed/State issue is pretty screwed up -- another reason that taxation at the Federal level worries me more than individual mandate stuff. Still, power is power, it's all pretty scary.

You are right about it being a losing proposition to try to legalize pot across the board, but when 60-70% of those polled are OK with medical marijuana, and the states have already defined what that is at their own legislative levels, what is the problem? At the very least, I would consider it as much a political minefield, and Obama got ELECTED saying he was for it.

So there really is no excuse for it. Not like the Pres can just wave a magic wand and make it happen, but if he ever says it is just too politically touchy (not that he has), then he would be a flat out liar based on what I've read...

QBRanger April 18 2012 2:01 PM EDT

As much as I dislike our sitting president, every candidate who becomes president makes promises they know they cannot keep.

Obama is no different then every other politician. Some ways better others worse.

Sickone April 18 2012 2:30 PM EDT

The end result will be that medical marijuana use will drop but prices will rise until the new costs are met, while at the same time "street marijuana" prices will ALSO rise proportionally to the increase in price of legal versions. Whether this will result in a net tax volume increase or decrease is debatable, could go either way.
End result ? Illegal marijuana dealing just got a truckload more lucrative. Good job, guys ! /le sarcasm

Lord Bob April 18 2012 2:36 PM EDT

Illegal marijuana dealing just got a truckload more lucrative.
Hmm, it's almost as if somebody wanted this to happen.

Lochnivar April 18 2012 2:59 PM EDT

About 10yrs back when the Canadian government was looking at decriminalizing pot the US Govt and DEA exerted sufficient pressure to derail the idea.
Based on that I'm pretty sure it isn't getting decriminalized south of the border any time soon.

Legalize + tax would make soo much sense where I live, pot is one of the largest industries in BC. They main people currently getting wealthy off of the biz are gangs and criminals. It isn't like you can go to the police to complain about the Hells Angels taking over your grow-op right?

From 2008
"BC Business places the provincial marijuana industry at $7.5-billion with a labour force of over 250,000."

Soxjr April 18 2012 3:30 PM EDT

I had to comment because I found the comment about how it can be a gateway drug to be very amusing. I have known people that have smoked pot for upwards of 20 to 30 years and never tried anything else. Some of those people even condemn other hard drugs. It's amazing our government will spend so much money prosecuting and housing these "criminals" when the money could be better used on so much better things. Make it legal, tax it and be done with it.

BestNUB April 18 2012 3:45 PM EDT

One issue that I found interesting is to what degree legalization occurs. Is it private possession? Or public use?

The fact that it does intoxicate the user makes me lean more toward private possession as opposed to public use, which isn't that much different than the current status quo (I never seen anyone get arrested for smoking pot at their own place).

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 3:47 PM EDT

Yeah, the whole "gateway drug" thing is really more "correlation drug", in my opinion. And we all know that Correlation != Causation.

Gee, yeah, you mean folks who now do heroin once did marijuana? Shocker.

Smoking is a "gateway" because a lot of hard drug users smoke, too? You don't say?

Alcohol should be considered a "gateway" to smoking, then, because some people end up trying a cig while at a bar with friends or while under the unsupervised influence of booze (probably underage for both).

If chemical addictions were vampires, alcohol would be the Grand-Sire of them all. *smile* And it's one of the legal ones!

I have also known people who smoke a lot of pot, and to the contrary of it being a gateway, it was a "gate closer"... When these folks tried something harsher they didn't care for it (at least not as more-than-rarely endeavor), or at least didn't care for the more extensive loss of control and scariness of the addictive power. I credit marijuana for that. You smoke a lot of pot and get comfortable with it and you just might end up with a better feel for how another drug differs (negatively) and can make a more informed decision.

It's all about choice. If someone chooses to do drugs, they are going to find a way and do drugs, whether it end up being a detrimental addiction for them, a rare/casual foray, or something in between. To try to keep someone away from the "gateway" to any behavioral choice is about the most blinkered attitude one could have on the subject.

And yeah, I'll get to put my money where my mouth is and try to figure out the best way to educate in this regard as my daughter grows up. Should be fun. *smile*

AdminNightStrike April 18 2012 3:48 PM EDT

Is there anything that smoking marijuana does for medical treatment that you don't get by taking it via a pill?

BestNUB April 18 2012 3:52 PM EDT

Supposedly, it is less damaging to bodily functions than painkillers. Also there's no physical dependence. It also increases appetite in uses undergoing chemo, which is useful because said users lose a ton of weight throughout the procedure.

Lochnivar April 18 2012 4:12 PM EDT

I believe NS is referring to a pot pill, instead of joints/cookies/brownies.

Incidentally, it is apparently impossible to smoke pot to the point of OD-ing.

Lord Bob April 18 2012 4:28 PM EDT

Is there anything that smoking marijuana does for medical treatment that you don't get by taking it via a pill?
Is there anything a pill could give you that you couldn't get just by smoking it?

QBJohnnywas April 18 2012 4:29 PM EDT

Pah, gateway drug. Generally the people that believe that haven't had much contact with drug culture. Most people I know who smoke aren't that interested in other drugs and ditto people who take specific drugs.

What you do have are people who will try anything, and those who like to take everything.

Incidentally there are still studies being carried out on the harder weeds, your skunks and the like, to determine their effects on the user. There were moves over in the UK to classify those as 'Class A' that is up there with cocaine and heroin. That is happening in the Netherlands I believe. Some of those stronger strains may not directly cause psychosis in a user but certainly there's a strong link between the two. Although it may simply be that people who are affected may already have mental health issues that haven't come to light.

AdminNightStrike April 18 2012 4:30 PM EDT

I believe NS is referring to a pot pill, instead of joints/cookies/brownies.

Correct. I was hoping for an answer from our resident attending physician :)

QBRanger April 18 2012 4:30 PM EDT

Marinol is the pill form.

It works differently than smoked marijuana and some people do not get the emesis relief from the pill that they do from smoking.

Not sure about how the pill works vs smoking for glaucoma.

QBsutekh137 April 18 2012 5:13 PM EDT

The pill vs. smoke is intriguing... I didn't realize how important "delivery mechanism" is for a drug (and still don't know real medical details about it, obviously) until I was diagnosed some years back with mild allergy-triggered asthma. My doctor at the time (great bloke) was very earnest in explaining how previous meds have always struggled with getting medicine to where it needs to get -- the lungs. Old inhalers used nasty steroids that ate away at joints over time. Pills could generally either alleviate inflammation or open airways, but not both.

Advair (commercial name), if it works for you, can both reduce inflammation and open airwaves on a more persistent basis due to its unique (until the patent expires, anyway) delivery mechanism -- an inhaler using milk sugar. You can feel the slight grittiness in your mouth after inhaling (brush your teeth, at least rinse!), and it worked great for me.

On the other hand, my wife had similar issues, perhaps more slight, and a pill (Singulair) did the job for her.

Though, with asthma medications, delivery is probably more critical since it is a localized phenomenon at the source -- the lungs. Not sure about "active" cannabis in terms of pill vs being inhaled to fight various, possibly generalized, pain, nausea, and appetite.

Though, I guess I like Lord Bob's response the best. Why bother to make a pill and make things more complicated/expensive when you can get the same effect using two supplemental things that are easy to have on hand: paper and fire. *smile* Hell, people can even grow it themselves, and then you can cut the pharmaceuticals out of it entirely. That's why I like mead -- I can make it myself, legally, and I can't get decent product from any other vendor, anyway.

...and it cures just about anything that ails me. *smile*

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] April 18 2012 5:56 PM EDT

I can pop a pill, but I can't roll to save my life. :(

And I suppose there's also the lack of smell/passive smoking to consider.

BestNUB April 18 2012 5:57 PM EDT

practice makes perfect ;)

A Lesser AR of 15 [Red Permanent Assurance] April 18 2012 6:33 PM EDT

Given a choice between medical pill or joint I'd instantly ask about vaporizers.

AdminNightStrike April 18 2012 6:47 PM EDT

Marinol is the pill form.

Yes, that's the name. I had to get it when my dad was dying of cancer. The doctor forgot to put his DEA number on the prescription, so I got a world of trouble from the pharmacist. That's where I learned what the medicine really was.

Frankly, it's mostly just a pain medicine... but they prescribed morphine along with it anyway. Go figure. Marijuana and heroine to keep you numb while you whither away.

Hospice blows.

QBRanger April 18 2012 7:33 PM EDT

Hospice blows.

I have had the opposite experience.

With my mom and my wife's mother, hospice was a god send. They were so thoughtful, caring and empathetic.

AdminNightStrike April 18 2012 10:55 PM EDT

Yeah, I wasn't being fair in my post. Hospice is an incredible service, and the people that work it are angels.

It's more the concept.... you're powerless to do anything at all but give morphine. What blows is being in that situation where you need to be on hospice, where you have a loved one dying right in front of you, and all that goes along with it.

Getting a little off-topic here, though. Obviously I've got my own issues that I apparently haven't dealt with 4 years later :(

I think my point was just that we have medicinal marijuana via Marinol, and it's readily available anywhere as long as you have a prescription, just like every other prescription strength med.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] April 19 2012 12:18 AM EDT

Hold on, haven't read the whole thread yet but I need to say something before I do.


Do not like.

Fishead April 19 2012 1:41 AM EDT

I've been smoking recreationally in California for nearly 25 years. I could easily get a medical card but I don't have a legitamate reason. I come with a family with a high rate of cancer and have seen the medicinal benefits since my mother had breast cancer in 1978.

The problem is that that stoners have abused the meaningful and compassionate movement for medical marijuana. It just looks like an excuse to get high, so why wouldn't the feds try to stop it? I believe it should be legalized, but that would mean that the government would admit the they were wrong about marijuana and I don't see that happening any time soon.

There is also probably more money and jobs to be had by keeping it illegal.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] April 19 2012 1:55 AM EDT

Given a choice between medical pill or joint I'd instantly ask about vaporizers.

Vaporizers all the way, and that's how patients who actually smoke it should be doing it.

I'll be honest, I smoke and have regularly for almost 10 years now. I've tried psychedelics when I was younger, but only tried them a few times (~15). Never tried any hard drugs because I've never wanted to. MJ is my "drug" of choice and my anti-drug all in one. I'm not a huge drinker either, I drink maybe once every couple of months. However I wont leave nicotine or caffeine out of this discussion as I'm pretty much addicted to both, although I've switch to Vaporizers for my nicotine and my lungs have thanked me for it.

Be ready this post is going to be long and it goes through nearly my entire thoughts on marijuana, and yes it addresses the current topic.

I will break it into sections to make it easier to read.

Gateway Drug

Gateway drug? Hardly, I can tell you for a fact that the very first thing I ever tried was a cigarette, and after that alcohol. Every single person I know who's ever done drugs will tell you the same exact thing or at least reverse the order. Either of those I consider to be gateway drugs, not marijuana.

Did I mention it is impossible to die from an OD.

Smoking/Vaping vs ingesting via eating vs the pill:

Smoking is near instant in its effect, onset is quick, and the effects duration completely depends on the user. Vaping is the far healthier way to go about it as you breath in no smoke, you simply are burning off the THC.

Ingesting via eating brownies and cookies. Onset is slow, but it lasts far longer then smoking does, the effects are actually more intense but not to the degree where someone who is a regular user would be impaired by it.

The pill, I'm not a fan of. Onset is right between the first two probably right around the onset of any ingested pill, lasts about as long as ingesting via eating, but doesn't feel the same as the other two. I've tried it before (I knew a guy), I found it personally uncomfortable. It wasn't what my body was used to feeling, it was a different kind of "high" and I didn't enjoy it.

Which method over all would I say is the best usage? Eating by far. Though smoking/vaping is far easier and more convenient, and if you vape then that's less smoke in your lungs and is all the better.

Effects of Long term Usage/Medical+Recreational Usage/Addiction

Effects of long term usage: negligible, for me minor very-short term memory loss (I'm talking seconds IE: losing train of thought, forgetting a name that's on the tip of your tongue, etc.. less then a 1-2 second time frame I'm talking about) It doesn't matter whether I've been smoking or not though, but while under the effects it is increased slightly. My mid to long term memory is like that of an elephant regardless of whether I've been smoking or not, it is rare for me to forget anything once it has hit that stage of my memory, and I can remember 8-10 years ago like it was yesterday.

Medical benefits: More then I know probably as I'm not a doctor, but I know how it personally affects me and it relieves anxiety/stress/headaches/minor pains/boredom and those are just basic every life stuff. It also increases my appetite, relieves nausea, and severely helps with my frequent episodes of insomnia. All problems that I actually have fairly often. Personal Problem: It's technically medically legal in my state but extremely hard to get, its basically for cancer patients only and even then it is extremely hard to get. No other medical usages are considered as far as I know of at this time. And me, well I cant always get it the only other way.

Addiction level: Low to moderate. Many of my friends have quit smoking and have not tried it since, many people I know who are regular users have easily stopped for weeks/months/sometimes years at a time without any problems. Daily smokers may feel extremely minor withdraw effects that diminish within 1-2 days. Myself I've stopped smoking a few times for many different reasons ranging from 2-3 weeks, once for 3 months, and once for a year. Also I have no strict dependance on it as I sometimes smoke daily, sometimes every couple days and sometimes I goes a few weeks without. However, nicotine is a must in my system day in and day out.

The Feds/Obama administration/Legalization

Boo, Boo, Boo! On both the feds and Obama. The fact that Obama claimed to be for it and now is not even commenting on what just happened enrages me. Yes I know that all politicians do not stick to everything they say obviously, but this is one of those no brainer things. End this prohibition on marijuana already, it didn't work for alcohol, it's not working for marijuana. End it already. That is all I have to say to that.

Legalize it, tax it, but keep it on the state level. The states and areas that have allowed this are bringing in lots of tax money, for local economies that is a very good thing. Keep it the way things are currently being operated but across the US and I am perfectly fine and happy with that idea. What I am against is someone like Phillip Morris coming in and turning it into a cigarette knocking out all other possible competition. But hopefully knowing the people I know who smoke, they'd rather get it legally through a dispensary and pay for it then get a name branded Phillip Morris strain.

Keeping Crime On the Streets

Not a whole lot to be said here, the entire time you keep it illegal, crime completely thrives off it. Drug king pins DO NOT want to see it legalized, they will lose a HUGE chunk of business if that happens. How ever I sure as heck know I'd rather buy it legally in a shop or from a legal grower, then illegally off -anyone-, be it a guy off the street or a local dealer you can meet up with safely.

We're spending money to fight the prohibition of marijuana, spending money to keep -users- in jail. (FAR more users in jail then actual drug king pins, dealers, and cartel members) All the while it still goes on daily and drug lords are still making bank of that particular product. Make it legal already, focus on other drugs -IF- you are going to go after people for drug use, and if anything go after the -source- not the user.

My feelings on different drugs varies. Psychedelics used infrequently I'm fine with. Hard, highly addictive, corrosive, horrible drugs, Nada.

Wrap Up

Now after all that I have finally forgotten what, if anything, I wanted to say next. However I feel like I have covered just about all my feelings on the subject. If I think of anything else I'll be sure to bring it up, as I have no doubt I'm leaving something out.

For any who actually read this whole thing, bravo, and thank you.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] April 19 2012 2:00 AM EDT

By the by, I'm in the debate because it's finally something I'm interested in, affects me personally, and doesn't anger me after reading for awhile. That last one is probably the one to take home.

Also I just had to point out that it was interesting timing due to the fact that tomorrow is 4/20.

Xenogard [Chaotic Serenity] April 19 2012 2:25 AM EDT

Oh one final thing I forgot to mention that I'll try to keep short

Quality control:

In current states where its legal for recreational and/or medical use, there are very strict guidelines for growing and quality. Most crops have to be tested to make sure they are clean of any adulterants and up to a certain standard of quality. All legal growers KNOW what they are doing and how to properly grow and care for the plant from seed to budding stage.

With illegal growers there is absolutely zero of that. Adulterants and harmful chemicals like pesticides are rampant in lower quality mass produced marijuana and growers who do not actually know how to grow properly.

AdminQBGentlemanLoser [{END}] April 19 2012 9:13 AM EDT

Pah, gateway drug. Generally the people that believe that haven't had much contact with drug culture. Most people I know who smoke aren't that interested in other drugs and ditto people who take specific drugs.

And this morning, there's a report in the Metro about how the majority of young smokers move on to Marijuana.

Can't find it on thier website though. :(

QBsutekh137 April 19 2012 11:49 AM EDT

Also I just had to point out that it was interesting timing due to the fact that tomorrow is 4/20.

My guess is that that fact was not lost on the HuffPost folks. *smile*

Thanks for your thoughts, Xeno, good stuff.

Lochnivar April 19 2012 4:21 PM EDT

Oooh... tomorrow is 4/20 day... I should go down to the massive stoner party right next to city hall!

I'm not joking either, they stoners have a big get together literally right next to city hall ever year on 4/20. I'll get to see more of those cool 'canadian' flags were they replace the maple leaf with a pot leaf too!

Fishead April 19 2012 7:22 PM EDT

What? I don't know where you guys are from, but 4:20 happens twice a day where I live :)

Waldo April 20 2012 12:09 AM EDT

You are right Fish but it happens ALL day only once a year ;)
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