Hot body-painted chicks enjoying 420 at CU Boulder

Fire up with the sorority sisters of THC, Theta Eta Chi. Aloha! They’re all dressed down with somewhere to go: [email protected]

Three years into its tempestuous tenancy on Main Street, the versatile fiber disregarded by economists the world over keeps prospering in Colorado’s horticulturally-friendly highlands. Its capital city, Denver, fancifully called “The Queen City of the Plains” in Victorian times, fully merits distinction as “The Mile High City” today. The former cowtown might well be the planet’s premier cannabiz incubator.

Getting there was no simple task.

Pot pioneers’ inroads buck the efforts of a declining oligarchy to maintain its choke hold on cannabis commerce.

Good luck with that: in the Mile High City, dispensaries outnumber Starbucks.

“Cannatax” isn’t a dirty word. The city’s all for it. The county benefits from it. The state’s grateful for it. Yet the oligarchy in question insists that any and all pot transactions remain illegal — but not so illegal that that industry players don’t have to fork over their “ill-gotten gains” in the form of state and federal income tax. OK, then.

Hypocrisy is the operative word.

Even here, with four hundred dispensaries woven into the tapestry of the town, the Colorado Department of Revenue’s Marijuana Enforcement Division (MED, get it?), rules with an iron fist. There is a MED because repealing prohibition — the prelude to free enterprise, pot style — is the grand prize activists left standing at the altar. What they wooed and “won” instead was the marriage of medical and marijuana. The pair is now joined together in unholy matrimony as “medical marijuana.”

The payoff:

Some people, in some places, can buy some marijuana, semi-legally, some of the time — as long as some arbitrary condition is met.

I wouldn’t exactly call that triumph.

So, should we celebrate some semblance of cannabiz employing some thousands of workers, producing some cannatax for some cities, counties, and states . . . or bemoan the fact there’s not nearly enough of it?

Well . . . here at Cannabis Commerce . . . we do both.

Fortunately for us, from whatever angle pundits approach the headline-hogging commodity, the story lines are in abundant supply. The unsettled situation calls for eyewitness accounts, frontlines reportage, and expert cannanalysis.

Who better to perform feats of cannanalysis than a poteconomist ― a new breed of pothead slash economist fluent in pot and socioeconomics?

Providentially, Cannabis Commerce has one in residence. Once again, we turn to Lory Kohn, the pot prophet for pot profit, a one-man-army bound and determined to advance the art and science of cannanalysis. Mr. Kohn has come out of nowhere to rank as The World’s #3 Poteconomist, according to The Washington Post.

In this, his most extensive interview to date, Lory bares his soul for London-based philanthropist Lester B. Stone.

Q: Lory, you’ve come up with an impressive body of work. You’ve made your feelings known on just about every aspect of poteconomics I can possibly think of. If you had to narrow it down to the most important feeling you have about the state of Ganja Nation, what would it be?
A:The feeling that all of us deeply concerned about herbal rights should be marching on Washington, DC demanding the end of prohibition ―not spinning our wheels “hashing out” statewide medical marijuana amendments which only benefit a select few and create more problems than they solve. By the way, thanks for noticing my impressive body.
Q: You’re welcome. I’m not sure you’re Mr. Olympia material, but keep training diligently and Mr. Poteconomist may be within your sights. It takes some musculature to hold off all those patients rights groups you systematically attack, doesn’t it?
A:True. They get a little riled up when you expose their game. People wonder why I attack them so much. I can sum that up in a dozen words:

Let’s face it; patients’ rights is synonymous with zero rights for non-patients.

So, yeah, I’m baffled why more people aren’t questioning why each medical marijuana state’s take on partial legalization includes the creation of a royal class — the exact sort of social stratification that the founding fathers fought a revolution to get rid of.

Q: Please elaborate.
A:“The patients,” the sick and dying presumably dancing on death’s doorstep — until physician mills certify them unwell enough to receive the magical weed — have reemerged as patricians. They have what everyone else wants: tacit approval to purchase marijuana in retail shops with thirty times the variety at a third of the price. That’s like being able to buy designer clothes in Beverly Hills on someone else’s credit card. It elevates persons — sorry, I avoid the ridiculous term “patients” — who are anywhere from a little effed up to one step away from the grave into an elite class.
Creating an elite class for a privileged few consisting of the sick and dying alone is a first in the history of American rights movements; this strikes me as more than a little strange. Generally, rights movements seek equality for the oppressed, the disenfranchised, the enslaved. That’s not the case for patient rights groups and the attorneys goading them on.
Q: What do attorneys have to do with it?
A:There aren’t too many clients hiring attorneys to repeal prohibition. But dispensary owners can’t even imagine life without them to negotiate state regulations which won’t stand still in order to stay on the right side of the DEA, US Attorneys, and federal prosecutors. Statewide medical marijuana amendments are a gold mine for attorneys. They’ll continue to be a cash cow for the foreseeable future. That’s sweet when you’re charging $300 an hour. However, compressing god-given herbal rights into statewide “medical marijuana” models has left damage, dysfunction, and destruction in its wake.
Q: Thanks for the colorful metaphor. Readers appreciate those. But what damage are you referring to specifically?
A: I thought you might ask, so I brought along a list. Before I read it, I’d like to emphasize that the problem with medical marijuana isn’t the product itself. The product itself is fantastic. Competition has pushed cultivation techniques to the point that just about any bud you’ll find in a decent dispensary would have been considered “incredible” a few years back.

These days, I’m willing to bet you couldn’t find “bunk weed” even if you scoured the countryside looking for it.

The astounding diversity of hash, hash oil, tinctures, extracts, waxes, and medibles on offer at Colorado’s finer dispensaries is literally mind blowing. I concede that’s an admirable development. That’s your upside.

The downside is the litany of highly-charged political, legal, and emotional issues that the words “medical marijuana” and the acronym “MMJ” have come to represent, including [clears throat]:

  • Infatuation with patients rights at the expense of repealing prohibition
  • Ever-changing regulations that won’t stand still, regulations which borrow heavily from the totalitarian governmental control portrayed in George Orwell’s 1984
  • Towns ordering dispensaries, which jumped through every regulatory hoop, to “get out of Dodge”
  • A disconnect between state and federal law
  • An invitation for local and state prosecutors, along with US Attorneys, to pontificate about how the system is being “abused” every time a potentrepreneur makes a buck
  • Moratoriums on opening new businesses
  • Interminable debate over whether marijuana is a medicine or not
  • Accepting far less rights than any disenfranchised group in the long and storied history of American activism
  • Patient rights groups and their attorneys erecting the equivalent of a Berlin Wall between non-patients and their buds
building the Berlin Wall brick by brick

“All in all it’s just another brick in the wall.”

  • Keeping the DEA in business
  • Keeping 45,000 marijuana “offenders” imprisoned.

There’s more, I mean state regulatory agencies like Colorado’s Department of Revenue can decree that every patient has to eat with chopsticks instead of a knife and fork or forfeit their red cards [licenses]. But that oughta be enough to getcha going. Any of those points seem somehow off to you, Lester?

Q: Uhhhhhhh . . . errrrrrrrrrr . . . ummmmmm . . . ahhhhhhhhhh . . . no, I guess not. Well, how does MMJ keep the DEA in business?

When you settle for limited, state-by-state MMJ amendments, you designate a minority of sick and dying folks as weed-worthy, while, at the same time, you agree that it’s perfectly all right for the existing drug laws to remain in place for everybody else, and, oh by the way, you indicate that it’s also OK with you if those 45,000 “offenders” in prison, 1,000 of them serving life sentences, keep rotting there. You’re not doing this consciously. But you’re doing it just the same.

A: Existing drug laws, take The Controlled Substances Act, for example, require agencies to enforce them. Like the DEA. So, as long as someone’s signing their paychecks, DEA Special Agents are going to keep doing what they’re hired to be doing — seizing weed and eradicating fields.
Q: I guess I never thought of it that way.
A:There’s no way you could, unless you watched the drama unfold from a front row seat, like I have, which I freely admit is through dumb luck. And the situation’s only going to get gnarlier. By its nature, the medical marijuana industry is a crippled industry. Every so often we’ll see a perfect storm, like in Denver, where some potentrepreneurs can actually earn good money. But relatively vibrant scenes like this one will continue to be the exception.

If you live in a MMJ state and your governor’s name is, say, Christie, I feel for you. Trying to find a job in medical marijuana will be like climbing barbed wire.

Perhaps you’re catching the drift why I’ve turned into medical marijuana’s biggest critic?

Q: What you’re saying makes sense. Why is no one else talking about this?
A: Because patient rights groups and their legal mouthpieces have done a fabulous job of convincing everyone their choice is between MMJ and nothing. I give them credit for that. They really excel at propagandizing, or propa-ganja-izing, if you will. Their pet psychological ploy is borrowed from the Republican Party — and its startling success at persuading impoverished folks to vote for its billionaire-friendly agenda.
In the same spirit:

Patient rights groups have brainwashed healthy people into voting for MMJ amendments which exclude healthy people.

But if you’re healthy, and you feel the need for weed, why would you? Why would a healthy person associate with a movement that discriminates against them? Is there a worldwide pot shortage? Does weed need to be rationed out only to the most deserving cases? No and no.

It’s hard for people to assimilate this who aren’t around MMJ on a daily basis. Most people get their information third-hand from reporters who dabble in the industry, but don’t specialize in it. Print media and TV reporters, along with their readers and viewers, are inclined to accept medical marijuana— crippling adjective and all— as a progressive development.

Maybe they live in Pawnee City, Nebraska, a cannabis-free zone a thousand miles away from the nearest MMJ outpost. Maybe they’ve seen a compelling picture of a “patient” in a wheelchair; naturally, they want to do something to help that person out right now, little suspecting that helping that disabled person today pushes the repeal of prohibition into a distant tomorrow — if it comes at all. The patient-centric ethos plays on these sympathies.

Reduced to its essence: As long as we help patients today, we don’t care about anyone else, and we don’t care about tomorrow.

I believe that’s the definition of shortsighted.

Couple that with the patient-centric custom of never mentioning the repeal of prohibition as a viable alternative to statewide MMJ amendments, and . . .

For all intents and purposes, patient rights groups have exiled the repeal of prohibition to The Island of Utopian Ideals.

Getting back to your question, no one’s talking about this because so few people live anywhere near any MMJ hotbeds. There aren’t many of them. I’m fortunate that I get my information from my own eyes and ears; that’s the only reason this corrosive sequence is crystal clear to me. Most people haven’t even noticed the de-emphasis on repealing prohibition. They’re been subconsciously programmed to follow the herd.

And, make no mistake, ever since the words “medical” and “marijuana” became joined at the hip, herb mentality has become herd mentality. The herd’s ambling along, following the bell cow with the green cross. “C’mon girls, let’s line up behind old Bessie. Be prepared to show your red cards at the feed trough.”

Herb mentality has become herd mentality.

Lory Kohn's band The Milkmen, Steven Solomon, Tim Pantea, and Rick Wilson, pose with Bessie the Cow

Ah, yes. Good old Bessie. After two years online, it’s probably as good a time as any to dust off photos from Lory’s colorful past as front man for the semi-famous rock troupe, “The Milkmen.” Bessie was a robotic bovine who introduced the band, danced, and sang, “That’s Amore.” She met a terrible end at the hands of a Milkmate’s psycho girlfriend.

It’s really a shame, because medical marijuana started off so promisingly. It’s incredibly ironic that I’m one of the few poteconomists to write extensively about MMJ’s downside; after all, no one else on Planet Earth has benefited more from medical marijuana — the product — than yours truly.

Q: Why’s that?
A:For anyone who doesn’t know my story, no one else ever found themselves surrounded by as many dispensaries as I did in 2010 when my South Broadway neighborhood exploded into “Broadsterdam.” I could walk to thirty of them! This transformation took about as much time as it takes to blow up an inflatable life raft. That’s what it was, lifeblood for a lot of people. All of a sudden, there was opportunity everywhere you looked in an otherwise moribund economy.

I started living out a fairytale existence, in a cannabis Camelot, where a short stroll brought me to the candy store — I mean my local medical marijuana care center — and its staggering pot-pourri of ingestibles.

Maybe I’d pick up something exotic, like “ear wax.” Perhaps I’d try a seductive strain like The Clinic’s Kosher Kush, trimmed smartly into trichomes-laden love buds, or a pomegranate flavored VapeCartridge which allowed me to fire up at restaurants, concerts, sporting events, movie theaters, tractor pulls, and any and all highbrow and lowbrow events without anyone being the wiser. It was kinda like being turned loose in a harem.

My rolls in the hay with some of the most succulent buds on earth aside, there was something wrong with this picture.

Q: What could be wrong with a staggering pot-pourri of ingestibles in a harem filled with trichomes-laden love buds?
A: Nothing. No doubt it was great for me. But most folks in America, not to mention the rest of the world, are SOL when it comes to scoring legal buds anywhere, much less two blocks from home. That’s what’s wrong with this picture. If I was only out for myself, wasn’t a student of history, and wasn’t predisposed to obsess about pot’s socioeconomic aspects till the cows come home, I wouldn’t give their problems a second thought. I’d just go about the business of getting high, without worrying whether anyone else could or couldn’t, oblivious to the fact a majority of earthlings are stuck on the outside looking in.

When you’re on the outside looking in, even a skinny, lipstick-smeared roach that’s been petrifying in an ashtray for two months is nothing more than a mirage.

Some of these deprived folks live in, say, Cody, Wyoming — about the last state in the union that’s ever gonna pass an MMJ amendment. A pronghorn will get elected governor before that happens. Now, imagine some cowhand from Cody, with MS, who can barely make it through the day.

What exactly is Colorado’s infamous Amendment 20 doing for him?

The answer is, of course, absolutely nothing. Zilch. Nada. That guy’s out in the cold, along with everyone else in non-MMJ states, at the mercy of Big Pharma and its gaily-colored toxicants.

Let’s ponder Big Pharma’s quality of mercy for a second. What do you suppose Big Pharma values more: your health, your life, or their bottom line? Next time you want to jump off a cliff, read an exposé on the inner workings of the pharmaceutical industry. The cliff is usually the better way to go.

So, isn’t it great that some states have medical marijuana, where no one has to step into a pharmacy ever again?

Sorry, but it’s only great if you’re a keyholder in an exclusive club.

And casual observers haven’t yet noticed that while the party’s raging in some of the bigger cities like Boulder, Denver, and Ft. Collins — whoops, I forgot Ft. Collins told MMJ to get out of Dodge — half the communities in this MMJ state have booted MMJ out, their prerogative under Amendment 20.

Opt-out clauses are built into every MMJ amendment in every MMJ state.

Let’s imagine for a moment that you’re a cancer patient and you live in city that opted out right in the middle of your chemotherapy treatments. Maybe you’re willing to drive to the closest dispensary to pick up a little releaf — two hundred miles away — with a vomit bucket in the van. It’s a lot more likely that you’ll just revert right back to the outlaw economy. Remember that? Your friend knows a friend who knows a friend who …

As someone who came of age in the sixties when the antiwar movement and the civil rights movement changed the course of history, I’m just plain stupefied that people actually voted for a ludicrous system like this. It’s like saying, “Can I have a ball and chain, please?” Excuse me if I’m not dancing the Charleston with a lampshade on my head.

anime dancing with a lampshade on its head

“I can buy a whopping two ounces at a time and you can’t, so I’m dancing with a lampshade on my head, oh yeah.” Can you imagine a two ounce limit on flour? Sugar? Coffee?

Q:Well, that certainly gets us up to speed on stuff you’re against. And if you ruled the world, what would it look like?
A:It would look like exactly Kansas except there’d be mile after mile of hemp fields instead of corn fields.

Look, Cannabis Commerce is all about supporting unlimited opportunity for everyone who wants it, in a field they love, in a predominantly dormant economy. I’m talking about fighting the good fight for the full monty of herbal rights: medical, recreational, and industrial, gaining the maximum economic benefits for the greatest amount of people. That’s my worldview.

A lot of people currently working in dead-end jobs, constantly reminded how replaceable they are, in constant fear of losing their jobs, treated like numbers by huge, uncaring corporations, would love nothing more than to find their way into a field they love.

Cannabis Commerce is here to help:

  • Unlock the cannabis economy
  • Transition from the misery of restricted MMJ to the unbridled joy of cannabiz unchained
  • Identify cannajobs and potentrepreneurial opportunities to help people find where they fit in

Then they can start making a living instead of making a dying.

Those are the ideals that Cannabis Commerce stands for.

tim tebow rolling a giant tire

The long way home: poteconomists like Lory crunch the numbers and find that removing prohibition would put cannabis commerce in overdrive while passing constricted state-by-state initiatives keeps it stuck in first gear.

Compare this unlimited, egalitarian worldview with the restricted, elitist mindset espoused by patient rights groups and their attorneys, who, if they were birds, would be buzzards. Which option works best for you?

Q: I’m starting to catch your drift, as you said earlier. How do we get there from here?
A:There’s one and only one way: federal prohibition must be done away with. No amount of tweaking the existing MMJ regulations will do the trick. We’ve seen enough examples already, thank you. So, do activists have to perform the equivalent of The Twelve Labors of Hercules to bring The Great Satan to its knees?
Hardly. History has shown that following the double yellow lines down the center of Pennsylvania Avenue is the direct path to the promised land where rights wrongs are rectified. It’s the well-worn trail every other disenfranchised rights group that came before has taken. That’s because marching on Washington is a tactic which has been deployed with an extraordinary rate of success. Martin Luther King’s “I Have a Dream” speech was delivered at one of them. That’s probably the most memorable. It’ll succeed yet again, provided supporters get their faces out of their vaporizers, get their butts off the couch, and get their bodies to DC in massive numbers.

I mean, really, if you’re not willing to devote one weekend of your life to the magical herb, you don’t deserve full and lasting legality. Keep paying $500 an ounce, voting for patient rights initiatives that exclude you, and whining about the aftereffects as soon as whatever constricted rights package you settled for gets whittled down to nothing.

Alternatively, you can get back on the path.

Q: What I’m hearing you say is that, in the clamor over medical marijuana, the concept of repealing prohibition has become the forgotten cause.
A: Sadly, yes. It’s tragic, really, the cause has lost its way. An entire movement has lost its way. Remember “legalize it?” “It” meant all marijuana for everyone, not “hardly any medical marijuana for the sole benefit of the sick and dying alone.” That stance drags everyone involved down; including the patients it’s supposed to save. Why? Say you’re battling Non-Hodgkins Lymphoma. You’ve got a State of Colorado Medical Marijuana red card. Out of the blue, National Geographic picks you to photograph trumpeter swans wintering at Grand Teton Lake outside Jackson, Wyoming. Guess which preferred rations you won’t be bringing along for the ride, that is, unless you’re willing to risk joining your 45,000 fellow citizens imprisoned for marijuana “offenses?”
That’s right, once you cross the border, your precious “meds” will be just as illegal as they were before Colorado ever passed Amendment 20. If you happen to take your eyes off the speedometer just long enough to marvel at antelope hopping eight-foot fences, and the Wyoming Highway Patrol pulls you over, searches your vehicle, and discovers your stash, you won’t be getting a slap on the wrist for possession like you get in Denver County. Uh, no. Wyoming’s hardcore. Prosecutors are convinced putting you away for as long as they possibly can — preferably life — serves the lord.
Q: You’re stating that statewide MMJ amendments have become a huge impediment to repealing prohibition, and that KO-ing prohibition would help infinitely more people now and over the long haul. The scenario you laid out earlier could provide a veritable forest of economic firewood when the nation and the planet are desperate for warmth.
A: Bingo. And that impediment you mentioned just keeps getting more surreal, like that mountain that Richard Dreyfus built on his kitchen table in Close Encounters of the Third Kind.mashed potatoe mountain from Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Q: If I remember correctly, that was a model of Devil’s Tower in Moorcroft, Wyoming. You’re really plugging that state a lo; is the Wyoming Tourist Council one of your advertisers? OK, when do we get to the good news?
A:You know what they say, Lester, “When the situation is hopeless, there’s nothing to worry about.” The good news is that things that need to change tend to do so over time.

No less an activist than Martin Luther King said, “The arc of the moral universe is long, but it bends toward justice.”

My fondest hope is that a miracle takes place and someone half as intelligent, inspirational, and dynamic as Martin Luther King emerges to steer the herbal rights movement onto a more sensible course.

Q: Someone like you?
A:You may very well think that, but I cannot possibly comment. However:

As things stand today, on June 27, 2012, the marijuana industry has become reduced to medical marijuana. That’s like the chocolate industry being reduced to Malted Milk Balls.

You could also imagine herbal rights as a crumb cake. Settling for the crumbs would be bad enough, but the gutless wimps in the herbal rights “movement” can’t even bring themselves to hold out for the crumbs. They settle for the sprinkling of powdered sugar on the top — which would be fine if they were a powerless minority.

But they’re not. In reality, herbal rights supporters form an overwhelming majority, one that’s incredibly powerful. They just don’t realize it. This is true all over the world! When pot proponents realize how much power they actually have, prohibition will topple once and for all.

But … once again … paradigm change takes lotsa bodies on the Capitol Mall in “the sweltering summer.” Masses of humanity are hard to ignore. They have to be dealt with — unlike batches of electronic signatures emailed to some congressperson’s inbox that are ridiculously simple to delete.

When you get down to it:

Revolution rarely takes place in the virtual realm.

It would be premature and inaccurate to say that Cannabis Commerce is leading the charge away from medical marijuana and back to repealing prohibition; but we certainly pitch in wherever and whenever we can.

Q: Amen.
A: Oh, and there’s one other important feeling I’d like people to get from the relaunched, redesigned Cannabis Commerce.
Q: What would that be?
A: The feeling that Cannabis Commerce deserves their money.
Q: Oh?
A: The many ways you can help Cannabis Commerce help you are detailed in the new Consulting category. It’s been a labor of love so far, but this site can’t survive on love alone. I’ve tried eating compliments. They’re tasty, in a light, fluffy, souffléish kinda way. However, the fierce brand of cannanalysis demanded byCannabis Commerce readers requires protein. Your money is my protein.
Q: You’re a funny guy who has no trouble finding humor in economics, a field many consider frightfully dry. But lately, I’m sensing a subtle shift. It’s as if your writing has evolved into something more resolute, more serious, more purposeful …
Lory Kohn's passport photo 2011

Resident poteconomist poses for a passport photo prior to the whirlwind adventure that became Is the Grass Really Greener in The Netherlands?.

A: I’m just mirroring the whole scene. In 2010, when Cannabis Commerce launched, free enterprise ruled. The “green rush” was in full force. One intersection, two blocks from my home, set a world record for dispensary density: three corner shops were flying the green cross over locations that were vacant the week before. In six months, those thirty dispensaries sprang up that I could walk to. Things were fun, fresh, and frenzied around The Queen City of the Plains [Denver]. Cannabis conventions were mobbed. It was like living in a parallel universe, with that long-lost Woodstock magic in the air. Cannabis commerce seemed like exactly what the doctor ordered, in a dismal economy. At that point, Cannabis Commerce was all about celebrating marijuana’s appearance on Main Street. What was there to bitch about? I never thought I’d see retail marijuana in my lifetime. And I never thought I’d find myself living in the epicenter of its biggest hotbed.

Q: Then what happened? What killed the buzz for you?
A: The euphoria lasted for about as long as it takes a US Attorney to serve a “Cease and Desist” order on a doomed dispensary unlucky enough to be located less than 1,000 feet from a school or daycare center. A whole bunch of stuff was about to go down.
If you want, I can walk you through some of it.
Q: Please do.
A:OK [takes a deep breath].

  • First, the DOR [Colorado Department of Revenue], whose Marijuana Enforcement Division was staffed with holdovers from its Gaming Enforcement Division, placed a moratorium on opening new dispensaries. That’s ridiculous in and of itself. Since when have state governments put moratoriums on convenience stores, cellphone stores, or Starbucks? Since never. That one move essentially prohibited thousands of people dying to work in the industry from doing so. Expense to taxpayers for carrying hordes of them on the unemployment rolls: incalculable.
  • Then the same organization virtually eliminated “caregivers.” Caregivers are licensed growers who can “legally” cultivate plants for people who are physically unable to grow their own or choose not to. There used to be no limit to the amount of people a caregiver could grow six mature plants for at a time for. Now they can only grow for a handful of folks. Before that, caregivers regularly strolled into dispensaries hawking duffel bags full of buds. It was a vibrant scene, that could have taken place in a Persian bazaar, harkening back to the very roots of free enterprise. At that point, things had been settling into a nice, natural economic equilibrium. That was too much for the DOR. From its perspective, a situation like that was way too free, way too uncontrollable. Changes were afoot.
  • The DOR soon put its unique stamp on the proceedings. Act One was introducing a succession of creative licensing fees so stiff that existing businesses were forced to either consolidate or close up shop, spending a small fortune on legal fees in the process. I’ve got nothing against assessing a few fees here and there. In fact, I’m on record as being all for them. But, sheesh, don’t price them so high that existing businesses struggling to stay afloat are forced out onto the street!
  • By the middle of 2011, it was debatable whether what there was of “the industry” was shrinking or expanding. I knew for certain that many of the familiar faces I was used to seeing on dispensary row were no longer there.
  • The DOR next ordained that dispensaries had to grow seventy percent of the buds they sell. That set off a mad scramble to locate industrial grow space fast enough to meet an impossibly quick deadline.
  • Then we were treated to the DOR’s Big Brotherish concept of tracking product “from seed to sale.” Its roots in the gaming industry were showing. Enough surveillance cameras to cover every inch of a facility had to be installed in every dispensary, cultivation center, and medibles kitchen. Understandably, many freshly-minted “patients” weren’t wild about smiling for Cannabis Camera — especially since a camera had to be strategically placed by every cash register.
  • Next, we began learning the hard way that Colorado Amendment 20 offered any city or county the right to opt out of the medical marijuana program. Accordingly, witch hunts were held in communities you wouldn’t expect to see them, including the aforementioned Ft. Collins, a college town, Loveland, an artist’s colony, and Paonia, an organic farming paradise in the middle of nowhere.
Lory Kohn and Lazarus, Geoff Gray's truck, in Paonia, Colorado

Lory loving life in an organic farming paradise in the middle of nowhere. This prime irrigated acreage has hemp farm written all over it!

  • Then, last October, the four California US Attorneys made their presence known, reinforcing the supremacy of federal law over state law by shutting down hundreds of dispensaries from San Diego to San Francisco. The attorneys rationaolized the need for drastic action by self-righteously dredging up old chestnuts about how dispensaries running amok were destroying our nation’s youth. I could counter that living in a hyper-violent society with a rapidly declining middle class, being stuck in an overstrained, creaky education system that’s failed to keep pace with changes to society, and the disintegration of any hope for the future are notable factors that may actually have something to do with warping the minds of the future leaders of tomorrow, too. But let’s not let the facts get in the way of mythology.
  • The Colorado US Attorney, John F. Walsh III, isn’t nearly as militant as his California counterparts, but there was pressure on him to demonstrate that federal law is enforced in his district. This winter, Walsh sent twenty-five Colorado dispensaries cease and desist orders. Not one of them was crazy enough to challenge them. In April, another twenty five Colorado dispensaries bit the dust. That seems to be it. For now.

I could keep going, but you get the idea.

You’d think a succession of acrimonious skirmishes like those might change the patient rights tune. You’d think they’d draw the rational conclusion that they should have been working to repeal federal prohibition all along.

Nope.

They just bitched harder about federal intervention in MMJ states.

It was all those group emails from Steph Scherer and her Americans For Safe Access that really pushed me over the edge. I wrote about that in Big Changes Coming. Thanks to ASA’s pissing and moaning, I began to see that the problem wasn’t that “patients” didn’t have enough rights; the real problem was the fact that organizations like hers were seeking rights for patients only.

A year later, the folly of accepting limited MMJ versus the wisdom of repealing prohibition has become impossible to ignore.

So, if my recent articles for Cannabis Commerce seem more serious and purposeful than they did two years ago, when we were starting out — and you’re right, they probably are — it’s because times like these call for cautionary tales, cautionary tales warning against the perils of accepting partial legality for patients only.

Lory Kohn playing a stratocaster on the deck outside Paonia, Colorado

Lory doesn’t appear too imperiled here as he performs for bears, scorpions, bunnies and rattlesnakes and other inhabitants of the Cathedral Mountain Range in God’s country, Colorado.

Q: Your cautionary tale, Ten Reasons Why Medical Marijuana is Cannabis Commerce’s Ball and Chain, analyzes partial legality vs. repealing prohibition in microscopic detail. I have to ask: how did ten reasons turn into twelve reasons?
A:I wish I could sit here and tell you that twelve reasons why MMJ is cannabis commerce’s ball and chain are all there are. I’d be lying if I did. I added the “bonus reasons” because I kept getting better at spotting the collateral damage. I’d compare it to visiting the Anasazi ruins at Chaco Canyon, New Mexico, where a bunch of signs picture and describe mysterious pottery shards, bits and pieces of bowls that are a thousand years old. When you first look down at the ground, you don’t see any. Any you may not see any after looking around for five minutes. But after you stumble upon the first one, then another one, you soon realize you could fill a wheelbarrow with them. Same with the fallout from MMJ. At first glance, you see a bunch of cancer patients getting relief from chemotherapy. But the harder and longer you look, the more you aftereffects you find. Then maybe a voice in your head tells you that you shouldn’t be sitting on reasons like “it keeps the DEA in business” and “it keeps 45,000 marijuana offenders imprisoned.”
Q: You relish your role as “medical marijuana’s biggest critic.”
A: True, but that’s counterbalanced by a role I’ve recently assumed: cheerleader for real medical marijuana research. To be specific, I’m down on bogus medical marijuana — all the tsuris that the catch-all phrase “medical marijuana” represents. I’m not down on real medical marijuana at all. In fact, I couldn’t be more “up” about it. I cover it comprehensively in The Case for a Uniform Dose, another series that’s underway.
Q: Define “real medical marijuana.”
A:Real medical marijuana is intense research into the chemistry of the THC molecule and its restorative submolecules … as it relates to mitigating a broad spectrum of diseases that have plagued mankind since the advent of the Industrial Age. There’s an expression, “the industrial way of life leads to the industrial way of death.” But what maligned substance just happens to be remarkably effective against a broad spectrum of ills?
I’m sure you know the answer.
Q: I know the answer, but I can’t say I know how it all works.
A: The deal with marijuana’s huge potential to positively impact major diseases has to do with the remarkable biomimicry between the human endocannabinoid system and the cannabinoids which occur naturally in pot. Somehow or other, the molecules are almost exactly alike. In other words, the THC molecules do an incredible impersonation of healthy human cells. They stroke healthy cells and revoke unhealthy cells. Their presence seems to induce apoptosis, a term which describes cancerous cells committing suicide. That’s the basis for all the cutting edge research being performed on real medical marijuana in countries way smarter than us, like Canada, England and Israel. And it’s why Cannabis Commerce has committed to covering real medical marijuana, which we’re starting to call “cannatherapy,” in the same depth that we cover, say, cannatax.
Q: Thank you for mentioning cannatax. Cannabis Commerce roared out of the gates with an epic series, Cannabis Commerce in the USA, an examination of how much cannatax could be collected in a fully legal environment. At the time, it looked like cannatax would be the site’s main theme.
A:Ah, cannatax.

There’s nothing like a few trillion in lost taxes to stiffen the sinews and summon up the blood.

Cannatax was and still is very much a main theme. That hasn’t changed at all.

If people had any idea how much cannatax we’re not collecting, not to mention how much of it we haven’t collected since prohibition went into effect in 1934, the hue and cry over prohibition would be amplified a hundred fold. Politicians would be forced to react. Prohibition would fall. Legalization Day will be the most delirious day on Planet Earth since D-Day.

 

Idealized photo as Lory Kohn imagines Legalization Day

Legalization Day.

However, as long as patients-only initiatives constrict the industry to a fraction of what it could be, wants to be, and needs to be, exploring how much cannatax there could be in a truly legal and regulated landscape is no more than a rhetorical exercise.

I’d add the following:

The more you study what conventional media ignores, that is, how much money isn’t being made on the books, how much cannatax isn’t collected, how many budgets aren’t balanced, how many cannajobs there aren’t, and how much countable contribution to Gross Domestic Product there isn’t, the more upsetting MMJ’s hold on the nation becomes.

Once you put all that under the microscope, if you have a conscious, you do what you can to shock the nation out of its lethargy with a series like Ten Reasons Why Medical Marijuana is Cannabis Commerce’s Ball and Chain.

Q: It’s a mighty effort.
A: Thanks. Slowly, but surely, Ganja Nation is coming around to the same inevitable, inescapable conclusion. Another reason cannatax has been relegated to the back burner is that the complete site-wide overhaul has been a gigantic distraction, bigger and more tedious than I ever could have imagined. But I’m excited to have at it again — I’m already researching Cannatax 2013.
Q: What got you jazzed about cannatax in the first place?
A:With Denver undergoing its makeover from cow town to medical marijuana Mecca, traditional media quickly discovered that marijuana stories sell. All of a sudden MMJ was all over print media, the internet, and the airwaves. Newspaper and TV reporters got the basic facts straight — without offering much if anything in the way of insightful analysis. I kept finding a succession of skimpy, superficial articles that were over as soon as they began. One of these, yet another brief, one-quote article, piqued my interest. The New York Times quoted Dr. Jeffrey Miron, a Harvard economist and its Director of Undergraduate Studies, stating that the total amount of all the illegal marijuana sold annually in the US added up to $11 billion. That didn’t seem like “a whopping amount.” According to Dr. Miron, $11 billion in sales would produce about $6 billion worth of cannatax if marijuana was legal, regulated, and taxed like other commodities.
happy and gorgeous babe in body paint loving 420 at CU Boulder

Jerry Falwell’s daughter gets with the 420 spirit. That’s pep!

A bit of detective work revealed that Dr. Miron had penned a series of academic white papers sometimes referred to as “The Miron Reports.”

The Miron Reports have their merits, although readability cannot be counted among them. They’re not exactly what I’d call “page-turners.” In fact, after wading through most of them, I’m surprised No-Doz hasn’t named Dr. Miron its national spokesperson.

That said, I’d temper that remark by noting that the decadent circles I’ve traveled in are far removed from Professor Miron’s Ivy League, ivory tower environs. So …

While the “stoners” in my circles may have had a rough time demystifying the metaphysical skepticism implicit in Immanuel Kant’s Critique of Pure Reason, they could generally distinguish a rolling paper from a Post-it note. The same can’t be said for Dr. Miron and the graduate assistants who perform the yeoman’s share of his research.

Conversely, I’ve spent a lifetime surrounded by buds and babes who thrill to the gooey, gunky, stony, skunky goodness of a fine Afghani indica — the same substance faculty members in good standing recoil from in horror. Their fear? Getting too close to the pungent temptation jeopardizes their hard-won tenure.

Is this too much detail?

Q: No, keep going. You’re rolling.
A: OK. Just checking. Unlike most people, who have no conception how many cannabucks are floating around, I have vivid memories of my dorm mates raking in megabucks selling Colombian pot and Moroccan hashish. Selling and transporting those Middle East and South American delicacies transformed these same goofball hippies that I’d shot pool with in the Student Center into the nouveau riche.
I can vividly recall hearing, “Sorry, can’t make that lacrosse clash this Saturday, I’m visiting my uncle — in Denmark.”
Lory Kohn and The Big Duck in The Hamptons circa 1970s

A snapshot from Lory’s college daze in The Hamptons.

I’d watch, mesmerized, as the same enterprising dorm-mates broke up ten or so fifty-pound bales into five hundred, one-pound Ziploc freezer bags. Week after week. Month after month. Year after year.

I remember watching one guy painstakingly subtracting precisely one gram — measured on an Ohaus Triple Beam Balance, they didn’t have digital scales back then — from each of his five hundred, one-pound Ziploc bags, and place it in an empty Ziploc. At first, I didn’t get what he was doing. Gradually, as the bag filled up, his madness became clear: no one would ever miss one gram out of the 454 grams in a pound, but each pinch multiplied by five hundred added up to over a pound of pure profit. That probably worked out a little better for my friend than the university’s work-study program.

Why wasn’t I shocked? I figured this was all just part of college life. I was sixteen when I went away to college. I didn’t know any better.

In those days, bales of Colombian Red, often transported by “couples” driving rented Winnebago RVs, roamed about the country. There was a steady parade of them cruising a regular route between Ft. Lauderdale and Colorado. Similar expeditions ran Mexican bricks from Tucson to Boulder. Why Winnebagos? You could squeeze a ton or more into one of those babies.

A Winnebago from the 70s

“Why Winnebagos? You could squeeze a ton or more into one of those babies.”

What I’m getting at is that even thirty years ago, demand was pretty much insatiable.

That’s why something seemed off with Jeff’s I mean, Dr. Miron’s proclamation that the total amount of marijuana sold annually in the United States was only $11 billion.

That amount just seemed awfully low — especially in light of what I knew certain green-thumbed potentrepreneurs were up to a few years later, that is, cultivating ten-inch purple “donkey dicks” behind ten-foot fences on one-acre plantations within the City of Boulder limits. One guy with no experience grew $100,000 worth of 1981 money in his own back yard. That’s one guy, one yard, one city.

Even though I’m just a lowly mister of poteconomics, not a doctor of economics, I also couldn’t help noticing Miron’s conclusion that $11 billion in total sales would yield $6 billion in cannatax was almost entirely dependent on “sin taxes” being assessed at a whopping fifty percent.

Really?

Cannabis was gonna go from an outlaw commodity taxed at a rate of zero percent to a tax rate higher rate than both alcohol and tobacco? I could tell Professor Miron knew about as much about the pot trade as I knew about the Austrian School of Economics.

Similar assumptions and guesstimates crept into Miron’s white papers. He admitted as much when I interviewed him.

Meanwhile, I kept force-feeding myself enough economics to write about it semi-intelligently, while Dr. Miron continued to eschew any real world interaction with cannabis commerce. The gap between us — at least in the nascent field of poteconomics, if not in overall economics knowledge — was narrowing.

Then I discovered Jon Gettman’s work. His 2007 Lost Taxes and Other Costs of Marijuana Laws was much more in touch with reality. There was a lot of good stuff in that, although it, too, was intended more for academics than public consumption.

So, at that point in my quest to uncover all I could about cannatax, all I had to go on was traditional reporting which barely scratched the surface or academic white papers — often decorated with Greek calculus equations — depicting the magical herb as an imponderable mathematical equation.

If I really wanted to read what I wanted to read about cannatax, in the kind of depth that would be meaningful for me or anyone else who was educated but not overeducated, it was obvious that I’d have to create it.

Q: So you did. Fortunately, you majored in Economics, right?
A:No, Lester, I majored in free love. I admit it’s a crazy notion that I, who bypassed Economics 101 in favor of obscure liberal arts fare like “Love and the Secular Spirit,” can possibly calculate cannatax as well or better than Harvard’s Director of Undergraduate Studies. The phrase “delusions of grandeur” may have entered your mind. But although I invariably disagree with Dr. Miron, and I’ve developed a reputation as his harshest critic, I give him his due.
I particularly admire Dr. Miron for acknowledging that pot sales take place and that these sales affect the economy. That doesn’t sound like much, but the reality is that the indexes of best-selling books by the world’s most acclaimed economists from 2009-2012 contain not one mention of the words pot, marijuana, hemp, or cannabis. Check ’em out for yourself at your local library. It’s the 3300 section.

Sure, Miron undersells the pot phenomenon. But, unlike his contemporaries, he has the cojones to analyze it for the world to read. And he’s the guy who introduced poteconomics to the media and remains its first-call quotemeister.

It’s also true that I bow to Dr. Miron’s superior ability to forecast long-term trends for licit commodities like rutabaga, molybdenum, or Brazil nuts. However, things get murkier when it comes to divining trends for illicit commodities. Like Big Daddy Purps, to cite one example that may or may not still be circulating in my bloodstream.

Professor Miron is an observer and an abstainer. I’m a participant and a fan. That counts for a lot. Miron’s study was an entirely joyless pursuit. Mine was a labor of love. Can you excel at something you don’t put your heart and soul into it? For example, I wouldn’t want to read anything I wrote about deficit spending. It’s a subject that just doesn’t get me going. I’ll stop there.

Anyway, I gave it my best shot. Cannabis Commerce in the USA, with its cannatax theme running throughout, is the result. Readers can decide for themselves if it rings true or not: Dr. Miron’s works are available in the Cannabis Commerce Library for comparison.

Q: Lory, do you have any regrets so far?
A:One in particular. I wish that I would have found more time to catalog every potential job and potentrepreneurial opportunity available in the cannabis industry. You can see I’ve made a start at it in the Cannajobs category. Eventually, I’ll identify and catalog cannabis opportunities like James Audobon identified and cataloged North American birds. I also regret that I haven’t found anyone to run with Cannabis Commerce’s social media possibilities. Before our unfortunate hiatus, we were getting a lot of hits through dumb luck, but there’s potential for a whole lot more. Any volunteers?
Q: What highlights stand out from Cannabis Commerce’s first two years?
A: Going on that whirlwind tour of The Netherlands definitely ranks right up there. Being there made it obvious that cannabis subjugation is a planetary issue, not a national issue or a local issue. It brought home another point why repealing prohibition in the United States is such a big deal: right or wrong, other countries look to us. Most of them copied prohibition from us in the first place. One exception would be England, which established its take on prohibition since, strangely enough, indentured servants weren’t quite as compliant slaving away dawn to dusk when they had a buzz on. But, by and large, other countries copied us, were bribed by us, or were bullied by us to adopt prohibitive policies after informing them, “We took out your country because it was a staging area for drugs.” Sometimes it’s really embarrassing to be an American, and never more so then when I saw Obama come on TV to announce the assassination of Bin Laden when I was in The Netherlands.

crystal clear shot of the earth from space

On Cannabis Planet, cannabis subjugation is a planetary issue, not a national issue. One day aliens may intervene, immobilizing machinery and communications as in The Day The Earth Stood Still, establishing a more peaceful coexistence between national governments and cannaculture.

Q: You wrote about global demonization in your series, Is the Grass Really Greener in the Netherlands.
A: That one, written on Van Gogh’s old stomping grounds, is more impressionistic than Cannabis Commerce in the USA. I basically jammed out observations, opinions, and analysis without researching the hell out of it. Being in The Netherlands was a real eye-opener. Like everyone else, I believed pot was legal there. I was also under the impression that the magical herb was embraced by the masses, and that Amsterdam was the #1 potspot on Earth. Well, pot is 100% illegal in the lowlands. And I was shocked to discover that most Netherlanders are totally down on it. Politically, they’re less down on the US as self-proclaimed world policeman than other places, because, compared to The Third Reich, we’re kinder and gentler conquerors.
Two Holland honeys enjoying the Cannabis Liberation Day Festival Amsterdam 2011

One of the Cannabis Liberation Festival’s better moments. Speaking of regrets . . .

I was not expecting what I found at all. The Cannabis Liberation Festival, held in a last-ditch attempt to salvage what freedoms the country was still clinging to before the Christian Democrat party purged them, only drew a few hundred stragglers to Westerpark in Amsterdam.

That renewed my appreciation for the CU Boulder 420 celebrations, where 25,000 “stoners” light up as one organism. When you catch a wave like that, realizations like “pro-pot advocates are way more powerful than they realize” tend to enter your mind.

smoky scene from 420 at CU Boulder

You can never have enough [email protected] shots.

Other highlights include the deals I’ve brokered for various players who found me through Cannabis Commerce. Being an instigator in the Pot Sauce Willie’s saga, which went viral, and matchmaking a licensing agreement between major activated chocolate suppliers, spring to mind.

Opportunities like these keep popping up out of the blue. Even in a quasi-legal environment, tremendous potentrepreneurial opportunities exist.

Q: And you’re cultivating a consulting business as a result?
A: I am. And I’m consulting on cultivation business, too. While the site was down, I learned quite a bit about it, working contract gigs for massive industrial grows. People can also hire me to brainstorm their business plans with them, write their marketing materials or proposals, match them up with other players, write the wording for statewide amendments, write ad copy for their products and websites and help design them, and so on. That’s why the Consulting section figures so prominently in the site redesign.
Q: I’m curious. Why would someone hire medical marijuana’s biggest critic to write, edit, or consult on a medical marijuana referendum?
A: Simple: you can’t intelligently criticize an industry like the MMJ industry unless you know it inside and out. In other words, whatever a client’s into, if they can get it past me, they can get it by anyone. It’s no different than a hardened prosecutor easily making the transition into becoming a criminal defense attorney. People hire me to write MMJ marketing materials because I’m good at it. My personal opinions aren’t part of the equation.
Q: Fair enough. Sounds like you can write anything from a sonnet to an encyclopedia. Weren’t you a big cheese technical writer in the 90’s?
A: Yeah, for IBM, Intel, and all sorts of wild and crazy Silicon Valley and Silicon Alley startups.
Q: What was that experience like?
A:Honestly, I’m not sure how I made it past security and into the corporate world. I think the pool of cookie-cutter PC nerds had dried up. Fortune 100 companies were forced to explore auxiliary personnel sources. Intel literally plucked me out of an adobe hut in Arroyo Seco, NM. It’s funny; all those corporations interviewed me as if the winning candidate had to be a combination of Einstein and Shakespeare to have any prayer of handling the challenging workload. Once I knew the drill, I don’t have the slightest doubt that my twelve year old daughter could have handled any of those corporate assignments equally well. That didn’t stop them from throwing money at me. No one in the history of mankind has ever been paid the sums I’ve been paid to sit in a cubicle and not write. But that’s a story for another day. Let’s just say that in my experience, Dilbert is nonfiction.
Q: Speaking of nonfiction, to date you’ve come up with three big series: Cannabis Commerce in the USA, Is the Grass Really Greener in the Netherlands, and Ten Reasons Why Medical Marijuana is Cannabis Commerce’s Ball and Chain.
A: The hits keep coming, Patrick.
Q: In more ways than one, I’m sure. And a couple of those series consist of twelve parts each. Some of those parts are as long as feature articles in, say, The New York Times Magazine. You manage to present all that information — and somehow find a way to keep a rhythm going throughout each series. But I’m a guy who likes to read a lot. Not everyone does. In a Twittery world, don’t long articles scare people off?
A:They do. There’s no getting around it. I’m very aware of it. There was a period when I strongly considered cranking out two-paragraph “articles,” with or without substance, to increase our web hits and make us more attractive to advertisers. I also considered adding a news feed to aggregate pot stories from around the web, imitating what many successful sites do. But around the time I was mulling over those changes, feedback began trickling in for the articles and interviews I’d produced up to that point. Then I realized that there was appreciation out there for articles that “went deep,” offering takes that people couldn’t get anywhere else. At any rate, I was glad I followed my heart, not the herd. What’s that saying . . . “in a nation of sheep, one brave man forms a majority.” I think Edward Albee said that in A Voice Crying in the Wilderness. I know the feeling, although I prefer “howling in the wilderness” to “crying in the wilderness.”

The cover from Allen Ginsberg's Howl

This beat poet stunned the world with his high-quality howling in the 50’s. He was still howling at Naropa Institute in the 70’s, when he lived two doors down from Lory on the top floor of the notorious Hotel Boulderado.

William Burroughs

You’d think having Alan Ginsberg living down the hall from you would be hard to top, but William “Naked Lunch” Burroughs was Lory’s next door neighbor at The Hotel Boulderado.

Q: Well put. Lory, you’re one of the few pot writers who don’t just preach to the choir. Cannabis Commerce actually offers opposing viewpoints. One recent article, The DEA Calling, contains more quotes from a DEA agent than I’ve read in every other pro-pot publication combined. You ran all those without stepping over his remarks once. You also portrayed the US Attorney as an actual human being, not the antichrist, which may be sacrilege inside the patient rights camp.
A: Thank you for noticing. A little dogma goes a long way. I’ve read a few too many pro-pot articles and I’ve watched a few too many pro-pot documentaries which either don’t offer opposing viewpoints at all, or, the rare times they do, a narrator immediately cuts in with sarcastic comments. I certainly contribute my share of sarcastic barbs— when you’re bombarded with constant hypocrisy, restraint isn’t always the first option — but I don’t walk around believing I know everything. Other peoples’ viewpoints and comments are valuable, too. So I leave those in. “Fair reporting” may be old-fashioned, but it strikes me as a worthy policy. Invariably, it’s more believable.

 Update 7/30/2012

Email from Lester B. Stone to Lory Kohn: Now that the Los Angeles City Council has voted out all its remaining dispensaries, here’s your chance to gloat.

Reply from Lory Kohn to Lester B. Stone: I’ll pass. I’m not down on dispensaries, I’m down on the fact that there aren’t more of them. It’s a shame that only a privileged few in isolated pockets of the country and the world can transact in them. The closest dispensary to me, The Clinic, is awesome in every way. You bet I’d miss it if it was subtracted from the retail landscape. I wish there were as many green crosses all over the world as there are Coke signs. You know how you can go into the jungles of northern Thailand, and even two-seat coconut stands have Coke signs in front of them? There should be a hut flying the green cross in that village, too. Dispensary extermination brings no joy to this kid.

So, no, I’m not going to crow about nailing that prediction. If I did, I’d have to crawl about being wrong that a major political race hasn’t hinged on pot issues — yet.

But, seriously, the important thing to take away from all this is that the voters of California gave the LA City Council their express permission to f**k with them any way they choose when they prioritized MMJ over repealing prohibition. It’ s no different from signing up for a credit card. When you agree to their terms, you give Barclay’s, or whoever, your permission to change your rate or terms any time they damn well please. So whose fault is it really when they raise your rates? That’s what rankles me: giving away our power as a pro-pot majority to local and state governments, allowing them to f**k with us from here to eternity. I don’t want to sound like a broken record, but the only way to put an end to the torment is by repealing prohibition once and for all.