Friday, March 26, 2010

Legalize It?

The state of CA has a qualified initiative that will place the question of whether to legalize 1 ounce or less of marijuana on the November ballot. The disinformation is already starting and look for entrenched money interests to spread that word.

Who are the interested groups?
  1. The medical marijuana establishment is first to express dismay. Why? Their industry is based on the current scarcity through prohibition. And, they make money selling through the tightly controlled sales network the current dispensaries provide. They will be out of business in most cases, but, the nimble proprietors will transition since those are places of business already established for this purpose.
  2. The California Peace Officers Association is next with grave admonitions like “It’s not going to better society. It’s going to denigrate it.” Alcohol has its' downside along with the abuse of prescription drugs, but we don't hear the prognostications about what those are doing to a future society. Why are they against it really? Less people to arrest will lessen the need for police officers unless we can find something else to make people worry about - should not be too hard my cynical side says.
  3. Humboldt County is worried according to the San Jose Mecury. Why? If prices decline it will negatively affect a local economy subsidized to a large extent by the now illicit cultivation of the weed and current high prices.
  4. MADD (Mother Against Drunk Driving) are against it for obvious and good reasons. Increased availability of testing for marijuana impairment should actually improve the ability of law enforcement to detect if someone is under the influence. This is probably the single best argument against legalization.
A list of medical pros and cons can be found here at this link >>> http://medicalmarijuana.procon.org/view.resource.php?resourceID=000141

Personally, I will not smoke marijuana if it is legal. On the other hand, I find the current laws do nothing but make it expensive and corrupting of law enforcement and the legal system. The people that want to smoke it will do it anyways. Our National Forests are dangerous to be in during the growing season. And, organized crime is empowered by distributing the illegal drug.

Legalize it. Tax it. Control it.

What do you think? Take the poll in top right corner of this screen.

1 comment:

Keith said...

Laws that are unenforceable because the reason behind the illegality have been largely dispelled as myth only tend to increase disrespect for the legal system in areas where laws are needed. Remove the control of organized crime over such enterprise and capture the revenue for the benefit of state governments.

I am not sure even the groups listed below are as against legalization as they once were. The medical maryjane people are the forefront of the retail distribution system and could easily expand their customer base offsetting volume for price. They need to think out-of-box.

Who in Humboldt Co. is speaking for an entire cash crop industry. I am sure there are varying opinions. Again these people are way ahead on the ag-technology curve for growing the finest of pot and if government managed the growers properly providing a tax stamp and guaranteed avenues for selling the crop, Humboldter's could grow with protection vs fear of legal entanglements. Besides that would reduce the Mexican mafia involvement with poor peasant types living, growing and protecting gardens in the woods. From a safety standpoint it is damn dangerous to go hiking off trail in the National Forests these days. Just two weeks ago our Archaeology Survey group hiked about 2 miles up a rugged boulder ridden canyon along a seasonal creek where we came upon a marijuana garden operation. Lots of evidence, broken garden tools, hundreds of feet of irrigation tubing, old plastic pump sprayers, empty bags of weed/fertilizer, and insecticide bottles, plus a table built into the trees for processing product. I guess they had also been pot hunting (of the prehistoric indian type) since this was just below a 50 room site about 300 ft on top of a rock outcrop. The entire area was badly dug up with over 20 holes some 6ft wide and 3 ft deep left. I even found portion of a child's skull. Oh and yeah there was the music cassette on one of the debris piles left from digging, and yes it was Mexican music. What else do you do in your spare time waiting for your crop to grow? I can only guess what might have happened had we found this during the late growing season. For just this one reason, safety, I am for legalization. It is way overdue. Oh and we didn't find any leftover product...we looked.
I don't think the peace officers are that adamantly against legalization. I know at least 4 people who either are peace officers or retired and think pot is a big waste of time and money. In California now if you get caught with less than an ounce, you don't even get pulled into the station. You get a ticket, a small fine to pay for a class on substance abuse and it doesn't even show up on your record. Less penalty than a DUI. Lawyers only come into play if it is a quantity bust. So de facto it is in a state of virtual legalization for small quantities.

MADD has a legitimate concern, however marijuana should be treated just as all other conscience altering substances. Cell phones are more dangerous than marijuana behind the wheel, even a hamburger distraction can be dangerous. So that argument falls apart. Besides, legalization would put more of an emphasis on the DUI part of the marijuana equation vs the possession of the substance. So if I drive while stoned isn't that less incriminating than possession of a half an ounce. There is no material to go to court if I drive stoned and if I am carrying it on my person, I am in trouble already anyway "so what the hell". Perhaps as you said the DUI portion will be taken more seriously if possession is legal. It is a DUI afterall and that is pretty serious these days.

The next question, what will the Feds do.