The New Paradigm
Colorado’s Amendment 64 Implementation Task Force, a hodgepodge of qualified experts and well-positioned bureaucrats, has fired its last volley. When the panel convened with its final recommendations on February 28, there was something for everyone to hate: high taxes for the anti-government brigade, outdoor cultivation bans for the environmentalists, and promotion of cannabis tourism for the statist drug warriors. In the defense of Colorado bureaucrats, this is not easy. The state is sailing into uncharted waters; not even Amsterdam ever had *official* policies as permissive as those demanded by A64.
Not even to mention the federal issue. One of the reasons why cannabis tourism – encouraging out-of-state residents to spend their money at Colorado coffee shops – has sparked considerable controversy is because such a move could encourage even more interstate trafficking of cannabis than already exists. If western Nebraska suddenly becomes flooded with Colorado hydro despite the best of bureaucratic intentions, it’s a sure thing a few members of Congress will hear about it. And Obama still wavers on the fence regarding his response.
That is why Washington may have made the smarter move. Rather than hubristically decide that its internal rule-making apparatus can divine the perfect policy, the solons of Olympia have hired the big guns at Botec Consulting. Headed by UCLA public policy professor Mark Kleiman, Botec brings top expertise in fields as diverse as economics, taxation, and edibles recipes. They’re a steal at $292.00 per hour.
Fortunately, there’s hope in dope (policy). One of the smartest moves made by the drafters of the Constitution was to create separate but interconnected state governments which could experiment with different policies and reveal, over time, which work best. This spring, Colorado has sown the seeds of bureaucratic technocracy and Washington has germinated the power of private enterprise; by the fall, we shall see what each shall reap.