In his virtual town hall meeting today, President Obama went out of his way to emphasize that he did not think legalizing marijuana would be a good way to grow the economy. Apparently, lots of pot enthusiasts had pushed the question. Two quick thoughts. First, while reporting this piece in the current issue of The Atlantic on the business of selling medical marijuana, I was surprised at how many people in the "semi-legal community" (as the group calls itself) were fervent Obama supporters specifically because they believed he would legalize pot. Guess he just killed their buzz. My other thought, though, was: maybe he shouldn't have. Legal pot sales in California generated $100 million in state tax revenue last year, a welcome infusion for a state facing a crippling budget deficit. Know anybody else whose budget projects red ink as far as the eye can see? Pot-tax revenue could help slay the deficit! Maybe the semi-legal folks should have targeted the Blue Dogs instead.
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