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Taxing Medical Marijuana

In a letter to The New York Times, Dr. Peter Provet urges municipalities that collect taxes from medical marijuana businesses to direct some of that additional revenue to under-funded treatment and prevention programs.

To the Editor:

Struggling Cities Turn to a Crop for Cash” (news article, Feb. 12) doesn’t mention a major issue of concern that has to be considered before claims of attractive financial benefits from taxing medical marijuana can be made.

In the states mentioned – California, Colorado, Maine and Oregon – 3.2 million people are not receiving the treatment services they need for drug abuse and dependence. California alone accounts for 2.3 million people with untreated substance abuse disorders.

Before hard-pressed municipalities, in these and other states around the country, look at medical marijuana as a new source of tax revenue to finance essential services, taxpayers should be given the opportunity to consider allocating some of this money to under-supported treatment and prevention programs.

This will not mitigate the effects of untreated substance abuse, but it will help send a clear message to young people that marijuana, prescribed or not, has addictive potential that too often requires intensive treatment.

President and Chief Executive
Odyssey House
New York, Feb. 13, 2012

To see additional comments on this issue by Peter B. Bensinger, former administrator of the Drug Enforcement Administration, and Robert L. DuPont, former director and founder of the National Institute on Drug Abuse, please click here.

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