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Blowing Smoke

It would be comical reading and listening to all the madness in Albany about the passage of marijuana legalization until you consider the actual bill and the back story that it tells.  The lack of understanding what they are dealing with makes the NYS legislators appear like they have had one too many joints themselves while drafting this bill. 

Now there are plenty of examples of what other states have done and the results to have informed them of the situation they are dealing with, but politicians seldom if ever consider the consequences of their actions, and this is no exception. While I am all for ending the stupidity of the war on drugs, anyone with a modicum of common sense will see the various ways this bill will do little to change the situation.

The bill legalizes the recreational use of marijuana as long as it is distributed in a proscribed manner by dispensaries licensed to do so.  We already have the New York State Liquor Authority, and now we have the New York State Office of Cannabis Management.  The history of alcohol control in the US with the Prohibition and the criminal activity it spawned should have been informative enough to have ended the war on drugs before it even started.

Consider the fact that since Nixon declared a “war on drugs”, with the goal being the eradication of drug use, interdiction of any distribution, and the incarceration of all involved, there has been no progress if measured by results given the ever increasing market, all for the tax payers’ bill of $51B/year, and you have to wonder what hallucinatory drugs legislators are on to think they can control the cannabis market.

The situation with marijuana is quite different from that with alcohol. Marijuana is as ubiquitous in consumption as alcohol, but far easier to produce. It’s called weed for a reason and grows with ease whereas alcohol requires agricultural harvesting, processing and distillation; far easier to import alcohol than make it, hence the difference between moonshiners and bootleggers.

Marijuana requires nothing more than seed and a place to grow it.  Drug trafficking is for cartels that are into much more potent and expensive products like cocaine, heroin, etc. Marijuana grows everywhere, so who needs a cartel? Therein lies one of the problems states have found with the presumption of new found revenues in controlling the cannabis market; who needs to pay the added costs for a controlled market when the distribution is already so organically established and extensive?

We do have the need for legalization to end the incarceration of so many young people, especially minorities. The question now becomes what if they are found involved in bootleg pot? I can’t help thinking about what happened to Eric Garner in 2014 for bootleg cigarettes.  Imagine the barbarity of murdering that man over such a thing, but this bill creates the same environment.

Besides, don’t think for a minute that the motivation for this legislation was related to such considerations.  This was a power grab plain and simple, a revenue stream that was too much for Albany to ignore, but they are in for the same lessons in economics as the other states that passed similar legislation.  If it simply stopped with decriminalization, that would have been true progress, but obviously that’s not the case; what it does is it transfers the problem and costs of enforcing the prohibition of a product, to controlling its market in order to squeeze out revenues. The costs of the resources to continue with the drug war remains, but now we have the added costs for the New York State Office of Cannabis Management, and all that goes with it.

Consider some of the many requirements for being licensed, such as unionized labor, minority prioritization, and other such “social justice” goals, all of which are typical political machinations to garner votes, the costs of which will find its way to the price of pot from licensed vendors, and to the revenues required for “control”.  So after you add up all the taxes, fees, unionized labor and bureaucratic infrastructure on top of the cost to grow and distribute cannabis, it’s easy to understand why so many states that have tried to do this have had a hard time at best competing with what is already in place through the spontaneous and organic market that has been developed, albeit underground, ever since the “Reefer Madness” days nearly a century ago. 

Bad enough that government thinks it has the right to control what people choose to do themselves, but to do so after they already have, and for quite a long time, is like looking to get on a train that’s been long gone. So don’t be fooled by legislation presented as progress as it’s just another scheme to make an already bloated bureaucracy even bigger; it’s all just blowing smoke up you now where.


Author: jvi7350

Politically I am an independent. While I tend to avoid labels, I consider myself a Libertarian. I find our politics to have deteriorated to a current state of ranting tribialism, and a growing disregard for individual rights; based on the axiom that silence is consent, I choose instead to speak out and therefore launched this blog.

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