Issues NOLA
NOPD Consent Decree
Jail Consent Decree
Firefighters Retirement Fund
Library Reserve Fund
Sewage and Water Board
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
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 3rd highest HIV rate in the U.S.
 Baton Rouge has the 2nd 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
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
 At
what point do we realize that the costs
of cannabis prohibition outweigh the
 Who benefits from prohibition?
 Prisons for profit (either a corporate or
sheriff based model)
 Does any business model aim to lower
 Law Enforcement assets can be better
used to deal with violent crime
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)
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 nonviolent offenders who are not producing
or selling
 Eliminating
these arrests will free up police,
judicial, and prison resources for violent crime
2012 FBI Statistics
Criminal Costs
 Ending
cannabis prohibition will:
Allow law enforcement to spend more time
on violent crime and dangerous drug
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
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
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
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
Create opportunity for small business- non profit
Jobs and health benefits for employees
The ripple effects i.e. security for dispensaries would
benefit surrounding communities
What Model To Employ?
 Decriminalization
 Medicinal
 Tax and Regulate model
 Dutch Model
 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
Medicinal Cannabis
 The
most compassionate model
 May face least opposition
 Treats many illness symptoms
 Must amend state law to doctor
recommendation instead of doctor
 Set up cultivation and distribution
 Ex.
Colorado requires dispensaries cultivate 70%
of cannabis sold
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
Legalize for Recreational Use
 Washington/Colorado
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.
Legalize for Recreational Use
New Orleans could be in forefront of the “Green
With hospitality the second largest industry in New
Orleans area, staying ahead of industry curve
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
Legalize for Recreational Use
 The
first state to pursue this will receive the fiscal
 Don’t let Mississippi beat us like they did with
 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
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
 Lead the nation in this model
 Reap the rewards of leading industry
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”
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 bestmedicinal only, recreational, or Dutch
 Build new alliances
 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
Pitfalls of Potential Legislation
Bans patient cultivation or distribution, implicitly or
Places unreasonable restrictions on where
distribution can be located
Establishes unreasonable limits on cultivation or
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
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
Limit public marketing
Ban public consumption
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
 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)
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
“ All that is necessary
for the triumph of evil is
for good men to do
-Edmund Burke

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