Sunday, August 2, 2009

Marijuana: Government, Taxes, Corruption and the Workplace

Marijuana Seeds for SaleImage by via Flickr

There is a lot of discussion going about the relative merits of legalizing marijuana in the United States. The implications of such a decision are far reaching, even into the workplace. Hiring practices for many US employers would be affected. Legal rights versus company policy would be tested. It makes for some interesting potential issues.

One side argues that doing so would save billions of tax dollars that have been spent in the the war on drugs and provide a new tax revenue stream of federal and state taxes once pot was regulated. San Francisco Assemblyman Tom Ammiano has introduced a bill to the legislature that would legalize marijuana and regulate and tax its sale much the same as we do alcohol and cigarettes.

The other side argues that to do so would result in the ruination of the United States of America. Bill O'Reilly recently rebutted pro-legalization talk on his show by discussing the practices of the "Most liberal country in Europe", the Netherlands claiming that the laws on drugs and legalized prostitution have made Amsterdam a "cesspool of corruption".

Now a citizen of Amsterdam has used YouTube to push back on O'Reilly's claim.

Most people know that the Fox channel isn't the most objective news source on American TV. But in a pretty recent broadcast Amsterdam is so falsely portrayed as a city of crime, drugs and anarchy, that I had to show the facts.

Check out the video, and then leave your thoughts on how the legalization of marijuana might impact the workplace in the United States and the HR profession. I'd be really curious to hear comments from Dutch HR professionals on what issues they face, if any!

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