By Nathan Barton
As I mentioned, there are a lot of people who still cannot accept the legalization of marijuana.
They can’t stand the idea of someone walking down the street and walking into a shop that sells medical OR recreational cannabis – or even something made out of hemp because it might have some infinitesimal trace of THC in it. They search for excuses and reasons to get voters to repudiate the passage of laws (or even constitutional amendments) to legalize drugs.
They seek to continue to exploit the power of the state (government) to push their cause.
At best, they are like MADD (Mothers against drunk driving) – they don’t try to reintroduce prohibition like it was a century ago. Rather, they just want to make it harder and harder for anyone to sell or buy or have the evil product. And they take advantage of the abusive power of government to do that.
It is rather like the situation with automatic weapons. These are theoretically legal for private persons to own. But nearly impossible due to regulations, investigations, and above all, the incredible cost. Ditto for noise suppressors for firearms. The costs make it very difficult to buy and own. Kinda like buying a gallon of gasoline in California, I guess.
What kinds of proposals? We’ve heard or seen most of them. For example, no medical marijuana unless you have a ‘script’ signed by specially-licensed MDs. And countersigned by two other MDs. Sales only to be made at a state-owned and state-operated dispensary, preferably just one in each state for purposes of “control.” Registration or licensing of all sellers and users and producers.
These folks seem to have banded together (again, no surprise). One of their bands of merry facilitators of government rackets is an organization called “Smart Approaches to Marijuana” which you can find on-line. SAM are not quite unreconstructed drug warriors, and they are not outright prohibitionists. But they want the present legalization of cannabis rolled back. They are willing to have using it “decriminalized,” but not “legal.” At least not for users.
They have lots of data and statistics and claims to back up their efforts. They want to again make cannabis illegal (just not criminal) in the states which now allow it. They want the FedGov to again start enforcing all the laws about the evil weed.
For example, they provide data from a recent Colorado report, talking about how Colorado is inexorably rolling downhill, all due to legalized pot sales. You can read it here.
I don’t know whether the stats are accurate or not. I don’t have the time or patience to research that. What I do know is that, yes, Colorado is going downhill rapidly. But for a lot of different reasons, and the “marijuana crisis” is a very small piece of the problem. SAM wants to make cannabis legalization the major reason. But virtually every one of the “significant negative impacts” cited by SAM have multiple factors causing the problems. Some with clearer connections, and most of which have nothing to do with cannabis itself.
What factors? Government incompetence and greed. (Both of bureaucrats and of politicians.) Stupid regulations. Business people who depend on government backing to help them stay in business. Big business which manipulates government to maintain restricted access to markets and works hard to prevent and destroy competition.
Too much of the data that SAM spouts can be accounted for by such things. Deteriorating roads can cause rises in traffic accidents and fatalities, for instance. Many factors are involved in increasing or decreasing alcohol sales. Many issues impact on behavior of school children. And the source of tax money really has little to do with how politicians steal it and waste it.
SAM pouts that the black market in Washington, Colorado, and elsewhere has NOT gone away, despite claims to the contrary. Of all the problems they cite, it seems to me that most can be laid in large part at the feet of government. The costs of legal pot (taxes, fees, registration, etc.) drive up the price: people obviously seek less expensive sources, and the black market is one.
The evils of the present “legalization” in the various states are largely a direct result of government actions, and demonstrate the stupidity of government in so many ways. In no way is there a free market in cannabis.
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.