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Now a word from the War on Drugs

by: Eric B.

Sun Nov 11, 2012 at 11:10:24 AM EST

Been a few years since I last regularly smoked marijuana. I didn't get older. I got in shape, and I discovered that running requires lungs that are relatively clean. Besides, the last time I smoked, I wound up with a sinus infection that lasted almost two weeks. Now that I think about it, it must have been more than a few years, because I stopped smoking weed before Michigan legalized medical marijuana.

The point is that I've been away from the marijuana market for a very long time. I could probably scrounge some up pretty quickly, but that's a function of time and place rather than involvement in that underground community. My second stint living in Mt. Pleasant started in 2000 and some of the people I was friends with when I was smoking weed are still my friends and some of them still smoke weed.

In fact, I was chatting with one of them a few weeks ago about medical marijuana. I was going on First Shift with Tony Trupiano in a couple of days to discuss medical marijuana and I chatted an old friend up to see what insights I might be able to share with Tony's audience.

So, what's happened? Well, people who buy marijuana in Michigan no longer buy Mexican skunkweed. There's enough porousness in the system that people who buy marijuana for recreational usage get marijuana intended for sick people. If you didn't expect that, you don't know anything about people or markets. If we outlawed over-the-counter aspirin tomorrow, and the only way you could get it was to buy illegal aspirin shipped in from Mexico or to get better prescription pain killers available here, people would go for the prescription drugs every time. But, that has meant a chunk of revenue taken away from Mexican drug cartels. Just as it'll soon happen in Colorado and Washington State. And, by the way, Flint and Detroit and a couple other places.

So, the state can now move forward into the future along with everyone else, or it can try to hold back change. By holding back change, I mean carrying out Rick Jones' idea of voting again on medical marijuana. Or restricting it in the Legislature. Or being purposefully obtuse about how to implement it.

The proper direction is for Michigan to join Colorado and Washington in ending prohibition. What I've seen since 2008 tells m that we can't really trust the state's law enforcement agencies to amend themselves to enforcing laws as the public wants to see them enforced, so they have to be given proper direction. If you want to know what I'm talking about, I'm talking about the cops in Flint who say they're more loyal to the state and federal governments than they are the people who pay their salaries. This isn't a police state, and the police don't exist to keep us in line.

Eric B. :: Now a word from the War on Drugs
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"...people who buy marijuana for recreational usage get marijuana intended for sick people..."
I think I'd change the word "intended" to "designated".  I think the "intention" of the people growing, transporting, and selling is to take money where they can get it, regardless.  The law can presume that "medical marijuana" remains within some narrow channel of commerce, but the law is an ass.

I have noticed that every single person who has any financial stake in the marijuana business seems - well - like the dope dealers I remember from the Seventies.  Paranoid, grim, evasive, and smelling of weed.  "The leakage is the flow", McLuhan might have said, if he had thought about it.

I was going with the "will of the people"
Based on the ballot question, the people who voted to legalize it intended that sick people get access to marijuana, but not not-sick people.

Still, yeah, I have to admit that some of the same people who were first to get their cards were some of the people I used to smoke it with. I don't have a problem with it, since I've always thought that Prohibition was a dumb approach. What we really ought to do, however, is just admit that there would be side benefits to legalizing it, and one of them is defunding violent criminal cartels.

Among the Trees

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