By Nathan Barton
With yet another state legalizing cannabis for recreation as well as medicine, the inevitable backlash is gathering momentum. There are, sadly, people who still want the state’s racket, the war on drugs or something else, to continue.
That comes as no surprise:
- For 80 years, cannabis in every form has been demonized in virtually every way. Many people have been brainwashed to believe that it is as evil as any other sort of drug, and more so.
- The various state governments, let alone the FedGov, have made a total mess of the legalization process, milking it for every possible dime and FTE (full-time employee) slot that they can. As a result, the impacts are staggering in many ways.
- Too many politicians and their followers are control freaks. They are eager to prohibit everything that they don’t like (if they can), and otherwise to control others in every conceivable way. In particular, they are hate anything resembling a truly free market.
- States (and their components, like schools) seek to insanely maximize profits from it. )(Ocasio-Cortez is far from the only politician (conservative or regressive) that fails to understand anything about economics. The powers-that-be do not understand human nature.)
- In general, “conservatives” – whether neo- or paleo. The “Religious Right” (who still support vestiges of alcohol prohibition in many places). The hard-core drug warriors who cannot admit that their lives were devoted to a failed concept, a lost war that didn’t need to be fought. The natural health folks and the new age health groupies and the morality warriors who think that prevention and punishment of “sin” ought to be the duty of government as a “minister of God.” And more and more, the people that Limbaugh satires in his bogus advertisements for “The Journal of Bad Living.” Those who don’t want ANY risk, who are not just helicopter parents but “lawnmower parents.”
Quite a group. And both predators AND victims in this racket.
None of this is unfamiliar to students of history. In a more primitive way (possibly thanks to the fact that the so-called Progressive Era was only three decades old), it happened with alcohol and the end of prohibition in the 1930s. It happened with gambling. (Both traditional casino and the lottery version of the old numbers racket.)
It is not just a great racket, but a nasty cycle.
Some social ill – a sin – is outlawed (prohibited). But… People continue to do it. More social ills result. Government enforcement attempts create still more problems. Then, government “decriminalizes” and “legalizes” these “sins.” They do this while finding a way to profit directly and indirectly from the em. They overcome opposition by promising to end the social ills created by the “sins” – and especially by the government attempts to prohibit those things. They satisfy the nannies by heaping on the regulations.
So government wants to (a) make money, (b) continue to control the population and (c) satisfy all the stakeholders. We must prevent people from “abusing” that activity. We must protect the children.
So they develop and enforce regulations, taxes, service charges, and fees. Regulators and enforcement people suck up most of money – with a paltry minimum going to the cause of the day – usually education or health services (especially for children) or environmental causes or some such.
Quite a racket, eh?
All courtesy of taxpayers and customers of the now-legal pot shops (medical or recreational) – suckers!
This drives up prices. This has already been noted in Washington State and elsewhere. You pay a premium for legal pot. Sometimes a whole lot more than getting the stuff from your local neighborhood junkie/pot dealer. After all, you now have to pay all those taxes, and for the nice fancy building, and advertising (even if just signs and billboards and fliers). And because it is a social ill – a sin in the eyes of the government, powers that be, and way too many voters, they can tack on MORE taxes and fees.
Again, what a racket!
In the next part, let’s look at some of those people who are fighting against legalization, even (and especially) in states that HAVE legalized it.
The racket isn’t over with the end of this tiny bit of the drug war ended.
AFTERWORD: I am NOT an advocate of cannabis, but of freedom. I do not use marijuana for anything recreational or medical. I do recognize that cannabis, like alcohol and tobacco and many other drugs, does have legitimate medical uses, and that government prohibition has denied suffering people significant relief and even treatment and cures. I also see little difference between using tobacco, alcohol, and cannabis as far as their effects on individuals, others, and society as a whole. But I see no logic whatsoever, and nor moral justification, for government to prohibit, enforce regulations, steal money, or anything else related to these products. Again, I’ll take on discussing that more in the next commentary.