Pubdate: Thu, 13 Dec 2012
Source: Appeal-Democrat (Marysville, CA)
Copyright: 2012 Appeal-Democrat
Author: Ron Hart


Elections have consequences. Mitt Romney was poised to be president 
of the United States. He lost the election and ended up on the 
Marriott hotel chain's board of directors. He went from nearly being 
the next leader of the free world to trying to keep hotel guests from 
stealing from their hotel room mini-bars.

Overlooked in the long race for president (won, as most marathons 
are, by a Kenyan) were some state votes on social issues.

Washington state was the first to legalize the possession of 
marijuana without a doctor's prescription; Colorado followed this 
week. In a related story, Twinkies maker Hostess quickly emerged from 

Those 21 and older can now legally possess one ounce of weed, or 
roughly the residue in Snoop Dogg's couch cushions. Yet smoking pot 
in public is against the law. Since no laws have been passed on 
growing and distributing marijuana in the state, those who indulged 
must have bought their weed illegally from a pot dealer. And oh yeah, 
smoking pot is still a federal offense. Oh, the complexity of laws upon laws.

This week, Colorado joined Washington state in legalizing the 
possession of marijuana; those voting in favor (I think they marked 
"righteous" on the ballot) outnumbered those who voted for President 
Barack Obama.

I guess some elements of the GOP test positive for THC as well as 
freedom. Denver might now change the name of the Broncos' stadium 
from INVESCO Field back to "Mile High Stadium." Perhaps its NBA team 
could become the "Drive-thru Denver McNuggets."

Now these states will draft regulations on pot sales that are tied to 
their liquor laws. And by "laws," I mean taxes. Washington state will 
impose a 25 percent excise tax on growers when they sell to 
processors and another 25 percent when processors sell to retailers. 
Then, when individuals buy from retailers, you guessed it: another 25 
percent, plus sales tax on the total purchase.

This is all VAT and a bag of chips.

When California legalized having pot with a fake doctor's 
prescription, the real winners (aside from glaucoma diagnosis) were 
the state tax collectors. Doctors suddenly could spot glaucoma in 
"patients" as soon as their credit cards cleared. These liberal 
states have taxed and spent themselves to death. And what does a 
desperate person do when he is out of money? He resorts to selling drugs.

Under federal laws, pot smoking is illegal. In California, it is 
mandatory. Left unregulated by liberal politicians, the true 
free-market trade in marijuana was the only business that grew in 
California. Only Jerry ("Governor Moonbeam") Brown could rationalize 
legalizing pot while outlawing plastic grocery bags.

Wars are always easier to start than to end. Richard Nixon started 
the war on drugs and, like so many wars, it has been a costly 
disaster. It has eroded freedoms and created intractable 
bureaucracies. Nixon's premise was that pot caused crime, so it went 
underground where drug cartels and gangs can assure that we get more 
crime and violence. Prisons are filled with victimless, drug 
crime-related prisoners, and we are no safer.

Our government totally ignored the lesson of Prohibition. Americans 
still drank, but Prohibition gave rise to organized crime. History 
has a way of repeating itself if no one is paying attention. 
Tellingly, Mexico opposed Washington state and Colorado legalizing pot.

I would like to see decriminalization without taxation. Like 
everything else government does, it is not about morality or freedom, 
it is about money.

Obama will not do anything about states legalizing marijuana for two 
reasons. First, 64 percent of respondents in a recent Gallup Poll 
said the states should decide for themselves. Second, Obama likes 
laws - thus his powers - that he can selectively enforce when they 
benefit him politically. It is a simple fact that Washington never 
divests itself of any power.

The American Medical Association asked the feds not to classify pot 
as a "dangerous" drug. Sarah Palin and Bill Clinton admitted that 
they tried it but didn't like it. And 210 million Americans have 
smoked pot; it seems only politicians say they don't like it.

Pot smoking has always been a cryptic, wink-and-a-nod endeavor with 

Toker-in-Chief Obama continues to send very mixed messages: He says 
that the feds will still prosecute pot, and then he ends his speech 
with an Al Green song.
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MAP posted-by: Jay Bergstrom