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This public service advertisement appears in the National Review, the New Republic, the American Prospect, The Nation, Reason Magazine, and The Progressive in the fall of 2007.
"Let us pay taxes!"

That's the rallying cry of a group of West Coast cannabis growers, and their raw numbers suggest it's time for us to pay attention.

According to California law enforcers, seizures of the marijuana crop in 2006 hit a record street value of $7 billion. But experts say they probably got only a tenth of the crop. If that's true, it puts the total value at $70 billion.

$70 billion in sales revenue...and the state doesn't get a cent!

Now comes an ad hoc committee of growers who propose to regulate, control and tax the weed virtually wiping out the state's structural budget deficit.

Sales taxes alone would bring in $5.77 billion. And the income taxes paid by newly taxable entrepreneurs should generate another $7 billion or so for state and local coffers.

Nationally, the federal government's take might be as much as $60 billion a year, and that's not counting the tens of billions being wasted on marijuana prohibition.

Or should we keep sending this cash windfall to criminals and their cartels?

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