California Pot Growing Soars
USA Today takes an in-depth look at the booming marijuana growing business in Northern California and the efforts of CAMP, a group of state drug agents to fight it. It's a losing proposition for CAMP, which they blame on Mexican cartels.
These numbers are pretty astonishing.
A June report for Taxpayers for Common Sense by Harvard economist Jeffrey Miron found that despite billions of dollars spent on marijuana suppression — nearly $4 billion by the federal government in 2004 alone — usage is about the same as 30 years ago.
It's a waste of money. Demand is not going to go down.
"Look at the amount of economic value we're destroying," says Dale Gieringer, director of California NORML, the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana Laws. "This could be legally taxed and regulated and we could all be making money off it. We never saw this lawlessness until there were drug laws and CAMP." NORML estimates that Californians' pot consumption could yield at least $250 million a year in sales taxes.
Gieringer also says that, despite the government's assertion, there is no evidence that Mexican cartels are involved in the cultivation.
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