California measure to legalize and tax pot

California's biggest cash crop is marijuana. San Francisco assemblyman Tom Ammiano wants to legalize it and tax it to help relieve some of the state's financial woes. From the Los Angeles Times:
"I know the jokes are going to be coming, but this is not a frivolous issue," said Ammiano, a Democrat elected in November after more than a dozen years as a San Francisco supervisor. "California always takes the lead -- on gay marriage, the sanctuary movement, medical marijuana..."

Ammiano's measure, AB 390, would essentially replicate the regulatory structure used for beer, wine and hard liquor, with taxed sales barred to anyone under 21.

The natural world would benefit, too, from the uprooting of environmentally destructive backcountry pot plantations that denude fragile ecosystems, Ammiano said.

But the biggest boon might be to the bottom line. By some estimates, California's pot crop is a $14-billion industry, putting it above vegetables ($5.7 billion) and grapes ($2.6 billion). If so, that could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year.
"Taxing pot could become a political toking point"


  1. What’s holding agribusiness back from lobbying hard for this, as they have for tobacco / cigarettes and corn / ethanol “biofuel”?

  2. it’s inevitable. Past a certain point, any who oppose it should be prosecuted for malicious anti-social behaviour. (that’s the wonderful thing about monkey-truth: it’s mutable)

  3. zuzu: shame and stigma?
    also the reasons why prop 8 passed
    more old mindsets need to die off before pot enthusiasts and gays are released from society’s “shame and stigma shackles”

  4. If legalization is done correctly, it should not remain the largest cash crop: the worthless stuff is overpriced, due to prohibition. Remember that, dreamers.

  5. The Good: This is long over due, and marijuana prohibition is a complete failure.

    The Bad: It’s not enough – it’s still inherently immoral to throw people in jail for altering their consciousness. This guy wants it legal just for the money, he doesn’t give two shits about the ethics of the matter.

    The Ugly: Get ready for more federal raids that end with peaceful people dead.

  6. it’s not gonna happen in our lifetime. americans are puritans at heart and after the gargantuan investment on the “drug war” in terms of resource investment and propaganda a radical change of policy is not feasible in the near future unless you believe that politicians and lobbyists are going to admit that after 30 years, thousands of people dead or in prison and several billions of dollars spent, the marijuana drug wars where a futile and demented exercise of corrupt state power.

    maybe if they started with small steps like legalizing use and possession of small quantities something could start happening. but no way i see massive pot crops as a tax revenue anytime soon.

  7. Also, I’d like to see some attribution to the whole “largest cash crop” bit. How is that being calculated? It seems a bit urban-mythy.

  8. It’s still a federal crime no matter what the state(s) do, and the Feds are happy to be the ones who seize, liquidate, and keep — without a trial, due process, or any protections for the individual whatsoever — anything near or that has ever been near or might somehow be believed to be about to be near (for whatever values of “near” they care to use) marijuana, taxed or untaxed, state-legal or state-illegal.

    Will/can the State of California reasonably believe that they can win a Federal legal battle against the US Government on the Federal Government’s ability to enforce Federal Law, or on the Constitutionality of any of those various statues of Federal Law?

    If I were a betting man, I would bet “No”.

  9. I suspect that marijuana would not remain such a big cash crop. It would be pretty hard to export the crop as it done for vegetables and grapes.

  10. Cali couldn’t even hold off prop8, and now they want to legalize pot. As much as we all may want, I don’t see how this bill will get passed.

  11. If the week is legalized or decriminalized the price will go way down, so I wouldn’t count on those rosy predictions. Unless the tax is per roach or something.

    The Feds sell (or sold?) tax stamps for Marijuana sales. That way they can slam dealers for tax avoidance as well as dealing with an illicit substance.

    So, do you think they’ll levy a big tariff on imported weed? Gotta protect our yeoman Mary Jane farmers.

    If pot is legalized, then we can grow hemp. And if hemp enthusiasts are correct, that will solve each and every problem mankind has ever had, from global warming to diaper rash to those kids who keep throwing frisbees on your lawn.

  12. Tentative to be all that hopeful for, since what can seem like such a shrewd concept socially, might mean certain death politically. Sooner or later it would but heads with federal law…BUTT: I believe that the more you hammer at it, the less radical an idea it may become.

    I hope proponents of the idea can design some provisions to mitigate some of the inevitable negative fallout (i.e. smart abuse treatment strategies and education to push responsible use).

    And imagine the laser focused revenue stream aimed at the snack market!

  13. #4 has a point, but there should still be a market for the “premium” stuff.

    It would also open up the market to more hemp-based items of all kinds, and possibly spur more people to move to California, in order to take advantage of the law.

  14. There is, of course, the obvious token anti-drug response:

    Anti-drug groups are anything but amused by the idea of California collecting a windfall from the leafy herb that remains illegal under federal law.

    “This would open another door in Pandora’s box,” said Calvina Fay, executive director of Save Our Society From Drugs. “Legalizing drugs like this would create a whole new set of costs for society.”

    And as usual the opposition offers no constructive arguments except the usual ‘drugs are bad.’ Whats the cost of sending thousands of people to jail, enriching drug cartels and militarizing our police force Mr. Fay?

  15. Pot is also the biggest cash crop in a lot of other US states, as well as British Columbia. I’ve been saying for years that Michigan should legalize it and tax it. But once it’s legalized (we just passed a medical pot law), then you can grow your own. Lots of people would do this and avoid paying the tax.

  16. zuzu: shame and stigma?

    Money almost always trumps shame and stigma, hence: sex workers, janitors, maids, landscapers, and stock brokers

    I rather doubt the peddlers of cigarettes and high fructose corn syrup would feel particularly awkward about selling legal marijuana products.

  17. Yes, as others have stated of course the price would come down – likely, everyone and their mother would just grow a few plants every year, and there’d be a significantly reduced market. Pound for pound, pot is cheaper to grow than tobacco is, which before all the taxes is like $1-2 per pack. 20 cigarette sized joints would last a LONG TIME, and even at $5 a pack that’s still only 25 cents per smoke – about 60 times cheaper than it is now (figuring $15 a gram and 1 gram per joint)

  18. perhaps the legalization/use side in this manufactured drug war will pick up the gun.
    Mexico shows where continued prohibition leads to.
    Maybe federal agents will find themselves taking real fire in California, with an unhelpful Californian government standing by watching. It’s inevitable: shoot and murder people and sooner or later they will shoot back. Has the DEA ever made a public explanation of why they think it right they kill innocent people on a regular basis?

  19. Overpriced? Name one product that has remained the same price for almost 20 years. I could get a nice sack for $50 in 1990, and I can get a better one now for $50. Anyhow, the government has already missed the boat on this one, as the black market infrastructure is already so well established. It would be nice to avoid the destruction of ecosystems to grow the stuff, as well as the meaningless prison expenditures.

  20. $1 billion is only the tax money they’d make off selling the pot itself. Imagine the amount of tourist money they’d make from all the people coming there to get stoned? It’d be better than the money NH makes from MASS folks coming up to buy state-owned booze.

    I just feel bad for Holland losing all the stoner tourism. :-(

  21. @nutbastard – the money is part of the ethics of this argument. And no, he’s well aware of the full range of this topic — keep up the good work Tom!

  22. Growing weed is kind of already taxed in the form of payoffs to local authorities.

    Also, even if it’s legal that doesn’t mean it’s going to be unregulated. There will be tremendous (government) expenses involved with making sure it’s not laced with illegal drugs, etc.

    Oh give me a break, why am I even writing about this? It’s not going to happen.

  23. @#19

    “Has the DEA ever made a public explanation of why they think it right they kill innocent people on a regular basis?”

    Yes. It’s for the protection of the people they killed, lest they get hooked on drugs and throw their lives away.

    : \

  24. The biggest problem with this idea is that as soon as it’s legalized, it’s going to become a lot less expensive. A $14b industry could be reduced to 1/10th of that, which would reduce taxes by the same amount. And it would put a lot of hardworking marijuana farmers out of business, too, only adding to the unemployment problems. Sales of guns, fast cars, and private airplanes for transportation would go down too. And let’s not even get started about how many corrections officers would have to be laid off if they didn’t incarcerate pot smokers…. the ripple effects could be really big.

  25. @Roscoe:

    he’s still using the budget deficit as a fulcrum, which, while probably necessary in his eyes, I find to be rather crass and petty.


    “beer is legal to make at home, how many people bother?”

    The cost of the constituent ingredients in beer, the equipment, the skill, and the time investment involved in producing ones own beer is orders of magnitude more troublesome than throwing seeds on the ground.

    Brewing beer is often more expensive by volume than simply purchasing good beer. The same is not true of marijuana.

  26. Various posters have commented that making marijuana legal will cause prices to drop, thus drastically reducing the total value of the “industry”. #26 suggests that it could be reduced to 10% of its current value.

    I don’t disagree, but it does suggest that we’re going about this stimulus stuff wrong. We should make everything illegal, and increase the value of our economy tenfold overnight, to say nothing of fostering the kind of American entrepreneurship that Mr Capone and his friends demonstrated in the 1920s.

  27. Unfortunately, the largest percentile of burners who want decriminalization the most are the ones that perpetually sabotage their own cause by driving the perception that dope = tuned out delinquent. Tell the stoners that to get what they want their going to have to earn it, join a new movement, and change pot’s brand by putting a new face on it. The disheveled drunk didn’t help to end prohibition, but the high society player did. Perhaps start by throwing the tie-die in the trash finally?

  28. The repeal of alcohol prohibition in 1933 was seemingly impossible, but it was managed nonetheless.

    The camel’s nose is in the tent, as far as cannabis legalization is concerned. This bill will get shot down, as will Barney Frank’s federal bill. But it is becoming increasingly clear that only sheer laziness, plus capitulation to corporate demands, is the only reason why it remains illegal.

    Imagine yourself as a member of the California legislature, going back to your constituents and explaining why you voted down a potential $1 billion in revenue when the state is facing bankruptcy. Even the most conservative minded among us can’t argue with the tax levy.

  29. it will be like a popularity contest.

    What is more popular?
    The Pot
    The Gay

    Even Arnies admits he smokes pot, but he still won’t cop to smoking cock.

  30. California will not be able to sustain keeping pot legal. The Federal govt. would not allow it. If the economy continues to slide through 2012 or so and maybe we would see it legalized…..It’s not as impossible as some people on here think…

  31. America still carries global economic clout, regardless of how badly Cheney raped her. If the USA legalizes, half the world at once will follow, the market is huge and first profits go to the fastest and greediest.

  32. @nutbastard

    “troublesome than throwing seeds on the ground.”

    How about Basil? How many people just plunk down the $2 at the grocer for the fresh herbs, rather than grow them?

    Cannabis is not that easy to grow, ESPECIALLY outdoors. It only flowers in the fall. Insects and animals will eat at it, seeds from wild pollen will form. Indoors? Forget about it.

    Beer is something like $6-8 a six-pack. More at the bar. People won’t mind paying $5 per “buzz” for THC inebriation.

  33. According to what I saw, pot is essentially legal in SF, how are the crime rates compared to places where the ban is enforced? That would be a really good argument with hard data, as I am pretty sure that crime rates are not that high in SF.
    Some Gapminder-like graphics would be neat!

  34. #16 posted by Jeff:

    …once it’s legalized (we just passed a medical pot law), then you can grow your own. Lots of people would do this and avoid paying the tax.

    It’s legal to brew your own beer, ferment your own wine and grow your own tobacco. Hell, you can grow all your own food if you don’t want to go to the grocery store. But very few of us do any of these things because even with taxes it’s just not worth it for most people.

  35. @Jason Rizos

    As someone who’s actually grown pot, I can tell you that it really is as simple as putting some seeds in the ground. You won’t maximize yield using the ‘set it and forget it’ method, but that shit will grow without any help. Just go out and kill the male plants before they start pollinating, maybe til the dirt a bit and voila.

    As for basil, i’m positive that if basil cost $3,000 a pound that yes, a lot of people would grow their own friggin basil.

  36. that will depend of how they define “crime” of course. You mean assault, robbery, rape and murder, right?

  37. From the article:

    could mean upward of $1 billion in tax revenue for the state each year. (emphasis added)

    And just like the taxes on cigarettes, wine, and beer, it would lilkely penalize the lower income families the most, draining their share of the $1 Billion dollars in tax revenue right out of their wallets at a disproportionate rate, straddling them with the burdon of paying the bulk of that tax. (Everyone in all socioeconomic classes would smoke the pot – of course, but a greater percentage of the taxes collected would be from those in the lower socio-economic stratas)

    It’s working so well taxing cigarettes to the insane levels we do now to fund health care for children, I’m sure it will be fine.

  38. Let me also remember everyone here that the billions spent annually on arresting casual users and incarcerating them is not “good” money for society to spend. Those savings could translate to something with realizable capital gain. Incarceration is money lost, labor lost.

  39. the economic truth of it will fall in the middle somewhere. It’s not the point. Pot should be legal so more innocents won’t be killed.

  40. *sigh*

    i am all for making marijuana legal, but im really interested in what industrial hemp could do for this state. i fear that its not weed that will prevent the bill from passing, its the industries who are threatened by a multi-use and easy to grow hemp plant that will pull no punches in ensuring this bill goes nowhere.

  41. I’d think that over time most of the tax boon would come from industrial hemp and tourism. Hemp would be a great source for paper, building materials, and biofuels. I’d hope it doesn’t greatly increase our population. We have too many people already.

  42. Brewing beer is often more expensive by volume than simply purchasing good beer.

    My experience is that I about break even if I include the time spent brewing and the ingredients.

    Counting the ingredients alone and you’re drinking a good beer for the price of a bad beer.

    and hey, hobbies keep people away from… er… drugs.

  43. It’s a start!

    California residents, get ahold of your state assemblymen and senators. Don’t think that posting silly comments on a blog will have any effect at all. Phone calls, letters, and word-of-mouth networking will be the only thing that can keep this alive.

  44. @nutbastard

    First, you can’t just kill the males, unless you really, really live away from civilization and other growers of cannabis and/or hemp.

    As someone who has brewed a lot of beer I can say that you can just buy apple juice and bread yeast from the store, toss it in and forget it. The result with get you #&^*’d up, if that’s your goal.

    You misunderestimate the laziness of the common consumer! Also, I hope you aren’t implying that the legalized price would be $3k a lb. It wouldn’t be. The tax on 1/8 of an ounce would be $6. It is feasible that the “market” price would be a total of around $20. By my books, that is 60% of current “street” price. That’s as fair of a price as a bottle of moonshine.

  45. Good for them. One problem, however. Do they really expect the going rate for legal pot to be anywhere near what people pay for illegal weed? If it was legal, it probably wouldn’t be the state’s biggest cash crop, which means their tax revenue projections are way off.

    Still, every little bit helps.

  46. as for those who say “you can brew your own beer but almost nobody does”, most of the people i know who smoke would love, love, love, to grow their own babies, but all of them fear prosecution. Under current law they can seize your house, for gods sake. Also, again, brewing beer yourself doesn’t save you any money. With pot legal, if they tried to maintain the current black market prices, you bet your ass people would be growing like mad. what stoner HASN’T fantasized about growing their own???

  47. People can grow their own tobacco and veggies too, but how many cigarette smokers grow and roll their own? A small, SMALL percentage, despite the fact that tobacco is cheap and easy to grow compared with the high cost of buying it in the store. I think the majority of people would just go the gas station for their smokes like they do with tobacco now.

  48. “Brewing beer is often more expensive by volume than simply purchasing good beer.”

    Actually, my homebrews work out to about 60 cents a bottle in ingredients, and are comparable in quality to craft beers several times that price. Of course, it’s still a relatively time consuming process, you need space for it, consistency isn’t guaranteed, and you need to plan weeks in advance what you want to be drinking. I do it because it’s fun to experiment, but it wouldn’t be worth it purely as a cost-saver.

  49. Don’t be so sure that the price will drop – in the Bay Area, “legal” pot (either medicinal or from a private club) is much more expensive than that procured on the black market.

  50. no you cant just kill the males, but you can use spun fiber in much the same way as the people who grow peppers for seed do in order to prevent hybridization.

    the price wont go down until you can grow 100 acres of the stuff without the DEA burning the crop.

    Let’s not forget that we had a measure on the ballot(CA) in Nov that reduced the penalty of posession from a misdemeanor to an infraction(no court just mail in a check). It went down in flames, being called a drug dealer’s Bill of Rights even though it only applied to users.

  51. Timothy H, doesn’t any expense for a lower income person represent a larger share of their income? Isn’t that just about the textbook definition of lower income?

  52. @fyodordos

    In LA, it’s a little cheaper (comparing black market prices in SF to dispensary rates in LA). It’s probably due to the fact that there aren’t a lot of dispensaries in SF, but they’re all over the place in LA.

    Um, so I’ve heard, that is.

  53. A thought on the “grow your own” line of discussion:

    I think there will still be a certain stigma associated with growing your own pot for a long time to come, which will deter a lot of people. Even if it’s completely legal, some people won’t do it because of the “what would the neighbors think” factor.

    Don’t get me wrong– every college-age stoner in the state will have a plant, but a lot of people won’t for various reasons other than convenience.

  54. Most of the billions that California has at stake with this bill is the money that will be saved in law enforcement, prosecution and incarceration if it passes. Any income from taxation is just icing on the cake.

    I’m curious to see if a legalized marijuana industry leads to uniformly manufactured, machine-rolled joints displacing sales of loose leaves. How many tobacco smokers still roll their own or use a pipe?

  55. “California always takes the lead — on gay marriage”

    Well, they might have taken the lead, but after Prop 8 passed, that was a pretty clear indication that they moved all the way to the back of the line.

  56. Legalizing pot will not necessarily make it legal to cultivate it. Think liquor. Pretty sure it’s illegal to distill liquor in US for personal use. Just sayin.

  57. @Zuzu – I wasn’t referring to any shame or stigma on behalf of the potential sellers, but that of the legions of do-gooders like Calvina Fay who is going to “Save our Society from Drugs”
    Part of the tactic is to create a black and white world where drugs ‘r bad and you’re bad if you do them. It’s really the same tactic that passed prop 8…homos ‘r bad and if they are allowed legal marriage your children will be taught sodomy in their public school.

  58. Growing weed is easy. I know plenty of people who have (we had farms near us, with pot-smoking farm boys). I’m talking outside in Michigan. No problem with animals eating it, or bugs or pollination from wild male plants. So, for some people, having a small garden would be money saving. I wouldn’t want the stinky stuff in my garden. I would do as with wine and beer–just buy it. The way this country is right now, every adult would probably do okay with a little TLC and a little THC.

  59. As others have mentioned, the main boost to California’s coffers doesn’t from the marijuana tax. The real money comes from the Dorito tax that has been slyly tucked into the same bill.

    Or should I say “Cheetos tax”, as this is Boingboing.

  60. @teller

    Speaking only for California, if you’ve got a doctor’s note to possess, you can also have up to 3 plants for personal use. I think the distilling liquor thing has more to do with exploding stills and blindness than anything else.

  61. If it’s legalized = black market is eliminated = price & crime go down.

    If possession is decriminalized = black market thrives, selling to an easier market = prices remain high; sellers continue to mix in whatever nasty addictive stuff they can.

    Growing your own must be legalized. Government regulated and taxed stuff should also be produced and sold.

    Full legalization is the only way to go.

  62. California legalizes pot = childhood’s end….time to grow up, people, and grow a spine versus the prohibitionists, fear-mongers, evangelicals and fascists.
    There is a solid majority for legalization: but only if voter turnout is high :)

  63. Not gonna happen. As with the gay marriage issue, there are far too many misconceptions, disinformation and knee-jerk “moral” opinions (held mostly by voters who have absolutely no personal stake in the issue, much like Prop. 8, which should have never been allowed on the ballot to begin with) in the public eye about marijuana for this to pass, even here in California. The old guard and the religious meddlers with nothing better to do than get into other people’s business need to die out or move away before anything like this could become a reality.

  64. Hey Teller that’s funny the Holy Mother Church first banned hemp use in the 1200s just about when (IMO not just co-incidence) the Benedictine Monks first introduced distilled liquor into Europe…a monopoly which rapidly enriched the Benedictine Order.
    Ya think they banned it to increase their liquor sales?
    Or that most Americans know that it was religious people who introduced hard liquor to Europe and and profited mightily therefrom?
    Or that it was people of Islmaic faith who invented the distillation of hard liquor in the first place, regardless of what their religion forbade?
    There is no moral argument for prohibition: quite the reverse, actually, if you respect people enough.
    Stills can be forbidden based upon considerations of safety, there is no such issue with reefer.
    But I am aware of the Whiskey Rebellion. That was indeed all about taxes, eh?

  65. Legalizing pot will not necessarily make it legal to cultivate it. Think liquor. Pretty sure it’s illegal to distill liquor in US for personal use. Just sayin.

    Distilling liquor is regulated because it’s dangerous. It’s still perfectly legal to make your own wine and beer.

    If anything growing your own tobacco is a much better analogy.

  66. @ Jason Rizos

    I did happen to live in the middle of nowhere when i grew back in the day – as luck would have it, for some reason they were all female (there weren’t a lot of them) and so it was even less of an issue.

    And a deer or something did eat one of them. However with virtually no effort i ended up with some of the more chronic shit i’ve ever had – fresh off the plant makes a big difference in the headspace it puts you in. Granted there was less than an ounce on each plant, but come on, i didn’t DO anything, i just put em out there and came back 6 months later.

    I would totally start a little garden if i could, though i wouldn’t rely on it as the main source.

    I’ve always wanted to get a couple of million seeds and load em into a fully automatic compressed air gun, then just drive around playing Johnny Appleweed til weed is so ubiquitous that it would be ludicrous to even suggest attempting to continue to regulate it.

  67. Taj is correct.
    Those who wish to have more facts and arguments for prohibition’s end and for total legalization, please refer to the Canadian Senate Report: it is very thorough, and took a lot of work. They heard from everyone, including cops. The argumentas are sound: the Reports conclusions and recommendations, UNANIMOUS. Comnplete legalization: sale at corner stores.
    But the cops set policy, the Mas Media decided, so they reported the Policemen’s Union (Association) outrage over the Report, not the Report itself, ignoring that full testimony from police groups was heard and considered in the Report’s preparation.
    Read it and use the arguments. That would be reasonable,yes? Why re-do the work? Link:

    Brought to you by the Government of Canada.

  68. @GRIMC

    “growing pot is easy. growing GOOD pot is much harder.

    It bore repeating.”

    no, growing large quantities of good pot is much harder. so long as you start with really good seeds from a really good strain, there’s not much you can do short of pulling them too early to screw up the genetics.

    When you push the plant to produce maximum yield, the quality goes down, almost regardless of the genetics. The larger buds are often of inferior quality. However if you just let them be, you’ll end up with a small quantity of pot that’s likely a lot better than the bud you pulled the seeds out of.

  69. Preterjohn: No the CIA prefers viciously addictive poisons which are much more valuable per kilo, much easier to transport, and which clear out of the body fast enough for drug testing to be ineffective after 3 days.
    They want reefer banned so it does not compete or cut into their heroin/cocaine/crack/meth profits. Because they are evil.
    Secrecy breeds evil.

  70. Well, obviously the price will go down because the risk factor is gone. Growers don’t have to hide, transporters don’t have nearly as much risk of being killed or busted… The state would lose the income from fines, but would no longer be packing the courts & jails up with people who used or sold a now-legal substance… shorter turnaround for court dates, less paperwork, etc. Of course, pricing is always based on what the market will bear, so don’t expect it to go down *that* much… the after-tax price to consumers would probably be pretty close to unchanged, at least until walmart or some other bulk retailer gets into it and drives the prices down. Then you’ll start seeing pot boutiques as the only place to get a real variety and higher quality… and then the pot equivalent of starbucks will arise and convince most people that it invented high quality while selling stuff that’s much better than the walmart brand, but inferior to the boutique types. Smoke Local signs will start springing up, the local farmers’ markets will sprout 2-3 stands from different growers with dozens of varieties; at least one will of course be organic. It will become a fad, suddenly in every type of food product. Health “experts” will proclaim it a miracle cure for producing regular bowel movements, lowering cholesterol, and curing cancer; wine “experts” will sneer at each other as they catfight over which varietal goes best with a bongful; late night pay-per-view will sell a dozen different absolutely necessary products to enhance your experience…

    and so on… and so on… and so on….

  71. Yeah this good pot hard bad pot easy stuff is just BS, iyt grows like a weed, and it is hardy as hell: entire mountains are covered with fantastic weed in Bhutan, and it’s wild.

  72. My reaction on most victimless crimes: Legalize, tax, use the tax income to control quality, educate about REAL relative risks, and manage the relatively few social ills that persist after those produced directly by the activity’s criminality have vanished.

    The War On Drugs really is nothing but price support for organized crime. Time to admit it’s a failed strategy — like alcohol prohibition, and for the same reasons — and apply a bit of common sense.

  73. Hey as long as all the pot heads are here, I have a question:

    Have any of you ever railed a line of keef, and if so, did it work?

  74. @nutbastard

    Obviously you’re speaking from a good personal experience, and I don’t doubt you were able to grow what you did. But I can only speak from my personal experience–and that of various friends who’ve tried over the years–and the best any of us could manage ended up with a conversation like:

    “You feel anything?”

    “I dunno. I think so. Wait–I dunno. You?”

    “Well, I’ve got a little cottonmouth.”



    “Screw this. Call Tom.”

    “He’s still in jail. Let’s get drunk. Maybe it’ll help.”

  75. The longer it takes to legalize weed, the more likely it is that your popular governments have been subverted by criminals.
    Because it is they who benefit most from prohibition.

  76. To borrow a turn of phrase I saw on another website news article on this subject:

    It’s the Audacity of Dope.

  77. @GRIMC

    Well i’d blame yer seeds. mine were from some purple shit that accidentally got pollinated, and so it was very cheap and full of seeds.

    no matter how good a grower you are, if the seeds are from dirtweed, dirtweed is what you’ll get.

    in fact i’d say that the seed is the #1 factor in ensuring good quality. that, and a good deer fence.

  78. Hell no, don’t snort just eat it: it doesn’t absorb through mucous membranes, as far as I know. Don’t bother rubbing yer dick in it either.
    It’d be like snorting tobacco, fer cryin’ out loud.

  79. @Ugly Canuck

    it’s just something i’ve always been curious about – SOMEONE out there has snorted keef, and i wanna talk to ’em!

  80. @ugly canuck

    …give up and walk five blocks to the dispensary?


    You could be right. But consider that some people do have green thumbs, and many don’t. Growing’s like cooking–one person’s easy-to-make coq au vin is another person’s wasted chicken. :)

  81. @Ugly Canuck

    Nasal snuff isn’t common anymore but the mucous membranes can absorb nicotine just as well as orally through the gums. Can’t say anything for THC, though.

  82. “America still carries global economic clout, regardless of how badly Cheney raped her. If the USA legalizes, half the world at once will follow, the market is huge and first profits go to the fastest and greediest”

    true but more than the economic example it would give a moral one.

    the dutch failed to export their tollerant mentality to the neighbouring europe, so they became a pot disneyland for 300million people which inevitably provoked a rise in crime. actually it costs less buy pot outside a coffee shop in amsterdam not to mention that the dealer has other stuff too.

    if the US legalizes there would be a tremendous push forward for similar legislation all over the western world. there would be no more excuses. Europe is in a tipping point over pot legislation. the consensus is massive. the only thing that keeps it from being legal are “moral” issues (and bogus fear mongering “studies”) backed up mostly by the US example.

  83. Actually tak it seems that O-man’s administration has already requested that UN treaties concerning drugs be modified, to allow for “harm-reduction” strategies, ie needle exchanges, supervised injection sites, etc. Which apparently Bush went out of his way to get adopted.
    They also will dis-continue Bush’s war on California’s sovereignity.
    The reaction from the Oregon med reefer community as to Mr.K’s appointment was “Thank God!”
    Finally it ought to be remembered that it is a legitimate use of State power to encourage industry and discourage vice. It’s just that the measures used to date bear no proportion whatsoever to the “vice” in question (if it is indeed a “vice”; that’s very arguable), and that in any event, the liberty of the subject ought not to be impaired in that quest.
    Rather, the state ought to persuade people that it’s not worth using, but jeez! not at gunpoint!
    Better, in a free country, that individuals have vices, rather than the State itself adopting the vice of resorting to deadly arms and the “argument” of superior might, in the regulation of its subjects.
    Seek to persuade us by sweet reason not to use the reefer, and put that gun down while you make the attempt. Don’t try to bully us into being better people….

  84. @Narual

    Good point. Furthermore, if America wanted to be really “American” about it, then cannabis might morph and mutate into something ugly and evil, the way Tobacco did once Phillip Morris and the other purveyors of addiction got involved.

    Andrew Weil gave a talk back in the early 80’s about how there are no “evil” drugs, just evil people, and that pretty much any intoxicant in its most natural state isn’t a social blight, be it poppies, coca, cannabis flowers, or fungus.

    THAT is where we should focus our efforts, on refined versions of these plants.

  85. Focus on legalization, not concentration of potency by big pharma.
    You know Canada would have legalized, but for heavy heavy pressure and threats from the US Government.
    You need to apply the magic of the free market here: half-assed “decriminalization” is NOT the way, that would intercept the benefits being discussed…
    You know, you could just tell the cops administratively not to enforce, and the Attorneys-General not to prosecute. You don’t really need to change the Laws, just their enforcement….but that sucks, it’s not “honest government”, and it does not bring home the bacon in the form of tax revenue.
    Personally, I say just legalize, to hell with taxing/regulating it. How can Republicans be so hypocritical: free markets good, taxes bad, but not for this stuff which so many desire (they will even risk punishment to use it), that is so easy to produce (the stuff grows wild), and which causes so little harm (the stuff has many properties which ameliorate a long list of medical conditions)….
    How’s about doing something for people, rather than for money, eh? Because it is the right thing to do?
    you cats really should look at the Canadian senate report, it is very very solid…

  86. Wolfiesma: Check out the “Cannabis Culture” links above, and the links therein to be found.
    I note that my old acquaintance & bookseller Mr. Marc Emery still has an US Extradition warrant hanging over his head, and that US authorities want to imprison him for life, for doing in Canada what is (or was until the US extradition request) not prosecuted in Canada: indeed the Canadian Government advised those who have prescriptions for medical marijuana to obtain their seeds from him.
    But the US wants to punish him, because of his well- (and self-) funded advocacy for legalization.
    To make a political example of him….

  87. Sure, lot sof people could grow pot who currently don’t due to fear of reprisals.

    But lots of people grow tomatoes now, and the vegetable farms haven’t gone out of business. Of course, they’d have to get over this nonsense about it costing $10 or more a gram. I would guess the real cost per pound of the stuff would be less than tobacco – it grows like a weed if left to its own devices, where I’m pretty sure tobacco doesn’t.

  88. Hey jason I mis-understood: you were not calling for refined potency, but to focus control/enforcement on the crack, the heroin – but refined cannabis is hash or oil, and refined fungus?
    I agree though, the coke and the horse are drugs of enslavement not liberation and that is why they are preferred by the Mob/CIA….

  89. I saw a couple comments on the hemp aspect,but nothing on how big cotton will be totally against this initiative. They won’t want the competition of a plant thats as much or more versatile, and easier to grow.

  90. I have never even heard of anyone ever growing their own tobacco for personal use.
    Anybody got a real-world example?

  91. Rictor said:

    tobacco is cheap and easy to grow compared with the high cost of buying it in the store.

    And what makes it so expensive? In order:
    – Federal lawsuit settlement
    – Federal taxes
    – State taxes
    – Local taxes (if any)
    – Transportation
    – Cost of raw materials
    – Cost of manufacturing
    – NASCAR sponsorship
    – The Pimp my Iron Lung benefit on all high-level executives at the tobacco companies
    – Profit for the convienience store that sells the cigarettes…

  92. taxes meaning the government enforces an artificial monopoly. The tax on ANYTHING need only be as high as the people permit.

  93. Well I cannot leave this discussion without a link to the Narco news bulletin: these guys are very good journalists, outside of the big-$$ media,and have broken and scooped important stories:

    In the present context check out Conroy’s and Giordano’s articles with the words “drug war”in their titles.
    The legalization movement is not small: remember, kids, that the “War on Drugs” involves real guns, shooting real bullets, mangling real bodies. And it has fomented levels of violence outside US borders which I hope most Americans would have difficulty imagining.
    The War on Drugs is a real evil.
    This is really no joking matter.

  94. Its interesting that while there is a lot of misinformed and weirdly-thought stuff above, NOBODY is outright against it. Democracy???

    I think the best plan right now is to fake optimism. Spread rumours. Feign belief. Invent the reality you want. Start mentioning to coworkers “I think its going to happen”, you can even tack on a “God, I hope it doesnt! Those stoners murder puppies!” but still get the word out. Inform the mass mind. “It will be legal in 2 years”. Let this simmer and ferment. If enough people did this, reality would catch up.

  95. This would send the wrong message to our children.

    I want my children to know that recreational drug use is a criminal failure of character. I want them to know they live in a society that has zero tolerance for this failure, and that they will be imprisoned and stigmatised for it.

    That’s the right message.

  96. A liberal interpretation of medical use is the way to go…anybody over the age of 18 should be able to get a physician’s note, for whatever ailment they say they need it for: headaches, PMS, whatever…

    Everybody in CA who is serious about pot, has had a medical use permit, for years now, anyway. It’s only you scofflaw hypocrites who are whining about “legalization” these days…

  97. @ugly canuck

    I have never even heard of anyone ever growing their own tobacco for personal use.
    Anybody got a real-world example?

    Paul Bunyan used to rip pine trees out of the ground and smoke ’em like cigars. That count?


    There once was this drug dealing guy.
    One evening four clients came by.
    To the first he sold pot
    The guy smoked all he bought
    And the silly fool laughed till he cried.

    To the next he sold speed and the guy got so wired
    For three days he never got tired.

    To the third he sold crack
    But he kept coming back
    Saying “More! Gimme more! Gimme more!”

    Now the fourth guy was he
    who said “No dope for me!
    I only drink beer so I never get wild.”
    Driving home he drove over a child.

    I wouldn’t say drugs are the way;
    What goes up is certain to fall.
    It’s peculiar somehow
    That the one we allow
    Is the most dangerous drug of them all!

  99. All that happened to them was they got stuffy sinuses. THC doesn’t dissolve in mucus and won’t enter the bloodstream that way.

  100. jeez I don’t smoke the stuff: but I know people whom I like very much who do, and it bothers me that these people are subject to arrest and punishment for no reason that I can see other than some others thinking that they should not do what they do….
    I’m a friend of personal liberty and of reason and rationality in governance: how does this make me a “scoff-law hypocrite”?
    guesstimate, I suggest that you leave your personal insults out of the discussion.

  101. @Robulus #118:

    I want my children to know that recreational drug use is a criminal failure of character. I want them to know they live in a society that has zero tolerance for this failure, and that they will be imprisoned and stigmatised for it.

    I think you’ll find most people here will agree that children shouldn’t be allowed to smoke dope.

    What is your policy on alcohol? Should that be considered a “criminal” failure of character subject to arrest as well? If not, why?

  102. Grimc: yeah, stills are dangerous.
    Ugly Canuck: Taxes is right. I think the gov’t will want to control the hell out of it. You know, to make sure “it’s citizen-safe, FDA-approved, blah blah we care”. I believe there’s a good chance the cultivation ban continues, the 3 plant med-rule notwithstanding. You smell buds; the gov’t smells revenue. Love to hear an FDA official game-out its view of legalization.

  103. “Pretty sure it’s illegal to distill liquor in US for personal use. Just sayin. ”

    Distilling liquor really isn’t that dangerous. Just throw away the heads and tails and stills blowing up just requires a safety valve like a pressure cooker (those don’t blow up much either regardless of what your mom told you). However the government would miss out on quite a bit of tax revenue, hmm.

  104. I’d be surprised if this ever passed. I’ve argued with people who maintained that drug users were criminals because, well, because the law says they are! It was enough for them that the law -manufactured- criminals, instead of punishing people who have done bad things to others. Some have tried the line that drug users harm themselves, which just makes throwing them in jail even more perverse. At least some of them conceded that addiction should be treated as a condition instead of a criminal behavior.

  105. I post as somebody who works in the Liquor industry and so when I think about this subject I think of a similar system being set up as used for other controlled substances (beer, wine, spirits).

    To begin with, I doubt the price to consumer would really shift that much. Depending on what sort of agency or Marijuana Control Board is developed could really determine the pricing. If the state is responsible for the sales (similar to alcohol control states like Pennsylvania, Ohio, Washington) you could probably expect to slightly higher prices then if the sales are privatized. If the sales were privatized the state could still regulate who sells by licensing pot dealers (which would bring in revenue). High pricing could also be due to how the state chooses to tax the product (a strategy which can bring in additional revenue and discourage underage use).

    In Washington, there is a certain amount of revenue from the sales of alcohol that is used to fund programs for underage drinking and alcohol abuse. Presumably the same could be down with Pot helping to mitigate abuse issues (or at least diffuse that line of argument). Additionally, a certain percentage of revenues go back in to the local communities, this is a sizable amount of money returning to those areas.

    In Washington State, alcohol sales brought in around $400 million dollars of net revenue to the state. When comparing the size of California to Washington I would not be surprised if Marijuana could bring in 1 billion of revenue to the state.

  106. Unless the Federal government concurs this is just an invitation to a large and expensive lawsuit. This is a Republic, and California is still part of a federal government that considers cannabis a Schedule I illegal drug.

  107. check your local laws. In some places it is illegal to possess drugs, buy drugs, sell drugs, make or grow drugs, give drugs away – but not to use drugs.

  108. Robulus: If you want to send a message, call western union.
    But in all seriousness, smoking reefer may be a “failure of character”, but if it a causes no harm unto others, then, it is not “criminal”, nor should it be, as the criminal law seeks to punish the wicked will, not the act in itself. Or would you have us incarcerate under the Criminal law the attempted suicides amongst us too? How about divorcees? How about homosexuals? or gamblers? Or alcoholics? or misogynists? or the profane and foul-mouthed, the irascible and rude?
    To seek to punish with State power “failures of character” (character flaws?) which have NO DIRECT IMPACT on the lives of others is a vicious (nay, criminal) abuse of State Power.
    It is to be noted that marijuana prohibition was birthed at the same time that European fascism and Stalinism were in full flower. And it shares with those contemporary reviled doctrines a contempt for the individual’s right of self-determination, and that the State ought to be the arbiter of what constitutes “good character”. Is this America?
    As to tolerance, the only thing I have “zero tolerance” for is the intolerant themselves, who quickly condemn to suffering and ignominy those whose habits they do not choose to share or respect. And who wish to use OUR tax dollars to enforce their ideas of what constitutes a “virtuous” life.
    Society, sir, apparently does not share your self-proclaimed intolerance. And how did you become society’s mouthpiece, anyway? Do you hold an elected office?
    And why should your desires as to the nature of our society trump those of others, anyway?
    Robulus, you need more than just a professed allegiance to your prejudices, to persuade us that is not only good but necessary for us to adopt repressive and violent measures to thwart the desires of so many: you need to back up your umbrage and assertions with reasoned arguments of unique power: for these Laws directly and severely impinge upon the liberties of your fellow-citizens, and in their unreasoning application and severity, are bringing the administration of justice itself into dis-repute: a very very great potential evil, which serves to divide the rulers and the ruled and estranges the people from their own gvernance. Notice how ‘well-loved’ the police have become over the past thirty years in the USA, and how difficult it is to get the co-operation of the public. How long till your next anti-cop riots? And why should we stand by silently while the mis-guided policies you espouse wreck our Society?
    And finally, if your child has character failings, do not blame society for it, neither ought you ascribe to society your child’s strengths of character. You ought to respect your children’s judgment more: you ought to trust them to do the right thing, without striking them (or showing them others being struck). Or are your principles such, that only thus can they be inculcated?
    Finally it should be noted that these Laws came onto the books in 1937. Prior to such time, I do not notice that people were any less virtuous, or of notably worse character, than they are now: rather the reverse. So this “project” of demonstrating society’s intolerance of character failings has been itself an utter failure, anyway. So stop wasting my tax dollars making my fellow citizens miserable, already.
    PS Do you often take your child to the prisons or the courts, to demonstrate what happens to those who…what’s the word? possess? develop? are taught?….failures of character? Or does this pedagogical influence of the drug laws magically work its way into her mind?

  109. Teller: I refer you to the Canadian senate report which i linked above: the arguments and reasoning as to why the “free-market” rather than the “regulated” market makes more sense. Basically, cost. Nothing is gained by regulating for taxes in this case: the enforcement of the regulations would swamp the revenues, and the black-markets would continue.

  110. To tax a little is the same as to tax a lot . And they will . This guy is already gushing over these floating pallets of banded 100 dollar bills he sees in his head .

    I would suspect that each time they raise the fee , (rather predictable with apparatchiks ) there will be a resulting increase in the number of people who think that “this” is enough money to shoot “this” cop over . And vice versa of course .

  111. Geez, Canuck- you really laid into that poor guy.
    Not that I don’t completely agree with you. The thing he said that bugs me is “Zero Tolerance”. I think that means stripping a person of their Constitutional rights, mostly their right to defend themselves.
    I’ve known kids that were kicked out of school without any opportunity to defend themselves. This zero tolerance is a throwback to Nancy Reagan’s War On Drugs, and it’s unconstitutional.

  112. @Robulus

    “I want my children to know that recreational drug use is a criminal failure of character. I want them to know they live in a society that has zero tolerance for this failure, and that they will be imprisoned and stigmatised for it.”

    Well, I fell the same way about religious people, but I’m still willing to draw the line at taking that right away from them.

  113. As regards the cost of weed should it be legalized, I ask: how much does a cigar cost? Silly question. There’s a very broad range, just as there would be for pot.

  114. another benefit of legalization would mean pot would get the hell studied out of it, Real research with real spin-offs. Now that the US has begun to emerge from the terrible, dark tunnel of fundamentalist hatred of science and medicine, stem-cell research is already taking off again. Huge benefits are pending and there is no more reason to let the lunatics deprive the rest of us from the medical discoveries waiting inside the pot genome as well. I still think a register should be kept of all those irrationally opposed to learning, and they and theirs should be denied by law any of the medical help they ignorantly kept from suffering people for so long for no reason beyond their animal hatred. A little real justice for change.

  115. Even if the price of pot tanks so hard they make no money taxing it, it’ll STILL help the state’s bottom line – that’s a lot of pot smokers the state isn’t spending money arresting and locking up in jail.

    This is, in fact, one of the best reasons to legalize all drugs – removing nonviolent offenders from prison saves tons of money and solves at least part of the prison crowding problem. Aside from that and the potential tax income, legalizing drugs also allows regulation – no more drugs-cut-with-rat-poison or mixed with other drugs, and the better ability to control dosage would dramatically decrease the damage drugs do to individuals. There are some drugs where that might not outweigh the sheer damage/addiction potential of the drug itself (crack, probably), and the government might reasonably chose to leave SELLING those illegal… but even then, there’s a lot of money and prison space to be saved, and a lot of good to be done, by sending USERS to rehab instead of jail. And marijuana clearly isn’t in that more-damage-if-it’s-legal class, especially not if legalizing it would also allow hemp farming.

  116. go cali! get yer asses out and vote YES on this mofo! then im movin out there to do a lil farmin. da-da-dada-da fresh air! da-da-dada-da times square! green acres we are there!

  117. ORNITH said:

    Even if the price of pot tanks so hard they make no money taxing it, it’ll STILL help the state’s bottom line

    You miss a subtle point – taxes don’t need to be a fraction of the selling price, it can be a set number per quantity, so many dollars per ounce. The tax can be a multiple of the cost of the item being taxed, think gas or tobacco. ($2.575/pack in my home state of New Jersey, as an example)

  118. Eep.

    Let me repost that.

    [start sarcasm]

    This would send the wrong message to our children.

    I want my children to know that recreational drug use is a criminal failure of character. I want them to know they live in a society that has zero tolerance for this failure, and that they will be imprisoned and stigmatised for it.

    That’s the right message.

    [end sarcasm]

  119. It’s good to see support for such a law among representatives, but I don’t see how this could pass when it’s going to be so violently opposed on the federal level.

    Even if it did pass… If the feds are just going to swarm in and start kicking down doors to punish the state for this kind of insolence, we’re not going to be able to get enough legitimate sales structure set up to reap any kind of meaningful tax rewards.

    And when the feds crush the potential industry into the ground, those opposing the law will just point at how little tax revenue there was and claim there’s no money in pot taxes.

    We’ll wind up back at square one and this time those opposing the idea will have more ammunition. Regardless of the fact that it’s the result of a logical fallacy, they will have the argument as ammunition, and it will be effective.

    This war on drugs is even more deeply entrenched than the idea that we could have won in Vietnam. If people, to this day, still get away with convincing a not insignificant number of people that we lost vietnam because the military wasn’t allowed to fight how they wanted, or because of the media, or Jane Fonda, or the hippies… even when respected academics point out when these people are misguided or are even outright lying and have spoken the exact opposite sorts of things in the past… do you really think our society is ready to tackle an even more deeply entrenched and fortified delusion?

    We will win the war on drugs because it is right. It is right, so we must win it. It is right, because respectable men are fighting it. We will win it, because these good men cannot fail, because they are right, and they are good. And the circle of zealotry goes on. A perfect storm of fanaticism. The circular logic has been given an immaculate polish over all these many decades. This hardened wheel of self-deception will take nothing short of revolutionary social upheaval to break apart.

  120. Hey robulus, your sarcasm was undetectable, and your post was an accurate mirror of the thinking of some, who would sacrifice the lives & happiness of others for the edification of themselves and their children. And that, is something I truly and cordially detest.
    I had to respond strongly (perhaps too strongly): the reasoning you displayed is indeed very widespread, and you shall hear something much like it advanced during the debate over this proposal.
    Weirdly for a non-toker I feel strongly about this. Besides people I like being at some risk of arrest, I truly feel that it infects all of society with a disrespect for all laws, and that that leads to all kinds of rotten consequences for everyone, tokers or not.
    The price being paid by all of us for this “war” is not worth it.
    I believe in reasoned governance, not governance based on superstition or specious logic. I hate to see the Law cheapened and abused to browbeat harmless kids and fools, by and large: it’s cruel and expensive and it’s been going on for far too long.
    It leads to corruption of those charged with upholding the Laws and drains scarce tax revenues into unproductive uses: my primary beef against pot growers/sellers, is their evasion of the taxes which all profitable businesses ought to pay.
    But primarily, I have yet to hear a good reason why the State ought to have the power to forbid the use of reefer, at all. Oh there are plenty of bad ones: to prtect pharmacos, to suppress hemp, to support distillers/brewers, make work for cops/prison guards, etc. But good reasons from a public policy point of view?
    That is to say:
    Why should the possession of reefer be illegal, at all?

  121. a war on drug warriors? They murder, why should they be immune? The people have a right to kill oppressors.

  122. Airpillo: the argument that it must stay illegal, because it is illegal, is unworthy of Americans.
    Remember, Obama has already called off any further Fed raids on Cali’s MJ dispensaries.
    Finally, there is growing evidence that reefer is loaded with powerful anti-cancer agents: that your government may be witholding from the people a potential cure for cancer, is another tell of the truth of what I have asserted above:
    The longer a politician refuses to legalize, the more likely he’s a mole working for the Mob, to keep their profits fat.
    Now that IS hypocrisy: it’s not about morals, as such politicians claim, but about his gangster buddy’s profits.
    Look again at the Narco News i linked to above: check the article on the recently-arrested long-time chief of one of Mexico’s strongest “anti-drug” legal organs.
    The prohibition of marijuana was wholly immoral in its genesis, and continues to be so to this day.

    My above comments, and the comments I made in the Atlanta killer-cop thread, are dedicated to Sir Paul McCartney, and are made in memory of Louis Armstrong and Robert Mitchum.

    Free Marc Emery!

  123. your sarcasm was undetectable

    Well it was pretty dry…

    your post was an accurate mirror of the thinking of some, who would sacrifice the lives & happiness of others for the edification of themselves and their children. And that, is something I truly and cordially detest

    Me too!

    Weirdly for a non-toker I feel strongly about this.

    My Dad was a school Headmaster, and although he’s not politically conservative, he is quite conservative morally. When he blurted out one day that he supports full legalisation of all drugs I almost choked. But he gets it, like you do.

    Its not about a free-for-all drug orgy, its about dealing with the reality of drug use in an adult way that minimises the harm caused to our community.

    And the only counter argument you get, is that it “sends the wrong message to kids.”

    More frank explication, less cryptic satire next time for me!

  124. Seems like the Grand Ol’ Depression finally has some non-tokers awakening from their hypnotic stupor.
    Now, how about re-framing modifying one’s own body chemistry like it’s one’s own business as a fundamental right? Or would that be bad for the prison industry?

  125. Shucks. I thought it was fresh to have someone stand up for an unpopular viewpoint. Unfortunately, I quite agree with you guys. It’s just a frickin’ weed, fer crap’s sake.

  126. All of this prohibition crap has to go away. Sin taxes are establishment. The problem with weed is that legalizing it would, probably, cut into ethanol revenues. People who have grown it report that it is trivially easy to produce. Those who make claims to the contrary either are ignorant or incompetent. On the quite conservative estimate of 1oz./sq. ft., an acre would produce over a long ton of product. This would supply a thousand hard-core users. The whole of US supply was produced on a few hundred acres in Coloumbia, ’till sattelites found the operation in a remote mountain valley. The underlying problem is the tarrif on ethanol. Denatured alcohol is terrible stuff. I want to deflux my circuit boards with regular 95% ethanol, which I do, but I must pay a large tax. All drugs should be available through industrial-style suppliers, regular sales tax only. Anything less, the state becomes the dealer. Thus, the state will fail to avail itself of suasion in discouraging their use. There are no secrets to keep about the existance of drugs. The only criminal attach to drugs should be mis-labeling and dosing people without their prior knowledge. The ban has people imbibing contaminated drugs, and funding criminal gangs. The funds of the government actually reside in one fungible pool. The idea that cigs fund child health insurance is thus a lame canard. The government shouldn’t benefit from cig sales so that it can be free to discourage their use. When Brooke Shields made a PSA against cigs, the gov’t didn’t release it, for fear that it would have been effective. The government is addicted. We should try to encourage it to kick the habit.

  127. “The natural world would benefit, too, from the uprooting of environmentally destructive backcountry pot plantations that denude fragile ecosystems, Ammiano said.”

    I’m surprised that in all these comments nobody has taken issue with this quote. Cannabis sativa is a nitrogen fixing plant and as such could actually be a good thing for the ecosystems. Obviously if there is a large amount of slash and burn type growing happening then I understand his point but I’ve never known or heard of anyone growing on a large scale outdoors for the very reason that it needs to be surreptitious. To me this just shows another part of his ignorance.

  128. 1. pot is a non violent drug that is less harmful than beer. You wont catch some pothead smashing his bong over someones bar and threatening to shank someone with the broken end…
    2. pot aka hemp has so many damn uses that its inevitable it will be vital in coming years.
    3. some uses but not all are as follows:
    Fuel for both fire and vehicles, ford had a hemp made and fueled vehicle.
    Prescription drug used for everything from cancer to migraines.
    Paper 1 acre of pot=12 acres of trees
    Textiles, canvas, pants, paints, shoes, shampoos, tires, cellulose plastics, engine oil, salves, edible antibacterial oil/paste, recreational drug, etc. etc.
    4. The only reason its still illegal although half of all american citizens have used the drug is because too many large corporations that really run the world wouldnt allow it for fear of profit loss. Oil, Gas, Drug Companies, Textile/Clothing, Rubbers/Plastics/tires, Paper/Lumber, Fuel, Food(&Drug Admin), Law enforcement, Judges, Dea, etc. etc.
    5. It likely still wont be legalized for a long time although it would help with many current problems that werent around 100 years ago because of the plant. In fact the constitution (which gets treated like antique rhetoric) is printed on it and george washington, thomas jefferson themselves grew it. The first(and strongest) levi’s were made of hemp, viking rope made 5000 years ago is still around was made of it.
    6. Besides who would want to grow their own food/fuel/heating/medicine/salve/nutritional supplement/clothing/rope/paper? Only every civilization for the last million or so years besides us civilized folks of the 20th and 21st century.

  129. In the UK it looked like we were heading for de-criminalization when the Gov downgraded it from class B to C. It was a move opposed by moral stalwarts, but largely supported by the police as it cut down on minor offences and the associated paperwork.

    The effects of the change were that recorded usage actually fell, there was no explosion in drug crazed offences and police were free to pursue real criminals.

    Despite the apparent success, anti drug campaigners continued to protest on the grounds that a ‘c’ classification sent out the message that it was OK to smoke weed, and this combined with the widespread availability of super strength skunk’s was exposing users to increased risk of psychosis and possible triggering of latent schizophrenia.

    It’s not easy to dismiss this line of argument. In my long history of MJ (20 years daily), I’ve known a handful of people ‘spin out’, some permanently. As I sit here thinking though I’m having to cross people off that list (No, X’s problem was with LSD. Y had a coke episode etc)
    There does appear to be window in the development of adolescent minds where exposure to THC can cause unintended effects and lasting damage. Any society that legalizes will also have to prepare for a rise in linked mental health issues.

    I do have to agree that long term use will affect your memory, motivation and social skills and would support efforts to raise awareness of the lesser dangers of long term stonerism. That said I’m fiercely opposed to prohibition and prescription of what I choose to ingest.

    In a perfect world I would be free to cultivate my own at a strength that suits me. I’m no big fan of the super strong cheesey breeds going around.

    The UK Govt don’t agree – against all advice, MJ was recently reclassified a “class B” ensuring that confusion reigns.

  130. SIMEON said:

    In my long history of MJ (20 years daily), I’ve known a handful of people ‘spin out’, some permanently. As I sit here thinking though I’m having to cross people off that list (No, X’s problem was with LSD. Y had a coke episode etc)

    I’m not sure where you live Simeon, but here in America a very popular line of reasoning against legalizing marijuana is that it is a gateway drug, leading the casual user into a likely addicition problem with a more serious drug, like LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)…

    That line of reasoning, even if you agree that Marijuana by itself is a rather harmless drug, could cause many fence-sitters to fall on the side of keeping it illegal.

  131. Everyone should google “brazil president drug war wsj” for an excellent article in the WSJ in favor of legalisation fom a retired pres of brazil. It’s one of the best arguments I’ve read. Pass it around!!

  132. The real gateway drugs are alcohol, tobacco and coffee.
    A rotten rotten reason to punish marijuana users.

  133. Way to plug the hole, flowerchild.
    Another rotten reason for criminalization: “MAYBE it’s bad for you”. Contrast the certainty of harm from being prosecuted by the full power of the State.
    Anyhow, the evidence increasingly points to its use as being good for people…

  134. Tom Hutto: LSD is not addictive: but coffee is.
    So much so, that fist fights broke out one busy weekday morning in a downtown Toronto coffee shop, after a power failure, over who would get the remaining coffee.

  135. FRANK W said, “Now, how about re-framing modifying one’s own body chemistry like it’s one’s own business as a fundamental right? Or would that be bad for the prison industry?”

    There is a Tim Leary post up the line–very on the nose. The Powers That Be know what’s best for your consciousness. Why would any one trust our government with anything regarding the truth? I wonder if Obama could talk about pot honestly? That the entire war on drug is a sham and waste of tax payer money.

  136. the Waronsomedrugs Industry has bloated itself on the lifeblood of the nation to the point that has almost replaced functioning, productive organs. Getting rid of this parasite before it kills the host is essential, but it will have to be done intelligently to avoid excessive shock to the overall organism. The prime pathogens of course should be isolated in solitary confinement cells (the loudest mouths that secretly profited the most – we will find them), but the bottom end enforcers, the jailers, the phony “therapists” and the low end fundies working the fearrragawd angle, some make work must be found for them. What are they good for anyway?

  137. #160 posted by flowerchild

    …Cannabis sativa is a nitrogen fixing plant and as such could actually be a good thing for the ecosystems. Obviously if there is a large amount of slash and burn type growing happening then I understand his point but I’ve never known or heard of anyone growing on a large scale outdoors for the very reason that it needs to be surreptitious. To me this just shows another part of his ignorance.

    ALL plants are nitrogen-fixing. The problem is that illegal growers often destroy native plants in protected national parks and such to plant their crop, effectively making cannabis an invasive species. It’s not bad in the “global warming” sense, it’s bad in the “preserving local ecologies” sense.

    The fact that outdoor crops HAVE to be well-hidden is part of the problem, since it often means ripping out a patch of virgin forest to make sure your weed is in a place that’s out of the way and hidden from view. Most farmers have to follow certain environmental guidelines, but pot growers have no such restrictions.

  138. Pot as a Gateway drug. I know this much to be true in my experience: a) There are Gateway Personalities, so to speak. People inclined to explore the drug aisle. Safe to say they usually start with pot; b) Once you start smoking pot regularly, you hang with pot smokers. Hey, why not? There’s always someone in that crowd with other stuff available. But that’s always your decision, depending on your comfort around peer pressure. But pot acting like crack – I don’t see it.

  139. gateway? To a new experience? To new thought? To creativity? To relief or release? To enhanced sensory experience? How many smoke pot and then decide to travel? Anyone checked?

    Going through “gateways” has a name; “living”.

  140. Brainspore: Do you think that the eradication of naturally growing hemp in the territory of the USA has changed its ecology in some localities? I do.
    And perhaps all plants do fix nitrogen, but some create a beneficial excess, that remains in the soil, eg legumes: perhaps this is what flowerchild was referring to?
    And the gateway drug argument is just stupid: how many thousands of those who have no desire ever to use other substances must suffer, to prevent this imagined harm?
    Is this not again a case of creating actual present harm, so as to ward off a possibility of harm? the “maybe-its-bad-for-your-health,let’s-ban-it” argument, in a different form?
    How does this differ from imposing criminal penalties, actual present suffering, for something that “might” be harmful, but which has not been shown to be so (despite generous government funding to determine the question in the positive – too bad you cannot prove a negative…convenient too, for the prohibitionists….)?

  141. After all the amazing commentary here, I’m afraid no one will read this far since I’m not nutbastard (what a great name btw, praise BB for allowing us bastard in our UN) or ugly canuck.

    GREATEST QUOTE IN THIS THREAD: goes to #167, Ugly Canuck, quoting Tom Hutto: “LSD is not addictive: but coffee is”. My god. I must use this. It’s like a logic bomb of kryptonite against the stupid. Insert pot for LSD, etc.

    The very fact this thread seems to have largely gone untampered by our lovely hosts must mean that they are at least sympathetic (?) to the cause championed here, by some of the brightest commentary I have ever seen on the subject, backed up with facts. Does this mean Cory,Xeni, Mark, David & John are sympathetic to personal freedom (I’m sure they are), or tokers as well (no one but them knows for sure), for not shutting this ball of wonder down? I’m picturing them all lighting up for the good of preserving personal rights, and it’s quite a vision. I invite their commentary on this.

    While I’ve known some bright tokers in my time, I am extatic about this law being proposed for the sanity behind it, but more than anything, the fact that there are so many really intelligent, reasoned people here who do smoke- that proves some of my friends weren’t brilliant anomalies in some supposed “sea of fools”. The more people that realize the sheer intelligence of many enthusiasts here like Canuck, both the tokers and the freedom-thinkers, the better off both causes will be.

  142. Tak: Reason for even talking about it. Timothy Hutton @162: “…here in America a very popular line of reasoning against legalizing marijuana is that it is a gateway drug, leading the casual user into a likely addicition problem with a more serious drug, like LSD, Cocaine, Heroin, etc.)…”

  143. I wonder if anyone would be suspicious if I had a handful of seeds delivered by post. Post office box, perhaps…

  144. teller, how many of those folk ACTUALLY started ( as i did) with the occasional beer or coffee or cigarette? i had my first sip of beer at around the age of six, for chrisakes! i had my first cup of coffee at age twelve, and my first cigarette at age thirteen. i didn’t smoke my first joint until the age of sixteen, and didn’t smoke it again for another year. now, you tell me; which was the “gateway” drug?

  145. The whole “gateway drug” thing is ridiculous.

    Anything can be a gateway to anything else.

    Moderation is the key.

    If there weren’t drugs, people with addiction problems would just be addicted to something else.

  146. Mintfresh et al: You even read what I wrote or why I wrote it? Somebody brought up Gateway seven thousand comments ago as a possible stumbling block to legalization. I don’t think it’s a gateway drug. I just commented on what I observed when I was smoking dope every day for ten years. Fucking A.

  147. @bastardnamban

    why thank you, sir. i’m a lot more active on gizmodo, but i love BB for the variety, and here at BB it looks like the commentard-to-insightful commenter ratio is much nicer than on giz, where people seem to feel the need to ejaculate memes on a regular basis. plus i love the uke girls, and i can grab all my gadget news on BBG.

  148. somenoe needs to do an up-to-date glossary of terms used in current drug issues and discussion. Common words used, their original meaning, their history and their current meaning. Hard for people to talk since it’s been polarized for so long by the human cost of everything done wrong for so long.

  149. @Takuan

    there are two things in the world with more euphemisms and slang terms than any other concepts:

    Drugs, and sex.

    there’s something like 150 contemporary terms for marijuana alone.

    hey i know! let’s play: Name That Drug!

    1. Molly
    2. Shards
    3. Fry
    4. Silly
    5. Grapes
    6. Foxy

  150. I was thinking more defining our terms like “gateway” and “addiction” etc. Maybe “harm reduction”?

    But OK I’ll play: hmmm “shards”, crystal meth?

  151. Anyone want to start the Pot-smokers With Jobs influence group?

    we’ll have a lobby meeting with the black light on…after 5pm.

  152. #29: “Brewing beer is often more expensive by volume than simply purchasing good beer.”

    Horse Apples, my friend. I can make 5 gallons of perfectly good for less than the price of a case of mediocre lager. It will taste considerably better AND get you more drunk. Growing good weed is hard. Making beer is a piece of piss.

  153. @ Ugly Canuck #175:

    Please don’t misunderstand my point; I absolutely encourage allowing hemp to grow wild throughout its natural habitat. I also think it should be legalized and grown commercially. I was merely responding to FlowerChild’s post questioning that there could be any negative environmental impact from illegal pot farms, which is patently false.

    Marijuana’s illegal status has led many growers to adopt one of two environmentally unsound practices:

    1) Grow indoors under artificial lamps, wasting energy in the process.
    2) Grow outdoors in secluded areas of public property (often state or national parks), often destroying native plants and polluting the area with chemical fertilizers in the process.

    I’m not saying all pot growers use these practices, but many do. Legalizing cultivation is the only way to fix the problem.

  154. Why is every one comparing pot to beer? It doesn’t have to be treated the same as beer. Why wouldn’t it just be handled the same as harder liquors? Running a still is still very illegal and there is still a black market for boot legged liquor because the Federal Government controls who is allowed to make it.

    Why wouldn’t they do the same for pot? Then, they could say who could grow it even if it costs 10% of current street price to process it, who says it couldn’t cost 50% of current price and have half of that be taxes?

    There are plenty of reasons it can work from a tax perspective.

  155. @Akbar56

    you get a B+ on that, since you are right but the full answer is 5-methoxy-diisopropyltryptamine, or 5-MeO-DiPT

  156. Well this is a dud. We’ve set up the big Mods vs Rockers fight at Brighton, and the Rockers haven’t shown.

    There have only been two views expressed opposed to reform, and upon discussion, neither of those views were actually opposed to reform.

    Where is all the righteous moral indignation?

    What about the children? Won’t somebody think of the children!

  157. @#193

    you answered your own question:

    “Why wouldn’t it just be handled the same as harder liquors? Running a still is still very illegal and there is still a black market for boot legged liquor because the Federal Government controls who is allowed to make it.”

    Enforcing who is and isn’t allowed to grow it would likely be just as costly as busting everyone now is, and, like liquor, only serves to ENCOURAGE black market profiteering – however that is only true when the white market equivalent is significantly more expensive due to taxes.

    keep the taxes reasonable, don’t worry about who grows it, and voila, no incentive for a black market.

  158. I hope this passes in CA, and I hope it sets a good precedent for the rest of the country.

    I do not agree on a tax based system though, there is already a “tax” system for it, tax stamps for various drugs:

    I would like to see something like a permit system instituted in 3 categories:
    1. Personal growth permit allows 1-5 plants to be grown at all times.
    2. Commercial growth permit allows 5+ plants to be grown at all times.
    3. Agricultural growth permit allows unlimited amounts of non-psychoactive hemp.

    We are already taxed too much, and the 50$ per oz. presented is ridiculous. If this went into effect you can guarantee lines around the block of the issuing authority. With a huge surge of money in the state coffers.

  159. note: drug use isnt a problem, abuse is. (Like alcoholics?) Here in the Netherlands we treath drug abuse as a health problem first. The rational idea behind that is that the use it self is not a problem, just like its not really a problem when someone gets drunk in his own home.

  160. akbar56 said:

    The whole “gateway drug” thing is ridiculous.Anything can be a gateway to anything else.

    A personality I remember from the early David Letterman Show was Brother Theodore, among his many wonderful proclamations were that Mother’s Milk leads to Heroin! and that Breathing causes death!.

  161. Airpillo: the argument that it must stay illegal, because it is illegal, is unworthy of Americans.

    If that is what my comment seemed to convey, it was an accident on my part.

    It really should cease to be illegal, but it seemed to me as though this isn’t the best way to start chipping away at that goal because if it were to be enacted and then flop, it becomes ammunition to stymie future movements toward legalization.

    On the other hand I suppose the logistics will never be perfect and instead of waiting for some sort of ideal strategic situation, maybe we just need to start whittling away at the old way of doing things.

  162. Oh shoot, I messed up my blockquote.

    I wish I could edit my own comments, at least for the first 90 seconds after posting.

  163. I have read a lot of comments saying the price will drop, so the tax take will be neglible.
    This is clearly absurd as the markets set the price, and the excessive profits of pot producers is what should be targeted by the tax.
    If the new legal status causes a gram of weed to fall to $5 per gram, then the tax should be set at $10 – total price to consumer remains unchanged. Therefore price determined demand should not change either.

  164. I keep hearing that weed is not legal because people will grow it and the gov can’t tax it. Why not have grow permits? You are allowed to grow up to 5 plants for every $100 permit, limit it to a max of 15 plants total and anything above or anyone with out a permit would be fined $500 1st offense, $1000 for second and arrest for anything above. I see it the same as a home brewer of beer. You can brew a small amount but you are not allowed to brew vats of moonshine with out a permit.
    I am a former smoker who stopped due to the fear of losing my job and getting arrested. I think it’s insane that Tobacco and Beer are legal, both of which I do not do, but weed is still illegal. I am would love to legally light up one day with out the fear of losing my house and job! I would be willing to pay a small tax just as others do on beer etc. It’s also ironic that you can get prescription drugs such as Oxy legally or Valium, but pot is still illegal!
    P.s. Weed is not the gateway drug… Tobacco is!

  165. marijuana has been proven to help with alzhiemers and elpilepsy….people who think that it is a “gateway drug” are just uneducated and do not know anything….leagalized or not people are still going to smoke it the state might as well leagalize and tax it…

  166. they will legalize it like tobacco, they wont let you grow it and it will be 200 an ounce at least

  167. 200 an oz is better then the current $100 an oz and 1k in court fees and fines. Kind of like drinking and driving some times its worth paying 40$ to a taxi to get home safe and with out a dui !!!!!

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