Thursday, December 17, 2009

The Idiot's Guide to Why Marijuana Legalization Is Bad

Yes, one ballot initiative has acquired the necessary signatures in California. We will be facing one legalization (at least) initiative next year.

Most people, when I ask them, favor legalization. So what does legalization mean to them?

1. It will be regulated.
2. It will be taxed.
3. DUI laws for THC will eventually get on the books.
4. You'll buy it at liquor stores, or pharmacies, and people won't be going to jail anymore.

The initiative that is going to be on the ballot doesn't look anything like that. I'll post more on that later.

For now, here's something to make you laugh because I do get ever so tired of the arguments stoners put forth on why legalization should happen. I decided to take a KISS approach (KEEP IT SIMPLE STUPID) to countering pro-legalization arguments. Here’s my first stab.

Legalization would do away with the black market, and reduce crime. Oh, you mean like dispensaries have? What a boon to society they’ve been! Storefronts crowding in on every corner, armed robberies, shootings, advertising pot to kids, and enormous Mexican cartel grows worth hundreds of millions of dollars up in the mountains. Wow, I can’t even go hiking up there anymore in case I stumble on a grow and get shot. Where are those environmentalists when you need them???? Looks like near-legalization INCREASED the black market and crime, and wildly. It moved the Mexican cartels to THIS side of the border. Can hardly wait to see what happens with legalization. Prediction: black market will INCREASE again!!! (see tax situation below for explanation why)

Legalization would save us so much money in enforcement. There are 254 people behind bars for crimes strictly related to marijuana in this state.

Wow. We're going to write a whole initiative for them?????

We’d immediately trade enforcement costs for the enormous cost of increased regulation by the government. The ATF would become the MATF. DUI laws and enforcement, alcohol and tobacco regulation all cost ENORMOUS sums of money. When have you ever known government to do anything both effectively and inexpensively?

Law enforcement is beginning to look cheap in comparison...

We could tax it and regulate it. See above for the regulation argument = increased costs. As for taxing, true enough, but the incredibly high tax rates on cigarettes and alcohol pay about 1/8th of the social cost they produce. Why should we increase this already ridiculous load? 

The money raised from taxing legal marijuana would put California in the black. This must be some of that ‘new math’. Didn’t the banks try this? ‘If we give loans to people who can’t afford houses, we’ll get rich!’ Even if we accept Amiano’s wildly inflated $1.4 billion in annual revenues, that’s a tiny amount against an $86.4 billion budget with $10 billion projected deficit. It doesn’t even make a dent. Further, to generate $1.4 billion in taxes, you’d have to tax legalized marijuana at a rate of about 60%. Like the pot smokers would sign up for that...can’t you just hear the whining that will ensue? ‘But alcohol and cigarettes aren’t taxed that high...and they’re so much worse!’ Watch for the black market to crank up in the face of 60% tax rates. Marketing pitch for the black market: ‘Think of the money you could be saving, instead of paying it to the government, those thieving swines!’

Marijuana is just a plant. It’s natural, from natural ingredients. Um, ok.
Vodka = potatoes
Wine = grapes
Cigarettes = tobacco plants
Beer = hops
Opium + heroin = poppies (such pretty flowers! Remember them from that Wizard of Oz scene?)
Crack + cocaine = cocoa leaves
Coffee = coffee plant beans
Chocolate = cocoa beans
Cholesterol blockers = blueberry extracts

Hmmm...seems a lot of things are made from plants...all very natural. Why is marijuana special again?

Marijuana is ancient, it’s been with us for centuries.
Ditto for the above list, except for the cholesterol blockers. But then again, you could always just eat the blueberries...or stay away from McDonald’s.

If you’d just educate your kids...if you’d just stop increasing my parental burden, we’d get along fine.

Marijuana is useful in treating so many illnesses. And if you were smart, you’d shut up. Big Pharma will hear you, and start using that same rallying cry to take over the cultivation, distribution, and retail of pot. You’ll be buying your weed from Merck, and paying them big profits. Along with that 60% tax to get California out of debt. Doesn’t that black market look better by the minute?????

Wednesday, December 16, 2009

The Moratorium is IN

It's certainly not perfect, and it's a token gesture to us, the supposed hysterical 12-steppers, but it's in.

The way the council rigged it is:

1. For 45 days, possibly to be extended under the new council for up to one year (though Das and Grant would NEVER go for that)
2. Passing the revised ordinance will lift the moratorium (Dale, Hotchkiss, and Self will NEVER go for that)
3. City continues to process applications for completeness, even though these would be for dispensaries and not the non-profit collectives. Mayor Marty Blum did not know that's what they were passing, but Mayor-Elect Helene Schneider motioned for it last week, and it was obviously written in there by Grant and Das as a gesture or lifeline to dispensaries to get to stay in queue until the new ordinance passes. I am guessing Helene, Grant, and Das met beforehand to agree on their strategy, which is:
Look tough by motioning for the moratorium, knowing it's a token gesture with a back-door loophole. They did this so they could claim the high ground and say they are tough on dispensaries.

It's in. That's all that matters. Now, for the legalization fight....and it's going to be a doozie!!!