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February 6, 2013

Some of today's notable marijuana headlines

22_010411marley_01Because there is so many on-going local and national sentencing developments and law reform discussions concerning marijuana, I would need to a few post posts a day just keep up with the highlights.  But, because I am disinclined to have this blog morphy into a cyber-version of High Times, I am trying to be somewhat selective concerning when and how to cover wacky weed developments. 

That said, and especially because today would have been Bob Marley's 68th birthday, I thought there we a number of major marijuana stories breaking today that justified blog coverage. Here are headlines and links to just some of the noteworthy ganja news drawn from various sources:

I think a reasonable claim could be made that any one of these headlines reports on the most important marijuana reform story of the day.  But because money often ends up speaking louder than morals, especially in lean times, I would assert that the story out of Michigan is perhaps the most consequential.  It begins this way:

Medical marijuana is turning out to be a windfall for Michigan state government.

A report says nearly $10 million in revenue was collected from applicants — more than double the cost of running the program.  The report covers the state's last budget year, which ended on Sept. 30.

A medical marijuana application costs $100.  Caregivers who grow marijuana for people also pay a fee.

To paraphrase the reggae master, it would appear Michigan's jamming, and I suspect that many other states looking for easy tax revenues will, before too long, wanna be jamming, too.

February 6, 2013 at 04:34 PM | Permalink

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Comments

Hey, look, on reflection, I'm compelled to agree with the emphasis on revenue. Money should tell the tale. Morals -- oh, good grief, that crap is for a bunch of Puritans. Could people please wake up? This is the 21st Century for cryin' out loud.

I thus propose that states legalize, regulate and tax child prostitution. Of course we would only use willing children -- we could give them a lollipop or pretty sneakers or something. They probably wouldn't mind the STD's all that much, either.

Think of all the money! We could give yet bigger pensions to state workers to retire at 55 (or is it 52?). Or we could do even fatter Solyndra's. Gotta have that clean energy, dontcha know!

And after we legalize child prostitution, we could legalize heroin!! Can you even imaging the dough the state could bring in? I mean, dope dependency is NOTHIN' compared to genuine heroin addiction!!! Those addicts will break down the door of the state store to get the stuff. We could tax it to the hilt and they wouldn't care; they buy it by the carload anyway.

There would hardly be a limit to the goodies the state could get with all the tax proceeds. Heck, it could even pay for the funerals when those dimwitted addicts got their O.D. and croaked.

Well, hey, look, it's their own fault. So please, it would really be best if those right-wing, Nazi freaks who sometimes comment here would just button it for once and allow the rest of us to enjoy all this new state revenue.

Progressivism finally hits its stride.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 6, 2013 4:58:28 PM

Bill, as you should know, historically it has been the Progressives who have sought to prohibit that which they feel does more harm than good (see, e.g., alcohol prohibition). More importantly, I sure hope you are not trying to build a slippery slope case for allowing Americans to drink alcohol and play with guns and gamble because these indisputably dangerous and arguably immoral activities could really undermine American freedom as we know!

Posted by: Doug B. | Feb 6, 2013 5:14:22 PM

Doug --

"I sure hope you are not trying to build a slippery slope case for allowing Americans to drink alcohol and play with guns and gamble because these indisputably dangerous and arguably immoral activities could really undermine American freedom as we know!"

Nope, no slippery slope case for me. You know how I am! I tend to just blurt out the case directly. Subtlety is not my long suit.

So you should take "yes" for an answer! I'm signing on to your revenue-for-the-state view of things. I mean, budgets are REALLY, REALLY tight, and something has to be done. No one here seems to be real keen to cut astronomical entitlement spending, so we need to be, uh, creative, as you suggest.

You can't doubt (and I notice you don't doubt) that legalized, regulated and taxed child prostitution and heroin sales will bring in oodles of money.

Haven't you had enough of all the Puritan blathering? That was then, this is now. Can you just imagine how many rich old geezers are going out of their minds to have sex with a 13 year-old???!!! This child prostitution stuff is a gold mine. The heroin business is a sure winner, too.

Like I say, you should take "yes" for an answer.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 6, 2013 5:44:22 PM

LOL good one bill. But if we really really want to cut govt spending. a good start would be to arrange a nationwide tour of every govt installation from local up to state and as the tour hits each location every other person will be fired!

there's a nice big cut.

Posted by: rodsmith | Feb 6, 2013 7:06:20 PM

Oh heck Bill, Why did you have talk about child prostitution and heroin?

I won't comment on why those two offenses are not part of the point, but I wish that they hadn't been introduced as a diversion. Don't explain to me why they are relevant because it's just not part of the dialogue for me at this juncture.

There is alot to be said for individual choice and responsibility and fiscal responsibility and civil liberties, but I'm just too darn exhausted to integrate giving lolipops to willing children for sex with a discussion of regulating marijuana like alcohol.

Posted by: beth | Feb 6, 2013 7:18:10 PM

Beth, might I suggest "A Modest Proposal" by Jonathan Swift?

Posted by: C60 | Feb 6, 2013 7:26:25 PM

C60 - Good one, Oh I wish I'd been so clever in my response - Immense Thanks. Beth

Posted by: beth | Feb 6, 2013 7:54:44 PM

C60, Gosh I wish that clever response were mine. Immense Thanks for the suggestion

Posted by: beth | Feb 6, 2013 8:01:41 PM

Just love Bill's ability to avoid black and white and see the nuanced shades of gray. 😄

Posted by: Steve Prof | Feb 6, 2013 8:15:17 PM

What are the major themes that Doug has sounded in favor of legalizing dope? There have been three.

1. Legalizing and taxing this product will bring in desperately needed money. Given how things are, every dollar counts. As Doug says is this very entry, "[B]ecause money often ends up speaking louder than morals, , especially in lean times, I would assert that the story out of Michigan is perhaps the most consequential. It begins this way: Medical marijuana is turning out to be a windfall for Michigan state government."

2. It is up to each person to decide for himself what substance is too dangerous to put into his body. Assessments of dangerousness by the establishment, whether the medical community or the government, are all well and good, but the main thing is personal autonomy and freedom no matter what others may think of the degree of danger. To hold otherwise is to surrender to big government paternalism.

3. We have been building "incarceration nation" with low-level, first-time offenders simply supplying a product for which there is a demand, and for which a black market will (and does) flourish absent legalization. We need to start de-constructing "incarceration nation," and the place to begin is with non-violent, consensual offenses.

EVERY ONE of those arguments applies to heroin and child prostitution (provided, as I have in my example, that the child is willing, and some pitiable children will be no matter how hotly it may be denied).

You may talk all you want about Jonathan Swift, but this fact will remain: If you don't like the gifts, in addition to pot, that turn out to be inside the package the logic of legalization constructs, maybe you should reconsider whether you want to continue with the construction.

Posted by: Bill Otis | Feb 6, 2013 9:47:15 PM

Sorry about the double post - chalk it up to short term memory loss.

It's quite easy to multiply the criminal element. Just make the use, posession, manufacture or importing of a widely used product like alcohol illegal. All of a sudden we will have a much broader criminal base. The same thing could be said of tobacco.

This is also the case in medicine - when you lower the acceptable level of glucose in the the blood - there are more diabetics. Lower the acceptable level of lead and many more children will be diagnoised at risk and many more houses will need an environmental cleaning.

It helps to have a public interest group, and or a government agency begin an ad campaign to inform citizens of the danger of the product or activity - soon there are industries and or, not for profit groups with a mission and a need for private and public funds. The newly discovered dangerous substance or activity becomes a very public drain.

Posted by: beth | Feb 6, 2013 11:18:34 PM

The article linking marijuana with stroke is interesting, but it raises more questions than it answers. The author notes that all of the patients who had strokes while smoking marijuana also were tobacco smokers, except for one. Might there be a synergistic process that increases the risk of stroke in young people who engage in both behaviors? If so, then tobacco users would be well advised not to smoke marijuana, and marijuana smokers would be well advised not to smoke tobacco. Also, I wonder if marijuana smoking, as opposed to other forms of use, plays a factor. Finally, assuming there's a causal connection, the study doesn't seem to state the actual increase in risk to marijuana users.

Finally, I would want to see a review by a qualified researcher of this study. The other one mentioned in the article, purportedly linking reduced cognitive functions in users of marijuana, turns out to have overstated the correlation; it also was from New Zealand. I'd be interested to know what connection, if any, there is between the researchers who produced the two studies.

Regardless, marijuana should still be legal.

Posted by: C.E. | Feb 7, 2013 1:19:43 AM

I will oppose marijuana legalization if Bill supports the prohibition of alcohol and tobacco, backed up by Draconian, certain, and cheap enforcement. Enforcement would consist of 10 lashes to the user, increased by 10 lashes for each additional offense, and summary execution for dealers, mandatory, and immediate, upon conviction. Say you kill 10,000 people a year. This prohibitions would return the prevention of the premature death of 100,000 people for alcohol, and 400,000 for tobacco. These patients die horrible, painful, lingering, humiliating deaths. So the investment in the summary death penalty would have tremendous return on lives saved. The users also die in their 50's and 60's, at the peak of productivity and responsibility. The economic benefits of not losing a parent and an experienced, mid career worker would be tremendous. Marijuana is mildly addictive, and causes dozens of deaths a year, mostly from intoxicated, impairied driving. Alcohol also is a factor in 10,000 fatal car crashes, half the murder victims, half the murderers, half the suicides, all legally intoxicated. So prohibition would drop those statistics by a half, as well. Alcohol is the most crimogenic substance known to man.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2013 7:35:04 AM

As to child prostitution. Nature has endorsed 14 as the age of adulthood, and so did the law for 10,000 years. A lot happens biologically at 14. Nothing happens at 18 that does not happen at 28 or 58. 18 is an arbitrary, stupid, made up landmark invented by lawyers seeking to keep able young people from competing with their lazy, worthless union employers.

So 14 year olds are not only adults, they are superior in their thinking ability, their morality (committing far fewer crimes), and physically to current pseudo-adults.

Maturity comes from experience. So give 14 year old adult responsibility, including jobs to take care of themselves, and their families, they will perform better than adults.

Posted by: Supremacy Claus | Feb 7, 2013 7:43:09 AM

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