New York State: Why Weed Is the Other Side of Wall Street
The parallels between prohibition and cannabis legalization.
We used to play for silver, now we play for life.
-- Grateful Dead
There was an article in yesterday's New York Post about how NYC comptroller and mayoral candidate John Liu has a plan to legalize and tax marijuana in New York. I found the topic particularly interesting -- and not because I've been to 60-odd Grateful Dead shows in my day.
When I spoke about My Single Best Investment Idea of the Next Decade last year, I offered that the legalization of cannabis would achieve several meaningful objectives: It would lower the crime rate, add jobs, alleviate the overcrowded prison population, and perhaps most importantly, drive much-needed tax revenue.
Given the state of our union -- which is entirely different than the all-time high in the stock market (pun intended) -- it's been my long-held view that we will need a healthy dose of austerity measures and higher taxation to bridge the chasm between perception and reality.
Nobody wants higher taxation, but if it's an unavoidable reality, why not tax things folks "want" rather than what they "need"? I've been a proponent of a sugar tax, for instance, as it would tackle two issues: increase tax revenue and lower long-term health-care costs.
As a registered independent -- socially liberal and fiscally conservative -- these policies make sense to me, particularly in a time when so many political decisions don't.
Unfortunately, as has been the case throughout history, tangible shifts in public policy -- such as the repeal of prohibition coming out of the Great Depression -- tend to happen as a function of need rather than want. Nothing like a good old-fashioned crisis to change the way people feel about hot-button issues.
Of course, you know it don't come easy. I was speaking with one of the world's leading authorities on cannabis this week, and when I asked her if cannabis will be legalized in New York, her reply was an almost too quick "No shot." Indeed, despite some 61% of New Yorkers favoring the use of medical marijuana, the NY State Legislature seems set in their old school ways.
Yesterday, we talked about how some analysts are predicting that upward of 100,000 Wall Street jobs may soon be cut. Citigroup (NYSE:C) and Morgan Stanley (NYSE:MS) have both announced plans for job cuts in the first three months of next year; in total, 21,000 positions will be eliminated.
It would be terrific if politicians and policymakers had the foresight to identify a budgetary gap-fill prior to the next crisis rather than scrambling for a solution after the damage is done.
Follow Todd and over 30 professional traders as they share their ideas in real-time with a FREE 14 day trial to Buzz & Banter.
Todd Harrison is the founder and Chief Executive Officer of Minyanville. Prior to his current role, Mr. Harrison was President and head trader at a $400 million dollar New York-based hedge fund. Todd welcomes your comments and/or feedback at firstname.lastname@example.org.
The information on this website solely reflects the analysis of or opinion about the performance of securities and financial markets by the writers whose articles appear on the site. The views expressed by the writers are not necessarily the views of Minyanville Media, Inc. or members of its management. Nothing contained on the website is intended to constitute a recommendation or advice addressed to an individual investor or category of investors to purchase, sell or hold any security, or to take any action with respect to the prospective movement of the securities markets or to solicit the purchase or sale of any security. Any investment decisions must be made by the reader either individually or in consultation with his or her investment professional. Minyanville writers and staff may trade or hold positions in securities that are discussed in articles appearing on the website. Writers of articles are required to disclose whether they have a position in any stock or fund discussed in an article, but are not permitted to disclose the size or direction of the position. Nothing on this website is intended to solicit business of any kind for a writer's business or fund. Minyanville management and staff as well as contributing writers will not respond to emails or other communications requesting investment advice.
Copyright 2011 Minyanville Media, Inc. All Rights Reserved.
Daily Recap Newsletter