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Revenue Issues NOLA NOPD Consent Decree Jail Consent Decree Firefighters Retirement Fund Library Reserve Fund Sewage and Water Board upgrades.

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Presentation on theme: "Revenue Issues NOLA NOPD Consent Decree Jail Consent Decree Firefighters Retirement Fund Library Reserve Fund Sewage and Water Board upgrades."— Presentation transcript:

1 Revenue Issues NOLA NOPD Consent Decree Jail Consent Decree Firefighters Retirement Fund Library Reserve Fund Sewage and Water Board upgrades

2 Revenue Issues  Reforms are needed to protect the constitutional rights of citizens  Continuing current revenue streams will require serious cuts to current programs- a move that no one wants  Need to create a new sustainable revenue stream to stabilize the budget  Desperate times call for a paradigm shift in creating new revenue streams

3 Medical Facts  Cannabis has been proven to help patients with many illnesses, including cancer, HIV,MS, glaucoma, and epilepsy  New Orleans area has some of the highest rates of cancer in the U.S.  New Orleans has 3 rd highest HIV rate in the U.S.  Baton Rouge has the 2 nd highest HIV rate  How can we deny a natural substance that gives relief to patients?  20 states and DC have medicinal cannabis laws with 15 states pending

4 Create a New Industry  Conrad Appel spoke at Xavier University about how NOLA and Louisiana have been left out of new industries  We must create a new industry before any other cities in the region can  The cannabis industry can fill this void  Hemp could also add to this in rural areas  Hemp is environmentally friendly and renewable with little need for pesticides

5 Cost/Benefit  At what point do we realize that the costs of cannabis prohibition outweigh the benefits?  Who benefits from prohibition?  Prisons for profit (either a corporate or sheriff based model)  Does any business model aim to lower profitability?  Law Enforcement assets can be better used to deal with violent crime

6 Monetary Costs of Prohibition  A 2005 study by Jeffrey Miron, Professor of Economics at Harvard, analyzed cannabis prohibition costs  Louisiana spends an estimated $75 million a year on cannabis enforcement  $27.89 on police enforcement, $39.13 million on judicial, and $7.8 million on corrections (Miron, 2005)  Estimated tax revenues for Louisiana are $12.7-13 million in tax revenues (Miron, 2005)  Study endorsed by Thomas Dalton (SUNO), Franklin Lopez (Tulane/UNO),Michael Saliba (Loyola) and Venkat Subramiam (Tulane)

7 Criminal Costs of Prohibition  Louisiana rate of incarceration is the highest in the world  Cost of that incarceration cuts ability to perform other services  83% of cannabis arrests are for simple possession (FBI, 2012); these are non- violent offenders who are not producing or selling  Eliminating these arrests will free up police, judicial, and prison resources for violent crime

8 2012 FBI Statistics

9 Criminal Costs  Ending cannabis prohibition will:  Allow law enforcement to spend more time on violent crime and dangerous drug enforcement  End the monetary incentive for criminal organizations and black market operations by cutting off revenue source  Users would not need to endanger themselves and others to procure on the black market


11 HB1187 (1978)  La. Legislature passed a limited medical marijuana bill in 1978 and re introduced in 1991-still not implemented  Wording of bill dictates that a doctor must prescribe cannabis- a federal offense  Effectively negates the bill  Other states use a doctor’s recommendation for cannabis therapy  Amending this bill to doctor’s recommendation would be an option

12 Changing Times  Recent polling by Public Policy Polling shows a majority of Louisiana citizens in favor of changing cannabis laws  The real fact is that cannabis use is wide spread and is not going away  Now is time to lead from the front on this issue  May energize the public in supporting legislators who take a realistic stand

13 Economic Opportunity  Will we be ahead of the curve in the south?  20 states legalized medicinal marijuana  Mississippi decriminalized personal possession of up to 30 grams  Build a sustainable revenue stream using an industry that is already here but is currently untaxed and unregulated  Benefits:  Create opportunity for small business- non profit dispensaries  Jobs and health benefits for employees  The ripple effects i.e. security for dispensaries would benefit surrounding communities

14 What Model To Employ?  Decriminalization  Medicinal Cannabis  Tax and Regulate model  Dutch Model

15 Decriminalization  Follow Mississippi/North Carolina to decriminalize 30 grams or less  Does not regulate or tax  No new revenue streams  Socially just, cost savings for incarcerating users but limited benefits to local and state governments  Patients must still go to black market

16 Medicinal Cannabis  The most compassionate model  May face least opposition  Treats many illness symptoms  Must amend state law to doctor recommendation instead of doctor prescription  Set up cultivation and distribution regulations  Ex. Colorado requires dispensaries cultivate 70% of cannabis sold

17 Medicinal Cannabis  Creates a brand new revenue stream for local and state government  California benefited from $90-100 million in sales tax revenue (2012)  Colorado netted $5 million (2012)  Denver alone raised $2.4 million in state sales tax(2.9%), with Denver sales tax (7.2%) netted $4.8 million

18 Legalize for Recreational Use  Washington/Colorado model  State-licensed dispensaries  Allow 21 and over to legally purchase and possess cannabis for recreational use  Cannabis tourism already exists in Seattle, Denver, and Breckinridge  Extremely lucrative revenue stream to state and local government  Money could be earmarked for education, rehabilitation for hard drugs etc.

19 Legalize for Recreational Use  New Orleans could be in forefront of the “Green Wave”  With hospitality the second largest industry in New Orleans area, staying ahead of industry curve important  Home Rule option?  Local opt out included  Even an “Island” model where NOLA can resolve its own revenue stream issues and state benefits  Washington DC currently pursuing this model

20 Legalize for Recreational Use  The first state to pursue this will receive the fiscal rewards  Don’t let Mississippi beat us like they did with casinos  The ripple economic effect could be widespread depending on model chosen  Organized crime would lose a revenue stream and weaken  Any reduction in violence would be a huge victory for all involved

21 New Orleans "Dutch” Model  The Colorado/Washington model taken to next logical step  Models allows for commercial establishments that would permit on-site consumption  New revenue stream would have unlimited possibilities; both locals and tourists  Separate alcohol and cannabis establishments  Lead the nation in this model  Reap the rewards of leading industry

22 Dutch Model  In addition to sales tax, hotel/motel tax receipts would almost double as there would be no slow season (2013 estimate of $13 million)  Restaurants, clubs and festivals would benefit from cannabis based tourism- increasing sales tax revenue  As with gaming, neighboring states that promote prohibition would benefit Louisiana/New Orleans  Shops could be placed outside French Quarter to spread economic benefits and not affect the ambiance of FQ  Holland earns approx. $550 million in tax revenues from 734 “coffee shops”

23 Next Steps  Help other cities, with a Home Rule/ballot initiative process, to use the ballot initiative process to apply pressure to the legislature  Partner with national reform organization to maximize publicity  Allow local option to opt out  Look at what model would work best- medicinal only, recreational, or Dutch  Build new alliances

24 Priorities  At a minimum, the proposed legislation should protect patients from arrest  Protect patients' civil rights - i.e. housing, employment, child custody, access to health care  Authorize personal patient cultivation  Protect patient privacy  Permit distribution

25 Pitfalls of Potential Legislation  Bans patient cultivation or distribution, implicitly or explicitly  Places unreasonable restrictions on where distribution can be located  Establishes unreasonable limits on cultivation or possession  Imposes unreasonable taxation on medicine  Provides no protection for patient privacy  Arrested patients must use an affirmative defense rather than providing protection from arrest in the first place

26 Assurances  Assure a reasonable residency requirement for ownership of dispensaries (5-7 years)  Earmark revenues so citizens are comfortable with where the revenues go  Limit number of outlets any one person could own  Limit public marketing  Ban public consumption

27 Judeo-Christian Compassion  Behold, I have given you every herb bearing seed which is upon the face of all the earth.…To you it will be for meat." … And God saw everything that he had made, and, behold, it was very good. (Genesis 1:29-31)  Then the king will say to those on his right, ‘Come, you who are blessed by my Father. Inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world. For I was hungry and you gave me food, I was thirsty and you gave me drink, a stranger and you welcomed me, naked and you clothed me, ill and you cared for me, in prison and you visited me.’ (Mathew 25:33-35)

28 Judeo-Christian Compassion  And I will raise up for them a plant of renown, and they shall be no more consumed with hunger in the land, neither bear the shame of the heathen any more. Ezekiel 34:29  In the midst of the street of it, and on either side of the river, was there the tree of life, which bare twelve manner of fruits, and yielded her fruit every month: and the leaves of the tree were for the healing of the nations. Revelations 22:2

29 “ All that is necessary for the triumph of evil is for good men to do nothing” -Edmund Burke

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