December 26 2014, 0 Comments
A boy in New York was stabbed while trying to buy marijuana. He survived, but he wouldn't cooperate with police (like, by giving the name or description of the assailant), presumably because he was concerned (not surprisingly) for his future safety.
Beyond the obvious pain and waste of resources illustrated by this story, it leads to the question: What about teen marijuana use? Virtually no one is advocating that marijuana be legal among children. So if marijuana was legal for people over 18 (or 21), but still illegal for minors, would incidents like this still happen?
The answer is no, and we have good comparisons to look to for making that point: alcohol and tobacco. There's very limited (virtually no) illegal trade of alcohol and tobacco that results in violence. Why? Because it's so easy to get. A 15 year old who wants a cigarette simply has to get a fake id or convince an older person to buy it for him. That's a lot easier (and safer and cheaper) that trying to buy it illegally from someone in the criminal underground on a street corner.
Of course, this leads to the question: If we're promoting marijuana legalization, won't that as a byproduct make it easier to access for minors? The answer is yes, but that's ok. Remember that minors already use marijuana. You're just removing the specter of violence from the equation.
Going back to the New York example, if marijuana was legal, the boy, instead of getting stabbed and fearing for his life, would have just - gotten high. So the question is: Which do you think is worse?
December 20 2014, 0 Comments
Interesting development/roadblock in Colorado's so-far super-successful roll out of legal marijuana: Nebraska and Oklahoma are asking the US Supreme Court to declare legal marijuana unconstitutional.
The claim, made via a lawsuit, asserts that marijuana is "flowing into their state" while Colorado "reaps millions of dollars in tax benefits".
How does it impact Nebraska and Oklahoma? Because those states are investing more resources in making arrests and putting people in jail (yes, for marijuana.)
Nebraska and Oklahoma didn't say why they're investing resources in those activities, but I guess they have to, and they have to blame someone (couldn't blame, of course, the decades-long failed drug war.)
This isn't going to go anywhere, but there could be a positive benefit. Obama, via his recently announced Cuba policy, has shown a willingness that other presidents haven't to undo decades-long failed policies. This might bring to the surface the question or marijuana at the federal level, and it might - finally - be the thing that pushes him to change marijuana from a schedule 1 substance.
In that scenario, Nebraska and Oklahoma wouldn't be able to point to federal law re: why they "need" to lock non-violent marijuana users and sellers in jail. They would be investing (also know as throwing away) their resources based on their own (stupid) policies, and wouldn't be able to blame Colorado.
December 17 2014, 0 Comments
Anchorage lawmakers were considering an ordinance that would ban marijuana in Anchorage. This was was a big deal, as Anchorage, with over 300,000 people, made up over 40% of the state's population. Banning it in Anchorage would have effectively nullified the vote in November.
Fortunately, reason won the day and, by a vote of 9 to 2, lawmakers killed the ordinance (so pot will still be legal.)
The reason lawmakers proposed it in the first place? Because they wanted to take a "wait and see" approach to see and evaluate how the state would implement the November ballot initiative. Given the size and prominence of Anchorage in Alaska, that would be as if the quarterback of a football team wanted to "wait and see" how the team was doing before picking up the ball.
December 13 2014, 0 Comments
Even though democrats took a drubbing in the 2014 election, all state marijuana friendly initiatives passed by large margins. In less than 2 years, at least five more states will have the same opportunity: Arizona, California, Nevada, Maine, and Massachusetts.
I think it's pretty clear (at least based on the data available today) that all will pass. The interesting question will be if the presence on the ballot helps swing the votes throughout the ballot. Specifically, Arizona and Nevada are historically in the "swing state" category. If the presidential election feels like it will be close months before the election (right around the time of the national conventions), will one of the parties (probably Democrats) finally take a legalization position?
The answer is YES if ALL of the following conditions are met (%s are my rough non-Nate Silverish estimations):
- The ballot measures for legalization will be leading in the polls in Nevada and Arizona by a wide margin (80% likely)
- Arizona and/or Nevada are close re: the presidential election (70% likely)
- The results of Arizona and/or Nevada COULD be a determining factor in who is elected president (50% likely)
- Polls nationwide show a general preference (or greater) for marijuana legalization (99% likely)
Multiply all these together, and you have a 28% chance that at least one of the presidential candidates will come out in favor of legal marijuana in 2016. I'm sure at least some people on Hillary Clinton's staff are thinking about this.
December 10 2014, 0 Comments
Congress is doing everything it can to block the legalization of marijuana in Washington DC. The Republican-lead congress is using an appropriations bill to prevent DC from implementing the initiative, recently passed with 70% support.
It's unclear at this point what impact Congress can have, but it's interesting in its own right that they're trying to block such a popular measure.
2016 is right around the corner. Democrats have taken the mantle of one popular initiative - immigration - that's driving Republicans insane (and making voters happy). Seems like the voting math is clearly on the legalization front.
Even though it doesn't even seem fair to the word "brave" to call a stance on legalization that, will Democrats have the brains to do the right, smart, popular, and - ok, maybe still kind of brave - thing?
December 07 2014, 0 Comments
Well, not admitted, but "hinted". In an article in the Washington Times, to the question of if he had ever used marijuana, he said that in his youth, he "made mistakes". He also advocated during the interview for a reduction in penalties for nonviolent drug offenders.
Politicians haven't figured out how to be an advocate for drug legalization without appearing like you're pushing drugs on children. He emphasized again and again that drugs are bad and he didn't wanted to do everything possible to discourage people from using drugs.
Of course, the drug war isn't the way to do that - and I'm certain most politicians in their heart of hearts - know that. They're just afraid to stake out a unique - even though popular - position that could (or definitely would) be misconstrued by old media. (new media would LOVE any national ACTIVE politician that came out for drug legalization.)
December 03 2014, 0 Comments
Great article on how the legalization of marijuana (in just a few states in the US) is impacting the Mexican drug cartels.
The highlight is that the cost per kilo has gone down from about $90 to $30. Experts say if it gets below, $20, the market was fall apart as the basic costs of running the business will be greater than any revenue that can be generated from it.
If this is the effect of legalizing weed in just Colorado and Washington state, the end of the marijuana trade for cartels is near. Of course, there are other drugs (like heroin) for the cartels to push and profit from, but it's a good think if a significant profit stream is cut off (probably permanently.)
November 29 2014, 0 Comments
Lots of articles in the last few days about "Green Friday", where legal pot dispensaries broadcast steep price reductions on marijuana on the Friday after Thanksgiving.
Many of the stores had deals (though limited in quantity) where 1/8 ounce cost about $10, or 80% off. The real value for the stores, though, isn't the customers. Unlike regular retail stores, the idea isn't to get shoppers in for the big deals (where they lose money) so they end up buying the more expensive stuff (where they make money.)
These stores are doing it for the publicity. And it's working. Remember that retail pot stores are extremely limited in how they advertise - they essentially can't. So they need to rely on PR, and this year, every new holiday is the "first time we had legal marijuana" for that holiday. So expect there to be marijuana stories around Christmas, New Years, and more. And even though Colorado is heading into it's 1 year anniversary, for Washington State, their anniversary won't come till July. And then of course, the new states (Alaska, Oregon, and Washington DC (yes, I know it's not a state), hasn't even started.
It's all part of the long (but accelerating) process of normalizing marijuana in US society - and it's a good thing.
November 21 2014, 0 Comments
A great viral video came out this week showing 3 "grandma" trying marijuana for the first time:
The funniest thing about this is the transition between a bong and a vaporizer. The man in the video has the help the grandmothers extensively use and figure out the bong. In contrast, for the vaporizer, the man just says, "breath through this straw", and the first reaction after using it once is "this could be dangerous". Dangerous (in a good way) because she felt all the good stuff without all the bad stuff (heat, smoke, etc.)
Here's a link to the Vapir NO2, the one shown in the video. It's currently ranked 12th in our list of vaporizers, and you can buy it now from Vaporizor for just $160.
The vaporizer for grandmothers (in a good way.)
November 19 2014, 0 Comments
Yesterday, I had the pleasure of trying the V2 Pro Series 3 Vaporizer. The device is really easy to use and looks great. Here's the packaging and the vaporizer:
I had never used a "pen" vape, and so was very interested in what the experience was like. For a device so small (and less than $70), it was great. I was able to use it right away as you can use it while it's charging, and it took me just a few minutes to figure out and set up.
The vapor and experience itself was really nice. Perhaps because of its size, the device is meant to be used in quick/short intervals (it powers off relatively quickly), but it feels great when you hold it, and it feels like a very high quality device. Style/appearance was obviously a big deal to the designer, as it has really sleek lights, a nice way to open/close it via a magnet, and it even looks cool (with specific lights) when you charge it.
Overall, a really nice/sleek device for just under $70.