Friday Firesmith – Potted

Incredibly enough, I think legal marijuana is something I’ll experience in my home state of Georgia in a few years. There are eleven states where pot is legal today, and every state that has a long growing season has got to be looking at the tax revenues of the legal weed states and thinking there’s a lot to gain here and not a lot to lose. Say what you want about pot smokers and pot, but weed is fairly safe and potheads are usually more hungry than angry. The idea that pot is a gateway drug was pretty much debunked long before Nixon used the “War on Drugs” as a war on minorities.

Here’s the thing, and there’s really is no getting around it: There are two very sure ways to make money off your citizens using drugs. The first is to make the drugs illegal, and then turn the prison industry private, and tax the prisons, as your citizens are jailed for what most Americans consider a very minor offense. The only problem here is that industries are taxed at a much lower rate than real people, and pay very little in taxes. Worse, the prison industry is supported by tax money because they are paid by the government to house inmates. The other way to make money off your citizens using drugs is to tax the drug. That’s created a billion dollars’ worth of new revenue in the legal pot states in one year.

Because I subject to random urinalysis tests, at least for another three months or so, I don’t smoke pot. After I retire, it’s likely that some legal weed state is going to find me sitting on a balcony smoking a joint while sharing my thoughts with the people reading this right now.

My first Friday Firesmith was back six or seven years ago, and the subject was the legalization of pot. I thought then, and I do now, that it’s inevitable. But one thing I think we have to do if we’re to make pot legal, is to overturn every pot-related drug conviction in the country and release anyone in prison and clear everyone’s records. It’s time to stop treating pot the same way we do truly dangerous drugs and it’s time to stop treating people who sell and smoke grass like criminals.

Isn’t it just a little strange that I can rent a room in Colorado, get high as a kite, write about it publicly, have people laugh at my inability to write while stoned, yet back home I can’t smoke pot because of a pee test?

Isn’t it odd that someone dying of cancer can get stoned but someone with PTSD can’t? Isn’t it just a little weird I can go out and buy enough alcohol to kill me outright but I can’t buy a joint legally?

The time has come and the time is now. End the war on minorities and end the funding of private prisons for profit, and end the idea of Reefer Madness.

Take Care,

Mike writes regularly at his site:  The Hickory Head Hermit.

Opinions expressed in this article are not necessarily those of the management of this site.

31 thoughts on “Friday Firesmith – Potted”

  1. The Drug Policy Alliance, which advocates for an end to the War on Drugs, estimates the United States spends $51 billion annually on this battle. Don’t tell 45, then he might demand this money be used to build his wall.

  2. My neighbours are pot heads. They spend all day fighting and yelling at another neighbour’s dogs to shut up – then play thumping music all night. I hope they choke on something.

      • Annoyingly both sets of neighbours do. But the noisey ones don’t care that their own dogs bark – they just don’t think anyone else’s dogs should. Fun times.

  3. Legalizing pot in one’s state does not mean one can smoke it, especially if they are subjected to federally mandated random drug tests. Of course, I would believe the exception is if your job is not federally regulated in any way, then you should be safe. However, if enough states make it legal would it only be a matter of time before the federal government backs down?

    As you said, having it illegal makes it profitable for the private prison industry plus it helps certain states maintain their ability to control minorities, especially if they have laws regarding ex-felons not being able to vote.

    So you have an industry with one of the biggest lobbies working against that idea plus you have politicians who don’t give a crap about state revenues going for the betterment of the state and its citizens, because power is tantamount to good public service, so one has to figure out where their state reps fall regarding these options. On the individual side, it would be one helluva stock to get into early.

    Considering some of Georgia’s recent politics, I’m a bit surprised that you think it will happen soon enough as opposed to much later, if ever.

    • CAI, as Bruce pointed out, its money. The people in the Gold Dome of Georgia, and yes, that’s what they call the capitol here, appeal to the redder issues just for votes, but at the heart of the matter is green. They would sell their grandmothers for enough money, and then claim God told them to do it. Annnnnnd people would still vote for them.

      • They’ll vote for child molesters and rapists because of a PR machine that convinces them to vote against their interests.

        BTW, a little twist on one of your replies…
        You can’t spell Hatred without Red Hat.

  4. It will happen when the politicians find it’ll line their pockets, and their war chests, more than private prisons, selling off toll roads, and kickbacks on shoddy infrastructure. It’s about the money, always about the money.

  5. the “war on drugs” cause far far worse problems than the drugs themselves and has done nothing to reduce drug use in the 50 years of this abysmal failure. the percentage of the population using cocaine and marijuana is nearly identical to the rates prior to the start of this “war”. – in the exact same time the rate of cigarette usage which is totally legal has plummeted from ~78% of the population to less than 20%. This happened due to a combined effort of education and addiction programs and we didn’t need to create the worlds largest prison infrastructure in place to get there… We’re spending around 80 Billion dollars a year on this “war” and achieving nothing as a result except for more and more ruined lives.

    the ONLY reason these drugs are so extremely profitable is because they are illegal. Marijuana is ridiculously easy to grow; these huge profits are what drives and supports the gang culture and inner city violence. the massive profits; nearly always in cash since they have limited access to legitimate banking/credit processing options and a constant threat results in a very predictable pattern or violence, not any less obvious than the one caused by prohibition in the 20’s that they wisely chose to end in 1933.

    The drug war destroys lives by making ‘felons’ of people for simple possession – resulting in a lifetime struggle to get and keep a job and making it far more likely that they will turn to a continued life of crime since they have much less to lose now that they are already a felon.

    police conducting roadside theft under the guise of “asset forfeiture” in direct violation of the 5th and 14th amendment which clearly says that no-one shall be “deprived of life, liberty or property without due process of law” but under these roadside shakedowns police are clearly targeting money, not drugs… they seize money without any evidence that it has anything to do with the drug trade and then require the person they stole it from to prove that it wasn’t. – Criminal behavior by government agents.

    Even if legalization of these drugs results in MORE people using them that seems like a much smaller problem than the rampant violence and destroyed lives left in the wake of this foolish war.

    • Keith, today’s drug lord is tomorrow’s entrepreneur. Today’s illegal pot house is tomorrow’s small business owner. Depends on how it’s taxed, huh?

      • Not necessarily. Depends on how legalization is implemented. Here in Humboldt county, the vast majority of farmers who want to go legal either go broke trying or remain illegal due to the costs and red tape of going legal. California has really messed it up from that perspective.

    • I don’t think there’s any real dispute that using Marijuana is generally a bad idea. the question in my mind is whether treating this as a criminal matter is an effective way of minimizing use. I think it should absolutely be legal; not because I want anyone else to use it. I wish no-one used it. The problem is that the ‘war on drugs’ is not helping at all and is creating much bigger problems that strongly incentivize violent criminal behavior.

      Marijuana use might or might not increase as a result of legalization; people are going to make their decision as individuals and some people are going to choose poorly; but under the current system taxpayers are spending billions of dollars every year on this “war” and have been for 5 decades with little to show for it other than an embarrassing spot as the #1 country for the largest percentage of it’s population in prison… not exactly a ringing endorsement for the “land of the free” ;

      In this overzealous rush to act “tough on crime” we’re creating lifetime ‘felons’ out of people that did nothing more than posses these drugs for personal consumption. – we’ve artificially raised the street price of these far beyond what it should trade for if it were not illegal and that profit drives most of the gang activity and inner city violence.

      Marijuana is not specifically a ‘gateway drug’ – the use of marijuana by itself doesn’t cause people to want to rush out and ‘upgrade’ to LSD.. but the illegal nature of the drug means that the people wanting to smoke marijuana are going to get their drug from someone that has a huge financial incentive to get them on to ‘something new’… ‘something more addictive’ – something to ensure more profit.. they are already operating illegally; and they will continue to entice more children to sell these drugs in your neighborhood elementary school until that profit incentive is taken away.

      legalizing does not mean the drugs are good; it doesn’t mean you want people to use them. legalizing however would nearly instantly take away most of the profit that is currently fueling the epidemic of violence that is ripping apart cities across the country.

    • HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA! Paper Plane Person, the day I listen to a man banned from England for hate speech is the day I trade my reason in for a red cap. But I heard they unearthed an early F-16 from Valley Forge the other day. Should you be there?

  6. People are so grotesquely mis- or uninformed about marijuana it’s really sad.

    First let’s set the record straight on why we have the laws we do today:
    It wasn’t for it being dangerous, but rather if you had a propensity for protesting the President or just so happened to be a person of color, it allowed the government to silence you legally or at the very least to make your life difficult. It wasn’t marijuana that did any harm, it was the laws.

    The medicinal benefits of marijuana far outweigh any negatives that some people make up to satisfy the needs of the private prison industry. Marijuana is safer than alcohol and is in no way a gateway drug as many have said to simply mislead the public.

    It helps ween people off of their addiction to opiates. It helps those tolerate various medical conditions with less long term damage that many manufactured drugs present. Which actually presents another enemy of legalization–Big Pharma. If people can grow their own medicine, then where does that leave the drug companies?

    It would appear that any arguments being used against legalization are the ones who stand to lose money on their end. That includes the mouth pieces who get kickbacks for promoting the lies. The way I see it, the benefits of legalizing it far outweigh any negatives. As long as it is regulated, it becomes something that not only helps individuals, benefits the government with a revenue stream, and frees up resources in law enforcement so they may utilized for more important, real crimes.

  7. Gee MF, why not do some homework and look at the data of which he speaks before you do as many do-criticize the messenger? #5

    Alinsky The Rules For Radicals
    “Power is not only what you have but what the enemy thinks you have.”
    “Never go outside the expertise of your people.”
    “Whenever possible go outside the expertise of the enemy.”
    “Make the enemy live up to its own book of rules.”
    “******Ridicule is man’s most potent weapon.”******
    “A good tactic is one your people enjoy.”
    “A tactic that drags on too long becomes a drag.”
    “Keep the pressure on.”
    “The threat is usually more terrifying than the thing itself.”
    “The major premise for tactics is the development of operations that will maintain a constant pressure upon the opposition.”
    “If you push a negative hard and deep enough it will break through into its counterside.”
    “The price of a successful attack is a constructive alternative.”
    “Pick the target, freeze it, personalize it, and polarize it.”

    Good debate does not have to involve name calling or comments totally off topic.

    • F16 Guy: the “environmental impact” touted in that first video you linked to are almost entirely due to the “government prohibition against growing marijuana” and not on “growing marijuana”. – growing the plant indoors with grow lamps and in artificial soil (etc.) would not be necessary were it not for the fact that it’s illegal.

      regarding the mercury content in marijuana – Savage specifically points to (and emphasizes repeatedly) the claim that the mercury content is due to being grown in volcanic soil – that statement is equally true for any product grown in volcanic soil. it is hardly unique to marijuana. nearly all the rice grown in the Philippines is grown in volcanic soil; the pineapples grown in Hawaii are grown in volcanic soil; the coffee beans grown in Colombia are grown in volcanic soil; and there are thousands of other products consumed by billions of people every day that are grown in volcanic soil.

      volcanic soil is some of the most nutrient rich soil on the planet.

  8. Oh, F16 Guy — don’t you find it telling that liberals provide links to, e.g., Forbes articles but conservatives always seem to get their “facts” from YouTube videos produced by questionable-at-best crackpots?

    • What I find hilarious is his inability to see the irony of his reply to Mike. He complains about the use of ridicule as a response, yet in his own video, the host does mostly that to express his view. To add to that, he tries to imply it’s a “radical left” set of concepts, when he actually presented a right wing extremist host using it.

  9. Firesmith, faulting Trump on his comment about airplanes makes me wonder what you thought when Obama said this:
    How many states? Vice President Dan Quayle was virtually laughed out of Washington for misspelling potato back in 1992, yet Barack Obama made a more elementary flub when, during the 2008 campaign, he said: “I’ve now been in 57 states-I think one left to go.”

    • While I can’t speak directly to Obama as to why he flubbed that, I can say that he did not have a teleprompter, nor did he have a pre-written speech that he could have referenced from memory. Two elements that the self declared stable genius with the world’s greatest memory had.

      Or it could be a simple case that you’re missing the difference between a lapsus linguae, and a tortured glossolalia of barely coherent word vomit.

  10. LOL. Yea, I’m sure those are the only two possibilities……(as we all stare at the elephant in the room).
    Barry is the definition of “arrogant impatience”.
    “Intolerance is the first sign of an inadequate education. An ill-educated person behaves with arrogant impatience, whereas truly profound education breeds humility.”


    • The arrogant impatience fits Trump perfectly. Rather than admit his mistake, he makes up an excuse. Whereas, at a later stop Obama was talking with reporters and expressed concern he’d also mis-stated the number of potential cyclone victims in Burma. He said, “I hope I said 100,000 people the first time instead of 100 million. I understand I said there were 57 states today. It’s a sign that my numeracy is getting a little, uh.” At that point, an aide cut him off and ushered journalists out. Sounds like humility to me, a characteristic that the Orange POS has none of.

      Essentially, he meant 47 states because if you add in the one he missed plus Alaska and Hawaii which he didn’t visit, you get 50. But as I said you’re missing the difference between a lapsus linguae, and a tortured glossolalia of barely coherent word vomit.

      On an unrelated note, I find it interesting that a Trump supporter quotes a Russian.

  11. CAI, you need to get out of mom and dad’s basement. You excuse the liberal Obama for mis-speak but not the president. If liberals had no double standard, they’d have no standards at all.
    BTW, I find it interesting that a liberal still thinks the Russian collusion story is true.That is all.

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