Washington and Colorado seem to have some responsible voters that seem to think that legalization of Marijuana is just fine. Of course this all flies in the face of Federal Drug Laws, Nancy Reagan’s War on Drugs and of course a litany of elected’s that have stated that they have “done the deed with weed”. Bill Clinton and current President Barack Obama……just to name a few. Hey, cannabis has always been a Social Drug. Let’s sit around, listen to a Cream or Door CD and smoke a doobie or two…..”Hey, it’s only grass man!” “Loosen up….don’t be such a tight ass!” “Like wow dude…..it isn’t heroin ….ya know?”
Californians shut down the last attempt at legalizing Marijuana a few years back. Then they voted in Medical Marijuana……for those folks that suffered from life threatening disease and pain. That of course created a huge cottage industry of Head Shops, Pipe Accessories and Super Weed Cannabis…..that would put you out in 30 minutes! The new GMO brands of weeds are not your typical idea of what Panama Red, Maui Wowee or Acapulco Gold might conjure up in the minds of old “”Pot Heads of the 60’s and 70’s!” It certainly wouldn’t be understood by those from the 50’s that spent their lost teen and early 20’s in Coffee Houses, listening to Peter, Paul and Mary, the New Cristy Minstrels…..or even Miles Davis and his “Castles of Spain” LP. So, it is a bit hard to relate to it all.
The thoughts on Cannabis span the collective spectrum. Those that use any or all drugs or prescriptions as purely mood altering….join folks like Rush Limbaugh that thinks Oxicotin is a great sexual stimulant. People’s preceptions of what drugs do, how much to take and what the long term affects might be vary – creature to creature in the American Society. Watching the long hair dudes in Amsterdam back in the 60’s spaced out, or past on on park benches and on the steps of every public statue or fountain……..left some with this thought: “Hey, the Dutch have legalized drugs…..how bad can it be?” Other countries were not so forgiving. The story of the Army Sergeant that got off the plane in Munich, Germany with 100 Kilos of Black Packistani Hash in two aluminum cases and faced 23 Polizei surrounding him as he stepped onto the tarmac. That guy got 70 years in a German Prison for that mistake.
Today, things have changed. Those being punished for Drug Abuse……can be faced by Federal DEA Agents, the FBI, the Department of Homeland Security, Federal Police, Secret Service Agents, the TSA, Drug Cartel Members, Foreign Agents, American based Organized Crime, Medical Marijuana Corporate Moguls, Politicians, State Police, various County Sheriff’s, Local Police Departments……and better yet: Good friends that get mad at you and whined up turning you in because you didn’t pay for the weed you used or you took the guys girlfriend or an irate wife that wants you out of the picture for a while. The results speak for themselves and many folks that have been caught up – are spending time in the slammer for what might be called: A Victimless Crime!
So, let’s beg the question: Are “Pot Heads” active and supportive members of society? As with every issue of this type….the answer has to be: Sometimes!?
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Feb 7, 2005 – A new study shows that blood flow to the brain in people who smoked marijuana remained altered up to a month after they last smoked pot.
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In addition to the brain, the side effects of marijuana reach many other parts of the body. Marijuana is filled with hundreds of chemicals, and when it is burned, …
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Aug 27, 2012 – One possibility is that teenagers are more vulnerable to marijuana’s effects on brain chemistry, said Susan Tapert, a neuropsychologist at the …
This article is not intended to identify all the pros and cons of Marijuana. We do wish to address the most important part of Legal Enforcement however. Right now small amounts of any “controlled substance” can find the person with lots of jail, county, state or federal slammer time. If any argument needs to be made it might well be for “Compassinate Discriminalization”. If a teen is found with one ounce of weed in their possession – $1000 dollar fine and one year non-reporting probation. First time offendeds also should be forced to pay the fine and do the probation. Second time offendeds……get a $3000 dollar fine and a 2-year active reporting probation. Each time they fail to report for their probation – another $3000 fine. Those considered to be Dealers, Drug Cartel Members and the like….have to posses at least a Kilo of the “Controlled Substance”. Since this is considered “Dealing”, they will be required to buy a State License which is the same price as a New Liquor License. Only so, many Drug Licenses per year will be issued. Folks can “re-buy” an active license….much the same as with Alcohol is now. To get the picture….most CA Liquor Licenses are upwards of $40,000 dollars.
The prime issue is: There is a “Controlled Substance” which requires Regulation, Taxes and Fees! Whatever we do….we do not want to encourage just anyone to deal drugs or ingest drugs in our society. We need to follow the Federal Law. We need to follow the State Law which matches the Federal Law. The issue which needs addressing are the Penalties. Raising the cost of doing business….will raise the cost of Weed. This will encourage folks to go out and “Grow their own!” Some folks will take that to mean…they can put a flower pot in their kitchen window without facing a bunch of problems. For others it will mean getting 40 Acres of prime farmland, getting a mule or a tractor and going into business. Maybe this is what Mitt Romney meant, when he said he supported small business.
Whatever happens in Colorado or Washington should not encourage Californians to run back to the Initiative Ballot and pass some very frivolous law that will not stand up to a Supreme Court challenge…..State or Federal. We do caution that any passage of alterations to the Drug Penalties will or may result in a plethora of speculators and seminars: Folks like Tony Robbins, Zig Zigler and others could quickly create huge gatherings so that folks can create their own Marijuana Factory or Franchised Outlets. Americans have a way of being very creative when it comes to making money. Taxing these endeavors should not be overlooked in any regard. Starting with Feds – they should get their cut. The State should get its cut. Counties need to create a strong tax structure for this specific purpose license and of course the municipality that the Owner lives in…..as well as every city where they have an Company Outlet Store. Mail Order will be a huge cottage industry…as well as On-Line ordering. Every single purchase needs to be taxed. Unregulated importation of Marijuana into the state without paying tax would be worth 10 years in State Prison and $100,000 fine.
The concept of “Dicriminalization” should be strictly intended for single users, however without creating a complete tax and regulatory, inspection and enforcement process which includes distribution…….the unabated results……..would not be very pretty….nor very effective to or for the public safety.
Finally, there is little doubt that Pizza Parlors, KFC’s, Taco Bell, Jack in Box and lots of other food locations will want to sell their Marijuana to their customers. Solons in Sacramento might have to make that call. In any event, opening Pandora’s Box and letting 32 million Californians do Marijuana any time and any place…might have a few unintended consequences that even we haven’t thought of….yet!