It’s About The Money–Health Concerns Are Being Ignored

Many of our more liberal states are looking for additional sources of revenue. Unfunded liabilities and expanded welfare programs and medical programs have been very expensive to the states that have embraced them. One thing that many states are looking at to increase tax revenue is the legalization of marijuana. On Saturday, Yahoo Finance posted an article about how much income legal marijuana is actually generating in California.

The article reports:

California’s legal cannabis revenue isn’t growing as fast as many state officials anticipated, recent data suggests. And one industry expert believes that taxes and a still thriving black market for marijuana, are partly to blame.

“The legal market is struggling with the set of regulatory rules and tax rates that are pretty onerous and make it fairly uncompetitive versus a thriving black market that’s had the whole industry for 60 years now,” Tom Adams, BDS Analytics managing director, told Yahoo Finance’s YFi PM in an interview this week.

California’s marijuana excise tax produced $74.2 million in revenue for the second quarter of this year, according to the California Department of Tax and Fee Administration.

Yet back in January, Governor Gavin Newsom’s proposed budget predicted the state would generate $355 million in excise tax revenues for the fiscal year. That projection was later revised down again to $288 million back in May.

The shortfall is reminiscent of Michigan, where a nascent medical marijuana market has resulted in lower than expected revenue.

Adams contended the legal market faces additional expenses like the cost of testing, that the illegal market does not.

Meanwhile, there is evidence that marijuana is harmful to the developing brains of young adults. There also may be a link between marijuana and mental illness.

In January 2019 I posted an article which stated:

After an exhaustive review, the National Academy of Medicine found in 2017 that “cannabis use is likely to increase the risk of developing schizophrenia and other psychoses; the higher the use, the greater the risk.” Also that “regular cannabis use is likely to increase the risk for developing social anxiety disorder.”

…These new patterns of use have caused problems with the drug to soar. In 2014, people who had diagnosable cannabis use disorder, the medical term for marijuana abuse or addiction, made up about 1.5 percent of Americans. But they accounted for eleven percent of all the psychosis cases in emergency rooms—90,000 cases, 250 a day, triple the number in 2006. In states like Colorado, emergency room physicians have become experts on dealing with cannabis-induced psychosis.

Cannabis advocates often argue that the drug can’t be as neurotoxic as studies suggest, because otherwise Western countries would have seen population-wide increases in psychosis alongside rising use. In reality, accurately tracking psychosis cases is impossible in the United States. The government carefully tracks diseases like cancer with central registries, but no such registry exists for schizophrenia or other severe mental illnesses.

On the other hand, research from Finland and Denmark, two countries that track mental illness more comprehensively, shows a significant increase in psychosis since 2000, following an increase in cannabis use. And in September of last year, a large federal survey found a rise in serious mental illness in the United States as well, especially among young adults, the heaviest users of cannabis.

Is the extra tax revenue worth it?

Don’t Get Too Excited At The Stock Market Numbers Today

The Stock Market reached record levels today. Normally that would be cause for celebration, but if you look at the reasons behind the rise in the stock market, the news doesn’t look quite so good.

Yahoo Finance reported today that the federal government will continue putting stimulus money into the economy for the near future because the economy is not growing at a satisfactory rate.

The article reports:

The Fed predicted Wednesday that the economy will grow just 2 percent to 2.3 percent this year, down from its previous forecast in June of 2.3 percent to 2.6 percent growth.

Next year’s economic growth will be a barely healthy 3 percent, the Fed predicts.

Fed officials decided to continue their $85-billion-a-month bond purchase program, surprising most economists, who had expected a slight reduction. The bond purchases have been designed to keep long-term loan rates low to encourage spending.

So what has this got to do with the stock market? Financial people expected the Fed to begin to slow its bond purchases, which would have begun the rise of interest rates. Right now, with interest rates at record lows, and the possibility of inflation, the stock market is a logical place to invest. As the Fed begins to pull back from its bond purchases, the stock market will fall slightly, mortgage rates will increase, and we will probably begin to see some serious inflation.

The stock market is currently being propped up by the Fed. I have not heard any good guesses as to what will happen when the Fed begins to slow down the money flow.

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Underneath The Jobs Numbers

Yahoo Finance posted an article today that included the Labor Force Participation Rate in the latest jobs numbers.

According to the article:

The civilian labor force decreased by 37,000 to 155.80 million in July, while those not in the labor force rose by 240,000 to 89.96 million.

The decrease in the percentage of Americans in the labor force–63.4% last month from 63.5% the month before–is one of the main reasons for the drop in the unemployment rate–to 7.4% in July from 7.6% in June.

Many of the jobs added were part time jobs and many jobs changed from full time to part time. ObamaCare has created some serious problems for the American economy (ObamaCare is responsible for the growth of part time jobs) and will continue to do so until it is defunded and stopped. I am not sure if the Republicans in the House of Representatives are going to get anywhere with their attempts at defunding it, but I give them credit for trying.

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