Frank-Paul Marijuana Bill Seen as Unlikely to Boost Jobs

Frank-Paul  Marijuana Bill For decades, a steadfast group of Americans have called for the decriminalization of marijuana, liking its use to that of alcohol and cigarettes, which of course are legal.

On Thursday, two U.S. lawmakers lent their support to the cause, introducing legislation that would eliminate marijuana from the federal government's list of controlled substances.

The bill, sponsored by U.S. Reps. Barney Frank, D-Mass., and Ron Paul, R-Texas, wouldn't legalize marijuana, but would leave states to decide how to regulate it.


Saving the Government Billions?

In announcing the proposed repeal, Frank said that he doesn't encourage people to use marijuana just as he doesn't promote alcohol or tobacco use. "But in none of these cases do I think prohibition enforced by criminal sanctions is good public policy."

Further, the Boston-area lawmaker said, "Criminally prosecuting adults for making the choice to smoke marijuana is a waste of law enforcement resources and an intrusion on personal freedom."

A recent study by the Cato Institute, a libertarian think-tank, found that legalizing marijuana would save federal, state and local governments $8.7 billion a year, money now spent enforcing the drug's prohibition. A similar amount in revenue would be derived through taxes from the legal sale of marijuana at a time when governments at every level are facing massive deficits, the report showed.

What isn't clear is what federal decriminalization of marijuana might mean for jobs. For example, law-enforcement officers now tasked with targeting and arresting those who grow and use marijuana would instead be allocated to some other police function, says Jeffrey A. Miron, a senior lecturer in economics at Harvard University and a co-author of the report.


An Industry in the Shadows

Further, Miron tells AOL Jobs, predictions of employment growth in industries that support growing and using marijuana are "hopeful or misguided ... because, basically, all that's happening now. It's just not being counted as part of the official economy."

So while measured employment might well go up among those who, say, grow marijuana legally -- since illegal growers aren't now counted -- "the actual number of marijuana farmers wouldn't be any different," Miron says.

Moreover, he notes that in some places, such as those states where medical marijuana use has been legalized, components of marijuana production, such as fertilizer sales, already are being recorded.


Workers Who Use

There's another aspect of employment that could see change, though it isn't in the proposal that Frank put forth Thursday. It's in one that the lawmaker introduced last month that would reclassify marijuana from its current status as a dangerous drug with no medical value and allow its use as a prescription drug in states that permit such use.

The bill, should it pass, would aid workers who use medical marijuana during non-working hours to treat pain, depression or other maladies. Currently, workers in some of the 16 states that allow medical marijuana use can be legally fired from their jobs should they fail drug screening as a condition of employment.

In addition, a state government's stamp of medical marijuana approval doesn't eliminate the possibility that users, dispensers or growers won't be arrested by local and state law enforcement officials, using the federal ban as a reason, says Kris Hermes of the medical-marijuana advocacy organization, Safe Access Now.

"It doesn't make much sense, but that is often the justification" for such arrests, he says.

While Frank's reclassification bill doesn't specifically address workers' rights, Hermes says, "it would invariably compel states to remove such discriminatory policies if they exist."

Next: If Medical Marijuana Is Legal, Why Are Employees Getting Fired for Using It?


Stories from CNN Money


Filed under: Employment News

David Schepp

Staff Writer

David Schepp has spent more than a dozen years covering business news for the electronic and print media, including Dow Jones Newswires, BBC News, Gannett Co., and most recently at AOL's DailyFinance. Nearly 10 years ago, he started writing a weekly People@Work column, looking in depth at issues facing workers in today's workplace. The syndicated column appeared in newspapers and websites nationwide before it made its debut on DailyFinance in 2010. Schepp now continues that tradition at Aol Jobs, covering the jobs beat and providing readers insight and analysis into the nation's challenging employment scene.

Schepp holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in journalism from Metropolitan State College of Denver.

Follow David on Twitter.
Email David at david.schepp@huffingtonpost.com. Add David to your Google+ circles.

Add a Comment

*0 / 3000 Character Maximum

488 Comments

Filter by:
abonable

One trillion dollars has been spent on the war on drugs. Why would politicians care if spending gets more out of control. America and it's economy are doomed.

June 27 2011 at 12:31 PM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Loren

Loren Sauers
‎1 Chronicles 29:12-13, Both riches and honor come from You, And You reign over all. In Your hand is power and might; In Your hand it is to make great And to give strength to all. “Now therefore, our God, We thank You And praise Your glorious name.

June 27 2011 at 6:48 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
bowhunterbob

it does effect the mind, long term use promotes mental disorders, this has been proven in many studies. but it would reduce the massive debt obama has put on this country, if taxed. as a motorcycle rider im worries about another stoned person out there not knowingly running over me.

June 27 2011 at 6:28 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
tnjim36

Dave, I see you put a lot of time into your research, Paul represents TX not Tennessee. I do support this bill, and it is easy to see how uninformed and media manipulated many of the posters are on this site.

June 27 2011 at 6:25 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
David Todd

Lucky13,you hit the nail on the head.Hemp was used in the 1800s for rope and other goods.Its nice to see you know your history.

June 27 2011 at 4:51 AM Report abuse +3 rate up rate down Reply
David Todd

Its about time our tax dollars are spent helping people in this country.End hunger in the u.s.a. Going after pot is like pissing in the wind.

June 27 2011 at 4:46 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
lucky13thday

...just do the right thing and legalize it already. It's ridiculous to think any differently. George Washington encouraged people to grow it. It's a fantastic financial crop(all drug use aside), think rope, plastics, bio-fuel, PAPER(1 acres makes 4 times as much as an acre of trees), clothing, and the list just goes on. We have demonized a plant for Christs sake. The strongest natural fiber on the planet, not to mention it's natural oil content.

When Schepp talks about creating jobs, he's simply looking at the plant for it's intoxicating effects, but when legal it can be grown as a fiber crop once more. Which is a massive boom to any economy. Again why can't we grow our own rope? consider this, your constitution is written on paper made from the same plant that people want to smoke legally, the first flags were all made from it, and all those ships sailing around the world, had ropes and sails made from it.

Of course now we make ropes from chemicals, and paper from trees, and shirts from polyester....

You want a better world legalize it.

June 27 2011 at 4:29 AM Report abuse +6 rate up rate down Reply
Hi Bill

If smoking marijuana becomes as popular as beer the cost to the government will go up as health care costs should rise significantly. However, the criminalization of intoxicants just creates a crime wave and causes a lot of people to be housed at great expense to the public. I have never smoked marijuana and don't plan to. I have drunk alcohol so I am not saying I am better than some other person. I think we must teach personal responsibility and not do the same things we did with prohibition days and create a crime wave which causes too many to find an easy way to make money and ruin their lives.To stop crime syndicates from killing and profiting and trying to destroy America we must make these things which have a dark side availible without crime and therefore without profit. Many will be lost. They will die and probably kill others in the process but I strongly feel the numbers will look better than today. The extra money could offer rehab and education. We need to try a new approach as the way we are going is not working. I am not denigrating law enforcement or endorsing the use of drugs. I am being realistic due to the idea that one can not deny what people may call pleasure from them. They will find a way to get the drugs. The drugs are even in prison. From Kolkata footdoc004@aol.com

June 27 2011 at 3:44 AM Report abuse +1 rate up rate down Reply
skf2011

Please tell me that marijuana does not have any long term effects. Do try that one on me. I live in a town with a large amount of long term users. They make wonderful gas station attendants and sidewalk ornaments.

June 27 2011 at 2:36 AM Report abuse -6 rate up rate down Reply
2 replies to skf2011's comment
jamman Nick

Way to support stereotypes. Ted turner who owns cnn smokes a joint everyday. It has to do with the person using the drug, just like every person who drinks doesn't experience long term side effects like liver disease and cancer. So compared to tobacco and alcohol, marijuana doesn't have long term side effects that aren't speculative hippy stereotypes assumed by the ignorant. No scientific studies, or deaths. Just you thinking you have the right to make a scientific statement like that with nothing backing it up but petty observation.

June 27 2011 at 2:53 AM Report abuse +7 rate up rate down Reply
slydemcgee

I know hundreds people who smoke daily unless some have a drugtest for work coming up. And they are Doctors, nurses, Lawyers, Sciencetists Policemen, computer programmers, and people who work at stores many own their own businesses have smoked with a mayor once also! And many have familys and kids and they always super great parents and take care good of their chidren. They never get stoned and say i thiink i dont want to take care of their kids, and same for work all i know that smoke are some of most hardworking honest people you have ever know. Dont know any lazy maryjane smokers everyone that i know that is lazy drinks lotsss of Beer and alcohol, or adddicted to pain pills, crack, Meth bigtime too! But the whole reason mary should be legalized is it wayy safer than all other drugs and Alchol and cigarettes. Mary jame doesnt kill anyone every year, around 400,000 die every year from pills, Alcohol kills around 300,000 people per year and not to mention you drink too much alcohol and you die instantly!(you cannot od on maryjane and if you never smoked one beer messes me up more than smoking all day) And cigarettes kill about 250,000 a year and give you cancer and smoking pot will not give you cancer!

June 28 2011 at 11:43 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply
Mastajtrx

ppl are goin to do it wheather its leagal or not.. that's the facts. So it might as well be legal. Though it isn't, and even if it nevet becomes "legal".. people will do as they please.

June 27 2011 at 2:08 AM Report abuse +5 rate up rate down Reply
1 reply to Mastajtrx's comment
magicactor1987

I'm not going to say where I stand, but your argument is extremely flawed.

Just because people will do it does not necessarily mean it should be legal. You can apply the same argument to theft, murder, rape, driving under the influence. . . .

You should find a better argument.

June 27 2011 at 3:54 AM Report abuse rate up rate down Reply

Search Jobs

In Partnership With
Keywords:
Location:

Search Articles

Top Companies Hiring

April 20 - April 27

Looking for work? See what companies added new openings this week.