All in the Family featured the curmudgeonly Archie Bunker. Archie was television’s most famous grouch, blunt, blustering, straightforward and untouched by the PC crowd. He was the archetype of the conservative male. Michael desprately tried to reeducate him, but he persisted in his breviloquence.



Looking back at the last 40 years, we realize: ARCHIE WAS RIGHT!

3/05/2014

Up in Smoke

I have often wondered what they were smoking in DC when they came up with that law.  Now we know.

D.C. Council votes to eliminate jail time for marijuana possession
Mayor Vincent C. Gray (D) intends to sign the bill, which would partially decriminalize pot by imposing civil fines rather than jail time for most offenses. The District joins 17 states that have taken similar action but doesn’t go as far as Colorado or Washington state, where voters have legalized the sale and taxation of marijuana.

I have mixed feelings over the decriminalization and/or legalization of pot.  I dislike the idea because its not my thing and I recognize the harm it does to the body and to the lives of the people using it.  I like the idea of decriminalization simply because I believe too many of our civil liberties have been sacrificed in the war on that drug.

I'm too much a realist to think that states will be happy with decriminalization.  There is too much potential tax revenue in legalization, as Colorado is proving, not to go legal and tax it.  Eventually we will see a patchwork of states that are legal and decriminalized.  The states where it is legal will benefit from the taxes imposed on pot and the states where it is merely decriminalized will see a potential for additional revenue.  It won't take long before the decriminalized states take the logical step and become legalized and taxed.

Eventually even the states that hold out and keep pot smoking as a criminal offense will become defacto decriminalized.  We are seeing that happen slowly in Wyoming now.  According to my friends in law enforcement, the price of pot is going down in Wyoming because you can get it legal in Colorado.  The quality of the drug is going up.  The combination of those two factors is increasing pot use in our state.  It is also decreasing the barriers to obtaining the drug, which is causing economic problems for mid level drug distributors.  

Who is going to pay $600 or more per OZ for illegal and questionable quality pot in WYO when a quick trip to COLO can net you a retail premo OZ for $400?  In COLO you can get certified medical marijuana starting at $60/OZ or $180/OZ for the "top self" variety.  The only thing required to get the medical discount is a medical marijuana or "red card".  Can you say "glaucoma? *wink* *wink*.  

So who is going to lose out in this situation?  Mostly Freshman and Sophomore UW students and high school kids.  For those under 21 its going to be a lot like getting the bum to buy a case of beer for you at the party store.  You gave the guy $15 for a case of Budweiser Longnecks (its been a long time since I was in high school), $12 was supposed to cover the Bud and bottle deposit and $3 was to get him a pint of something to stay warm.  When he came out of the store, what you got was a case of Natural Lite cans and his word that they didn't have any Bud.  What he got was 3 bottles of Kessler's and a pack of smokes.  Still you are 16 and some beer is better than no beer. 

That my friends is what the new drug running will look like in the pot market.  "Yeah dude this is some premo shit, see how its brown and grey"?  "Hey now $400 isn't going to cover it, I need an extra $50 for gas".  Economically it looks like a win-win for everybody but the illegal drug dealer.  Secondary costs (increased auto accidents, medical costs etc) will take a back seat to bureaucrats getting an increase in budget income. 

11 comments:

WaterBoy said...

Res Ipsa: "I dislike the idea because its not my thing and I recognize the harm it does to the body and to the lives of the people using it."

As we saw earlier, cigars and cigarettes are as bad or worse in the amount of harm they do to the body, and alcohol also carries health risks. Should this be the basis for banning all of them? Pot is not my thing either, but personal harm is a personal choice.

"So who is going to lose out in this situation? Mostly Freshman and Sophomore UW students and high school kids."

The people in that subgroup who are going to smoke pot are already doing it and paying higher prices for lower quality pot through back-alley deals than they will by going through the bum. In fact, it's probably going to be the upperclassmates and older siblings doing most of the buys for them, with a lesser surcharge.

In the end, the people losing out are the citizens of Wyoming who are getting nothing taxwise from sales across the border, while paying for higher enforcement costs within their border.

"Secondary costs (increased auto accidents, medical costs etc) will take a back seat to bureaucrats getting an increase in budget income."

Absolutely. But this is the way it works now with alcohol, why would it be different for pot?

Giraffe said...

I agree with WB.

Who is going to pay $600 or more per OZ for illegal and questionable quality pot in WYO when a quick trip to COLO can net you a retail premo OZ for $400?

Exactly. Some anti-legalization people say that the gangs aren't going to give up their living but they cannot fight the law of supply and demand. This is evidence that if we legalize drugs we cut the drug cartels off at the knees. Those people who killed tens of thousands in Mexico with our drug money.

I guess I don't care if they make it legal for tax revenue. That's more tax I don't have to pay.

WaterBoy said...

Giraffe: "Some anti-legalization people say that the gangs aren't going to give up their living but they cannot fight the law of supply and demand."

Precisely.

The cost of growing it will be slightly higher in the US because of laws requiring secure production and storage. But while the cost of production might be lower in Mexico, the cost of transportation will be much, much higher. Add into the equation that the cartels also have to factor in product losses to law enforcement/other cartels, plus their commensurate security costs, bribes, etc., and they will price themselves out of the market.

They will, however, just focus on their other drugs like cocaine and heroin. Expect the competition in those markets to get more fierce.

Giraffe said...

They will, however, just focus on their other drugs like cocaine and heroin. Expect the competition in those markets to get more fierce.

I say legalize those too. People who want to do them can get them.

The war on some drugs has some success, but it costs a lot to keep those people in jail too. We are militarizing the police.

Legalize everything. Make the producers of pot, meth, cocaine, etc. exempt from liability. Make people who use them liable for the damage they do, but pay nothing for their health problems.

Tax it if you want, but I'd rather not have the govt have a financial interest in having people addicted.

WaterBoy said...

Giraffe: "Tax it if you want, but I'd rather not have the govt have a financial interest in having people addicted."

pay nothing for their health problems = ideal
pay nothing for their health problems ≠ reality

Unfortunately, we end up paying for those who cannot, one way or another. Either we subsidize it directly through Obamacare-type programs, or we subsidize it through increased healthcare costs when doctors, hospitals, and clinics raise their fees to offset losses due to treating those unable to pay (as required by law, IIRC).

No, this isn't ideal, nor "fair", nor "right". But it is reality and it isn't likely to change.

To legalize all drugs would lead to increased healthcare costs to treat them, too. I don't have a problem with doing so, I just wanted to point out that the same issue exists with these other drugs, too, and if the reality is that we all end up paying those costs, then get some of it back from those responsible.

In other words, get the money from the users in the form of taxes when they have it, rather than trying to get it after they OD, when they don't.

Res Ipsa said...

In other words, get the money from the users in the form of taxes when they have it, rather than trying to get it after they OD, when they don't.

I agree with this. On the other hand I believe social security was sold to the voters the same way. All of the money that was "saved" for peoples retirement was pissed away as soon as they got it.

WaterBoy said...

Res Ipsa: "All of the money that was "saved" for peoples retirement was pissed away as soon as they got it."

This is true.

But just like the cigarette taxes in various states are sometimes earmarked for anti-smoking campaigns and health costs, the proceeds from taxes on drugs can be earmarked the same way. It's up to the people to ensure their legislators do this.

The legalized marijuana law in Colorado does. Out of the pot proceeds so far, the state's Joint Budge Committee requested disbursement of funds as follows:

The committee released a request to allocate $103.5 million towards the following causes: $45.5 million for the prevention of youth marijuana use; $40.4 million for treatment of substance use; $12.4 million for public health; $1.8 million for regulatory oversight; $3.2 million for law enforcement and public safety; and $200,000 for something called "statewide coordination."

This is one reason I voted to legalize it. It follows the Portugese model, which is to legalize but minimize.

Res Ipsa said...

I tend to think the money on "prevention" is wasted. I doubt anyone makes up their mind to not do pot based on government programs.

ajw308 said...

When I was a kid, Colorado was the source of a mystical elixer called Coors. There there were stories of guys driving to CO, filling their pickup, hauling the beer back, and selling it at a profit.

Seems like nothing's really changed much.

Red said...

mystical elixer called Coors

Now that is alcohol abuse!

ajw308 said...

Old timers have told me that, back in the day, Coors was like the Nectar of the Gods. Then the FDA told Coors that one of their ingredients was a known carcinogen (in CA?) and they'd either have disclose it with a warning on their cans or stop using it. They chose to stop using it.

I'm conflicted over Coors, at one time I loved it cause it was the only large brewery that wasnt unionized, then I found out that at one time there were 5 breweries in Denver, then 1 in night 4 of them mysteriously burned down.