Bitcoin Macroeconomics concurs with Hempfest’s Vivian McPeak. Refreshing to hear COMMON SENSE. May the Group Thinkers and the Naysayers take heed.
Pot Stores Will Kill Prohibition
Pot stores are set to open up tomorrow, and the media is going berserk. Long lines are expected, the supply is expected to run out, and everybody will be waiting to see how long it will be before the sky falls. The Chicken Little naysayers are crowing in the wind as potential cannabis consumers check their bank accounts and lick their lips in quiet anticipation of the soon to be bud bonanza that is looming.
After decades of prohibitionist insanity things are changing for some Washingtonians who live in communities that have the foresight and vision to invest in a saner, freer tomorrow – literally.
As much as I enjoy the spectacle and novelty of open, over the counter retail sales of cannabis, it is not why I have been investing shoe leather and tirelessly advocating as a cannabis policy reformer for the last 25 years. The reason I have devoted the best years of my life to changing the laws has been to stop my fellow Americans from going to jails and prisons over a reasonably safe and therapeutic herb. While people line up to legally score some sweet nugs tomorrow, countless Americans will still be languishing in small cells and wondering how long it will take before the coming tidal wave of change reaches their lives. Children have been taken away from parents, careers have been ruined, homes and property has been seized, and lives and families have been shattered by pot prohibition for as long as we have been alive (the vast majority of us, anyway).
If the intended purpose of cannabis prohibition has been to stop the use of the herb by Americans, one has to search for a word that adequately describes the degree of failure the policy has produced. So much money, so many precious law enforcement resources, so much priority of focus has been directed at identifying and eradicating everything cannabis for so many decades, and what a giant waste it has all been. I am confident that there is not a community in America that does not have pot growers, sellers, and buyers in it. Simply put, pot is everywhere. I know, because I have been a pot smoker for at least 40 of my 55 years on this earthly orb.
There will be issues. There will be those who cannot responsibly embrace their new found freedoms, and there will invariably be people who do dumb, stupid, bone headed things while high on pot. When those things happen, the prohibitionists and their sympathizers will attempt to seize the moment by placing a magnifying glass over every large and small peccadillo that comes along. What they will not be admitting is that alcohol, tobacco, and pharmaceutical drugs will be creating infinitely more instances of death and misery than cannabis will. I believe that because that is the case today, and there is no reason to believe that will not be the case tomorrow. Remember, pot is already everywhere. The only thing that will be different will be where the money is going to.
But this is the part where my community must be extremely mindful and not screw up. While I believe that alcohol is infinitely more prone to impair someone’s driving, people will be just as dead if they are killed in a collision because of a stoned driver. People need to not drive if they feel in any way impaired. That is paramount to protecting lives and making this work. The most dangerous activity most people routinely engage in is driving on streets and highways. There is zero wiggle room when it comes to impaired driving.
And even though a child getting a hold of some pot candy and eating it will not produce a fatality, and, more than likely, will not produce any serious long term harm, it is critically important that people keep their cannabis stored away and out of the reach of children. Nobody in their right mind thinks that children should use cannabis (except under a doctor’s supervision and recommendation), and younger teens should be focusing on their developing bodies and brains and should wait before they experiment with any mood altering substance. That is just common sense. That is also why there will now be legal 21 and over pot stores. That is the entire point. Well, one of them, anyway.
Some folks are concerned about the projected price of a gram of cannabis. Remember that this is just the roll out, the usual supply and demand market forces and competition will dictate the long term pricing, as with any other commodity. If retail sales are to tangibly compete with the black market those prices will come down, I believe, after the supply lines have been established and there is enough quality product to meet demand.
I hope to be there tomorrow enjoying the moment that so many have worked so hard on for so long. I was not a big fan of the way I-502 was drafted, and I was not silent about that one bit. But I am glad this moment has come, and I keep reminding people that legalization is a process rather than an event. There needs to be scientific research and abuse prevention and education (covered by the new law), and we need to learn more about the long term effects of cannabis use on the mind and body. But after using pot almost everyday for the last 40 years my mind is already made up. I’ve seen what cannabis has to offer otherwise responsible, law abiding adults. I’ve also seen the abject failure of prohibition to do anything other than hemorrhage money and stack our jails and prisons with the poor and people of color. I have already done my studies. Prohibition needs the death sentence.
I think this is a giant step forward for liberty and justice for all. I predict that the towns and municipalities that have created moratoriums on retail sales will slowly fall like dominoes when they see that the sky is still intact and the tax coffers are full. Until then, let Chicken Little crow, because freedom is on the march.
Prohibition has a terminal disease, and cannabis can lessen the suffering and pain it has caused. How much more time it has is anybody’s guess. May it rest in pieces.