I could care less if you smoke pot. I have cared a great deal about the effort by various factions to get the state’s permission to grow or use the stuff. That was always going to come with strings and taxes. More government not less. A regulatory system, inspectors, and more enforcement. California is proving me right.
The Land of Liberalism approved the legal growing and possession of marijuana. It set up rules and is imposing all the usual regulatory burdens that come with that. Licensing, taxation, and enforcement. What has legal weed wrought? Insufficient enforcement infrastructure to address both the legal market and the black market for marijuana. They need and want more.
Illegal weed in weed-legal California accounts for 80% of all sales. Unlicensed, unregistered, unmonitored and untaxed. We can’t have that now, can we?
Enforcement by the state has been hampered by a lack of resources, a decision to give new firms ample time to comply with complex regulations and political disputes, according to state records and interviews with officials and industry insiders.
I’d like to believe that the legal-weed lobby was always after a smoke-em-if-you-got-em outcome. But I know better. It was always going to be a deal with the government devil. A trade-off. A tiny bit of liberty in exchange for a massive expansion of government. Which in California must include a larger enforcement mechanism.
Legal Weed = More Enforcement
So, what happened to promises that enforcement costs didn’t make sense (and would go down). Actual pure and simple decriminalization was the goal, but it was never going to happen. The government would never skip the chance to tax it. If you tax it you have to regulate it. If you regulate it you have to enforce those regulations.
Why does Legal-weed in California need to add more and spend more to police it? Because there’s a vast above-ground industry to protect.
Don’t worry, it’s not just California. This model will apply everywhere it is tried.
The legal pot industry has a vested interest in policing. This multi-billion dollar a year industry (and that is just in California) stands to gain a great deal in profits by suppressing unlicensed ‘illegal growers and sellers.’ Lobbying legislatures and donating to campaigns to get the sort of politicians who will see things their way. Protect their “licensed” interest. Engage local communities. Support charities, drug rehab, and mental health centers. Engage in glad-handing and people handling to make sure its interests are attended too.
What does that smell like to you Libertarians?
It Smells Like Human Nature
Legal Pot lobby money stands to put any number of other large influence peddlers to shame.
On the bright side, the cost of pot will only go up with the cost of expanded enforcement and expanded government. It could get so bad that most folks won’t even be able to get high to forget how they may have helped make all of this big-government intrusion possible.