Date: April 29, 2008
Subject: Your Tax Dollars at Work in 2007
If you're like most citizens, you've recently computed the amount of tax you owe both Federal and local governments. Perhaps you're getting a refund, or maybe you wrote a big check. Whether you're wealthy, middle class, or poor, what you pay for is what you get, including the War on Drugs. From the archives of the Media Awareness Project, here are some things YOU bought with your tax dollars in 2007:
$42,000,000,000 for cannabis prohibition. "Why $42 billion? Because that's what our current marijuana laws cost American taxpayers each year, according to a new study by researcher Jon Gettman, Ph.D. --
$10.7 billion in direct law enforcement costs, and $31.1 billion in lost tax revenues . Basing his calculations mainly on U.S. government statistics, Gettman concludes that marijuana in the U.S. is a $113 billion dollar business. That's a huge chunk of economic activity that is unregulated and untaxed because it's almost entirely off the books."
$1,400,000,000 for Mexican drug enforcement. "President Bush asked Congress on Monday to approve a $1.4 billion aid package over the next three years to help the Mexican government fight narcotics traffickers . An additional $50 million would go to Central American countries for the same purposes."
$590,000,000 for Colombian drug enforcement and crop spraying. "About three-quarters of the military aid is dedicated to supporting the aerial crop spraying program, which uses an enhanced form of Roundup weed killer, containing the chemical defoliant glyphosate. What's next
-- the 2008 budget. The Bush administration has asked Congress for $590-million for Colombia in the Foreign Aid Bill. As in previous years the majority of this money -- $450-million -- would be dedicated to military support."
$158,000,000 for marijuana enforcement in Michigan. "Marijuana is Michigan's third most valuable cash crop with an annual value of $350 million. Tax free. At the same time, we're spending $158 million to enforce marijuana prohibition and make criminals out of people like the Johnson's."
$100,000,000 for expanded prisons in Connecticut. A study by the Drug Policy Alliance, "recommended the state turn down the so-called three-
strikes law mandating automatic life sentences for defendants
convicted of a third violent felony . [such] proposals could cost the
state at least $100 million in annual prison expenses."
$10,450,000 for a wrongful death in New York. "The mother of an unarmed man killed by an undercover police officer seven years ago called on the Bronx district attorney's office yesterday to reopen a criminal investigation after a jury awarded her $10.45 million for the wrongful death of her son . including $7 million in punitive damages
and $3 million for pain and suffering."
$84,000 for drug dogs in Wisconsin. "It costs about $12,000 to buy each dog and to train it and its handler . These are only seven dogs,
spread across 72 counties."
$50,000 for tracking devices and dogs in Indiana. Tippecanoe County, IN. "About $50,000 has been brought in this year under prosecutor Pat Harrington, who took office in January. 'We've now got a bomb dog and four other canines,' Lendermon said of the sheriff's department. .
About $6,300 was used in March and April to buy GPS tracking devices for the state police and the Indiana Department of Natural Resources
for use in their vehicles."
$5,900 or the return of marijuana seized from a California medical marijuana patient. "At least one victory for medical marijuana was won over the past year when Grover Beach police returned 20 grams of marijuana to Ken Parson in January . Parson's prescription was allowed under state law. Grover Beach police were required to return the
marijuana to Parsons or pay a $5,900 fee."
The numbers and references above come from actual 2007 newspaper reports that are stored permanently by volunteer activists in the DrugSense DrugNews Archive ( www.drugnews.org ). This information is available for FREE, but it isn't free to produce.
DrugSense, too, incurs Internet storage, bandwidth, and technical support charges that must be covered so that we can bring the truth about the cost of the War on Drugs to the media and public.
If you think that your tax dollars can be better spent, then you know it's time to change drug policy. Won't you please devote just a few of the equivalent dollars you pay in taxes to help end the drug war once and for all time?
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P.S. You can find a FREE "Your Tax Dollars at Work in 2007" flyer at drugsense.org/flyers/taxatwork_2007.pdf to printout and hand out to your local tax collector.
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