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Friday, April 24, 2009

Group presents mock marijuana tax check to U.S. Treasury

In the face of an economic downturn, shrinking tax revenue and government leaders scrambling to find funding for programs, JAX NORML believes there is an easy solution — legalize and tax marijuana.

JAX NORML, which stands for the National Organization for the Reform of Marijuana laws, in association with the University of North Florida NORML chapter, presented a mock check for $14 billion Sunday to the United States Treasury, in front of Jacksonville Beach City Hall.

Ford Banister, founder of the Jacksonville NORML chapter, said according to studies the check amount represents the combined savings and tax revenues that would be generated by regulating the sale and production of cannabis, like alcohol.

"There are 1.8 million drug arrests yearly," said Banister. "Marijuana arrests far surpass those of any other drug and 89 percent of those arrests are for simple possession."

Banister, who has a degree in criminal justice and a law degree from Florida Costal School of Law, said policies regarding the prohibition of marijuana have been a failure.

"Prohibition of marijuana has been both a misguided effort from the beginning and a dismal failure," said Banister. "Common sense demands that a policy that has persisted for more than eight decades without any measure of success must end."

More than 40 people signed up as members of Jax NORML at Sunday’s event, Banister said.

Banister said he sees policies and attitudes toward marijuana beginning to change.

"I see the end of marijuana prohibition within the next two to 4 years," said Banister. "The American people are in open rebellion against the marijuana policies. We’ve catalyzed enough as a group now. We will have a debate and we will win."

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