I’m still on an extended break from poteconomics for the previously provided explanation.
And I still intend to resume my sometimes brilliant career once I wrap up the creative project I’m presently immersed in [which is writing, recording, and producing a 3-CD box set].
I mentioned that I’d check in from time to time; this is one of those times.
The following example illustrates why I’m a contrarian about rec weed’s fabulousness. I’ll preface the following tale with the reminder that I live right outside Denver, freshly crowned co-rec weed capital of the sorta free world, alongside Seattle.
Yesterday I was rassling with a guitar track that I thought I could play in my sleep, that is before I put on the headphones, clicked Record, and began futzing around … then realized that I wasn’t going to just bang it out after all.
At that point the idea naturally occurred to me that maybe a little weed might positively alter my consciousness, making me bolder and more in tune with the cosmos. You could say there’s some precedence for that!
Since I’d finally run out of the freebies I normally accumulate when I’m out and about schmoozing around our great potted plain, perhaps the time was ripe for my first brush with rec weed reality?
However, I failed to intuit that legal weed was going to cost over twice as much as MMJ and that it would be taxed at shoot-yourself-in-the-foot rates north of 30%. I’d consider maybe 20% reasonable − and that would have to include whatever “sin taxes” the State tacks on.
Being only partially psychic, I also failed to anticipate that the State of Colorado would choose established big fish MMJ players to sit on the committees entrusted with writing rec weed regulations.
That’s relevant because, wonder of wonders, these “impartial” committee members decided that they alone were experienced enough and responsible enough to dispense rec weed — and any newcomers could sit this dance out.
The term “self-preservation” springs to mind.
I’ll leave it to you to judge how beneficial yet another “the rich get richer” scenario is in our current economic climate.
In other words, the enterprising individuals I started this web site to reach were barred from opening a rec weed dispensary conveniently located, say, right down the street from me.
Let’s talk about the street right down from me.
That would be Wadsworth Boulevard, a major eight-lane artery constructed in the halcyon 80’s to provide consumers (coincidentally the 80’s are about the time when economists began referring to “people” or “citizens” as “consumers”) with easy access to every chain store and big box warehouse conceived by mankind. All this commerce is concentrated within one powerhouse ten-block stretch.
The fine emporiums of Wadsworth Boulevard are generally set back about two hundred yards from the street — the better to accommodate football stadium-sized parking lots. That would be because when this was all built, the economy was humming along and it was presumed that since business was booming every week of the year would mirror the shopping frenzy previously reserved for the week prior to Christmas.
Are you getting the picture? There’s virtually no everyday commodity in existence that I can’t buy within a mile of my home. There couldn’t possibly be any more retail crammed into one ten-block stretch − and if that’s not enough for ya, it’s flanked by the Southwest Plaza Mall and all its necessary and unnecessary consumables.
If I ruled the world, I’d decommission the area, declare it a National Monument To Gluttony And Conspicuous Consumption, and open a Visitor’s Center. It would serve as a perfectly preserved specimen of late twentieth century cultural anthropology for future generations to ponder. The Monument would become an attraction like Mount Vernon, only the guides would sport polyester suits instead of colonial costumes.
In the Spring of 2014, with “activists” (sorry, I don’t consider anyone who settles for constricted trickles instead of raging torrents worthy of the word) and conventional media relishing rec weed and constantly reminding us how revolutionary it is — guess what that aren’t any of in the just-described ten-block stretch?
Recreational weed shops.
That would be because the fine City of Littleton opted out of recreational weed.
Yes, folks, any Colorado city or county can opt out of MMJ or rec weed. It’s our dirty little secret that two/thirds of them already have. Adding insult to injury, the State of Washington passed its rec weed amendment with no opt-out clauses whatsoever, and there are just as many conservatives in the hinterlands there as there are here. What a colossal burst of lunacy!
The neighboring suburb, MMJ-friendly Lakewood, is only minutes away.
But I wouldn’t be procuring any rec weed in the city of Lakewood, either. The City of Lakewood has also opted out of rec weed (any Colorado city or county can opt out of MMJ, rec weed a.k.a. “adult use,” or both).
Cities within walking distance of Denver opting out of selling a commodity that they can tax at a rate exceeding 30% is baffling in a state which needs revenue as much as the next state, and especially so in light of the fact that Colorado is universally considered a weed wonderland.
Speaking of baffling, I can’t for the life of me figure out why the State of Colorado Department of Revenue, which adminsters the rec pot program and just green-lighted exorbitantly taxing an agricultural commodity that out-of-state “consumers” can come here and buy wouldn’t be all-for selling metric tons (2200 pounds) of it instead of quarter ounces. The idea is to generate revenue, right?
Please inform me what I’m missing, Anyone?
And what kind of business run by persons in their right minds accepts a limitation like selling quarter ounces tops of a substance people are begging for?
- I mean, who buys a quarter ounce of sugar, coffee, or flour? Would King Soopers accept a limitation like that? You’ve got to be kidding, right?
- Are we not supposed to think in terms of common business sense? Just because everyone else is celebrating this limitation as the greatest victory in the history of humankind, am I supposed to celebrate it, too? For this kid, that would require a lobotomy or a reenactment of The Invasion Of The Body Snatchers.
- Am I really supposed to exult that any Mormon can mount a wagon train from Utah and buy a whopping quarter o-z in my state? How is taxing that quarter o-z going to help support the little old underfunded schoolhouse on the hill? Those coins are really going to make a difference in being able to hire all the teachers that are needed? They may as well cut English altogether since it’s obvious that few actually read the rec weed amendment before they voted for it; and even if some people took the time to read it, it was so ambiguously-worded they still didn’t know what the heck they were voting for.
Who votes for an amendment that basically states, “we don’t know what it is until we pass it?”
Apparently anyone and everyone. So what do I know?
What I thought I knew was that capitalism is supposed to be all about selling as much of something as you can today and selling even more of it tomorrow … you know, growth and all that.
That may still be true … unless the capital in question is the magical weed. It’s treated with an extra special dose of hypocrisy by governments and voters alike.
May I ask you something? If you were writing a rec weed amendment, and you could word it any way you wanted to, why would you put any limit on the purchase amount if winning the election means cannabis is going to be declared “legal?”
What exactly is the purpose of that?
Since when are there limits on legal items? Since the advent of activism, cannabis-style, in which the participants are incapable of organizing a touch football game much less tackling the repeal of federal marijuana prohibition which hello is the mission we should have been tackling all along.
- Can I not buy 35 Toyota Priuses if I enjoy collecting sub-compacts, have the bucks, and I happen to feel like it − even though gasoline is sin-taxed?
- Can I not buy the entire stock of a liquor “superstore” if I have the dough?
- Can I not clean out the shelves of every carton of cigarettes in every supermarket in Littleton without any penalty whatsoever?
There would appear to be a huge disconnect between the promised “regulated like alcohol and tobacco” and reality. A more accurate comparison would be that rec weed is regulated like plutonium.
Passing amendments with quarter-ounce limits is supposed to be a “historic event?”
Yeah, you made history all right: the cannabis legalization movement can now officially be declared the least successful movement in the history of American activism, one characterized time and time again by activists bending over and accepting a pitiful fraction of the herbal rights we’re entitled to.
Somehow, “activists” have confused surrender with victory. They’ve successfully sold the ruse to the public. And the public has bought into it hook, line, and sinker.
Sorry, I seem to have digressed. Some choice syllables of cynicism and sarcasm seem to have seeped through my filters. Whoops!
Anyway, with the guitar part sill unplayed and the witching hour of 7 PM rapidly approaching — weed sales are cut off at 7 PM; imagine not being able to buy gas, booze or cigarettes while it’s still daylight— if I wanted to score some weed, that would require driving into the former laid-back cowtown and current uberhip metropolis of Denver.
When it’s not rush hour, the aptly-named Mile High City’s fifteen minutes away. No big deal, a couple of good tunes and you’re there.
But it was rush hour.
An hour and a half later, I returned, my $16 after tax pre-roll joint in hand. A “salad” (what’s left in the jars after they sell all the buds) joint like that would have cost maybe $7 at a MMJ dispensary, more like $5 if they know you. Throw in the four bucks for a gallon of gas, and here’s the rec weed reality no one wants to face: our new freedom comes at a price of $20 per joint. That’s precious enough to make anyone with half a brain wistful for the outlaw days.
I have to compliment the shop on the swell job they did stapling my paper bag shut as regulations require. If the bag weren’t securely stapled shut, I wouldn’t have had that prophylactic protection from muggers, tornados, or falcons swooping down and grabbing the preroll with their talons.
I’m grateful that rec weed committee members looked out for my interests like that while they were freezing out any possible competition. They also had the vision and foresight to mandate segregating the rec weed jars from the MMJ jars at dispensaries licensed to sell both even though the buds come from the exact same grows. Uh, OK then.
While I wasn’t expecting the Garden Of Eden, is there no limit to the hypocrisy when governments collide with the most oppressed herb in the pharmacoepia? From the evidence presented thus far, there’s no ceiling on that whatsoever!
If I wasn’t a) immersed in something highly creative I can control … unlike the pace of legalization, and b) I was in the mood to be cynical and sarcastic ad nauseum, I could script schtick strikingly similar to 10 Reasons Why Medical Marijuana Is Cannabis Commerce’s Ball and Chain substituting “rec weed” for “medical marijuana.”
I won’t have to turn over rocks to uncover material.
For example, the suddenly weed-obsessed Denver Post recently reported that the State of Colorado collected $3.2 million in the month of February from rec weed sales. Grrrrrrreat. That’s not even a tenth of what it would rake in if the yoke was removed from the industry. As always, the Post neglected to provide any color commentary; questioning hard numbers or crunching its own takes actual effort.
Tasks like that are generally left to poteconomists, life forms prone to dwelling on realizations like rec weed is actually regulated more like plutonium than alcohol or tobacco … which means revenue and job creation are a miniscule fraction of what they could be.
A typical task that an inquisitive poteconomist might perform is researching whether or not someone can buy more “legal” weed than radioactive Uranium-238 in the presumably progressive State of Colorado. And the winner of that cage match is … drum roll, please … radioactive Uranium-238. And the bout’s not even close. See http://www.amazon.com/Images-SI-Uranium-Ore/dp/B000796XXM in the likely event you find that difficult to fathom. You’re not alone!
Put another way, in Colorado, the state we’re constantly reminded is all ga ga and gung-ho about legal marijuana and a shining example for The Rest Of The World, you can buy all you want of a substance that can and will kill you, but you can only buy an ounce or a quarter-ounce (depending on residency requirements) of a substance that can’t kill you no matter how hard you try to do yourself in — and if you’ve ever been to a Cannabis Cup, you’ve seen our more dedicated citizens heroically test the theory, pushing past their outer limits and beyond.
If you’re “lucky enough” to live where rec weed is, ahem, legal, please continue to enjoy paying roughly three times as much for it as MMJ while finding it in one fifth of the locations; that is, unless your city and county opted out — in which case you’re still wandering in the same barren wasteland you know and despise.
And if you live in a state where you don’t even have that much, like most states, where buying even that quarter-ounce of legal weed is an unimaginable fantasy, here’s a gentle reminder the fault lies almost entirely in everyone’s collective refusal to join together to destroy prohibition itself. Folks, now we’re finally talking about real victory.
But no one else is encouraging you to do that, are they? That’s why this voice howling in the wilderness keeps checking in.
If you’re following the herd, working for quasi-legalization where you happen to live, not caring what happens to people in other states, you’ll keep overpaying for weed [the difference between forking over $450 an ounce vs. $100 an ounce adds up prety darned quick, doesn’t it?], you’ll keep having to claim you have “qualifying diseases” necessary to buy MMJ, or you’ll still be acquiring your THC from the same old friend of a friend of a friend at whatever price the lucky dog feels like selling it for.
Wish me luck on my recording. I wish you luck on your activism. Or are you still waiting for someone else to take care of that for you? Do you really think that the Obama Administration or its successor is going to turn its back on its petrochemical masters and legalize weed [read repeal prohibition] to appease a bunch of stoners without being forced to by masses of us demanding our herbal rights?
Oh, that’s exactly what you think. The tipping point theory and all that. Sorry, I forgot.