November 16, 2013

Marijuana may be legal(ish) in Denver, but the neighbors can still call the cops over violations of the odor ordinance.

If the olfactometer says you're over the stink limit, the fine is $2,000.

And, by the way, there's a great article about the difficulties of legalizing marijuana in the new issue of The New Yorker: "BUZZKILL/Washington State discovers that it’s not so easy to create a legal marijuana economy." But you'll need to subscribe to read it. Odor ordinances are the least of it. There are big problems with trying to eliminate the black market. Just one is: Young people under 21 aren't going to be allowed to buy legally, and these are a huge part of the marijuana market. Life isn't going to change for them. Another is that the state is seeing legalization in tax terms, which means it's tempted to overprice — which sends folks back to the black market — and it's getting addicted to a cash flow based on heavy users (because it's probably true that something like 20% of the users will by 90% of the product).

23 comments:

cubanbob said...

Naturally, none of this was predictable to the reality impaired.

Trashhauler said...

My response every time I hear someone say, "We must end this stupid War on Drugs" is to ask some simple questions:

Will minors be allowed to use drugs?

Will the FDA have to approve the drugs as safe for use?

Will we still require prescriptions?

Will it still be illegal to grow, manufacture or sell drugs without a license?

If the answer is yes to any of the questions, then we'll still need plenty of drug law enforcement.

Trashhauler said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
TMink said...

If you tax weed too much, nobody will buy the over taxed product. It is easy to grow decent marijuana, unlike tobacco which is a difficult plant to grow and cure. If the taxes are too high, you will have a LOT of moonshine pot.

Trey

TMink said...

If you tax weed too much, nobody will buy the over taxed product. It is easy to grow decent marijuana, unlike tobacco which is a difficult plant to grow and cure. If the taxes are too high, you will have a LOT of moonshine pot.

Trey

jaliranchr said...

Oh, this is just so much fun to watch as it evolves. What a mess! Do you license them if they sell edibles? That would require they be accredited by the National Restaurant Association. Cannabis testing and regulations

EDH said...

If the olfactometer says you're over the stink limit, the fine is $2,000.

Does that same standard apply to patchouli oiled hippies walking down the street or over perfumed professional women in elevators?

Michael K said...

In all of this the fact that goes unmentioned is that marijuana is more toxic to smoke than tobacco. The health risks are far greater ignoring the mental effects. It's actually funny.

richlb said...

Life imitates Futurama.

Sam L. said...

Consequences, unanticipated, myriads each.

Sam L. said...

Remember I've Got The Seeds And Stems Blues?

jr565 said...

If you legalize any drug the govt gets in and regulates it. How are libertarians assuming that legalization is somehow going to get govt off your back?

It's going to make pot more expensive and create a new black market where people will get their drugs instead. In other words, crime wont go down.

Achilles said...

I live in Washington State and plan on applying for a producer/processor license. The regulations are fairly well thought out, just from a different paradigm. I personally didn't support the law and thought it was too into the regulation and taxation part. But there is a really good chance it will work.

With a license we will be able to produce on a scale that will keep our costs pretty low. We are setting up in an area with artificially low electricity rates thanks to hydro power. This doesn't even include outdoor grows which will be huge in the Okanagon part of the state. Nobody is sure if the economies of scale will outweigh the taxes, but if you set up with the right licenses as a producer you will only pay 25% so it might work out.

The sad truth is there will be enforcement against non-licensed participants. This is as close to a protection racket as you can get without calling the government Mafia. Their goal isn't to out-compete the black market they want to run it out.

Bruce Hayden said...

I am just the opposite of Achilles - I supported and voted for the pot in Colorado, but don't intend to either grow it, or partake in its use. Never was that much into depressants.

Wouldn't have cared either way, except that the police have been heavily militarized as a result of the War on Drugs, and that bothers me a lot more than people sitting around getting high on pot. And, once they got the military grade weapons and armor, and could run around threatening people, shooting dogs, breaking down doors, etc., it is going to be hard to getting them back to merely protecting and serving.

Achilles said...

Bruce -

The Colorado law and the Washington laws are very different. Colorado allows personal grows and set up a more decentralized system. Washington laws are designed around centralized control and regulation. Colorado legalized Hemp as well which is an industry an order of magnitude larger than the THC based cannabis industry.

And I totally agree about the militarization of the police force. I was awakened one morning hearing an explosion at a neighbors house. I instantly recognized the sound of a one-banger flash/stun grenade. This was pre-dawn. I walked over and they were doing a drug raid and were strolling about with similar gear and a far worse attitude than we had. We had to change our TTP's and not use one bangers overseas out of respect for locals because of an accident, and we have police throwing them into houses here over drugs. It is pathetic.

We changed to a government-serf model a couple decades ago.

SGT Ted said...

The other aspect of the tax model driving the underground economy is that it is so easy to grow. Most will either grow it themselves or will form informal co-ops where one dude grows and the others pay for supplies etc. They will cut the Gov't out of the market that way and it will be largely legal I think.

Carl said...

If legalization solved anything, the kids wouldn't have a problem with oxycodone. And they do.

Carol said...

som as a montana, I assume it's too early to make a little day trip to spokane?

Achilles said...

SGT Ted

That is what is currently happening in Washington. They also recognize their regime will not succeed while the medical market exists.

The Medical Marijuana laws make it defacto legal to grow 45 plants in Washington state. One cooperative can support a lot of patients. In addition growers can make donations to dispensaries with compensation for time and costs who can then pass that cost on to members of their cooperatives. Most people involved preferred this model as it gives better access to patients. But...

They are introducing legislation to do away with the medical laws and they will shut down the dispensaries and cooperative grows. The deal has already been made. They will sick the fed's on the non-licensed producers/retailers. The cost advantage will be licensed producers being able to produce on a scale that people hiding from the feds cannot compete with. This is probably not what the people had in mind when they voted for legalization.

jr565 said...

Achilles wrote:
I personally didn't support the law and thought it was too into the regulation and taxation part.

But that's the key part. Imagine legitimate drug companies who have to dot every t and every i and get sued if one person dies on their product and who have to go through rigourous testing dealing with formerly illegal drugs getting the green light with no regulation whatsoever.
It's not going to happen.

jr565 said...

Achilles wrote:
One cooperative can support a lot of patients. In addition growers can make donations to dispensaries with compensation for time and costs who can then pass that cost on to members of their cooperatives. Most people involved preferred this model as it gives better access to patients. But...


Patients? Like the college students with glaucoma?
The medical aspect of marijuana has always been a bit suspect.

Just because Peter Tosh says it's good for asthma doesn't make it something your average pulmonologist would prescribe over legitimate drugs.

A. Shmendrik said...

Ben Masel Brigade - mount up!

tim maguire said...

It's not difficult to legalize marijuana, it's just difficult to make legal marijuana do the money dance the greedy pols want it to do.

Which is a different issue, no?