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Strip clubs, marijuana eyed during budget crunch

Posted by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 8:40 PM
  • 30 Replies

Strip clubs, marijuana eyed during budget crunch

(CNN) -- With their budgets teetering on bankruptcy, states are digging deep to find creative ways to ease their financial woes.
If marijuana were legalized, it could become California's No. 1 cash crop.

If marijuana were legalized, it could become California's No. 1 cash crop.

Although fiscal year 2009 was grim for states, observers predict that 2010 will be even worse.

"The numbers that states are looking at in terms of their shortfalls is truly staggering. And all of this is happening in an environment where raising taxes is still pretty toxic, and it's pretty explosive," said Sujit CanagaRetna, a senior fiscal analyst for the Council of State Governments.

Instead of raising taxes, states are putting taxes and fees on specific items and services as they try to decrease their budget gaps.

"You see this blizzard of fees popping up all over the country and in very unusual places," CanagaRetna said.

One of the more controversial ideas is to legalize the sale of marijuana, as proposed in a bill introduced in California's state legislature by Democratic State Assemblyman Tom Ammiano this year. The bill proposed taxing pot by $50 per ounce. If legalized, marijuana could become California's No. 1 cash crop, bringing in an estimated $1 billion a year in state taxes.

The bill was shelved this session, but a revised version will probably be reintroduced. See budget woes, state-by-state »

Last week, Oakland became the first U.S. city to tax proceeds on medical marijuana. Other California cities have discussed a similar tax.

This year, lawmakers in Georgia turned not to pot but to poles as a possible source of additional revenue.

Republican state Sen. Jack Murphy's proposed "pole tax" would have charged patrons of strip clubs a $5 entrance fee. The bill was not approved.

Nineteen states have explored gambling-related proposals as ways balance their 2010 budgets, according to the National Council of State Legislatures.

In Alabama, lawmakers considered bringing more bingo games to the state and legalizing slot machines, but the measure was not approved.

Delaware's Democratic Gov. Jack Markell signed legislation creating a sports lottery that legalizes single-game betting. Four professional sports leagues and the NCAA have filed a lawsuit over plans for the lottery, fearing that it threatens the integrity of the games.

"Basically, what we are dealing with is a larger issue here, which states have been grappling now for a few years, that is the shift in our economy away from manufacturing economy to a service-based economy," CanagaRetna said. He noted that when sales tax doesn't apply, states aren't able to capture the economic activity.

Here are a few of the more interesting ways states are trying to conserve -- and create -- some extra funds:


  • In Wisconsin, Democratic Gov. Jim Doyle's fiscal year 2010 budget triples the price of an elk hunting license, even though his state has no elk hunting season. Doyle also proposed a fee on for each animal slaughtered, ranging from a penny per chicken to 14 cents per pig, but that provision was shot down.



  • In his 2009 budget, New York Gov. David Paterson proposed a "fat tax" that would have tacked an 18-percent tax on sugary beverages. That tax -- along with proposed taxes on manicures, health clubs and bowling -- was nixed. Next door in New Jersey, however, residents are subject to a sales tax on health club memberships.



  • Some school districts in Utah have opted to shorten their school years by a few days or increase class sizes, with hopes of saving millions.
  • by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 8:40 PM
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    by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 9:18 PM

    That would really help out our healthcare

    People with any biological predisposition towards schizophrenia are at the highest risk -- unfortunately its impossible to accurately identify this predisposition beforehand ( a family history of mental illness is just one indicator of such a predisposition). [see causes and prevention of schizophrenia for more information on all risk factors linked to a person developing schizophrenia]

    Researchers in New Zealand found that those who used cannabis by the age of 15 were more than three times (300%) more likely to develop illnesses such as schizophrenia. Other research has backed this up, showing that cannabis use increases the risk of psychosis by up to 700% for heavy users, and that the risk increases in proportion to the amount of cannabis used (smoked or consumed). Additionally, the younger a person smokes/uses cannabis, the higher the risk for schizophrenia, and the worse the schizophrenia is when the person does develop it. Research by psychiatrists in inner-city areas speak of cannabis being a factor in up to 80 percent of schizophrenia cases.

    Professor Robin Murray (London Institute of Psychiatry) has recently (2005) completed a 15-year study of more than 750 adolescents in conjunction with colleagues at King's College London and the University of Otago in New Zealand.

    Overall people were 4.5 times more likely to be schizophrenic at 26 if they were regular cannabis smokers at 15, compared to 1.65 times for those who did not report regular use until age 18.

    Many researchers now believe that using the drug while the brain is still developing boosts levels of the chemical dopamine in the brain, which can directly lead to schizophrenia.

    Professor John Henry, clinical toxicologist at Imperial College London said research has shown that people with a certain genetic makeup who use the drug face a ten times (1000%) higher risk of schizophrenia. (for example - if your risk of schizophrenia was 6% (due to a family history of mental illness) prior to taking cannabis, it could be 60% -- or more likely than not - after taking cannabis). Every person is different (i.e. has different genes and different environments) - so this "10 Times Higher Risk with cannabis use"- is just a generalization, and it may or may not apply to a given person.

    The increased risk applies to people who inherit variants of a gene named COMT and who smoked cannabis as teenagers. About a quarter of the population have this genetic make-up and up to 15 per cent of the group are likely to develop psychotic conditions if exposed to the drug early in life. Neither the drug nor the gene raises the risk of psychosis by itself.

    A recent Dutch study showed that teenagers who indulge in cannabis as few as five times in their life significantly increase their risk of psychotic symptoms.

    The increase in evidence during the past decade could be tied to the increased potency of marijuana. A review by the British Lung Association says that the cannabis available on the streets today is 15 times more powerful than the joints being smoked three decades ago.

    Schizophrenia can sometimes be triggered by heavy use of hallucinogenic drugs, especially LSD; but it appears that one has to have a genetic predisposition towards developing schizophrenia for this to occur. There is also some evidence suggesting that people suffering from schizophrenia but responding to treatment can have an episode as a result of use of LSD. Methamphetamine and PCP also mimic the symptoms of schizophrenia, and can trigger ongoing symptoms of schizophrenia in those who are vulnerable.

    Melbourne University's Professor David Castle stated in a February, 2005 interview that heavy drug use during formative times of life, such as the years at school, could affect the way a teenager or young adult thought, impairing cognitive ability and having a long-term impact on job prospects. Victorian studies had revealed that regular use of cannabis by adolescent girls could trigger long-term depression. And for those vulnerable to a psychotic disorder, even a small amount of cannabis could pose a threat.

    Professor Castle, author of the book Marijuana and Madness, has said that those people with this "psychotic proneness" were those who had a family history of mental illness or who had had a bad response on their first use of cannabis or to a tiny amount. Others at risk included those who had experienced a psychotic episode where they had paranoid thinking or heard a voice calling their name. Professor Castle said experiencing such a one-off episode was far more common than people thought.

    "People with such a vulnerability should avoid cannabis like the plague," he said.

    Without the effects of the drug, such a person might live their whole life without ever experiencing mental health problems. It has been estimated, for example, that between 8% and 13% of people that have schizophrenia today would never have developed the illness without exposure to cannabis.

    Professor Castle compared the effect to feeding sweets to a diabetic. While high sugar content foods did not cause too many problems for most people in the short term, they could be catastrophic for diabetics.

    He said there was an accumulative effect when it came to cannabis use and schizophrenia. Those who used the drug more than once a week were more prone to needing hospitalisation and often suffered other associated problems such as the breakdown of relations with their family, isolation, crime and violence.

    by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 9:28 PM

    They should legalize pot, not bust ppl for small amts of drugs/use, adult prostituton, porn etc;

    It would free up the crowded jails, police, borders, pay for healthcare. ...etc etc;

    by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 9:38 PM

    It would also help the mental health proffesion more scizophrenics. Oh and help the psych wards if people have insurance, otherwise we will have more homeless.

    by Bronze Member on Jul. 28, 2009 at 9:40 PM

    But how much $$ would the gov lose from fining the hell out of teens and college kids for possession?  I bet that would be a hefty loss!!   I will have to look around for some numbers.  I am curious to know how much money the state gov brings in by marijuana related misdemeanor fines.  Probably a lot!  No one is thinking about that one.... they are already making money off of pot!
    eck.. even if it is legalized, I still wouldn't smoke it or let my kids smoke it!

                             Click my logo to see my site!

    by Ruby Member on Jul. 28, 2009 at 10:48 PM

    We already have drunks on our roads causing devastating accidents and people who can't seem to put down the phone and pay attention to what they're doing on the road as well. I don't see adding those high on pot to the mix ,by legalizing it, as being beneficial to anyone.

    by HRH of MJ on Jul. 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM

    Quoting tabtabmom:

    That would really help out our healthcare

    People with any biological predisposition towards schizophrenia are at the highest risk -- unfortunately its impossible to accurately identify this predisposition beforehand ( a family history of mental illness is just one indicator of such a predisposition). [see causes and prevention of schizophrenia for more information on all risk factors linked to a person developing schizophrenia]



    Tuesday, May 01, 2007

    Marijuana Duck, Duck, Goose - Same Old Story

    Smoke More Marijuana
    2nd International Cannabis and Mental Health Conference Programme [PDF] Logo)

    13 states currently have active medical marijuana programs. Illinois, Texas, and Connecticut are chompin' at the bit (Connecticut just did the civil union thing - watch out). Grandma in the Bronx (colorectal cancer) isn't getting tagged for smokin' the rope. Hell, even Sanjaya's fam is in the growing business. Good reports? You got it: Marijuana has shown to cut lung tumor growth in mice and a marijuana-like compound may slow Alzheimer's.

    So what has to come out? Marijuana
    makes makes you crazy and damages the brain. Sorry, that's FOX News. How about a more credible reporting source like Reuters through Scientific American?

    Quick Psych 101: Psychology is only useful for broad, sweeping statements and we don't have a true understanding of all aspects of the brain or how they work, let alone how drugs interact with it (note: Not talking out of my ass; I have a Psych degree and recently had a great conversation with a neuroscientist on this exact topic).

    From the article: the two main active components of marijuana are cannabidiol (CBD) and tetrahydrocannabinol (THC). CBD produces a calming effect. THC is associated with the paranoia, euphoria.

    There are upwards of 300 active compounds in marijuana. This study took the two most abundant (THC and CBD), and looked to see where the brain was affected. Because of anti-drug taboos, these studies are almost always conducted with synthesized THC. And an MRI will give you an image of activity or inactivity, but - as already mentioned - we don't know all the details of activity in certain areas of the brain.

    To sum up: Doctors treated patients with a synthesis of a compound known to cause mild paranoia. They then put their patients in this machine:
    No, Mommy, don't put me in there!
    and reported that the brain scan showed affected areas related to paranoia. No shit.

    I am not trying to slam the study. The media and its fervor, however, can go take a flying fuck at a rolling donut on this one. Reuters has this article titled "Brain scans pinpoint cannabis health risk." But they didn't. The brain scans show activity or inactivity of the brain, and and the implications affect mental health outlook, while "health" implies physical health or brain damage. First sentence: "Brain scans showing how cannabis affects brain function...." Hold it right there. Function is not measured but by behavior. See previous explanation of what is being measured.
    "It's no longer a contentious issue. The expert community, by and large, accepts that cannabis contributes to the onset of psychotic symptoms in general and the severe form of psychosis, schizophrenia," [Professor Robin Murray, conference organizer] said.
    Wrong. That sounds like the "Weed makes you crazy" defense. Dr. Zerrin Atakan, author of the study, was found to be an astute, reasonable human being completely void of the sensationalism that would follow a story like this. He was quoted in the Telegraph in 2004 as saying:
    Cannabis psychosis is a very vague term. If we ever use the phrase, it is only to describe very short-term effects immediately following smoking, and it certainly doesn't refer to users having a psychotic disorder. People may feel frightened or paranoid, but these feelings pass in a matter of hours or, more rarely, days, and practically never require treatment.
    He even laid out some very lucid guidelines in a message to the 2005 Cannabis Education March & Rally, telling everyone to make up their own mind about marijuana, but hitting on some basic facts about smoking before your brain is done growing, smoking if you have mental illness, or smoking every day. Very understanding and well-understood.

    So why the hullabaloo? Two words:

    Reefer Madness
    (note: The Movie is public domain and the Musical is phenomenal.)

    The media loves a good weed story; Marijuana's been tried by
    1/4 to 1/3 of the US population, probably twice that have been affected by proximity. Sensationalism sells. So if you can blow a study into a headline, go for it, especially if it concerns marijuana and something bad. The federal government is in love with that. It wants to marry it and kiss it on the privates.

    As for Robin Murray and his "weed causes schizophrenia" sensationalism, you might want to ask him to tone it down a bit. Of course, he may have to conference in the pharma behind his conference:
    Janssen-Cilag and Sanofi-Aventis. But I'm sure that their involvement and their production of schizophrenia treatment drugs are all just a coincidence.

    I'll dismount the soapbox now and spare you, fair reader, a venture into legalization, the justice system, hypocrisies, and alternative energy, and leave you with this:
    "Casual drug users should be taken out and shot"
    Darryl Gates
    Head of Los Angeles Police Department
    United States Senate Judiciary Committee (1990)
    For real information about marijuana, please visit NORML.


    Thank's Friday!!!

    by on Jul. 28, 2009 at 10:51 PM

     Leagalize it already................



    (I don't & NEVER have smoked pot)

    by HRH of MJ on Jul. 28, 2009 at 10:53 PM

     Legalize and tax mj, not the govts job to tell consenting adults what they can do to or with their body.


    Thank's Friday!!!

    by on Jul. 29, 2009 at 12:39 AM

    Quoting Friday:

     Legalize and tax mj, not the govts job to tell consenting adults what they can do to or with their body.

    good info in your first reply....synthesized THC.????? Are they freaking serious?  synthesized anything is bad for you,

    by Silver Member on Jul. 29, 2009 at 12:39 AM

    All the agruements about legalizing prostitution and weed were made against gambling and liquor in the early 1900s. They got legalize and yea there are problems. Hey there are issues with people getting addicted to prescription drugs too but the benefits outweigh the good. It would

    1. create millions of jobs.

    2. Save billions in tax dollars

    3. Unpopulate prisons

    4. I believe reduce crime since the police could focus more on dangerous criminals instead of non violent offenders.

    I think it is a great idea and no I do not smoke marijuana. Not a high I need or want. to.

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