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article imageOp-Ed: Weed the People — Washington State wants a marijuana advisor

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By Paul Wallis     Jan 31, 2013 in Crime
Sydney - After legalization in Washington and Colorado, legal grass is looking like it’s about to become a growth industry, excuse the expression. Washington wants an expert on “all things weed”. Please note- the video goes for an hour or so.
Sez CBC:
The state Liquor Control Board, the agency charged with developing rules for the marijuana industry, reserved a convention center hall with a capacity of 275 people —plus an overflow room — for its bidding experts to take questions about the position and the hiring process.
"The Liquor Control Board has a long and a very good history with licensing and regulation. We know it and know how to do it well," said spokesman Mikhail Carpenter. "But there are some technical aspects with marijuana we could use a consultant to help us with."
Last fall, Washington and Colorado became the first states to pass laws legalizing the recreational use of marijuana and setting up systems of state-licensed growers, processors and retail stores where adults over 21 can walk in and buy up to an ounce of heavily taxed cannabis. Sales are due to begin in Washington state in December.
Put another way- A weed-based economic (and some may say social) recovery is about to start in at least two US states. This is a huge move away from futile drug laws into what will probably become the third tier of recreational drugs. There’s billions in this for sales and probably just as much in savings on hysterical, unnecessary law enforcement.
Washington and Colorado have taken the lead in what’s likely to be a progressive dismantling of the illegal drugs racket. They’ve also taken a very positive step in terms of undoing the damage of drugs-linked corruption, and given the drug cartels a heavy (and thoroughly deserved) uppercut in terms of cutting their cashflow. More good news.
Getting it right, therefore, is the only game in town.
This isn’t as simple as it looks. As most people know, the famous smart shops/head shops aren’t necessarily the right venue for legal grass, even if they are the obvious choice. These shops play with bath salts and other garbage, and faddish stuff which is more useless than useful. They’re also not likely to be top distributors, online or not.
The more effective core distribution points are places like liquor shops, etc. These places know how to comply with laws and don’t make a career out of bending laws. They’re more credible as outlets. They’re also better at managing their supply chains.
Regulation can be fairly simple- This is what’s buyable, this is the price, this is the tax. Basically, the states will be charging excise. Fair enough. The risk is over-stipulation. There needs to be an identifiable supply chain, as there is for alcohol. Licensed growers, distributors, etc. are all part of the natural framework of any commercial product, all with their own roles. That’s why alcohol regulation works. You know what’s the real stuff and the bogus stuff. That’s why you don’t buy wood alcohol every other day and go blind, like they did during Prohibition. (Bath salts, ice, etc. are the modern equivalent of wood alcohol, and about as useful.)
There are possible complications, if anyone wants to look for them, and I’d advise regulators not to look too hard for them for the sake of sticking to the primary objectives of the new system. The important element is a simple, straightforward, “fill this in/do this” regulatory regime. As regulators will appreciate, the advantage of a pro forma system is that everybody has to be on the same page.
In regulatory terms, pro forma means legal interpretations have to take a back seat to public documentation. No fuss, no nitpicking, just relevant information. Let the law do the talking about what’s a breach of regulation and what isn’t.
Global ramifications
Police forces and courts around the world will be only too happy to get rid of the grass albatross which has been around their necks since the 1920s. Talk about waste of police and court time, this drug has done more time in court than any other subject except perhaps alcohol.
…Which is also why the Washington and Colorado systems will be so important. This is an out for bored judges, overcrowded courts, irritated cops doing tons of admin work and the rest of the law enforcement community as a whole. It’s even good for lawyers- Doing grass cases is hardly career fodder. It’s always been mop and bucket work.
The rest of the world, however, may have to return to the hippie days where everyone was having too much fun to shoot anyone, and the greatest risk was having to hear someone’s new song. Ah well. It’s a small price to pay for sanity- As you'll see when you check out the video, and hear "moral ruin" as one of the first descriptions of the effects of using marijuana.
Also check out the same movie, with the soundtrack removed for copyright violation. You get to see silent cowboys with joints in their pockets. Moral ruin, eh?
Reminds me of the famous Fabulous Furry Freak Brothers line- Dope will get you through times of no money better than money will get you through times of no dope. In this case, point definitely made.
This opinion article was written by an independent writer. The opinions and views expressed herein are those of the author and are not necessarily intended to reflect those of DigitalJournal.com
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