Drug Policy

Life Imitates Reason.tv: Prop. 19 Edition

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Yesterday, from an NPR story on unlikely supporters and opponents of Prop. 19, which would legalize and tax marijuana grown and consumed under certain conditions:

[Chris] Wilson says he's a small-time grower who ekes out a living cultivating medical marijuana for himself and a collective. "It's borderline legal, illegal, gray-area stuff," he says, "breeding high strain, high quality, high medicinal marijuana in a sacred way."

Wilson says Proposition 19 would put him out of business. He wouldn't be able to grow enough to supply himself , much less the collective. And he'd have to pay taxes and fees to operate.

"They're going to tax the hell out of me," Wilson says. "And I barely make it as it is. I'm just getting by. They're taxing everybody they can, just because California is in debt. They see the money can be made, like unbelievable taxation, enough to push me out of business."

Another grower named Jay…worries that legalization will flood the market as people grow their own marijuana and bigger businesses take over.

"Everyone's really scared of the prices going down," he says. "We all have invested money here, we all live here. I have a daughter here, my wife's a teacher. Everyone's scared because we don't know what the prices are going to be. Already, the prices have gone down and down. It's harder to sell it."

Reason.tv, almost exactly one year ago, predicted this wacky turn of events:

Via the Washington Examiner.

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    1. Well, my reaction to this is “Quick! Trap that guy! Don’t let him get away! You just found another stoner you can tax to death!”

      I’d have to admit, though, my opinion is wavering ever since I heard George Soros endorsed Proposition 19. Knowing that guy, anything he supports can’t be good, or at least his reasons for supporting it can’t be any good.

      Now, if somebody could explain to me that his reasons are based on some false and retarded belief of his (that it might rescue California from its budget crisis so that it can spend even more money on crap it can’t afford, for instance), I might be more inclined to think Proposition 19 is a good thing. I like seeing leftard hippie stoners taxed to death.

      As long as I’m entertaining my pipe dreams here, I’d also like to see the headline “House Republicans to California: Drop Dead” in the newspaper about a year from now when a tapped-out Governor Moonbeam comes begging for a bailout to Washington D.C. with his hat in hand.

      1. Read his editorial in the wall street journal. I think he is right, at least on this issue.

  1. Serious question. Will someone explain to me how any taxes can be collected on an intoxicant that is trivially easy for users to produce for themselves? Producing booze is rocket science by comparison.

    1. Producing high-quality kush isn’t easy. Imagine a MJ scence a lot like the beer scene. You have the big boys who produce most of the product, which tastes like shit. You have some smaller, craft breweries that produce some good stuff. And you have DIY types.

      1. No, but producing a buttload of schwag is.

        1. Of course high volume production takes a big operation, but wouldn’t most users just get some seed and plant a few flower pots or a small garden for themselves and maybe a few friends?

          1. As I see it, the inability to generate tax revenue is important because some who advocate legalisation use the promise of revenue as an argument.

            1. some who advocate legalisation use the promise of revenue as an argument.

              Trading a freedom for a confiscatory power (taxation) is never a good idea. It’s a compromise of values, and as such the state always wins.

              1. You can go to jail for doing it, or pay a fee. Which one is more free?

          2. Some, for sure. But some of live in cities and condos, and we don’t have yards. And even if we have yards, that doesn’t mean we grow everything ourselves. My neighbors have yards, and I’m pretty sure I saw them with store-bought tomatoes the other day.

        2. Am I the only one who’s in favor of shwag? I mean, not disgusting shwag…but some sort of milder, high-CBD, low-THC strain.

          I don’t want to get knocked on my ass every time I smoke pot. Just a mild buzz will be fine, thankuverymuch.

        3. Am I the only one who’s in favor of shwag? I mean, not disgusting shwag…but some sort of milder, high-CBD, low-THC strain.

          I don’t want to get knocked on my ass every time I smoke pot. Just a mild buzz will be fine, thankuverymuch.

          1. I dunno, I’d rather take a single hit of the kind than smoke a whole joint of mids. It’s easy enough to titrate dosages; if it’s “too strong” you just smoke less of it.

          2. The best is to vaporize hash oil. Yum.

            1. Check. Schwag + can of butane = teh awesome.

      2. Beer doesn’t grow on the side of roads last I knew.

        1. Nah, I don’t have to go outside to pick beer. It grows in my spare bedroom.

        2. Neither does any cannabis that anyone would want to smoke.

          1. You kids are spoiled.

        3. I’d say making passable beer is harder than passable pot, but making top flight beer is way easier (and not much harder than making passable beer).

          Making booze is another story, but there are places where people build their own stills to avoid alcohol taxes…

          1. Taxes on spirits are pretty ridiculous. Easy to see why moonshining is still worth the risk to a lot of people. If you buy a bottle of, say, cheap-ass vodka, the vast majority of the price is tax.

          2. Anyone with 2-3 hrs of free time can make passable beer these days. Home brew kits have made the processes borderline idiot proof.

            1. kits have made the processes borderline idiot proof

              I still can’t make it work.

      3. C’mon. Growing good pot ain’t that hard. Maybe doing some kind of fancy hydro commercial grow is complicated but that’s about all. If you can get your hands on some high quality female clones all you need is some soil, water, nutrients and light and nature does the rest. If pot is legalized the business to get into is for guaranteed female clones.

      4. You are confusing genetics with scale.

    2. Yes, how many home brewers have to pay the ruinous alcohol taxes?

    3. Have you ever actually grown weed? It’s not nearly as easy as people seem to think.

      If you’re doing an indoor grow, first you’ve got your initial investment: lights, air blowers, timers, nutrients, planters, odor control, temperature/humidity/pH monitors. Then you spend a good 8-10 weeks actually growing the shit (with a corresponding electric bill to pay), then you spend another month or so at a minimum on harvesting, drying, and curing. You’re looking at a couple grand and 3 months before you get your first smokeable product.

      Outdoors is a bit easier to handle in terms of cost, but there are significant weather-related risks. Infestation and accidental pollination (both of which ruin crops) are very common there as well. You’re also going to end up paying for nutrients at a minimum, and turnaround time is tougher to control because you have no control over photoperiod.

      And with either method, you have to know what the hell you’re doing. You have to be able to identify and respond to nutrient deficiencies and other cultivation problems. You’ve got to learn how to read plants and conditions. There’s really no way to get a working knowledge of this sort of thing without plenty of trial and error.

      I really don’t think growing an appreciable quantity of good weed is any easier or cheaper than putting together a nice batch of home-brewed beer.

      1. In other words, growing MJ is as difficult as growing a vegetable garden? Say it isn’t so.

        1. Putting a cannabis plant in the ground and getting it to grow is as difficult as growing a vegetable, yes. Producing high-quality bud in any sort of quantity is much, much more difficult.

      2. Can’t be bothered to grow a plant yourself? Hire a gardener. I hear they have those in CA.

        1. I actually wouldn’t consider it a “bother” at all, and I’m not supporting any of the rent-seeking bullshit described in the OP. I’m just saying, it’s not exactly accurate to say that growing weed is just a matter of dropping a seed into a flower pot and putting it out on the balcony.

          Growing pot is for enthusiasts, not people who just want to have the occasional toke.

          1. You sound like an afficionado, Rhayader, or perhaps someone who supplements his income by growing. I’m not sure that the bulk of the potential market would be so discriminating.

            1. Yeah, I dunno, maybe you’re right about that. Still though, put yourself in the place of someone who occasionally likes to have a smoke at parties or whatever. Even if you don’t care about expensive lighting or vigilance against pollination, you’ve still got to wait a couple months to get your shit. That’s a question of convenience, not discrimination.

              Just like with beer or tomatoes or anything else, most casual consumers will much prefer to buy over going DIY.

              1. One pound of pot will give you more than an ounce a month for a year. Plenty for a casual user. You can get that from one plant. If it was legal you’d only have to buy until the first harvest and from then on you have your own home grown supply.

                1. I don’t get where you’re coming from here — don’t you know any potheads? How many of them would rather go through the trouble of growing instead of buying a nice bag of buds and smoking on it?

                  It’s just more convenient to buy than it is to grow. Not a difficult concept to grasp, and not any different than with any other commodity.

                  1. Nearly everyone who has the space grows tomatoes. People take pride in what they produce themselves. And they like to save money.

                  2. “don’t you know any potheads? How many of them would rather go through the trouble of …”

                    True. Potheads aren’t the most ambitious people in the world.

      3. If you want seedless (and who doesn’t), you’re going to have to grow indoors.

        If you don’t want your plants to disappear just before harvest, you’re going to have to grow indoors.

        90% of pot smokers can’t be bothered to grow indoors.

        Ergo, the OTC market for legal pot will be quite healthy, thank you.

        1. Ever heard of a greenhouse?

      4. That sounds much more difficult than making beer, which consists of boiling some malt and hopes and then straining the mixture into a sterile vessel with some yeast.

        1. Dude I grew a plant in my bathtub with a fluorescent light. It was spindly and turned out to be a male, but still it grew just fine.

          1. So if you want spindly males, then yeah home growing is real easy.

            1. As the genius grower you purport to be you know that growing from seed it’s impossible to know if the plant is male or female until it flowers. As for it being spindly I WAS using a fluorescent grow bulb from Walmart. It was also in a pot containing a dead spider plant I had thrown some seeds into to see what would happen. It was about as slap dash a grow as you could get, yet THE SHIT GREW AND FLOWERED. Pot is easy to grow.

    4. lettuce, basil, and tomatoes are easy to grow too but they are all in the supermarket.

      1. Everyone with any light, space,and spare time who cooks their own food grows tomatoes and basil.

        1. damn yuppie

        2. No they do not.
          I would’ve thought folks here at reason would be a bit less skeptical to the advantages of the division of labour.

          1. I would have though the folks commenting about the folks here at reason would be a bit more perceptive to sarcasm.

  2. Fuck those protectionist pieces of shit. People are getting maimed, murdered, and imprisoned because of the drug war and this these fuckers bitch about some market competition. It is sickening.

  3. These rent seeking assholes can go fuck themselves. With medical marijuana legalized they’ve got theirs and now they want to maintain the status quo and fuck everybody else. Someone should place a call to Eric Holder about the location of Chris Wilson’s grow site.

    1. What Terr and Ackbar said. If 19 fails, I hope these rent-seeking douchebags find themselves on the end of a SWAT team visit. See how much crying they do about taxes then.

  4. If life imitated Reason.TV, it would be death. Donate now!

    1. If Max imitated someone with intelligence, he’d be a better troll.

      1. I doubt Max has enough intelligence to imitate someone with intelligence.

  5. Fuck the dirty hippies. I bet these dumb mother fuckers vote to tax everything else. If they don’t want to live with the regulation that every other legitimate business has to make, then fuck them. Note, they have no problem with the stuff remaining illegal and people going to jail for it as long as they can keep their monopoly. What a bunch of dirtbags. Where the hell is the DEA when you actually need them?

    1. +1 to this John. Its not just that they want to maintain the status quo so that they don’t have to deal with increased market forces. You can bet these assholes support regulating and taxing other businesses to death.

    2. Amen, brother. Check out this blog http://www.rollitup.org/legalization-marijuana/ on a marijuana site. These are the most useless fuckers I have come across on the web. The DEA really needs to pay a visit to a bunch of them.

  6. I fuckin’ HATE hippies.

  7. Welcome to tax and spend California. Maybe some of these growers will learn to vote for smaller goverment, not “taxes for thee but not for me” next time.

  8. You know this is exactly how gays are going to react toward incestuous/polygamous/group marriages once gay marriage becomes widespread.

    1. And this is exactly how blacks are reacting toward gay marriage.

      1. Because blacks are a monolithic group that all think the same about everything.

        1. Shit, who told you?

        2. It’s not monolithic. More like 70%. A scant, tiny, weeny majority.

  9. What shitheads. “I might have to put up with some competition if you legalize my chosen line of work, and I don’t want to put in the effort necessary to compete!” Douche.

  10. Baptists and bootleggers, forever and ever, amen.

  11. He wouldn’t be able to grow enough to supply himself , much less the collective.

    This guy is either lying, or he’s bought into the scare tactics which NORML and others really haven’t done enough to combat. There are a sizable number of medical folks who think that either the new restrictions on growing and possession apply to them(they don’t), or that the medical program(easy recommendations from flunkie dr’s) will go away(it won’t – paying $50/year to grow all you want will continue).

    The rumors really started when some dumbass put a youtube video up of another dumbass who claims to know something about state law and said that prop 19 would fuck us all. It was bullshit, but people, especially stoners, love conspiracy theories and soon a lot of people were buying into it. I’m not linking to the video because I don’t want to promote it – just google ‘letitia pepper’ if you want. That rent-seeking dumbshit probably cost 19 thousands of votes.

    1. People actually listen to dipshits like her? Yeah, maybe we are fucked after all.

      1. Haha, shit, forgot to change my name back.

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