Way back during the Vietnam War days when I was just a sprout, I avoided Vietnam and was sent to Thailand instead. At that time local Thai ganja was $5 a kilo and the colas were huge, 12-18 inches.
When I returned to The States I was stationed along the Mexico-Texas border. Mexican marijuana was $50 a kilo and nowhere as good as the Thai pot. In Texas that same Mexican pot was the iconic $10 for a four-finger bag, which was an ounce, what we called a lid.
Now in the 21st century, depending on where you are of course, good ganja goes for $200 – $300 an ounce (more and/or less). I’m just an old forklift driver, but that seems rather inflated.
Of course that $5 kilo in Thailand and the $50 Mexican kilo was in the 1970s. This is 40 years later (and Prohibition today is in full effect). But those ’70s free market entrepreneurs understood the value of turning a $50 investment into almost $400. That’s capitalism.
Look, there is no doubt that legalization is on the horizon. Politicians have almost been removed from the equation – which is what the voters in Colorado and Washington did by passing their own cannabis legalization laws.
What IS luring the politicians onto our side of the discussion are the big $ signs. And while they are welcome to the parade, they are johnny-come-latelys and they are missing the point.
Sure, ending the war on pot and instituting a legal, regulated sales structure will bring tax dollars to those communities and states choosing to do so. It will also be saving money by no longer creating the burden of hundreds of thousands of annual pot arrestees going through the justice system every year.
Jobs will be created. Everyone from the growers to the clerks at the store and all those in the middle, the harvesters and trimmers, the packagers and the delivery drivers and the testing lab employees will be drawing paychecks and spending their money locally and paying taxes.
Of course some industries will be hurt. Pity the drug task forces. Feel sorry for the war profiteers in the drug testing industry. Have a bit of sympathy for the exploding drug rehabilitation industry whose bread and butter is criminal justice referrals for “marijuana addiction.”
For some like myself, the economics aspect holds no sway and is near moot to the real discussion. The real discussion is about the crimes of Prohibition.
Cannabis activists have for decades been arguing for freedom from a defensive position. Suddenly we are a 300 mph freight train and pity the fools that stand in the legalization train’s way.
There is no relative monetary value to liberty. But the value to we the people is enormous and irreplaceable.
Consider the lies we will no longer have to live with – cancer, amotivation, man boobs, schizophrenia and psychosis – and the liars who tell the lies.
Because, how do we place a value on what hasn’t occurred because of Prohibition? For instance, the government found in the 1970s that cannabis was an effective cancer fighter, yet buried that study precisely because it was pot that was fighting cancer.
One thing I do suggest is that when legalization really hits the states, en masse, victims funds be set up and money set aside to pursue prosecutions for war crimes and crimes against humanity.