The (Albany) Democrat-Herald on legalizing marijuana Nov. 23
Attorney General John Kroger has announced that he is prosecuting a West Salem resident for tax evasion. This is interesting because the fellow also faces charges of growing marijuana on a commercial scale. So you see the possibilities that a sweeping policy change might bring?
While the case is merely at the charging stage, the attorney general's office is unwilling to go into the details publicly. All it says is what's in the charging information, which is that the fellow is accused of failing to pay income taxes from 1998 to 2007. He is also charged with unlawful manufacture and delivery of marijuana.
So far the accused is considered innocent. But suppose that the charges are proved in court to be true. Then it would be reasonable to assume that he didn't pay his income taxes because his income was from his marijuana farm and thus illegal.
So what if Oregon went further than it already has and Congress went along to legalize marijuana as an intoxicating substance kind of like alcohol, and then made the marijuana business subject to taxation?
Yes, marijuana is not without health risks. But so are cigarettes and booze, and taxes on cigarettes and profits from the state's liquor monopoly have helped support public services in Oregon for a long time.
People who are criminals now would likely still be criminals and try to evade the system. But legalizing pot would put most of the present criminals out of business, and it might make some of them go straight. Instead of hiding their income and facing prosecution if discovered, they could help pay for the public services that everybody needs.