The Legalization Scare

In a post about shifting attitudes about pot legalization, Mark Kleiman asserts that legalization will lead to a substantial increase in the prevalence of cannabis-related drug abuse disorder: I'd regard an increase of only 50% as a pleasant surprise, and if I had to guess I'd guess at something like a doubling."

Mark is fond of arguing that legalization would result in increasing drug use but he rarely provides any evidence to support his assertions. [More...]

And there's good reason to be skeptical that legalization would yield the sort of huge increases in use/abuse that Kleiman predicts because, well, drugs of all kinds are readily available to anyone who wants to experiment with them. Cocaine and heroin are just as available now as they were in 1980 and these drugs have become a lot cheaper since then, too.

But even if Kleiman is correct that drug abuse will increase as a result of legalization there also would be significant positive outcomes from legalization that, I believe, would more than offset the negatives. Spending on prisons and jails--which is unacceptably high--would decrease. Monies would be available for treatment which has a much greater effect on reducing demand for drugs than arrest and prosecution. Law enforcement would be freed up to deal with violent, truly harmful crimes such as rape and armed robbery. Much of the profits would be drained from the cartels currently destabilizing our neighbors across the border.

No drug policy will yield entirely positive outcomes. But we currently have a drug policy that has brought consistently, overwhelmingly awful results--the highest incarceration rate in the world, steady availability of illicit drugs, the under-funding of treatment, dollar eradiction plans in Colombia that simply fail and waste billions of dollars in the process--and legalization, while not perfect, would remedy many of the negatives.

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    Rock & Roll destroys everything (5.00 / 2) (#13)
    by koshembos on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:22:02 AM EST
    Some of us remember the days when Rock & Roll was considered a grave danger to the world we know. Kleiman, one of the wiser bloggers and one of the founding fathers of CDS, ignores the experience of the Holland and many Middle Eastern cultures.

    When in elementary school our Arab playmates had hashish they could get easily. The Arab community wasn't more drugged than Kleiman is. Some used it, most didn't.

    No, the sky is not falling. May be we should delegalize CDS, it seem to affect the brain.

    How much 'drug policy' can we afford? (5.00 / 1) (#28)
    by SeeEmDee on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:46:18 AM EST
    Times are getting tighter, and Uncle Sam will have to do some major belt tightening if we are to meet Mr. Obama's projected halving of the National Debt. And that means getting rid of things that don't work...like the DrugWar. And re-legalizing things that were made illegal mainly to keep them out of the hands of 'the degenerate races' as one famous prohibitionist put it will go a long way towards putting America's finances back into the 'black'.

    Personal Responsibility (2.00 / 1) (#4)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 03:52:34 AM EST
    Ingesting mind and mood altering substances makes sense to some people. No problem, there. Chemical dependency is a medical issue.

    However, considering the sorts of challenges we're all going to face with increased competition for jobs and places in good schools, I'm un-convinced that legalizing drugs will improve society in any way. There may be no connection between the sorts of societies we see in the North Africa, the Middle East and central Asia and marijuana consumption, but I'm not in in any hurry to find out.

    If you think smoking dope is non-addictive, harmless, and not a bad way to spend an evening hand some to your sister's kid. Or your own. If you're un-willing to give drugs to your kids, then maybe you've got some reservations about the entire exercise.

    The problem is not the legality or the illegality of drugs. It's about individuals deciding that drugs are the answer. They are, for some people.

    I'm not one of them and I choose to live among people who feel the same way. Legalizing marijuana is a terrible idea, imho. Locking folks up is equally crazy. A sensible system of fines makes sense to me.

    We don't want our kids exposed to dope, the people who use dope, or the people who think using dope is ok.

    Others may feel differently. I propose mandatory drug-testing for parents and all school employees, especially teachers.

    So, the inevitable (5.00 / 1) (#6)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:20:48 AM EST
    question must be asked; would criminalizing beer be acceptable?

    I'm sure you realize that the term, "dope," is analogous to the term, "taxes." The gamut runs from poor quality pot to truly, deadly crack cocaine. While taxes can define the 1% Bush recipients to a broad based progressive tax.

    My problem with this whole business is that it's not being debated in a cognitive, rational manner, but used as a political football in the one-line sound bite culture we live in.

    Also, ingesting mind altering substances didn't start in 1974 with "Nixon's War on Drugs," but has been used by people, and societies since time began. Take another analogy, sex. You can pass all the laws you want, or preach "abstinence only," but people are going to do it, and always have. People are simply hard-wired to want to feel a little better, and whether it's beer, or pot, you're not going to fight Mother Nature.......and win.


    and as KurtV sometimes put it (none / 0) (#9)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:37:23 AM EST
    we're all a little happy, deep-down, to slowly commit suicide...

    the human race as a whole is, at least KurtV would argue...(and considering all the war and violence it would be hard to argue against his notion)


    What? (5.00 / 1) (#19)
    by kdog on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:00:09 AM EST
    We don't want our kids exposed to dope, the people who use dope, or the people who think using dope is ok.

    Not for nothing, the kids already are, ya can't shield them from reality...dope exists and people like it.  I like it, I have an inalienable natural right to use it, and I happen to think I'm an excellent baby-sitter:)


    then (none / 0) (#7)
    by boredmpa on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:30:39 AM EST
    You should seriously start your own private commune/cooperative/school or send your kids to one, because last I checked the constitution supports freedom of opinion and of speech.

    "or the people who think using dope is ok."

    And as to testing parents and teachers for pot use, you are really in the minority with those ideas.

    Besides, a test of all school employees or parents would fail a constitutional challenge and a test of teachers would fail voter support in most states. Not to mention that random testing would lead to increased Pharma usage that has stronger and more lasting side effects but is more acceptable under current law.

    And lets not forget that random testing of pot for students leads to increased prescription drug use.  Teachers wouldn't need to do anything more than schedule an appointment with their doctor concerning their stress level and 1984 environment.


    I think there is a balance to be found here... (none / 0) (#8)
    by of1000Kings on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:34:31 AM EST
    legalizing marijuana within certain federal regulations like licenses for businesses selling more than a certain amount would go a long way in changing a lot of bad problems that the U.S. has, much in the way that repealing prohibition probably changed a lot of problems that prohibition itself created...

    I think the balance is in a slight adjustment of attitude towards marijuana, or at least the marijuana user, in the U.S., but obviously not going as far as a full-blown 'hippy-esque' change...

    we want to let adults (meaning those over 18 or 21, assuming 21 since that's the age for alcohol) make an informed decision about marijuana, but we want them to be able to make their own decision...

    on the other hand we also need to maintain strong eduction about the use and abuse of mj, and the difference between using and abusing...I'm not sure that youngsters get a strong education right now given the high propaganda of most DARE-like programs, but young Americans still need to know that there may be risks involved.

    This is the balance:  legalizing marijuana so that the intended benefits can be reaped along with a slight change in the attitude of America towards MJ (at this point MJ users are treated fairly badly in America, especially in red states--why should a MJ user be made to feel like a criminal when the people who destroy our economy like bankers and investors are applauded and respected) but without encouraging more youngsters to use (although, as stated earlier it would be illegal for those under 21 to use anyway)...

    a bill would need to legalize while at the same time strengthen the education system and the rehab system...

    I think we're starting to see a pretty decent change in attitude outside of maybe red states like SC and Missouri (where even decriminalization would be hard to press, much less legalization)...there are a growing number of states and counties that are decriminalizing, and hopefully the rest of America is starting to see the damage that the WOD has done to America, it's financial problems and it's neighboring countries...

    even decriminalization along with a slight attitude adjustment in America would go a long way in restoring a higher level of faith in the country's masses for many citizens like myself...

    I just think the benefits are too great to ignore (a spike in the economy/GDP, a raise in tax revenues/licensing fees for growers and distributors of larger quantities, less money given to the HUGELY CORRUPT private prisons, less tax money spent encarcerating non-violent offenders, less healthy and work-ready young males taken out of the job pool, less families broken up...I could probably go on)

    obviously there are a lot of people that make money off of mj being illegal, and those industries probably have a lot of money with which to lobby ('public defenders' probably being the biggest industry: cops and lawyers)...again, it's like the Priest who meets the nearly-dead Devil...he has a chance to kill the devil but decides instead to nurse the devil back to health b/c he realizes he would be out of a job with the devil gone...in America we have an attitude that what's best for me and my family is more important than what's best for the community as a whole...I guess that's an arguable fault of capitalism, if maybe just an arguably small crack...


    I'll try to reply to (5.00 / 0) (#10)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:11:21 AM EST
    all three sensible responses.

    I agree locking people up for crimes of possession or use is waste of time and money. I see no real reason to make a distinction between marijuana, cocaine, tobacco; or beer. Fines for use should be determined by individual communities. Alcohol use among minors or when operating vehicles is illegal. I see no reason to allow young folks to use or be exposed to any drugs.

    My point is that many folks don't drink much, don't smoke and don't feel the need or desire to ingest chemicals to modify their moods. This seems normal to me, but North Americans and westerners in general seem to believe life with chemicals is somehow emptier.

    It's the illusion of improved living induced by modifications in brain chemistry I question.

    As folks point out, there's plenty of room for agreement and disagreement.

    The current situation isn't working; and, while I agree there are far better ways for the government to be spending money, legalizing drugs doesn't seem likely to improve anything but the government bottom line. Is there a downside?

    Not, if you don't mind kids smoking dope.

    Set a positive example? Makes more sense to me.


    Improvements through legalization (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by Pete Guither on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:38:22 PM EST
    You say
    legalizing drugs doesn't seem likely to improve anything but the government bottom line

    Actually it would improve quite a number of things.  Right now the entire growth  and distribution of marijuana is done through criminal channels. Notice the violence in Mexico?  Some of that is marijuana.  Legalization takes that money away from the cartels.  How about the gangs in your streets?  Legalization takes away their power.  What about the criminals growing pot in our national forests damaging the environment?  Legalization stops that in its tracks.  What about the destruction of the inner cities and families through over-incarceration and the violence of the militarized police?  Legalize pot and you'll reduce it.

    You don't like kids smoking dope?  Then why are you opposed to an age limit?  Legalization allows you to set an age limit.  Today's sellers of cannabis don't ask for ID.

    If you're concerned about the negative effects of "smoking dope" then there are better ways of dealing with that that can only occur in a legalized system, just like we have been reducing tobacco addiction (without making it illegal) through education, etc. (and tobacco's a much more dangerous drug than marijuana).

    As far as the modifications in brain chemistry, that happens through eating chocolate, having sex, or having a religious experience.  Want to outlaw those, too?


    without chemicals (none / 0) (#11)
    by kidneystones on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 05:13:53 AM EST
    that should read: life without chemicals seems emptier to some folks.

    Freudian slip, perhaps.


    More Likely (none / 0) (#1)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 01:45:50 AM EST
    Drug abuse will recede with moving it into a medical framework rather than a police framework, imo, or at worst stay the same.

    In Mexico over 5000 people were killed last year because of the US drug trade. It is no longer worth investing another cent in the WOD, imo. That money can be better spent on drug education, treatment and social services.

    Sam Quinones wrote an excellent piece on how US illegal drug purchases is destroying Mexico. Well worth a read. The drug gangs are out of control   because there is so much money to be made. $25 bil.

    Wow, Global Warming (5.00 / 0) (#5)
    by NYShooter on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 04:00:50 AM EST
    has been solved; Hell has frozen over.

    I agree...lol

    My head hurts.


    To manage the transition, (none / 0) (#16)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:26:34 AM EST
    I think they should make it really, really inexpensive and wait before putting extra taxes on it. Otherwise, the underground will still own the market. Force the prices to a tiny fraction of what they are now getting, and the industry will no longer be so attractive.

    with good reason: (none / 0) (#2)
    by cpinva on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:22:40 AM EST
    but he rarely provides any evidence to support his assertions.

    there is no empirical evidence, that has passed peer review, which supports such an assertion. pot, while clearly not good for you (anything you smoke can't possibly be good for you), has never been proven to have any of the negative aspects associated with nearly any other drug, including alcohol and tobacco.

    there is no recorded instance of someone suffering from pot OD, or dying as the result of ingesting too much of it. about the worse thing that can happen to you, as a consequence of smoking pot, is to be arrested. ok, scarfing up that 5lb can of peanuts is a close second.

    however, those pot arrests mean lots of money for lots of people, people who will fight tooth, nail and lie to keep it illegal.

    btw, the first two links in your post don't seem to work.

    i present (none / 0) (#3)
    by boredmpa on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 02:45:49 AM EST
    the vaporizer

    personally, i think vaporizer based marijuana usage is probably significantly healthier physically and mentally than regular alcohol partying... if we want to go down the drug comparison route.  

    I wouldn't head down that route, but the article did predict a rise in "abuse" and I would counter that with even if there were such a rise it would be balanced by a massive reduction in alcohol abuse (and sales).


    Probably will be an increase in either (none / 0) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:34:59 AM EST
    usage or "abuse" depending on how one defines it. At least in the beginning. There may be a few who decide if it's legal they can smoke it outside where the cigarette smokers are getting their "fix". Employers will complain over the additional policing of policies they will need to do, and it will possibly add some costs to them.

    But, overall, legalizing marijuana IMHO is long overdue. I wonder, though, will the prisons let out all those who are incarcerated for mj related crimes?


    alcohol use in prohibition (none / 0) (#35)
    by diogenes on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:00:05 PM EST
    Alcohol use disorders went down during Prohibition, albeit at great cost.  People want to raise cigarette taxes to decrease nicotine dependence (legal pot would be cheaper and more easily available).  Admit the obvious and say that legalization is better on the whole despite the coming increase in use and in cannibis abuse/dependence.

    90% of crappy jobs (none / 0) (#37)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:52:03 AM EST
    already drug test...
    they wouldn't need to change their policies just b/c mj is legal...if they still want to drug test let them drug test...whatever...not many people who use substances want to work for one of the drone companies anyway, where they treat their employees like inventory (WM, Home Depot, Target...any of the major retailers)...

    and obviously most warehouse and mechanical/labor jobs drug test too..

    I don't see how it would change much for most companies operating in the US...

    although, to be fair, they should also 'test' for alcohol use (b/c as with the drug tests, it doesn't matter whether or not you only use on your own time)


    This (none / 0) (#12)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 06:16:34 AM EST
    conservative is all for legalization, Ethan, but one question:
    If legalized and a person makes their own decision to take the drugs and is then hooked, they are on their own dime for getting unhooked, correct?

    We are paying for prisons (5.00 / 1) (#24)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:56:53 AM EST
    So what is the point of your question? At 20k plus per year to house prisoners not including court costs which comes from the taxpayers to house non violent dope smokers, where do you stand on this?

    I know, "it is illegal".  So you are willing to pay to incarcerate 20k a year but zero to pay for treatment?  

    Millions of Americans use rehab through their private insurance, although 47 million americans do not have insurance.  

    You can argue all day long that you are unwilling to pay for other people's vice, but you are.  And you are paying for the War on Drugs, incarceration, treatment and legal.  

    I would rather just pay for treatment, seems like as a taxpayer, it would save me money and help people.  Even if 100% of those incarcerated for pot were assigned treatment only, it would cost us taxpayers a whole lot less, but alas this is not about costs, it is about morality.  


    The average cost of incarceration is about (none / 0) (#26)
    by JSN on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:21:52 AM EST
    $25,000 per year and for drug offenders in state prisons the total cost is about $8 billion out of a total of $40 billion. For jails the drug offender cost is about $5 billion out of a total of $15 billion.

    My guess is that decriminalization will reduce the jail cost by $4 billion and the prison cost will stay about the same. Legalization of marijuana could reduce the number in prison for trafficking marijuana but the dealers often sell other drugs so it may not be a big difference.


    Morality? (none / 0) (#27)
    by Wile ECoyote on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:39:58 AM EST
    How about Personal reaponsibility?
    How about donations by people who are willing to help people kick something they made the personal decision to do?  

    As I said, I am for legalization of pot.  People can use free will, but should we have to pay for their free will?  


    responsibility (none / 0) (#29)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:52:32 AM EST
    is subject to interpretation.  Right now we are housing non violent offenders to the tune of 20-25k a year for "irresponsibility" and we are always going to have a percentage of society that will need help whether it is addiction or food or medical.

    If we cannot agree on what degree of help we should be providing our fellow citizens, and I would imagine I am in the minority and you are in the majority, than we should create a tax for anyone that grows it, distributes it or sells it to help pay for treatment.  If you want to be in a "vice" product/service business, you should be willing to pay a higher tax to create a sustainable treatment program.  We should make that same tax for liquor and tobacco to level the playing field.

    To me it is a human rights issue being that we are housing non-violent pot offenders at ridiculous costs.  McCain was right, there is a lot of fat in the budget that needs to be cut and I would start with our failing policy of non-violent incarceration.


    Same Old Argument (none / 0) (#30)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 11:20:58 AM EST
    Why should we have to pay?

    I love the obvious hypocrisy when Republicans/Libertarians say that when it comes to xyz why should we pay.

    But when it comes to paying for sh*t 100x more expensive you take for granted there is no question that others should support and pay otherwise they are not patriotic.

    We are all connected, it is called society. If you want to keep true to your position go live in a cave.


    Hooked to pot? (none / 0) (#14)
    by starsandstripes on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 07:26:45 AM EST
    I haven't been keeping up with the drug culture, but are there rehab centres for pot? I ask in seriousness, because I thought it was one of those drugs that got you hgh, and of course if you used often enough could make you a pothead, but I've never heard of rehab centres for pot-abuse.

    While some rehab facilities (none / 0) (#15)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:22:32 AM EST
    do specialize in the kinds of addictions or abuses they treat, the absence of facilities specifically for rehab from pot abuse does not mean that the dependency does not exist, nor does it mean that it is not being treated in a facility or in a therapeutic environment.

    Even if there is no documented physiological addiction to something, one can be still be seriously dependent on an activity or behavior; if the individual feels that he or she has become dependent, to the point where the dependency is interfering with his or her life, that person requires therapy and supportive treatment to end the cycle and establish new patterns of behavior.

    Does it really matter that there is a facility specifically for those who are dependent on pot?


    Yes, I think it matters (none / 0) (#21)
    by sj on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:32:46 AM EST
    There is a difference between dependence and addiction.  One requires counseling and the other detox -- and then counseling.

    The treatment for someone "hooked on pot" is psychological without a physiological aspect.


    yes, it really does. (none / 0) (#22)
    by cpinva on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:35:35 AM EST
    Does it really matter that there is a facility specifically for those who are dependent on pot?

    the recognition, by the medical community, of the adverse addictive nature of something, tends to (in the public and political eye) confer legitimacy on that item's status as an addictive substance.

    since there don't seem to be any rehab facilities, or programs, dedicated specifically to pot, that calls into question the assertions (usually made without any supporting evidence) that it (pot) is, in fact, addictive. there doesn't appear to be any scientific evidence supporting these claims, hence the absence of rehab facilities devoted to breaking the "addiction"; insurance companies won't pay the tab.

    so yes, it really does matter. you may feel your hopelessly addicted to peanuts (and you may well be, in your mind), the medical community's response is likely to be "stop eating peanuts", not establishing a rehab facility to break your peanut addiction, it isn't life threatening.


    Okay, fair enough. (none / 0) (#25)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 10:02:29 AM EST
    But, I'm thinking the tobaacco industry would love the "no rehab = not addictive" theory,

    If pot does not carry the same addiction potential as something like opiates, does dependence on it fall into the same category as, say, eating disorders, in the sense that it may not involve a "true" addiction, but nevertheless has some compulsive elements that have more to do with what's going on in someone's head?  Would the underlying dependence fall into more of the mental health realm than the physical health realm?  

    The people I know who partake treat their use as no different from my glass of wine or vodka & cranberry juice.

    But, if you remember the discussion of some weeks ago regarding alcohol and alcoholism, there is a significant segment of society that does not buy the theory that even alcohol is addictive - and yet, we have tons of places where people can go to detox.  I know that can be as much because of the negative physical effects of denying the body its accustomed level of alcohol as anything, but even with that as a reason, there are still people who do not see that as proof of addiction.

    I think there's a lot we don't know about addiction and the mind-body connection, and I think our understanding of behavior and abuse will continue to evolve over time.


    should taxpayers also not have to pay (none / 0) (#38)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:57:30 AM EST
    for the extra burden to the health care system that eating fast food/too large portions and eating too much sugar entail...

    why should I have to pay for someone's diabetes just b/c that person ate so much that they let themselves become obese?
    it was their decision to eat those Mcd's fries and have that extra-large coke...not mine..

    it's an argument for sure, but in an America where we're all supposed to be in this thing together I'm not sure how you can single out one vice...


    Is the market for marijuana saturated? (none / 0) (#18)
    by JSN on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 08:57:55 AM EST
    I think it probably is because the surveys of school children say that anyone that wants marijuana can get it. In my area the parole officers tell me that good quality marijuana is readily available at reasonable prices.

    If the market is saturated I would expect a small increase in use if the price were reduced because of legalization. OTOH if the legal suppliers aggressively market market market marijuana the way alcohol is marketed the usage could increase.

    however, (none / 0) (#36)
    by diogenes on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:02:16 PM EST
    However, some risk-averse kids who know pot is available would rather not buy something illegal.

    exactly... (none / 0) (#39)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 03:58:40 AM EST
    it would still be illegal for anyone under the age of 21 to possess or buy marijuana...

    Wouldn't legalization (none / 0) (#20)
    by Anne on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:30:21 AM EST
    also add another layer to the existing bureaucracy, with decisions about how the product is regulated, where it can be sold and by whom, who can grow and produce it, etc.?  And doesn't that add cost to the equation, as well?

    I think there's more to legalization than meets the eye.

    there would be a lot of this type of stuff... (none / 0) (#40)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 04:03:26 AM EST
    just as there is with just about any product in America ('cept for maybe cigs)...

    there would probably need to be regulations on who is growing and who is growing how much...
    small-time/personal use growing wouldn't need to be regulated, but industry growing would...

    there would probably be regulation on THC content and such too...that seems reasonable...

    all of this is better than the alternative of spending billions of dollars putting people in prisons for non-violent crimes that didn't harm anyone else in a direct way...

    plus, the main point of legalization, I think, is the attitude adjustment that it would mean for America...rehabbing is just more humane than incarceration and being humane just sends the right vibe, for the long term.


    Gangs and crime (none / 0) (#23)
    by Jlvngstn on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 09:41:42 AM EST
    As one who is 100% for legalization I wonder what happens to gangs whose primary revenue source is trafficking.  

    I don't know how much of their revenues are from thc sales and would guess it is a fair amount.  With the loss in revenue from pot sales, do they lay off?  Recruit less? Or does burglary/mugging and larceny etc increase substantially to finance the gangs.  

    Best reply I've heard to this question (none / 0) (#43)
    by Pete Guither on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 12:44:55 PM EST
    comes from LEAP's Howard Wooldridge:
    The one million teens who sell drugs would begin flipping burgers and mowing yards. Serious thugs will rob banks where we will capture or kill them.

    thanks (none / 0) (#45)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 02:18:25 PM EST
    That would save a generation of kids.  Of course flipping burgers blows but county time is much worse.....

    From back in my drug-buying days, pretty much everyone I got pot from I could also get ludes, hash, LSD, coke, etc. If it's the same today, and if thc were legalized, I don't think there will be much of a stampede to the fast food grills.

    Also, if CA's legislation to legalize and tax pot is signed into law (fat chance) I still question whether many will pay the "buck a joint" tax instead of just buying it under the table from the guy who's growing it down the street...


    yeah you are right (none / 0) (#47)
    by Jlvngstn on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:21:22 PM EST
    my friend does not stand on a corner so to speak.  I just wonder what will happen to gangs if that market was taken.  I would expect burglaries, robberies and violent crime in general to spike but nothing scientific goes behind it.  Not going to get rid of gangs and they need to finance themselves so legalization would have to address job creation in the communities where it is sold on corners.  I don't think anything other than thc will be legalized or ignored in my lifetime though.

    How is biz?  We are getting hammered.  To be expected but sheesh.  My wife runs a small non-profit and they are equally as strained.  I wasn't gripin in 2005-6 though so I have to shut up and suck it up.

    Kids are growing up too fast and in light of the economy I am going on field trips with them at daycare and school and staying home with them when they are sick.  It is nice having so much more time with them.


    they need to recognize that if they legalize it and tax it too much, the black market will continue unfazed.

    We're getting hammered in my biz as well. Really tough.

    Though, funny you should mention it, both my kids got knocked down by the flu recently and they were able to come to work with me.

    Even when they're sick they're more fun to hang out with than most anyone I know. I wonder if my dad feels the same way about us...

    Anyway, I'm heading home now. My 9 y/o has taken up chess the past week or so, and we've been going toe to toe every day since. He slaughtered me in the last game...


    wonderful thing to say about your kids (5.00 / 1) (#50)
    by Jlvngstn on Wed Feb 25, 2009 at 10:10:56 AM EST
    I feel the same way about mine.  I hope your biz catches a tail wind of some of the luck that I caught last year.  

    Thanks for sharing about your kids.  I know it is highly personal but it shares insight as to who you are and drives my respect up for you, politics nothwithstanding....


    Doubt It Will Be Expensive (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 05:55:00 PM EST
    Even with hefty tax. If legal I for one would cultivate my own strain. Most likely the only reason many would not simply grow it is to be able to take advantage of the variety a store could provide.

    Black market weed will perish if legalized, growers will remain much the same though, my guess and the prices will come down or remain the same.


    CA Tax/Legalization (none / 0) (#31)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:05:59 PM EST
    Assemblyman Tom Ammiano will announce legislation on Monday to legalize marijuana and earn perhaps $1 billion annually by taxing it.

    Mecke said Ammiano's proposed bill "would remove all penalties in California law on cultivation, transportation, sale, purchase, possession, or use of marijuana, natural THC, or paraphernalia for persons over the age of 21."

    The bill would additionally prohibit state and local law officials from enforcing federal marijuana laws. As for Step Two -- profit -- Ammiano's bill calls for "establishing a fee on the sale of marijuana at a rate of $50 per ounce." Mecke said that would bring in roughly $1 billion for the state, according to estimates made by marijuana advocacy organizations.


    What $50/oz  that is highway robbery...  lol

    That's a little confusing... (none / 0) (#32)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:11:09 PM EST
    is $50 the "fee" that would be added to the price or the price itself?  

    I'm guessing that its an add-on to the market price.  And, who's going to set that?  Maybe it will be like the menu board from Amsterdam that I posted the other day?  

    One thing is for sure, with all of CA's budget woes, it might just have a chance.  


    Hope (5.00 / 1) (#33)
    by squeaky on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:23:47 PM EST
    It is such a no brainer that legalizing drugs, and taxing them will solve many social and economic woes. Or at least get us on the right path.

    My feigned outrage about $50/oz tax was just a little imaginary glimpse into the future when we will be complaining about the unfair cut our government is getting out of our weed money.  


    "But we currently have a drug policy" (none / 0) (#34)
    by sarcastic unnamed one on Mon Feb 23, 2009 at 12:30:03 PM EST
    But we currently have a drug policy that has brought consistently, overwhelmingly awful results--the highest incarceration rate in the world
    This comment from Ethan is debunked both in the article Ethan linked to...
    But the movement is alarming to drug enforcement advocates. Tom Riley, spokesman for the Office of National Drug Policy Initiatives, said it has become an "urban myth" that the nation imprisons vast numbers of low-level drug offenders.

    People are often surprised to learn that less than one-half of 1 percent of all inmates are in for marijuana possession, he said. And those offenders were caught holding, on average, 100 pounds.

    and here:
    Inmates in state prison for marijuana offenses (1997)

    -Drug possession offenses 5.6% of all state inmates

    • Firsttime drug offenders 3.6% of all state inmates

    • Offenses involving marijuana 2.7% of all state inmates

    • Prisoners held for marijuana only 1.6% of all state inmates

    • Prisoners held for marijuana possession only 0.7% of all state inmates

    • Firsttime offenders held only for marijuana possession (any amount) 0.3% of all state inmates

    FIGURE 2 Marijuana offenders sentenced in federal court system (2001)

    Drug offenders sentenced in federal court 24,299

    *Drug offenders sentenced for marijuana 7,991

    *Marijuana offenders sentenced for trafficking 7,805 (97.7%)

    *Marijuana offenders sentenced for simple possession 186 (2.3%)

    *Marijuana offenders sentenced for simple possession who went to prison 63 (0.26%)

    While you could make a strong argument that even one incarceration for pot is too many, it is untrue that incarceration for pot is the reason our prison system is as massive and as expensive as it is.

    Possession Stats (none / 0) (#41)
    by Voletear on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 10:54:08 AM EST
    At the US Dept  of Justice, Bureau of Justice Statistics, (http://www.ojp.usdoj.gov/bjs/dcf/enforce.htm)at we find under "Arrests"
    In 2007 the Federal Bureau of Investigation's Uniform Crime Reports (UCR) estimated that there were about 1,841,200 state and local arrests for drug abuse violations in the United States.

    Two sentences later we find:
    More than four-fifths of drug law violation arrests are for possession.

    I don't smoke pot and it bothers me that pot law-reform gets all the attention when issues surrounding treatment and addiction (read Harm Reduction!)are given short-shrift but it also says that:
    From 1987 to 1995 more drug arrests involved heroin or cocaine than other types of drugs. Since 1996 the number of arrests involving marijuana exceeded that for other types of drugs.

    Drug numbers all, without exception, boggle the mind and manifest the extreme stupidity of drug prohibition. Taking a position against the Drug War does not mean you are for drug use. Good grief!

    ya, a good start would be for (none / 0) (#44)
    by of1000Kings on Tue Feb 24, 2009 at 01:00:02 PM EST
    America to stop treating Harm Reduction as a four-letter word...