Pot Czar leaving the room…

‘Pot Czar” Mark Kleiman Packs Up

When it hired Kleiman last March, the LCB said it had budgeted an initial $100,000 for the much sought-after consulting work. The state ended up paying much more–$814,000, as of last week, with one payment still pending, Smith tells SW.

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26 Responses to Pot Czar leaving the room…

  1. Cannabis says:

    Third way, baby!

  2. allan says:

    one man’s boon is another man’s doggle.

  3. claygooding says:

    I hope we never hear of him again. But cockroaches are a tough kill.

  4. Freeman says:

    $814k+ seems quite high for a bit of “Back Of The Envelope Consulting”. Heh, BOTEC wanted to do 20 more reports but WA backed out because their budget was already busted. Their website lists 9 BOTEC reports so I’m assuming that’s all they got for what they could afford. That’s some pretty expensive flim-flam. Wonder what Colorado’s been paying for consulting fees? Haven’t heard much about that.

  5. thelbert says:

    cogitatin’s hard work. they have to figure out how to sell something that sells itself.

  6. darkcycle says:

    I must be in the wrong business. I charge high prices, but I actually have to deliver quality goods.
    If it wasn’t me (and the other taxpayers of Washington) footing the bill, I’d be laughing my ass off. *sigh*

  7. War Vet says:

    Didn’t he get an offer to be Syria’s Drug Czar?

  8. Duncan20903 says:


    Oh, that explains it. I was puzzled when I bumped into Prof. Kleiman in front of the bank the other day. He was laughing so maniacally and past the point of tears I was worried that he might give himself an apoplexy. He was laughing so hard that he couldn’t even open the bank’s door to get in. Finally the security guard walked over and opened the door for him. It sure wouldn’t surprise me to learn that Prof Kleiman wet himself because he was laughing so hard.

  9. N.T. Greene says:

    Step one:give very lowball estimate for services.
    Step two:stretch as far beyond budget as possible until project is either complete or cancelled in some way.
    Step three:profit.

    I don’t see why anyone is surprised here. I mean, this is all perfectly logical from the business angle. It’s distasteful, but not really surprising given the nature of the job…

    • allan says:

      ‘I don’t see why anyone is surprised here.’

      uh, NT? I look down the couch and see nary a quiver of shock or surprise on any of these (virtual) faces. I fact I think I saw Duncan yawning… you’re not surprised, Pete’s not surprised, I’m not surprised…

      Prohibition… Theatre of the Absurd, Live!

      • N.T. Greene says:

        I suppose I meant the “here” that included people not of the couch.

        “Here” as in “at this situation”. I don’t know, despite two English degrees I have a tendency to bend words in strange ways from time to time.

        Regardless: It’s sort of funny how things like this, while blatantly obvious to some, fly straight over the heads of most people. Perhaps schools should teach things like “logic” and “critical thinking”. Anything I learned about the two I learned on my own or through experience… and that’s worrisome. Then again perhaps those in power don’t want a nation of thinkers or ardent logicians.

        EDIT #14824: Let’s consider the role of sophistry in contemporary US politics..!

        • allan says:

          glad you know I just pokin’ ya… not much binds the knickers of these potatoes, I tell ya what.

          … and as to that teaching commentary, spot on.

        • N.T. Greene says:

          As an aspiring teacher myself (in the humanities, of course) I consider those two things to be more important than ever. Any idiot can read, but to comprehend and form a rational response is a different story. I find it disturbing that so much effort is put into standardized testing (which encourages knowledge-by-rote rather than thinking and reasoning). We have been manufacturing sheep even at the highest levels of education, when it is becoming increasingly clear that we need mental flexibility and critical faculties more than ever.

          All this is likely why US culture takes so long to change, despite vast scientific and technological advances. We are teaching people to have narrow and rigid views of the world; we are teaching the youth of this country to have (mostly) closed minds.

          [Whereas I have always been very curious — ADD may be to blame, but that’s a boon in some cases. I also find topics such as mimetics, semiotics, and logic interesting… despite having never studied any of them officially in college. And I guarantee save for the commonplace understanding of ‘logic’, most people could not define the above terms, despite being major twentieth century philosophical and/or cultural innovations (logic being older of course).]

          To quote someone else: “I don’t want you to think like me, I just want you to think.” Woefully, many of my experiences as an undergraduate involved dealing with lecturers who insisted their word was law and to deviate was to be unintelligent.

          Fun fact: I did much better in higher level courses, which typically had open, seminar styles. In survey level courses I was a rather… average student.

        • Windy says:

          “Then again perhaps those in power don’t want a nation of thinkers or ardent logicians.”

          That is exactly the reason critical thinking skills and logic are NOT taught in public schools. Which is also why I advocate getting rid of public schooling except for 1st through 3rd grades (where the basics in reading/spelling/writing, math, music art and physical education should be completed), and going to the unschooling method thereafter, including options for apprenticeship.

          Anything one can learn in college is also available to learn elsewhere, the only thing one won’t get is a parchment (degree, or just certificate of graduation, although that could also be possible if people wanted it that way). Why pay those outrageous tuition fees for things one can learn for free and learn without being “indoctrinated” or “proselytized” in the process?

    • Freeman says:

      LCB: $814,000! You said it would be around $100,000! That’s all we budgeted for and now we’re waaaayyyy over budget!

      BOTEC: That’s $100,000 per report. You didn’t want just one report, did you? We’ve got 20 more reports in the pipeline and we saved the best for last. You wouldn’t want to miss out on those, would you?

      LCB: Sorry, can’t afford another $2 million for 20 more reports! We’re gonna have a hard enough time explaining to our taxpayers the value they got for the $814k we already spent.

      BOTEC: Hey, it’s just tax money. It’s not like you had to actually earn it any more than we did. Spend all you want — the peons will always cough up more. Just look at how much they’re willing to allow us to tax a weed!

      LCB: Sorry, but this is Seattle, not LA. Our taxpayers expect some sort of value for that much money. We’re going to have to cut it off here and tell our taxpayers that we’re satisfied with what we got from BOTEC while we still can. Once it passes $1 million that’s a lot harder sell.

      BOTEC: Dang, and I had already cleared my fall teaching schedule! Was it something I said? Was I too harsh on the MMJ community? You know the only reason I hate them is because you’re not taxing them to death like the DFH’s. I never met a tax I didn’t like. Besides, Kush doctors give me a stomach ache.
      ** makes a phone call ** Hello, Wiggles? Tell the other flunking students they can quit working on all those reports now, the extra credit assignment is over.

      • Duncan20903 says:


        It’s called salami slicing. You wouldn’t think that conning a person out of a little more that 11.8 cents would be very profitable, but a little more than 11.8 cents per resident of the State of Washington = $814,000. You didn’t think think that was a PFTA number, did you?

        But let’s take a look at the bigger picture. We’ve been pretty certain that the prohibitionist parasites have been milking the system for some substantial paydays, but to the best of my recollection this is the first firm data point of just how much milk their sucking from the government teat.

        I’ll bet Prof. K complains about the check he has to write to the US Treasury at the end of this month.

  10. Plant Down Babylon says:

    One more brick falling….

  11. Steve Finlay says:

    You know, Marc Emery did offer his services to do that job. I somehow think his bill would have been a lot lower. Of course, his living expenses are paid by the US government these days, so perhaps that would be called subsidized competition.

  12. Windy says:

    Well, he apparently did have some influence:

    Also check out the NHTSA says about Tolerance , Dependence and Withdrawal Effect.

  13. Paul McClancy says:


    Kleiman had something interesting to say in a recent article:

    “This is not your grandfather’s marijuana. I made fun of that for a long time — well, there’s more THC in it, so people smoke less. [THC (tetrahydrocannabinol) is the psychoactive ingredient in pot.] That turns out to have been too glib. Yeah, you smoke less, but it gets to the brain faster if you take one hit instead of six. Older people always complain about this heavy pot. But I talk to young people who have the same complaint. They say, “Are you kidding? It knocks me on my ass.”

    Yes Kleiman, because a higher THC is much worse than the smoke intake from your “grandfather’s joint”.

    • Freeman says:

      This is not your grandfather’s marijuana

      I’ve been smoking weed since I was my grandchildren’s age, so I think I can speak to that. It’s complete and utter bullshit.

      Is today’s commonly available California Sensimilla more potent than the Mexican weed commonly available 40 years ago? Sure. Was it prohibitively inconvenient to score weed, hash, or hash oil at least that potent back then? Not by any stretch of the imagination. I smoked plenty of cannabis back in the day that I would put up against anything on the street these days. (I also smoked a lot of cheap crap that wouldn’t get a fly high, but that’s beside the point.)

      But this is the lie that got my dander up:

      And also — I find this incredibly ironic — the medical marijuana movement snuck in full legalization under the guise of helping cancer patients.

      I would have thought voters would have reacted to that by saying, “Screw you and the horse you rode in on.” In fact, they seem to have said, “Oh, I guess the sky didn’t fall. Why don’t we just legalize pot?”

      Perhaps that’s because the average voters, unlike Mark Always Right Kleiman, aren’t a bunch of loony conspiracy theorists fretting over an imagined “guise” — they know that cancer patients and others really do benefit medically from cannabis consumption, often dramatically, and often after all available pharmaceuticals have failed as spectacularly as prohibition itself, bringing only harsh unintended side-effects and no benefit.

      Of all of the intellectually dishonest things I’ve seen come from Mark A. R. Kleiman’s keyboard over the years, I think that’s the one that pisses me off the most.

      • Daniel Williams says:

        I agree. I’ve been smoking cannabis now for 43 years, and can attest to the availability of quality weed the entire time. Availabilty wasn’t as wide as today, yes. But two-toke weed has always been around for the picking (pun intended).

        Now, if I could only find some good LSD again…

  14. Freeman says:

    OMG!!! I followed the links in the article Pete posted about above, and this one’s a doozy!

    Kleiman spoke more, though, about reasons for the city and state to step up law enforcement against illegal dealers in order to gain market share and tax revenues for the legal system.

    Now wait just a gol-durned minute! I thought one of the benefits of developing a legal market was to peacefully undercut the illicit dealers with a combination of price, selection, quality and convenience they can’t compete against. Now you’re saying you want Washington to behave exactly like any another violent cartel, competing against the others on their terms, using brute force at the point of a gun to expand and protect the state’s turf, market share, and revenues? That’s a pretty horrible position to take when clearly superior alternatives are available, Mr. Pot Legalization Expert!

    Then this:
    Noting the history of racial disparities in marijuana enforcement, Councilmember Mike O’Brien said he’d be concerned that ramped up enforcement would “compound the problem.”

    Kleiman said that’s certainly possible because poorer people and racial minorities might be more likely to use street corners for illegal pot commerce, and be subject to enforcement, than affluent white people.

    “I think it’s worth taking the transition cost,” Kleiman said, in order to undercut the illicit market.

    So now Mr. Everybody Except Democrats Are A Bunch Of Racists is suddenly OK with what he acknowledges is racially disparate state violence, and advocates for more of it? It’s “worth taking the transition cost” as long as that cost is borne by the usual scapegoats? Pete was spot-on when he recently observed that it’s always the money.

    Fortunately, WA officials seem to be less than enthusiastic about Kleiman’s recommendations:
    But in Seattle, where police are reluctant to even ticket people for smoking pot in public, increased enforcement seems a long shot.

    [Alison Holcomb] pointed to alcohol prohibition as a lesson. “The battle of the bootleggers was not won by enforcement but by the fact people wanted to buy legal booze,” she said.

    • Freeman says:

      BTW: Don’t forget to read the comments on the Seattle Times article. Not one in favor of Kleiman’s recommendations. Here’s one I particularly liked:

      “Top pot consultant”? “More enforcement”? This is by definition an openly fascist statement. You can’t use law enforcement to crack down on competing sellers to drive a government run or favored business.

      • allan says:

        no shit… common sense calls that business model racketeering… ‘thuggery’ comes to mind… as does a long string of profanity… and yes, fascist too. Facts tell us we are right. And Mark? he’s mocking the pot – cancer connection while he should be apoplectic about the gummint’s hiding of the ’74 Virginia study. That makes him facing about 180º in the wrong direction.

        How’s that old saying go?

        How can someone w/ their head so far up their ass manage to still stick their feet in their mouth?

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