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Why is this so hard?

Jacob Sullum:

Washington’s state-licensed pot stores are expected to start opening next week, but they won’t have much to sell. A slow state licensing process for marijuana producers, combined with the difficulty of obtaining local approval for grow operations, will result in shortages that are apt to be more severe than those seen in Colorado after recreational sales began there in January. The result could be prices almost twice as high as those charged by medical marijuana dispensaries and black-market dealers.

Setting up a system that ends up with legal marijuana charging more than the black-market is not the way to do it.

Get your act together, Washington.

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17 comments to Why is this so hard?

  • Ben

    A 95% tax rate(triple 25% taxes, 1.25*1.25*1.25) doesn’t help undercut the black market either.

  • allan

    We can safely call WA’s legalization fiasco “the Kleiman Effect.”

    Has anyone seen the transcripts w/ the meeting(s?) between Droop Dogg and the WA governor? I’m willing to wager that there was some deal making going on that included a “make this not work” edict from WaDC.

  • darkcycle

    The legal market here is not off to a promising start, that I can tell you. When those first stores open, they will be closing again in hours, not days. The process they’ve concocted is bleeding people dry. Only a handful of producers are licensed, and they are dragging that process out painfully. I really feel for the guys…they’ve invested in real estate, security cameras, fencing, employees, materials, and now they get to sit and hemorrhage money waiting for the inspectors.
    In retrospect, I’m kinda glad I didn’t get in. The money I thought I would need wouldn’t have been enough, and I’d have gone broke waiting for this Spruce Goose to get airborne.
    In a related note, the State is getting ready to renew it’s attack on Medical, and they want it shut down. These State stores, with their non-existent supply, and their goal of only twenty percent of the market? They will be the only legal outlet if that happens, and the Black Market will simply get stronger.
    Pot politics make strange bedfellows, it seems, since it looks like I willbe joining Steve Sarich (he of the no on 502 campaign) in organizing to save MMJ here.

    • allan

      interesting guy that Steve (very skilled photographer)… and yes, you WA patients better step it up or the Kleiman Effect will roll right over you.

    • Windy

      Hubby visited a MMJ dispensary inside the city limits today, it is going to be a retail store next Monday but for now it is still a dispensary. He had to pay sales tax on the same product he could have bought at their other dispensary outside the city limits without the sales tax and would have except they particular strain was only available at this store. Want to bet that tax free status of MMJ is the reason the State wants to shut down the MMJ program?

  • It looks to me that TPTB are doing absolutely everything in their power to turn this into an EPIC FAIL.

    The black market prices are entirely due to ILLEGALITY – there should be no way that the legal prices come anywhere near to the black market mark-up.

    Methinks some bankers’ profits are in danger.

  • darkcycle

    Oh. And Pete, I think I have an answer to your question “Why is this so hard?”.
    It’s because the cat (in the person of Mark Kleiman) was able to sneak into the room and smother the baby.

    • thelbert

      someone might wonder at the motivations of the politicians that hired herr dr. kleiman. it’s like there is a part the state government that doesn’t respect the will of the voters. lucky for them that they still get to cash a state paycheck.

  • claygooding

    Yup,,Markie baby did a bang up job for the ONDCP when he hired out for that gig,,for a man that never bought a joint he managed to create a possible market that will never sell one,,,and that is the answer,,nobody buy a legal joint from WA state.

  • primus

    These people like Klieman are not bright people. Mainly their degrees are in useless subjects like ‘Social Policy’ or whatnot. Faced with reality and studies that reflect that reality, especially if sprinkled with numbers, causes them to get that ‘shutter over the eyes’ look that tells you they ‘don’t get it’. At all. Ever. Even for them, however, the concept of undercutting the competition to take market share must not be that difficult to grasp.

  • Jean Valjean

    OT
    Some figures for the drug war:

    “82 percent – The number of Americans who believe that the government is losing the War on Drugs

    “American polling company, Rasmussen, reported this staggering statistic, which contrasts considerably with the miniscule four percent who believe that the drug war has been successful. Despite the inordinate human and financial cost of the war on drugs, and its lack of success in quelling drug use or trafficking, Republican and Democrat leaders continue to express anti-democratic defiance as they ignore the will of the people and perpetuate the drug war’s inhumanity.”

    http://www.alternet.org/drugs/5-startling-numbers-reveal-militarization-us-drug-policy

  • Nick

    Government doing what Government does best, hurting business and keeping the black market healthy. Good job! I knew this would happen when I heard about all their regulations that they wanted to impose on legalized marijuana. It’s a shame too and I hope these states work it out.

    • allan

      watch Oregon, we’re looking good for the ballot:

      Oregon marijuana initiative has an 80-year-old pitchwoman in first commercial

      Sponsors of the marijuana legalization measure headed to the Oregon ballot have made it clear they intend to focus on mainstream voters.

      So it’s no surprise that New Approach Oregon’s first commercial, released Tuesday, features an 80-year-old retired teacher from Eugene who proclaims right off the bat, “I don’t use marijuana.”

      Margie Harris, who spent 36 years teaching in various school districts around the state, argues in the ad that anti-marijuana laws haven’t stopped kids from getting the drug and that marijuana would be better controlled if it was legalized, regulated and taxed.

      -snip-

  • Ned

    Why so hard? The short answer, as always is politics. Establishing a regulated pot market is easy. A working model exists already. The problem here is the insistence on treating the product as if it’s platinum plutonium. Does the State treat alcohol and tobacco that way? Hardly.

    This the nanny faction gleefully putting in place all the shit they’d love to also implement for those other things but can’t. Then when it doesn’t work, they’re going to blame the substance, not the regulation scheme.

    It’s also a terrible case of CYA. Make it as tough as possible so no one can say you were insufficiently rigorous.

    • primus

      CYA indeed. What these mental midgets have not grasped is fundamental: No matter what you do, you will be criticized for it. No matter how well you do your job, someone with an agenda will find fault. Therefore, it is vital that you do your job in the most balanced, justifiable way possible because then there will be far fewer critics and your actions will be much more easily justified. If you don’t do your job that way, you will have many more critics and far less CYA than you thought, because they will find huge holes in your supposed armor. In fact, when these people come up in front of Congress and are lambasted and publicly humiliated (a la Botticelli) they are getting what they deserve, and now that the whipping boys and girls have been found, the games can begin in earnest. Yes, they will try to blame the substance for any perceived failings in the system, however that won’t stick. Too many people know where the bodies are.

    • Paul McClancy

      You hit the nail on the head Ned. The arguments for “tough” (read ineffective) regulation come from people who say we dropped the ball on tobacco and alcohol.

  • marty

    There is no rule of law in government anymore. Those in power just do what they want even if its clearly not the will of the people or possibly even illegal. Want something from government with a FOIA request? They just won’t send it until you sue, then if they ever do send it it will all be redacted. Want IRS e-mails? Sorry they lost them. Want legal pot? Fat chance, they don’t want it and will obstruct it as a reality with no repercussions. Go ahead and sue what do they care?