Saturday, October 16, 2010

Legalizing Pot

I usually vote “no” on initiatives, unless compelling evidence is produced to convince me otherwise. That is, of course, unless the initiative is cleverly written to take effect in the event of a majority of “no” votes, in which case
I vote “yes.” My reason is that initiatives are almost always sponsored by special interests and do not serve the best interest of the people at large, and even when they are generally well meant they are almost always so poorly written that they will not actually serve the purpose that is intended.

My view of Proposition 19 is decidedly mixed. I like the idea that it will save the cost of incarcerating all of those recreational pot smokers, something that has always struck me as serving very little useful purpose. I like the idea that we can raise some taxes from it, although doing so on a carte blanche localized basis seems a bit careless to me. I would have been a little happier if the writers of this initiative had formalized the taxation part just a skosh more. I’m not thrilled with the idea that it will attract tourists, nor with that “we will become the next Amsterdam” thing. Being “the land of fruits and nuts” is one thing, being “the land of fruits, nuts and dope” is maybe not quite as cool. Or maybe it’s a bit too cool.

I'm not persuaded by arguments of curtailing the drug wars, either. If you're going to put drug runners out of business, it's going to take more than cutting their income by the 2% to 20% that is being touted. Two percent?

Obviously I’m not particularly outraged per se by stoners being enabled to do their thing, though, although the federal government certainly seems to have its collective tail over the dashboard on the issue. That puts a couple more coats of paint on the proposition.

Having a state law which is in direct conflict with a federal law invites chaos, and that is sort of intrinsically not a good idea. On the other hand, there is always something a bit attractive about a state giving the finger, figuratively speaking, to the federal government. We, among other states, have done that with medical marijuana laws and they have gotten sort of pink in the face about it; have sort of sputtered and issued some threats, but have not yet really lost their cool. Maybe we should pass this initiative and see if we can make the feds come completely unglued.

Att'y General Holder has sort of dared us, see here, to do precisely that.


Bartender Cabbie said...

I tend to agree that it is fun when a state thumbs their nose so to speak, at the fed govt. Not sure if legalizing pot is such a good thing but don't think it will be the end of the world either way.

bruce said...

Well, I liked your reasoning and views on this... I think I would vote against it mostly because it not written terribly well or comprehensively and since it is a initiative, would be (very) hard to amend later if need be, and it almost certainly would need some tinkering. I don;t think the medical marajuana thing was thought out well enough and has problems. I don't want to add to it.

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