Sunday, January 5, 2014

The Trap

In my younger days I tried marijuana a couple of times. Unlike Bill Clinton I inhaled. I stopped using it after those 2 times since I didn't like what it did to me. I'm a Type A person and while I really, really could use something to cool my jets, anything I use tends to take the entire stuffing out of me which renders me entirely useless and unable to do anything except sit and grin. I certainly don't have a problem with others using it, I just don't like it for me.

When Colorado and Washington legalized it's use, I thought it a good thing. I think it should be legal and available for whoever wants to partake for whatever reason. I paid 0 attention to the entire subject until Friday when I logged into Twitter and started reading tweets from Goldie Taylor. Miss Taylor is an MSNBC contributor and one of the few whose opinions interest me.

The legalization of weed is a liberal issue, and when two states did so there was a lot of celebrating and dancing in the Twitter streets. It looked, on the surface, like a liberal win, which surprised me since Colorado is a Tea Party State.

Miss Taylor read the information on the law and began tweeting about the flaws she found in it. Essentially, in her opinion, and mine, it's little more than a way for the state to make more tax money while preserving it's number one industry, the prison system.

The law states you may have weed on you ONLY if purchased from a state licensed dealer. State licensed dealers are charging close to $500 an ounce plus a 25% state sales tax. This means buying marijuana is legal for the rich and not for the poor.

Colorado prisons are privatized. The company which operates them has a contract with the state that requires the state to provide a certain number of bodies to be incarcerated. On the surface, this new marijuana law would have reduced the number of incarcerated since it stopped making possession anything more than a misdemeanor offence for which a fine would be levied. That would apply only if the possessor displayed the weed or opened the bag. I'm assuming the holder of the weed would have some sort of receipt proving the weed was purchased legally.

For the poverty stricken in the state of Colorado and in many other states, illegal sale of weed is a major source of income. Given the price of legal weed this will still hold true for the most part simply because residents in those neighborhoods aren't going to be able to afford the price of legal weed.

Legal dealers are paying a premium for their licenses, they aren't going to tolerate a loss of sales to a cheaper illegal dealer, so I would think they'll start turning them in. The state is rubbing it's hands together and mentally spending that 25% sales tax that they have probably been fantasizing over since the people chose to legalize weed. If those figures aren't where they believe them to be I'd be looking for the state to begin cracking down on the illegal sales which will then provide the bodies necessary to feed the prison industry.

I can't really find much to celebrate in this law, but like all things without any history to examine and form a conclusion on, we simply have to wait and see. As it stands right now, this isn't anything to crow about.


  1. Are prisons still a growth industry? I had thought that states were beginning to realize the futility (read: cost) of incarcerating larger and larger numbers of potential taxpayers, especially for drug offenses. Obviously I was wrong.

    1. Private prisons are contracted for decades at a time. Some contracts are 20 year jobs. In state systems, the growth has stopped. Most of those are blue states I think. Prisons are still Colorado's #1 industry. What else would you expect from the home of Michelle Malkin?

  2. Private prisons are indeed scary. What next!
    Sin taxes. That's what they used to call taxes on liquor in Oklahoma. Heck, maybe they still do.
    All I can say is the U.S. is not getting any better. What irks me lately is how medical centers and doctors are so against narcotics but don't stop to ask why in the last few years people have gotten so seriously into narcotics. I think perhaps it has much to do with Big Pharma wanting to sell their synthetic drugs and not liking the competition. Something like that. You know money is behind it regardless.

    1. In nys where I live, the face of pain management is changing. Drs have been prescribing Oxycontin for problems that could be managed with acupuncture, physical therapy and meditation. I'm now seeing 30 to 50 yr olds in the low income housing building I have clients in who no longer are using those motorized chairs to get around in. Some of them feel so much better they're actually trying to find jobs and get off disability. This was necessary because the insurance companies were not willing to pay for the drugs unless all the other methods have been tried.

      We're a nation that has become so fearful and lazy that we turn to substances to make us feel better rather than take responsibility to alter our behaviors. A catch 22 downward spiral that many don't see as a problem.

      Unfortunately we don't seem to see our problems until it's nearly too late.

  3. I am surprised that the pharmaceuticals aren't trying to get into the business of pot... perhaps tying it up with patents.
    the Ol'Buzzard

    1. Marijuana is still illegal on the federal level and since it's not something they developed, not sure they could patent it. If they find an alternative use for it they might be able to patent the product developed for that.

      Those still supporting Colorado's law as the answer to the legalization prayer flat are refusing to see that it can't stop the black market sales due to the price and the loss of income to the illegal seller. This law is good only for the affluent and the state.