Life is not all about sitting around “getting high” and daydreaming about saving the world and having hot sex at the same time. Life is about tax policy—that’s where the action is.
Everyone complains about taxes but let me tell you, friend: taxes are the engine of a civilized society, and when you come across a beautiful tax proposal, it’s enough to make you stand up and holler, “Hallelujah!” in a secular fashion. And there is a beautiful tax proposal at hand in Los Angeles County, where voters will soon have the chance to vote on a proposal to tax weed in order to help the homeless.
Yes, do that.
One of the very best things about legalizing marijuana—besides the fact that we would no longer arrest and imprison people for marijuana, which is unjust and insane—is that by legalizing it you can tax it, creating a new revenue stream for public use. Previously, this revenue stream went to criminals. (Some of it helped to alleviate the poverty of low-level criminals, which is fine, but then a lot of it went to organized crime to buy guns, which is less good). What should be done with this newfound tax revenue? There are plenty of needs, sure. But a neat fit for a newfound revenue stream is a need that has previously been left inadequately unaddressed, due to lack of money or attention or political will. That is homelessness. Particularly in LA County, where officials just passed a $1.2 billion bond plan to build housing for the teeming masses of people without homes.
Not long ago, LA considered it acceptable to simply let its thousands of homeless people camp out in the decrepit downtown streets and by the beaches. As property values rise and these areas become hyper-gentrified, such a laissez-faire approach becomes less politically tenable. Which matches the fact that it was never morally tenable. The new proposal would put a 10% tax on weed and related products—which could amount to serious money if Californians decide to vote “yes” on legalizing recreational weed smoking this year, as they no doubt will. Here your local news commentator will insert a joke about Snoop Dogg that is not particularly funny.
In conclusion, yes, please, tax weed to help the homeless. Then tax gasoline, tobacco, alcohol, and the rich to help the homeless as well. We’ll get through this together.