Solving the Budget Crisis

During a brief break from my almost-constant working, I was sitting at Starbucks having coffee with the locals and we figured out how to solve California’s budget crisis.   Actually our idea solves some other problems as well.  So here it is . . .

How about if California really (not in the just-for-those-really-sick-people-who-need-it way) legalized marijuana.  Taxing the sales of marijuana would be a good direct revenue source, but the plan does even more than that.  Legalizing marijuana would be a tremendous stimulus package for California. 

Agricultural interests would, clearly, be served by having a new cash crop.  Grapes can only take California so far when people cannot afford to buy expensive wine.   Bars and clubs would need to remodel to create smoking spaces, giving the construction industry a boost.  Marijuana shops could open in some of the boarded-up shops that are procreating all over the state.  Liquor stores would see a boost in sales as they diversified.   Marketing campaigns would be needed, along with packaging, branding and website development.  Accountants would find a new market.  Shippers could put some of their idle trucks to use. 

And, let’s not forget the affects on crime.  Drug dealing on the streets would be reduced, along with the crime attendant on that activity.  Police would be freed to deal with other serious crimes – like Hollywood stops at neighborhood intersections. 

Among other benefits, stress could be reduced statewide if happy hour included a hit or two of marijuana, old hippies could come out of the closet and California would likely see a boost in tourism.

If legalizing marijuana does not provide sufficient stimulus and revenue, California should take a hint from Nevada and legalize prostitution, as well.  We all know it’s happening, but nobody can calculate the gross revenue going untaxed. 

Like legalizing marijuana, legalizing prostitution would create a growth industry.  The construction industry could get busy rehabbing old hotel properties, the health industry could get busy figuring out how to monitor the health of registered or licensed prostitutes and the police would be freed to focus on crimes that actually hurt people. 

I know the pimp lobby will fight prostitution legalization efforts, just as the gang leaders will fight the legalization of marijuana, but I think we can all agree that special interests should not be controlling California during these times of budget crisis.  Can’t we?