Legalization: Now a Question of When, Not If

Author and Associate Professor Jeremy Mayer at Politico writes marijuana is now a "smoking hot" issue, the tide of history has turned, and legalization is a question of when, not if.

The financial benefits should be obvious:

Tax revenues, although not as high as some dreamers would wish, would certainly be substantial, and would replace the billions spent interdicting and confiscating marijuana, as well as imprisoning users and small time dealers. Legalizing marijuana would immediately remove millions of dollars in income from the international drug cartels that are making life hell in Mexico.

Mayer may be right. This is the most attention I've seen marijuana get in the national consciousness , perhaps ever. But, we're not there yet: [More...]

Several states have legalized medical marijuana, and a few are contemplating decriminalization, and yet, other states are about to prevent those whose urine tests positive for marijuana from receiving desperately needed benefits to which they would otherwise be legally entitled.

At least eight states, including Kansas, Oklahoma, and West Virginia, are actively considering making drug tests mandatory for food stamps, welfare, or unemployment. In a classic demonstration of how America has always had one drug law for the rich and one for the poor....

A California legislator says legalizing pot would bring the state $1 billion in tax revenues. Our last three Presidents have acknowledged smoking pot. Yet, people still go to jail for it.
Perhaps these accumulated paradoxes have finally become large enough for the nation to begin reconsidering its position on pot. For an issue that has been in stasis for decades, marijuana is suddenly hot, one might even say, smoking.
< "Stupid Attacks" | Gates: Reform Of DADT Put On Backburner >
  • The Online Magazine with Liberal coverage of crime-related political and injustice news

  • Contribute To TalkLeft

  • Display: Sort:
    It's not the facts (5.00 / 3) (#6)
    by JamesTX on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:08:03 AM EST
    so much that matter, but the symbolism. Marijuana is a symbol of the 1960's counterculture and the battle over the Viet Nam war. Even if young people sometimes don't associate it with that, the truth is that is where the powerful political resistance comes from, and it is why the forces against decriminalization are so absolutely immutable and stubborn. It is what Obama was afraid of when he giggled the question away. For most of our lives, the opponents were people who were not to be toyed with. It was political suicide.

    The facts have been against it remaining illegal for a long time. This issue goes much deeper than facts, though. It has a fundamental moral component to it which taps into patriotism and moral conviction. It is not a rule against a plant, but a rule against a "type of person" and a political attitude.

    It may be that we are about to exit that era. That is both good and bad. It is good that reason may again surface on an important economic and social issue. It is bad that I am getting old.

    Thanks for the John M. Keyes' quotes .. (5.00 / 1) (#32)
    by GeorgiaE on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:44:42 AM EST
    I smoked reefer back in the day.  Met some of the most mellow people. We would talk, listen to music, eat and just "chill" together.  Everyone was "cool"..No violence, or bullsh*t, just good conversation, laughter and fun.  Met my husband with my reefer buddies, and we are still together after 25 years. (He's still the coolest and calmest of them all)!

    Never had a bad experience, knew my dealer (a family member) very well and always had good product.  I don't smoke anymore but we still get together from time to time.  They all have jobs, homes, families and none of them "graduated" to hard drugs.  They are still the calmest, coolest and collected people that I have ever dealt with. True friends! I love them all and know that I can count on them for anything. Just like family..

    Whether it's legal or not, people will always smoke reefer....(He*l, you can grow it in your basement)...


    Not "Keyes" but "Keynes" (5.00 / 0) (#46)
    by Peter G on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:43:20 PM EST
    John Maynard Keynes (pronounced "Canes"), the great economist, responding to an accusation, leveled during the Great Depression, that he had changed his position on monetary policy.  (Your link to Wikiquotes says so.) Thus, a particularly apt quotation.

    Setting aside the commonsensical (4.00 / 1) (#58)
    by scribe on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:07:42 PM EST
    position that it should be legalized for all the good reasons there are, answer me this:

    Once it is legalized, what are you going to do with all the cops who were hired to carry out the war on drugs?

    This is a big problem, for a couple reasons:

    1.  In the eyes of their bosses, the only good cops are the ones arresting guilty people.  If they aren't arresting poor people of color for pot, who will they be arresting and what for?
    2.  The blue collar jobs which once were alternative career paths for cops - factories, construction, truck driving - are by and large ... gone.  They only have cop-dom as a career choice.
    3.  What other jobs are there for blue-collar workers that have the benefits and security of being a cop?

    Unless and until you can come up with a good answer for all these questions (and the many subsidiary questions), which answers do not involve further degrading our freedoms and way of life, we may be better off with the devil we know - illegal pot and a war on drugs - than the devil we don't but will unleash by legalizing it.  

    I seem to recall a Cold War that ended about 1989 when the Berlin Wall fell.  Everyone was happy.  Everyone looked forward to a Peace Dividend and all the wonderful things which could be done with chunks of the then-overwhelming $300 billion or so per annum cost of our military.  We were going to get health care and free college educations and ponies and rivers of candy that wouldn't leave an ounce of fat on our behinds.

    It took the wingnuts all of 8 or 9 months to goad Sadaam into invading Kuwait, setting off the last 20 years (almost) of near-constant war, and a defense and war budget several times the size of the budget that was so crippling in 1989.  Health care?  Hah.  Free college?  Heh.  I'm not yet eating horsemeat (chicken is cheaper) but that candy never materialized, either.

    Let's think this through in detail, and build not just for simple legalization but also to make sure (a) we don't get something worse from it and (b) we do get something better from it.

    Well (none / 0) (#60)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:26:44 PM EST
    Once it is legalized, what are you going to do with all the cops who were hired to carry out the war on drugs?

    They can go after litterbugs and keep the acronym WOD= war on dirt.


    I think the cops can find other things ... (none / 0) (#65)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 04:42:17 PM EST
    ... that need doing.  But then again, people are getting gunned down in the street like wild game on a daily basis only a couple of miles from where I'm sitting right now, so YMMV.

    Also, I'm sure there will still be plenty of drug-related crime to investigate if weed is legal.  Someone will try to evade whatever regulatory structure is put in place, for one.  Secondly, black marketeers are not just going to go away.  They have no other livelihood, and surely they would be temped to use legal MJ as a front for something else, at least to start with.  I mean, organized crime is still associated with weed and prostitution in the Netherlands - it's just not as bad as it would be otherwise (or is in the US).  

    It's a harm reduction thing, and although the reduction in harm will likely be substantial, which is good, it still ain't a panacea.  Utopia isn't coming.  There will still be plenty of work for cops.


    good points (none / 0) (#72)
    by Bemused on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 07:20:29 AM EST
     but I could live with redirecting the police to investigating crimes that now receive less attention than they need. If your home is burglarized and the guy isn't stupid enough to get caught coming out the window with your TV, he's got an excellent chance of getting away with it.

      If some of the cops now assigned to minor drug prosecutions, which are preferred, in part,  because: (a) they are "easy" compared to investigations of many other crimes,  and (b) there is financial reward in terms of special grants and funding and retention of forfeiture proceeds, more effort might be put to the "harder" cases to solve which do not enrich police departments.

       Even more than that, more of the cops could be detailed to patrolling areas that are not "known drug neighborhoods" maybe preventing your TV from being taken in the first place.


    hurt the cartels? not (4.00 / 1) (#76)
    by diogenes on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 09:04:42 PM EST
    The Mexican cartels also run a lot of methamphetamine and cocaine.  

    The Only Argument (3.50 / 2) (#43)
    by bselznick on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:24:51 PM EST
    Here's the only argument I ever make about legalizing pot.  First off as a society we are floating in alcohol.  Further, I estimate that 90% of Americans are at most two phone calls away from scoring a bag or a joint.  This is either two phone calls you make or you call someone who calls someone else and bingo.  Weed is all around us all the time.

    So today everyone already has to choose whether or not to get high and how to regulate their getting high -- totally avoid it, only do it socially, or lay in the gutter with no idea about how you got there.  So if there were one more "legal" drug, every day every person young and old would have to freely choose how to regulate their getting high, stoned, drunk, etc.  

    All the laws and all the police do not protect you.  Most people have enough alcohol in their homes to drink themselves to death, or at least into a daily coma.  For a variety of reasons, most of us choose to not devote our lives to getting high.  If pot were legal, not a single thing I said would change, except that the government would not have to power to selectively ruin your life, and if you don't think the government uses this power selectively, you are far more than naive.

    Legislative support (none / 0) (#47)
    by KoolJeffrey on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:51:15 PM EST
    Not surprisingly, hardcore libertarians like Rep. Ron Paul have always supported legalization. But I claimed earlier on this site that I couldn't think of a single Senator that would ever agree. That was before I read about Sen. Jim Webb's proposal as part of his prison reform bill. Even republicans like Arlen Spector and Lindsay Graham are supporting this bill. They haven't come out in favor of legalization, but according to Webb, "all cards are on the table".

    What'll we do with all the out-of-work cops? (3.50 / 2) (#74)
    by SeeEmDee on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 08:09:59 AM EST
    As someone whose life was essentially ruined by the cannabis prohibition laws, and who had to start over from scratch in middle age, and who probably would have been on the street and/or died had it not been for family and friends, I say SCREW THE PROHIBITIONISTS!!

    There was no such 'tender concerns' for their victims! Let them struggle as I had, for years, doing menial crap and studying at night to get a better job. It took me 4 hard years to get back up to something close to my previous salary, and I will never, ever forget that it was the drug laws and their sadistic supporters that made - and make - life miserable for me and millions of others over the decades. Let them have a taste of what they've given others.

    Obama was (none / 0) (#1)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:09:12 AM EST
    rather contemptuous of the masses of people who wanted an answer to the question of why marijuana should not be legalized.
    He inferred that the online audience was all stoned. It got a predictable laugh.

    I don't think it's funny.
    As you say, he smoked it and acknowledged enjoying it.

    What is it with these politicians?

    Obama got hooked on the legal (5.00 / 1) (#17)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:54:09 AM EST
    smoke, not the illegal. So, which is the drug?

    That is the best argument (none / 0) (#21)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:03:04 AM EST
    Marijuna is clearly safer than alcohol in terms of acute intoxicant effect and chronic health effect.

      In terms of acute intoxicant effect marijuan has greater psychoactive effect but in terms of acute physiological effect tobacco may be more dangerous and because the typical daily dosage of marijuana users is a small fraction of the typical daily dosage of tobacco users the physiological effect of tobacco is much greater for most. And, as with alcohol, chronic use of tobacco is much more dangerous.

      it would probably be a lot shrweder to focus on these points that dissemble into political psycho-babble about international relations and the 1960s counter-culture.



    Uh, I've been with a doper (none / 0) (#34)
    by Cream City on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:55:59 AM EST
    driving, and I don't want to see that again. . . .

    Also, I suspect that if marijuana became legal, the tobacco companies would be first in the market -- and with the additives that are what make tobacco addictive and more dangerous.  Tobacco itself is not more so than marijuana, I've read -- and studies are starting to show that marijuana also can cause cancer.  So I think we need to know a lot more to make real comparisons.


    The studies I have seen seem to support exactly (none / 0) (#69)
    by kcbill13 on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 08:09:14 PM EST
    the opposite, that Marijuana smokers are not getting cancer, UNLESS they mix their MJ and tobacco, (oh so sick), so I agree that Tobacco companies might attempt to use additives to get us addicted.

    But I do not agree more testing should be done. The same Republican minds that want to test people for MJ before letting them have their welfare checks or school grants or whatever are just hypocrites who use all kinds of legal drugs. How do you think our young people respond to seeing the people who oppose decriminalizing pot going out and getting hammered on Jack Daniels, see drinkers?

    I think the statement about this topic being tied to the Vietnam war was one I had not considered. It still just boils down to what an unjust society we live in. Rush Limbaugh help set drug policy while he was sending his maid out to score him Oxycontin (and the fact that he never really paid any price for that, jailtime, fines, nada), just burns me up. (no pun intended)


    not so fast (none / 0) (#45)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:32:01 PM EST
      He may have implied it, and you may have inferred it from what he said.

      Usage aside, I don't think the argument that one is a hypocrite if one becomes opposed to an activity in which one once engaged is a fair one. People can change and their attitudes and opinions change. There is nothing wrong with that.

      I used to drive like a fool when I was a teenager, but I don't support kids doing it now just because I did. I don't think that makes me a hypocrite.

      Stick to the issues. People are unlikely to persuade Obama to reconsider with this sort of stuff.


    What he said was... (5.00 / 1) (#51)
    by lentinel on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:28:17 PM EST
    Obama said online voters wanted to know "whether legalizing marijuana would improve the economy and job creation," and joked that "I don't know what this says about the online audience."

    How do you interpret that?
    What do you think he is saying by that remark?

    Obama is the one not sticking to the issue.

    And hypocrisy is not an issue either.
    I am simply saying that he knows that marijuana can be a very pleasurable, relaxing and even enlightening experience. So one would think that he could at least identify with the vast number of people who would choose to wish to enjoy marijuana without being stigmatized.

    But if he doesn't want to side with those who want personal freedom with respect to this, that's his choice. I don't care if it's hypocrisy. I just think it's stupid.


    Well It Would Be Really Stupid (none / 0) (#53)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:40:26 PM EST
    If, let's say 75% of all voters wanted MJ legalized. Sadly that is not remotely the case.

    Any idea what % of the population (none / 0) (#54)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:42:08 PM EST
    is absolutely opposed to the legalization?

    60% Or So (none / 0) (#55)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:45:05 PM EST
    And that may be an underestimation. My guess is that the amount of people who associate drug use with blacks, and criminals is even greater. This is not an issue that any president, no less a black president would touch.

    It has to come up through congress, imo.


    Seems that a good share of those people (none / 0) (#56)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:50:35 PM EST
    then, are actually opposed to the users not the weed.

    I Guess (none / 0) (#57)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:58:43 PM EST
    As long as MJ is considered a drug, unlike tobacco, it will be stigmatized by those who stigmatize drug users. The great irony, of course, is that mind altering prescription drug use and abuse is rampant, but rarely do the users identify themselves as drug users aka the criminal class

    Well... (none / 0) (#61)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:45:39 PM EST
    ...I certainly feel like I'm some sort of evil criminal whenever I have to refill my pain meds.

    No automatic refills--have to have the Rx renewed and mailed to me to get filled each time.  ID'd and put on a list when I go to the pharmacy.  

    It's a wonder I'm not fingerprinted and photographed as well.  Or, turned away empty-handed because someone thinks I'm being excessive in my use.


    Yes (none / 0) (#63)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 04:13:25 PM EST
    That is true, and a shame. I was thinking more along the lines of anti anxiety drugs. Many are hypocrites who use and abuse them and are at the same time against MJ, and reforming the drug laws. Tough on crime as long as it is someone else.

    I was being "grammar police" (none / 0) (#70)
    by Bemused on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 07:05:39 AM EST
      I inferred what you inferred. The point in the first sentence was simply that speakers imply and listeners infer.

     I will accept your clarification concerning "hypocricy" but still don't get your point. He may have once had unprotected sex with a casual acquaintance and found that pleasurable too. That doesn't mean he can't now voice an opinion it's not a good thing to do.


    I am in awe... (none / 0) (#2)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:09:56 AM EST
    of the groundswell of attention my beloved reefer is getting...maybe a little economic strife is the desperation we needed to grow some stones and do the right thing...we shall see.  All we need now is a couple prominent politicians to be brave and think beyond their next campaign, and I think we're golden...public support is there, just need a leader.

    No, I don't what this says about the White House audience...

    or, smart and think of their next campaign. (none / 0) (#3)
    by Ben Masel on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:18:42 AM EST
    Serious economic strife always (none / 0) (#12)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:45:14 AM EST
    reminds us all whether we like it or not of what's really important.

    I think so... (none / 0) (#16)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:52:39 AM EST
    being relatively broke made me realize I value liberty above all else.  Riches can cloud the mind just as much as any drug.

    I was just talking to my husband about (none / 0) (#20)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:02:09 AM EST
    how things may change.  You know what?  There has never been one single thing attainable and reasonable that I have wanted thusfar in my life that I didn't figure out how to get.  That will not change if investment banking goes by the wayside for twenty years.

    I rember hearing very similar assertions.... (none / 0) (#4)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 09:22:12 AM EST
      around 1975.

    It's just a damn weed that grows (none / 0) (#7)
    by SOS on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:09:55 AM EST
    If people want to become slaves to a weed just package it, brand it and sell it already!

    Pitch it and such (none / 0) (#8)
    by SOS on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:15:49 AM EST
    Weedston taste's good like a reefer should.

    Slave? (none / 0) (#13)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:49:46 AM EST
    You're buggin' SOS...."Reefer Madness" was fictional comedy, not a documentary bro.

    "Slave to weed"...what nonsense.  I guess we're all slaves to Talkleft too eh?  We enjoy it and keep coming back right?  We must be helpless hopeless addicts powerless to control ourselves...sh*t better ban this site!


    I'd rather be slave to reefer than (none / 0) (#18)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:56:37 AM EST
    a slave to Wall Street :)

    I had a discussion.. (5.00 / 1) (#23)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:08:50 AM EST
    with a fellow pothead once, I asked "do ya think reefer really demotivates us?"

    I'll never forget his answer..."Nah, reefer just opens our mind to what is important, and it ain't chasing money."

    It's the Healing of the Nation.


    Reefer doesn't heal me (none / 0) (#25)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:14:48 AM EST
    It makes me fall off the toilet when I'm peeing though

    We're all different... (none / 0) (#28)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:21:43 AM EST
    only booze does that to me...:)

    How sad (none / 0) (#30)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:29:09 AM EST
    I will have to drink your margaritas for you :)

    We are all different.. (5.00 / 1) (#42)
    by GeorgiaE on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:17:58 PM EST
    My girlfriend would smoke a joint on Saturday morning, pop a stick of Juicy Fruit in her mouth and open a Pepsi.  She would then clean her entire house, cook her weekly meals and freeze them, take a shower, get dressed, go out and party, come home and pass out!  All I wanted to do was listen to jazz and munch all day...

    It's sort of sad that I'd rather pee on myself (none / 0) (#31)
    by Militarytracy on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:30:06 AM EST
    than become Wall Street's slave too :)

    I'm afraid we are.. (none / 0) (#35)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:58:09 AM EST
    whether we like it or not, the only way not to be a slave to Wall St, or the Pentagon, or the DEA is to stop paying taxes.

    So it's a mild form of slavery or a cage.


    kdog, just shared your "discussion" with (none / 0) (#50)
    by GeorgiaE on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:09:23 PM EST
    my husband. He loved "Healing of the Nation" and said to tell you "HELLO, BROTHER".  (He's never met a BROTHER that he didn't like...)

    My pleasure Georgia.... (none / 0) (#73)
    by kdog on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 07:54:50 AM EST
    I could listen to the bass line on that track all day....glad your old man digs it.

    Perhaps (none / 0) (#9)
    by CoralGables on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:26:48 AM EST
    We can start an online pool of what will happen first: Legalized marijuana, the end of capital punishment, the end of the Cuban embargo, or a World Series Championship for the Chicago Cubs.

    I'll take (5.00 / 1) (#11)
    by Cream City on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:38:42 AM EST
    (e) none of the above anytime soon.

    I do not see why or how Obama would be the one to do this, exactly because of his history with weed.  And show me other indications of his bold moves.  


    Legalize MJ, end the Cuban embargo and (none / 0) (#67)
    by JSN on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 06:26:03 PM EST
    make a ton of money by selling them MJ.

    i'll vote cuban Embargo (none / 0) (#10)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:27:45 AM EST

    this thread (none / 0) (#14)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:51:08 AM EST
     concerns a comment envisioning only the legalization of marijuna in this counttry.

      I doubt many serious people would argue that would have a huge impact on the "drug war" in Mexico or see whatever connection you see to wars in Asia.

      I actually doubt more than a tiny majority of people think internatinal relations in any respect will have much influence on decision whether to allow the domestic consumption of marijuana.

      I mentioned i heard very similar assertions at least as frquently in 1975, because of course it did not happen and in fact in some respects we would need an attitude change just to return to the enforcement regime that existed then.

    tiny minority (none / 0) (#15)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 10:52:03 AM EST
     not the oxymoron tiny majority.

    hm (none / 0) (#22)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:05:12 AM EST
    If you legalize it, it will require heavy taxes, like cigarettes, due to public health concerns.  If you put heavy taxes on it you are then competing with the already established underground networks who can provide it cheaper.  

    Major companies will step in to brand and sell it.  Do you really think they won't hire lobbyists who promote the continuation of the drug war against "unsafe" and untaxed street product?  Also, you'll still have the harder drugs and the war on them.

    Just my two cents.  

    Even at an obscene tax rate.... (none / 0) (#24)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:14:36 AM EST
    similar to cigarettes it should still be significantly cheaper than black market prices.  

    Tobacco is more expensive to produce, and 20 tobacco cigarettes costs 8 bucks in NY w/ tax...20 high-quality marijuana cigarettes (1 gram per) goes for around 300 bucks in NY at least.

    Sh*t you could double the obscene tax rate on cigarettes...though I suppose the black market could reduce prices, but that much?  I don't think its worth the effort for 'em.


    ya (none / 0) (#27)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:18:02 AM EST
    I thought about it and posted too late. heh.

    But youve still got the hard drug trade.


    You'll need a license ... (none / 0) (#64)
    by FreakyBeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 04:33:08 PM EST
    ... to be a commercial producer.  You will be allowed to sell your product only to licensed distributors.  Licensed distributors will be able to sell only to licensed retailers.  Sort of like alcohol, and it will be taxed every step of the way.  

    They'll get away with this arrangement for more or less the same reason they do with alcohol; some of us are good at brewing our own, but most of us aren't, or just don't have the time.  

    Soon, the marijuana market will be flooded with inferior, mass-produced, mass-marketed product, just like the rocky mountain goat and clydesdale urine, er, adjunct pilsners that people think are beer.  

    Some would call me a pessimist.

    Even so it would be an improvement in everything but quality, so I say bring it on.


    As we've seen... (none / 0) (#68)
    by MileHi Hawkeye on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 06:32:42 PM EST
    ...with the home brewer explosion that led to the current surge of the small/medium craft brewers, there's always a market for quality products. And people willing to pay a premium for that quality.  

    I don't see the marijuana market being any different.  Heck, it's already that way--mostly crap on the market, but good stuff to be had if you know where to find it and can afford it.  


    then again... (none / 0) (#26)
    by connecticut yankee on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:16:41 AM EST
    Legal mass production would cut costs so you'd force the street prices to fall to compete.  At some point the street walks away or moves to selling only harder drugs.

    Legalization with taxation (none / 0) (#29)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:23:55 AM EST
      would have one effect on prices. Unlike tobacco which at least today is pretty much all the same with different packaging and advertising, marijuana ranges widely in genetic terms and potency.

      If the tax was simply a tax on weight of the product, the real consumer price differential between "good" and "bad" marijuana would likely be greatly reduced because for both the tax would be the largest component of the price, and the  cost to cultivate would likely  also behind the costs of processing, packaging, transporting and distributing which also would not vary much among different grades.

      I suppose a more complex tax scheme would be possible but that would require increased bureaucracy to inspect and measure different grades based on THC content, etc.

    More work for lawyers (none / 0) (#33)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 11:49:13 AM EST
    Since now there are studies out showing a link between marijuana use and testicular cancer

    Legalize it, and then when companies like Con-Agra start mass producing it (putting the "little guy" out of business, until he goes back to black market), we can sue those big corporations.

    Marijuana use could increase the risk of testicular cancer, according to a study by the Fred Hutchinson Cancer Research Center out this week.

    If a man has smoked marijuana on a weekly basis or has been exposed to hashish for an extended period of time, the chances of testicular cancer double compared to someone who has never smoked marijuana.

    The study found that marijuana could also decrease sperm quality, decrease testosterone levels and cause impotency, since these are similar side effects of testicular cancer.

    I have such a hard time with the studies (none / 0) (#36)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:02:48 PM EST
    I saw a report decades ago that showed all kinds of people with huge neck tumors...all reporting that as little as one mj smoke could have caused it. Never heard it again.

    My favorites though...red wine, coffee could protect against certain kinds of cancern....no, it causes it....no, it protects.....no, can't find a link at all.


    Yeah... (none / 0) (#39)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:05:47 PM EST
    I'm ready to just chalk up cancer as mother nature's insurance to keep us all from living too long.  Live long enough and you'll get it in some form.

    Agreed (none / 0) (#41)
    by Inspector Gadget on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:10:02 PM EST
    I think we all get cancers on and off through life and as long as our immune systems are functioning well, we fight it off ourselves. But, I'm not a doctor :)

    I think we could void any concerns.. (none / 0) (#37)
    by kdog on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:03:32 PM EST
    about lawsuits with a blanket warning label...all the tobacco lawsuits were possible because the tobacco companies denied the harms tobacco may cause, as long as the reefer companies don't deny potential harm, I think we're good.

    Sh*t I'll sign a waiver not to sue...just don't arrest me.

    15 years and counting, my plumbing is functioning quite well so far, fwiw, knock on wood, pun intended:)  


    no doubt (none / 0) (#38)
    by Bemused on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:05:15 PM EST
      adding a commodity to the stream of (legal) commerce will increase civil litigation. On the other hand, removing that commosity from the illegal stream will reduce criminal litigation. I wouldn't even have a rough guess as to the relative overall effect when the two are balanced.

      Also, not it is the only possible source of litigation by a long shot, but when studies state exposure to "X" doubles the risk of "Y" and the rates of "Y" are low, the absolute numbers are still pretty small.  

      I recall that only about 6 of 100,000 men develop testicular cancer and there are fewer than 500 deaths annually from it--and the population already includes a lot of marijuana smokers. I do think that legalization would likely increase consumption rates to some degree but maybe not enough to attribute many additional cases of testicular cancer let alone deaths.

      That certainly doesn't mean you wouldn't immediately begin to see commercial on cable TV: "attention if you or a loved one have smoked marijuana you may be entitled to a large cash award."


    Well (none / 0) (#44)
    by jbindc on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:30:30 PM EST
    It seems like it could be good for Viagra business - and goodness knows, the drug companies surely need our help!  :)

    just what I was thinking... (none / 0) (#66)
    by of1000Kings on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 05:59:00 PM EST
    Also, not it is the only possible source of litigation by a long shot, but when studies state exposure to "X" doubles the risk of "Y" and the rates of "Y" are low, the absolute numbers are still pretty small.

    if the chances of getting testy cancer are something like 5-10%, then I'll take my chances on doubling that and being able to smoke...

    now maybe if the % was more like 20-30 then I'd think about it a little...

    although, if I'm going that route then I also need to stop drinking, drinking soda, eating fast food and buying anything plastic, or going anywhere that has plastic items around...


    the chances (none / 0) (#71)
    by Bemused on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 07:12:47 AM EST
     are more like 0.06%  (6 out of a 100,000). I'm not suggesting that small probabilities of getting serious disease is something to be ignored, but just calling attention to the way numbers can be manipulated to create disproprtiate alarm.

    Yeah, Yeah, Yeah (none / 0) (#40)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:09:01 PM EST
    Studies have also come out that show MJ as a mighty anti-oxident that actively prevents cancer. No one I know has gotten cancer from MJ. Many from tobacco tho.

    If you are interested in studies, here, here, and here and here are some more health studies regarding MJ.


    Bigger picture: Jim Webb (none / 0) (#48)
    by oldpro on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 12:52:23 PM EST
    via Glenn Greenwald Saturday.

    Courage of his convictions enabled by a full life that isn't dependent on his reelection.

    Join his parade...legalizing mj is only a part of solving the problem(s).

    Parade Magazine (2.00 / 1) (#59)
    by 1040su on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:10:48 PM EST
    section of today's paper:
    Why We Must Fix Our Prisons  
    According to data supplied to Congress' Joint Economic Committee, those imprisoned for drug offenses rose from 10% of the inmate population to approximately 33% between 1984 and 2002

    This spike would also correspond to Reagan's privitization of the prison system wouldn't it?  

    This was a very good article & I applaud Senator Webb's efforts.


    Hat tip to Sen Jim Webb (none / 0) (#52)
    by randy80302 on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 02:39:22 PM EST
    This proposal is coming from a guy in his first term that won a close race. Courage is the word that comes to mind. He saw an issue that needed to be worked on and he is willing to risk his political career on. Virginia is a very law and order state.

    lol (none / 0) (#49)
    by squeaky on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 01:05:17 PM EST
    Reminds me of our ex great leader who via Colbert said:

    He believes the same thing Wednesday that he believed on Monday, no matter what happened Tuesday.

    politicians face a bit of a (none / 0) (#62)
    by cpinva on Sun Mar 29, 2009 at 03:55:32 PM EST
    conundrum, with regards to legalizing pot, in this country.

    as i posted elsewhere, for most of the past century, they've been claiming that pot is more dangerous than almost all other drugs combined; see: "Reefer Madness"

    though it wasn't actually made illegal outright until the 50's, and the average american probably didn't even have a clue what it was until the 60's, it's been demonized by the establishment for a long, long time.

    for them to now turn around and say, "ok, we've been lying to you all this time, pot is no more dangerous (and probably less so) than alcohol or tobacco, so we're going to legalize it." would present a problem for them.

    if pot isn't the "demon weed", than why has it been illegal, and so many people's lives been ruined over it? talk about your angry, pitchfork and lit torch bearing villagers, on your front lawn!

    if pot is the "demon weed", gateway drug to heroin, crack and god only knows what all else, than what are these nimrods doing, making it legal, just to raise a few tax dollars?

    they're kind of screwed, either way.

    How about now?? (none / 0) (#75)
    by SoCalDem on Mon Mar 30, 2009 at 11:03:09 AM EST
    I live in California where you can get a prescription for Marijuana, there are pharmacies all over the place, these pharmacies pay state tax on all purchases. So if you can go to the pharmacy, you by pass the crap weed that is on the streets. I personally like it this way. I think when they go to legalize it the pricing will go up, that will make it a hardship for the people now using the pharmacies.