By Nathan Barton
Cannabis has been legal in Colorado for some time, now, first for medical use and now for recreational as well as medicinal use. It seems to have gone pretty well, with a few problems, but none of the horror stories that opponents predicted. One of the significant problems is people toking up and then trying to work, especially in dangerous activities. but that is little different from alcohol users.
And it is making a fistful of money for the State, to boot. (And for a fair number of entrepreneurs. Including some that are a lot more interested in industrial hemp than in high levels of THC.)
But the pols are not content. As Freedom Net Daily republished from the Greeley Tribune, a bill has been introduced in the State’s benevolent, caring, loving, and greedy General Assembly that declares patient-owned marijuana growing to be a “public nuisance,” and bans even growing by organized co-operatives that comply with all the current laws and pay all the current taxes, and would limit private residences (and presumably any other location without all the permission slips from the State) to just 12 plants (down from 99 now “allowed.”) The evil specter of the black market is used to scare the other legislators to support this.
As Tom Knapp pointed out, it isn’t the business of the legislature what other people grow or do on their own property, as long as it does not harm other people and property owners. But that isn’t the reason – that is the excuse.
It is all control and money. The Colorado General Assembly, regardless of political affiliations and control, is collectively one of the greediest groups I know, and never seems to have a problem with robbing the taxpayers of the state, directly or indirectly – and even robbing the local governments to boot (AND the FedGov). To most of them, the more control that they can get over the various sectors of the state’s economy, whether it is mining or marijuana or marriage or medical, the more likely they are to get voted back into office and feather their own beds, as well as preen themselves to show off their power.
By limiting individual grows and cooperative efforts, where the only money changing hands is paying to operate and maintain the greenhouse and related production, the state figures that more and more people will be content to go down and buy from the hundreds of shops, which charge premium prices AND collect all the taxes and fees that the state (and localities) demand. And they can declare themselves to be protecting the non-users (and especially, the children) from the horrific evils of having 99 plants growing next door, because after all, 12 plants create a clear and present danger.
Also, supposedly, this will help get rid of the black market. One problem that Colorado and Washington states have is that the black market for pot continues. In large part this is for a simple economic reason, one familiar to New Yorkers and Californians. Legal pot is a lot more expensive than the back alley and street corner stuff, mostly due to the huge profit the State reaps from it in taxes and fees, and the huge costs of compliance with regulations. To say nothing of the fact that brick-and-mortar, dedicated stores are necessary to meet the requirements of the massas in Denver. No different than tobacco or alcohol. But this restriction on plants will almost certainly backfire and result in more “illicit” cannabis being bought and sold.
This is no different than prohibiting farmers from selling, and people from buying, raw milk or eggs. No different from saying that you can’t cut your own hair or your family’s hair or the next door neighbor’s hair, because you don’t have a license and a shop with those strange smells. No different from telling you that you can’t buy gasoline after 10 PM at night because you MIGHT make too much noise in the middle of the grocery store parking lot.
It is the nanny state using the excuse of protecting people to run our lives, every day and every hour.
Enough is enough.