The Register published a story yesterday regarding President-Elect Barak Obama’s experiment with a public suggestion box over at change.gov. Change.gov is a sort of government suggestion box where people can ask questions or offer suggestions to the newly elected President that supposedly he’s going to consider. Users on the site can vote suggestions up or down. And the top suggestion amongst the thousands offered to the new President. Yep, you got it, people wanna get high, legally.
From the Register:
“Obama’s Change.gov site will close down its internet suggestion box today, after a week of taking suggestions and opinions on the new administration’s executive policy from the web public at large. In standard Web 2.0 fashion, users can vote up or down on existing entries — the theory being that the best schemes will rise to top.
Supposedly, the “top ideas” will be presented directly to the new Commander-in-chief in the form of a “Citizen’s Briefing Book” following his inauguration on January 20.
Barring any massive last-minute changes, the tip-top idea will be best summarized by the philosopher/poet Chris Tucker in his cinematic role as Smokey: “I’m gunna get you high today, ’cause it’s Friday; you ain’t got no job…and you ain’t got shit to do.”
There are lots of other interesting ideas that the general public has come up with including suggestions for bullet trains and light rail, ending Govt sponsored abstinence programs, creating a more green country, etc. But top of the list is legalizing pot.
Barack Obama of course is the first President who has admitted that he smoked pot in the past and actually inhaled frequently because “that was the point.”
With the budget woes that are currently facing the country, certainly legalizing marijuana could provide for a windfall of Government revenue. It was largely the need for tax revenues that got the government to end the prohibition against alcohol back after the Great Depression. In an interesting editorial in the San Francisco Chronicle last week the tax benefits of legalizing marijuana were raised once again with the argument being made that the State of California could possibly address our current budget woes by a tax on the popular drug:
“The marijuana crop is valued at $13.8 billion annually – nearly double the value of our vegetable and grape crops combined. Our state is the nation’s top marijuana producer. Indeed, the average annual value of our marijuana crop is more than the combined value of wheat and cotton produced in the entire United States.
According to government surveys, 14.5 million Americans use marijuana at least monthly but both the producers and consumers of this crop escape paying any taxes whatsoever on it. While precise figures are impossible given the illicit nature of the market, it is reasonable to suggest that California could easily collect at least $1.5 billion and maybe as much as $4 billion annually in additional tax revenue, if we took marijuana out of the criminal underground and taxed and regulated it, similar to how handle beer, wine and tobacco.”
It will be interesting what our new President has to say about legalizing marijuana if he has the political gumption to actually broach the subject. Certainly almost 100,000 people on the internet have. One person though who it looks like doesn’t support marijuana legalization is Obama’s pick for Surgeon General, Sanjay Gupta.