California’s marijuana problem

Paul Raven @ 18-05-2010

… is that a lot of the people growing weed are suddenly finding they can’t sell it, even at bargain-basement bulk rates, thanks to the easing of access provided by medical marijuana laws in the state [via MetaFilter].

“Outdoor growers are having a hard time unloading their fall harvest,” Custer says. “And this is six months later and when some people do move it, they don’t get nearly the price they were hoping for.”

That goes for both legal growers who cultivate limited quantities of pot under the medical marijuana laws and illegal operators who often grow larger amounts.

Prices are now much less than $2,000 a pound, according to interviews with more than a dozen growers and dealers. Mendocino County Sheriff Tom Allman says some growers can’t get rid of their processed pot at any price.

“We arrested a man who had … 800 pounds of processed,” Allman says. “Eight hundred pounds of processed. And we asked him: ‘What are you going to do with 800 pounds of processed?’ And he said, ‘I don’t know.'”

Who’d have imagined that opening up a quasi-legal channel for supply would have driven prices down hugely, eh? I wonder what on earth they’ll manage to spend all the drug war money on if the state votes to legalise… there’s plenty to choose from, after all.


Broke but happily stoned: economics and prohibition

Paul Raven @ 13-08-2009

marijuana budsNew Scientist highlights some research that correlates economic pressures in the United States with the legal status of intoxicants, suggesting that perhaps the pro-pot lobby’s continued hassling of the Obama administration will pay off:

Euan Wilson of the Socionomics Institute in Gainesville, Georgia, finds that anti-drug laws in the US tend to coincide with high share prices, and legalisation with low.

Comparing today’s situation with alcohol prohibition in the US between 1920 and 1933, Wilson says that just as alcohol was legalised when the economic slump reached its nadir, so concessions to marijuana use could be around the corner. “The current mood is very similar to the 1930s,” says Wilson.

I’m not going to hold my breath, personally; it strikes me there’s still too much political cachet invested in the War on Drugs for it to be dropped that easily.

And on my side of the pond, I suspect the current administration is going to grab harder for total control before it finally loses its grip; leopards and their spots, you know. In the meantime, they’ll just keep legislating alternatives out of existence (giving them plenty of extra mainstream publicity in the process) before shaking their heads sadly at the inevitable increase in crime statistics (and taxing us for the mop-up)…

I’m sure I can’t be the only person who sees the irony in all of this. Is’t it the stoners themselves who’re supposed to act illogically? [image by r0bz]


Loosening the stays of prohibition – Boston relaxes marijuana laws

Paul Raven @ 05-01-2009

marijuana plantOne of the most curious aspects of the United States for an outsider like myself is the way that different states – and even counties, so I believe – can have their own legal framework in supplement to the one that governs the whole country. It makes a lot of sense from a sociological point of view, though; different regions will inevitably have different political characters, and the law should logically accommodate that.

But it’s got to be a two-way exchange, I guess – in other words, changes in the law may well change the demographic make-up of a region, as well as vice versa. So perhaps Massachusetts will see an influx of bohemians, artists and slackers in the wake of passing its new marijuana decriminalisation laws?

Maybe we’ll see a lot of weird new writers emerging from the local scene over there… after all, Boston apparently ranks as one of the eleven most literate cities in the United States. [image by Eric Caballero]


Switzerland approves legal heroin program but keeps marijuana under control

Paul Raven @ 02-12-2008

drug injection paraphenaliaSounds a bit topsy-turvy, doesn’t it? But it’s quite true – in a national vote last weekend the Swiss decided to make a controversial legal heroin program a permanent part of the country’s healthcare infrastructure, but rejected decriminalising cannabis. [image by Todd Huffman]

It’s a mixed blessing, I suppose. Hell knows the ‘war on drugs’ in the UK and the US has done absolutely nothing to eradicate the problem, and I guess if people are going to take smack then I’d rather they weren’t burgling my stuff to pay for it (as has happened). But it seems odd that people who can see the pragmatism in that idea seemingly can’t see the logic behind abandoning attempts to control the cultivation and consumption of a slightly psychoactive plant.

What say you, readers – should it be “no victim, no crime”, or should the law do its best to protect people from their own potentially self-harming choices?