Friday, March 13, 2009

All the efficiency of the DMV

It almost makes me want to support the state growing marijuana when I see the Oregon NORML boys oppose it. They recognize that our current situation is a big free for all. There is no regulation or oversight of the supposed "medicine" which means that it is simply an avenue to distribute recreational drugs.

Now imagine the bumbling state trying to efficiently distribute anything...


dhughes609 said...

All we need is another OLCC. I like the acronym ODOPE and I'm sure 5% of Oregon lottery money could be used for startup funding. ODOPE will create family wage jobs and subsidize the production of weed at the reasonable cost of $98 an ounce. I hope Walmart adds it to the list of $4 per before they too unionize. Surely this tax will be high enough to be self supportive (if they can ensure a top quality "high" similar to MauiWowie or Matanuska THunderf*ck.) This will put all illegal producers out of business or force them to unionize. This model program could be used to produce produce, other food products, and maybe even manufactured goods. It's all for the children

Stevie said...

As I explained to Lars Larson the other day, those of you who favor the continued prohibition of marijuana need to realize a few things:

This country has spent hundreds of billions of dollars on a “War on Drugs” over the last 30-40 years. And the end result of that “war” is this: I can walk into downtown Portland at this very moment, and within 30 minutes get my hands on just about any drug I want. And in fact, those drugs will be cheaper and of higher quality than they used to be. In other words, the War on Drugs is a policy failure of stupefying proportion.

And there’s no small amount of irony in the fact that “conservatives” like Larson spend a great deal of time criticizing government policy failures, and yet, those exact same “conservatives” tend to be the people who simultaneously support one of the biggest governmental policy failures in the last 40 years; that being the War on Drugs.

Folks, marijuana is here, and it isn't going anywhere. It is by far Oregon’s largest cash crop, estimated at over $1 billion in value. But right now, that market is controlled largely by criminal elements, with all of the fallout one would expect when organized crime controls a significant economic market. In addition, the State of Oregon sees $0 in tax revenue from the sale of this large and popular commodity, when it could earn hundreds of millions of dollars by simply regulating a substance that isn’t going to just magically go away absent such regulation.

So essentially, for those of you who support marijuana remaining illegal, I’m curious about one thing: What did we learn about alcohol prohibition in the 1920’s and1930’s, that leads you to believe marijuana prohibition is a good and workable policy today? Too many conservatives, like Lars Larson, have duplicitous views on this issue. That is to say, most conservatives understand perfectly well that prohibition in the 1920’s didn’t work, and that it only created problems that were even worse than the problems it was trying to solve! And yet, these same conservatives somehow think prohibition will magically work today. Bizarre, to say the least.

And look…I understand that legalizing marijuana is not without its own problems. I’m not one of those people who thinks everything will be just fine and dandy if we simply legalize pot. But I do know that the problems stemming from legalizing it will not be as large or severe as the substantial problems that stem from its prohibition. To be sure, history backs me up on this.

Sorry guys, but when it comes to marijuana legalization, those of you who oppose it do not have the facts on your side.

Kaelri said...

Stevie said what I wanted to say, but better.

Stevie said...

Dhughes609, your sarcasm is the type of response I always expect to see from people who have no intelligent or logical rebuttal to the proposal. But I completely understand. It’s tough to come up with such a logical rebuttal when the facts aren’t on your side to begin with!

Please get back to us if you can beat the odds and come up with something intelligent to say.

Anonymous said...

Excellent point, Stevie. The war on drugs is the most obvious, spectacular and expensive failure of any government program I can think of ... and right-wingers support it whole-heartedly. Fucking idiots.

Anonymous said...

What are the expected adverse effects of legalizing pot?

There's always the oft-cited concern of it being a gateway drug. I think this one's a non-starter. Not that my dozen college friends are representative of all young people in America, but we smoked plenty of pot in college and not one of us subsequently turned to heroin. And its not like any of us remained mired in a sedentary life of pot-smoking. We graduated, got careers, families, etc.

One might also argue that legalizing - what is a pretty harmless substance - will only give a wider swath of youth access to it. Anyone who has smoked pot as a youth knows that this is also a non-starter. It's not like pot is hard to get your hands on.

In fact, legalizing it would make it safer to smoke pot. For one, you know where it's coming from and wouldn't have to worry about it being laced with something (which happened to me once or twice). Second, there were a few times in college when buying pot brought me into contact with some sordid characters with whom I would rather not have been aqcuainted. Bringing pot production above boards would remove these two dangers, and would also lessen drug violence along the U.S.-Mexico border to the extent that at least some of the narco-trafficking involves marijuana.

It really seems like a no-brainer to me, and I don't even smoke pot anymore, so I don't have a dog in the fight. It's just some conservative cultural apprehension that is once again obstructing sober analysis of a social problem.

Bobkatt said...

Lars Larson may have a big mouth and a large platform with which to espouse his opinions, but that's just it, it's his opinion. He does not speak for "Conservatives" anymore than Bill Maher speaks for all Liberals.
The fact is that many conservatives disagree with the "War on Drugs". One good example is the Law Enforcement Against Prohibition organization. Another example would be William F. Buckley Jr. who once said: “Even if one takes every reefer madness allegation of the prohibitionists at face value, marijuana prohibition has done far more harm to far more people than marijuana ever could.” Another would be Rep. Ron Paul who favors removing all federal prohibition on drugs.
The fact is that illegalizing drugs creates a huge cash cow that is enjoyed by both sides of the issue. Think about it, almost all of the people in power now come from the drug friendly generation of the sixties and seventies, and still Marijuana is illegal. Makes you wonder who wants it illegal. Well it's the drug dealers who profit. It's the lawyers that do drugs themselves but make big money defending or prosecuting the accused. It's the government that funds many of their off the books enterprises with drug smuggling. It's the federal and local law enforcement agencies that fund their operations and buy new war toys with drug enforcement money. It's big pharma that doesn't want you to solve your health problems with a home grown natural remedy. It's, well you get the idea.
P.S. this idea that if we legalize marijuana we could make millions on taxing it might not be such a windfall. If you legalize it it will no longer have the inflated value it now enjoys. Since you could grow it in any back yard it might not even demand much of a market value.

Stevie said...

Bobkatt, that was a good post.

I only disagree with one thing. You said"

"P.S. this idea that if we legalize marijuana we could make millions on taxing it might not be such a windfall. If you legalize it it will no longer have the inflated value it now enjoys. Since you could grow it in any back yard it might not even demand much of a market value."

You're right that the price will go down if it is legalized. But I don't think it will go down much, as demand will be very high (no pun intended). And Oregon wants a $98/ounce tax, which should indeed produce a lot of revenue.

And I know a few people who grow pot, and to my surprise, every single one of them would PREFER to be able to get it from the State, and would not mind paying the tax. These friends of mine don't like the fact that they are technically "criminals" for the act of simply growing a frickin' plant! If they could opt-out of being criminals, they would!

I hope Oregon moves forward with this. It's time we end prohibition, as it clearly doesn't work.

Bobkatt said...

Stevie, a lot would depend on whether the government "allows" you to grow your own or not. How would you keep track of taxing homegrown?
You say that the people you know would rather buy it from the government than grow their own. Perhaps they can afford to pay hundreds of dollars for an ounce but most people won't pay that if they can grow it so easily. Why would you? Tobacco is legal. How much is an ounce of tobacco?
Most people don't make their own beer because of the time and effort to do so, but marijuana grows great in this climate and the processing is not that difficult.
I don't smoke the stuff. My main objective is get the Federal government out of the issue. I believe that the more local the interference the better. This country was founded on states rights not federal. Allowing states to determine their own rules allows you to have smaller test areas to determine what works and what doesn't. Very few things actually require the national governments involvement such as interstate travel and national defense. As you turn control over to the feds you lose the ability to actually have any control over your situation and basically hand over control to lobbyists and insiders. You pay money to the federal government and beg them to give a small percentage back through earmarks and pork projects- not efficient. In the latest (ripoff) stimulus package I figured that although we have about 1% of the population, we are set to receive only about 1/2 of a percent of the money from it.

Bob said...

My clan has been bootlegging and rum-running since the the time of Augustus Cesar.

My very own sainted Mother slept in a bassinette which hid a still!

When will people learn?

DAVE01 said...

Stevie, you are right on. I wrote a paper about twenty years ago in college on this subject. I said we should legalize pot and coke. Have the government grow it and distribute it. You can then take the profit and put that towards rehabilitation programs. I also said the price would drop by a large percentage which would take the drug gangs out of the business. I think back then we were spending several tens of billions a year on the war on drugs. So much money and time wasted for somethings that is here to stay. I also think a large percentage of the people in prison are in for selling an ounce of dope or something stupid.