2/18/2014 4:30 PM ET|
Washington, Colorado ahead of the curve on pot?
Marijuana legalization presents some interesting opportunities for investors and entrepreneurs.
Like water finding a path, entrepreneurs will always figure out a way to respond to business opportunities. That's why other states should follow the example of Colorado and Washington and legalize the recreational use of marijuana. Harnessing the power of entrepreneurs is much more productive than fighting it.
On Jan. 1, Colorado legalized the sale of small amounts of marijuana for recreational use. Later this year, Washington will follow suit. Alaska, Arizona, California, D.C. and Oregon may be the next states to permit cannabis businesses.
Cultural attitudes, fairness, economics, and entrepreneurial behavior all point to extension of this trend toward legalization. Much like policy makers were caught flat-footed as American attitudes towards same-sex marriage changed, so too have they missed the shifting views toward the legalization of pot.
According to an October 2013 Gallup Organization poll, 58 percent of Americans now favor legalization of marijuana - a jump of 10 percentage points over the previous year. Many policymakers seem to have missed the memo showing that voters' views on the topic are fundamentally different from the late 1960s, when only one-in-nine Americans favored sanctioning it.
Fairness, too, justifies legalizing cannabis. In the 48 states that do not permit recreational use of marijuana, smoking tobacco, which causes cancer, is legal. By contrast, smoking weed, which is used to treat the symptoms of cancer treatments, is not. Moreover, some experts believe that alcohol, which is legal in virtually all parts of the United States, is more harmful than marijuana, which is illegal in almost all of the country.
Fairness dictates that policymakers either need to play nanny and ban everything that's bad for us - from sugar-laden soda to fat-filled fast food - or they need to allow Americans to make adult decisions about what they want to put in their bodies. Making cigarettes, beer, and whiskey legal, while banning joints and hash brownies, unfairly favors the makers of certain harmful products.
Making pot legal has economic benefits. Policymakers can tax sales of the product - and are doing so relatively heavily. Both Washington and Colorado are charging a 25 percent tax on pot sales, with even higher rates in some municipalities. The non-partisan Tax Foundation estimates that Colorado will bring in nearly $70 million in new taxes, with initial proceeds being used for school construction. Because tax revenues are expected to exceed school building needs, Colorado public officials are already thinking of additional ways to use the tax windfall.
By making pot legal, police can focus their attention on stopping more destructive illegal drugs like cocaine and heroin, which are more likely to cause crime and health problems. That would help financially strapped states. If all states legalized cannabis sales, the reduced drug enforcement costs and higher tax revenues would be worth more than $17 billion to them, a 2010 Cato Institute study revealed.
Legalized pot will also produce public health benefits, Forbes reports. Because alcohol consumption is more harmful to people than marijuana use, but the two are substitutes, legalizing pot will lead customers to shift to the better of the two choices.
Entrepreneurs find and pursue market opportunities wherever they are. Making a business illegal doesn't get rid of the efforts of entrepreneurs to pursue it. Everyone knows that entrepreneurs are selling marijuana for recreational use in all 48 states where it is illegal.
Making a business legal makes it easier for policymakers to tap entrepreneurial efforts to benefit society. Colorado and Washington are using taxes and regulation to channel pot entrepreneurship more productively than other states, where policy makers are wasting resources trying to stop it, and, consequently, driving it underground.
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Everyone go read the book
"Marijuana is safer. So, why are we driving people to drink?"
much rather have a stoner working beside me ,than some hungover halfdead still drunk boozer,of what i speak i know.
Legalize it, Alcohol and Tobacco kill tens of thousands of people every year by there own ill effects, Marijuana has never killed a SINGLE person, EVER!!! And don't start with the argument that "people who have smoked weed and got in a deadly car wreck have" That's not what I'm saying, sure its happened, no where even close to the number of people that drunk driving has claimed, but sure its happened, That's why you shouldn't drive under the influence of ANY mind altering drugs. The FACT is that weed is the most harmless drug there is hands down, It is impossible to over dose on it.
I remember in my high school days when I used to smoke the stuff, It was WAY easier to get a bag of weed than it was to buy alcohol as a minor. One of the other big arguments against it I hear is, "If you legalize it, a LOT more kids/ people will use it." I say bull sh!t, my life experience was this, In my high school I would say probably 75-85% of everyone tried it at least once, Most of those people decided that it wasn't for them, Then there is the people like me, Who as a youth absolutely loved the stuff, As I got older, got married, had kids, and more responsibility's decided weed was a deterrent to my goals as it made me lazy and drone, So I gave it up, just like that. No withdrawals or urges to keep using, Because it is not addictive. It comes down to this, Those who wish to smoke it will, those who don't, don't. So why should we keep criminalizing those who do and let murderess drug cartels profit off a harmless substance? No pot head ever smoked a joint and then beat his wife and kids (Alcohol) No pot head ever stabbed or shot someone in a mugging for the 50$ dollars on them to buy there next fix (Coke or Heroin) No pot head ever went bankrupt in a hospital bed dying from cancer as there family weeps (Tobacco) If you are against weed than fine, but educate yourself because as far as recreational substances go, It is the safest one we know of.
drug testing by employers should be illegal and should be challenged with HIPA laws
This is all well and good and if the trend continues, there will be enough social and political motivation to change the current devisive federal law that still allows employers to descriminate against cannabis users, even in states where it is legal.
Until then, yeah, you may be "free" to use it but your boss is still able to retaliate against you for smoking that doobie over vacation while fishing past the 2-mile limit off the coast of a state where it's legal! So there are 2 major obstacles to maintaining the inalienable ownership of our bodies on our own time, as long as nobody else is endangered:
1. Remove Marijuana from the scheduled list.
2. Enact legislation that prohibits the use of invasive drug tests that intrude into behaviour outside of working hours.
Otherwise, this is all for naught.and the anti-marijuana anti-personal freedom bigots will still have their tools with which to disenfranchise and torture their victims.
I am inclined to agree with the premise of this article because of what is said about the relentless force of entrepreneurship. Most of us think of entrepreneurs as simple business people conducting legal business activities but the fact is that an entrepreneur can also be a criminal who engages in black market and underworld dealings for capital gain. Anytime that a market exists there will always be those who will satisfy that market's demand even at great personal risk.
For every personal vice that has ever existed throughout history there have been those who gladly service the demand for them and they often become quite wealthy in doing so. Whether it is alcohol, gambling, sex and prostitution, drugs, or any other activity that is labeled as a social vice human beings are going to partake no matter what anyone else says. That is just simple human nature and for anyone who has raised an unruly child they understand it as child psychology 101.
Some would say that to legalize it would be the same as giving up the fight to oppose it whatever it is. That is kind of a narrow and shortsighted perspective in my opinion. Sweeping it under the carpet where it is out of sight by declaring it illegal only allows it to grow and become socially lethal. We learned that with alcohol and gambling. We have yet to come to terms with drugs and prostitution but we will eventually.
Once the criminal element has feasted off our society until the people get tired of it we will then perhaps have a chance to eliminate most or all of the crime and violence associated with an uncontrolled market. And therein lies my point. You cannot fight the beast if you never venture into its lair. Banning and declaring something illegal simply puts it out of sight and out of mind and puts those associated with it in any way into our prisons for us to support and maintain until they can get out and go back to doing what ever it was that got them arrested in the first place. Money is funny that way. It drives people very effectively even when certain risks are involved like death and personal injury. In many ways it is akin to pushing water up hill with a broom. You are simply wasting your time and effort.
Your only hope of controlling and containing these issues is to face them head on and deal with them and their consequences. Attack the beast in his lair so to speak. Once these activities become decriminalized and even legally tolerated to some extent you then have the ability to control and regulate them and keep them from getting out of hand. You also eliminate the very lucrative underground markets that lure the criminal entrepreneurs into action. When the illegal money goes away so does the problem of crime and violence caused by it. Instead any profits from such activity go into local governments and actually serve the community as a whole rather than destroy it.
Self destructive behavior is unfortunately a part of the human palate and there are always going to be a certain percentage of people who seem bent on killing themselves slowly with tobacco, alcohol, drugs, or what ever and others who seem to have an equally strange death wish who continually take over the top risks in extreme sports activities. Utopia is a wonderful dream but as long as human beings exist that is all it will ever be, a dream.
Eric you hit the nail on the head, sort of. Marijuana is in your system for weeks, but your boss doesn't know if you just smoked some, or if it was last night, or last week. If there was a test that could tell that, then I would agree. I mean your boss can tell if you've been drinking before you came to work by testing. I have personally seen too many people have a hit or two before work. Thats dangerous and a liability to your boss. If he gets sued then more than just the high person can loose his job.
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